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Software Bug Gives Spyware Free Rein With a Single WhatsApp Call
May 15, 2019
Many users of Facebook's WhatsApp messaging software are scrambling to patch the program in response to news of a flaw that allowed spyware to be installed on mobile phones running Android and iOS. "This new type of attack is deeply worrying and shows how even the most trusted mobile apps and platforms can be vulnerable," said Mike Campin, vice president of engineering at Wandera.
Flexa Launches Crypto-Based Payment App
May 14, 2019
Flexa has launched a new digital payment network that uses cryptocurrencies to cut processing costs, eliminate fraud and preserve users' privacy. The network uses Flexa's Spedn app to process consumer transactions at cooperating merchants. The new payment platform makes it possible to spend Bitcoin, Ether, Bitcoin Cash and the Gemini dollar at any of the merchants currently accepting payments.
SCOTUS Greenlights Apple App Store Antitrust Lawsuit
May 14, 2019
The U.S. Supreme Court has given thumbs up for a class action antitrust lawsuit to proceed against Apple for alleged monopolistic practices at its App Store. In the case, Apple Inc. v. Pepper et al., the consumer plaintiffs maintain the Cupertino, California, company has monopolized the retail market for the sale of apps, and that it used its position to charge higher-than-competitive prices.
New Apriva Partnerships Promise Mobile Shopping Innovations
April 24, 2019
Apriva has announced partnerships with AveriGo and Vagabond to offer innovative mobile shopping and payment solutions. Apriva offers an adaptive platform for secure mobile communications and omnichannel payments. Both its new partners are in the vending and F&B service industries. AveriGo offers the Averiware business platform. Vagabond offers technologies for the convenience services industry.
Snapchat Refreshes App to Revive Prospects
April 9, 2019
New augmented reality features, an SDK for Stories, and a games platform highlighted Snapchat's first developer's conference. AR features announced at Snap's first Partner Summit: solving math problems by pointing the app's camera at them; AR effects for monuments, pets and people; buying what the camera sees through Amazon; and identifying songs through Shazam.
With More Than 8 Billion Things, Where Are the IoT Privacy Laws?
April 4, 2019
No one knows for sure how many "things" are connected to the Internet, but the Federal Trade Commission reported last year that it was more than 8 billion, and that it would exceed 20 billion by the end of 2020! Astonishing as it seems, it turns out that U.S. privacy laws do not apply to all of those devices and the data they collect. So, for the third time in three years, the Senate has proposed a new law.
Walmart Lets Customers Use Google Assistant to Voice-Order Groceries
April 3, 2019
Walmart has launched a limited beta of Walmart Voice Order, which lets consumers order groceries by voice using Google Assistant. The service can be used with a number of devices: tablets, watches and TV sets running Android 6.0+; smartphones running Android 5.0+; iOS 10.0+ devices; Google Home; and more. "This announcement is huge," said Ray Wang, principal analyst at Constellation Research.
Apple Wants Its Credit Card in Your Digital Wallet
March 27, 2019
Apple has announced a virtual credit card built into the wallet app on iPhones. Apple Card sports a number of features aimed at helping consumers lead a healthier financial life. "With our hardware, software and services, we think that Apple is uniquely positioned to make the most significant change in the credit card experience in 50 years," said Apple CEO Tim Cook.
Apple Presents Its Spin on Entertainment and News
March 26, 2019
Apple announced a raft of new services, including original TV programming and news and magazine offerings, at an event held at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California. The Apple TV+ service, which will launch in the fall, already has a number of high-profile shows in its lineup, including Amazing Stories, a science fiction anthology produced by Steven Spielberg.
Telegram Provides Nuclear Option to Erase Sent Messages
March 26, 2019
Telegram Messaging has introduced a new feature that allows user to delete not only their own comments, but also those of all other participants in the message thread on all devices that received it. Although the move is meant to bolster privacy, it's likely to spark some controversy. Telegram, a cloud-based instant messaging and VoIP service, is similar to WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.
