The most popular stories on BetaNews this past week - January 12 -- 18

Now that CES 2014 is completely out of the way (although there was still time for me to pick my favorite tech from the show), it's back to business as usual. For many a company, business as usual means security issues, and Microsoft suffered at the hands of The Syrian Electronic Army. Again. The earlier security issues at Target were found to be far worse than first thought, affecting an estimated 100 million customers, and a potential security flaw was identified in Starbucks' mobile apps. For the antivirus side of protection, Kaspersky's Internet Security was named product of the year by AV-Comparatives.

Hoping against hope that new tech isn’t embraced for the sake of embracing new tech, I pondered the need for curved screens. In the mobile world, KitKat started to roll out to the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and also announced the company somewhat deceptively named Galaxy Tab3 Lite, which is in fact no lighter than the non Lite version, other than in terms of hardware specs.

Google's latest acquisition turned out to be Nest, the firm behind smartphone-controllable home heating systems and advanced more alarm. Does this mark the beginning of Google taking over even more of our lives? Brian asked whether it was possible Google could learn too much about us as a result. Whether this is the case or not, if you let Google know that you’re looking for royalty free images that you are free to reuse, the search engine now makes it easier to home in on them, while the addition of an activity stream feature to Google Drive makes it possible to see who has made what changes to files.

When Twitter accounts weren't being hacked, the website was undergoing a makeover to bring it in line with the mobile apps. Twitter served as inspiration for Tumblr as the site "borrowed" the idea of @ mentions. Facebook did something similar by introducing a new trending topic feature.

Helping to make life easier for international travellers, Microsoft added a new speech-to-speech translation option to Bing. It seems as though Microsoft was in a helping mood this week. A new partnership with GW Micro makes it easier for users with visual impairments to enjoy the benefits of Office with the help of a little extra software. Upgrade time finally rolled around for anyone still running the preview version of Windows 8.1, so get downloading if you haven’t done so already.

Windows XP users can celebrate the good news that their beloved operating system will receive anti-malware updates for a year longer than previously planned. Microsoft itself was celebrating after it was revealed that Xbox One sales outstripped the PS4 in December.

These were some of the highlights from this week. Let's see what the next seven days have to offer!

Image Credit: vinz89 / Shutterstock

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