Washington Post Turns to Google Tech for Faster Mobile Site

The Washington Post is unrolling a new “lightning-fast” mobile website based on Google’s Progressive Web Apps that loads pages in under one second; the current mobile site loads pages in about three seconds. The goal is to create the fastest mobile news site possible, says chief technology officer Shailesh Prakash, who notes that 70 percent of the newspaper’s digital traffic is from mobile devices. The Post plans to direct 10 percent of traffic to the new site now, segueing to a complete switch by the end of the year. Continue reading Washington Post Turns to Google Tech for Faster Mobile Site

Samsung Recalls Galaxy Note7 Phablets Due to Battery Fires

On the eve of Apple’s expected new iPhone unveiling September 7, Samsung announced on Friday that it is recalling its Galaxy Note7 due to a problem with the battery cell that could lead to overheating. The world’s biggest maker of smartphones plans to replace 2.5 million phones shipped to consumers and stores. Reports first appeared online when users posted images and videos of charred phones that had reportedly exploded, often while charging. Manufacturing the replacement phones will take two weeks, according to Samsung, although it has yet to say how much the recall will cost the company. Continue reading Samsung Recalls Galaxy Note7 Phablets Due to Battery Fires

GoPro Doubles Down on Entertainment with 32 New Programs

GoPro has been in the content business for some time, making money with branded video (including partnerships with Ford and Wimbledon), a content licensing portal (especially action-sports clips shot with GoPro), and a YouTube channel with more than 4 million subscribers and 1.25 billion video views. Now, GoPro is committing to entertainment in a new way: launching 32 short-form shows through the end of 2016 and into early 2017. The company is differentiating itself from rivals by offering video editing tools in the cloud. Continue reading GoPro Doubles Down on Entertainment with 32 New Programs

Facebook Algorithm Ends VR Nausea for User-Shot 360 Video

After buying Oculus in 2014, Facebook furthered its ambitions in virtual reality last fall by creating a computational photography team made up of former Microsoft experts. They were tasked with creating photo and video features that bring virtual reality to the greater public. One of the first projects was to enable 360-degree photos on Facebook. Now, Facebook is offering automated video stabilization for 360-degree videos shot by consumer-level cameras, a big step in avoiding the nausea that VR can induce in some people. Continue reading Facebook Algorithm Ends VR Nausea for User-Shot 360 Video

WhatsApp Updates Privacy Policy, Shares Data with Facebook

When Facebook bought the popular free messaging service WhatsApp, it promised it wouldn’t change the privacy policies. Now the company has done just that, and organizations including the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) and the Center for Digital Democracy are not happy. Facebook has stated it will now connect users’ phone numbers with Facebook’s systems, offering “better friend suggestions” and more relevant ads. The new approach will help Facebook finally monetize WhatsApp. Continue reading WhatsApp Updates Privacy Policy, Shares Data with Facebook

Latest Chips from Intel Designed for Playing 4K Video on PCs

Intel just debuted its seventh generation of PC chips, featuring a built-in ability to play and edit Ultra HD and 4K video. The chips reflect the fact that an increasing number of younger consumers use portable computers as their go-to device for viewing video content. Although Netflix, most notably among others, has created 4K video programs, consumers have been limited in their ability to see it in its native resolution. The new chips accommodate both HEVC and VP9 compression and support copyright protection software. Continue reading Latest Chips from Intel Designed for Playing 4K Video on PCs

Apple to Debut New iPhones, Apple Watch and iOS 10 Update

On September 7, Apple will unveil upgraded iPhones, an Apple Watch with GPS tracking and new health features, and, for iPhones and iPads, an iOS 10 software update. The company is developing new iPad features geared for professionals, including a software-upgrade with better OS support for the stylus. Also new are the latest versions of the iMac desktop, MacBook Air laptop, a thinner MacBook Pro and, in partnership with LG Electronics, a 5K standalone monitor. The only Mac to have been updated since last year is the 12-inch MacBook. Continue reading Apple to Debut New iPhones, Apple Watch and iOS 10 Update

YouTube Rolls Out TV App Designed for Living Room Viewing

YouTube just upgraded its TV application to be easier to use on actual television sets, a response to the growing popularity of cord cutting, smart TVs and streaming media players. The company’s latest app will feature a redesigned look and has organized its categories to better reflect how people use YouTube on bigger screen devices in the living room. More specifically, consumers who watch YouTube videos on TV screens rather than mobile devices or desktops, tend to browse for content. Continue reading YouTube Rolls Out TV App Designed for Living Room Viewing

