Mark Wycislik-Wilson

LinkedIn Website Demographics lets website owners track the type of visitors coming to their sites

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The tracking capabilities of social media sites has long been a cause for concern, with Facebook being the most notable example. Now the Microsoft-owned professional social network LinkedIn has announced details of a new tracking feature that will be of interest to website owners.

LinkedIn Website Demographics does not (despite what some reports might suggest, #PrivacyKlaxon) allow for the tracking of individual users, but it does give website owners the chance to get a better idea of the demographics of their visitors. This is less about creating targeted content, and more about determining whether existing content is attracting the right audience -- although clearly one leads to the other.

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Microsoft launches Windows Bounty Program to weed out Windows 10 bugs

Image credit: g0d4ather and StockSmartStart / Shutterstock

Microsoft is one of many technology companies to run bounty programs giving people the opportunity to earn a bundle of cash for finding bugs and security issues with software. Now the software giant has launched the Windows Bounty Program, offering rewards of up to $250,000.

Of course, the starting point for rewards is much lower -- just $500, but still better than a kick in the teeth. This new bounty program has four key areas of focus in addition to the Windows Insider program: Microsoft Hyper-V, Mitigation bypass and Bounty for defense, Windows Defender Application Guard, and Microsoft Edge.

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Google Play Music and YouTube Red to merge into a new streaming service

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YouTube's head of music, Lyor Cohen, has confirmed that Google Play Music and YouTube Red are going to merge. Speaking in New York at the New Music Seminar conference, Cohen said that a new streaming service would be created.

Rumors of the merger have been circulating for some time, and the move will see Google consolidating its services into something rather more manageable -- both for the company and for users.

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Google kills off Google Instant search with immediate effect

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Google is sidelining one of its famous features: Google Instant. The feature displays search results in real-time as you type, eliminating the need to press Enter or hit Search, but after 7 years, Google thinks it's time to wave goodbye to it.

The reason given for the cull is that the majority of searches are now conducted from mobile devices, and Google Instant makes less sense on a touchscreen. This does not mean, however, that Google's autocomplete function is disappearing.

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eBay's new Image Search and Find It On eBay tools let you find items using a photo

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Finding what you're looking for on eBay can be tricky. You need to find the right words to home in on exactly what you mean, and there's no guarantee that the seller will use quite the same wording. Far better, you might think, to be able to search using a photo of the item you want.

eBay agrees. With Image Search, users can take or upload a photo from their camera roll to search for matching items. The second new tool, Find It On eBay, can share images from the web -- including social media -- to eBay and use them to conduct searches. eBay says both features are facilitated by artificial intelligence and machine learning.

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How to enable portable mode in Paint.NET

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In recent days, there has been a great deal of interest in the supposed loss of Paint, followed by the bizarre, inexplicable delight people felt when it transpired the app will live on in the Windows Store. The (subjectively) brilliant Paint.NET was originally built as a successor to Paint, and the developer recently said that it too will be coming to the Windows Store.

He also made reference to a portable mode that would be coming to Paint.NET, and this caused ripples of excitement through the app's userbase. Well, Paint.NET 4.0.17 is out, and portability is an option -- you just need to do a little work. So, here's how to enable portable mode in Paint.NET.

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Adobe leaks its upcoming cloud-based photo editor, Project Nimbus

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Adobe accidentally treated Creative Cloud subscribers to a sneak preview of Project Nimbus. The company had already said a little about the cloud-based, Lightroom-like photo editor, but now it has inadvertently made the app available to a number of users.

Adobe quickly realized its mistake and rectified the matter, but the slip-up gives an interesting glimpse into what we can expect to see from Project Nimbus -- or whatever it ends up being called -- when it is finished.

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Kaspersky launches free antivirus tool -- Kaspersky Free!

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Kaspersky has been in the news quite a lot recently, primarily because of US concerns over links to the Russian government. The security company also hit the headlines when it filed an antitrust case against Microsoft because Windows 10 disabled Kaspersky antivirus software.

