Tension Over Algorithm Roils Amazon Retail, Search Teams

Amazon’s search algorithm can make or break a product. Sources are now saying that the tech behemoth adjusted its system late in 2018 so that products that bring it bigger profits get the most visibility. That could include Amazon’s own brands over products that might be more relevant and popular. The tweak in the algorithm took place against the backdrop of ongoing tensions between the executives running Amazon’s retail businesses, who wanted the switch, and those at A9, the company’s search team, who did not. Continue reading Tension Over Algorithm Roils Amazon Retail, Search Teams

Facebook’s New Tool Offers Transparency on Data Sharing

Facebook has long collected information about its users’ browsing behavior, even when they weren’t using its platform. Now, it’s introduced a tool, Off-Facebook Activity, that lets users see and control the information gathered outside of the social network. The tool gives users a summary of the third-party websites and apps that share data with Facebook. The company noted that people generally have 80+ apps on their phones and use about half of them per month, making it difficult to track the data’s use. Continue reading Facebook’s New Tool Offers Transparency on Data Sharing

Microsoft Advocates For Washington State AI Regulation Bill

Washington State has introduced a bill to regulate facial recognition software, and tech giant Microsoft is advocating for its passage, while e-commerce leader Amazon remains undecided. Amazon asked state senator Reuven Carlyle, who sponsored the bill, for clarification as well as a change to the requirement that AI software developers claiming the ability to identify faces must allow third parties to test it. Carlyle explained he would examine all submitted requests and introduce a revised version of the bill. Continue reading Microsoft Advocates For Washington State AI Regulation Bill

Demise of Google+ Points to Facebook’s Social Dominance

Google is shutting down its Google+ social network in the wake of revelation that a software bug exposed the data of up to 500,000 Google+ users since 2015. The company also debuted tools that give users more control over the data they share with Google-connected apps and services. The demise of Google+ is in stark contrast to its 2011 launch, when it represented an “exclusive club” that required a private invitation to enter. In following years, Google discovered running a social network is trickier than it appears to be. Continue reading Demise of Google+ Points to Facebook’s Social Dominance

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

AI Software Identifies Violations of EU Privacy Regulations

European Union Institute researchers, working with the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC), created AI-enabled software to scrutinize the privacy policies of 14 major technology companies for violations of the new GDPR. They found that one-third of the clauses were “potentially problematic” or contained “insufficient information,” with 11 percent of the policies’ sentences using “unclear language.” Among the companies examined were Alphabet, Amazon and Facebook. The researchers did not reveal which companies were in violation. Continue reading AI Software Identifies Violations of EU Privacy Regulations

Facebook Drops Trending Topics, Tests Other News Features

Facebook is removing Trending Topics next week, saying that the feature has become “less useful” over time and that pulling the plug on it will “make way for future news experiences.” The feature accounted for an average of less than 1.5 percent of clicks to publishers from Facebook. Conservatives also decried the feature saying it proved Facebook’s liberal bias, an accusation the company is still trying to get out from under. Facebook now plans to pay some news outlets to produce daily and weekly news show for Watch. Continue reading Facebook Drops Trending Topics, Tests Other News Features

Amazon’s Whole Foods Adjusts Approach With Niche Brands

With the purchase by Amazon completed, Whole Foods is moving forward on changes with its operations, evolving into a more traditional grocery store. Beginning in April, the store’s 470 locations will end the practice of allowing brands to promote their products or check on how those products are stocked and displayed. Also going by the wayside is the ability of brands to pitch products to individual stores or geographic regions, with much of the decision-making on products centralizing in its Austin, Texas headquarters. Continue reading Amazon’s Whole Foods Adjusts Approach With Niche Brands

Newly Published Google Overview Spells Out Security Details

In a recently published Infrastructure Security Design Overview, Google explains its six layers of security for the cloud it uses for its own operations and its public cloud services. The company also revealed that it designs custom chips, “including a hardware security chip that is currently being deployed on both servers and peripherals,” that allow it to “securely identify and authenticate legitimate Google devices at the hardware level.” The chip works with cryptographic signatures validated during each boot or update. Continue reading Newly Published Google Overview Spells Out Security Details

Numerous Smart Devices May Now Be Secretly Recording Users

Consumers criticized Samsung for recording users through its smart TVs and sending the data to a third party, but other companies reportedly take a similar approach. Many of the audio recordings come from devices with voice recognition, like LG’s smart TVs or Amazon Echo. Such recording of unknowing users is not limited to the living room. Automobiles from companies such as GM and Chevrolet can record and send information about a driver’s speed, location, and their route to work. Continue reading Numerous Smart Devices May Now Be Secretly Recording Users

Samsung Clarifies its Policy Regarding TV Voice Recognition

Samsung updated its privacy policy to explain that the company would not be eavesdropping on viewers when they use the voice controls on their Samsung smart TVs. The previous version of the policy suggested that recorded audio could be transmitted to a third party through the television’s voice recognition software. Samsung clarified that only words spoken into the remote would be recorded and sent to the outside company. Users can also opt to turn off the voice recognition feature. Continue reading Samsung Clarifies its Policy Regarding TV Voice Recognition

Reddit Acquires Alien Blue, Now the Official Reddit Mobile App

Before Wednesday, social media startup Reddit, which has 174 million regular monthly users, did not offer a mobile app. Instead, the online message board worked with a variety of third-party, unofficial programs. However, in the wake of a large round of venture funding, Reddit announced that it has purchased the most popular of these third-party programs, Alien Blue. The app will now become the official Reddit app, available for download via Apple’s App Store. Continue reading Reddit Acquires Alien Blue, Now the Official Reddit Mobile App

Third Party Site May Have Stored 200,000 Snapchat Images

Members of anonymous online messaging forum 4chan claim to have access to as many as 200,000 Snapchat photos through a third-party app called Snapsaved. The smartphone tool allows creators to store photos from their Snapchat accounts. Anonymous members have said that a link will be posted, allowing users to download the photos. It is not clear who created Snapsaved, and the app’s site is no longer working. Meanwhile, Snapchat claims that its servers have not been compromised.

Continue reading Third Party Site May Have Stored 200,000 Snapchat Images

Nearly 40 Million Twitter Users Do Not See Ads on Site or App

About 14 percent of Twitter’s 271 million users do not log in directly to the mobile app or website, where Twitter features its ads. These 37.9 million consumers instead access Twitter content through third-party apps such as Flipboard, Instagram, Foursquare or various news sources. When Twitter filed its IPO last year, the company projected that the number of people accessing via third-party apps would decline. However, growth of the third-party app population has doubled since then. Continue reading Nearly 40 Million Twitter Users Do Not See Ads on Site or App

Amazon’s Firefly Technology Recognizes Millions of Products

Amazon’s highly anticipated smartphone, the Fire Phone, comes with a new technology that combines image, text, video and audio recognition to make it easier than ever for users to identify (and hopefully purchase) some 70 million products in Amazon’s database. The Firefly technology can also scan QR codes, bar codes, and contact information. In terms of entertainment, the technology recognizes 245,000 movies and TV episodes, 160 live TV channels, and 35 million songs. Continue reading Amazon’s Firefly Technology Recognizes Millions of Products

Page 1 of 3123