DDOS attack on Wikipedia.
Wikipedia was forced offline in several countries Friday after a cyber attack hit the global encyclopedia.Users across Europe and parts of the Middle East experienced outages shortly before 7pm, BST, according to downdetector.com.Wikimedia’s German Twitter account posted: “The Wikimedia server…is currently being paralysed by a massive and very broad DDOS attack.”
The Vivaldi browser lands on Android.
Vivaldi has long billed itself as a browser for advanced users who want to be able to customize their browser to their heart’s content. With that mission, it managed to get a foothold in the desktop market, but until now, the browser company co-founded by Opera’s former CEO Jon von Tetzchner, didn’t have a presence on mobile. That’s changing today with the launch of Vivaldi for Android.
Samsung is bringing PC game streaming to the Note 10.
One of the more interesting news tidbits from yesterday’s Unpacked event got a bit drowned out in all of the noise. Understandably so — Samsung jammed a lot into an event that ran just over an hour, virtually sprinting through a handful of gaming announcements.
Apple Music for Artists comes out of beta with an iOS app and Shazam data.
Apple Music launched its data dashboard for musicians more than a year ago. Today, the company is taking that product — Apple Music for Artists — out of beta, and adding some new features in the process.
Facebook could face billions in potential damages as court rules facial recognition lawsuit can proceed.
Facebook is facing exposure to billions of dollars in potential damages as a federal appeals court on Thursday rejected Facebook’s arguments to halt a class action lawsuit claiming it illegally collected and stored the biometric data of millions of users.
The class action lawsuit has been working its way through the courts since 2015, when Illinois Facebook users sued the company for alleged violations of the state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act by automatically collecting and identifying people in photographs posted to the service.
Uber lost more than $5B last quarter.
Uber has disclosed earnings for the second time since becoming a public company, reporting revenues of $3.16 billion on losses of $5.2 billion for the second quarter of 2019.
$5.2 billion in net losses represents the company’s largest-ever quarterly loss. Revenue, for its part, is up only 14% year-over-year, igniting concerns over slower-than-ever growth. The company says a majority of 2Q losses are a result of stock-based compensation expenses for employees following its May IPO. Stock compensation aside, Uber still lost $1.3 billion, up 30% from Q1.
Apple expands its bug bounty, increases maximum payout to $1M.
Apple is finally giving security researchers something they’ve wanted for years: a macOS bug bounty. The technology giant said Thursday it will roll out the bug bounty program to include Macs and MacBooks, as well as Apple TV and Apple Watch, almost exactly three years after it debuted its bug bounty program for iOS.
This charming little camera prints instantly to receipt paper.
The Alulu camera, prints photos in black and white on receipt paper.
The idea is so simple that you’ve already gotten it no explanation necessary.
Facebook sues two app developers for click injection ad fraud.
The developers made apps available on the Google Play store to infect their users’ phones with malware,” said Jessica Romero, director of platform enforcement and litigation. “The malware created fake user clicks on Facebook ads that appeared on the users’ phones, giving the impression that the users had clicked on the ads.
Quantum computing is here.
After what felt like decades of being “almost there,” we now have working quantum computers that are able to run basic algorithms, even if only for a very short time. As those times increase, we’ll slowly but surely get to the point where we can realize the full potential of quantum computing.
Apple rolls out Apple Card Preview to select users.
Apple Card is getting its first group of public test users today. A limited amount of customers that signed up to be notified about the release of Apple Card are getting the ability to apply for the card in their Wallet app today — as well as the option to order their physical Apple Card.
Disney will bundle Hulu, ESPN+ and Disney+ for a monthly price of $12.99
Disney’s upcoming streaming service Disney+ will be available as a $12.99 monthly bundle with ESPN+ and ad-supported Hulu.That means the full Disney bundle (it owns ESPN and — thanks to the Fox acquisition — has a controlling stake in Hulu) will cost the same amount as Netflix’s standard U.S. plan. That’s also about $5 less than you’d pay every month if you signed up for each of the three separate subscriptions.
UK Facebook users now have a tool to report scam ads.
Facebook has launched a tool for UK users to report ads they suspect of being scams.
The feature can be accessed by clicking the three dots in the top right corner of each ad on Facebook, then selecting ‘Report ad’, then ‘Misleading or scam ad’ and finally: ‘Send a detailed scam report’. Once a scam ad report has been filed, the feature will alert a dedicated internal ops team at Facebook that is tasked with handling reports — so will be reviewing reports and removing violating ads.
Snap turns to search giant Baidu to court Chinese advertisers.
Two years have passed since Snap Inc first struck a deal with Baidu that authorized China’s largest search engine to be a reseller of Snapchat ads for companies in Greater China as well as Japan and South Korea, where Baidu runs a portfolio of mobile apps.
This week, the pair announced they have renewed the sales partnership without revealing how revenues are divided between the two and when the extended agreement expires.
Amazon adds Hindi to the Alexa Skills Kit.
Users of Amazon’s voice assistant will soon be able to talk to Alexa in Hindi. Amazon announced today that it has added a Hindi voice model to its Alexa Skills Kit for developers. Alexa developers can also update their existing published skills in India for Hindi.
Amazon first revealed that it would add fluent Hindi to Alexa last month during its re: MARS machine learning and artificial intelligence conference. Before, Alexa was only able to understand a few Hinglish (a portmanteau of Hindi and English) commands. Rohit Prasad, vice president and head scientist for Alexa, told Indian news agency IANS that adding Hindi to Alexa posed a “contextual, cultural as well as content-related challenge” because of the wide variety of dialects, accents and slang used in India.
Along with English, Hindi is one of India’s official languages (Google Voice Assistant also offers Hindi support). According to Citi Research, Amazon holds about a 30 percent market share, about the same as its main competitor, Walmart-backed Flipkart.
Pokémon GO battles will soon be less tappy, more Fruit Ninja-y.
At the end of last year, Pokémon GO finally got a player-versus-player battling system. While it was a very much welcomed addition, it has always seemed a bit… monotonous. It just requires so… much… tapping.
You repeatedly tap the screen to make your Pokémon attack, simultaneously building up its “Charge” move with each tap. Once it’s time to unleash the charge, you tap a button on screen to fire off the move, then tap as fast as you can to make that move more powerful. Tap! Tap! Tap! Taptaptaptaptaptap. Repeat until the battle is over. It’s a great thumb workout, but it arguably wasn’t very much fun.
In a tweet this afternoon, Niantic announced that they’re changing things up. The core mechanics of the battle system will remain the same, but charge attacks will now be less about tapping quickly, and more about accurate swiping. Once you’ve fired off your charge move, you’ll swipe your finger across a trail of icons falling across your screen. The more you collect before time runs out, the more powerful your attack will be.
Meredith Whittaker, AI researcher and an organizer of last year’s Google walkout, is leaving the company.
Meredith Whittaker, founder of Google’s Open Research Group and one of the leaders of last year’s employee walkouts, is leaving the company. Google confirmed her departure, which was first disclosed on Twitter by a Google engineer and reported by Bloomberg, but had no additional comment.
Whittaker and another one of the walkout’s organizers, Claire Stapleton, said they had faced retaliation from Google after the protest. Other employees also claimed that they had experienced fallout as a result of their participation, which Google denied.
Thousands of employees around the world took part in the massive walkout last November to protest how Google handles sexual harassment and misconduct allegations. They asked the company to implement several measures against harassment and discrimination, including an end to forced arbitration, a publicly disclosed sexual harassment transparency report and a safe and anonymous process to report sexual misconduct.
Huawei turns to Africa to offset US blacklist.
As the US leads a drive for the West to shun Huawei over security fears, the Chinese tech giant has sought to strengthen its position in Africa, where it is already well-established.
Huawei has taken a leading role in developing next-generation 5G mobile phone networks around the world.
But it has been in turmoil since Washington charged its equipment could serve as a Trojan horse for Chinese intelligence services.
The world’s second smartphone marker fiercely denies the allegations, but the US has urged countries to avoid it and several companies have distanced themselves.
They include Google, whose Android operating system runs most smartphones.
Huawei, now a major factor in US-Chinese tensions, has looked to strengthen its ties in Africa, last week signing an agreement to reinforce its cooperation with the African Union.
YouTube is giving creators more ways to make money.
YouTube is rolling out more ways for its creators to engage fans and generate revenue, the company announced today at the VidCon event in Anaheim, Calif. Last year, YouTube used the event to launch new products like channel memberships, merchandise shelves, premieres and more. This time around, it’s expanding several of those existing options with new features, while also introducing new products like Super Stickers and Learning Playlists — the latter which aims to promote the educational use of YouTube.
Twitter will start testing its ‘hide replies’ feature next week, in Canada.
Twitter users are getting more control over which comments are visible in the conversations they start. The company has been testing and talking about this feature since earlier this year, but starting next week, Twitter will actually roll it out to users in Canada. When you’re looking at replies to your tweets, you’ll be able to select any of them and hit the “hide reply” option. However, as the name implies, these posts won’t be fully removed from Twitter, just hidden from the default view — everyone will still be able to tap on a gray icon to view hidden replies.
There’s a tennis game hidden in Google right now; here’s how to find it.
Google loves a good Easter egg. From cutesie Douglas Adams references to the search results for “askew” being just a liiiiittle bit crooked, there’s all sorts of stuff hiding in the search engine if you know the right thing to type or the right buttons to push. The latest addition a fun little tennis game hidden within certain search results pages — is in honor of the Wimbledon tennis tournament. With Wimbledon wrapping up this weekend, though, this egg might not be around for long.
Here is how to find it.
Do a Google search for “wimbledon scores.”
See that purple box that pops up? See the nav bar that says “Men’s Singles,” “Women’s Singles,” etc.? Grab that and drag it all the way to the left to scroll to the end.
At the very end is a little tennis ball icon. Tap that, and the game should fire right up.
It’ll work on both mobile or desktop.
New Google Area 120 project Shoelace aims to connect people around shared interests.
A new project from Google’s in-house incubator, Area 120, aims to help people find things to do and others who share your same interests. Through a new app called Shoelace — a name designed to make you think of tying things together — users can browse through a set of hand-picked activities, or add their own to a map. For example, someone who wanted to connect with fellow dog owners could start an activity for a doggie playdate at the park, then start a group chat to coordinate the details and make new friends. The end result feels a bit like a mashup of Facebook Events with a WhatsApp group chat, perhaps. But it’s wrapped in a clean, modern design that appeals more to the millennial or Gen Z user.
Like Meetup and others in the space, Shoelace’s focus is not on building yet another social networking app, but rather on leveraging a social app to inspire real-world connections.
Making wearables matter: Blood pressure monitoring could be the tipping point.
Today’s wearables are still designed for the healthy and wealthy, not those who could benefit the most. Medical wearables offer the potential to collect health data and improve health via a combination of real-time AI and expert human intervention. Apple’s announcement of FDA clearance of its Watch for screening for irregular heart rhythms was meant to be groundbreaking. But its medical value right now remains limited and controversial. What will make the promise into reality?
I believe the application that will make wearables medically matter is automated blood pressure monitoring. Blood pressure may not be sexy, but it’s a universally understood measurement and a clinically central one. Your doctor measures your blood pressure every single time you visit. Even those who don’t pay close attention to their health know that high blood pressure increases risk of heart attack and stroke, and lower blood pressure saves lives.
Three great opportunities for startups in the entertainment space.
