Apple Moves to Block IP Addresses from Advertising Trackers

At its WWDC21 developers’ conference this week, Apple revealed tweaks to consumer privacy rules that will limit advertisers’ ability to track users’ activity and gain information from data brokers. These changes will impact many Apple devices, not just iOS 15. Apple earlier curbed in-app tracking, another move that concerned advertisers. Apple senior vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi said the changes would block IP addresses from being transmitted to websites visited in Apple’s Safari browser. Continue reading Apple Moves to Block IP Addresses from Advertising Trackers

WWDC: Apple Unveils New Silicon Chips, macOS, iOS, More

At WWDC this week, Apple officially announced its plan to move from Intel chips to ARM-based “Apple Silicon” chips. With its own chips, Apple will no longer have to rely on Intel’s update cycles. It also means that Apple will be able to bring its customized neural engines to Macs for tasks that use machine learning. Apple stated that developers will be able to create apps that run on ARM-based Macs in Xcode’s new version, which will also continue to support Intel x86 Macs. Additionally, the company announced iOS 14 (with home screen widgets), iPadOS 14 (with Scribble handwriting-to-text conversion), macOS and Safari upgrades, spatial audio for AirPods Pro, Apple TV updates, and more.  Continue reading WWDC: Apple Unveils New Silicon Chips, macOS, iOS, More

Hulu Launches Watch Party Feature to Enable Social Viewing

Hulu is the first major streaming platform to launch a built-in Watch Party feature that allows its subscribers to watch a show in a group chat room. During COVID-19 shutdowns, watch parties have become increasingly popular, although most are enabled by third-party apps and services rather than built-in social viewing features. The Hulu Watch Party feature is now available to web users who subscribe to the platform’s ad-free plan. Plex also launched a Watch Together feature that works with the user’s own media and the company’s on-demand content. Continue reading Hulu Launches Watch Party Feature to Enable Social Viewing

Scener Offers Virtual Theater and Video Chat for HBO, Netflix

WarnerMedia’s HBO has partnered with Seattle-based Scener to allow HBO Now and HBO GO subscribers to create a private virtual theater, including video chat, for up to 20 people. Scener already allows co-viewing for Netflix accounts. This is HBO’s first significant partnership with an online co-viewing platform. Scener co-founder Joe Braidwood said the company saw a “crazy surge in demand” for the product with the COVID-19 pandemic. The partnership, which began in March, includes a new design for the site and update for Google Chrome browsers. Continue reading Scener Offers Virtual Theater and Video Chat for HBO, Netflix

Google Chrome to Adopt New Coalition for Better Ads’ Rules

Beginning in August, Google Chrome will block the Internet’s most intrusive ads: long pre-roll video ads that can’t be skipped, mid-roll ads that appear part way through a video, and large display ads covering more than 20 percent of the screen. These ad types will be banned only on short-form videos under eight minutes. Google’s move follows new rules just set by the Coalition for Better Ads (CBA), whose other members include Facebook, the Interactive Advertising Bureau, and the World Federation of Advertisers. Continue reading Google Chrome to Adopt New Coalition for Better Ads’ Rules

Nvidia Debuts GeForce Experience Feature for Game Sharing

As part of a beta release of GeForce Experience, Nvidia is introducing GameStream co-op, which allows two gamers to play with a single copy by one streaming the game to another PC. The co-op feature, which resembles Sony’s Share Play feature on PlayStation 4, allows for three different modes of play. It is based on the same technology found in Nvidia’s GameStream service, which lets users stream a game from their PC, over a local network, to another device, such as a Shield tablet. Continue reading Nvidia Debuts GeForce Experience Feature for Game Sharing

Security Researcher Reports Privilege-Escalation Bug in OS X

A privilege-escalation bug was identified in the latest version of Apple’s OS X this week by security researcher Stefan Esser. The vulnerability reportedly provides hackers with root user privileges that make it possible to infect Macs with rootkits and other malware. This type of bug is commonly used to bypass security protections created for applications and operating systems. According to Esser, the vulnerability can be found in OS X Yosemite 10.10.4 and the beta version of 10.10.5, but not in the recent beta version of El Capitan 10.11. Continue reading Security Researcher Reports Privilege-Escalation Bug in OS X

Google Experiments with New Approach to Individual Privacy

Google is re-evaluating its privacy standards with a new open source tool that is designed to maintain confidentiality among participants being evaluated in heavy data sets. The ongoing project, known as RAPPOR, stems from a 1960’s technique that disrupts the correlation between a given data point and the individual behind that data point. The project is set to preserve the privacy and identity of the individual that is often vulnerable in the hands of companies today. Continue reading Google Experiments with New Approach to Individual Privacy

Encrypted Communication Tools Seeking Mainstream Users

Apps and other products that enable encrypted communication are on the rise. Even tech giants like Google and Yahoo have promised to give encrypted sites a higher ranking in search results and to start encrypting emails. However, the creators of encryption apps, such as ProtonMail or Bleep, are still looking for mainstream users, not just gadget enthusiasts or security-conscious professionals. These companies are targeting mainstream users concerned about their privacy. Continue reading Encrypted Communication Tools Seeking Mainstream Users

Google Reveals Mobile Strategy with Android Restructuring

Google announced that Andy Rubin, who has overseen the Android mobile operating system since 2004, will step down from his position. The announcement is the latest development in Google’s broad master plan for mobile. In Rubin’s place will be Sundar Pichai, the current head of Google’s Chrome Web browser and Chrome OS project, suggesting a future union between Android and Chrome. Continue reading Google Reveals Mobile Strategy with Android Restructuring

HP Releases $330 Pavilion 14, Largest Chromebook on Market

HP unveiled its first Chromebook last week, joining Samsung, Acer and Lenovo as companies manufacturing hardware that now supports Google’s Chrome OS. The Pavilion 14 Chromebook is the largest offering to date, with a display that is about 2-inches wider diagonally than any Chromebook currently on the market. It also comes with 100GB of free storage on Google Drive for two years. Continue reading HP Releases $330 Pavilion 14, Largest Chromebook on Market