Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Business Insider’

Google had to disable a feature on its new $50 smart speaker after the gadget listened in on some users

google home miniThe Google Home Mini in a Google-exclusive “coral red” color.Matt Weinberger/Business Insider

Google rushed out a fix to a glitch in its latest smart speaker last week that caused the device to surreptitiously record the conversations of its early testers without their knowledge or consent.

The bug affected a small number of the Google Home Mini devices that the company handed out to reporters at its press event last week, according to Google. The company rolled out a software update over the weekend to address the issue on those devices and is exploring a long-term fix.

“We learned of an issue impacting a small number of Google Home Mini devices that could cause the touch mechanism to behave incorrectly,” the company said in a statement, adding, “If you’re still having issues, please feel free to contact Google support.”

Google unveiled the $50 Mini, which goes on sale on October 19, at its event on Wednesday. Soon after, Android Police’s Artem Russakovskii, who was one of the reporters who received a test unit, discovered that his device was turning on by itself, recording his conversations, and uploading them to Google.

Normally, there are two ways to interact with Google’s smart speakers, including the Mini. You can say the words “OK Google,” followed by a command such as “play ‘Bohemian Rhapsody.'” Alternatively, you can press the button located on the top of the devices instead of saying “OK Google.”

But Russakovskii discovered that his Mini was listening in on him even when he hadn’t pressed the device’s button or said, “OK Google.” When he checked his personal activity page on Google, the site that shows users’ interactions with the search giant’s services and the data it collects on users, he found sound files that had been uploaded to Google’s servers from the Mini without his consent.

Google blamed the glitch on a faulty button in some of the units. The buttons on those Minis were detecting touches even when there was no touch to detect. Russakovskii apparently got one of the defective devices.

On October 7th, three days after it handed out the Mini review units, Google rolled out a software update that disables the button. The change affects every Mini it’s handed out, even those that weren’t malfunctioning. Meanwhile, the company says it’s deleted all the data recorded from alleged button pushes on the Mini review units — whether they were actual button pushes or not — from the time it handed out the devices to reviewers until it issued the update.

Ultimately, the problem appears to be a simple error, not a malicious act of spying. And the company is looking for a long-term solution.

But the glitch is one that Google would certainly have liked to have avoided for multiple reasons, as The Verge notes.

The bug could not only help undermine sales of the Mini but hamper Google’s broader effort to turn itself into a top-tier hardware maker. Smart speakers like the Mini rely on customers’ trust; it’s an act of faith for consumers to let Amazon or Google place a microphone in their houses. They generally expect the companies to only record them when they’re aware of it.

Worse, the nature of the glitch is likely to play into consumers’ worst fears about the search giant. Lots of people are already sensitive to the fact that Google is collecting tons of data on its customers. And the company has previously been taken to task for collecting data without consumers’ consent. Back in 2010, Google admitted its Google Maps Street View cars had been sucking up e-mails and passwords from unencrypted WiFi networks as the cars mapped neighborhoods around the country and world.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Here’s everything Apple announced at its big iPhone launch event

Tim Cook Apple event iPhone XApple CEO Tim Cook and design chief Jony Ive display the new iPhone X.Justin Sullivan/Getty

Apple unveiled not one, but three new iPhones at its hardware event on Tuesday.

The iPhone X, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus join a slew of new products and services from Apple, many of which are set to roll out as early as this Friday.

Along with the new phones, Apple announced its first foray into wireless charging, new facial-recognition technology, and a 4K Apple TV. Plus, Apple finally added a cellular connection to its new Apple Watch Series 3.

Here are all the things Apple announced at Tuesday’s event

Apple announced its latest and greatest iPhone, the iPhone X.

Apple announced its latest and greatest iPhone, the iPhone X.

Justin Sullivan/Getty

The new iPhone X — pronounced “iPhone ten” — features a strikingly different design from its predecessors like the iPhone 7. It has a 5.8-inch screen that Apple calls a “Super Retina Display,” which utilizes a superior screen technology called OLED. The iPhone X comes in just two colors for now: black, and white.

You can preorder the iPhone X on October 27. It ships on November 3, and has a starting price of $999 for 64GB of storage.

There are also two more new iPhones: iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus.

There are also two more new iPhones: iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus.