With over-the-top (OTT) changing the way we consume entertainment across devices, most of the media attention is going to the big players trying to elbow their way into the streaming space with big new subscription services and original programming. Less discussed is the suite of technologies that pave the way for those services to connect to their audience and monetize the content.
Here are three areas where small, nimble startups could make a real contribution to the industry.
- Enabling the evolving advertising model.
- Reducing platform friction.
- Personalizing content.
Google is investigating the source of voice data leak, plans to update its privacy policies.
Google has responded to a report this week from Belgian public broadcaster VRT NWS, which revealed that contractors were given access to Google Assistant voice recordings, including those which contained sensitive information — like addresses, conversations between parents and children, business calls and others containing all sorts of private information. As a result of the report, Google says it’s now preparing to investigate and take action against the contractor who leaked this information to the news outlet.
Amazon invests $700 million to retrain a third of its US workforce by 2025.
Amazon announced this morning a plan to invest more than $700 million to retrain workers across the U.S. to allow them to move into skilled technical and non-technical roles across its corporate offices, tech hubs, fulfillment centers, retail stores and transportation network. The company’s goal is to “upskill” 100,000 of its U.S. employees for more in-demand jobs by 2025 — or, one in three of Amazon’s U.S. workers
Cars as a Service.
Car shoppers now have several new options to avoid long-term debt and commitments. Automakers and startups alike are increasingly offering services that give buyers new opportunities and greater flexibility around owning and using vehicles.
Google Maps now shows users discounts from nearby restaurants in India.
Google said that it has started to display discounts from restaurants in its Maps app in India as the Mountain View giant works to expand its ever growing reach and relevance in one of its key overseas markets.
Apple opens app design and development accelerator in China.
Apple has opened a design and development accelerator in Shanghai its first for China to help local developers create better apps as the iPhone maker looks to scale its services business in one of its key overseas markets.
At the accelerator, Apple has begun to hold regular lectures, seminars and networking sessions for developers, the company said this week. It is similar to an accelerator it opened in Bangalore about two years ago.
New Pinterest features encourage brands and creators to upload more videos.
With each passing day, Pinterest and Instagram are looking more and more alike. Shortly after going public, Pinterest has incorporated new features to make it easier for creators and brands to upload videos directly to the visual search engine. The company says they’ve observed a 31% increase in searches for “inspirational videos” since 2018 and that “Pinners are 54% more likely to say they’re inspired to action by videos on Pinterest compared to videos on other media platforms.”
Apple stops selling the 12-inch MacBook, a computer you either loved or were confused by.
Apple officially stopped selling the 12-inch MacBook today, a computer that hasn’t had an update since June 2017 and that is also maybe one of the most contentious Macs in Apple’s lineup.
The 12-inch MacBook at one time seemed like Apple’s path forward (plenty of Apple fans and analysts saw it as a sign of things to come when it launched in 2015), but ultimately ended up representing some of Apple’s biggest challenges with its Macs in general.
Apple disables Walkie Talkie app due to vulnerability that could allow iPhone eavesdropping.
Apple has disabled the Apple Watch Walkie Talkie app due to an unspecified vulnerability that could allow a person to listen to another customer’s iPhone without consent.
Apple has apologized for the bug and for the inconvenience of being unable to use the feature while a fix is made. The Walkie Talkie app on Apple Watch allows two users who have accepted an invite from each other to receive audio chats via a ‘push to talk’ interface reminiscent of the PTT buttons on older cell phones.
Snapchat announces new shows from Serena Williams, Arnold Schwarzenegger and others.
Snapchat just announced that it’s making shows with big names like Serena Williams, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Kevin Hart, as well as online stars like Emma Chamberlain, Loren Gray, Rickey Thompson, Baby Ariel and FaZe Banks.
Snapchat launched its original content efforts two years ago, and today it’s unveiling a new program called Creator Shows. As initially announced in the Hollywood Reporter, these will be first-person shows designed around individual creators.
For example, Schwarzenegger will be providing motivational advice in a show called “Rules of Success,” while Thompson will weigh in on fashion and lifestyle trends on “Trend or End” and Gray offers beauty advice on “Glow Up.”
The shows will begin airing this month. They’re all exclusive to Snapchat, and many of them come from creators who have a substantial following on other platforms — Chamberlain, for example, was just described in The New York Times as “the funniest person on YouTube.”
New Instagram features flag potentially offensive comments, allow you to quietly ‘restrict’ users.
Instagram announced two new features that it said are designed to combat online bullying. In both cases, the Facebook -owned service seems to be trying to find ways to limit bad behavior without outright blocking posts or banning users.
“We can do more to prevent bullying from happening on Instagram, and we can do more to empower the targets of bullying to stand up for themselves,” wrote Instagram head Adam Mosseri in the announcement. “Today we’re announcing one new feature in both areas. These tools are grounded in a deep understanding of how people bully each other and how they respond to bullying on Instagram, but they’re only two steps on a longer path.”
The first feature is supposed to use artificial intelligence to flag comments that “may be considered offensive.” The other addition, which Mosseri said the service will start testing soon, is the ability to “restrict” users looking at your account.
AT&T’s new streaming service HBO Max arrives in 2020, will be the exclusive home of ‘Friends’.
AT&T’s acquisition of HBO goes beyond just offering premium TV programming — the company revealed on Tuesday that it’s going to call its new WarnerMedia streaming service HBO Max, and that this will launch next spring, with more than 10,000 hours of content available to subscribers.
It’ll have Friends, dear readers, which is all that matters in the modern streaming wars, where, weirdly, services compete for dominion over a couple of decade-plus-old TV shows, including The Office and this highly unrelatable 90s NBC sitcom.
Spotify Lite for Android gets an official launch in 36 countries.
Spotify’s Lite app is now official. The app has been in beta since last year, and now Spotify is officially releasing it in 36 countries worldwide. The app is designed to work on patchy or weak internet connections and, at just 10MB, it is small enough to cater to older phones and lower-end devices that have limited storage. Spotify Lite is limited to Android devices running version 4.3 or newer, and it is open to both paying and non-paying users. For those worried about maxing out their data plan, the app comes with an optional limit that can tell you when you are close to hitting that buffer.
It was a really bad month for the internet.
If these past few weeks felt like the sky was falling, you weren’t alone.
In the past month there were several major internet outages affecting millions of users across the world. Sites buckled, services broke, images wouldn’t load, direct messages ground to a halt and calendars and email were unavailable for hours at a time.
It’s not believed any single event tied the outages together, more so just terrible luck for all involved.
Chinese firm sets up first mobile phone manufacturing plant in Namanve.
A Chinese electronics firm, ENGO Holdings Limited, has joined Uganda’s industrial sector to domestically manufacture and assemble mobile phones, iPads and laptop computers.
The firm is setting up its plant in Namanve, Uganda’s flagship industrial park. The construction works expected to last six months commenced this morning with a groundbreaking ceremony presided by State Minister for Investment Evelyn Anite and the Minister of Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) Frank Tumwebaze.
Original Content podcast: ‘Stranger Things 3’ has more monsters and more nostalgia.
On the latest episode of the Original Content podcast, we review the third season of the series — a.k.a. “Stranger Things 3” — giving us an opportunity to hash out our general feelings about the show.
Darrell, in particular, embraced the first season’s mix of ’80s horror and nostalgia, only to feel that season two was little more than a repeat. (There was an episode that branched out, but we’ve all kind of forgotten about the hour devoted to gang of telekinetic teens.) In many ways, “Stranger Things 3” continues that trend, with the residents of Hawkins forced once again to confront a malevolent being from another dimension.
To be fair, the villain known as the Mind Flayer isn’t just doing the same stuff this time. He has a whole new evil plan. But “Strange Things 3” feels freshest when it’s less focused on the sci-fi plot, and more when it’s dealing with the rapidly maturing cast, as many of the younger characters find themselves becoming angsty teenagers.
Mozilla readies launch of news subscription service.
Way back in February, Mozilla announced an upcoming collaboration with Scroll aimed at finding a way to help fund news outlets. The organization appears ready to finally launch to the service, sending users a survey, along with invites to an upcoming beta launch of what it calls “Firefox Ad-free Internet.”
The service is one of countless third-party platforms aimed at helping ailing publications find a way to better monetize in an an era of defunding, when journalistic voices are more important than ever. The Apple News offering is probably the most notable in the category, but Mozilla’s offering provides an interesting alternative to a standalone app.
Volkswagen’s ID R electric race car keeps breaking records, this time twice at Goodwood.
It took 20 years to break the Goodwood Festival of Speed hill climb record. And it happened twice in the same weekend.
The new record holder is Volkswagen’s ID R electric race car. The vehicle, driven by driver Romain Dumas, broke the record by completing the 1.86-kilometer track (1.15 miles) at Goodwood in the south of England in 41.18 seconds. Dumas then broke his own record the following day by completing the track in 39.90 seconds.
The previous record at the famous hillclimb was set in 1999 by Nick Heidfeld who was driving a 780-horsepower McLaren-Mercedes MP4/13 with a combustion engine. Heidfeld completed the run in 41.6 seconds.
UK’s ICO fines British Airways a record £183M over GDPR breach that leaked data from 500,000 users.
The UK’s Information Commissioner is starting off the week with a GDPR bang: this morning, it announced that it has fined British Airways and its parent International Airlines Group (IAG) £183.39 million ($230 million) in connection with a data breach that took place last year that affected a whopping 500,000 customers browsing and booking tickets online. In an investigation, the ICO said that it found “that a variety of information was compromised by poor security arrangements at [BA], including log in, payment card, and travel booking details as well name and address information.”
MoviePass temporarily suspends service to improve its mobile app.
MoviePass is temporarily suspending its service, starting on July 4, in order to finish working on improvements to its mobile app. The hiatus comes after a difficult year for the cash-burning company, and as Regal, the second-largest movie theater chain in the United States, is reportedly preparing to launch its own ticket subscription service.
MoviePass’ announcement said the hiatus will start at 5 A.M. Eastern Time on July 4 and that subscribers will be automatically credited for the number of affected days once service resumes. It did not say when service would return, but replies to customers from its Twitter account say the company “estimate[s] this process will take several weeks.”
Waymo is now allowed to transport passengers in its self-driving vehicles on California roads.
Waymo, Google’s former self-driving venture that is now a business under Alphabet, has been given permission by California regulators to transport passengers in its robotaxis. The approval is a milestone for the company as it begins to ramp up toward a commercial service.
The California Public Utilities Commission granted Waymo a permit on Tuesday to participate in the state’s Autonomous Vehicle Passenger Service pilot. Waymo confirmed the approval. A statement from a Waymo spokesperson provides some hints as to how and where the company intends to use this permit.
GPS on the Moon? NASA’s working on it.
If you’re driving your car from Portland to Merced, you probably rely on GPS to see where you are. But what if you’re driving your Moon rover from Oceanus Procellarum to the Sea of Tranquility? Actually, GPS should be fine if this NASA research pans out.
Knowing exactly where you are in space, relative to other bodies anyway, is definitely a non-trivial problem. Fortunately the stars are fixed and by triangulating with them and other known landmarks, a spacecraft can figure out its location quite precisely.
But that’s so much work! Here on Earth we gave that up years ago, and now rely (perhaps too much) on GPS to tell us where we are within a few meters.
By creating our own fixed stars satellites in geosynchronous orbits constantly emitting known signals, we made it possible for our devices to quickly sample those signals and immediately locate themselves.
