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McDonald's Puts Mobile Ordering to the Test
March 16, 2017
McDonald's has begun testing new mobile ordering and payment functionality at 29 of its restaurants in California. It will expand the pilot to another 51 restaurants in Washington on March 20. The company will run multiple pilots to gather customer feedback, work out any issues that arise, and streamline integration with its IT systems before rolling out its updated mobile app more broadly.
Pro-Turkey Hackers Hit Prominent Twitter Accounts
March 16, 2017
Hundreds, if not thousands, of Twitter users, many of them high-profile, were hacked Tuesday by someone who appeared to support Turkey in its diplomatic row with the Netherlands. Their accounts displayed a Swastika -- reversed to face to the right -- as well as the Turkish flag and hashtags to the Nazialmanya and Nazihollanda accounts, which displayed comments on the attack.
Facebook Gets Tough on Spy Apps
March 15, 2017
Facebook has updated its Facebook and Instagram policies to prohibit developers from using data obtained from those platforms in surveillance tools, according to Rob Sherman, deputy chief privacy officer. Facebook already has taken enforcement actions against devs who created and marketed surveillance tools in violation of the company's previous policy, he noted.
WhatsApp Field-Trials Business Chat
March 14, 2017
WhatsApp reportedly has been conducting tests of a business chat system with a number of companies that are part of the Y Combinator startup incubator. The API gives companies a direct line of communication with WhatsApp users. WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum last year said the company would seek to monetize the free chat service by providing businesses with direct access to consumers.
Despite Intense Scrutiny, Uber Lays Another Egg
March 10, 2017
Already under the microscope for claims of sexual harassment and questionable labor practices, Uber this week said it would ban the use of a controversial technology to block regulatory authorities from monitoring its operations. The company's "greyballing" technology is designed to hide the standard city app view in specific cases -- for example, from former riders blocked for being abusive.
Snap Sells Itself as Camera Company as IPO Nears
February 27, 2017
As it approaches its IPO, Snap, maker of the popular Snapchat messaging app, is positioning itself as a camera company. "We feel like we're really at the beginning of what cameras can do," said Snap CEO Evan Spiegel. "Before, cameras were the best way to perfectly save or record something that you saw. They sort of helped augment memory -- but now, you know, cameras augment the way that we talk."
Rich Content Makes WhatsApp Look a Lot More Like Snapchat
February 22, 2017
Facebook has rolled out a WhatsApp update that could threaten Snapchat's share of the mobile app messaging market. The update allows WhatsApp users to share photos and videos through the app's status area. Moreover, like WhatsApp text messages, content shared through status updates is protected by end-to-end encryption -- a key distinction between WhatsApp and its competitors.
AWS Unveils Chime Conferencing Service
February 16, 2017
AWS on Tuesday introduced Amazon Chime, a cloud-based unified communications offering that lets users engage in high-quality audio and HD video meetings across Windows and Mac desktops, and iOS and Android mobile devices. Companies just have to download the app; they don't need to make upfront investments in hardware or software. Users can switch seamlessly between desktop and mobile apps.
Apple's Cook Blasts 'Mind Killing' Fake News
February 15, 2017
Apple CEO Tim Cook has called for a campaign against fake news. Its purveyors -- largely interested only in getting the most clicks -- are defeating the people who are trying to tell the most truth, he said. Fake news is "killing people's minds in a way," Cook remarked. The worldwide epidemic of fake news requires a crackdown by both government and tech, he suggested.
Samsung's Chromebook Pro Earns Respect
February 14, 2017
Some early reviewers of the Samsung Chromebook Pro characterized it as a "MacBook killer," but others were more restrained in their enthusiasm. Jointly developed with Google and first demoed at CES 2017, the Chromebook Pro is slated for release next month. Samsung's Chromebooks basically are lightweight productivity tools that rely heavily on access to cloud-based resources.
