Eager to infuse the Web with the communications interactivity of mobile apps, Mozilla on Thursday announced a video chat service called Hello.
The technology, built into the beta version of Firefox, lets people set up free video or audio calls with others using Firefox. Mozilla will gradually enable the feature in coming weeks.
There was a day when video chat was hard to do. Skype arrived just as Internet connectivity and video compression technology made it more feasible. Video calls once were a fixture for world's fair predictions of a sci-fi future. Now it's downright commonplace.
So what sets Firefox Hello apart? It's busting loose from the silos that can isolate users of today's video chat technology.
With Apple FaceTime, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Skype and many other services, you have to set up an account. With Firefox Hello, the first person just sends a website link. The second person clicks it, and presto, they're chatting.
QuickType, Apple’s new predictive keyboard featured on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad devices running iOS 8, is reportedly plagued with a potentially dangerous oversight where the software would suggest parts of your passwords that you previously used on websites, as first reported by French-language blog iGen.fr [Google Translate].
A new thread on Apple’s Support Communities website includes a note by one user who reported the keyboard offering “OrangeJuice” as a suggestion each time he would type in “AppleUser” because QuickType remembered the “OrangeJuice!2” password he previously used to log in to Outlook Web App.
Good news for advertisers, but maybe not-so-great news for users concerned about their personal data: Starting Monday, Facebook will use data it gleans from users for its new ad network, Atlas, which it will serve up ads on non-Facebook sites based on what Facebook knows about you.
Atlas is a former Microsoft property that Facebook bought last year for around $100 million that Facebook has now rebuilt from the ground up. Atlas is distinct from Audience Network, a mobile ad network Facebook introduced in April that was aimed at app developers.
In contrast, Atlas is a sort of alternative to Google's AdWords, which will let advertisers follow users across the web and mobile devices. For instance, Atlas advertiser Pepsi could use Atlas to advertise one of its products on a sports site or a game app that is unaffiliated with Facebook.
Multiple Windows 9 reports have suggested that Microsoft is considering releasing the upcoming platform as a free download to certain existing Windows users. Some said that Windows 8 will get Windows 9 free of charge, while others claimed the company is also considering some sort of special offers for existing Windows XP users. A report from Indonesian online publication Detik said earlier this week that President of Microsoft Indonesia Andreas Diantoro has confirmed this particular Windows 9 feature.
According to Diantoro, the Windows 9 upgrade will be available free of charge to all existing Windows 8 users once it’s released. Apparently, users will be able to easily install the Windows 9 update after downloading it from Microsoft, which is how Apple’s OS X updates have been rolled out to Macs for a few years now. For what it’s worth, some of the recent Windows 9 leaks did say that Microsoft already has a tool in place that will allow users to easily perform software updates.
Researchers at Malwarebytes noticed strange behavior on sites like Last.fm, The Times of Israel and The Jerusalem Post. Ads on the sites were being unusually aggressive, setting off anti-virus warnings and raising flags in a number of Malwarebytes systems. After some digging, researcher Jerome Segura realized the problem was coming from Google's DoubleClick ad servers and the popular Zedo ad agency. Together, they were serving up malicious ads designed to spread the recently identified Zemot malware. A Google representative has confirmed the breach, saying "our team is aware of this and has taken steps to shut this down."
Malware served through ad units (or "malvertising") is nothing new, but this incident is notable because of the unusually broad reach of the attack. "It was active but not too visible for a number of weeks until we started seeing popular sites getting flagged in our honeypots," Segura says. "That's when we thought, something is going on." The first impressions came in late August, and by now millions of computers have likely been exposed to Zemot, although only those with outdated antivirus protection were actually infected.
Previously, Google required everyone to make a Google+ profile in order to get a new Gmail account. This made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move. Now, that requirement is lifted. Sort of.
While it was still technically possible to create a Google account without tying into Google+, it was very difficult. Now, if you sign up for a Gmail account, you have the option of saying "No thanks" to a Google+ profile. This doesn't come without some drawbacks, of course. You won't be able to leave restaurant reviews, rate apps or content on the Play Store, or perhaps most frustratingly, comment on YouTube. However, if you'd prefer to stay out of the Google+ fray, it's now an option.