Google still hasn't given up on Google+ and Topics is the latest attempt to keep people on the service
Google+ finds itself the butt of many a joke, but the company behind the service is happy to proclaim that "millions of people use" it. There are already numerous ways to discover content on Google+, and now there's yet another: Topics.
This is essentially Google's take on the idea of related content, and it's a bid to keep users on the site -- or in the app -- for longer. Not content with having people reading what they set out to read, now additional "Topics to explore" will be suggested.
Today Facebook publishes its Global Government Requests Report, revealing just how many data requests the social network has received from governments around the world. This time around, the report covers the second half of 2016, and it shows a mixed-bag of figures.
While the number of items that had to be restricted due to contravention of local laws dropped, the number of government data requests increased by 9 percent compared to the previous six months. Facebook is well-aware that it faces scrutiny and criticism for its willingness to comply with data requests, and the company tries to allay fears by saying: "We do not provide governments with "back doors" or direct access to people's information."
Malware is something of a recurring problem for Android users, and it seems as though Google is fighting a never-ending battle to keep the blight out of the Play Store. The latest large-scale batch to be discovered takes the form of adware known as FalseGuide.
As you may have guessed from the name -- and your own experience of Google Play -- this malware spreads by fooling people into installing apps purporting to be guides to popular games. The apps themselves are fairly innocuous -- and often are guides as they claim to be -- but they then download additional modules which can be used to bombard users with ads.
The "related articles" feature of Facebook's News Feed is nothing new -- in fact it has been with us for more than three years. But now the social network is trialling a new way of displaying related content; rather than waiting until you have clicked on a story to suggest related stories you might be interested in, Facebook will instead be offering these suggestions before you read an article.
As well as giving users the chance to read more about a topic from different source, Facebook says that it will help people to discover articles which have been fact-checked. It is -- almost by accident, it seems -- another way for Facebook to tackle fake news.
The fight against fake news continues, with Google announcing not only changes to search algorithms to help prevent false information from rising to the surface, but also new tools to allow users to report "unexpected, inaccurate or offensive" results.
While the algorithm tweaks should impact on general search results, the reporting tools have been designed for Google's Autocomplete predictions and Featured Snippets which have been problematic in recent months. Updated algorithms should help to ensure more authoritative pages receive greater prominence, while low-quality content is demoted.
If you're using a desktop or a laptop, there are a number of diagnostic tools built into your operating system that you can use to check various components of your computer. When you're using your smartphone, however, you might feel as though you have to install a bunch of apps to do the same job.
But this is not the case. There are a large number of tools built into your OnePlus 3 or OnePlus 3T -- you just need to know how to find them. As you'll probably have guessed from the headline, these are not utilities you're going to find by browsing through the list of installed apps -- you need a special code.
Donald Trump is obsessed with the notion of FAKE NEWS. Whether his definition is the same as everyone else's is open to debate, but there is a genuine problem with the spread of propaganda, nonsense, and stories which are clearly fabricated. Google and Facebook and other big names from the world of tech have started to fight back, and now it's the turn of Jimmy Wales.
The Wikipedia founder is setting up WikiTribune, an online news publication which focuses on fact-checking, using a combination of paid journalists and contributions from the community. It is described as a "new kind of news platform," and aims to provide "accurate information with real evidence, so that you can confidently make up your own mind."
The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ launched last week, and has received many positive reviews. However, the smartphone has a problem. The screen -- which has been widely praised -- has an issue which means some suffer with a red tint. This has been confirmed by Consumer Reports in its tests of the phone.
Officials have pointed out that tweaking color calibration settings is all it takes to fix the problem, but Samsung has also said that it will push out an update to address the issue. But how much of a problem is the red tint?
Uber broke Apple's rules by tagging and tracking iPhones even after users had uninstalled the taxi-hailing app. The New York Times reports that Tim Cook met with CEO Travis Kalanick and warned that the Uber app could be kicked out of the App Store for violating privacy guidelines.
It is said that Uber has been found "secretly identifying and tagging iPhones" not only after the app was uninstalled, but even after phones had been wiped. The "fingerprinting" technique was used -- it is alleged -- to identify individual iPhones, and measures were taken to hide the offending code from Apple.
Overwhelmed by the number of emails hitting our inboxes these days, it's little wonder that a "unsubscription service" like Unroll.me came into being. Designed to make it easier to clean up your inbox, it turned out that Unroll.me was selling user data to other companies -- including Uber, which is caught up in other controversies of its own.
After this came to light, CEO Jojo Hedaya has written a sorry-not-sorry-style apology. In it, he says that it was "heartbreaking" to find that users were upset to discover "how we monetize our free service." But while recognizing that people are unhappy, there are no plans to change the practice. If you're concerned, however, a data scientist has written a guide to deleting your account.
Around this time last month, Google was facing criticism for appearing to censor LGBTQ+ videos with the Restricted Mode feature. Now the company says that it has addressed the problem and will no longer be "incorrectly filtering videos."
Google says that this means hundreds of thousands of videos with LGBTQ+ content have been unlocked, and more than 12 million videos in total have been affected. The company has already issued an apology for the filtering, but now it is keen to be seen making amends.
System76 is building up quite a name for itself, being one of a very limited number of companies selling only computers running Linux-based operating systems. Now the aim is to branch out; System76 wants to design and build its own hardware, while representing the open source community as it does so.
At the moment, the hardware used in System76 systems is outsourced, but in the future this will change. The company says that it is moving into phase three of its development cycle, and this "moves product design and manufacturing in house." And you should set your expectations high: "We're about to build the Model S of computers. Something so brilliant and beautiful that reviewers will have to add an 11 to their scores."
WikiLeaks continues to release documents that reveal various hacking tools used by the CIA. After the HIVE revelations just over a week ago, the group has followed up with details of operations that were mentioned in the very first batch of Vault 7 leaks -- hacking Samsung televisions to listen in on people.
The documents suggest that the CIA's work is based on a tool developed by MI5 in the UK called Extending. The CIA went on to transform this into its own utility by the name of "Weeping Angel." WikiLeaks has published the guide to using the tool in a file marked "SECRET STRAP 2 UK EYES ONLY," and it describes how an implant is configured on a Linux PC before installing it on a target Samsung F Series smart TV.
Microsoft is due to hold an event in NYC on May 2, and it's widely expected that the company will unveil Windows 10 Cloud -- although it may not be until Build slightly later in the month. On paper, Windows 10 Cloud sounds very much like Microsoft's answer to Google's Chromebook, and leaks suggest this is precisely the market that Microsoft is targeting.
As the May event has an education focus, it's apparent that any low-cost Chromebook-like Windows devices will be aimed at the education sector -- but that's not to say that there won’t be interest from other people looking for cheap hardware. And thanks to the latest leak, we know the recommended minimum hardware spec to run Windows 10 Cloud.
Google Play Music becomes the default player on Samsung phones and tablets, plus doubles free storage
To coincide with the launch of the Galaxy S8 and S8+, Google has announced a new partnership with Samsung. The deal means that Google Play Music will be the default music player and music service on all phones and tablets from the Korean manufacturer around the world.
But the partnership has a few bonuses for Samsung users that go beyond just a change in music player. Kicking things off is a boost in free Google Play Music storage: Samsung users will be able to take advantage of double the usual quota.