Mark Wilson

Edward Snowden warns about the dangers of using Google Allo


When Google announced the launch of two new messaging apps, the world wondered why. Duo is focused on video calling, while Allo is a more traditional messaging tool, albeit one with a Google assistant built in.

But while the world shrugged, Edward Snowden issued a stark warning. He says that Allo should be avoided, pointing out that the lack of end-to-end encryption makes it "dangerous".

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Microsoft opens up the Windows 10 Feedback Hub to everyone, not just Insiders


Ever hungry for more user feedback, Microsoft has decided to make the Feedback Hub available for anyone to use. Previously only open to Windows Insiders, the tool gives Windows 10 users the opportunity to tell Microsoft exactly what they think about the company's latest operating system.

The Feedback Hub has been built into preview builds of Windows 10 for some time, but now the app is available to download from the Windows Store. With the launch of Windows 10 Anniversary Update just around the corner, it's clear that Microsoft is keen to gather as many comments and as much reaction as possible.

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Microsoft updates policies to tackle terrorism on the internet


Microsoft has outlined its latest plans to crack down on terrorist and extremist content online. Recognizing that the "internet can be used for the worst reasons imaginable" the company has set out its approach for ensuring that content promoting terrorism does not make it online through its services.

As well as updating its terms of use to make it explicitly clear that terrorist content is not permitted, Microsoft is also planning to up its game in seeking out and removing offending content. To help with this task, the company is forging new partnerships with experts in the field, as well as employing new technology to help to automatically identify and remove terrorist material.

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Celebrity threesome injunction sees Twitter send warning emails to those who name PJS and YMA online


People who have named the celebrities known by the initials PJS and YMA have received warning emails from Twitter.

A superinjuntion is in place that prevents the naming of the couple, one of whom is said to have been involved in a threesome with two other people known as AB and CD.

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Microsoft's share of the mobile market plummets to below 1% as Android continues to rise


Global smartphone sales figures published by Gartner show that Windows-based devices have a market share of just 0.7 percent. The latest figures cover the first quarter of 2016 and reveal that fewer than 2.4 million handsets with Microsoft's OS installed were sold.

This is a dramatic drop from the first quarter of 2015. A year ago the numbers were hardly earth-shattering, but with a 2.5 percent market share they were decidedly healthier than right now. While Windows Phone continues to drop like a stone, Android's seemingly unstoppable rise continues, with Google increasing its market share from 78.88 percent a year ago to 84.1 percent in Q1 2016. Apple suffered a drop to 14.8 percent.

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You're about to see a whole lot more of Reddit thanks to embeddable threads


Reddit has announced that it is now possible to embed its discussion threads on other websites. Just as you can embed tweets on your site, the same can now be done with Reddit content. While Reddit has successfully earned its reputation of being the modern-day Digg, the site has not been without controversy.

Its AMA (Ask Me Anything) sessions may prove immensely popular, but it has been plagued with problems with racist content and complaints about censorship. However, Reddit has suffered with image problems of a different kind, often viewed as being niche, geeky and exclusive. Enabling embedding is an attempt to bring the site to a wider audience and change its public perception.

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Chinese government manipulates social media with nearly half a billion fake posts per year


China's control over access to the internet is hardly a secret, but the government is not just interested in using the famous Great Firewall of China to limit what its citizens can see. State monitoring of internet usage is very common, and the government also has a propaganda machine in place, manipulating the country via the web.

A new study by researchers at Harvard University suggests that governmental interference online could be even more prolific than first thought. Social media has been infiltrated and is believed to have been taken over by paid trolls whose job it is to inject pro-government, pro-regime, pro-Communist Party posts disguised as genuine content from regular citizens.

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Windows 10 Anniversary Update will improve interoperability between Microsoft Edge and IE 11


Since the release of Windows 10, the update of Microsoft Edge has been a little on the slow side. The addition of support for add-ons may help to increase the user base for Edge, but many enterprise customers still have a need for Internet Explorer.

