Consumer Privacy Concerns May Affect Future of Digital Ads

Apple and Google are introducing privacy protections to thwart marketers from gaining access to consumer data when displaying ads, a change that is expected to seriously impact the online advertising schema that is the bedrock of ‘free’ apps and websites like Facebook and TikTok. In April, Apple iPhones debuted a pop-up window that asks people for permission to be tracked by apps. Google has outlined plans to disable a tracking capability in its Chrome web browser. And Facebook announced last month that is working on a new type of ad display that will not rely on personal data. Continue reading Consumer Privacy Concerns May Affect Future of Digital Ads

Government Pursues ‘Zero Trust’ Approach to Cybersecurity

The “zero trust” policy envisioned by President Biden in May when he signed an executive order to improve cybersecurity has begun taking shape with the release last week of a draft blueprint by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB). While Biden’s order covers the public and private sectors “and ultimately the American people’s security and privacy,” zero trust focuses on identifying and implementing best practices for the federal government’s digital platforms and processes. Deployment will take years of investment and effort. To help jump-start the initiative, some primers have hit the news feeds. Continue reading Government Pursues ‘Zero Trust’ Approach to Cybersecurity

Apple Unveils iPhone 13 and Watch Series 7 at Annual Event

In the midst of troubling press attention as the company faces antitrust claims and ongoing criticism of its App Store business model, Apple unveiled its iPhone 13 and Watch Series 7 during a streaming event yesterday. Apple CEO Tim Cook appeared live on a virtual set rather than the traditional in-person stage as a precaution during COVID-19. Apple’s iPhone 13 Pro features a new camera system that promises a new cinematic mode, improved low-light capabilities and an updated ultra-wide lens. The Apple Watch 7, touting a revamped look, includes new features such as a larger screen, softer corners, more support for e-bikes and fall detection for cycling. Continue reading Apple Unveils iPhone 13 and Watch Series 7 at Annual Event

Judge Loosens Apple Stranglehold on App Developer Profits

Apple’s notoriously strict terms of doing business in its App Store appear to be loosening. A federal judge has ordered the company to allow developers to offer customers alternative payment methods after ruling that all payments go through Apple violate California’s unfair competition laws. Apple is ordered to within 90 days begin allowing developers to include in their apps payment links to processors other than the App Store. Developers now see a path to avoid handing Apple commissions of up to 30 percent for handling sales through the $100 billion online market.  Continue reading Judge Loosens Apple Stranglehold on App Developer Profits

Tech Firms Raid Security Flaws with ‘Bug Bounty’ Programs

In the security world, “bug bounty” programs are becoming more common, from Facebook to the Department of Defense. Hackers who can reveal the hidden vulnerabilities of a device, system or corporation can reap significant financial rewards. Apple launched its program in 2016 and offers payouts of up to $1 million for the most elusive flaws. The tech giant reportedly spent $3.7 million on such exercises in the 12-month period ending in July 2021, during which time Google shelled out $6.7 million and Microsoft spent $13.6 million. Such programs have become a valuable tool in security maintenance, putting hackers’ inquisitive natures to productive use.  Continue reading Tech Firms Raid Security Flaws with ‘Bug Bounty’ Programs

Social App Spending Projected to Hit $17.2B Globally in 2025

Global consumer social app spending is expected to hit $17.2 billion by 2025, up from $6.78 billion in 2021, according to a study by San Francisco-based mobile analytics firm App Annie. That’s a 29 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over five years — a brisk pace credited mainly to live streaming. By 2025, the lifetime total spend on social apps is expected to reach $78 billion, according to App Annie. Meanwhile, time spent using social media the globe over totaled a whopping 740 billion hours for the first half of 2021, with 548 billion hours devoted to live streaming. Continue reading Social App Spending Projected to Hit $17.2B Globally in 2025

Pixalate Raises $18.1M to Combat Click Tricks and Ad Fraud

Analytics firm Pixalate has announced $18.1 million in growth capital for connected TV and mobile advertising initiatives. The new round brings total capital raised to $22.7 million for the 9-year-old firm, which specializes in fraud prevention, privacy protection and legal compliance via offices in Santa Monica, Palo Alto and London. The move comes as Pixalate rises to meet the challenges of enterprise clients fending off bot attacks, ad fraud and other malicious threats. Malware incursions by intruders like Puppeteer siphon tens of millions of dollars in annual ad revenue, according to Pixalate. Continue reading Pixalate Raises $18.1M to Combat Click Tricks and Ad Fraud