Dozens of iOS Apps Vulnerable to WiFi Snooping
February 9, 2017
Dozens of applications for Apple's mobile devices are vulnerable to WiFi snoopers, according to Will Strafach, CEO of the Sudo Security Group. He identified 76 popular iOS apps available at Apple's App Store that were vulnerable to wireless eavesdroppers, even though the connections were supposed to be protected by encryption. There have been 18 million downloads of the vulnerable apps, he said.
Personalization, Simplicity Key to Smart Home Device Adoption
January 26, 2017
Continued innovation and messaging are crucial for smart safety and security device manufacturers that want to capitalize on new opportunities in the emerging Internet of Things. Early adopters of smart devices are often drawn to the innovative design and technological gadgetry. However, mass market adoption depends on clear and compelling value propositions that appeal to the masses.
Apple to Jack Up App Prices in UK
January 18, 2017
Apple on Tuesday alerted its development community that it will be raising prices on apps sold through its App Store in the United Kingdom. Several factors influence App Store price tiers internationally, including currency exchange rates, business practices, taxes, and the cost of doing business, Apple said, noting that the factors vary by region and over time. App Store price increases also are ahead for India and Turkey.
Instagram Stories to Feature Video Ads
January 11, 2017
Instagram on Wednesday announced that businesses will be able to place immersive, full-screen video ads in its Stories feature, which has attracted 150 million daily users since its launch five months ago. Further, Instagram Business Tools will include insights on stories, which will allow business users to view the reach, impressions, replies and exits for each individual story.
iPhone at 10: The Best Is Yet to Come?
January 10, 2017
It seems like yesterday -- not 10 years ago -- that Steve Jobs took the stage at MacWorld to debut Apple's latest new gadget: the iPhone. The iPhone was three devices in one, he declared. It was a widescreen iPod with touch controls, a revolutionary mobile phone, and a breakthrough Internet communications device. The iPhone went on to become a critical contributor to the company's success.
Apple's Great App Store Sales May Not Signify Much
January 6, 2017
Apple's App Store racked up an all-time high of $240 million in sales on the first day of this year. On the whole, 2016 was a very good year for Apple devs, who earned more than $20 billion for their apps. "Apple has always had the most profitable ecosystem and app market in terms of revenue per user and price per app," said Holger Mueller, a principal analyst at Constellation Research.
Evernote Toes the Privacy Line
December 31, 2016
Caught off guard by a huge backlash, Evernote recently abandoned its plan to let staffers read customer notes under certain circumstances. The plan would have allowed staffers to review private customer notes as a means of assessing the accuracy of its new machine learning technology. The company made a mistake in judgment, Evernote CEO Chris O'Neil acknowledged.
Amazon's Register-Free Grocery Shopping Could Disrupt Retail
December 6, 2016
Amazon on Monday unveiled a prototype convenience store called "Amazon Go," which uses mobile e-commerce, machine learning and computer vision to allow customers to make purchases without a cashier. The 1,800 square foot concept store in Seattle uses the company's Just Walk Out technology, which incorporates many of the same concepts found in self-driving cars, Amazon said.
Apple Drone Fleet to Gather Maps Data
December 2, 2016
Apple reportedly has assembled a group of robotics and data-collection experts who will use drones to obtain data for updates to its Maps app. Apple, Google and others in the cartography space currently collect a lot of their data using motor vehicles equipped with high-tech gear. "That's a very expensive and time-consuming process," said Sam Abuelsamid, an analyst at Navigant Research.
Gooligan Ransacks More Than 1M Android Accounts
December 2, 2016
More than 1 million Google accounts have been breached by Android malware dubbed "Gooligan," Check Point reported Wednesday. The malware roots infected devices and steals authentication tokens that can be used to access data from various Google apps including Gmail, Google Docs, G Suite and Google Drive. It potentially affects devices running Android 4 and 5.
