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Google Photos' face-grouping feature comes to Europe

Aug 22, 2019 - 8:26 PM - by Reverend
Google Photos recently hit one billion users after being spun out from Google+ just four years ago. One reason the product grew so quickly is its frequent updates, adding features like video animation and a crop and adjust tool for photographing documents.

Now, Google is rolling out its face-grouping feature across Europe. The feature was available in some regions since 2015, and it works by looking at all the photos on your device and creating a model of each face so it can group similar instances together. Then you can search your photos for particular people or create albums or movies of them.

If that sounds like an overstep of privacy, Google tries to mitigate this by making face groups and labels visible only to you. The face groups aren't shared when you share your photos, so theoretically they are only a tool for organization of your own photos. If you'd rather not share that much information about your friends and family, however, you can disable the feature to delete the face models saved on your device.

If you do enable the feature, you can find the face-grouped photos under the "People Explore" view. It even works with pets, according to Google.

If the automatic face detection doesn't work as well as you want, soon you'll also be able to manually tag faces, according to Google Photos' product lead David Lieb.

  0 Replies | 103 Views

Android Q quits sweet naming tradition. Is now Android 10

Aug 22, 2019 - 8:19 PM - by Reverend
Google on Thursday revealed that the next generation of its mobile operating system, previously called Android Q, will be ditching the dessert monikers that have been a part of its system updates for years. It will simply be known as Android 10.

"As a global operating system, it's important that these names are clear and relatable for everyone in the world. So, this next release of Android will simply use the version number and be called Android 10," Sameer Samat, vice president of product management for Android, wrote in a blog post. "We think this change helps make release names simpler and more intuitive for our global community."

Google is similarly updating its Android logo as part of this new idea, opting for a "more modern, accessible look."

While no date was given for when the new software will be available, the post says the new logo will be pushed out in the "coming weeks with the final release of Android 10."

Google has typically named its new flavors of Android alphabetically and after something sugary. For example, the previous Android version was called Pie. Before that was Oreo, preceded by Nougat and Marshmallow.

Google released the first preview version of the software in March and demoed more features at its annual I/O developer conference in May.

One of Google's key selling points for Android 10 is a new approach to keeping personal information private. The new privacy features come in the form of more granular location controls and a dedicated privacy section in the settings app.

Android 10 will also support foldable screens, faster app launches and full-on gesture navigation. Look for new Bubbles notifications and a slick Live Caption feature, too.

... [Read More]
  0 Replies | 205 Views

Instagram now lets users flag misinformation

Aug 16, 2019 - 8:54 PM - by Reverend
Instagram is rolling out a new feature that allows users to flag misinformation.

The Facebook-owned photo sharing platform said in a statement that the tool will be available to all users by the end of August.

"I'm proud that, starting today, people can let us know if they see posts on Instagram they believe may be false," Instagram chief Adam Mosseri said in a tweet. "There's still more to do to stop the spread of misinformation, more to come."

Like other social media platforms, Instagram has been used to spread fake news and misinformation. In May, the platform began blocking hashtags that promote misinformation about the safety of vaccines.

Instagram said that users will now be able to report misinformation by clicking the three dots in the upper right corner of every post, hitting buttons to designate it as "inappropriate" and then as "false information."

Flagged posts will be reviewed by fact checkers. Instagram said it would not remove false information, but problematic posts won't be displayed on the platform's search, hashtag or explore pages.

The new tool builds on a move Instagram made in May to use image detection to find content that was already debunked on Facebook.

"We will also use this feedback to train artificial intelligence technology, which will allow us to proactively find and rate misinformation on Instagram without the need for a report," Instagram said in the announcement.

  0 Replies | 301 Views

Serious Bluetooth flaw leaves devices open to attack

Aug 16, 2019 - 8:47 PM - by Reverend
A group of researchers has discovered a critical Bluetooth vulnerability that leaves tons of wireless devices exposed to digital intrusions. The Bluetooth SIG, an organization that oversees the technology's standards, has issued a security notice for what the researchers are calling Key Negotiation of Bluetooth or KNOB attack. It gives bad actors the ability to interfere with the Bluetooth pairing procedure, allowing them to make the connection's encryption key shorter than what it's supposed to be. That makes it easy for attackers to brute force their way into the connection and be able to spy on data shared between devices, such as between a phone and a speaker or a phone and another phone.