Apple

Like its predecessor the iPhone 7, the iPhone 8 comes in two varieties: a standard 4.7-inch model, and a larger 5.5-inch “Plus” model. Apple is offering the two iPhone 8 models in three colors: silver, matte black, and a new gold color. Both the iPhone 8 and the 8 Plus have a glass back and both support the Qi wireless charging standard.

The iPhone 8 and the iPhone 8 Plus start at $699 and arrive on September 22.

The Apple Watch Series 3 is Apple’s third-generation smartwatch.

The Apple Watch Series 3 is Apple's third-generation smartwatch.

Justin Sullivan/Getty

Apple Watch Series 3 is the first Apple Watch, and the first Watch with cellular built in. The watch can make and receive calls allowing you to leave your phone at home, and will have the same number as your iPhone. The new watch comes in three colors: a new gold aluminum finish, silver, and space gray.

Apple Watch Series 3 will be available to order on Friday and will start at $329 — the watch with cellular will cost $399. It will be available a week later, on September 22.

Apple is launching its own heart rate study for Apple Watch users.

Apple is launching its own heart rate study for Apple Watch users.

Apple

The new Apple Watch Series 3 will feature an enhanced heart rate app, watch will notify you when it detects an elevated heart rate specifically when you’re not active. The sensor will also be able to analyze heart rhythm, so Apple is launching the Apple Heart Study in partnership with Stanford University. The study will use data from Apple Watch to analyze cardiac arrhythmia and will be available on the App Store later this year.

There’s a new Apple TV that will stream video in ultra-sharp 4K resolution.

There's a new Apple TV that will stream video in ultra-sharp 4K resolution.

Justin Sullivan/Getty

The new Apple TV 4K will be able to stream 4K – or UHD (ultra high-definition) – resolution video, which is sharper than the full-HD 1080p resolution from previous Apple TV models. It will also support HDR (high dynamic range) to produce better colors and contrast between light and dark areas of a scene.

The Apple TV 4K will be able to stream live video, like sports, in 4K HDR from Apple TV apps. It will be available to buy for $179 and you can pre-order it starting on September 15 — it ships a week later.

Apple made its first wireless charging pad called AirPower.

Apple made its first wireless charging pad called AirPower.

Apple

AirPower is a wireless charging pad that will be large and powerful enough to charge your new iPhone — either the new iPhone 8 or the high-end iPhone X — as well as your Apple Watch Series 3 and AirPods at the same time.

Unfortunately, it sounds like AirPower won’t arrive until 2018. Apple must first work with the regulatory committee that oversees the Qi wireless charging standard to implement a new standard it developed for AirPower. Apple didn’t say how much AirPower would cost or when it will be available.

iOS 11 will arrive on your iPhone and iPad September 19.

iOS 11 will arrive on your iPhone and iPad September 19.

Apple

Apple’s smartphone operating system, iOS 11, will arrive on phones September 19. The new OS features person-to-person payments in Apple Pay, a refreshed Control Center, a revamped Apple Maps, support for augmented reality (AR) applications, and much more.

Apple’s smartwatch operating system, WatchOS 4, will also launch on the September 19.

MacOS High Sierra will be available to download on September 25.

MacOS High Sierra will be available to download on September 25.

Justin Sullivan/Getty

Apple’s latest operating system for Mac laptops and desktops, MacOS High Sierra, will be available to download on Monday, September 25.

MacOS High Sierra will include “Autoplay Blocking,” which stops media from autoplaying across the internet; an improved Photos app; an overhauled core file system, support for high-end virtual reality; and more.

There’s a new system to unlock your iPhone X called FaceID.

There's a new system to unlock your iPhone X called FaceID.

Justin Sullivan/Getty

Face ID is the new way to unlock your phone on the iPhone X. Face ID replaces Touch ID, which scans your fingerprint to unlock the iPhone. Since the new iPhone X doesn’t have a physical home button or a Touch ID fingerprint sensor, Face ID will be the only way to securely lock and unlock the iPhone X.

Apple says Face ID will be able to handle and recognize any changes to your face, like beards, different haircuts, and putting on or taking off glasses and hats. And the technology will recognize your face in the day and night time.

Animoji are animated emojis you can control with your face.

Animoji are animated emojis you can control with your face.

Justin Sullivan/Getty

Animoji use Apple’s new facial recognition software to turn you into animated emojis that can make facial expressions and talk. There are a dozen different Animojis, including the monkey, panda, alien, and fox.

