Mark Wycislik-Wilson

Google relents and hands to privacy-centric rival DuckDuckGo

DuckDuckGo search engine

It may well just be coincidental timing, but shortly after DuckDuckGo accused Google of personalizing search results even for people not signed into their account, Google has handed control of the domain over to its rival.

The concession comes after years of frustration for DuckDuckGo, with Google having acquired after buying On2 Technologies (previously The Duck Corporation) in 2010. The privacy-focused search engine has long asked Google to point the address at its website, and this has finally happened. now redirects to DuckDuckGo.

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The OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition is just getting silly with 10GB RAM

OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition

Over the last few years, OnePlus has jumped from being a weird indie outsider to being something of a household name. Its twice-yearly smartphone releases are always eagerly awaited, and there have been a handful of special editions thrown in for good measure.

The latest of these is the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition, and it is the epitome of going over the top. Packing a rather excessive-seeming 10GB of RAM, the latest addition to the OnePlus stable rocks not only a headline-grabbing amount of memory (which is probably the point), but also the incredibly fast Warp Charge 30 charging system… and a $699 price tag.

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Google+ to close down earlier than planned after another data leak is discovered

Google HQ logo

We already knew that Google+ is closing down, but following the discovery of a second data leak, Google has announced that it is bringing the closure forward.

The company has revealed that a bug in the Google+ API exposed the data of 52.5 million users, and as a result it is expediting the shutdown. Previously due to close in August 2019, Google+ will now be killed off in April 2019.

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Microsoft confirms you will be able to use Chrome extensions in Edge

Microsoft Edge

The news that Microsoft is going to create a Chromium-based version of its Edge browser has been met with a mixed reaction, but there is some good news for users. The company has confirmed that the adoption of Chromium means that Edge will support Chrome extensions.

Microsoft Edge has been much maligned for its lack of features when compared to Firefox, Chrome and Opera, and the number of extensions currently supported by the browser is laughably small. For this reason, the confirmation that Chrome extensions will be supported will be warmly welcomed by users.

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Microsoft says it is time for government regulation of facial recognition

Facial recognition

Facial recognition is becoming more widely used in both general computing and in the wider world. Smartphones and computers can be unlocked with your face, but the technology is also used for security and policing purposes.

While most uses are legitimate and helpful, there is scope for abuse. Microsoft thinks it is time for regulation to help avoid this. The company is calling on government around the world to introduce new laws, but also on the technology industry to introduce safeguards to protect against abuse and bias.

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You may be happy about Microsoft's adoption of Chromium, but Mozilla thinks it is bad for competition

Microsoft glass building logo

After the rumors, confirmation came from Microsoft that it plans to move its Edge browser from the EdgeHTML engine to Chromium. Reaction from users has been largely positive, but it's not the same story across the technology industry as a whole.

While Google is understandably happy about the change, the CEO of Mozilla, Chris Beard, says it is bad for competition and will help to make Google even more powerful.

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Microsoft confirms plans to use open source Chromium to develop Edge

Microsoft Edge

Just a couple of days ago, news crept out about Microsoft's project Anaheim -- a Chromium-based web browser said to be a replacement for Microsoft Edge. This understandably generated a great deal of interest... So much, in fact, that Microsoft has been compelled to speak out and confirm what its plans are.

Microsoft says that it is not building a replacement for Edge, but confirms that it will be embracing Chromium in the development of the browser. It is part of the company's increasing involvement in the open source community, and is driven by a desire to improve web compatibility and reduce fragmentation

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Google to kill off Allo as the company streamlines messaging in its own unique way

Google logo

There has been a great deal of speculation recently about what Google's plans are for dealing with its plethora of messaging tools. There had been suggestions that Hangouts could be for the chop, but now Google has spoken out to say that this is not -- quite -- the case, and in fact it is Allo that will be shuttered.