But now there's a new reason to be in the news -- and this time it's a good one. The Russian company is launching Kaspersky Free, a free antivirus tool available globally. Company founder Eugene Kaspersky announced that the US, Canada and numerous Asia Pacific countries have access to the software immediately, and the global rollout will continue over the coming months (although it already seems to be downloadable in the UK).

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Flash is finally bowing out to HTML5 as Adobe aims to stop updates in 2020

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The death of Flash has been long, slow and protracted. The writing has been on the wall for some time now, but it seems that Adobe is finally ready to kiss its (adopted) baby goodbye. The company is bringing Flash to end-of-life and will stop updating and distributing Flash Player in 2020.

Anyone who is still using Flash is being encouraged to embrace open standards such as HTML5, WebGL and WebAssembly as replacements. Adobe says that it will continue to work with key tech companies to maintain security and stability beyond 2020, but don’t expect any more than that. Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Mozilla have all issued their own statements about the death of Flash.

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Prepare to get pissed at Google as autoplaying videos arrive in search results

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When Twitter and Facebook introduced autoplaying videos, many users were annoyed by their intrusive nature. Subsequent tweaks and the introduction of autoplay settings calmed the mood a little, but now Google has decided to stir things up a bit.

Perform a Google search and you might well find that the results include an autoplaying video -- even for searches that would not necessarily mean you want to see a video. Given the reception autoplaying videos have received elsewhere, this is not likely to go down well with Google users.

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Google launches SOS Alerts in Search and Maps to help out in a crisis

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Google is rolling out new features to its Search and Maps products to help get information out to people in the event of a crisis. SOS Alerts provides access to information and stories about incidents and locations where there has been some form of disaster.

Just what is displayed to you depends on how close you are to the incident. Google will show those in the area information such as emergency numbers and directions to help, while those elsewhere will see news about what is going on, and links to donate money or help.

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Google releases Android O Developer Preview 4, the last beta before the official launch

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Android fans with a Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel C, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P or Nexus Player (or if you're happy using the Android Emulator) can now try out Android O Developer Preview 4. Google has released the final beta version of its mobile operating system as we draw ever-closer to the official launch of Android O -- or Android 8.0, if you prefer.

At this stage we don’t know what the O stands for. There's an octopus-related Easter egg in Developer Preview 4, but that's not in keeping with the dessert theme naming convention. The biggest news in this release is the inclusion of the stable version of Android 26.0.0 Support Library, but the main focus is on small updates and stability improvements.

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Europe says Facebook, Twitter and Google need to improve user terms or face fines

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Facebook, Twitter and Google have failed to impress EU authorities with their proposed revisions to user terms. The three companies have been under pressure to amend their terms to bring them in line with European law.

The European Commission and consumer protection authorities wrote to the tech giants last month, giving them until July 20th to submit proposals about their respective social networks. The companies have until September to implement changes that satisfy Europe, or fines could be handed out.

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Facebook acquires Source3 to help prevent video piracy because its own tools aren't up to the job

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Any online platform must contend with the problem of piracy and intellectual property rights, and Facebook is no different. The social network gives content owners the opportunity to monetize their videos, but in order for this to work, owners' rights need to be protected; this is why Facebook introduced its Rights Manager tool a couple of years ago.

But it seems that Facebook's own weapons in the fight against piracy and content theft have not been as effective as the company -- and content owners -- would have hoped. As such Facebook is taking Source3 under its wing. The startup develops tools for tracking intellectual property to allow for the monitoring of unauthorized sharing.

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Microsoft designed its own AI chip for the next HoloLens

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HoloLens 2 is in the works, and Microsoft has revealed that the second version of its mixed reality headset will feature an AI chip. The company has turned to custom silicon when it comes to bringing artificial intelligence to HoloLens, but while Microsoft has designed the chip, it is manufactured by a third party.

Speaking at the Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition conference Harry Shum, executive vice president of Microsoft's Artificial Intelligence and Research Group, said the second version of the Holographic Processing Unit (HPU) will feature the AI chip so processing can be carried out onboard rather than in the cloud.

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