Mozilla’s Upgraded Firefox to Block Tracking Codes by Default

Mozilla announced that future versions of its Firefox browser will automatically block tracking codes placed by advertisers, third parties or any other company that is not the website publisher. Also blocked will be trackers that take too long to load. Best of all for users, they will not have to download or install new software or change settings to enjoy this increased privacy. According to Mozilla, the new feature is already being tested and will be included in a Firefox version later in 2018. Continue reading Mozilla’s Upgraded Firefox to Block Tracking Codes by Default

Within Debuts WebVR-Enabled Site for Broad VR Distribution

Within, a Los Angeles-based cinematic virtual reality startup, just unveiled a website that allows users to have a VR experience on any device, from a desktop PC or mobile phone to a dedicated VR headset. The company relies on WebVR technology that avoids the need to download additional software to be able to play VR experiences in supported browsers. Users without a VR headset can navigate the content via the web browser, and those with VR headsets use hand controllers and tracking tools. Continue reading Within Debuts WebVR-Enabled Site for Broad VR Distribution

Apple Bashes Facebook, Debuts Rival Social Media Features

Apple, which has criticized Facebook for its data privacy policy, introduced social media features for its new mobile device operating system. The features include group video chat for up to 32 people, tools to share photos with friends and the ability to play augmented reality games with friends. Apple also debuted privacy tools for the Safari browser that limits the data that Facebook and its ilk can gather. Apple made its target clear, with images of Facebook and Instagram in its marketing material. Continue reading Apple Bashes Facebook, Debuts Rival Social Media Features

Google Releases Details of Working AR Prototype on Chrome

Google has been working to integrate augmented reality into the mobile/desktop web via its Chrome browser. Google Daydream WebXR’s Reza Ali and Josh Carpenter, who work on user experience, now describe the results, which will enable users to create virtual 3D objects and place them into websites for viewing and download to the mobile platform to place them in real-world environments. Creative professionals will eventually be able to use the browser of any Android or iOS device to create and use AR experiences. Continue reading Google Releases Details of Working AR Prototype on Chrome

Weak Security and Obsolescence Leads to Demise of Flash

Adobe has finally pulled the plug on Flash, an application that Steve Jobs excoriated as far back as 2010 for being too insecure and proprietary for the iPhone. Adobe stated that it would no longer update and distribute the Flash Player at the end of 2020, and many in the industry will cheer its demise. In fact, Chrome, Microsoft Edge and Safari have been blocking Flash for the past year, but many sites devoted to gaming, education and video still use Flash, whose infamously weak security has been exploited by malware. Continue reading Weak Security and Obsolescence Leads to Demise of Flash

World Wide Web Consortium Proposes HTML5 DRM Standard

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has formally moved its Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) anti-piracy mechanism to the stage of Proposed Recommendation. The decision of whether or not to adopt the EME standard now depends on a poll of W3C’s members, which have until April 19 to respond. Although the proposed standard has many critics, W3C director/HTML inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee has personally endorsed it. Engineers from Google, Microsoft and Netflix created EME, which has been under development for some time. Continue reading World Wide Web Consortium Proposes HTML5 DRM Standard

WWDC: Apple Unveils OS Enhancements, Opens Siri to World

Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference kicked off yesterday in San Francisco with a two-hour keynote that introduced new enhancements coming to iOS, watchOS, tvOS and Mac OS X (now called macOS). Developer previews of the operating systems are being made available now, with public betas to follow next month, and integration with Apple devices by fall. Among the highlights: live channels and YouTube search are coming to Apple TV, Siri is coming to the desktop, a new SDK invites developers to create Siri apps, iPhone users can dump unwanted apps, Apple Pay is expanded to Safari, Apple Music gets a new interface, and watchOS 3 loads apps seven times faster. Continue reading WWDC: Apple Unveils OS Enhancements, Opens Siri to World

Samsung Rolls Out Ad Blocking, Google Boots Ad Blocker Apps

After Samsung launched ad-blocking support for the Samsung Internet Browser on its mobile devices, third-party ad blocking apps shot up to the top of the Google Play app store. Google pulled them from the store soon after because the tech giant does not want to distribute apps that conflict with its own advertising business. Although Google is removing ad blocking apps, it has not taken any action to remove mobile browser apps that feature ad blocking already built-in. Continue reading Samsung Rolls Out Ad Blocking, Google Boots Ad Blocker Apps