The fact that attackers can exploit the flaw even for devices that had been previously paired makes it even worse. According to the paper the researchers published, the vulnerability affects devices that use Bluetooth BR/EDR (or Bluetooth Classic) connection. The attack will only work if both devices establishing a connection have the vulnerability. That said, all the Bluetooth chips the researchers tested were vulnerable. KNOB's official website says:

"The KNOB attack is possible due to flaws in the Bluetooth specification. As such, any standard-compliant Bluetooth device can be expected to be vulnerable. We conducted KNOB attacks on more than 17 unique Bluetooth chips (by attacking 24 different devices). At the time of writing, we were able to test chips from Broadcom, Qualcomm, Apple, Intel, and Chicony manufacturers. All devices that we tested were vulnerable to the KNOB attack."

Tech giants like Apple and Microsoft have already rolled out patches to fix the flaw, and the Bluetooth Core Specification has been changed to require a minimum encryption key length. For those measures to work against what the researchers say is "a serious threat to the security and privacy of all Bluetooth users," though, people... [Read More]
  0 Replies | 392 Views

Windows 10 serves up more update pain with a side order of random reboots

Aug 16, 2019 - 8:43 PM - by Reverend
Windows 10 has hit more trouble, with the latest (August) cumulative update for PCs running the May 2019 Update apparently failing to install in some cases – with other worrying problems popping up, too, including random reboots.

The cumulative update in question is KB4512508 which comprises of security fixes for Microsoft’s browsers (Edge and IE), wireless networking, and input peripherals like your mouse and keyboard.

Some folks are seeing this cumulative update failing to install, with Windows 10 throwing out some typically useless error messages including ‘error 0x800f0982’ and ‘error 0x80073701’. Not very helpful when it comes to determining exactly what is going on here.

Disgruntled users have posted on Reddit and Microsoft’s own Answers.com forum, reminding the software giant that in some cases they were hit by a similar installation failure with a cumulative update last month.

Microsoft hasn’t chimed in with any potential solution or comment yet, but fingers crossed the firm is looking into the apparent issues.

One user on Answers.com suggests manually downloading and installing the update as a standalone package (rather than through Windows Update), which worked on their Surface Pro hybrid. Of course, your mileage may vary, but it might be worth a shot.

Other more radical suggestions include running a repair install on Windows 10, but rather than take more drastic action, many folks are simply preferring to pause updates for now, and hope Microsoft gets this sorted in short order.

... [Read More]
  0 Replies | 227 Views

Huawei unveils its rival to Android. It's called Harmony

Aug 09, 2019 - 8:40 PM - by Reverend
Huawei has finally unveiled its own operating system, a move that could help shield the smartphone maker from the escalating US-China trade war.

The reveal of Harmony OS comes months after the Chinese tech company was placed on a US trade blacklist that barred American firms from selling tech and software to Huawei unless they get a license to do so. That ban has prevented companies like Google from supplying new Huawei devices with its version of Android OS.

Harmony, which is called "Hongmeng" in Chinese, "is completely different from Android and iOS," Apple's operating system, said Richard Yu, the CEO of Huawei's consumer business group. He announced the software Friday at a developer conference in Dongguan, China.

Yu said that Huawei can start using Harmony in smartphones "at any time," but he said that the company is giving "priority" to Android right now.

"We will switch to [the] Harmony system when we can't use Android," he said, adding that it is "not that difficult" to migrate from Android to Huawei's own system.

Harmony will be deployed first in Huawei's smart watches, smart screens, smart speakers and other devices, including "in-vehicle systems." Devices that use Harmony will be integrated with each other.

The company also said that the operating system will be open sourced.

  0 Replies | 389 Views

» News Archive

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