Technology

Sub-categories

Technology • Smartphones, Hardware & Gadgets
Amazon introduces new Echo Buds with improved performance and design
Echo Buds, Glacier White
Echo Buds, Glacier White Credit: Amazon

Amazon has announced the launch of its second-generation wireless earbuds "Echo Buds", featuring a more comfortable design as well as improved active noise cancellation and better microphones.

“The all-new Echo Buds are better in so many ways—a smaller design, a more comfortable fit, Active Noise Cancellation technology, a new color and wireless charging option, and high-performance drivers for dynamic audio,” said Tom Taylor, Senior Vice President, Amazon Alexa.

Technology • Smartphones, Hardware & Gadgets
Next Apple event apparently on April 20, according to Siri
Next Apple event apparently on April 20, according to Siri
Credit: Apple

The date for this Spring's Apple event will take place on April 20, according to Siri. When asked about the date of the next Apple, Siri responded with "The special event is on Tuesday, April 20, at Apple Park in Cupertino, CA. You can get all the details on Apple.com," MacRumors reported.

Technology • Internet & Web
Facebook tests flagging satire articles because users don't recognize them
Facebook tests flagging satire articles because users don't recognize them
Credit: Courtesy of Facebook via Twitter

To help Facebook users better distinguish satire media from real news in the future, the social medium is now introducing a matching marker. Facebook announced the feature on Wednesday, rolling it out only in the U.S. for now.Satire, officials and fans

Posts that originate from officials, fan pages and satire pages will also be marked as such in the future. Some users seem to fall for contributions from satirical magazines like "The Onion" in particular, as they imitate the tone of real news media. Last year, such markings were already introduced for state-controlled media.

Technology • Internet & Web
Facebook is beta testing a Clubhouse-Inspired audio Q&A feature
Facebook is beta testing a Clubhouse-Inspired audio Q&A feature
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Logo Facebook (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Facebook ran its first public beta test of Hotline — a web-based Q&A platform that seems like it was dreamed up as the platform’s answer to the current voice chat app craze started by Clubhouse.

Creators will address an audience of users, who will then be able to respond by asking questions with either text or audio. Unlike Clubhouse - which is strictly an audio-only platform - Hotline users will have the option to turn their cameras on during events, adding a visual element to an otherwise voice-dominated experience.

Technology • Internet & Web
Canva acquires free stock photo sites Pexels and Pixabay; launches monthly subscription service
Canva acquires free stock photo sites Pexels and Pixabay; launches monthly subscription service
Credit: Logos: Canva, Pexels, Pixabay

Online graphic design platform Canva has acquired the free stock content sites Pexels and Pixabay and launches a monthly subscription service for stock photography. Content from both Pexels and Pixabay will remain "completely free under a Creative Commons CC0 licence."

“We believe everyone should have access to great design ingredients for their visuals; this is why free content will always play a central role in Canva’s vision of democratizing design. Together with Pexels and Pixabay, we’ll be able to help people discover a whole new world of amazing, fresh content. With over 1 million images downloaded over 500 million times on their platforms combined, both Pexels and Pixabay have proven that there is a huge demand for free, quality content from small businesses, social media marketers and others — not just from designers and companies with big budgets,” so Melanie Perkins, CEO and cofounder at Canva.

Technology • Internet & Web
Facebook account data of over 500 million accounts found available online
Facebook account data of over 500 million accounts found available online
Credit: unsplash.com / Tim Bennett

The details of over 500 million different Facebook accounts have been found on a website available for hackers.

When first reported by Business Insider, it is said that the information may be a couple of years old.

The information available includes phone numbers, Facebook IDs, full names, locations, birthdates, and email addresses

Technology • Internet & Web
LinkedIn is also working on a Clubhouse rival
LinkedIn is also working on a Clubhouse rival
Credit: unsplash.com/Greg Bulla

Unlike the Clubhouse rivals being built by Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn believes its audio networking feature will be differentiated because it will be connected with users' professional identity, not just a social profile. This focus on creators puts LinkedIn on a competitive footing in terms of expanding its own Clubhouse rival, compared with other efforts by Facebook, Twitter, Telegram, or Discord - all of which have their own audio-based networking features in various stages of development at this time.

Technology • Smartphones, Hardware & Gadgets
Microsoft to produce augmented reality headsets for US Army
Microsoft to produce augmented reality headsets for US Army
Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft announced Wednesday that it will produce over 120,000 augmented reality headsets for the US Army based on their Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) program. The contract, which could span over 10 years, is worth up to $22 billion.