That sure would be handy on the Moon, but a quarter of a million miles makes a lot of difference to a system that relies on ultra-precise timing and signal measurement. Yet there’s nothing theoretically barring GPS signals from being measured out there and in fact, NASA has already done it at nearly half that distance with the MMS mission a few years ago.
Boeing pledges $100M to families of 737 Max crash victims.
Boeing has said it will offer $100 million to the families and communities of those who died aboard the two 737 Max passenger jets that crashed earlier this year. This “initial outreach” will likely only be a small part of the company’s penance for the mistakes that led to the deaths of 346 people.
In a statement, the company said it expected the money to “address family and community needs,” and “support education, hardship and living expenses.”
“These lives lost will continue to weigh heavily on our hearts and on our minds for years to come. The families and loved ones of those on board have our deepest sympathies, and we hope this initial outreach can help bring them comfort,” said CEO and president Dennis Muilenburg in the statement.
Although the full reports on these crashes are still pending, Muilenburg earlier this year accepted the blame, acknowledging that “it is apparent that in both flights, the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, known as MCAS, activated in response to erroneous angle of attack information.”
Appeals court rules Amazon can be held liable for third-party products.
In a blow to Amazon, a U.S. appeals court ruled that the mega-retailer can be held accountable for faulty third-party sales. The ruling arrived this week via the 3rd U.S. City Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, running counter to a past lower court ruling that had come out in Amazon’s favor.
If upheld, the ruling could have a big impact on the way the company does business. Nearly half of the items sold through the site are handled by third-party sellers. That accounted for around $11 billion in Amazon’s revenue for the previous quarter.
The ruling is in line with Pennsylvania law — liability for products often varies from state to state. Resident Heather Oberdorf sued the company in federal court back in 2016 over a retractable dog leash that snapped, breaking her glasses and causing permanent loss of vision in her left eye.
We still don’t know how much of Libra Facebook owns.
The $10 million entry fee to join the Facebook-developed cryptocurrency’s Libra Association is merely a minimum. Members who’ll verify transactions can opt to invest more in exchange for more Libra Investment Tokens that will earn them dividends from the interest earned by the Libra Reserve after it pays for infrastructure and operations costs. If regulators allow it to launch after today requesting a halt of development, and the cryptocurrency grows popular with tons of people cashing in local currencies for Libra, the Reserve that holds those assets could grow huge and generate meaningful returns via interest — especially for members willing to sink a ton of money in early.
But therein lies potential disalignment of incentives.
Apple’s iOS 13 update will make FaceTime eye contact way easier.
Apple has added a feature called “FaceTime Attention Correction” to the latest iOS 13 Developer beta, and it looks like it could make a big difference when it comes to actually making FaceTime calls feel even more like talking to someone in person. The feature, spotted in the third beta of the new software update that went out this week, apparently does a terrific job of making it look like you’re looking directly into the camera even when you’re looking at the screen during a FaceTime call.
That’s actually a huge improvement, because when people FaceTime, most of the time they’re looking at the screen rather than the camera, since the whole point is to see the person or people you’re talking to, rather than the small black lens at the top of your device.
Earios the new podcast network for women creators.
It might seem like you’ve now got podcasts covering any and every conceivable topic, but comedy writer and actor Maria Blascucci argued that there’s still “this whole untapped market” — namely, podcasts created by women. Certainly, some of the most successful shows are hosted by women — but if you look at a list of popular podcasts, you’ll see a lot of men. Similarly, most of the major podcasting networks and companies (like Gimlet, Crooked Media and Earwolf) were founded by men.
So Blascucci teamed up with her friends Amanda Lund (also a writer and actor) and Priyanka Mattoo (a former agent at United Talent Agency and William Morris Endeavor) and created a new company called Earios. They raised $26,000 on Kickstarter last year, and launched their first shows this week.
Despite Trump’s promised reprieve, Commerce Department tells staff to continue treating Huawei as blacklisted.
President Donald Trump recently promised to ease the ban on American companies doing business with Huawei, but the Commerce Department is requiring its staff to treat Huawei as if the blacklist is still in place, reports Reuters.
Enforcement staff were sent an internal letter this week by John Sonderman, the Deputy Director of the Office of Export Enforcement, to continue treating Huawei as blacklisted. The letter, viewed by Reuters, said applications from companies that want to sell to Huawei should be considered on merit and flagged with language that notes Huawei is on the entity list. The applications should also still be viewed under a “presumption of denial” policy that applies to companies on the blacklist. This means license applications are scrutinized more closely and most of them are rejected.
Intel and Baidu partner on Nirvana Neural Network AI training processor.
At Baidu’s Create conference for AI developers in Beijing, the company and Intel announced a new partnership to work together on Intel’s new Nervana Neural Network Processor for training. As its name very clearly states, this forthcoming chip (NNP-T for short) is a processor built specifically for the task of training neural networks for the purposes of performing deep learning at scale. Baidu and Intel’s collaboration on the NNP-T involves working together on both the hardware and software side of this custom accelerator to ensure that its optimized for use with Baidu’s PaddlePaddle deep learning framework, which will complement existing work that Intel has already done to ensure that PaddlePaddle is set up to perform best on its existing Intel Xeon Scalable processors. The NNP-T optimization will specifically focus on applications of PaddlePaddle that focus on distributed training of neural networks, to complete other types of AI applications.
TikTok is being investigated in the U.K. for how it handles children’s data and safety.
TikTok is being investigated in the U.K. for how it handles the safety and personal data of underage users. According to the Guardian, information commissioner Elizabeth Denham told a parliamentary committee that the probe started in February, after the U.S. Federal Trade Commission levied a $5.7 million fine against TikTok for breaking children’s privacy law.
Denham told the Guardian that the commission is examining how TikTok collects private data and concerns about the open messaging system, which may allow adult users to contact children. “We are looking at the transparency tools for children. We’re looking at the messaging system, which is completely open, we’re looking at the kind of videos that are collected and shared by children online. We do have an active investigation into TikTok right now, so watch this space,” she said.
“We cooperate with organizations such as the ICO to provide relevant information about our product to support their work. Ensuring data protection principles are upheld as a top priority for TikTok.”
Uber Eats invades restaurants with Dine-In option.
Tired of cleaning up after take-out or getting hangry waiting at your table in restaurants? Well Uber Eats is barging into the dine-in business. A new option in some cities lets you order your food ahead of time, go to the restaurant, then sit down inside to eat, a tipster from competing dine-in app Allset tells us. We tested it, and Uber Eats Dine-In even waives the standard Uber delivery and service fees.
Adding Dine-In lets Uber Eats insert itself into more food transactions, expand to restaurants that care about presentation and don’t do delivery and avoid paying drivers while earning low-overhead revenue. Uber’s Dine-In option is now available in some cities, including Austin, Dallas, Phoenix and San Diego, where it could save diners time and fees while helping restaurants fill empty tables and waiters earn tips. But it also could coerce more restaurants to play ball with UberEats if their competitors do, eating into their margins.
Netflix’s ‘Stranger Things’ comes to Roblox ahead of its July 4 premiere.
Netflix is bringing its hit TV show Stranger Things to Roblox. On Monday, Roblox announced the launch of limited-time, Stranger Things-themed items that will be made available to its more than 90 million players, who can earn them by solving daily riddles and puzzles. Other free, limited-time items like a “Scoops Ahoy” hat and Demogorgon mask will also be offered as virtual items for players’ Roblox avatars.
The first of the two themed items are live now and will be free to download through July 12. Four more items can be unlocked by solving daily riddles and puzzles, with a new clue arriving each day ahead of the July 4 premiere of Stranger Things Season 3.
Roblox will also share clues across its social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, it says.
Podimo raises €6M to become Europe’s ‘Netflix for podcasts’.
Podimo, a Copenhagen-based startup building what it hopes will become Europe’s “Netflix for podcasts,” has raised €6 million in seed funding prior to launch. The round is co-led by Germany’s E.ventures and Denmark’s Heartcore, reflecting the young company’s two planned country launches later this year.
Founded by Morten Strunge, who has a track record in subscription media products via audio books service Mofibo (which he sold to Storytel), Podimo is hoping to capitalise on the rise in consumption in podcasts. Ambitiously, this will include both a free and paid version of its product, with the aim of creating a reliable revenue stream for podcast producers. The startup’s other founders are Nikolaj Koppel, Andreas Sachse and Sverre Dueholm .
NASA picks a dozen science and tech projects to bring to the surface of the Moon.
With the Artemis mission scheduled to put boots on lunar regolith as soon as 2024, NASA has a lot of launching to do — and you can be sure none of those launches will go to waste. The agency just announced 12 new science and technology projects to send to the Moon’s surface, including a new rover.
The 12 projects are being sent up as part of the Commercial Lunar Payload Services program, which is — as NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine has emphasized strongly — part of an intentional increase in reliance on private companies. If a company already has a component or rover or craft ready to go and meeting a program’s requirements, why should NASA build it from scratch at great cost?
In this case, the selected projects cover a wide range of origins and intentions. Some are repurposed or spare parts from other missions, like the Lunar Surface Electromagnetics Experiment. LuSEE is related to the Park Solar Probe’s STEREO/Waves instrument and pieces from MAVEN, re-engineered to make observations and measurements on the Moon. Others are quite new. Astrobotic, which was also recently awarded an $80 million contract to develop its Peregrine lunar lander, will now also be putting together a rover, which it calls MoonRanger (no relation to the NES game). This little bot will autonomously traverse the landscape within half a mile or so of its base and map it in 3D.
Tesla sets new delivery record of 95,200 electric vehicles.
Tesla delivered 95,200 of its electric vehicles in the second quarter, a dramatic reversal from a disappointing first period that set a new record and beat analysts’ expectations.
Analysts expected Tesla to deliver 91,000 vehicles during the second quarter, according to estimates compiled by FactSet.
The record-breaking figures stand in stark contrast to the company’s first quarter delivery numbers when it reported deliveries of 63,000 vehicles, nearly a one-third drop from the previous period. The low numbers signaled what was to come: wider-than-expected loss of $702 million driven by disappointing delivery numbers, costs and pricing adjustments to its vehicles.
The second quarter, at least in terms of deliveries, is giving a rosier view of the company and possibly its earnings, which have yet to be reported.
Tesla also reported that it produced 87,048 vehicles in the second quarter compared to 77,100 in the previous period. The second-quarter production figure also beats the company’s fourth quarter stats of 86,555 vehicles.
Apple reveals App Store takedown demands by governments.
For the first time, Apple has published the number of requests it’s received from governments to take down apps from its app store.
In its latest transparency report published Tuesday, the tech giant said it received 80 requests from 11 countries to remove 634 apps from its localized app stores during July 1 and December 31, 2018.
Apple didn’t list the apps that were removed but noted in most cases why the apps were pulled. China made up the bulk of the requests, seeking to remove 517 apps claiming they violated its gambling and pornography laws. Vietnam and Austria also requested the takedown of several apps which violated its gambling laws, while Kuwait asked Apple to pull some apps that fell foul of its privacy laws.
Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Lebanon were among the countries that requested the removal of some apps, along with The Netherlands, Norway, and Switzerland.
The move comes more than a year after the company promised to publish the figures starting with this latest transparency report.
Instagram’s new chat sticker lets friends ask to get in on the conversation directly in Stories.
Instagram has a new sticker type rolling out today that lets friends and followers instantly tap to start conversations from within Stories. The new sticker option, labelled “Chat,” will let anyone looking at a story request to join an Instagram group DM conversation tied to the post, with the original poster still getting the opportunity to actually approve the requests coming in from their friends and followers.
Instagram’s Direct Messages provide built-in one-to-one and one-to-many private messaging for users on the platform, and are one key way that the social network owned by Facebook has used to fend off, anticipate and adapt features from would-be competitor Snapchat. The company confirmed in May that it was discontinuing development of Direct, its own standalone app version of the Instagram DM feature, but its clearly still interested on iterating the core product to make it more engaging for users and better linked to Instagram’s other core sharing capabilities.
Equinix and Singapore’s GIC will launch a $1 billion joint venture to build hyperscale data centers in Europe.
Equinix, one of the world’s largest data center companies, announced that it will form a $1 billion joint venture with GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund. The partnership will focus on building xScale data centers in Europe. Instead of targeting the wholesale market, Equinix is developing xScale data centers to handle the demands of of the biggest cloud service providers in the world. Equinix’s clients have already included Alibaba Cloud, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, Google Cloud and other hyperscale cloud providers.
Atlan raises $2.5M to stop enterprises from being so bad at managing data.
Five years ago, two young Indian entrepreneurs Prukalpa Sankar and Varun Banka set out to modernize the data storage system. They founded SocialCops, a startup that builds tools that make it easier for government officials and anyone else to quickly conduct surveys and maintain digital records that could be accessed from anywhere.
The Indian government was so impressed with SocialCops’ offering that it partnered with the startup on National Data Platform, a project to connect and bring more transparency within many of the state-run initiatives.
Samsung will announce the next Galaxy Note on August 7.
It’s official. Samsung just sent out invites for the next Unpacked event. The big show kicks off at 4PM ET August 7, in New York. The timing lines up with rumors that have been floating around for few weeks not to mention last year’s big event.
And in case there was any mystery around what precisely the company is going to unveil, Samsung has happily spoiled the surprise with the inclusion of a prominent S Pen on the invite. The August event will almost certainly see the debut of the Galaxy Note 10.
Samsung CEO calls Galaxy Fold mishap ‘embarrassing’.
In a meeting with a group of journalists in South Korea, Samsung Electronics CEO DJ Koh candidly addressed the company’s latest hardware mishap. “It was embarrassing,” he told reporters, as quoted by The Independent. “I pushed it through before it was ready.” After years of preamble, Samsung still managed to jump the gun with the Galaxy Fold. The company was eager to be the first major manufacturer to market with the category’s most radical redesign in a decade. Ultimately, however, the company ended up pumping the breaks after multiple reviewers reported problems with their units.
Team studies drone strikes on airplanes by firing them into a wall at 500 MPH.
Bird strikes are a very real danger to planes in flight, and consequently aircraft are required to undergo bird strike testing — but what about drones? With UAV interference at airports on the rise, drone strike testing may soon be likewise mandatory, and if it’s anything like what these German researchers are doing, it’ll involve shooting the craft out of air cannons at high speed.
PlayStation Vue raises prices by $5 per month, following its recent content deals.
Sony’s PlayStation Vue live TV streaming service is joining its rivals with the roll out of another price increase. The company announced today it will be upping the price for all its plans by $5 per month each. The change is live as of today for new subscribers, and will kick in for current customers with the beginning of the first billing cycle on or after July 31. The company says the decision was made due to the rising costs of content.
Girlboss pivots to provide a LinkedIn for professional women.
Girlboss is the multi-media brand for women founded by serial entrepreneur Sophia Amoruso, whose last company, Nasty Gal, presaged the direct to consumer trend before collapsing under the weight of its own ambition. Now, Amoruso is back with yet another iteration on Girlboss, the media site launched off the strength of her podcast, in what it’s labeling as professional networking 2.0.
More than 50,000 people have signed up for early access, including Jen Rubio, the co-founder of Away; Elaine Welteroth, the former editor in chief of Teen Vogue; celebrity hairstylist Jen Atkin; and other women from the media and entertainment world. With their free membership, women who sign up get access to other entrepreneurial women and the ability to ask and answer questions from their peer group. The profiles take LinkedIn one step further, according to the company, by including accomplishments, “life moments” and other elements to make the social network more personal — like a daily horoscope and a Meyers-Briggs type.
Video platform Kaltura adds advanced analytics.
You may not be familiar with Kaltura‘s name, but chances are you’ve used the company’s video platform at some point or another, given that it offers a variety of video services for enterprises, educational institutions and video-on-demand platforms, including HBO, Phillips, SAP, Stanford and others. Today, the company announced the launch of an advanced analytics platform for its enterprise and educational users.
This new platform, dubbed Kaltura Analytics for Admins, will provide its users with features like user-level reports. This may sound like a minor feature, because you probably don’t care about the exact details of a given user’s interactions with your video, but it will allow businesses to link this kind of behavior to other metrics. With this, you could measure the ROI of a given video by linking video watch time and sales, for example. This kind of granularity wasn’t possible with the company’s existing analytics systems. Companies and schools using the product will also get access to time-period comparisons to help admins identify trends, deeper technology and geolocation reports, as well as real-time analytics for live events.
Facebook civil rights audit says white supremacy policy is ‘too narrow’.
Facebook’s second progress report pertaining to the civil rights audit conducted by former ACLU Washington Director Laura Murphy is here. Over the last six months, Facebook has made changes around enforcing against hate, fighting discrimination in ads and protecting against misinformation and suppression in the upcoming U.S. presidential election and 2020 Census, according to the progress report.
While Facebook has made changes in some of these areas — Facebook banned white supremacy in March — auditors say Facebook’s policy is still “too narrow.” That’s because it solely prohibits explicit praise, support or representation of the terms “white nationalism” or “white separatism,” but does not technically prohibit references to those terms and ideologies.
“The narrow scope of the policy leaves up content that expressly espouses white nationalist ideology without using the term ‘white nationalist,’” the report states. “As a result, content that would cause the same harm is permitted to remain on the platform.”
Therefore, the audit team recommends Facebook expand its policy to prohibit content that “expressly praises, supports, or represents white nationalist ideology” even if the content does not explicitly use the terms “white nationalism” or “white separatism.”
Adopting a ratings system for social media like the ones used for film and TV won’t work.
Internet platforms like Google, Facebook, and Twitter are under incredible pressure to reduce the proliferation of illegal and abhorrent content on their services.
Interestingly, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg recently called for the establishment of “third-party bodies to set standards governing the distribution of harmful content and to measure companies against those standards.” In a follow-up conversation with Axios, Kevin Martin of Facebook “compared the proposed standard-setting body to the Motion Picture Association of America’s system for rating movies.” The ratings group, whose official name is the Classification and Rating Administration (CARA), was established in 1968.
By contrast, as CreativeFuture said in an April 2018 letter to Congress: “the failure of Facebook and others to take responsibility [for their content] is rooted in decades-old policies, including legal immunities and safe harbors, that actually absolve internet platforms of accountability [for the content they host.]” In short, internet platforms whose offerings consist mostly of unscreened user-generated content are very different businesses from media outlets that deliver professionally-produced, heavily-vetted, and curated content for which they are legally accountable.
Researchers developed a sensing system to constantly track the performance of workers.
Researchers have come up with a mobile-sensing system that can track and rate the performance of workers by combining a smartphone, fitness bracelets and a custom app.
The mobile-sensing system, as the researchers call it, is able to classify high and low performers. The team used the system to track 750 U.S. workers for one year. The system was able to tell the difference between high performers and low performers with 80% accuracy.
The aim, the researchers say, is to give employees insight into physical, emotional and behavioral well-being. But that constant flow of data also has a downside, and if abused, can put employees under constant surveillance by the companies they work for.
Softbank and Toyota-backed mobility venture gains five more automakers.
MONET Technologies, a joint venture launched by Softbank and Toyota to provide on-demand mobility services eventually with an autonomous module bus, has five new partners.
Five Japanese automakers including Isuzu Motors, Suzuki Motor Corp., Subaru, Daihatsu and Mazda will each invest 2% in the venture. Softbank and Toyota each own 35% of the company. Honda and Toyota’s truck-making unit Hino each have 10% ownership.
The venture launched in September aims to launch an on-demand mobility service with buses and cars in Japan next year. Toyota’s autonomous vehicles based on its e-palette vehicle that debuted at CES 2018 will eventually become a central piece of the service.
It’s the end of movies as we know them.
“How Will The Movies Survive The Next Ten Years?” demands the New York Times, in a series of interviews with 24 major Hollywood figures. Good question! I’ve been asking it myself, here, for six years now. Very unlike music, television, books, and home video, the theatrical movie experience has proved remarkably resistant to online disruption…
Original Content podcast: ‘I Think You Should Leave’ brings deranged laughs to Netflix.
A sketch on Netflix’s “I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson” doesn’t just settle for one funny idea. As soon as you start to get comfortable and assume that you know where things are going, there’s usually a wild left turn, and sometimes a third and fourth for good measure.
With a single wiretap, police collected 9.2 million text messages.
For four months in 2018, authorities in Texas collected more than 9.2 million messages under a single court-authorized wiretap order, newly released figures show.
The wiretap, granted by a federal judge in the Southern District of Texas, was granted as part of a narcotics investigation and became the federal wiretap with the most intercepts in 2018, according to the government’s annual wiretap report.
Little is known about the case, except that 149 individuals involved in the case were targeted by the wiretap. The wiretap expired last year, allowing the judiciary to disclose the case.
Japan will restrict the export of some materials used in smartphones and chips to South Korea.
materials to South Korea, including polyimides used in flexible displays made by companies like Samsung Electronics. The new rules come as the two countries argue over compensation for South Koreans forced to work in Japanese factories during World War II.
The list of restricted supplies, expected to go into effect on July 4, includes polyimides used in smartphone and flexible organic LED displays, and etching gas and resist used to make semiconductors. That means Japanese suppliers who wish to sell those materials to South Korean tech companies such as Samsung, LG and SK Hynix will need to submit each contract for approval.
Facebook’s searchable political ads archive is now global.
Facebook has announced it’s rolled out a basic layer of political ads transparency globally, more than a year after launching the publicly searchable ads archive in the US. It is also expanding what it dubs “proactive enforcement” on political ads to countries where elections or regulations are approaching — starting with Ukraine, Singapore, Canada and Argentina.
“Beginning today, we will systematically detect and review ads in Ukraine and Canada through a combination of automated and human review,” it writes in a blog post setting out the latest developments. “In Singapore and Argentina, we will begin enforcement within the next few months. We also plan to roll out the Ad Library Report in both of those countries after enforcement is in place. “The Ad Library Report will allow you to track and download aggregate spend data across advertisers and regions.”
Facebook may finally let you turn off those annoying notification dots.
Sick of those anxiety-inducing red dots constantly appearing on the Groups, Watch, or other tabs in your Facebook app? Well the social network may be easing up a little in its unending war for your attention. Facebook is now testing a toggle to turn off the red in-app notification dots on its homescreen. Until now you had to manually open each of Facebook’s features to extinguishing the maddening flame of the notification badge. This could make Facebook feel more tranquil, and keep you focused on whatever you actually opened the app to do.
Twitter’s underrated Lists feature finally gets some attention.