The closure of Allo will come just two-and-a-half years since it first appeared. Google says that it has learned a lot from releasing Allo, and plans to bring the best of its features to the Messages app. In a blog post, Google also talks about the other messaging apps and services it offers, including Hangouts and Duo.

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Windows Lite, anyone? Microsoft said to be working on yet another cut-down version of Windows

Microsoft mission

Microsoft has already had a stab at a cut-down version of its famous operating system in the form of Windows RT and Windows 10 S... and it seems that the company is looking to have a third try. References have been spotted in the code of Windows 10 to "PRODUCT_LITE" -- apparently a reference to a new version of its OS called either Windows Lite, or just Lite.

While Microsoft has not confirmed anything or made any official announcements, there are numerous references to Lite in recent Insider builds of Windows, as well as in the SDK for the OS. With help from well-placed insiders, it has been possible to piece together some information about Windows Lite.

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Privacy-focused DuckDuckGo finds Google personalizes search results even for logged out and incognito users

Google HQ logo

You might well expect that if you perform a Google search while signed into your Google account that the results will be tailored according to what that company has learned about you over the years. But what about when you're not signed into your account?

A study carried out by the privacy-centric search engine DuckDuckGo yielded some slightly surprising results. In tests earlier in the year, it was found that even when people searched without logging into a Google account -- or when they used private browsing mode --  "most participants saw results unique to them", suggesting there was still personalization of results.

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These are the best apps, games, music, movies and more of 2018... according to Apple

Apple's best of 2018

The end of the year approaches and so the "best of" lists start to emerge. Jumping on the bandwagon is Apple, providing us with a lengthy list of the best apps, games, music, podcasts, TV shows, and just about everything else digital you can think of.

The charts have not been compiled by simply calculating which apps have proved most popular with user. Apple describes it as "an invariable list of the who's who and what's what from the past year" which is a combination of both "top charts and selects from our editors". Are your favorites featured?

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Hate Edge? Microsoft may be ready to move on to a Chromium-based browser

Microsoft Edge

If Microsoft isn't careful, it is going to start getting through web browsers faster than Google gets through messaging tools. Having moved on from Internet Explorer to Edge, the company is now said to be looking to transition to a Chromium-based browser for Windows 10.

It's fair to say that Edge hasn't won itself too many fans since it first appeared three years ago, so the suggestion that Microsoft may ditch EdgeHTML in favour of a browser based on Chromium is likely to be widely welcomed. Said to be codenamed Anaheim, the news Microsoft has a new rendering engine on the horizon will go down well with those who have been disappointed by Edge.

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Tumblr turns family-friendly and bans ALL adult content

Tumblr on smartphone

Tumblr has announced that it is to introduce a ban on all adult content across the platform in a major reversal of policy. The site has long been home to all manner of explicit content, and this lack of censorship is part of the reason for Tumblr's popularity.

The site says that, as of December 17, "adult content will not be allowed on Tumblr, regardless of how old you are". The announcement was made in the Tumblr Help Center, and it comes as the company aims to appeal to a wider age range.

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Microsoft adds real-time captions and subtitles to Skype -- PowerPoint to follow

Skype subtitles

We're all pretty used to subtitles for movies and TV shows -- even if we don't need them, they can prove useful -- and Microsoft has now added this feature to Skype.

Ostensibly an accessibility feature (and launched on United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities), the new option means that Skype will be able to use voice recognition to show you the text of what is being said in a voice call. Microsoft will also bring the same feature to PowerPoint next year.

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Amazon launches hardware compatibility checker to help PC upgraders

Installing memory in a PC

If you want a custom PC, there's a lot of fun to be had building your own rig -- or even just upgrading your off-the-shelf PC. But while you can save money as you create your perfect computer, there is the headache of ensuring that all of the components you buy are compatible with your system.

While hardware compatibility is not quite the problem it was in years gone by, it can still be an issue. Help is at hand, however, albeit from an unlikely source. Amazon has launched a compatibility checking tool that will help you to buy the right components. It is an extension of its Part Finder tools which launched earlier in the year.

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