AR in Harry Potter Game Is Next Best Thing to Real Magic
March 15, 2019
Niantic last week offered a few members of the gaming press a chance to take in the magic of its upcoming Harry Potter: Wizards Unite augmented reality game. The game, which is being developed as part of a joint effort with WB Games San Francisco under the Portkey Games label, promises to build on Niantic's hugely popular Pokémon Go mobile phone game.
Is Your Site Mobile Perfect? How to Catch Buyers Who Never Stand Still
March 9, 2019
Mobile search and buying continue to grow as the chosen means for consumers' online shopping, with the market set to reach an estimated $218 billion in 2019. By 2021, it's estimated that 72.9 percent of online purchases will be made on a mobile device. If you factor in the Millennial and Generation Z demographics, virtually all sales soon will be mobile-generated.
Android Addition Opens FIDO Password Killer to Billions
February 26, 2019
The FIDO Alliance hammered another nail into the passwords coffin with the announcement that devices running Android 7.0 or higher will be compatible with FIDO2, the latest version of its authentication solution. Certification of Android 7.0+ means devices running those versions of Google's mobile operating system will support FIDO2 out of the box or through a software update.
Apple's Plans for Subscription News Service Irk Publishers
February 14, 2019
Apple plans to launch a subscription news service at an event next month. Described as "Netflix for news," it would let customers access an unlimited amount of content from publishers for a single monthly fee. It will be based on a reworked version of Texture, the media subscription service Apple purchased last year. The monthly fee for the service is expected to be about $10.
Zuckerberg's Take on Facebook's History Raises Eyebrows
February 6, 2019
Musing about Facebook's first 15 years, CEO Mark Zuckerberg positioned it as a David confronting a Goliath composed of hierarchical institutions. Facebook gives the masses a voice, he wrote. It brings communities together and provides businesses with low-cost outreach. Progress has been made in addressing the new social and ethical issues raised, including protection of privacy, he said.
Apple to Raise Barrier Against VR, AR Websites
February 6, 2019
The next upgrade of Apple's mobile operating system will come with an annoying surprise for VR and AR developers. It reportedly will block Web access to the accelerometer and gyroscope in Apple mobile devices by default. That means users will have to grant permission to any Web apps or sites that need those components to function, including those with VR and AR components.
New Android Apps Come to the Aid of Hearing-Impaired
February 5, 2019
Google has announced two new Android applications designed to make life easier for deaf and hard-of-hearing people. One of the apps, Live Transcribe, turns live speech into real-time captions by using a phone's microphone; the other, Sound Amplifier, improves a phone's sound output. Live Transcribe, which works on Android 5.0 Lollipop and up, will be available in 70 languages and dialects.
Apple Banishes Facebook Data Reaper From iPhones
January 31, 2019
Apple has blocked a Facebook app that paid users for total access to all network data. The controversy over use of the Facebook Research app erupted earlier this week, with a report that revealed Facebook was paying users $20 a month for root network access to their phones. Facebook was on-boarding users of the program, which included teenagers, through Apple's Enterprise system.
Apple Squashes FaceTime Eavesdropping Bug
January 30, 2019
Apple has suspended its Group FaceTime application following reports that a bug in the software allowed callers to eavesdrop on the people they were calling. The flaw let a person making a FaceTime call listen through the phone of the person called before the call was accepted or rejected. It reportedly also allowed access to the front-facing camera in an iPhone.
Driving Smart Home Product Value Through AI Applications
January 29, 2019
Annual sales of all connected home devices are expected to exceed 520 million units by 2022, based on Parks Associates forecasts. Specific use cases for artificial intelligence in the smart home will help drive adoption of new devices and services as intelligent outcomes increase product value. Security use cases are the leading drivers of adoption.