When building Edge from scratch, Microsoft included Enterprise Mode to allow sites that rely on older technology to open with Internet Explorer 11 instead. With the upcoming release of Windows 10 Anniversary Update improvements are being introduced that will smooth out some of the rough edges of Enterprise Mode, including removing the friction that currently exists when switching browsers.

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Google makes Chromebooks exciting again by adding Google Play and Android apps


Much like Windows Mobile, Chromebooks have long suffered with something of a limited range of apps. Starting today, all this changes; Google is bringing the full range of Android apps to Chromebook users via the Google Play store.

With Chromebooks having just overtaken Macs in terms of popularity, the introduction of millions of Android apps to the platform is incredibly well-timed. Before you get too excited, the rollout is not immediate. Users on the developer channel with certain Chromebook models will get access first, but there are plans to bring Google Play to more devices over the coming months.

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Cortana update brings Android notifications to Windows 10 users


The ability to view notifications for multiple devices in one place is something that has been tried in various forms before. Now fans of Cortana can take advantage of notifications about their phone on their computer.

The latest version of the Cortana Android app brings the previously hinted at app notification syncing that users have been asking for for so long. First noted by a Windows 10 user on Reddit, the feature is something that we can expect to see included in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update later this summer.

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TeslaCrypt ransomware shuts up shop and releases free decryption key for everyone


Ransomware is not exactly a new problem, but it's one that seems to be getting increasingly serious. Every week there's a new high profile attack out there including the likes of CryptXXX and PETYA. One of the biggest names, TeslaCrypt, has suddenly thrown in the towel and offered up a free decryption key for its victims.

The surprise move comes just a couple of months after version 4 of TeslaCrypt gained what was described as "unbreakable encryption". The closure is somewhat bittersweet. The shutdown comes as attackers switch to using CryptXXX instead, but perhaps the most surprising aspect is the fact that the site formerly used to accept Bitcoin ransom payments is now where you'll find the decryption key needed to gain access to your files.

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Google Home is a voice-activated Echo rival


Today at Google I/O, the search giant unveiled its Amazon Echo-baiting Home. Google Home is ostensibly a cylindrical speaker with an angled top featuring Google's iconic four colors. Far-field voice recognition allows you to issue commands to the device to control everything from music playback to look up something online.

Google's latest foray into the Internet of Things is much more than just a Wi-Fi speaker -- although it will function perfectly well in the role. Just like the voice-activated options in Android, Home can be used to set alarms and reminders, and can even be connected to other smart devices such as Nest thermostats.

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Microsoft rolls out new-look Store to Windows 10 Redstone Build 14342


Microsoft continues to try to stir up interest in Store in Windows 10. Insiders who have installed Windows 10 Build 14342 are now being treated to an updated version of the Window Store app complete with a batch of new features.

This update is about not only changing the overall Store experience, but also pushing apps more than ever. The new look mimics that of the updates Store in Windows 10 Mobile and it goes some way to improving usability and ironing out irritations.

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Google launches Android Pay in the UK


After a successful launch in the US, Google has now debuted its contactless payment service Android Pay in the UK. If you're packing an NFC-enabled smartphone running Android 4.4 or higher, you can now make payments in a number of stores -- as well as Transport for London -- with just a tap.

For payments under £30, there's no need to unlock your phone, and Google says that the number of supported banks and retailers will expand over the coming months. At the moment, support is limited to Mastercard and Visa credit and debit cards from Bank of Scotland, First Direct, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, M&S Bank, MBNA and Nationwide Building Society, and if you're able to take advantage of the service from launch, there are also special offers to look forward to.

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Microsoft just tried to use Windows 10 to trick me into using Skype with a random account

Angry PC user

So there I was, typing away after using a couple of coffees to make myself feel vaguely human. Up popped a notification from Skype. This was odd. I don’t use Skype because I absolutely loathe it. The app isn’t even running. Nonetheless, there it is: a notification telling me that I have been signed into my account.

While I don’t use Skype, I do have a Skype username from back in days gone by -- but this wasn't the account Windows 10 told me I had been signed into. Rather it appeared that Microsoft had created a secondary Skype account for me (gee, thanks...) based on my name and decided to randomly sign me in to foist the terrible messaging app on me. What gives?

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