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Communication and Technology news
Now this is something to be grumpy about: Meme superstar Grumpy Cat has died

The meme sensation died at home in Phoenix due to complications from a urinary tract infection. Meme and animal lovers out there will be saddened to hear that the internet star Grumpy Cat has passed away. The news was revealed by Grumpy Cat’s owners on her official Twitter account. Grumpy Cat’s owners...

2019-05-17
Google isn’t killing off Nest integrations just yet

Google predictably strirred up a hornet’s nest when it announced at its annual developers conference that it would be shutting down the Works with Nest (WWN) program on August 31, 2019. This would have led to all existing Nest integrations not working beyond that date, in addition to forcing existing Nest customers...

2019-05-17
7 Google privacy settings you should revisit right now

Google gives you more control over what you share and how it gets used than you might think—if you know where to look. Here’s a step-by-step guide. Google’s making a serious play for privacy these days, with much of the company’s recent I/O developers’ conference revolving around the...

2019-05-17
Instagram really, really wants you to shop and watch IGTV

The popular image-based social network revamps its Explore Page to promote IGTV and shopping. Instagram is banking on the 50% of its users that engage with the Explore page to drive more engagement toward Stories, Shopping, and, most importantly, IGTV.Read Full Story

2019-05-16
Here’s why your Facebook groups went secret overnight

Over the last day, you may have noticed that several of your Facebook groups have switched their settings to “Secret,” for no apparent reason. That may have been to avoid the attentions of a particular virulent group inserting itself into other communities solely for the purpose of getting them banned. According...

2019-05-16
The most compelling tech tools to assist the visually impaired

In our ongoing series, High Contrast, we’re looking at how assistive technology can help people with disabilities overcome challenges in their lives, and the pioneers innovating in solutions to make everyday tools more accessible. Technology is increasingly improving our lives by conveniently tackling menial tasks...

2019-05-16
This startup provides health insurance against online harassment

Leigh Honeywell and Logan Dean have raised a million dollars for a new business, Tall Poppy, that helps companies protect employees against trolls and hackers. Anyone who’s spent some time on Twitter knows that vilification and personal attacks–as extreme as threats of rape and murder–are a...

2019-05-16
Do NYC mayors ever become president? Why Bill de Blasio has his work cut out for him

No mayor has ever gone directly from City Hall to the White House. After months of teasing, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio entered the 2020 presidential race today, answering the call of history despite a recent poll in which only 18% of New Yorkers said he should.Read Full Story

2019-05-16
Apple and Google should steal these ingenious smartphone concepts

Simple physical gestures could give users more control over the way their smartphones work. The past two years have marked the return of the dumbphone. As the world’s addiction to smartphones spun out of control, Nokia, Punkt, and NBA superstar Steph Curry himself stepped in alongside Palm to offer...

2019-05-16
Google’s new AI can help you speak another language in your own voice

Google Translate is one of the company’s most used products. It helps people translate one language to another through typing, taking pics of text, and using speech-to-text technology. Now, the company’s launching a new project called Translatotron, which will offer direct speech-to-speech translations –...

2019-05-16
How The Shade Room turned Instagram gossip into a media empire

The Shade Room has become one of Instagram’s most popular accounts and a booming business–now founder Angie Nwandu is ready for their second act. Since The Shade Room launched in 2014, it’s gone from a small-time gossip account to a full-blown pop culture powerhouse. The Shade Room’s spin...

2019-05-16
NYC’s brilliant plan to capitalize on land no one else wants

The city–like many others in America–faces a housing crisis and a climate crisis. To figure out how to create 300,000 affordable units over the next decade, it’s turning to architects for help. When New York’s City Council passed its own version of the Green New Deal in late April, it...

2019-05-16
Google’s Titan Security Keys can be hijacked remotely, replace yours now

It’s not been a great week for security, and after Twitter, WhatsApp and Intel, Google has now joined the list. The internet giant has issued an advisory, stating it is recalling Bluetooth versions of its Titan Security Key after it found a vulnerability that allows attackers in close proximity to take control of...

