Google launches Podcasts app for Android

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Google has never really shown much interest in podcasts — despite their age and popularity — but today this changes. The company has launched a new Android app called simply Google Podcasts complete with ubiquitous AI for personalized suggestions. Available in 47 languages, the app currently provides access to a collection of around two million podcasts, but this number is likely to grow very quickly. Google boasts of integration with Google Assistant and Google Home, the main benefit of which is being able to start a podcast on one device and continue on another. See also: Google updates Android Messages… …Continue reading on BetaNews

Bricked iPhones with ‘Error 53′ just cost Apple $6.7 million in Australia

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Apple has been hit with an AUS $9 million ($6.7 million) fine for misleading customers in Australia. More than two years ago Apple started to “brick” iPhones that had been fixed at non-authorized third-party repairers, generating an Error 53. Apple admitted to intentionally preventing certain repaired iPhones and iPads from working for security reasons, but later apologized and issued a fix. However, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) sued Apple for “misleading or deceptive conduct”, and now an Australian court has hit the iPhone-maker with a multi-million dollar fine See also: Australia sues Apple over iPhones bricked by Error… …Continue reading on BetaNews

Senate opposes Trump and votes to reinstate US ban on ZTE

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ZTE has had a tough time of things in the US, having been slapped with a Denial Order that forced it to close its main operations. Despite the sanctions, President Trump expressed a desire to get the company back up and running, implementing a huge fine which ZTE agreed to pay in order to be allowed to operate in the US again. But in a blow to the Trump administration and its work with Chinese president Xi Jinping, the Senate has voted to amend the National Defense Authorization Act to reinstate sanctions on the company. See also: ZTE agrees to… …Continue reading on BetaNews

Microsoft issues statement distancing itself from ICE’s separation of children from parents

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The separating of children from parents at the US southern border has created international outrage — and lots of rhetoric from President Trump on Twitter. When Microsoft removed from its website a reference to working with ICE, the company found itself pulled into the political debate. A blog post from January this year saw Microsoft stating it was “proud” to be working with ICE. When this was spotted, people took to social media to call out Microsoft, making references to the child separation policy; shortly afterwards, the ICE reference was deleted. Now it is back, and Microsoft has issued a… …Continue reading on BetaNews

Google updates Android Messages so you can send texts from the web

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Google is rolling out a series of changes to Android Messages, one of which makes it possible to send text messages from the comfort of your computer. Called “Messages for web” the feature enables users to use a desktop web browser to send SMSes rather than their phone. While this is almost certainly the biggest and most exciting changes for Messages, Google is also pushing a number of other new features to the app, including Smart Replies, GIF search and link previews. See also: Google enters ‘strategic partnership’ with China’s JD.com Android emulator Andy OS seems to be secretly installing… …Continue reading on BetaNews

Microsoft strengthens its education offerings by acquiring video discussion platform Flipgrid — and makes it free

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Microsoft has acquired Flipgrid, a social video discussion platform used in classrooms around the world. The acquisition strengthens Microsoft’s educational offerings and helps it to better compete with rivals Google and Apple. Flipgrid is used by million of students and teachers to collaborate on lessons, covering everything from Pre-K to PhD level. The acquisition is great news for schools: Microsoft is slashing the current price tag of $1,000, and making the service free just like Office 365 for Education. See also: Microsoft to stop offering support for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 in forums Microsoft wants you to know Windows… …Continue reading on BetaNews

Apple will automatically share the location of 911 callers in iOS 12

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Apple has announced that with iOS 12, iPhone users in the US will be able to automatically share their location with first responders when they make 911 calls. Building on its currently-used location technology, Apple says that it will start to use RapidSOS’s Internet Protocol-based data pipeline to quickly and securely share HELO (Hybridized Emergency Location) data with 911 centers. See also: Apple is updating iOS to lock out police iPhone hacking tools Apple reveals performance-focused iOS 12 for a massive range of iPhones and iPads Apple updates App Store rules to prevent devs gathering data from contacts The company… …Continue reading on BetaNews

Android emulator Andy OS seems to be secretly installing a Bitcoin miner

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Cryptocurrency mining malware has become a serious problem recently, and it seems the latest people to fall victim to the threat are users of the Android emulator Andy OS — also referred to as AndY and Andyroid. The emulator makes it possible to run Android software within Windows or macOS, but it appears that the installation harbors a dark secret — a GPU miner trojan that secretly mines for Bitcoin. Over on Reddit there are large numbers of upset users trying to find out what’s going on. See also: Bitcoin plummets after hackers steal $37 million from South Korean cryptocurrency… …Continue reading on BetaNews

Google enters ‘strategic partnership’ with China’s JD.com

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Google is deepening it drive into China, and now the search giant has announced a $550 million “strategic partnership” with Chinese ecommerce goliath JD.com. This is far from being Google’s first venture in China, but the major investment shows the company’s eagerness to take advantage of the market. It will enable Google to better take on the likes of Amazon in Asia, and it will also help JD.com to expand its operations to other parts of the world. See also: Kaspersky: Chinese hackers LuckyMouse hit national data center Facebook confirms data-sharing agreement with Chinese companies including Huawei Apple removes apps… …Continue reading on BetaNews

Researchers develop SafeSpec to overcome vulnerabilities like Spectre and Meltdown

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Computer scientists from the University of California, the College of William and Mary, and Binghamton University have published a paper detailing a new “design principle” that avoids speculative execution vulnerabilities. Researchers says that the SafeSpec model supports “speculation in a way that is immune to the sidechannel leakage necessary for attacks such as Meltdown and Spectre”. Importantly, the design also avoids the problems associated with other Meltdown/Spectre fixes. See also: CVE-2018-3665: Floating Point Lazy State Save/Restore vulnerability affects Intel chips Spectre and Meltdown variant 4: Microsoft, Google and Intel reveal new Speculative Store Bypass chip vulnerability Intel: some processors will… …Continue reading on BetaNews

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