Facebook to Appeal German Order on WhatsApp Data

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Facebook has said it would request against an order by a German privacy regulator to stop collecting and storing data of German users of its messaging app WhatsApp and to delete all data that has already been forwarded to it.

The Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information said Facebook was trespassing data protection law and had not obtained effective approval from WhatsApp’s 35 million users in Germany. “After the acquisition of WhatsApp by Facebook two years ago, both parties have publicly guaranteed that data will not be shared between them,” commissioner Johannes Caspar said in a statement.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Microsoft Partners Up

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Microsoft and Bank of America Merrill Lynch have joined forces on a project to use blockchain technology to make trade finance transactions faster, cheaper, safer and more transparent, the companies said. The two multinationals said at the Sibos financial services conference in Geneva that they would build and test the technology and create a blockchain-based framework that could eventually be sold to other businesses.

Blockchain works as an electronic record-keeping and transaction-processing system that permits all parties to track information through a secure network and requires no third-party verification. Proponents of the technology, which creates from digital currency bitcoin, say that it will make all kinds of transactions faster, more consistent and easier to audit because it does not require manual processing, nor authentication through intermediaries.

IoT Devices Used To Spread Malware and Botnets?

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Cybercriminal networks are taking advantage of security shortcomings in Internet of Things (IoT) devices to spread malware and generate zombie networks, or botnets, without the knowledge of their device owners, cyber security firm Symantec has found.

Symantec’s Security Response team discovered that cybercriminals are hijacking home networks and everyday consumer connected devices to help carry out Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks on more profitable targets, usually large companies.

A DDoS attack is an attempt to make an online service inaccessible by overwhelming it with traffic from multiple sources.

More than half of all IoT attacks originate from China and the US, based on the location of IP addresses to launch malware attacks.

Renault Partners With Microsoft

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Renault SA’s carmaking alliance with Nissan Motor Co is partnering with Microsoft Corp to improve cloud-based services for cars, a step toward the group’s plans to build self-driving automobiles by 2020.

The services, based on Microsoft’s Azure cloud service, will comprise advanced navigation, predictive maintenance and over-the-air software updates.

Renault and Nissan plan to launch more than 10 vehicles with autonomous drive technology by 2020. In January, the alliance hired former Nokia executive Ogi Redzic to lead its connected car efforts.

The alliance said last week it would buy French software development company Sylpheo to offer new services with ride hailing and car sharing.

Microsoft Partners with Adobe

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Tech giants Microsoft and Adobe today announced a major partnership to endorse the use of each other’s cloud-computing tools among their mutual customers. Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s chief executive, called the deal a “massive milestone,” in the presence here with Shantanu Narayen, his Adobe counterpart. The deal follows a pact last year that linked some Adobe products to Microsoft’s customer relationship management tools.

Cloud-computing, a growing business in which companies progressively turn to rented, web-based infrastructure to run their software instead of their own back room servers, has a been a showcase of Microsoft’s newfound willingness to partner with erstwhile competitors. Under the new deal, the maker of Photoshop will use Microsoft’s network of on-demand data storage and processing power to run its web-based digital media and marketing software.

Google Launches Community Moderation Program

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YouTube just launched a program that rewards volunteers for enlightening the YouTube community in various ways.

Participating in the community gains users reward points, and there are five tiers of heroes. Points are awarded for flagging videos as part of the YouTube Trusted Flagger program. The Trusted Flagger program is invite only, and gives select users more advanced flagging tools. Users can sign up for the Trusted Flagger program here.

Points are awarded for adding subtitles and captions to any videos. This makes the videos available to more people, including those who cannot use speakers, or those who cannot hear. Helping out other users and responding to queries on the YouTube Help forum also awards points to Heroes.

Tinder Launches Stacks for iMessage

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The swiping gesture is a defining experience in Tinder. Tinder is now bringing ‘Swipe to like’ gesture to iMessage users with the new app called Stacks, by Tinder. To install the app, users have to navigate to the iMessage App Store, and search for Tinder, not Stacks or Tinder Stacks. The Tinder app shows the Stacks logo. The app is available in India.

Users are then prompted to start a stack. A Stack is a collection of photos, where each image is called a Card. Once a Stack is created, they can be shared with contacts. The friends then have to swipe to vote on each Card in the Stack. Users can swipe on their own Stack of photos too. Each swipe counts as a vote.