Technology • Internet & Web
Brazilian Central Bank authorises money transfers via WhatsApp
WhatsApp screens displaying bank transfers
WhatsApp screens displaying bank transfers Credit: WhatsApp

The Brazilian Central Bank granted on March 30th operating authorizations that allow the carrying out of bank transfers by WhatsApp. According to the model authorized by the Central Bank, WhatsApp will only initiate transactions between customer accounts at the financial institutions in which they are account holders. Also, according to the BC, transactions can be made from the date when WhatsApp makes the functionality available to the customer and the rate charged for the bank transaction will be defined by the application. In a press release, the Central Bank estimated that the measure could lead to a reduction in the costs of financial transactions.

Technology • Internet & Web
Apple announces virtual WWDC 2021 event for June
Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference kicks off online beginning June 7, 2021.
Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference kicks off online beginning June 7, 2021. Credit: Apple

Apple has announced its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on Tuesday. The event will take place from June 7 to June 11 and will be in "an all-online format".

“We love bringing our developers together each year at WWDC to learn about our latest technologies and to connect them with Apple engineers,” said Susan Prescott, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide Developer Relations and Enterprise and Education Marketing. “We are working to make WWDC21 our biggest and best yet, and are excited to offer Apple developers new tools to support them as they create apps that change the way we live, work, and play.”

Technology • Internet & Web
Google to pay Italian publishers for news
Google to pay Italian publishers for news
Credit: Google

Google has announced its first agreements with Italian publishers for Google News Showcase.. Google will pay Italian publishers for content and will give them access to Google News Showcase, a new product launched in late 2020 that will allow them to enhance their online content and strengthen their relationship with their readers. Publishers that signed are RCS Media Group, il Sole 24Ore, Gruppo Monrif, Caltagirone Editore, il Fatto Quotidiano, Libero, Il Foglio, Il Giornale, Il Tempo, Ciaopeople, Edinet, Gruppo Corriere, Citynews and Varese web.

Technology • Internet & Web
Prince Harry joins Silicon Valley start-up BetterUp as chief impact officer
Prince Harry joins Silicon Valley start-up BetterUp as chief impact officer
Credit: BetterUp

Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, is joining Silicon Valley start-up BetterUp, a mobile-based leadership development platform, as its chief impact officer.

"What caught my attention about BetterUp was that the company's mission to unlock the potential in people everywhere necessitates innovation, impact, and integrity. Their team has been delivering on that work for years," Harry wrote in a blog post on BetterUp's blog. "I've personally found working with a BetterUp coach to be invaluable. I was matched with a truly awesome coach who has given me sound advice and a fresh perspective."

Technology • Smartphones, Hardware & Gadgets
New York politician introduces "No Killer Robots Act" in order to ban armed robots
New York politician introduces "No Killer Robots Act" in order to ban armed robots
Credit: Courtesy of Twitter / BostonDynamics

New York City council member Ben Kallos has introduced the "No Killer Robots Act" as a preventative measure to expand the so-called Public Oversight of Surveillance Technology (POST Act) and prohibit the New York City Police Department (NYPD) from using or threatening to use armed robots in the future. Similarly, Kallos urges that robots not be used in a way "that has a high probability of causing death or serious bodily injury."

Technology • Smartphones, Hardware & Gadgets
Apple must pay two million dollar fine in Brazil for shipping iPhones without chargers
Apple must pay two million dollar fine in Brazil for shipping iPhones without chargers
Credit: unsplash.com / Adam Birkett

The Brazilian regulator for consumer protection, Procon-SP, has fined Apple the equivalent of two million US dollars. The reason is the company's practice of shipping the iPhone 12 and other new iPhones without an accompanying charger.

The penalty is justified by "misleading advertising and selling the device on unfair terms." Among other things, the regulator also criticizes Apple for not answering the question of whether they would also lower the selling price of the device given the lack of a charger.

Technology • Internet & Web
YouTube launches "Shorts" in the US
YouTube Shorts Beta
YouTube Shorts Beta Credit: YouTube, Google

YouTube Shorts Beta, a short-form video experience and TikTok competitor, has launched in the US on Thursday. Shorts features "a multi-segment camera to string multiple video clips together, the ability to record with music, control speed settings, and more" and offers users a feed or short videos directly in the YouTube app instead of a separate app. YouTube announced it will add more features over the following weeks, including "the ability to use audio from videos across YouTube".

Technology • Smartphones, Hardware & Gadgets
Peloton CEO warns to keep kids away from treadmills after "tragic accident involving"
Peloton CEO warns to keep kids away from treadmills after "tragic accident involving"
Credit: Peleton

Peloton CEO John Foley has issued a statement on the company's website warning owners of the Tread+ treadmill to keep both "children and pets away from Peloton exercise equipment at all times" after a "tragic accident involving a child and the Tread+, resulting in, unthinkably, a death."