Twitter Lists have never gotten the attention they deserve. A feature largely adopted by Twitter power users, lists allow you to create custom timelines by adding only those users whose tweets you want to track. And this can be done without having to also follow those Twitter accounts, which keeps your main timeline clutter-free. But the Twitter Lists feature has always been somewhat buried in Twitter’s interface — at least until now. The company today announced it’s testing a way to make lists easier to access, by relocating them only a swipe away from your home screen.
According to a tweet shared today, Twitter has been thinking about how to make lists easier to get to.
“One idea we had is for you to be able to swipe to your lists from home,” the company explained, followed by a request for feedback.
Huawei says two-thirds of 5G networks outside China now use its gear.
As 5G networks begin rolling out and commercializing around the world, telecoms vendors are rushing to get a headstart. Huawei equipment is now behind two-thirds of the commercially launched 5G networks outside China, said president of Huawei’s carrier business group Ryan Ding on Tuesday at an industry conference.
Huawei, the world’s largest maker of telecoms gear, has nabbed 50 commercial 5G contracts outside its home base from countries including South Korea, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Finland and more. In all, the Shenzhen-based firm has shipped more than 150,000 base stations, according to Ding.
Boeing is going to work with Kitty Hawk on flying cars and safety.
Kitty Hawk, the flying car company backed by Google’s Larry Page and led by Udacity co-founder Sebastian Thrun, has struck a deal with aerospace giant Boeing.
It appears the two companies will collaborate on urban air mobility, particularly around safety and how autonomous and piloted vehicles will co-exist.
Kitty Hawk’s portfolio of vehicles includes Cora, a two-person air taxi, and Flyer, a vehicle for personalized flight. The partnership is focused on the fully electric, self-piloting flying taxi Cora, according to the announcement.
Self-driving startup Drive.ai is closing down.
Drive.ai, the autonomous vehicle tech startup once valued at $200 million, is shutting down after four years, according to a state regulatory filing.
The closure was first reported by the San Francisco Chronicle. The company is not responding to media inquiries said the PR.
The company’s Mountain View headquarters will close down on Friday, according to WARN documents filed with the Employment Development Department of California. A company must file a WARN document ahead of a mass layoff or plant closure.
Rumors have been swirling for weeks that Apple was looking to snap up the startup. Earlier this month, The Information reported that Apple was pursuing an acqui-hire, a term that typically means a smaller, targeted acquisition aimed at bringing on specific talent.
The Office is leaving Netflix in 2021 because NBC wants it back.
Well, it’s official: The Office is leaving Netflix .
Michael Scott and the rest of Dunder Mifflin will be heading for another streaming service come January 2021.
By far the most popular show on Netflix in 2018, The Office was bound to leave the service eventually — or, at the very least, see some HUGE contract renegotiations.
The show’s departure had been rumored a few times before now, but were quickly debunked. Now word of the end date comes straight from Netflix itself.
WeWork acquires Waltz, an app that lets users access different spaces with a single credential.
WeWork announced today that it will acquire Waltz, a building access and security management startup, for an undisclosed amount. Waltz’s smartphone app and reader allows users to enter different properties with a single credential and will make it easier for WeWork’s enterprise clients, such as GE Healthcare and Microsoft, to manage their employees’ on-demand memberships to WeWork spaces. WeWork’s announcement said “with deep expertise in mobile access and system integrations, Waltz has the most advanced and sophisticated products to provide that single credential to our members and to help us better connect them with our spaces.” Waltz was founded in 2015 by CEO Matt Kopel and has offices in New York and Montreal. After the acquisition, Waltz will be integrated into WeWork, but maintain its current customer base.
Google says it’s not making any more tablets.
Tablets have, of course, proven a tough nut to crack for practically every company that isn’t Apple. Google has taken numerous swings at the space, but never quite found its place in amongst the premium iPad or far cheaper Android/Chromebook alternatives. And while the company once seemed content to treat Nexus/Pixel devices as much as references for its software, it has clearly taken a much more serious approach to its own devices in recent years. So, goodbye to the Google tablet. For now, at least.
Governments must regulate social networks: Facebook’s Clegg.
“It’s not for private companies, however big or small, to come up with those rules. It is for democratic politicians in the democratic world to do so,” Clegg told the BBC “there is a pressing need for new rules of the road on issues including data privacy and election rules”.
At the same time, companies such as Facebook should play a “mature role” in advocating regulation, he told the BBC.
Hackers are stealing years of call records from hacked cell networks.
Security researchers say they have uncovered a massive espionage campaign involving the theft of call records from hacked cell network providers to conduct targeted surveillance on individuals of interest.
The hackers have systematically broken in to more than 10 cell networks around the world to date over the past seven years to obtain massive amounts of call records — including times and dates of calls, and their cell-based locations — on at least 20 individuals.
Researchers at Boston-based Cybereason, who discovered the operation and shared their findings with TechCrunch, said the hackers could track the physical location of any customer of the hacked telcos — including spies and politicians — using the call records.
SpaceX successfully launches Falcon Heavy rocket with two flight-proven booster cores.
SpaceX has succeeded in launching its third mission with the Falcon Heavy high-capacity rocket it first launched successfully last year. The rocket’s STP-2 mission took off from Kennedy Space Center in Florida towards the end of a four-hour launch window that opened at 11:30 PM EDT on Monday, with liftoff taking place at 2:30 AM EDT on Tuesday after the launch was pushed back so that the ground crew could complete “additional ground system checkouts.” The launch was a first for SpaceX in a number of different ways – it’s the first night launch for Falcon Heavy, which treated observers to a unique light show. It’s also the first time SpaceX has launched the Falcon Heavy with flight-prove boosters, and it used two: The boosters on either side of Falcon Heavy’s central rocket were used on the Arabsat-6A mission that launched on April 11.
FedEx sues the Department of Commerce after incident involving misrouted Huawei packages.
FedEx is suing the United States Department of Commerce, claiming that it has been “essentially deputize[d]” to enforce its trade blacklist. The lawsuit comes a month after Huawei said it is reassessing its relationship with the delivery giant after several packages meant for shipment within Asia were instead diverted, or erroneously marked for delivery, to the U.S. FedEx claimed the packages (which Huawei said did not contain any technology covered by the trade ban imposed against it by the Trump administration) had been misrouted by accident.
In a statement today about the lawsuit, FedEx said that the current export ban “places an unreasonable burden on FedEx to police the millions of shipments that transit our network every day.” Filed on Monday, the lawsuit asks the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia to stop the Department of Commerce from enforcing prohibitions in the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) against FedEx.
Apple says Spotify exaggerated how much ‘App Store tax’ it pays.
In March, Spotify filed a complaint against Apple with the European Commission over the so-called “Apple tax” and claims of restrictive rules regarding the App Store. In the time since, Apple has responded with the launch of a website that takes aim at the anti-trust, anti-competitive claims against it, and most recently, a deep dive into how the process of app approvals works, by way of a CNBC profile. Now, Apple has responded to the EC complaint with its own filing that says Spotify is only paying this “Apple tax” on less than 1 percent of its paid subscribers.
Specifically, Apple’s filing says that Spotify only pays a 15% “app tax” (revenue share) on just 0.5% of its 100 million premium subscribers, or around 680,000 customers. This revenue share only impacts those customers Spotify acquired during the 2014-2016 time frame who signed up for the subscription through an in-app purchase. Afterward, Spotify switched off the option to sign up in the app.
Bye Bye Camera, an app that simply removes any humans from photos you take.
Bye Bye Camera works using some of the AI tools that are already out there for the taking in the world of research. It uses YOLO (You Only Look Once), a very efficient object classifier that can quickly denote the outline of a person, and then a separate tool that performs what Adobe has called “context-aware fill.” Between the two of them a person is reliably — if a bit crudely — deleted from any picture you take and credibly filled in by background.
It’s a fun project (though the results are a mixed bag) and it speaks not only to the issues it supposedly raises about the nature of humanity, but also the accessibility of tools under the broad category of “AI” and what they can and should be used for.
You can download Bye Bye Camera for $3 on the iOS App Store.
This robot crawls along wind turbine blades looking for invisible flaws.
Sandia National Labs researchers have created a robot that can inspect the enormous blades of turbines autonomously, helping keep our green power infrastructure in good kit.
The enormous towers that collect energy from wind currents are often only in our view for a few minutes as we drive past. But they must stand for years through inclement weather, temperature extremes, and naturally being the tallest things around lightning strikes. Combine that with normal wear and tear and it’s clear these things need to be inspected regularly. But such inspections can be both difficult and superficial. The blades themselves are among the largest single objects manufactured on the planet, and they’re often installed in distant or inaccessible areas, like the many you see offshore.
iOS 13 brings many much needed quality-of-life improvements.
In developer lingo, quality-of-life updates are all about refining things that already work. Thanks to these incremental improvements, it should make the end-user experience much more enjoyable. And with iOS 13, it feels like Apple’s main focus is on this concept. Here’s what you should be looking for.
- Dark Mode is gorgeous.
- Animations have been sped up.
- Opening and closing an app or swiping on a notification are much faster.
- Face ID is better.
- App improvements.
Apple just released the first iOS and iPadOS 13 beta to everyone.
This is your opportunity to get a glimpse of the future of iOS — and iPadOS. Apple just released the first public beta of iOS 13 and iPadOS 13, the next major version of the operating systems for the iPhone and iPad. Unlike developer betas, everyone can download those betas without a $99 developer account. But don’t forget, it’s a beta. The company still plans to release the final version of iOS and iPadOS 13.0 this fall (usually September). But Apple is going to release betas every few weeks over the summer. It’s a good way to fix as many bugs as possible and gather data from a large group of users. As always, Apple’s public betas closely follow the release cycle of developer betas. And Apple released the second developer beta of iOS and iPadOS 13 just last week. So it sounds like the first public beta is more or less the same build as the second developer build.
What money should be.
With the release of the Facebook consortium’s project Libra whitepaper, the internet, tech world, financial services industry and policy circles are all burning with conversation on the project’s potential. We are still very early into Libra’s life — it is, after all, still a proposal — and there is an endless set of questions left to answer. The project could redefine how we view money or it could be a complete failure; we won’t know which for years to come.
Money is an anachronistically analog part of everyday life. The last 25 years saw the digitization of most services businesses, from communications (email) to bookstores (Amazon) to taxis (Uber). Yet, even with the rise of fintech and significant innovation in consumer finance, money itself has remained curiously unchanged.
There are good reasons for money to have remained unchanged. Currencies are controlled and issued by states, and for many reasons, they need to be controlled and issued by states. But the reasons are a reflection of the “facts on the ground” today. Money is too sensitive and too critical to allow for the same level of disruptive innovation we’ve seen in other assets. But if we were to design money de novo today from a Rawlsian original position, it would probably look pretty different.
Libra gives us an opportunity to talk more openly not just about what money is, but about what money should be. And regardless of what happens with Libra — which faces regulatory and competitive headwinds — the moment won’t be wasted if we take this time to contemplate the future of money. Below are some (not collectively exhaustive) starting ideas for that conversation, from the most basic to the more exotic.
- Money should be free.
- Money should transfer instantly.
- Money should take ‘one click’ to use.
- Money should be secure.
- Money should be stable.
- Money should be interoperable.
- Different types of money should be use-based, not geography-based.
- Money should be an open development platform.
- Money should have (some) guardrails.
Google Pay expands its integration with PayPal to online merchants.