Once all the votes are in, users can review the results for the stack. Votes for ‘no’ get counted next to a pink cross, votes for ‘yes’ get counted next to a green heart. The feature is meant to contain friends in the decision making process of choosing between alternatives. It can be used to choose a particular set of glasses, an image to use as a display picture or a dress for a night out.

Do You Know the Number of Registered Domain Names In Internet Today? Check Out

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Nearly 7.9 million domain name registrations were added to the internet in the second quarter of 2016 globally — a growth rate of 2.4 percent over the first quarter — global domain and internet service provider VeriSign Inc. said on Wednesday. It brings the total number of domain name registrations to approximately 334.6 million across all top-level domains (TLDs) as of June 30 this year, according to the latest Domain Name Industry Brief.

The .com and .net TLDs experienced aggregate growth in the second quarter of 2016, reaching a combined total of approximately 143.2 million domain name registrations in the domain name base. This represents a 7.3 percent increase year over year. New .com and .net domain name registrations totalled 8.6 million during the second quarter of 2016. In the second quarter of 2015, new .com and .net domain name registrations totalled 8.7 million.

Apple In Talks McLaren Supercars?

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Apple has been linked with a shock £1.5bn deal to buy McLaren Technology Group, the Formula One team owner and supercar maker.

A deal between Apple and the British company would intensely shake up the technology and automotive industries. The California-based company’s interest in McLaren Technology Group highlights its ambition to develop technology that could be used in an electric and driverless car.

Apple has approached McLaren about a takeover but could also make a planned investment in the company, the Financial Times reported.

McLaren denied that it was in talks with Apple, but it said: “As you would expect, the nature of our business means we often have confidential conversations with a wide range of parties, and they need to remain so.

“We can confirm that McLaren is not in discussion with Apple in respect of any potential investment.”

Apple said it “does not comment on rumors or speculation”.

Google Maps Acquires City Traffic Data Analytics Startup

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Urban Engines is a data analytics startup that focuses on tracking the movement of people and vehicles in urban areas, and churning that data into actionable insights to progress mobility. Urban Engines products use some of the same techniques available to make navigating the web faster, and more personalized, to real world cities. The movements of vehicles and people are tracked, and the flow of traffic analysed.

This can be used by corporations to plan better trips, by city planners to anticipate and make for heavy traffic events, and by consumers to intelligently plan routes. Urban Engines products can also handle what if situations, where different flows and traffic patterns are emulated based on known data. This is a accurate, and more advanced form of traffic modeling as seen in the city building game, Sim City.

Twitter Eases Its 140-Character Limit

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Twitter announced today it was easing its 140-character limit on tweets, implementing a policy announced in May to no longer factor certain add-ons including pictures into a message’s length. “Say more about what’s happening! Rolling out now,” said an official tweet from the social network, which is seeking to widen its appeal.

The new policy frees media attachments such as photos, videos and polls from the character limit, as well as tweets that are quoted in a retweet. The move comes as Twitter’s efforts to surge its user base and engagement have been sputtering, raising questions about its growth trend. Amid reports that Twitter may be seeking ways to cut costs or even sell itself, the San Francisco-based service has been adding new features including live video.

Google Acquires Api.ai

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Google has just acquired conversational user interface provider Api.ai. Api.ai software is used in chatbots, wearables, apps, smart cars, home automation kits and smart TVs. The user interfaces are both text and voice based. Chatbots using Api.ai technology are on Slack, Facebook Messenger, Twitter, Skype, Slack, Telegram and Microsoft Cortana, among other platforms. Over 60,000 developers are using Api.ai to deliver conversational interfaces.

Api.ai was launched in 2014, and its adoption has been enthusiastic since then. Api.ai offers text recognition, speech recognition and natural language processing in 14 languages. There are knowledge packages included, which permit looking up weather data, flight schedules, news events and encyclopedias. There are preset domains that allow agents to process requests. These include shopping, home automation, notes, maps, sports and taxi searchers, among others.

Plan Your Vacations with Google Trips App

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Google claims that its next mobile app will just make planning vacations easy. Aptly named, the Trips app will be made available for both Android and iOS.

