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Google Aims to Build a Better iOS Keyboard
March 24, 2016
Google has been developing a third-party keyboard for Apple devices in an effort to increase the number of Google searches on iOS, according to a news report published Tuesday. The keyboard, which is being tested internally, reportedly would incorporate a number of search options and a Swype-like feature to guess the intended word when a user slides a finger from one letter to another.
Google Says Sayonara to Chrome App Launcher
March 23, 2016
Google on Tuesday announced that it was shutting down the Chrome app launcher everywhere but in the Chrome OS. That means users who like to launch their favorite Google apps from a menu will have to settle for launching them only within the Google Chrome browser or through shortcuts in their bookmark bar. Windows, Mac and Linux users prefer launching their apps within Chrome.
Gadget Ogling: Bathroom Bots, Bedroom Bulbs, and Doorbell Detectives
March 22, 2016
Can you imagine a time before robot vacuum cleaners? The world was a messier place, certainly in the homes of those with too little impetus to pick up a broom or vacuum cleaner once in a while. Thankfully, for those of us who don't mind sweeping but are less enthused about using the mop, robotic help is on its way in a more affordable model: the Braava Jet from iRobot.
Scientists Track Sloshed Tweeters in Real Time
March 21, 2016
Applied machine learning techniques can identify tweeters' behaviors in real time and locate them to within 100 meters, according to a paper Rochester University computer scientists published earlier this month. The team focused on discovering patterns of alcohol use in urban and suburban settings to better understand where and how people drink.
Could Anonymous Get Trump Elected?
March 21, 2016
Much of the analysis that I've seen regarding the U.S. presidential election season concludes that it is progressing like the Goldwater vs. Johnson election in the 1960s, when the Republican Party torpedoed its own candidate, ensuring a Democratic Party win. This is happening despite statistics that suggest Hillary Clinton is an extremely weak candidate.
Apple Loses Video Over IP Patent Scuffle in Germany
March 18, 2016
A German court on Wednesday determined that Apple had infringed a patent owned by the Kudelski Group's OpenTV division. Apple products sold in Germany can't use streaming technology that infringes OpenTV's patents, the court reportedly ruled. The suit was brought in 2014 in Düsseldorf District Court over three patents held by OpenTV and its sister company, Nagra.
Google Reports Web Traffic Encryption Progress
March 18, 2016
Google this week launched a section of its transparency report to track the progress of efforts to encrypt the Web, by both the company and third-party sites estimated to account for about 25 percent of Web traffic. The report will be updated weekly with information about progress the company has made toward implementing HTTPS by default across its services.
Instagram's New Algorithm Promises Most Favorable Sorting
March 17, 2016
Instagram on Tuesday announced plans to dump chronological posts in favor of algorithmic recommendations. Users miss about 70 percent of the content that flows through their feeds, which the company attributed to its growth and its system for ordering content. The new algorithm, which will begin rolling out in the coming months, will weigh the content by relevancy to the user.
Celebgate Hacker Strikes Plea Deal
March 17, 2016
Prosecutors for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of California on Tuesday announced they had reached a plea agreement with Ryan Collins, a Pennsylvania resident, over charges that he hacked Apple and Google email accounts of more than 100 people back in 2014. The allegations stemmed from the official investigation into the hacking case dubbed "Celebgate."
Xbox Signals It's Ready to Rumble
March 16, 2016
Microsoft this week announced that it would support cross-network play between its latest gaming console and other platforms. Cross-network support would allow Xbox One players to engage in multiplayer gaming with friends and randoms on platforms such as Steam and the PlayStation Network. It will be up to developers to support cross-platform games, however.
Digital Assistants Fail Abysmally in Crisis Situations
March 16, 2016
Personal digital assistants are of little benefit for people experiencing a serious personal crisis, such as sexual assault or thoughts of suicide, according to a study published Monday. The research looked at four major personal assistants. For the most part, they were unable to recommend solutions when users expressed severe mental anguish, or reported domestic violence, sexual assault or forms of imminent danger.
Microsoft Quashes Bitcoin Scare
March 14, 2016
Micrososft on Monday withdrew a notice posted earlier in the day to its Windows website, which declared that bitcoin currency no longer would be accepted in its users' accounts. "We continue to support Bitcoin for adding money to your Microsoft Account which can be used for purchasing content in the Windows and Xbox stores," the company said. "We apologize for inaccurate information."
USA Today to Experiment With Virtual Reality News Show
March 14, 2016
The USA Today Network last week announced VRtually There, a virtual reality news program that will evolve alongside the nascent VR sector. Set to launch this spring, VRtually There will air an assortment of regularly scheduled programming, according to the Gannett-owned company. It will lean on the network's newsrooms to deliver original reporting for the VR platform.
Philips Gets Biological With Home Lighting
March 14, 2016
Philips Lighting on Monday unveiled its Philips Hue white ambiance connected light bulbs. Designed to feature more natural light, the bulbs can gradually brighten in the morning to help users wake up naturally, while at night they can dim to help ease users to sleep. They also deliver a color temperature range that can be adjusted via a connected dimmer switch or through an app.
Is Donald Trump Batman?
March 14, 2016
There's an old rather funny movie called The Mouse That Roared. Basically, it is about a little no-name country that decides to go to war with the U.S. and lose, so that the U.S. will pay it reparations. Only it somehow wins, to everyone's surprise. It isn't clear whether Donald Trump declared war on Silicon Valley or the other way around.
Oculus Opens Social Doors for Gear VR
March 12, 2016
Oculus VR on Wednesday launched Oculus Social for Samsung's Gear VR viewer. Gear VR users can create profiles on Oculus Social and search out friends via real names or handles. The company, which has yet to ship its own virtual reality headset, also released two social games to encourage more friending on Oculus Social: Herobound: Gladiators and Social Trivia.