"While we are aware of only a small handful of incidents involving the Tread+ where children have been hurt, each one is devastating to all of us at Peloton, and our hearts go out to the families involved," Foley wrote. "We design and build all of our products with safety in mind. But in order to help ensure that you and your family members stay safe with Peloton products in your home, we need your help. This is especially true during what I hope is the final stretch of the pandemic where everyone is still at home."

Technology • Internet & Web
Facebook building a version of Instagram for children under 13
Facebook building a version of Instagram for children under 13
Credit: Logo via Instagram, Illustration by Ashley Winkler for Pendect

Facebook is building a version of the photo-sharing tool Instagram specifically for children under the age of 13, an effort to get its popular products into the hands of the next generation of internet users. Instagram, bought by Facebook almost a decade ago for $1 billion, has become one of its most popular products at a time when its main social networking property has failed to resonate with some younger users.

The new project will be overseen by the head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri and led by Vice President Pavni Diwanji. BuzzFeed notes that Instagram had just this week published a blog post addressing bullying among its younger teenage users. "To address this challenge, we're developing new artificial intelligence and machine learning technology to help us keep teens safer and apply new age-appropriate features."

Technology • Internet & Web
Google Play halves fees for many app providers if they turn over less than a million dollars a year in the Play Store
Google Play halves fees for many app providers if they turn over less than a million dollars a year in the Play Store
Credit: unsplash.com / Obi Onyeador

Following Apple's lead, Google is now also lowering the levy for app developers who earn less than a million dollars a year through the internet company's software marketplace. Instead of the usual 30 per cent, they are to cede 15 per cent from 1 July, as the company announced on Tuesday. After reaching the million mark, 30 per cent of sales via the Play Store will be due again.

According to the company, this step will halve the charges. However, one should also bear in mind that the majority of sales in the app stores for Android and iOS are made by the most popular programmes. Nothing will change for their developers. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of apps whose creators will benefit from the regulation are likely to generate little or no significant revenue anyway due to a lack of visibility and demand.

Technology • Internet & Web
Report: Only 111 accounts are responsible for vast amount of anti-vaccination disinformation among US Facebook users
Report: Only 111 accounts are responsible for vast amount of anti-vaccination disinformation among US Facebook users
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler. (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

According to documents obtained by The Washington Post from an internal investigation at Facebook, 111 users were responsible for half of all anti-vaccination content on the U.S. part of Facebook. Besides, there might be a significant overlap between communities that are sceptical of vaccines and those affiliated with QAnon.

Facebook spokeswoman Dani Lever has stated that "Public health experts have made it clear that tackling vaccine hesitancy is a top priority in the COVID response, which is why we’ve launched a global campaign that has already connected 2 billion people to reliable information from health experts and remove false claims about COVID and vaccines,"

Technology • Internet & Web
Match Group to introduce background checks to its dating platforms
Match Group to introduce background checks to its dating platforms
Credit: Tinder

The internet and technology company Match Group is rolling out a background check feature to its dating platforms in the United States in cooperation with Garbo – a female-founded and non-profit background check platform "designed to help proactively prevent gender-based violence in the digital age". Match will offer the service to its users later this year on its dating platforms, including Tinder, PlentOfFish, OkCupid and Hinge.

“For far too long women and marginalized groups in all corners of the world have faced many barriers to resources and safety,” said Tracey Breeden, Head of Safety and Social Advocacy for Match Group. “We recognize corporations can play a key role in helping remove those barriers with technology and true collaboration rooted in action. In partnership with Match Group, Garbo’s thoughtful and groundbreaking consumer background check will enable and empower users with information, helping create equitable pathways to safer connections and online communities across tech.”

Technology • Games
Fan solves problem with annoying loading times in "GTA Online" cutting them down by 70%
Fan solves problem with annoying loading times in "GTA Online" cutting them down by 70%
Credit: Courtesy of igta5

What the billion-dollar studio hasn't managed so far the user "tostercx" has succeeded in doing. Frustrated by the long time spent on the loading screen, he went in search of the cause and found it. He found two problems that massively delay the start of a game. Management of CPU threads was apparently a bottleneck, and the problem will be fixed with an official update.

Technology • Internet & Web
Facebook signs deal to pay News Corp for news in Australia
Facebook signs deal to pay News Corp for news in Australia
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler. (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Facebook is teaming up with News Corp Australia with a three-year partnership that was announced on Monday. It will allow content from much of Rupert Murdoch's local media empire to be featured on Facebook. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. The agreement adds to a stream of new partnerships News Corp has signed in Australia in recent weeks.