The app is being described as a travel guide and itinerary maker that will pull up all the information like flight itineraries, hotel reservations and so on from your Gmail. You just need to tell the app, where you have to go, download the guide for offline use and it will start planning.

Oracle Predicts: 80% Global IT Spending Will Be On Cloud

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Oracle Corp has predicted a sharp drop in the traditional IT spending of businesses across the globe over the next decade, making way for cloud services and leaving more room for innovation than hardware and software maintenance. The forecast comes even as Oracle Corp has acquired a US-based cloud security start-up founded by two techies of Indian origin, Rohit Gupta and Ganesh Kirti.

“By 2025, 80 percent of IT budgets will be spent on cloud, and not on traditional IT. Almost all of the new applications will be on SaaS (Software as a Service) applications by 2025,” Oracle Corp CEO Mark V. Hurd told reporters here. “The spending on cloud infrastructure will continue to accelerate. It will not again be linear. It will be geometric in terms of the speed by which it will move,” Hurd said at the Oracle OpenWorld 2016 Conference here.

Google Duo Is Now Being Advertised

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Google did emphasize plenty on Duo at its Google I/O event back in May, but with the video calling service launched, is finding more ways to make it more popular. Android Police tells us that the easy to use video calling service is now being advertised on its search homepage, Google.com, that should help spread the news about the service a lot quicker.

Turns out that not every country will be seeing the text advertisement with a link on the Google.com homepage. So far this seems to be appearing only in the US region. The fact is that Google rarely uses its homepage for product advertisements. You will see messages showing up on Google.com only the event of a natural calamity and when it comes to disaster relief. The only other occasion when Google used the service, was back in 2012 to advertise its Nexus 7 tablet.

Google Allo To Be Launched Soon

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At the I/O this year, some of the biggest highlights were Allo and Duo apps. While Duo is out, the company was to release Allo sometime later in summer. We’ve already seen screenshots revealing some of the features of the Allo, and now news has it that the app may launch anytime soon. This bit of news comes from none other than prolific tipster Evan Blass. He claims that Allo will be launched anytime this week.

It was just recently that early testers of Allo leaked some screenshots of the incognito mode, revealing end-to-end encryption and its Snapchat-inspired feature. According to the report, there will be diverse graphics in the background to differentiate normal chats from the incognito ones.

Twitter Upgrades Its Messaging Service

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Twitter is rolling out upgrades to its messaging service on Android and iOS. The messaging service, “Direct Messages” is bundled with the micro blogging experience in the Twitter App. The company announced the developments via a tweet, highlighting read receipts, typing indicator and detailed preview for links.

This is a far-cry from a time when external links were banned in DMs. The new features are being rolled out in a staged rollout so it may be a while before everyone receives the update. We received the update on our Twitter client for Android which detailed the features.

Alphabet Partners With Sanofi

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French drugmaker Sanofi and Google owner Alphabet’s life sciences firm Verily are to invest about $500 million in a diabetes joint venture joining devices with services, an example of growing ties between the pharma and tech sectors. Sanofi, which made the announcement on Monday, said last year it was working on a partnership with Google in diabetes.

“The company will leverage Verily’s experience in miniaturized electronics, analytics, and consumer software development, with Sanofi’s clinical expertise and experience in bringing innovative treatments to people living with diabetes,” the two companies said in a statement on Monday.

Instagram Launches New Features

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Instagram has just announced that it will be rolling out an update which will contain a comment moderation feature. All users on Instagram will now get the ability to have control over the comments that they get on their pictures.

This feature was first launched for all business accounts a few months back and now it will the photo-sharing social network is making its default and custom comment keyword blacklisting feature available to all users.

Microsoft Allows You Add Guests to Office 365

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Microsoft is known to add timely tweaks to its products, and this time its Office 365 gets a new add guest functionality. Now, this makes sense considering sometimes you may need help from people outside the group who aren’t staff members or say member of your particular group.

In a blogpost, Christophe Fiessinger, senior program manager for the Office 365 Groups team writes, “We are rolling out guest access functionality in phases. Starting today, group owners can add guests to a group in Outlook on the web. Once added, guests receive a welcome email, are granted access to group files in SharePoint Online, begin receiving email messages and calendar invites sent to the group, and can access the group in Office on the web and the Outlook Groups mobile application. They also have automatic access to cloud-based file attachments.”