2019-05-16
White House launches social media survey to collect Conservative tears

The Trump administration on Wednesday launched launched a new tool where pissed off Conservatives can whine about social media bias. So long as they’re legal citizens, anyway. For Conservatives like Trump, a man who rose to prominence on the backs of the social networks he’s now convinced are out to get him, the...

2019-05-16
People on the internet have no idea how bad they are at online security

Forty-two percent don’t know the difference between an “http” and “https” web address A new survey from Google and Harris Poll, released a year after Google introduced “.app” as a more secure alternative to “.com,” shows that while 55% of Americans over...

2019-05-15
Watch the trailer for Game of Thrones series finale behind-the-scenes doc

Now disappointed fans will have a whole behind-the-scenes doc to dissect and hate-watch. If there was a word to describe the fan reaction to Game of Thrones‘ eighth and final season, it would be . . . divisive? polarizing? rage inducing? A brief glance at Twitter around 10 p.m. ET over the past few Sunday...

2019-05-15
Google’s new free app teaches kids to read by listening to them

Google has just ripped the beta label off Rivet, its free mobile app designed to help young children learn to read. Designed by the company’s Area 120 incubator for employees’ big ideas, Rivet comes with more than 2,000 books for children, categorized by topic and reading level. It also listens to kids read, and...

2019-05-15
Decay by design: These 3D-printed organic plastics naturally decompose

A group at MIT created polymers derived from organic matter, printed by a robot, and shaped by water. Stepping into most any store and scanning the shelves of products, all packaged for consumption and destined for recycling or the dumps, makes you feel like a truly sustainable world is a daunting, if not impossible,...

2019-05-15
On social media, sell your brand, not your stuff

A new marketing study of Facebook users shows that hard-sell tactics stifle engagement, and engagement is gold. Off the coast of New Zealand last year, a kayaker was drifting along quietly when a seal burst from the water and slapped him in the face with a large octopus. As it happens, the trip was funded by...

2019-05-15
Facebook announces “one strike” policy to fight live-streaming abuses

Violations of Facebook’s community standards will lead to an immediate ban on using Facebook Live. Two months after a lone gunman live-streamed a mass shooting at two mosques in the city of Christchurch, New Zealand, in which 51 people were murdered, Facebook has announced a strict new policy aimed at fighting...

2019-05-15
The hardware trend Google and Apple are throwing their weight behind

Tech giants, along with a handful of smaller players, are designing “kill switches” that cut the power to the microphones or cameras in their devices. Last week, Google announced a new smart home device: a smart display that features a 10-inch screen, camera, and speaker. The speaker has a privacy...

2019-05-15
Facebook finally takes steps to limit abusive live streamers

Almost two months after a horrific terrorist attack in New Zealand, Facebook‘s finally taking some concrete steps to stop the abuse of its live streaming feature. Today, the social network introduced a new ‘one strike’ policy to ban users who violate its community guidelines. Guy Rosen, Facebook’s VP of...

2019-05-15
Get ready to see more shopping ads on Google Search, Images and YouTube

Google is betting big on ecommerce with the latest update to its search engine. The company is unveiling a redesigned personalized Google Shopping experience, along with introducing the idea of a universal shopping cart across its platform of services, including Search, Shopping, Images and even YouTube. You can now...

2019-05-15
No, end-to-end encryption isn’t a marketing gimmick

There’s bad takes, and then there’s bad takes. An example of the latter comes from Bloomberg Opinion columnist Leonid Bershidsky, who thinks that today’s WhatsApp security woes proves that end-to-end encryption is “a gimmick” and “largely pointless.” WhatsApp is one of the largest messaging apps around....

