Drones tend to be associated with surveillance and crowd control, but Google is the latest firm to express an interest in using the unmanned machines as a delivery service. Facebook has previously talked about using drones to "deliver the internet to everyone", and Amazon has also toyed with the idea, but now the search giant wants a piece of the action. The company's development team, Google X, has been beavering away on a delivery system powered by drones, and details of how it works have now been released.
Unlike other drones that tend to take a quad-copter design, Google's take on the idea sees a merging of a plane with a helicopter. Fitted out with a single wing and four propellers which move into different positions when flying, the drones have a housing unit for packages in the center of the wing. The Atlantic has a great deal of background about the project and it looks as though rather than being used to ship things that shoppers have bought, it is more likely to be used to help in disaster areas where aid is needed.
Today Dropbox Pro users gain access to a raft of new features including automatically expiring shared links, password-protected sharing, and adjustable permissions. In recent times, Dropbox has moved away from being just a simple cloud storage platform into a cloud-based collaboration tool. Password-protected files sharing is the first line of security that's now available, but it has been bolstered by the ability to have the share automatically stop after a set period. This is something that is particularly useful for sensitive data, and is a helpful addition to the manual disabling of a shared link -- a set-it-and-forget-it option.
Catching up with other file collaborative tools, Dropbox Pro now also takes into account the fact that you might want to share files with others without giving them the option to edit those files. The new ability to add view-only permissions to files and folders has this covered so it is possible to share sensitive files without worrying about them being changed. For anyone using Dropbox on mobile devices, there is always the fear of losing a handset; a new remote wipe feature takes care of this.
OneDrive and Dropbox users with access to an iPhone or iPad rejoice: both iOS apps were just updated with major improvements with the release of Microsoft OneDrive 4.4 and Dropbox 3.3.
Both apps gain new features -- the ability to search within Word and PowerPoint documents in Dropbox, a brand new Photos view in OneDrive -- as well as a number of improvements and stability fixes.
Google’s Drive for Work storage product is seeing 1,800 new businesses sign up every week as enterprises continue to come around to the secure storage and collaboration option that it offers.
A blog post by Scott Johnston, director of product management at Google Drive, explained that the $10 (£6) per user per month package has been popular across a number of industries since it was launched just two months ago.
Click-bait articles are rife online. Countless websites ply a trade in leading headlines designed to lure readers in, giving as little away as possible as an encouragement to click through. A virtual prick-tease, if you will. Sometimes the click is worth it, but all too often the article -- particularly on tabloid-style newspapers, magazine websites and sites peddling listicles -- is pointless or misleading. A suggestive question, the promise of sex, inappropriate references to the iPhone 6, the implication of free money... the possibilities for click-bait are virtually endless. It -- understandably -- annoys a lot of people, and it has annoyed Facebook enough for the social network to take a stand.
You've no doubt noticed that your Facebook newsfeed has become clogged up with countless "one weird trick", "ten ways to give her the best orgasm ever", and "you'll never guess what!" headlines. Now Facebook is taking steps to limit the appearance of such articles so that what users see is more interesting and relevant. In a post on the Facebook blog, it has been announced that two key updates are to be made: "the first to reduce click-baiting headlines, and the second to help people see links shared on Facebook in the best format".
One of the difficulties with using virtual systems is that it's harder to measure performance. Now though data insights specialist CloudPhysics is launching a new Global Insights tool to allow VMware users to continuously benchmark their virtual infrastructure against global metrics.
This is part of enhancements to its SaaS solution which include interactive Daily Insights, that dynamically aggregate and expose operational hazards across the datacenter. The addition of Global Insights analysis across a massive range of data samples enables CloudPhysics users to instantly identify areas for improvement in their own environments, as well as specific actions for achieving better datacenter health, performance and efficiency.
Following on from Edward Snowden's revelations about the NSA's activity there have been increasing concerns about just how secure our data is, particularly if it's stored in the cloud. Indeed it's reckoned that the cloud industry faces losing billions of dollars in revenue to privacy concerns.
Yet some experts believe that storing data in the cloud is still safer than keeping it in-house. We spoke to Orlando Scott-Cowley, evangelist, strategist and technologist of email management specialist Mimecast to find out why.
Cloud computing is one of the most important technologies in the world right now, but it can be extremely confusing at times.