Changes are coming to Apple’s retail stores.

Changes are coming to Apple's retail stores.

Chris Hondros/Getty

Apple’s most famous store design feature will return late next year: The “cube” on 5th Avenue in New York City. Apple will open up its surrounding plaza and let light into the underground store. Apple is also opening a new flagship store on Michigan Avenue in Chicago.

Apple’s retail boss Angela Ahrendts also announced another feature coming to Apple stores called “Today at Apple,” which gives customers tips for their devices, such as how to take great photos with photo walks around the town. There are also classes where people can learn to code and teachers can learn about the latest education apps.

Read Full Post »

Google has upgraded its Street View cameras for the first time in 8 years — and the implications are worrying

Google Street View Car A Google Street View car. Flickr / Sancho McCann

You’re about to see a lot more on Google Street View — and Street View’s about to see a lot more of you.

Google has upgraded the cameras for its mapping service for the first time in eight years to capture sharper images with more detail.

According to a profile in Wired, the new cameras are so sharp they might be able to see a store’s hours from a sign. And they’re feeding all that granular data back to Google’s machine-learning algorithms.

Like their predecessors, the new cameras will sit atop Google-branded cars, capturing information about the world and taking still, HD images on either side.

Better imagery should mean a more useful service. The head of Google’s mapping division, Jen Fitzpatrick, says people no longer search just for their addresses on Google Street View.

“People are coming to us every day with harder and deeper questions,” she told Wired, such as, “What’s a Thai place open now that does delivery to my address?”

Google has already invested huge amounts into artificial intelligence and machine learning, and it’s using that technology to scan Street View data to answer conversational queries.

Eventually, Fitzpatrick wants Google to be able to answer people’s questions that are even more conversational, like what the pink building down the road is.

“These are questions we can only answer if we have richer and deeper information,” she said.

What is less obvious is what else Google can figure out from the new Street View data and how it might use the information.

Wired reports that a team of Stanford researchers — including Google’s chief scientist at its cloud division, Fei-Fei Li — found they could use Street View data to predict income, race, and voting patterns. The team used software that analysed the make, model, and year of cars from Street View photos.

At the time, the team said, “Using the classified motor vehicles in each neighborhood, we infer a wide range of demographic statistics, socioeconomic attributes, and political preferences of its residents.”

What could Google figure out with even more detailed data?

When Wired asked Google whether it had planned anything similar, a representative said the company was always looking for ways to use Street View data to improve its platforms — including beyond maps.

Read Full Post »

Now is the best time to sell your iPhone

The iPhone 7. Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

Have you been thinking about selling off your iPhone for one reason or another? Maybe you plan on upgrading to that swanky iPhone 8 we’ve been hearing about, or maybe you just want to make some money off your old handset.

Whatever your situation might be, if you’re thinking about selling your iPhone, you might want to pull the trigger sooner rather than later.

Every time Apple announces new iPhones, the sellback prices of older iPhone models drop considerably — sometimes by $100 or more — across most sites, from Gazelle to eBay and the like.

If you need a good place to sell back your iPhone, you’ll find plenty of options. You’ll probably get the most money from eBay, but several other sites like Gazelle, Glyde, Swappa, buymyi, and even Amazon make it incredibly easy, as most of them will offer to send you a box and a label to ship off your iPhone for free, and either pay you via PayPal, Amazon.com gift card, or a check in the mail just a few days later.

Keep in mind: The new iPhones will likely be announced in the next few weeks, and released shortly thereafter. So if this iPhone you plan on selling is the main phone you use, make sure you’re going to be okay if you’re phone-less for awhile, or just have a backup phone ready.

 

Read Full Post »

Here’s your best look at the iPhone 8 based on all the rumors

iPhone 8 MKBHD (3)MKBHD/YouTube

Tech YouTuber Marques Brownlee, also known as MKBHD, got his hands on a dummy model of Apple’s next-generation iPhone, which has so far been known as the iPhone 8.The dummy iPhone 8 model is a culmination of all the rumors and “leaked” details surrounding the iPhone 8’s design. It’s essentially a physical rumor.

As credible and reputable as the rumors’ sources are, this is not the iPhone 8. It’s just a dummy, and the special iPhone that Apple will reportedly unveil during its iPhone event in September could be totally different.

