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:
Office 365 users are encouraged into storing their files in one of two locations -- locally or on OneDrive. Microsoft's own cloud storage service is neatly integrated into its office suite, just as it is into Windows 8.1. There are ways to integrate other services such as Google Drive, but today Box launched a beta version of Box for Office 365 in a bid to bring the cloud service to Office. The new beta was announced at Box's BoxWorks event. There are also plans to add Box integration to Office for iPad, although no timescale has been suggested for this.
The idea behind integrating Box into Office 365 is simple, but the beta page explains: "With our new Box for Office desktop app integrations, you can easily open, edit, share and save any file from Box seamlessly within Word, PowerPoint and Excel".
When you see the letters ISIS, what is it that you first think of? Is it the Egyptian goddess of health, marriage and love? The Institute for the Scientific Investigation of Sexuality? Or is it the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the jihadist group that has been in the news for some time now? It's quite common for there to be unfortunate sharings of names and acronyms, and it's something that Isis Wallet, the NFC payment service, has fallen foul of. To avoid being associated with the Middle East group, the service is being renamed to Softcard.
The rebranding has not come completely out of the blue. Back in July, company CEO Michael Abbott explained: "Recently, we have observed with growing concern a militant group whose name, when translated into English, is Islamic State of Iraq and Syria -- often referenced by the acronym ISIS. We have no interest in sharing a name with a group whose name has become synonymous with violence and our hearts go out to those who are suffering".
Many Twitter users have become frustrated by a problem with the social network. Increasing numbers of people are finding that they see tweets from people they do not follow. Twitter CEO, Dick Costolo, has an explanation: it's your own fault. He's not talking about promoted tweets or anything like that, but tweets that have been favorited by people you follow. The explanation came over the weekend in a couple of tweets in which Costolo put the appearance of such tweets down to users' impatience.
Freelance science writer Katie Mack pointed out that Twitter feeds now include "random tweets from people others follow, ads, other people's favs". Costolo replied:
4chan is notorious at the best of times -- if indeed the site can be associated with such times -- but the Fappening phenomenon has been seen by many as a new low. Apple is undertaking an investigation into what happened to numerous iCloud accounts, but fingers have been pointed at the site where the celebrity photos first appeared. It could be entirely coincidental, but 4chan -- as noted by TorrentFreak -- has just introduced a DMCA policy for the first time in its controversial history. No announcement has been made, but the timing is certainly interesting.
Head over to 4chan's legal page, and you can read through the site's new DMCA policy in full. It explains that content may be removed from the site if it is deemed to contravene copyright law. As the celebrities involved in the recent photo leaks should be able to claim ownership of the copyright of images of them -- or, failing that, the person who took the photos could do so -- it would seem reasonable to assume that 4chan is responding directly to the criticism leveled at it.
The tablet market is saturated with cheap Android devices, but there's also a growing number of Windows-powered slates pushing down the average price. The Toshiba Encore Mini is a 7-inch device unveiled at IFA 2014 today and it comes with a price tag of just $119.99.
While this is already a low price, it's possible that retailers will drop the price even further when it ships around September 17. Don’t let the price point fool you -- this is not a Windows RT device; you get fully fledged Windows 8.1. But, of course, compromises have been made.
LinkedIn, the social network for professionals looking to stay connected, today introduces a few new features to give users greater control over their accounts. Like Google, Facebook, Yahoo and other online services, it is now possible to check which devices you are signed in on. This is not just something that satisfies a curiosity; the ability to terminate unrecognized sessions means that should you spot that you’re still signed in on a computer you're not using, you can remotely sign out of it -- more importantly, it also makes it possible to boot out anyone who has gained unauthorized access to your account.
You can head to the Settings page of your account and click the See where you are logged in link -- alternatively, you can jump straight to the session management page. The page shows a list of all of the sessions that are currently active and provides details such as the associated IP address, the browser that's in use, and the approximate location of the session. Spot something that you don’t recognize or looks a little untoward? Just hit the Sign out link. You can also sign out of all sessions in one fell swoop if you prefer.