2019-05-15
Netflix to invade E3 (and it might be bringing new games with it)

Netflix revealed today that it was going to host a panel at E3, of all things. It’s not-so-subtly hinting at an interest in games, which it’s been developing for several months despite outwardly expressing the opposite. If nothing else, I’d be curious to see what its idea of a Netflix show-to-video game...

2019-05-15
Google’s new all-encompassing Google Travel features make you your own travel agent

Google Maps, Trips, Hotels, Flights, and Search now all live in one place. Tell the boss that you’re escaping the relentless rain and taking all your vacation days, because Google is making it easier than ever to book a vacation. The company announced today that Google Maps, Trips, Hotels, Flights, and Search...

2019-05-14
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle criticized for promoting pricey “emotional workout”

The new parents highlighted more than a dozen accounts in the wellness sphere, ranging from meditation to fitness. In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex shared a few of their favorite brands that promote mental well-being, but not everyone is feeling better.Read Full Story

2019-05-14
Pixel phone owners: Google may owe you $500

Google settles a class-action lawsuit over faulty Pixel microphones. Google will pay original Pixel owners up to $500 after settling a class action lawsuit over phones with defective microphones. As Fast Company first reported last year, the lawsuit alleged that Google knowingly sold the faulty phones, even after...

2019-05-14
Spotify’s new Soundtrap for Storytellers makes it even easier to start that podcast

Edit audio like you’re editing a Google Doc. Seems like everyone and their dog (and cat) these days thinks they have an idea for a podcast, and now Spotify wants to make it easier than ever for them to live their audio dreams.Read Full Story

2019-05-14
Sonos finally supports Google Assistant voice control (and it plays nice with Alexa)

I’ve been trying to avoid the word “finally” in my headlines, but I think this one gets a pass: Over a year and a half after it was originally promised, Sonos has brought the Google Assistant to its voice-powered speakers – namely the Sonos One and Beam. Finally. The timing isn’t entirely a surprise; the...

2019-05-14
The Google Assistant has finally come to Sonos speakers

The multi-room music system now works with your voice assistant of choice from Amazon or Google—but only one at a time. Back in October 2017, Sonos unveiled a new speaker called the Sonos One. It aimed to meld the company’s traditional strength—great-sounding music with a multi-room...

2019-05-14
The WhatsApp hack proves security should trump consumer choice

The discovery of a zero-day vulnerability in WhatsApp, one of the world’s most widely used messaging apps, is nothing short of frightening. This vulnerability allowed an adversary, who is yet to be identified (but I’d bet my left kidney that it’s some flavor of nefarious state actor), to install sophisticated...

2019-05-14
This isn’t the job I signed up for: What now?

The low unemployment rate has some employers overselling themselves–and new hires are winding up in roles that aren’t exactly as advertised. It’s a longstanding cliché that job hunters bend the truth on their résumés to portray themselves in a better light, but with unemployment at...

2019-05-14
Google is opening a privacy engineering hub in Europe

With the opening of the Google Safety Engineering Center in Germany, Google is showing that it’s willing, if not eager, to play by the rules. Google CEO Sundar Pichai has announced that the company is set to double the number of its privacy engineers and is opening a privacy engineering hub in Munich....

2019-05-14
You’re probably being tricked by “health washing” at the grocery store

Here’s how to avoid this sleight-of-hand move by packaging designers. Organic. All natural. High protein. Such tantalizing words seem to adorn every package at the grocery store. Even Lucky Charms, a cereal that’s largely dyed candy, promises that it has “whole grains” and is “gluten...

2019-05-14
PSA: Update WhatsApp now to prevent spyware from being installed on your phone

WhatsApp, the messaging app used by more than 1.5 billion worldwide, says it’s patched a critical security vulnerability which allowed attackers to secretly infect phones with malicious spyware by just calling phone numbers over an in-app audio call. The Facebook-owned company said the attack targeted a “select...