Still, it’s interesting to see a physical manifestation of the rumors we’ve heard.

Check out Brownlee’s iPhone 8 dummy, and his video at the bottom:

View As: One Page Slides

 

YouTuber Marque Brownlee, or MKBHD, got a hold of an iPhone 8 dummy that’s based on all the credible rumors about the iPhone 8.

YouTuber Marque Brownlee, or MKBHD, got a hold of an iPhone 8 dummy that's based on all the credible rumors about the iPhone 8.

YouTube/MKBHD

Brownlee edited the iOS 11 home screen onto the dummy model using Adobe’s After Effects software to see what the phone might look like while powered on.

Brownlee edited the iOS 11 home screen onto the dummy model using Adobe's After Effects software to see what the phone might look like while powered on.

YouTube/MKBHD

The screen is supposedly an OLED display, which looks a lot better than the LCD display on previous iPhones. We know OLED displays are better because Samsung’s Galaxy S8 has an OLED display, and it’s much nicer than the iPhone 7’s display. The colors on OLED displays are more vivid and the color black is deeper, which makes for astounding contrast.

The iPhone 8’s display will purportedly have a 1125 x 2436 resolution, which is sharper than the 1080p resolution on the iPhone 7 Plus.

As rumors claim, the iPhone 8 will have an edge-to-edge display that does away with the majority of the borders around the current iPhone’s display. It makes for a higher screen-to-body ratio that’s becoming more prevalent in flagship smartphones, like the Galaxy S8.

As rumors claim, the iPhone 8 will have an edge-to-edge display that does away with the majority of the borders around the current iPhone's display. It makes for a higher screen-to-body ratio that's becoming more prevalent in flagship smartphones, like the Galaxy S8.

YouTube/MKBHD

Brownlee also noted how recent rumors are pointing towards a 3D facial recognition system for unlocking the iPhone 8 instead of a Touch ID fingerprint sensor.

And it’ll have a “notch” at the top for sensors and the front-facing camera. This is probably where the rumored 3D facial-recognition camera would be located.

And it'll have a "notch" at the top for sensors and the front-facing camera. This is probably where the rumored 3D facial-recognition camera would be located.

YouTube/MKBHD

As the rumors claim, the iPhone 8 is said to come with a glass back, much like the iPhone 4 and 4S, versus the metal backs we’ve seen since the release of the iPhone 6.

As the rumors claim, the iPhone 8 is said to come with a glass back, much like the iPhone 4 and 4S, versus the metal backs we've seen since the release of the iPhone 6.

YouTube/MKBHD

Apart from being a throwback to the glass-backed iPhone 4 and 4s design, the glass back on the iPhone 8 would allow for wireless charging, which has been one of the biggest rumors as of late.

Having a glass back also eliminates the need for antenna lines, which are one of the least popular design features in the iPhone 6, 6s, and 7.

Some rumors say the iPhone 8 will have metal edges.

Some rumors say the iPhone 8 will have metal edges.

YouTube/MKBHD

We’ve also heard about a new vertical design for the dual-lens camera system. On the iPhone 7 Plus, the dual-lens camera is oriented horizontally.

We've also heard about a new vertical design for the dual-lens camera system. On the iPhone 7 Plus, the dual-lens camera is oriented horizontally.

YouTube/MKBHD

Remember, this is only a dummy, and it’s essentially the same thing as a rumor.

Remember, this is only a dummy, and it's essentially the same thing as a rumor.

MKBHD/YouTube

Nothing about the iPhone 8 is certain until Apple itself reveals the final details. We expect Apple to announce the device during its annual iPhone event in September.

Read Full Post »

Should you be scared of Amazon?

jeff bezosAmazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Amazon bought Whole Foods on Friday for $13.7 billion.REUTERS/Abhishek N. Chinnappa
AMZN Amazon.Com

About a month ago, New York Times columnist Farhad Manjoo helped coin a new term for the top-five tech companies that are increasingly dominating our lives: The Frightful Five, better known as Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Facebook.

The top of his list? Amazon.

Farhad’s argument was that he’s increasingly dependent on Amazon for buying stuff and entertaining his family. That’s true.

But I’d argue Amazon’s reach goes deeper than that, deeper than any other company inside or outside the tech world. And its grip on our lives is only getting stronger, which raises some serious questions we haven’t had to ask ourselves about the power and influence a tech company can have over our lives.