Unless you've been completely avoiding the news over the past few days, you will have heard about Apple's little problem with nude photos being stolen from celebrity accounts. The company has strongly denied that there has been a security breach, but in a statement it advised its customers to check the strength of their passwords as well as enabling two-step verification.
Two-factor authentication -- also known as two-step verification -- is a stronger method of security because it relies not only on something you know (your password), but also something you have (like your iPhone). Sounds good, but how do you do about doing it for your Apple account?
It's the first day of IFA2014 in Berlin, and Lenovo is getting all touchy feely. Rather than waiting until later in the consumer trade show, Lenovo has opted to display all of its wares right from that start by taking the wraps off three new devices, two of which feature touchscreens. As one of the devices is an Android powered tablet, this one is a given, but there's also a touchscreen laptop, and high-powered gaming rig to splash your hard-earned cash on. Priced at just $199, you may well be tempted to throw your money at the 8-inch TAB S8 with its sleek good looks and pretty impressive specs.
The display is a 1920 x 1200 affair boasting an ultra-thin bezel, and the whole unit weighs in at 299g. By way of illustrating the tablet's svelte dimensions, Lenovo has chosen to liken its thinness to that of a "standard pencil". Powered by a quad-core Intel Atom Z3745 processor running at up to 1.86GHz, the tablet also packs 2GB RAM, and 16GB of storage -- sadly not complemented with a microSD slot. The 4290mAh offers a claimed run time of up to seven hours and there are 1.6MP and 8MP cameras to take care of photos and videos. KitKat 4.4 comes pre-installed and there's an LTE option.
Since a cache of nude photos of celebrities appeared online, Apple has remained fairly tight-lipped about what may or may not have happened. Right from the start rumors were flying around that Apple's iCloud service may have been comprised or that Find My iPhone may have been to blame. The company said that it was "actively investigating" the suggestions but then things went quiet again. The FBI became involved, but it has been a frustrating 48 hours for anyone trying to find out what happened. Now Apple has issued a statement making it clear that a security attack did indeed take place.
Entitled Update to Celebrity Photo Investigation the statement reads:
Seemingly refreshed after a day off yesterday, Microsoft now hits us with two snippets of Office-related news. iPad users will now be able to sign up to a monthly Office 365 Personal and Office 365 Home subscription from their tablet. Nothing has changed about the subscription model itself, but now if you try to do something in the free version of the Office apps that require a subscription, you can upgrade there and then without having to scuttle off to your computer. You may be reading a Word file free of charge, but if you decide you want to edit it, you can upgrade with a few taps.
As before, Office 365 Personal will set you back $6.99 per month. It can be installed on one PC or Mac as well as one tablet, and bumps OneDrive storage from 15GB to 1TB. For $9.99 per month, Office 365 Home can be installed on up to five computers and five tablets. Microsoft will be hoping that the added convenience will encourage more people into making the jump into a subscription.
A week ago I wrote about my feelings of ennui towards the iPhone 6, asserting that there was just nothing to get excited about. Some people agreed, but many didn't -- it was to be expected really. What was particularly interesting was not just the discussion that started here in the comments on BetaNews but also that the article spread further afield. It was picked up by Macworld whose resident columnist The Macalope, er, disagreed with what I had to say. You'll notice that I've provided a link to the Macworld article which, despite quoting 46 percent of my post, The Macalope failed to do initially.
If you take the time to read the Macworld article you'd be forgiven for thinking that I was hurt at having my work pulled apart. Not a bit of it. No, I'm not concerned about being criticized. I've been writing for approaching 15 years now, and I know I'm going to piss people off from time to time. That's not to say that this is necessarily my intention -- in addition to news, I like to share my opinion and there will, of course, be some collateral damage that follows. Despite The Macalope's suggestions to the contrary, this was not designed to be a "link-baity" piece. Like Joe Wilcox, I've written about the importance of writing for the reader rather than writing for Google, and this is an ideology I firmly subscribe to.