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Google is rumored to be reworking its social networking service, Google+, where it will break apart some of its services such as Photos, into their standalone service. Google is looking to increase its presence in the photo sharing space to better compete against its competitors in Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Flickr.
If Google end up doing this, Photos could soon feature its own suite of filters and image enhancement tools, something that would require a Google+ account to use. Bloomberg reports: "the service, called Google+ Photos, would still work with the social network's users and may be rebranded as part of the move, one of the people said."
We can already see the beginnings of this move, with Android now featuring its own "Photos" app alongside the usual "Gallery" app. Photos is a great service, something I personally use across all of my devices, but being standalone could be much better again.
An eBay seller has shelled some $90,900 for a post on 4Chan, nothing physical, but a post on the infamous Internet forum. The seller had the starting price at $500, but it blasted up to $90,900 pretty quickly.
Within 36 hours the post reached the massive $90,900 price point, which would point toward this auction or at least the bid itself being fake, or the usual troll work we can expect from 4Chan.
An area the British government now officially brands "Tech City" has broadband so poor that a group of startups and small internet providers have formed a lobby to fix it.
Old Street in East London has undergone a series of organic development as tech companies, such as Last.FM, set up shop in the area. Shortly after coming into power, David Cameron's Conservative government announced "Tech City" around the same location and as part of the Olympic site a little further away. Cameron's idea was to promote London as ahead of the curve in a bid to attract international investment from top tech companies - so it will be more than a little bit embarrassing that the startup scene, which arguably forged the area into what it is today, for better or for worse, think so little of its infrastructure.
The startups will be meeting with Labour Member of Parliament Meg Hillier to try to iron out the connection, which has been described as "not fit for purpose" and a "national embarrassment". Hillier is now proposing a "comprehensive review of broadband, plans for infrastructure and roll out, and a competitive framework for delivery".
Social networking powerhouse Facebook has launched a brand new app called Internet.org which will provide basic mobile internet for free to the African country of Zambia.
Internet.org, announced today, seeks to provide internet services to areas where access is low or has been difficult to implement. Fixed line internet can be tough to install in certain locations, but mobile's a little easier - and as product director Guy Rosen explained in a blog post, 85 percent of the entire world lives near cellular coverage. But just 30 percent of the world is connected. Zambia is the very first market Facebook's launching Internet.org in, and Airtel subscribers will be the first to trial the service.
"Affordability and awareness are significant barriers to internet adoption for many and today we are introducing the Internet.org app to make the internet accessible to more people by providing a set of free basic services," Rosen said in the post. "With this app, people can browse a set of useful health, employment and local information services without data charges. By providing free basic services via the app, we hope to bring more people online and help them discover valuable services they might not have otherwise."
Now that some of the more popular torrenting software is available on portable devices, it was only a matter of time before the likes of The Pirate Bay optimized their websites for mobile.
Head on over to The Mobile Bay and you'll notice that the site looks nice and clean on mobile devices, scaled down and with a bit more room to breathe. The Pirate Bay told TorrentFreak that its website rendered poorly (or "like crap") on mobile, and so a refresh was inevitable. Mobile users are automatically redirected to the domain, although users will have the option of using the desktop layout if they like. The idea is that each section of the world's most notorious torrent indexer will get its own dedicated page - so users looking for TV episodes would be able to find season packs easily as well as see episode overviews.
Of course, in countries where such websites are blocked anyway mobile users will need to find their own proxies to access The Mobile Bay. As smart devices become ever more pervasive, it's no surprise to see The Pirate Bay paying attention to its consumer UX needs, in much the same way legal services have had to catch up too.
The "Hack North Korea" hackathon event is scheduled to take place next month in San Francisco, organized by The Human Rights Foundation. Instead of trying to target North Korean infrastructure with malicious attacks, event organizers hope to create ideas to help better educate the impoverished country's citizens.
Trying to get information into the country is extremely difficult - and dangerous - with techniques ranging from smuggling in CDs, DVDs and flash drives all the way to using shortwave radio and dropping leaflets into North Korea. Some North Korean citizens living along the border with China are using Chinese-made smartphones to use the Internet, but can be heavily punished if found with the device.
"Participants will become familiar with the various ways that information and truth are smuggled into North Korea today, and gain an understanding of the technology landscape inside the country," according to the Human Rights Foundation. "Then, guided by our North Korean guests, attendees will break into teams to come up with new ways to help end the Kim dictatorship's monopoly of information on the twenty-five million people living under its rule."
Britain is wholeheartedly rejecting its government approved 'porn filters' as customers signing up to internet providers for the first time opt out in droves, according to an official regulator.
Ofcom, the independent body that monitors the activities of telecoms providers, notes that under one in seven homes are actually making use of the content filters, introduced by the British Prime Minister David Cameron (pictured) and earning him the nickname Kim Jong Cameron. Top operators BT and Sky introduced the measures in late 2013. The announcement was deeply unpopular and led to calls of censorship, although the agreement between government and internet providers is technically voluntary. At the time it was represented as a measure designed to protect children.
Of the top companies running the scheme, TalkTalk has the most users making most of it at 36 percent. However, a paltry four percent of Virgin Media customers are switching off the porn, followed by five percent of BT customers and eight percent of Sky customers. "Ofcom's report clearly highlighted where Virgin Media has fallen short in meeting our original commitments," Tom Mockridge, ISP Virgin Media's chief exec said, according to Digital Spy. "We take our responsibility to help families stay safe online very seriously and have taken immediate action to improve how we meet our commitments to government."
Facebook and other social media services, while extremely popular, suffer from low customer satisfaction, according to a recent survey released by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI).
Overall, social media companies ranked the fourth-lowest among consumer satisfaction, only ahead of Internet service providers, subscription television companies and airline companies. Pinterest had the highest consumer satisfaction index, ranking at 76, ahead of Wikipedia (74), YouTube (73), Google+ (71), Twitter (69), LinkedIn (67) and Facebook (67). The social media category garnered an overall score of 71.
The North Korean government is upset about a video that shows Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un's face Photoshopped onto people acting ridiculously. Kim's face is cleverly placed on scenes from TV shows, movies and other popular viral dance videos - and garnered the type of response its video creator expected. Music used in the video originates from the Chopstick Brothers, a popular Chinese group.
Chinese citizen Zhang made the video, living in the southeastern city of Suzhou, who studied in South Korea at Kyonggi University.
The North Korean government has asked China to prevent the video from being shared, worried the short clip "seriously compromises Kim's dignity and authority." However, Beijing will not adhere to the request, as the video becomes even more popular.
Users who now enter piracy related keywords into Google will see legal content promoted above anything that's against the law.
If users type in keywords like torrent, Putlocker or DVDrip, they will be shown what they are looking for - but Google will prioritize results like Netflix and Hulu above the search results. And Google Play, its own content selling service, is one of these that it promotes. It's an interesting premise that operates on the good faith assumption of people looking for these terms will be interested in their legal alternatives. For some Googlers this will be the case, but we strongly suspect it won't be for all or even most of them. However, this does not seem to have reached the UK just yet, so it's possible Google is running a trial in selected markets.
This rollout appears to have been done on the quiet but is rather all-encompassing - high-risk pirate search terms like a TV title followed by 'watch' will lead to a similar set of results, as well as keywords like 'view' or 'download'. "These ads will appear after various searches that include specific movie, TV, and music titles," a spokesperson for Google told TorrentFreak.