Google and PayPal have been strategic partners for some time. The companies in 2017 announced that PayPal would become a payment method in Android Pay, the service that later rebranded as Google Pay. Last year, users who added PayPal as a payment method on Google Pay could then pay for services like Gmail, YouTube, Google Play and Google Store purchases via a PayPal option in Google Pay. Now, a similar integration is making its way to online merchants who accept Google Pay on their website or mobile app.
Explains Google, hundreds of millions of customers already have payment methods saved to their Google Account — including, in some cases, PayPal, thanks to the 2018 integration.
With this expanded integration, merchants can opt to enable PayPal as a payment method in their own Google Pay integration — something that’s easily done if Google Pay has already been implemented on their site. All that’s required is only a small code change to the list of allowed payment methods.
At that point forward, any online shopper who wants to check out using Google Pay will have the option of selecting PayPal to make the purchase.
The benefit of this integration for consumers is that they won’t have to sign in to PayPal when they use it through Google Pay, which cuts down the number of steps to take at checkout. That, in turn, can increase conversions. They’ll also have access to PayPal’s Purchase Protection and Return Shipping benefits.
For online merchants who are also PayPal merchants, when a customer selects PayPal through Google Pay, the merchant receives the money in their PayPal Business Account within minutes.
Original Content podcast: Netflix’s ‘When They See Us’ is difficult-but-essential viewing.
“When They See Us,” a new miniseries on Netflix, can be so infuriating that it’s hard to watch — especially its first hour, which depicts the arrest of the teenaged boys who became known as The Central Park Five, and shows police detectives coercing them into confessing to a brutal rape.
We review the series on the latest episode of the Original Content podcast. Some of us struggled to get through that first episode, and the episodes that follow have plenty of painful moments too, but “When They See Us” rewards viewers who persist with a moving and unforgettable dramatization of all the ways the system failed Yusef Salaam, Korey Wise, Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana and Antron McCray.
Netflix is testing a pop-out floating video player on desktop.
Netflix is testing out a new feature that could mean you never have to stop watching, not even while you work – it’s a pop-out video player, similar to the one you may be used to from iOS and macOS for any website or app that supports Safari’s native video player. Basically, that means you can choose to ‘pop out’ the video and then reposition it anywhere on your screen for a picture-in-picture effect that remains visible over any other apps you might be using.
Bill Gates on making “one of the greatest mistakes of all time”
At a recent event hosted for founders by the venture firm Village Global, one of its most prominent investors, Bill Gates, sat down with Eventbrite cofounder and CEO Julia Hartz to discuss founding a company and the tough decisions necessary at nearly every turn in order to create and sustain a thriving enterprise.
As part of that conversation, Hartz asked Gates about his views on work-life balance, and whether they have evolved from an earlier point in Gates’s life, when he has said that he “didn’t really believe in vacations.”
His reply, in short: no, not in a company’s earliest years and especially not if that company is building a software platform. As Gates told Hartz, “I have a fairly hardcore view that there should be a very large sacrifice made during those early years, particularly if you’re trying to do some engineering things that you have to get the feasibility” or proof that a project can be performed successfully. In fact, Gates is still kicking himself for taking his eyes off the ball and allowing Google to develop Android, the “standard non-Apple phone form platform,” as he describes it. “That was a natural thing for Microsoft to win”.
Harry Potter: Wizards Unite ges live in Canada, Germany, and 23 other countries.
Harry Potter: Wizards Unite (think Pokémon GO, but with wands and giant spiders instead of pokéballs and Pikachus) officially launched earlier this week, but with a catch: it was only available in the US, UK, Australia, and New Zealand.
Why? Amongst other reasons, a country-by-country rollout helps Niantic ensure that their servers stay stable. By spreading the launch out over time, they’re (hopefully) able to figure out where potential server scaling issues might be before half the world is yelling on Twitter.
Understanding the Libra Cryptocurrency.
The white paper cites 1.7 billion people as “unbanked,” a number which is questionable. Its source is the 2017 World Bank Global Findex database. You might think, “that sounds pretty definitive and recent,” and it does — but the same source also notes that 515 million people became “banked” between 2014 and 2017. By the time Libra actually launches, the “1.7 billion unbanked” might have dropped by fully half. Not because of banks: because of mobile money providers.
From its birth with M-Pesa in East Africa, mobile money has expanded massively worldwide. Orange Money in West Africa, Ovo in Indonesia, Paytm in India, and of course WeChat and Alipay in China: money on your phone is nothing at all new in most of the developing world. This might make you think that Libra already has a legion of competitors who speak the local languages, understand the markets, and have pervasive distribution, just as in the rich world — but no. The whole point of Libra, after all, is that it’s not a local currency, but a global currency, which is both its competitive advantage and its Achilles heel. And its true market isn’t the unbanked per se; it’s people who might have a mobile money account, but no straightforward access to any global currency. On the smaller scale, though — individuals and families — Libra makes a lotmore sense. It won’t replace M-Pesa, but I don’t think it’s trying to. Instead Libra wants to be to mobile money what the US dollar is to the Kenyan shilling. Libra could become the global mobile reserve currency, maybe not for institutions, but for individuals. And on that level, exchanges are less important.
YouTube confirms a test where the comments are hidden by default.
YouTube’s comments section has a bad reputation. It’s even been called “the worst on the internet,” and a reflection of YouTube’s overall toxic culture, where creators are rewarded for outrageous behavior. Now, the company is considering a design change that hides the comments by default. The website XDA Developers first spotted the test on Android devices in India. Today, YouTube’s comments don’t have a prominent position on its mobile app. On both iOS and Android devices, the YouTube video itself appears at the top of the screen, followed by engagement buttons for sharing, liking, disliking, downloading and saving the video. Below that are recommendations from YouTube’s algorithm in a section titled “Up Next.” If you actually want to visit the comments, you have to scroll all the way to the bottom of the page. In the test, the comments have been removed from this bottom section of the page entirely. Instead, they’ve been relocated to a new section that users can only view after clicking a button. The new Comments button is found between the Thumbs Down and Share buttons, right below the video. It’s unclear if this change will reduce or increase user engagement with comments, or if engagement will remain flat — something that YouTube likely wants to find out, too. On the one hand, comments are hidden unless the user manually taps on the button to reveal them — users won’t happen upon them by scrolling down. On the other hand, putting the comments button behind a click at the top of the page instead of forcing users to scroll could make them easier to access.
Samsung exec says the Galaxy Fold is ‘ready to hit the market’.
Samsung, at least, may finally be ready to unleash its foldable on the world, two months after its planned release. “Most of the display problems have been ironed out,” Samsung Display Vice President Kim Seong-cheol told a crowd at an event in Seoul this week, “and the Galaxy Fold is ready to hit the market.”
Google announces $1B, 10-year plan to add thousands of homes to Bay Area.
The housing crisis in the Bay Area, particularly in San Francisco, is a complex and controversial topic with no one-size-fits-all solution — but a check for a billion dollars is about as close as you’re going to get, and Google has just announced it’s writing one. In a blog post, CEO Sundar Pichai explained that in order to “build a more helpful Google,” the company would be making this major investment in what it believes is the most important social issue in the area: housing.
Libra currently looks more like a fiat currency than a cryptocurrency.
Facebook unveiled a cryptocurrency called Libra yesterday, as well as the Libra Association, a not-for-profit that will oversee all things Libra. While Libra’s white paper draws a lot of inspiration from other cryptocurrencies, the current governance model and blockchain implementation is more of banks more than bitcoin.
YouTube’s new AR Beauty Try-On lets viewers virtually try on makeup while watching video reviews.
Makeup tutorials and reviews are some of the most popular content on YouTube, as they help people learn about new products as well as how to apply them. YouTube is now kicking that experience up a notch with the introduction of a new AR feature for virtual makeup try-on right from the YouTube app. Called AR Beauty Try-On, the feature is designed to be used in a split-screen experience while YouTube viewers watch the makeup tutorial.
Apple expands authorized repairs to 1,000 Best Buy stores.
Since 2001, Apple has staked its claim across the world with its own first-party brick and mortar locations. But the U.S. is a big country, and the 270 or so stores can only cover so much ground. In the past three years, the company says it has expanded repair coverage to three times as many locations in this massive country of ours, courtesy of third-party partnerships.
That list now includes almost 1,000 Best Buys, which now offer Apple-certified repairs courtesy of 7,600 “newly Apple-certified technicians” capable of offering up same-day repairs on iPhones and other products.
It’s a deal that makes sense for both parties. For Apple, it means covering customers in locations like Yuma, Sioux City and Bismarck. This brings its total third-party authorized service locations up to 1,800 in the U.S. For Best Buy, the deal means a partnership and blessing from another key electronics giant, with Apple joining the likes of Samsung, which currently has authorized Galaxy repairs from the big-box store. More info on Apple repair services here.
Apple Watch’s own built-in apps can be deleted in watchOS 6.
Good news for Apple Watch owners who don’t want to clutter up their Watch with unused apps. With the release of the new watchOS 6 operating system later this year, Apple will allow Apple Watch device owners to remove many more of the built-in, first-party apps from their smartwatch — including previously unremovable apps like Alarm, Timer, Stopwatch, Remote, Camera Remote, Radio and others, as well as health apps like ECG, Breathe, Noise and Cycle Tracking.
Currently, Apple Watch owners can easily remove the third-party apps they install from the App Store. They can either press and hold on the app to make it wiggle, then tap the “X” that appears to delete it, or they can go into the Apple Watch app settings and toggle off the switch that says “Show on Apple Watch.” Additionally, users can opt to remove many of the built-in apps from their iPhone, which also then removes its Apple Watch counterpart. But the dedicated Watch apps (like Timer or Radio) couldn’t be removed from the Watch because they had no iOS counterpart to uninstall.
Huawei starts phase four of e-government infrastructure in West Nile, Karamoja region.
President Yoweri Museveni launched phase four of the National Backbone Infrastructure Connectivity project for West Nile. The ceremony took place at St. Charles Lwanga Senior Secondary School grounds in Koboko District.
The government of Uganda through the National Information Technology, Uganda (NITA-U), with funding from the World Bank, is implementing the national backbone infrastructure and e-government infrastructure project to connect districts and towns across the country. The World Bank, contracted Huawei technology to build this phase and it is a continuation of Phases 1-3 which were funded by China’s EXIM Bank between 2007 and 2016.
Phase four has commenced and will extend to the districts of Pakwach, Nebbi, Arua, Yumbe, Koboko, Adjumani, Katakwi and the border points of Oraba, Vurra and Mpondwe. It will improve access, reliability and competiveness of broadband services both domestically and regionally. It will also provide the new international connections to neighboring countries including South Sudan and Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as well as helping position Uganda as a regional communication hub and bring public services closer to people, with 100 government offices in the areas of West Nile and Karamoja to be connected.
Uganda needs more computing experts than ICT.
Uganda must focus more on churning out experts in computing than in ICT, a senior researcher at Makerere University, has said.
Mr Tonny Oyana, who is also the principal College of Computing and Information Sciences at Makerere University, said the country needs more experts in computing to manage and nurture future technological advancements.
“Computer science is the foundation of information technology, network communication and information systems. We should make sure we have the right brains,” he said.
Mr Oyana was speaking during the launch of the Huawei ICT academy and flag off of 10 students to China under the Seeds for the Future programme.
The ICT academy is expected to prepare students for the marketplace through hands-on training while offering free certification.