2019-05-14
9 things you need to know about the WhatsApp spyware attack

The spyware allowed the attacker to take over iPhones and Android phones by simply placing a WhatsApp voice call to them. Facebook-owned WhatsApp is urging all of its users worldwide to update the app to the latest version of the software after it discovered that the app’s integrity had been compromised. The...

2019-05-14
Twitter bug accidentally shared location data of some iOS users

Twitter says it has fixed a bug that resulted in a user’s approximate location information being shared with an unnamed Twitter partner. “We have discovered that we were inadvertently collecting and sharing iOS location data with one of our trusted partners in certain circumstances,” the company said. According...

2019-05-14
Cancel Netflix for Disney? Only 7% say they would

It’s a very limited survey, but analysts are already declaring it proof that Netflix will be able to ride out Disney+’s impending arrival. In a new survey from investment banking firm Piper Jaffray, 73% of Netflix users say they won’t subscribe to Disney+.Read Full Story

2019-05-13
This influential chair was too provocative in 1937, but it’s finally being released

Finn Juhl’s iconic Grasshopper chair will be manufactured for the first time in summer 2019, 82 years after it was first designed. In 1937, the Danish designer Finn Juhl debuted a radical chair at a Copenhagen design fair. With an oversized headrest, angular arms, and low seat, the chair garnered no...

2019-05-13
More than ever, Mailchimp is about way more than mail

The email marketing company is rolling out customer relationship management software, websites, and more tools to help its customers reach audiences. Mailchimp is best known as an email marketing platform—hence its name—but in recent years the company has aggressively expanded into other marketing...

2019-05-13
Google forces Nest users to use Google accounts, raising privacy concerns

The Nest smart home ecosystem as we know it is dead. At its annual Google I/O developers conference last week, the search giant announced a broader restructuring of its smart home lineup that was long coming. Gone is the Google Home brand, as is the standalone Nest, which it acquired in 2014. In its place is the new...

2019-05-13
Foldable phone race heats up as Google enters the fold

We’ve gone through a rollercoaster ride when it comes to foldable phones this year. Huawei and Samsung released their foldables the Mate X and the Galaxy Fold. Last month, the latter was involved in controversy after reviewers found their units breaking down (both in terms of hardware and software). Samsung...

2019-05-13
Zuck: Don’t break up Facebook, because we can protect you from the threat our platform enables

Zuck was responding to an op-ed from Facebook cofounder Chris Hughes, who warned he had “unchecked power.” Last week the New York Times published a scathing and compelling op-ed from Facebook cofounder Chris Hughes arguing why the social media giant must be broken up. In the op-ed, Hughes said it was...

2019-05-13
Elon Musk shows off SpaceX’s Starlink internet satellites before launch

The satellites will provide internet access on earth where there’s currently a lack of reliable broadband. SpaceX CEO has taken to Twitter to show off a couple of pictures of the first 60 Starlink internet satellites headed to low Earth orbit later this week. The satellites are “flatpacked” into...

2019-05-13
Here’s why I’m genuinely excited about GitHub’s new package registry

Fridays are frequently used by companies to bury bad news. By announcing dismal sales figures and privacy SNAFUs when everyone has left the newsroom (either in body or in mind), they can avoid the attention and scrutiny they’d otherwise get on literally any other day of the working week. I mention this because on...

2019-05-13
HTC’s new $300 blockchain phone will double as a Bitcoin node

Taiwainese mobile phone manufacturer HTC is launching a more affordable blockchain phone with full Bitcoin node capabilities. Originally announced last month, the Exodus 1S will be launching in Q3 this year and will have an extra SD card to support its blockchain capabilities. For what it’s worth, HTC was gunning to...

2019-05-13
POWr can outfit your site with a full set of growth tools for only $35

For new businesses with a small staff (or in many cases, a staff of one), that’s a lot of critical real estate that can go untended. Thankfully, services like online digital marketing aide POWr are stepping up to fill some of those gaps. Right now, you can land a lifetime subscription to POWr Website Plugins Starter...

2019-05-12

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