Few Publishers Trying to Recover Revenue Lost to Ad Blockers

More than a third of Americans reportedly use an ad blocker on their Internet browsers, and many of them probably have no idea that they are costing publishers billions in lost advertising revenue. Randall Rothenberg, president of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, urged publishers to develop their own technology and methods to stop ad blocking software. Meanwhile, Samsung is following Apple in enabling an ad blocking plugin for the Internet browser on its mobile phones. Continue reading Few Publishers Trying to Recover Revenue Lost to Ad Blockers

Facebook and Yahoo Attempt to Expand Search Capabilities

Facebook and Yahoo just made strategic deals with regard to search. Facebook, which unsuccessfully attempted search with its Graph Search feature in 2013, states it has now indexed more than two trillion posts, promoting it as a way to follow news discussions in real time. Yahoo just inked a non-exclusive deal with Google to provide search results and ads; antitrust regulators struck down a similar deal in 2008. Yahoo renegotiated an exclusive deal with Microsoft’s Bing to make this latest deal. Continue reading Facebook and Yahoo Attempt to Expand Search Capabilities

Apple to Launch News App with iOS 9, Adds More Publishers

Apple plans to include its Flipboard-like newsreader app, simply named News, in the upcoming iOS 9 this fall. First announced at WWDC in June with 18 publishers on board, News now touts more than 50 publishers. Conde Nast, Hearst and Vox Media are among the initial launch partners hoping that iPhone and iPad users will consume more of their content. While some publishers have expressed concerns about ad-blocking capabilities made possible by iOS 9, launch partners are pleased with Apple’s advertising terms. Continue reading Apple to Launch News App with iOS 9, Adds More Publishers

Apple Announces New Products, Updates from San Francisco

While the first day of Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference did not include any major surprises, the company unveiled interesting details about its much anticipated music service launching this month, new versions of its OS X and iOS operating systems, and software updates to its car, home and smartwatch products. Apple is replacing its Newsstand app with “News,” and Passbook has become “Wallet.” The company announced new partners for Apple Pay, including Trader Joe’s and JC Penney, and an upcoming compatible reader from Square. Continue reading Apple Announces New Products, Updates from San Francisco

Google Claims Data and Larger Phones Will Boost Mobile Ads

Some marketers believe fewer customers complete purchases on their small-screen smartphones, but Google says its data on mobile advertising shows otherwise. According to Google’s store-measurement data, one-third of mobile ads for Target led to a customer visit to a Target store during the 2014 holiday season. The rising popularity of larger smartphones, like the Nexus 6, and tablets also helps mobile sales because the screens are bigger and therefore the sites are easier to use. Continue reading Google Claims Data and Larger Phones Will Boost Mobile Ads

YouTube Supports Live Streams at 60fps and HTML5 Playback

YouTube is looking to take on game-streaming services such as Amazon’s Twitch by allowing live video streams that run at 60 frames per second (double its previous limit). Higher frame rates are vital for fast-moving games including racers and first-person shooters, and attracting gamers will be important if YouTube hopes to remain competitive in the growing eSports market. To address growing interest in gamers sharing their sessions, YouTube has been upgrading playback quality, adding support for HD, 4K, and most recently, browsers that use HTML5. Continue reading YouTube Supports Live Streams at 60fps and HTML5 Playback

WWDC: Apple Announces New OS X, iOS 8 and iCloud Drive

Apple kicked off its Worldwide Developer Conference yesterday in San Francisco with a software-focused, two-hour event that highlighted the future of OS X, iOS 8, and a collection of new developer tools intended to encourage the creation of new apps. Apple’s new OS X Yosemite, with a visual overhaul inspired by iOS, will have a public beta this summer and will be available this fall. The company also announced iCloud Drive, a file system for storing documents in the cloud. Continue reading WWDC: Apple Announces New OS X, iOS 8 and iCloud Drive