Scandy Introduces SDK for 3D Scanning via Android Devices

Scandy, a company with technology for printing 3D images on demand, is now debuting a beta version of a $500 tool to scan objects in 3D from Android devices. The company relies on 3D sensors from chip tech provider pmd to achieve 0.3mm feature precision, a degree of resolution ordinarily found only in much more expensive toolsets. The company is also making its Scandy Core software development kit available to developers, with the idea that they will create innovative, 3D scanning products and services. The beta program is open now. Continue reading Scandy Introduces SDK for 3D Scanning via Android Devices

FCC Pushes for 5G Standards with Emphasis on Cybersecurity

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler is reminding the tech industry that cybersecurity standards should be a significant consideration while moving forward with the development of 5G wireless Internet. Last week, the FCC published a request “for comment on a new set of proposed 5G rules to the Federal Register focused on adding specific ‘performance requirements’ for developers of example Internet-connected devices,” reports FedScoop. Companies interested in a license to access 5G spectrum will need to comply with the new requirements, which will include network security plans. Continue reading FCC Pushes for 5G Standards with Emphasis on Cybersecurity

Security Alert: Apple Urges iPhone Users to Update Their iOS

The NSO Group, an Israeli firm that sells software for invisibly tracking mobile phones, is believed to be responsible for leveraging three security vulnerabilities in Apple devices to spy on journalists and dissidents. The software can reportedly be used to access passwords, emails, text messages, calls, contacts and more. Apple fixed the security flaws 10 days after two researchers provided the tip. The company urges all users to download the latest version of iOS. “Apple on Thursday released a patched version of its mobile software, iOS 9.3.5,” reports The New York Times. “Users can get the patch through a normal software update.” Continue reading Security Alert: Apple Urges iPhone Users to Update Their iOS

Google Pursues Original VR Content Prior to Daydream Debut

Google is readying Daydream VR, a store/software service, set to debut around the same time as new Android phones, VR headsets and controllers. Daydream will offer users apps from YouTube and HBO Now among others. Google is also investing in original content to help build the buzz for its platform, including 360-degree projects with YouTube stars such as the Dolan twins and Justine Ezarik, as well as projects from Hulu. The goal is to become the dominant way that consumers interact in VR. Continue reading Google Pursues Original VR Content Prior to Daydream Debut

Fast, No-Frills Video Chat App Google Duo Launches Today

Google Duo is a new video chat app that just debuted specifically for mobile. The Verge describes the FaceTime competitor as “fast, easy to use, and devoid of complicated bells and whistles. You tap on the face of the person you want to call, they answer, and you have a one-on-one video chat going.” The single-minded approach is meant to be simple — including the setup process that merely involves a sign-up and confirmation — and “no accounts to create nor friend lists to maintain.” Duo is simply tied to your phone number and contact lists, and is available for both Android and iOS. It does not enable conference calls or desktop calls. Continue reading Fast, No-Frills Video Chat App Google Duo Launches Today

Facebook Unveils Tools, Metrics to Improve Video Production

Not long ago, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg predicted that video would be the dominant means of communication on the social platform. To give that goal a leg up, the company unveiled tools to help video creators improve the odds of engaging audiences. The video analytics include the ability to break down minutes of a video view by age, gender and geographic location. Facebook also introduced tools to help creators tell stories with 360 videos, by enabling a “guide” of story points that viewers can opt to follow. Continue reading Facebook Unveils Tools, Metrics to Improve Video Production

Ad-Free Facebook is Still Possible, According to Adblock Plus

Yesterday we reported that Facebook is now able to block all ad blockers on its desktop website, sparking a discussion about the ethics of ad blocking. Popular ad-blocking software, Adblock Plus, has since posted instructions online for users to adjust their ad-blocking software by updating their filter lists so they can block Facebook ads again. Meanwhile, Facebook was quick to respond, expressing disappointment that Adblock’s workaround also removes posts from friends and Pages, in addition to ads. Facebook is reportedly rolling out a code update that will counter Adblock’s workaround. Continue reading Ad-Free Facebook is Still Possible, According to Adblock Plus

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