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By John Markoff, The New York Times

Ever since Google disclosed in January that Internet intruders had stolen information from its computers, the exact nature and extent of the theft has been a closely guarded company secret. But a person with direct knowledge of the investigation now says that the losses included one of Google’s crown jewels, a password system that controls access by millions of users worldwide to almost all of the company’s Web services, including e-mail and business applications.

The program, code named Gaia for the Greek goddess of the earth, was attacked in a lightning raid taking less than two days last December, the person said. Described publicly only once at a technical conference four years ago, the software is intended to enable users and employees to sign in with their password just once to operate a range of services.

The intruders do not appear to have stolen passwords of Gmail users, and the company quickly started making significant changes to the security of its networks after the intrusions. But the theft leaves open the possibility, however faint, that the intruders may find weaknesses that Google might not even be aware of, independent computer experts said.

For more on this story, and to get updates: Google Attacked!

– Have a safe day! 😉

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by Chloe Albanesius

Google on Tuesday released beta versions of its Chrome browser for Mac and Linux.

The company also unveiled extensions in Chrome for Windows and Linux.

“It took longer than we expected, but we hope the wait was worth it,” Brian Rakowski, Google product manager, wrote in a blog post.

Google unveiled Chrome in September 2008, but only for Windows. Rough versions of Chrome for Mac and Linux were released in June, but they did not include Flash support, and did not allow users to print, manage bookmarks, or alter privacy settings.

That took 73,804 lines of Mac-specific code and 29 developer builds, Google said.

“We also took great care to make Google Chrome a native application for Mac. For example, we integrated the Keychain into Google Chrome for Mac, and incorporated Mac-style animations when you open the Bookmarks bar,” they said.

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– Millie

By BARBARA ORTUTAY, AP Technology Writer

NEW YORK – JPMorgan Chase is letting Facebook users help decide how to give away $5 million. The idea is to get small, local charities on Chase’s radar — ones that don’t have the operating budget to go around asking for grants but do a lot of good work in their communities.

The “Chase Community Giving” program will let Facebook users choose from more than half a million charities that have an operating budget of less than $10 million apiece. The 100 charities getting the most votes by Dec. 11 will each receive $25,000 from Chase.

In the program’s second round, one of the 100 will get a grant of $1 million, determined by a Facebook vote that begins Jan. 15. Five runners-up will receive $100,000 each. In addition, an advisory board will award $1 million to nominated charities of its choice.

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