In a statement Monday, News Corp CEO Robert Thomson alluded to the firm's longtime battle, arguing that "Rupert and [co-chairman] Lachlan Murdoch led a global debate while others in our industry were silent or supine."

Technology • Internet & Web
Facebook to add labels to all Covid-19 vaccine posts
Facebook to add labels to all Covid-19 vaccine posts
Credit: Facebook

Facebook has announced that it is working closely with "national and global health authorities" to help its users "get credible information, get vaccinated and come back together safely." The company further added it will add labels o all Covid-19 vaccine posts "to show additional information from the World Health Organization."

Technology • Internet & Web
Google to face lawsuit over Chrome Incognito mode tracking
Google Chrome Incognito Mode
Google Chrome Incognito Mode Credit: Screenshot

As Bloomberg reports, Judge Lucy Koh has denied Google's request to dismiss the class action case. Koh determined that Google "did not notify" users it was still collecting data while Incognito's privacy mode was active, giving the plaintiffs enough ground to move forward with their case. Incognito mode's limitations are well-known among enthusiasts - it's really there to keep sites out of your local search history and cookies, not to block all potentially identifying traffic.

Technology • Games
Epic Games teases Fortnite appearance by Brazilian soccer star Neymar
Epic Games teases Fortnite appearance by Brazilian soccer star Neymar
Credit: Vlad Gorshkov

Epic Games and Brazilian soccer player Neymar are teasing a likely appearance by the star athlete in Fortnite on March 16th, with clues coming via a couple of tweets. Eurogamer first reported the news, including a video tweeted from the Epic Games account showing Neymar's No.

Live events in Fortnite have proven hugely popular, with a 2019 concert by Marshmello drawing 10 million people, which was a record event for the game at the time, and performance last year by Travis Scott, which also took place inside of Fortnite, drew more than 12 million people.

Technology • Internet & Web
Netflix to test new feature to prevent password sharing
Netflix to test new feature to prevent password sharing
Credit: unsplash.com/Charles Deluvio

In a move to prevent password sharing, Netflix is testing a new feature that would ask users to verify their account via e-mail or text code if they don't live in the same household as the account owner. According to some users, they received a notification, saying: "If you don't live with the owner of this account, you need your own account to keep watching."

"This test is designed to help ensure that people using Netflix accounts are authorised to do so," a Netflix spokesperson told BBC.

Technology • Internet & Web
LinkedIn suspends new sign-ups in China
LinkedIn suspends new sign-ups in China
Credit: unsplash.com/ inlytics | LinkedIn Analytics Tool

Microsoft owned professional network service LinkedIn has suspended new sign-ups in China to remain in "compliance with local law". The announcement comes a week after a cyberattack on Microsoft by a group that was "assessed to be state-sponsored and operating out of China."

"While we remain focused on our goal of creating economic opportunity for our members in China, we're temporarily pausing new member sign-ups for LinkedIn China as we work to ensure we remain in compliance with local law. We’re a global platform with an obligation to respect the laws that apply to us, including adhering to Chinese government regulations for our localized version of LinkedIn in China," the company said in a statement Tuesday.

Technology • Internet & Web
Twitter Spaces to launch publicly next month
Twitter Spaces to launch publicly next month
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler. (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Twitter Spaces, the social network’s Clubhouse rival, is working towards a public launch in April, the company announced in comments made in a public Twitter Space audio room on Wednesday.

While anyone can join an existing Spaces room right now on Twitter, only a small group of users have been able to host one. So, if you don't know or follow anyone who has access to Spaces, you might be completely missing out on the feature for now.

Technology • Internet & Web
Twitter is testing an improved image preview on its feeds
Twitter is testing an improved image preview on its feeds
Credit: Twitter Reproduction

Twitter is testing a new way to crop images in the timeline. The new tool will give users a preview of what an image will look like before publishing it.

Twitter also plans to show more full images. The company has been criticized for having a racial bias in the way it crops images.

Technology • Internet & Web
Hackers tap into 150,000 security cameras in the US
Hackers tap into 150,000 security cameras in the US
Credit: unsplash.com / Siarhei Horbach

Hackers have tapped into 150,000 US company surveillance cameras in hospitals, prisons, schools and police stations, among other places, according to a media report. Companies such as the electric car manufacturer Tesla and the IT security firm Cloudflare were also affected, as the financial service Bloomberg reported on Wednesday night. For example, the hackers would have shown footage from Tesla's Shanghai site. The Californian start-up Verkada, from which the cameras originated, told Bloomberg in an initial reaction that it was investigating "the extent of the potential problem".