Amazon Sidewalk Will Launch Mesh Networks for IoT Devices

On June 8, Amazon will introduce its new Amazon Sidewalk program that allows some small smart devices — Ring Floodlight and Spotlight cameras, for example, and Echo Dot smart speakers and Echo Show smart displays — to share low-bandwidth home Wi-Fi networks among neighboring Amazon customers. On June 14, the network will expand to include third-party product Tile, connected to keys. All devices will become part of Amazon Sidewalk by default. The idea is that if one network drops out, the device can move to another nearby signal.

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Google to Allow Android 12 Users to Opt-Out of App Tracking

Google will reportedly soon let Android users opt out of being tracked by apps, a move recently taken by Apple. Industry watchers were tipped off by a Google support page detailing the new option and an email to developers announcing a Google Play app store policy change to be introduced later this year. The feature will turn off sharing for the advertising ID, which Android users can already manually reset, and also allow users to opt out of any alternative device identifiers used to track activity across apps. The news leaked several days prior to Apple’s June 7 WWDC21 event. Continue reading Google to Allow Android 12 Users to Opt-Out of App Tracking

Yelp Updates Its App With Several Customization Features

Yelp will now provide recommendations that are more customized, based on users’ stated preferences. Yelp head of consumer product Akhil Ramesh noted that it’s the first time that, “two people with the same context searching for the same thing are going to see completely different results.” The Yelp app will now profile each user’s likes and dislikes to enable this to happen. A user, for example, will have the chance to choose dietary restrictions and preferences as well as list hobbies, pets, children and so on. Continue reading Yelp Updates Its App With Several Customization Features

Comcast, AT&T and Verizon Respond to Backlash on Privacy

Since Congress overturned the Internet privacy rules preventing Internet service providers from sharing or selling customers’ Web browsing history, ISPs have been under attack. Now, Comcast, AT&T and Verizon have published blog posts to reassure their customers. Comcast said it does not sell its broadband customers’ Web browsing histories and has no plans to do so in the future. Verizon made a similar claim, and AT&T’s tack is to tell customers that the nixed privacy laws wouldn’t have really protected them. Continue reading Comcast, AT&T and Verizon Respond to Backlash on Privacy

FTC Report Exposes Depth of Data Broker Info on Consumers

The Federal Trade Commission released a report urging Congress to require data brokers to be more transparent. Data brokers collect information on nearly all U.S consumers, typically without their knowledge, and create profiles based on online purchases, public records, and online tracking cookies. The FTC recommends creating one Internet site where each company explains their purpose and method of data collection and gives consumers a chance to opt out. Continue reading FTC Report Exposes Depth of Data Broker Info on Consumers

White Paper Suggests Alternatives to the Fading Web Cookie

As more people now browse the Internet on multiple devices, Web cookies are becoming less reliable and are on their way to being phased out. The question of what will replace the technology points to companies like Google and Apple, which will likely have greater control over the technologies behind online tracking. A white paper by the Interactive Advertising Bureau puts forward possible solutions, such as device manufacturers providing data about their customers’ habits to marketers. Continue reading White Paper Suggests Alternatives to the Fading Web Cookie

Twitter Runs Location Sharing Experiment with Nearby Feature

Twitter is testing a new timeline for its mobile app based on location, called “Nearby,” which shows users recent tweets that originated in the user’s vicinity. The Nearby feature has occasionally appeared on the smartphones of users who allow the service to use their location (users can also opt out of location sharing). Twitter has yet to comment on the feature, which some suggest could be attractive to advertisers, but says it experiments regularly to provide a better user experience. Continue reading Twitter Runs Location Sharing Experiment with Nearby Feature

More Retailers Tracking Shoppers with Sensor Technologies

Sensor devices used to track shoppers are becoming more commonplace in shopping malls this holiday season. The devices, often scattered through malls to identify shoppers’ movements, help retailers track how long people are waiting in line and pinpoint where they’re shopping. Some even use heat maps to show where within a store most people are gravitating. The Future of Privacy Forum estimates that approximately 1,000 retailers are using sensors. Continue reading More Retailers Tracking Shoppers with Sensor Technologies

Google Envisions a Web Beyond Cookie-Based Data Tracking

Google is in the early stages of developing its own alternative to cookies, which have a few limitations when it comes to tracking users. The company is working on universal IDs, which will track users from device to device. Whereas cookies can be erased and sometimes lead to ineffective ad targeting, universal IDs would provide more accurate user data. But it could also create a Google-owned monopoly of data. However, Google isn’t the only company working on cookie alternatives.  Continue reading Google Envisions a Web Beyond Cookie-Based Data Tracking

Simple.tv Offers DVR for Cord Cutters, TiVo Streams to iPads

Consumers who have opted out of cable will soon have a new option for watching their favorite shows. In December, Simple.tv will release a new DVR device that will allow users to stream up to five channels at the same time. The pre-order price will be just $200, but the device won’t come with its own hard drive, meaning consumers will need external drives for storing content. Meanwhile, TiVo has announced out-of-home streaming for cable subscribers via its Roamio set-top-box, that allows users to access content on mobile devices. Continue reading Simple.tv Offers DVR for Cord Cutters, TiVo Streams to iPads

Google to Debut New Social Advertising with User Information

Google announced that beginning in November, it may display users’ names, photos from their profiles, ratings and reviews in social advertisements, an approach called “shared endorsements.” Social ads can potentially reproduce the word-of-mouth endorsement from friends as an online experience. Google may face a challenge to get users comfortable with the idea of giving endorsements, while some question their value and others raise privacy issues. Continue reading Google to Debut New Social Advertising with User Information