Opera Desktop Browser Comes With Ad Blocking Baked In
March 11, 2016
Opera on Thursday announced that new version of its desktop browser will have ad blocking built in. Users can block ads in other browsers, but only through add-on programs called "extensions." With ad blocking built in, Opera's Web engine can perform the task better than extensions. "People care about speed in a Web browser," said Krystian Kolondra, SVP for global engineering at Opera.
Home Alone? Now Nest Can Tell
March 10, 2016
Nest on Thursday announced two new features, Family Accounts and Home/Away Assist. Family Accounts would let up to 10 people access the Nest products in a connected home from their Android or iOS devices. Home/Away Assist was designed to track the patterns of household members, utilizing learning algorithms and activity sensors that are built into products such as the Nest Learning Thermostat.
Microsoft Sees the Light and Joins Eclipse
March 10, 2016
Microsoft on Tuesday announced it was joining the Eclipse Foundation as a solutions member. Membership will enable the company to collaborate more closely with the Eclipse community, which has more than 240 members. It also provides an outlet for delivering tools and services for all development teams. Microsoft will be able to improve its cloud services, SDKs and tools.
Facebook Exec's Brazilian Misadventure Signals Bigger Problem
March 10, 2016
The jailing last week of Facebook Regional Vice President Diego Dzoda in Brazil may have been the tip of an iceberg. Frustrated police made the arrest after Facebook failed to produce WhatsApp messages connected to a drug trafficking case. The incident is one of a growing heap of examples that highlight the difficulties law enforcement agencies face when trying to collect digital evidence.
Mainstream Industries Form IoT Vanguard
March 9, 2016
Although the consumer implications of the IoT have generated plenty of public attention, the real growth in the embryonic market is coming from less visible industrial environments and business applications. The early IoT advancements may come as a surprise to some, but in these industries, organizations moving quickly to deploy more connected products and services makes sense.
Reviled People-Rating App Slithers Into Action
March 8, 2016
With its reputation preceding it, Peeple on Monday launched on the iTunes App Store. The goal of the app is to help people better understand each other, according to the company. It was designed for people who need to display their reputation to others, including freelancers, business owners, employees, teachers and coaches. Users can leverage social media platforms to share their recommendations.
Google's Loons to Glide Over India
March 8, 2016
Google has been in talks with telecom service providers in India to bring its Project Loon to the subcontinent, Rajan Anandan, Google's managing director for Southeast Asia and India, said in an interview published Monday. The project would deliver Internet access via balloons floating thousands of feet in the air. It is Google's latest effort to bring Internet access to remote parts of Asia.
One of Amazon Echo's Babies Might Outshine the Parent
March 7, 2016
Amazon launched two new versions of Echo last week: the Echo Dot and the Amazon Tap. I've actually had the chance to look at both, and they flesh out the line nicely -- but I think the Dot actually could outshine the original Echo. I'll share some of my reactions to both devices and speculate about what could come next as Amazon expands this product line.
Apple Geniuses Flock to Twitter
March 4, 2016
Apple on Thursday launched a Twitter channel to field support questions from users of its products, as well as to offer them tricks and tips. By Friday, the @AppleSupport account had 134,000 followers and had sent more than 3,000 tweets. Some of the tweets came from customers whose tech issues had been resolved. "I'm 99% sure my #iphone6s was just fixed from the cloud," Kate Cleveland wrote.
No Man's Sky Cleared for June 21 Launch
March 4, 2016
Hello Games on Thursday began taking preorders for No Man's Sky, its procedurally generated journey to the center of the universe. No Man's Sky will become available for PlayStation 4 and PC on June 21 in North America, and on June 22 in Europe, priced at $60 per unit. In addition to digital versions, physical releases will be available for consoles.
Amazon's Alexa Goes to Work in 2 New Devices
March 3, 2016
Amazon on Thursday announced two products, Echo Dot and Amazon Tap, that extend the range of the Alexa-enabled home automation products anchored by the company's Echo device, which uses voice recognition to manage routine tasks. The Echo Dot is a small, hands-free device that uses the same far-field voice-recognition tech as Amazon Echo. It lets users control their stereos with voice commands.
German Authorities to Examine Facebook's Data Practices
March 3, 2016
The German Cartel Office on Wednesday announced the launch of an investigation into Facebook over allegations that it abused its market position by infringing data protection rules, specifically in connection with the terms of service on the use of user data. The office, or Bundeskartellamt, is looking into whether Facebook's terms of service violate data protection provisions.
Facebook Exec Sprung From Brazilian Jail
March 2, 2016
A Brazilian judge on Wednesday ordered the release of Facebook Regional Vice President Diego Dzodan, one day after Brazilian police placed him under arrest for WhatsApp's failure to produce messages the government believed relevant to a drug ring investigation. Judge Ruy Pinheiro concluded the exec's detainment amounted to coercion, according to press reports.
Report: 3.5 Million HTTPS Servers Vulnerable to DROWN
March 2, 2016
A report released Tuesday on the DROWN vulnerability raises concerns about possible attacks that could expose encrypted communications. DROWN is a serious vulnerability that affects HTTPS and other services using SSL version 2, according to the team of security researchers who compiled the report. The protocols affected are some of the essential cryptographic protocols for Internet security.
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What best reflects your opinion on online privacy?
We need new laws to curb government spying.
It's dead -- Google, Facebook and others killed it.
Personalized advertising is the worst -- it's creepy.
It's achievable through encryption and other tech.
It's an overblown issue -- I have nothing to hide.