The academy will enroll its first students this month drawing its first applicants from Makerere University, after which it will establish the same academy in Kyambogo, Lira, Gulu, Muni, Busitema and Mbarara universities.
Careteam aims to unite patients and healthcare providers with a platform approach.
Careteam co-founder and CEO Dr. Alexandra Greenhill has experienced the frustration of being a tech-savvy person in a world of healthcare that can seem technologically inept both as a practicing GP and as someone who depends on the healthcare system as a patient and a relative of patients with more sophisticated medical needs.
All that experience led Greenhill to the realization that while there were many companies building specific solutions for real, but relatively narrow problems, that didn’t reflect how most people experienced care. Greenhill and her team of three other co-founders (Jeremy P. Smith, Robert I. Atwell and Kevin Lysyk) had all had unfortunate, but eye-opening experiences with family members in need of treatment for major diseases.
What Careteam provides is collaboration for care — true collaboration, designed to span patients, their doctors and other healthcare pros, their families and anyone who matters to them in the course of pursuing their care. It provides the ability to communicate instantly, build care plans that integrate all aspects of their tailored health plans, receive custom-configurable notifications and measure progress toward specific goals set by patient and healthcare providers.
Probably Genetic helps families identify genetic conditions early with AI and DNA tests.
Probably Genetic, which recently graduated from the startup accelerator Y Combinator, wants to test the DNA of children with autism to provide them early diagnoses of more than 15 severe genetic diseases that are often grouped under the initial autism diagnosis. Using machine learning and direct-to-consumer DNA tests, Probably Genetic hopes to provide families of children on the spectrum with more complete and correct diagnoses and a path to appropriate treatment and therapy.
“There is really low awareness still in the medical community for a lot of these diseases,” Probably Genetic co-founder and chief executive officer Lukas Lange noted. “The actual testing happens really really late in the process … Even once you decide that you want to get your kid genetically tested, that process itself is really difficult because if you don’t have a physician in favor of it, patients spend months lobbying to get the test done.”
Lange, a current PhD candidate in bioinformatics and genetics at the University of Oxford, said the company is keeping the precise amount of capital they’ve raised private, citing a focus on building the best service for special needs families.
Twitter will remove precise location tagging in tweets, citing lack of use.
In an announcement today from its support account, Twitter said it is removing the option to tag precise locations in tweets. The feature will still be available for photos through Twitter’s updated camera. The company said this is because “most people don’t tag their precise location in Tweets.”
Twitter users can opt out of location sharing features in its “privacy and safety” menu. If you don’t want to share your precise location details, you should continue keeping the feature turned off since it is still available in Twitter’s camera.
After the precise location sharing feature for tweets is removed, users who want to share where they are can do so through services like Foursquare.
Google will start attributing lyrics in its search results to their third-party providers.
Earlier this week, music lyrics repository Genius accused Google of lifting lyrics and posting them on its search platform. Genius told the Wall Street Journal that this caused its site traffic to drop. Google, which initially denied wrongdoing but later said it was investigating the issue, addressed the controversy in a blog post today. The company said it will start including attribution to its third-party partners that provide lyrics in its information boxes. After the WSJ article was first published, Google released a statement that said it was investigating the problem and would stop working with lyric providers who are “not upholding good practices. In the future, Google will start including attribution to the company that provided the lyrics in its search results. “We will continue to take an approach that respects and compensates rights-holders, and ensures that music publishers and songwriters are paid for their work,” Salgar wrote. Genius, which launched as Rap Genius in 2009, has been at loggerheads with Google before. In 2013, a SEO trick Rap Genius used to place itself higher in search results ran afoul of Google’s web spam team. Google retaliated by burying Rap Genius links under pages of other search results. The conflict was resolved after less than two weeks, but during that time Rap Genius’ traffic plummeted dramatically.
Microsoft’s first data center regions in the Middle East are now generally available.
Microsoft today announced that is first data center regions in the Middle East are now online. The data centers are located in Abu Dhabi and Dubai and will offer local access to the usual suite of services, including Azure’s cloud computing services and Office 365. Support for Dynamics 365 and Microsoft’s Power Platform will arrive later this year.
The company first announced these new regions last March. Back in 2017, Microsoft’s cloud rival, Amazon’s AWS, said it would offer a region in Bahrain in early 2019. This region is not online yet, but is still listed as ‘coming soon‘ on the service’s infrastructure map. Google currently has no data center presence in the Middle East and hasn’t announced any plans to change this.
Focals by North smart glasses
The concept of an IRL heads-up display has been a part of science fiction since basically the beginning. Big players have tried their hand at it with less than stellar results — most notably Google with Glass, and more recently Intel’s Vaunt. But North may have cracked the nut on smart glasses with Focals.
They are not perfect by any stretch of the imagination — they’re slightly heavy and don’t feel quite as seamless as science fiction promised they would — but this may be the best pair of smart glasses yet.
Blue Prism acquires UK’s Thoughtonomy for up to $100M to expand its RPA platform with more AI.
Robotic process automation which lets organizations shift repetitive back office tasks to machines to complete has been a hot area of growth in the world of enterprise IT, and now one of the companies that’s making waves in the area has acquired a smaller startup to continue extending its capabilities. Blue Prism, which helped coin the term RPA when it was founded back in 2001, has announced that it is buying Thoughtonomy, which has built a cloud-based AI engine that delivers RPA-based solutions on an SaaS framework.
Huawei predicts $30B in lost revenue.
Huawei says US ban will cost it $30B in lost revenue.
Following a string of trade restrictions from the U.S., China’s Huawei expects its revenues to drop $30 billion below forecast over the next two years, founder and chief executive Ren Zhengfei said today.
That said, Ren claimed that after a period of adjustment, Huawei’s output will be “rejuvenated” by 2021.
Microsoft brings its To-Do app to Mac.
The company announced its To-Do app is live on the Mac App Store, where it will support most of the core features right away, including the ability to create and manage tasks, work offline, share lists, utilize tags and more. It also will integrate with Microsoft Outlook to pull in your “Flagged” email list and will support integration with Planner soon, allowing you to see any items assigned to you. The Mac version also takes advantage of its new platform to offer a handful of keyboard shortcuts, like ⌘2 to minimize the app so it only displays the list view, and ⌘1 to return to viewing all your lists. You can click on a task’s text to edit it directly from the list view, as well.
Fairjungle is a modern take on corporate travel management.
French startup Fairjungle wants to make it easier to book a flight or a hotel room for corporate purposes. Fairjungle is betting on a modern user experience and a software-as-a-service business model to change this industry. The idea is to make it feel more like you’re using a flight comparison service instead of a travel agency with a website. After searching for a flight or a hotel room, you can book directly from Fairjungle. This way, employees don’t have to download invoices and file expense reports on a separate platform every time they travel. Companies can set up different rules to keep costs down. For instance, a flight that is unusually expensive requires approval from a manager. Instead of charging per transaction, Fairjungle has opted for a SaaS model with a subscription of €5 per monthly active user.
Apple TV is getting a Picture-in-Picture mode so you can watch two shows at once.
Apple TV is getting a Picture-in-Picture mode that will allow users to stream two shows at the same time.
The feature’s forthcoming launch was first reported by Apple news site 9to5Mac earlier today, following today’s release of new beta software for all of Apple’s operating systems, including tvOS.
After installing tvOS beta 2, Twitter users noticed a new option — the ability to play content in a smaller window in the bottom-right of the screen, overlaid on top of the main Apple TV interface. Or, simply put, it’s a Picture-in-Picture mode.
Facebook announces Libra Cryptocurrency.
Facebook has finally revealed the details of its cryptocurrency Libra, which will let you buy things or send money to people with nearly zero fees. You’ll pseudonymously buy or cash out your Libra online or at local exchange points like grocery stores, and spend it using inter-operable third-party wallet apps or Facebook’s own Calibra wallet that will be built into WhatsApp, Messenger, and its own app. Today Facebook released its white paper explaining Libra and its testnet for working out the kinks of its blockchain system before a public launch in the first half of 2020.
Sprint is the latest telecom to offer a tracking device that uses LTE
Following in the footsteps of AT&T and Verizon*, Sprint is now offering an LTE tracker. The matchbook-sized device, simply called Tracker, provides real-time location tracking on Safe + Found app. The Tracker competes with Tile, but instead of Bluetooth, Sprint’s device uses 4G LTE, GPS and Wi-Fi location services, so it can be used to track things, people or pets that might travel a significant distance away, compared to a range of 100 ft to 300 ft for Tile (depending on the version). The Tracker is manufactured by Coolpad and users need to pay $2.50 per month for 24 months to cover the cost of the device, plus an additional $5 per month to connect it. AT&T and Verizon both launched LTE trackers over the past year and Apple is also rumored to be working on a tracking device that connects to iPhones, based on an asset package for pairing devices by proximity spotted in the first beta of iOS 13 by 9to5Mac.
Google to acquire analytics startup Looker for $2.6 billion
Google Cloud has been mired in third place in the cloud infrastructure market, and grabbing Looker gives it an analytics company with a solid track record. The startup has raised more than $280 million in funding.
Like other big acquisitions, this deal is subject to regulatory approval, but it is expected to close later this year if all goes well.
It sounds like Facebook’s cryptocurrency will be a stablecoin, transferable with zero fees via Facebook products including Messenger and WhatsApp.
Microsoft teases 8K Xbox
Microsoft is working to create its most powerful Xbox yet as it gears up for the next wave of gaming console hardware. Xbox shared some details on its next hardware at E3 and it sounds appropriately next-gen.
Microsoft’s Project xCloud preview launches in October
Big news out of today’s Microsoft press conference. A few days after Google finally revealed some long awaited details about its Stadia offering, Microsoft just gave us a lot more info on its competitor, Project xCloud.
Game Pass Ultimate brings Xbox subscriptions together at a discount
Xbox wants the future of the gaming business to lean heavily on subscription services. The company’s Game Pass service has let users download games from a pool of dozens of titles, now Microsoft is trying to make the offer too good to refuse by bundling Xbox Live Gold with the service for $14.99.
Apple puts accessibility features front and center
Although the meat of Apple’s accessibility news from WWDC has been covered, there still are other items announced that have relevancy to accessibility as well. Here, then, are some thoughts on Apple’s less-headlining announcements that I believe are most interesting from a disability point of view
This is a huge deal for Salesforce as the company continues to diversify beyond CRM software and into deeper layers of analytics.
Salesforce reportedly worked hard to buy LinkedIn (which Microsoft ultimately picked up instead). And while there isn’t a whole lot in common between LinkedIn and Tableau, this deal should help the company extend its engagement with existing customers.
Google Assistant comes to Waze navigation app
Ever since Google acquired Waze back in 2013, features from each have been slowly making their way back and forth between it and Google Maps — and today Waze gets a big upgrade with Google Assistant integration, which means you can use the smart voice companion within the app.
Microsoft acquires Psychonauts-maker Double Fine Productions
At its press conference, the company’s Xbox Game Studios head announced that Microsoft had acquired SF-based Double Fine Productions, a game creator that’s been around since 2000 and was founded by LucasArts’s Tim Schafer. As is the case with past acquisitions, it sounds like Double Fine Productions will continue to operate largely externally, now beneath the Xbox Game Studios entity.
HTC’s Vive Pro Eye headset is its latest enterprise play, integrating an eye-tracking camera to give users an additional input mode and a way for users to signal attention. It’s available in a bundle with SteamVR 2.0 base stations and Vive controllers for $1,599.