Out of the Frightful Five, Amazon is the company you should fear the most.

Amazon’s surprise $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods is the latest example. We already knew Amazon had ambitions to break into the grocery business through the Amazon Fresh delivery service and the futuristic cashier-free convenience stores, but this is a whole other level — a subtle troll that the online retail giant can creep its way back into the physical world and take over a popular chain of supermarkets.

But let’s talk about everything else Amazon has its grip on and how it continues to hold greater influence over:

  • Cloud computing. Amazon Web Services powers many of the apps and websites you use every day. (Remember when an Amazon outage took down a large chunk of the internet?)
  • Artificial intelligence. Amazon has quickly become a leader in AI thanks to its Alexa assistant, which has opened up a new world of voice-powered computing.
  • Logistics. Through Amazon Air, Amazon plans to use drones and its own planes to deliver goods. It’s also experimenting with autonmous trucking. Many have speculated that one day Amazon won’t need to rely on UPS, FedEX, or the Postal Service to deliver stuff.
  • Entertainment. Amazon has dumped millions into original TV programming and movies. It also runs a streaming music service, and lets you buy digital music and video.
  • Food. Between Whole Foods, those futuristic grocery stores, and the Fresh delivery service, Amazon is poised to be one of the largest grocers in the country.
  • Health. According to a CNBC report, Amazon is thinking about getting it the prescription drug business.
  • Retail and e-commerce. This one is self-explanatory.

There’s more. Amazon’s influence extends to other industries indirectly through CEO Jeff Bezos’ personal investments:

  • News media. Bezos owns The Washington Post and a small percentage of Business Insider.
  • Outer space. Bezos owns a rocket company, Blue Origin, that’s building reusable rockets.

That’s a lot of stuff that affects you every day from a company that started selling books online back in the 90s. Now it’s hard to find a need Amazon can’t fill.

That raises some serious, potentially scary questions if Amazon’s influence and capabilities continue to grow. Should one conglomerate have that level of control over the future of so many vital industries people rely on? What kind of check will there be on that power, if any?

Granted, it’s a little early to be thinking about all this. Most of the verticals Amazon is involved in are still dominated by traditional companies. But as we saw in the market’s reaction to the Whole Foods deal on Friday, it’s clear that there’s a strong possibility we’re accelerating toward a future where there’s a digital layer on top of everything we do. And the company best equipped to deliver all is Amazon. There’s literally no one else in a position to compete.

That’s a lot of power concentrated in one conglomerate, and puts Amazon in a position where it’s a company to fear.

Read Full Post »

Microsoft’s new standalone keyboard has one the best new features from Apple’s MacBook Pro

One of the best new features that Apple added to its 2016 and 2017 MacBook Pro is a Touch ID fingerprint scanner on the keyboard. And now, Microsoft has also added a fingerprint scanner on its new Modern Keyboard to work with Windows 10 computers.

microsoft modern keyboardYouTube/Microsoft

The fingerprint sensor on Microsoft new $129 Modern Keyboard, called Fingerprint ID, has its own button on the right of the right “Alt” key.

Microsoft already offers an easy keyboard-less way to unlock your computer called Windows Hello, which uses a webcam and facial recognition to unlock your computer. That’s great for computers that have built-in webcams, which many laptops have. However, the monitor I use on my Windows 10 desktop doesn’t have a built-in webcam, so I can’t use Windows Hello. And because typing in a password every time I want to unlock my computer is a pain, I don’t use a password, which is a terrible, insecure idea.

Microsoft’s new Modern Keyboard with a fingerprint scanner is the solution.

windows hello Windows Hello on a Windows 10 computer. YouTube/Microsoft

Touch ID on the MacBook Pro, and now Microsoft’s new Modern Keyboard, cuts out the need to type in your password to log in to your computer. If that doesn’t seem like a big deal, look at your smartphone and imagine if you had to tap in your PIN number every time you wanted to unlock it instead of using its fingerprint scanner. Seems like a pain, doesn’t it?

It might be true that you don’t unlock your computer as often as you unlock your smartphone, but your computer password if likely longer than your smartphone PIN, which could include four to six numbers. With that in mind, the fingerprint scanner on Microsoft’s new keyboard is a great shortcut to unlock your computer.

The Modern Keyboard costs $129 and will be available to buy soon.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »