It has been the subject of speculation for some time now, but today Twitter finally announces that the rumored "Buy" button will soon be making an appearance in timelines. The feature has been made public through a blog post that explains that the button will initially be pushed to "a small percentage of US users", but reassuring everyone else that coverage "will grow over time".
What does this mean? Well, that you will be able to buy things via tweets, essentially.
They said RSS was dead, but when Google decided to close the door on Google Reader, there was a vocal clamoring of disapproval. A flood of tools popped up to filled the vacuum left behind by the absence of Google's service and one that quickly grew in popularity is Inoreader -- thanks, at least in part, to the fact that it can be customized to look and work in much the same way as Google Reader.
No RSS reader worth its salt would be complete without offering integration with a number of other online services of course, and now InoReader benefits from OneNote support.
As demonstrated by the infuriatingly popular #ALS Ice Bucket Challenge phenomenon, video on Facebook is more popular than ever. If you were in any doubt about just how popular these magic moving pictures really are, the social network announces that it is racking up an incredible 1 billion video views every day.
But have you ever wondered how many other people have wasted their time watching yet another video of crazy Russian drivers, drunken debauchery, or amusing animal antics? Wonder no more! Starting this week, Facebook is rolling out a new feature that shows how many views a particular video clip has received.
Following a lawsuit from Getty Images Inc, Microsoft has taken the beta version of its Bing Image Widget offline. The stock image firm had complained that Microsoft's widget infringed on copyright by enabling people to embed protected images in websites without attribution or authorization.
In opting to willingly pull the widget, Microsoft may have managed to sidestep at least some of the brunt of the legal action taken against the company. Getty had called for the immediate blocking of the tool and filed a lawsuit at US District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Reddit has taken the step of banning the subreddit through which the now infamous Fappening images were made available last week. This follows the decision by 4chan -- the site originally used to leak the images -- to introduce a DMCA policy to help cope with copyright material. The move is unlikely to stem the flow of image sharing -- nor is it likely to prove popular -- but Reddit administrator alienth has posted a lengthy statement explaining the reasons behind the decision.
Just in case anyone managed to avoid the news, alienth includes a brief summary of the week's events.
New figures released by the Home Office and published by the BBC show that if you own an iPhone 5, 5C, 5S and 4S in England or Wales, you are most at risk of having your smartphone stolen. If the trend continues, it is likely that the upcoming iPhone 6 will also prove similarly attractive to thieves. Figures show that there were a total of 742,000 phone thefts between 2012 and 2013, and that the largest numbers of theft involved Apple's handsets. Interestingly, despite massively dwindling sales, the next most popular phone to be pocketed by thieves was the Blackberry 9790.
While the iPhone is the most appealing to the light-fingered, the figures show that Apple's claim to be "leading the industry in protecting" seems to be true. New security features introduced in iOS 7 led to a noticeable drop in iPhone thefts, but it still remains the most commonly stolen handset. Apple told the BBC:
We now live in an age where privacy is a key concern. Facebook has long been criticized for its somewhat lackadaisical attitude to the privacy of user data, and over the years various steps have been taken to afford Facebookers greater control over who is able to see their status updates and other data. First announced back in May, the social network is now rolling out its Privacy Checkup feature around the world, giving users the chance to check exactly who they are sharing information with.
The new tool does not really introduce any new features, but it does bring existing security controls to the fore. Privacy Checkup should make itself known over the next few days by popping up when you use Facebook, but it can be accessed whenever you want by clicking the privacy lock icon to the upper right of the page. For some reason, the face of Privacy Checkup is a friendly blue dinosaur, sort of like a prehistoric version of Clippy.
It was all but expected, but Apple has confirmed that Tuesday's "special event" will be streamed live online. This in itself is nothing particularly surprising, but the small print at the bottom of the launch announcement page will upset many people -- if you're not already packing an Apple device, you're not invited. "Live streaming video requires Safari 5.1.10 or later on OS X v10.6.8 or later; Safari on iOS 6.0 or later. Streaming via Apple TV requires second- or third-generation Apple TV with software 6.2 or later". Android, Windows, and Linux users are excluded.
At the event, which kicks off at 10am PT on Tuesday at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts in Cupertino, it is expected that Apple will talk about the iPhone 6 -- possibly two sizes -- as well as a wearable device -- which in all likelihood will be the iWatch. Anyone who is not attending the event will have to either fire up a Mac, iPad, iPhone or Apple TV, or wait for news of the announcements to be written up and posted online.
Equality for all is a utopian ideal, but Facebook has plans to treat its users differently depending on where in the world they are. Specifically, the social network plans to change the way adverts are delivered to people based upon the speed of their internet connection. In a blog post drearily entitled "In High-Growth Countries, Reaching People Based on How they Connect", product marketing manager Brendan Sullivan reveals details of the plans which will make better use of available bandwidth.
Facebook has analyzed internet usage in developing, growing nations, and determined that the majority of people in these areas get online via mobile networks. The speed of connections can vary greatly from place to place leading to a huge variation in experiences. Mark Zuckerberg is already involved in projects designed to help get more people online, but the company is also concerned about keeping advertisers happy. "High-growth countries" offer great potential for income streams, and companies need to be sure that their ads are being seen by the people they target.
It's not a phrase that Apple is using, but the Fappening is a word that very quickly entered the popular lexicon. Once the excitement and titillation factor died down after hundreds of private celebrity photos were leaked on the infamous 4chan (now with added DMCA policy!), attention turned to just how it fappened. Sorry, happened. Attention focused on Apple's security, and the company said it was undertaking an investigation into what it described as a targeted attack. CEO Tim Cook says that new account alerts are to be added to iCloud to help tighten security.
Speaking to the Wall Street Journal about the incident, Cook explained that celebrity accounts had been accessed as a result of phishing scams as well as hackers working out the answers to account security questions. He stressed the company's previous statement that there had not been a security breach and that no passwords had been leaked. Apple, like many other firms, offers a two-factor authentication option, but additional security measures will be introduced.
Image and video sharing service Twitpic is closing its doors. Threatened with loss of access to the Twitter API if the company refused to abandon a trademark application, Twitpic has decided it does not have enough clout to take on the microblogging giant. Twitpic founder Noah Everett used a blog post to break the news and give a little background to help explain the move. He stressed that the closure was a difficult decision and thanked users for their support.
The problem seems to stem from Twitpic's name. Everett explains that the company was contacted by Twitter a few weeks ago and asked to give up on the trademark application. The timing is a little strange because, as Everett points out, Twitpic's name has been in use since 2008, and the trademark application was filed the following year. The company managed to fight opposition from some parties, but it seems as though Twitter dealt the killer blow.
Getty Images Inc is suing Microsoft for "massive infringement" of copyright. Microsoft's recently released Bing Image Widget enables people to display images on a website based on search terms. The automatically generated code creates image slideshows and galleries that pull in images from Bing -- Getty's complaint centers around the fact that the widget displays unlicensed images from its catalog that are subject to copyright. The Seattle-based stock image company says that Microsoft has turned the images that can be found online into "a vast, unlicensed clip art collection".
The lawsuit, filed at the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, says that the injury caused to Getty is "incalculable" and calls for the widget to be blocked immediately. The level of damages sought is not specified, but Getty's lawsuit suggests that the company has more than 80 million unique images in its library. Getty has its own image embedding tool, and John Lapham, general counsel for the company, explained to Reuters that it is "only available for non-commercial websites and includes photographer attribution".
Google is to pay out at least $19 million to Android users whose children were tricked into making expensive in-app purchases on smartphones and tablets. The Federal Trade Commission has been investigating mobile purchases for the last three years, and Apple agreed at the beginning of the year to a settlement. Amazon was also investigated and plans to appeal against the charges. In agreeing to repay the money, Google has effectively admitted that apps available in Google Play may be deceptive.
The brunt of the FTC case centers around the idea that it was not made clear to parents that their children would be able to make purchases within apps without authorization. Many of these in-app purchases are to be found in games where players are encouraged into parting with money in return for extra lives, game power-ups, or to unlock new levels. The FTC complained that since 2011 Google had indulged in unfair practices that left parents with bills of hundreds of dollars.
91 percent of Americans concerned about online privacy -- 7 percent would change their name as protection
There are lots of reasons to be concerned about privacy online -- not least the spying carried out by the NSA and other governmental agencies. While some companies are trying to stick up for the rights of their customer, many web users have now taken to censoring themselves. New research by WP Engine shows that the level of paranoia is higher than many people may have thought -- a staggering 91 percent of Americans are concerned about their online privacy. This is interesting in itself, but the steps that web users are willing to take if they feel their privacy is threatened makes for particularly interesting reading.
Of course there are some people who would take things to the extreme, going as far as changing their name in a bid to protect their privacy, but others would take slightly less drastic action. In fact only five percent of those surveyed say they would take no action to protect their privacy. The most common reaction to feeling threatened is to change passwords (79 percent of people), but some would go further, admitting they would consider changing their email address (48 percent) or change their credit cards (48 percent). Well over a third of those surveyed (42 percent) said they would be willing to delete all of their social media accounts. Three percent of people indicated that they would even move house as a result of having their privacy threatened online.
If you were planning on picking a new Xbox One console tomorrow, hold off on that purchase. Wait for a few more days and you can pick up a game worth up to $60 free of charge. This is the latest attempt by Microsoft to boost the popularity of its console and nose it ahead of Sony's PS4. It's likely that this offer will go down well with customers as, apart from the $60 upper price limit, every disc-based game is eligible.
The offer runs from Sunday 7 until Saturday 13 September and it applies to standalone consoles as well as bundles. You could pick up a bundle that already includes a game and still bag yourself another one free of charge. Here's the small print in full, although it's a pretty straightforward offer: