Google’s Update to AMP Format Intends to Curb Link Baiting

Starting in February 2018, Google will require AMP pages (Accelerated Mobile Pages) — which load faster with fewer ads and links — to contain nearly identical content to the website’s original page. The goal is to prevent website owners from publishing two versions of a webpage whereby the AMP page merely directs users to the original page, or what Google calls the canonical page. The original page loads more slowly than an AMP, contains more ads and might have a lower bounce rate (of users who only view one page). Continue reading Google’s Update to AMP Format Intends to Curb Link Baiting

Chrome Tightens Up Security Warnings for Unencrypted Sites

In January, Chrome will begin placing a “not secure” warning on the left of its address bar for websites that do not use strong HTTPS-connected encryption, which accounts for nearly half of the world’s existing sites. Up until then, Chrome has only posted warnings on HTTPS sites with faulty encryption. Later in 2017, Chrome plans to expand the categories of sites for which it will issue warnings, including any unencrypted pages visited via Chrome’s Incognito and any HTTP site offering downloads. Continue reading Chrome Tightens Up Security Warnings for Unencrypted Sites

Showgoers: Chrome Plugin Powers Shared Viewing for Netflix

For those who want a more social TV viewing experience, Showgoers is a new and interesting solution. The Chrome extension enables far-flung friends to watch the same movie or TV show featured on Netflix and play, pause or seek specific segments, simultaneously. Not surprisingly, the idea was born out of a long-distance relationship; the developer created Showgoers to create another experience that the couple could share. Although Showgoers can’t get around geographical blocking, it is simple to set up — and free. Continue reading Showgoers: Chrome Plugin Powers Shared Viewing for Netflix

New Twitter Feature Offers Workaround to Character Limitation

Twitter has officially launched its “retweet with comment” feature, which enables users to embed a tweet in a tweet — and bypass the social platform’s 140-character limit in the process. This will allow users to share and comment on tweets without the need to shorten the original tweet, while preserving context and meaning. (However, users are not able to embed the full retweet and comment.) The new feature is currently accessible via the Twitter site and iPhone app; an update to the Android app is expected soon. Continue reading New Twitter Feature Offers Workaround to Character Limitation

New Domain Names: Get Ready for the Dot-Everything Boom

Around 1,000 new domain names are about to be added to the Internet, and as a result, on February 4th, anyone will be able to scoop up new Web addresses using these domains. The common standard domain names are the .com, .org and .net suffixes. But the number of generic top-level domain names (or gTLDs) will soon expand to include names like .coffee, .soy, .dot and .lol, among many others. This major shift could resemble the online real estate market of the dot-com boom era. Continue reading New Domain Names: Get Ready for the Dot-Everything Boom

Engineers Defaulting to Encrypted Browsing for the Internet

The engineers behind the Internet Engineering Task Force are responding to public outcry over Internet surveillance by encrypting Web traffic with plans for a revamped system by the end of next year. In light of National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden’s exposure of the agency’s mass Internet surveillance, the effort will introduce the default of encryption in Internet browsing, intended to reduce the ease of snooping. Continue reading Engineers Defaulting to Encrypted Browsing for the Internet

MPAA Study Highlights Role of Google Search in Online Piracy

The Motion Picture Association of America released a report yesterday that criticizes the impact of Google and other search engines on the piracy of movies and television shows. The report determined that between 2010 and 2012, search engines influenced 20 percent of sessions that resulted in acts of piracy. The largest share of search queries (82 percent) that led to infringing film and TV content URLs originated from Google, according to the study. Continue reading MPAA Study Highlights Role of Google Search in Online Piracy

Is Carrier IQ, Samsung and HTC Violating the Federal Wiretap Act?

  • After an Android security researcher discovered that CarrierIQ was capable of collecting personal information from SMS, emails, photos, keystrokes and URLs, the company has been the target of severe criticism.
  • Now, CarrierIQ faces a class action lawsuit — as do Samsung and HTC — for violating the Federal Wiretap Act.
  • Plaintiffs are demanding millions of dollars in penalties paid to users with the logging software on their devices.
  • The company vehemently denies the charges, restating that the software is used solely to help wireless operators provide optimal service by logging information concerning dropped calls and failed messages.
  • TechCrunch notes that no carriers face charges as of yet, but are likely to in the near future.

Carrier IQ Responds with Claim its Software Only Monitors Service Messages

  • Earlier this week, ETCentric featured a PC World article that claimed “an app called Carrier IQ is logging literally everything you are doing on your smartphone including keystrokes, SMS messages and HTTPS sessions.”
  • The network diagnostic tool maker has since told AllThingsD it does not log or understand keystrokes but only monitors them looking for a specific code that support technicians use to cue appropriate diagnostic information.
  • CIQ also noted that it does not read SMS messages or content associated with website URLs even though it can see messages come in or capture URLs.
  • “Okay. Then what information is being captured and passed along to the carriers who use Carrier IQ?” asks AllThingsD. “Data related to call quality, battery life, device crashes — everything you’d expect, really.”
  • Andrew Coward of Carrier IQ explains, “If there’s a dropped call, the carriers want to know about it. So we record where you were when the call dropped and the location of the tower being used… Similarly, if you send an SMS to me and it doesn’t go through, the carriers want to know that, too. And they want to know why — if it’s a problem with your handset or the network.”
  • According to a related Ars Technica article, Apple has issued a statement hoping to curb fears about tracking via the iPhone and iPad: “We stopped supporting Carrier IQ [a piece of software that tracks user activity] with iOS 5 in most of our products, and we’re going to remove it completely in a future software update.”