What, for example, are SaaS, PaaS and IaaS? Read on as we take the jargon out of the cloud and explain things in a much more brain-friendly way.
For anyone looking to stay anonymous online, Tor seems like an obvious option. At the same time, it could lull users into a false sense of security -- after all, this is a network that was, at least in the past, funded by the military and US government -- and conspiracy theories abound that Tor is nothing more than a honey trap to catch the kind of people who have a need for anonymity because of their nefarious activities. The network has evolved over the years and now agencies such as the NSA in the US and GCHQ in the UK are actively seeking out vulnerabilities so they can crack the network. But the relationships are actually far more complex than that.
According to Andrew Lewman, chief of operations at Tor, the same agencies that are trying to break Tor are also posting tips anonymously about the vulnerabilities that have been found -- giving a chance for them to be patched. Talking to the BBC Lewman said:
There are many parts of the internet that are blocked to children under the age of 13. Facebook, for instance, implements an age restriction and Google is another online firm that prevents younger web users from setting up accounts. But all this could be set to change. First reported by The Information, Google has plans to open up its service to a younger audience. This does not mean that youngsters will be free to sign up for an account and browse through the contents of YouTube without restrictions. Parents will be able to sign their children up for an account and retain control over what they are able to do online.
One of the primary concerns many people have about Google -- regardless of their age -- is privacy. Google has a proven track record in delivering tailored content and advertisements to its users, and this is something that is at odds with laws around the world when it comes to children. The news coincides with UK plans to experiment with age ratings for online videos, and privacy and child protection groups are already voicing their concerns. Of course, there is nothing to stop someone of any age from signing up for a Google account; it's easy to stretch the truth with dates of birth online. But Google specifically targeting children with its services is unchartered water.
In the wake of the death of Robin Williams, Twitter announces that it will now accept image removal requests from relatives of deceased individuals. Williams' daughter Zelda was forced to leave Twitter having been inundated with a barrage of mocked up images of her deceased father.
In the aftermath of the actor's suicide, Twitter explained that it would improve its policies. The result is an update to the way in which death is handled on Twitter. The families of deceased people have been able to request the deactivation of an account, but now new rights have been introduced.
The move towards BYOD in business is bringing a number of new challenges. Not least of these is how to safely and easily share data across a number of devices.
Public clouds provide a tempting option but there are risks in terms of security and control. Now storage company PROMISE Technology is addressing these concerns with a new product called FileCruiser which allows enterprises to build an on-premise cloud. This means admins can manage the entire system, including hardware and software configuration, eliminating the security concerns of storing confidential data on public services.
Having left his post as CEO of Microsoft six months ago, Steve Ballmer today further cut his ties with the company. In a letter to Satya Nadella, he explains that it would be "impractical" to continue to serve on the board of directors. The decision comes after the purchase of the LA Clippers, and Ballmer's letter makes reference to "the start of the NBA season" meaning that his "departure from the board is effective immediately". But Steve is not cutting the umbilical cord entirely; he remains a shareholder and wants to keep his hand in to some extent.
The heart-warmingly friendly letter praises Nadella's drive and vision at the top of Microsoft, and it's clear that Ballmer is still deeply passionate about the company he leaves behind:
We all know it's important to keep our PCs safe from online threats, but the range of options available to do that -- even from just one developer -- can be bewildering.
Symantec has recognized this problem and has announced that from this fall it will streamline its nine existing security offerings into just one flagship Norton Security product.
You never know when the next Twitter is going to crop up. When a new service like Pinterest, Vine, or Skype appears, if you're not quick off the mark there's a high chance you'll miss out on your preferred username. You want MarkWilsonWords? Sorry, that went ages ago… you'll have to settle for MarkWilsonWord09868. Getting stuck with a crappy username sucks, but it's very hard to monitor all of the new services that pop up so you can bag your ideal name as early as possible. This is something that EarlyClaim can help with.
It's a free service that seeks out new startups and reserves a username on your behalf -- you just say what handle you'd like, and EarlyClaim does the hard work for you. For businesses, it is important to have a brand identity that is the same across different social networks (who is going to take notice of Coca Cola 1897 on Facebook?) but it's also something that is valuable to individuals. How many times have you signed up for a site only to find that you're unable to secure the username of your choice and had to opt for something far inferior? Every time you use that service there is a constant reminder that you weren't fast enough at signing up.