Spotify Deploys ‘Blend’ Feature to Enable Sharing of Playlists

Spotify has globally launched Blend, a two-party playlist generator designed for social listening. The feature allows both paid and free mobile users to tag-team song streams that can be shared across all platforms. Using the technology behind Spotify’s Family Mix and Duo Mix multi-person apps, this variation offers a twist; after creating a Blend participants receive a “taste match score” that reveals similarities and differences between the pair’s listening preferences and can compare their preferences to those of their friends. Continue reading Spotify Deploys ‘Blend’ Feature to Enable Sharing of Playlists

Twitter Rolls Out Latest Monetization Feature: ‘Super Follows’

Twitter debuted a new feature called Super Follows, which allows some users to make money by charging for access to subscriber-only content. Users who qualify for the program must be over the age of 18, based in the U.S. and have 10,000+ followers as well as having tweeted more than 25 times in the past 30 days. The payout, powered by payments platform Stripe, will range depending on the Super Follows price and number of followers who sign up. A user who charges $4.99 per month for Super Follows and has 2 percent of 13,000 followers sign up will make $900 a month. Continue reading Twitter Rolls Out Latest Monetization Feature: ‘Super Follows’

HiDef and Unity Pursue Social Impact and Diversity in Games

Game studio HiDef has teamed up with San Francisco-based software developer Unity Technologies to work on a games-as-a-service project that focuses on games that “connect and entertain people through creative expression, competition, shared experiences, and cultural discovery.” The San Diego-based HiDef, founded by Anthony Castoro, Jace Hall, Rick Fox and David Washington in 2019, recently raised $9 million. HiDef said the first title is a metaverse mobile game using the Unity game engine, created in concert with Unity’s gaming services team. Continue reading HiDef and Unity Pursue Social Impact and Diversity in Games

TSMC to Raise Its Chip Prices as Global Shortage Continues

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) — the world’s largest contract chipmaker — plans to raise prices on its most advanced chips by about 10 percent and less advanced chips by about 20 percent, to take effect late this year or in early 2022. The price hike is taking place during a global shortage of semiconductors that already impacts auto companies including General Motors and Toyota Motor, an array of consumer electronics, and major tech companies such as Apple, which uses TSMC chips in its smartphones. GM closed three North American factories and Toyota will slow production by 40 percent in September. Continue reading TSMC to Raise Its Chip Prices as Global Shortage Continues

Google Updates Search to Boost Safe, Mobile-Friendly Sites

By the end of this month, Google will update its site with a new “page experience” designed to limit user frustration that results from slow-loading sites. Google will assess websites via three core web metrics, giving preference and higher placement to those that offer 1) secure connections, 2) lack of intrusive elements such as pop-ups and 3) are mobile-friendly. Publishers have expressed concern about this expected update, but some experts, such as RustyBrick chief executive Barry Schwartz, say the “overall impact” will be minimal. Continue reading Google Updates Search to Boost Safe, Mobile-Friendly Sites

YouTube Adds Visuals and Multi-Language Results to Search

Google’s YouTube revealed a plan to release improvements to its search functionality that will use visual appeal to provide a better sense of what videos contain, making it easier and more efficient for users to find their desired video content. In the YouTube app, both the Android and iOS versions, users will be able to see a snippet of video rather than a mere thumbnail while scrolling through the content. A section below the videos will also show all chapters, if relevant, enabling the user to click on a specific chapter of the video. Continue reading YouTube Adds Visuals and Multi-Language Results to Search

Twitter to Study Misinformation by Letting Users Flag Tweets

Twitter is testing a new feature in a few markets that will allow users to flag posts that contain misinformation, similar to how they can already report spam or abuse. The company — which doesn’t have a strong fact-checking unit — plans to use the feature to study misinformation on the platform rather than review the user-identified tweets for legitimacy or respond to the reporting user with updates. Currently, Twitter only fact-checks tweets on elections, COVID-19 and other “select categories.” Continue reading Twitter to Study Misinformation by Letting Users Flag Tweets

Samsung First to Design Commercial Semiconductor with AI

Samsung is using Synopsys’ DSO.ai tool to design some of its next-gen Exynos mobile processors for 5G and AI, which will be used in smartphones including its own and other devices. Synopsys chair and co-chief executive Aart de Geus said this is the first example of a “real commercial processor design with AI.” Google, IBM and Nvidia are among the other companies that have discussed designing chips with AI. Synopsys, which works with dozens of companies, also has years of expertise in creating advanced designs to train an AI algorithm. Continue reading Samsung First to Design Commercial Semiconductor with AI

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