MIT AI tool can predict breast cancer up to 5 years early, works equally well for white and black patients
MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab has developed a new deep learning-based AI prediction model that can anticipate the development of breast cancer up to five years in advance.
The Office is leaving Netflix in 2021 because NBC wants it back
Well, it’s official: The Office is leaving Netflix .
Michael Scott and the rest of Dunder Mifflin will be heading for another streaming service come January 2021.
Google is building a new private subsea cable between Portugal and South Africa
Google today announced Equiano, a new private subsea cable that will connect Portugal and South Africa. The cable will be built by Alcatel Submarine Networks and the first phase of the project is scheduled for completion in 2021. In April, the WSJ first reported the company’s plans for this cable.
Amazon said to be launching new Echo speaker with premium sound next year
Amazon is reportedly looking to offer an Echo that more directly competes with high-end speakers like the Sonos line of devices or Apple’s HomePod, according to a new report from Bloomberg. The speaker should be released sometime next year, according to the sources cited in the report, and will be somewhat wider than the existing Echo models (perhaps more akin to the Echo Sub, pictured above), packing in four separate tweeters to help boost the sound quality.
Original Content podcast: Netflix thriller ‘Point Blank’ underwhelms
Point Blank,” a new Netflix original film, stars Frank Grillo and Anthony Mackie as a criminal and a nurse thrown together by circumstances — Abe (played by Grillo) is struck by a car while fleeing a murder scene, and he’s brought to the hospital where Paul (Mackie) works. Soon, Paul finds himself coerced into to breaking Abe out of the hospital.
Despite the presence of two Marvel stars (Grillo had a brief-but-memorable run in the Captain America movies as Brock Rumlow, while Mackie’s Falcon is about to become the new Captain America), “Point Blank” is a decidedly modest affair, focusing on these two men as they drive through the streets of Cincinnati, on the run from both the police and criminals.
Kibus is like a Keurig for your pet
In a pitch during a recent meeting at Brinc’s Hong Kong headquarters, the Barcelona-based team behind Kibus Petcare was quick to point out that most millennials consider pets “a member of the family.” That sort of statement manifests itself in various ways, of course, but for many, that means preparing home cooked meals for their dogs and cats.
Altitude Angel launches an API for safer drone flights
Altitude Angel, a U.K. startup that provides safety, data and traffic management systems for drones, is launching a de-confliction service for drone flights — available via its developer API platform.
“The dynamic system will continuously monitor the airspace around an aircraft for the ‘unexpected’ such as other aerial vehicles or changes to airspace (such as a Temporary Flight Restriction/Dynamic Geofence around a police incident),” it writes of the new service.
FaceApp gets federal attention as Sen. Schumer raises alarm on data use
It’s been hard to get away from FaceApp over the last few days, whether it’s your friends posting weird selfies using the app’s aging and other filters, or the brief furore over its apparent (but not actual) circumvention of permissions on iPhones. Now even the Senate is getting in on the fun: Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has asked the FBI and the FTC to look into the app’s data handling practices.
Coinbase tells you if top holders are buying or selling a crypto asset
Coinbase is taking advantage of its significant user base to give you more information about trading behavior and price correlation. Given that there are now 15 cryptocurrencies on Coinbase that you can trade, the new features should provide some signals.
Toyota locks in more than a supply of EV batteries in deal with China’s CATL
Toyota needs more than a secure and steady supply of batteries if it hopes to meet its ambitious global sales goal for electric vehicles. If it hopes to compete, the Japanese automaker will need better quality lithium-ion batteries that don’t squeeze profit margins.
Instagram will now hide likes in 6 more countries
Would the internet be a better place if we all paid a little less attention to fake internet points? Instagram is still trying to figure it out.
Just a few months back, Instagram started testing a design tweak that would no longer show the total number of “likes” other users’ posts had received. You could still see everyone that liked your photos and videos — but anyone else’s stuff? Don’t worry about it.
Twitter launches the ‘Hide Replies’ feature, in hopes of civilizing conversations
Twitter today is beginning its test of a radical and controversial change to its service with the launch of a new “Hide Replies” feature. Effectively, this option gives users the ability to wrestle back control over a conversation they’ve started by hiding any replies they feel aren’t worthy contributions — for example, replies that are irrelevant or outright offensive
Google is adding Find My Device and battery features to Fast Pair headphones
Introduced a few I/Os back, Fast Pair is Google’s attempt to make its own mark on the post-AirPod headphone landscape. Many of the features are similar to Apple’s offerings, but Google’s got a leg up in one key way: third-party hardware. Like Android, the company’s focused on bringing Fast Pair to as many manufacturers as possible.
Hold the first Moon rock ever collected with your smartphone
NASA is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing in a variety of ways today, but here’s one you can experience no matter where you are, provided you have a modern smartphone. NASA’s Astromaterials Research & Exploration Science (ARES) department has released a fully detailed model of the first ever sample of lunar soil and rock, bagged by Astronaut Neil Armstrong during humanity’s first-ever trip to the Moon’s surface.
Twitter tests a new way to label replies
Twitter is testing a new way to make conversation threads easier to follow, with the launch of a new test that labels notable replies with special icons. If the original poster replies somewhere in the thread, their tweet will have a small microphone icon next to their profile picture. Other tweets may be labeled, as well — including those from users who were mentioned in the original tweet and replies from people you’re already following on Twitter.
Google’s SMILY is reverse image search for cancer diagnosis
Spotting and diagnosing cancer is a complex and difficult process even for the dedicated medical professionals who do it for a living. A new tool from Google researchers could improve the process by providing what amounts to reverse image search for suspicious or known cancerous cells. But it’s more than a simple matching algorithm.
It looks like TikTok has acquired Jukedeck, a pioneering music AI UK startup
A key change is in the works for Jukedeck, a pioneering AI startup out of the UK which was building technology to create music using AI — including the ability to interpret video and automatically set music to it. The London company has reportedly been acquired by hot social media music startup TikTok, owned by China’s Bytedance.
Apple’s latest Tesla hire specializes in car interiors
Another high-level Tesla engineering executive has hopped over to Apple. Steve MacManus, who was vice president of engineering at Tesla, is now a senior director at Apple, according to an update on his LinkedIn profile.
Bloomberg was the first to report MacManus had taken the position at Apple. MacManus, whose was in charge of interior and exterior engineering, is the third Tesla executive to leave and take a position at Apple this year. He had been at Tesla since 2015.
Apple releases iOS 12.4 with potential software support for Apple Card
While iOS 13 is right around the corner with a ton of new features, it isn’t quite ready just yet. Apple has just released iOS 12.4, a new stable update. There aren’t many radical changes, but this is the first version that theoretically supports the Apple Card — the feature isn’t enabled just yet.
Apple has been testing its credit card for a few weeks now. According to Bloomberg, Apple’s retail employees have been able to sign up to the Apple Card with beta versions of iOS 12.4 and an invitation.
Pinterest launches wellness activities to help users cope with stress, anxiety
Pinterest has introduced emotional wellness activities tailored for the millions of users searching the visual pinboard for emotional health and related topics.
Created in partnership with Brainstorm, the Stanford Lab for Mental Health Innovation, Vibrant Emotional Health and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, the activities, meant for users to complete when they are feeling anxious, sad or stressed, include deep-breathing and self-compassion exercises.
Google intros Gallery Go offline photo editor
At an event this week in Nigeria, Google introduced Gallery Go, a photo management and editing tool designed for offline use. The new offering joins a suite of Google apps created specifically for users in developing markets, where solid online connections aren’t always a given.
Apple acquiring most of Intel’s smartphone modem business in $1B deal
Apple has entered into a deal to acquire a majority of Intel’s modem business, TechCrunch has learned. The deal, valued at around $1 billion, includes Intel IP, equipment, leases and employees, with Apple bringing over 2,200 new roles and bringing its portfolio up 17,000 wireless technology patents.
Apple could gradually switch to new laptop keyboard mechanism starting this fall
Reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo from TF International Securities has released a new report, as Apple Insider spotted. I’ve read the report and it focuses specifically on keyboard suppliers that would potentially work with Apple . And the company should potentially replace the unreliable butterfly mechanism with a new scissor mechanism.
Occipital’s Structure Sensor Mark II is a smaller and much improved 3D scanner for your iPad
Back in 2013, Occipital (a company then best known for making the RedLaser barcode scanning app) released the Structure Sensor, a device that turned any iPad you strapped it to into a portable 3D scanner.
Six years later, they’re back with the next one: Structure Sensor Mark II. It’s about half the size, but considerably more capable.
Cryptocurrency loan site YouHodler exposed unencrypted user credit cards and transactions
A cryptocurrency loan startup exposed reams of customer credit cards and user transactions for almost a month — because it forgot to protect the server with a password.
Security researchers Noam Rotem and Ran Locar found the database belonging to YouHodler, a lending platform designed for cryptocurrency, which claims to have processed $10 million in loans to more than 3,500 customers.
Huawei and Google were reportedly building a (now suspended) smart speaker
I suspect we’ll be hearing a lot about sidelined Huawei projects in the coming weeks and months. Add this one to the list: The Chinese hardware giant was reportedly teaming with Google on a smart speaker before all hell broke loose with the Trump administration ban.
Google teams up with VMware to bring more enterprises to its cloud
Google today announced a new partnership with VMware that will make it easier for enterprises to run their VMware workloads on Google Cloud. Specifically, Google Cloud will now support VMware Cloud Foundation, the company’s system for deploying and running hybrid clouds. The solution was developed by CloudSimple, not VMware or Google, and Google will offer first-line support, working together with CloudSimple.
Google’s Pixel 4 smartphone will have motion control and face unlock
Google’s Pixel 4 is coming out later this year, and it’s getting the long-reveal treatment thanks to a decision this year from Google to go ahead and spill some of the beans early, rather than saving everything for one big, final unveiling closer to availability.
The new “Motion Sense” feature in the Pixel 4 will detect waves of your hand and translate them into software control, including skipping songs, snoozing alarms and quieting incoming phone call alerts, with more planned features to come, according to Google.
Microsoft acquires data privacy and governance service BlueTalon
Microsoft announced that it has acquired BlueTalon, a data privacy and governance service that helps enterprises set policies for how their employees can access their data. The service then enforces those policies across most popular data environments and provides tools for auditing policies and access, too.
Huawei’s first 5G phone goes on sale in China next month
Huawei on Friday announced the upcoming release of its first 5G handset in its home market. Following on the heels of its U.K. debut, the Mate 20 X is currently up for pre-order, with an expected China arrival of August 16.
The handset beats the foldable Mate X to market, in spite of that handset having made its debut way back at Mobile World Congress in February. Of course, companies are understandably cautious about foldables in the wake of the mess with the Samsung Galaxy Fold, which finally got an approximate release date last week.
PBS coming to YouTube TV later this year
YouTube TV has landed another network partner: PBS. The public broadcaster’s member stations will be able to stream live and on-demand to YouTube TV subscribers beginning later this year, PBS and YouTube announced today.
This is the first digital TV provider partnership for PBS, and the broadcaster is intent upon providing local live streams to “as many Americans as possible” with the move. The partnership will also include PBS KIDS, providing educational and entertainment content for children via the platform. All content will be available through YouTube TV video-on-demand, and recordable via its DVR service without limits on how much content users can store.