Marketing Mindfulness: A New Age of Digital Consciousness
January 25, 2019
In this era of stress and anxiety, being able to slow down, breathe, and focus on the moment at hand are key skills for surviving and being successful. Mindfulness has become a vital commodity, and those who can coach others to live more mindfully are in particularly high demand. An industry has grown up that offers everything from streaming yoga classes to meditation apps.
YouTube TV Hits Screens Across Most of the US
January 24, 2019
YouTube TV will be rolling out to an additional 95 markets in the U.S., almost doubling its coverage. The streaming video service already covers the top 100 markets in the country, and the expansion will enable it to reach more than 98 percent of households in the U.S., YouTube said. There are roughly 120 million TV households in the U.S., but only about 108 million households have broadband.
Apple Pay's US Expansion Will Fuel Mobile Payment Turf Wars
January 23, 2019
Apple on Tuesday announced more large retailers will accept Apple Pay: Target, Taco Bell, Hy-Vee supermarkets in the Midwest, Speedway convenience stores, and the Jack in the Box fast food chain. With those additions, 74 of the top 100 merchants in the United States, and 65 percent of all retail locations across the country, now support Apple Pay, the company said.
Google Assistant Gets More Features, Greater Reach
January 10, 2019
Google this week debuted a slew of new capabilities for Google Assistant at CES in Las Vegas. The new Connect platform lets device manufacturers incorporate Assistant into their products easily and cost-effectively. Connect uses Google's existing smart home platform to expand to new device types, while making device setup and discovery easy for consumers.
Firework Offers Snack-Size Original Content
December 19, 2018
Firework this week released a collection of shows consisting of 12 episodes that will run just 15-seconds each. The first, "Fireside Chat featuring Molly Tarlov," debuted Tuesday. Three more followed on Wednesday, and another is scheduled for release on Dec. 28. Users can download the episodes via the Firework app, which is now available on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
Location Data Selling Threatens Consumer Privacy
December 11, 2018
Selling location data collected by mobile phones has become a lucrative business, according to a report that noted location advertising sales are expected to reach $21 billion this year. At least 75 companies receive anonymous, precise location data from applications with the location services feature activated. Several of those outfits claim to track 200 million mobile devices in the U.S.
Salesforce IoT Insights Could Turbocharge Field Service
December 6, 2018
Salesforce has announced the addition of IoT Insights to Field Service Lightning. The new tool permits signals from IoT devices to show up directly on Salesforce Service Cloud and Field Service Lightning mobile app consoles, alongside CRM data. Service organizations can draw on those IoT signals to anticipate and diagnose issues remotely, determine the source of the problem.
Facebook Staffers Once Brainstormed Ways to Sell User Data: Report
November 30, 2018
Facebook at one time considered charging companies for access to its user data, according to a report based on three pages of unredacted material from an 18-page document showing portions of some internal Facebook emails, mainly from about 2012 to 2014. The documents are linked to a lawsuit, Six4Three LLC v. Facebook Inc., alleging that Facebook's data policies were anticompetitive.
Star Explorer Mae Jemison: The Sky Connects Us
November 13, 2018
Mae Jemison recently shared some illuminating recollections of her astronaut experiences, but they were neither the starting point nor the ending point of our conversation. This extraordinary woman's career is too packed with present and future endeavors to dwell very long on her stellar past. She currently leads 100 Year Starship, which aims to make interstellar travel a reality within a century.
How to Protect Your Online Privacy: A Practical Guide
November 7, 2018
Do you take your online privacy seriously? Most people don't. They have an ideal scenario of just how private their online activities should be, but they rarely do anything to actually achieve it. The problem is that bad actors know and rely on this fact, and that's why there's been a steady rise in identity theft cases from 2013 to 2017, often resulting in loss of reputation or financial woes.
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How do you feel about the latest wave of automation fueled by tech advances?
It's happening much too quickly, and too many jobs are at stake.
Automation means progress -- it's inevitable.
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Automation fosters ignorance by taking over too many human tasks.
Automation frees people from boring, mind-numbing jobs.