Netflix Offers Offline Option at Long Last
December 2, 2016
Giving in to years of customer pressure, Netflix has announced that a limited number of television shows and movies will be available for viewing offline without a live connection to the Internet. Customers have been asking for a way to view content on airplanes or other locations where Internet service might be unavailable or expensive, noted Eddy Wu, director of product innovation at Netflix.
Zenefits Pays the Piper
December 1, 2016
The California Department of Insurance this week announced fines totaling $7 million against startup Zenefits, a provider of cloud-based human resources services. The company's former leadership "created an anything goes culture at the Internet startup, resulting in numerous violations of licensing requirements to protect consumers," said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones.
Hype Video Broadcast App Has Niche Potential
November 14, 2016
The folks who brought Vine into the world last month introduced a new video broadcasting app called "Hype." Available for free from Intermedia Labs in the iTunes App Store, Hype not only allows users to broadcast live to the Internet, but also lets followers interact with their broadcasts in real time. At first blush, it might seem that Hype's offering closely mirrors Periscope and Facebook Live.
Google Insists Android Plays on Level Field in Europe
November 11, 2016
Google on Thursday fired back at the European Commission's charges that it violated antitrust law by imposing coercive rules on mobile operators and developers who use or write applications for its Android operating system. The EC this spring charged that Google's requirements to use its search engine and its Chrome browser on mobile devices running Android were coercive tactics.
IBM's Watson Smartens Up iOS Enterprise Apps
October 27, 2016
IBM has announced that it will incorporate its IBM Watson cognitive capabilities into the MobileFirst for iOS ecosystem to help boost the productivity of the global workforce. It was a little more than two years ago that the company entered a groundbreaking partnership with Apple to enhance the mobile enterprise space. The move is part of an overall rollout of enhancements to IBM's Watson tech.
Snap Lines Up Bankers for Spring IPO
October 13, 2016
Snap this week hired Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group to manage its IPO, according to multiple reports. JPMorgan Chase, Deutsche Bank, Allen & Co., Barclays and Credit Suisse Group reportedly also will play a role. The IPO, expected as early as this spring, could result in a valuation of $25 billion or more. That would make Snap one of the highest-profile IPOs in years.
Facebook Cuts Ribbon on New Online Marketplace
October 4, 2016
Facebook on Monday announced Marketplace, a new mobile app that facilitates buying and selling between peers. Marketplace allows members of a community to discover, buy and sell items, noted Facebook Product Management Director Mary Ku. The service is scheduled for rollout this week in the United States, UK, Australia and New Zealand. Users can access Marketplace by tapping a shopping icon at the bottom of the Facebook mobile app.
Germany Dope Slaps Facebook Over WhatsApp Data
September 28, 2016
Germany's data protection regulator on Tuesday ordered Facebook to stop collecting and storing data from WhatsApp users in the country. Facebook also must delete any data it already may have harvested from German WhatsApp users, according to Johannes Caspar, Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information, who issued the order. Facebook purchased WhatsApp two years ago.
Snap Unveils Eye-Popping Camera Spectacles
September 27, 2016
Snap, the company formerly known as "Snapchat," on Saturday announced sunglasses that take videos through a built-in camera in the frame. Snap's Spectacles let users take 10-second videos by tapping a button on the top left-hand corner of the eyeframe. Users can tap on the record button to record two more 10-second segments, for videos of up to 30 seconds long in all.
Lenovo Courts Devs WIth Moto Z Source Code Release
September 26, 2016
Lenovo, which owns Motorola, last week released the kernel source code for the Moto Z Droid smartphone. The move follows this summer's posting of the Moto Z Droid Moto Mods Development Kit and Moto Mods on Github. This is the first kernel source code made available for the Moto Z device family. Its release seems to be another step in Lenovo's attempt to get devs to build an ecosystem around it.
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Which form of smartphone security do you rely on most?
Face ID or Fingerprint
Strong Password
App Locks
Storage Encryption
VPN with Public WiFi
I don't use any smartphone security tech.