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Updated 2019-03-24 11:17
Instagram users will be able to buy from brands on platform
‘Checkout on Instagram’ is new e-commerce service available to US customersFacebook is moving into retail, as the company partners with more than 20 brands to allow Instagram users to buy clothes, accessories and makeup on the social network without leaving the app.“Checkout on Instagram” is a step up from previous shopping features on the service, which ultimately pushed buyers to a brand’s web page to complete transactions. Users were then required to enter payment and shipping details, and often sign up for new user accounts, prompting many to bail on the transaction before completing it. Continue reading...
Apple launches second generation AirPods with wireless charging
Bluetooth earbuds have longer battery life, hands-free Siri and new wireless charging caseApple has launched a new version of its hugely popular wireless earbuds, the AirPods, with long-anticipated wireless charging and longer battery life.The second-generation AirPods look identical to the previous version, complete with a white stalk that looks like a set of earphones with the cables cut off. But now the earbuds last longer when used for phone calls between charges and support hands-free access to Apple’s Siri voice assistant. Continue reading...
Google Stadia: what developers think of the game-streaming service
Has Google got its head in the cloud, or can its sheer size help it succeed where many have failed in building a hardware-free future for gamers?Google’s announcement of game-streaming service Stadia may not have been a huge industry revelation; Google has made no secret of its ambitions to enter the video game market, and it was somewhat given away by public trials last September. Instead, it was the things that weren’t revealed at Tuesday’s Game Developers Conference keynote that took many by surprise. Ahead of the event, a long list of big-name reveals had been rumoured – but none materialised, except Bethesda’s Doom: Eternal, which was not shown actually running on Stadia. And of course everyone was on tenterhooks to find out how much it was all going to cost, information that was also absent.“There’s just so much that I didn’t learn today that I really wanted to,” says Gizmodo’s Alex Cranz. “And that makes me nervous about it.” Continue reading...
Goats, cows and Devin Nunes' mom: how a Republican's Twitter lawsuit backfired
US congressman’s action against the company and its users has led to what is known as the ‘Streisand effect’The US congressman Devin Nunes sent the Twitterverse spiraling into hilarity late on Monday with his lawsuit listing the purported crimes of Twitter users “Devin Nunes’ Mom” and “Devin Nunes’ Cow”.In the lawsuit against Twitter and a handful of users, the California Republican claims to be the victim of vicious internet trolls, as well as the victim of selective censorship by the social media company. He is alleging that by “shadow-banning” his account, Twitter allowed for the selective amplification of “defamers” such as “Devin Nunes’ Mom” and “Devin Nunes’ Cow”. Continue reading...
Apple launches new iPad Mini and iPad Air
Updated models bring small tablet back into line with the iPhone XS and iPad ProApple has updated its long-in-the-tooth but popular smallest tablet, the iPad Mini, and the larger iPad Air.Both models have been brought up to parity with the iPhone XS and the iPad Pro with Apple’s A12 Bionic processor, which is up to three times faster than that in previous versions, which have chips dating back to 2014. Continue reading...
Why beating your phone addiction may come at a cost
Some worry the ‘wellness’ movement and its focus on personal responsibility let the tech industry off the hookAt 9.30am on a Wednesday morning, I received a notification telling me I’d already picked up my phone 30 times that day. “11 left until you go over your goal of 41 pickups,” my screen read. “Put your phone down until 9.52am! Enjoy your time living in the moment.”These updates were sent via Moment, an app that tracks my screen time. Continue reading...
'Hire some bloody women', the gender data gap: Chips with Everything podcast
Jordan Erica Webber teams up with Nicola Davis to look at the gender data gap in both big tech and science, and the dangerous repercussions for women in a world built for menLast Friday was International Women’s Day, so Chips with Everything has teamed up with the Guardian’s Science Weekly podcast. Together, they examine the gender data gap and the dangerous repercussions of a world built for men.Jordan speaks to Caroline Criado-Perez, the author of Invisible Women, about how women are underrepresented in the tech industry, in both the hiring process and the general design of its products. From VR headsets that make women experience motion sickness to health apps that once forgot to add period trackers, Caroline breaks down the gender data gap in big tech. Continue reading...
Yohann Koshy on Dril Official ‘Mr Ten Years’ Anniversary Collection
Yoshan Koshy’s piece on a twisty, topical collection of tweets was highly commended in this year’s Observer/Anthony Burgess prize
'You don't become less ambitious': the female startup founders going public with their pregnancies
More female startup founders are blowing up conventional ideas that having a newborn and building a startup don’t mixIn late January, Amy Nelson, the founder of the Riveter co-working network, posted an ultrasound on Twitter. “That’s my baby girl,” she wrote. “She arrives in June … #proudmama.”Though baby announcements aren’t uncommon on social media, for startup world, this tweet was surprising. Female startup founders have historically shied away from going public with their pregnancies. Investors – the lifeblood of startup funding – have frequently hesitated to bet on companies whose founder might soon be juggling a newborn. Continue reading...
MWC 2019: folding wrist phones, 5G and quintuple cameras – 8 standout gadgets
Also unveiled in Barcelona: Microsoft’s Hololens 2 and phones with folding screensThe annual mobile technology jamboree in Barcelona has revealed the latest exciting developments that will feature in phones, tablets and watches over the next 12 months. From folding handsets and ultra-sophisticated cameras to brick-like smartphones with a very long battery life – here are eight of the most notable products from Mobile World Congress 2019 this week. Continue reading...
Tesseract review – strap in for the shapeshifting worlds of Charles Atlas
Barbican, London
Tesla cuts car prices, shuts stores and shifts to online-only sales
Elon Musk says move means electric vehicle manufacturer can sell Model 3 for $35,000Tesla is closing most of its stores in a cost-cutting measure, so it can lower the starting price of its Model 3 to $35,000 (£26,400).Elon Musk, the billionaire chief executive of the electric car and technology company, said a shift to selling online only was essential to make it financially viable to lower the current starting price of $42,900. Continue reading...
Facebook moderators tell of strict scrutiny and PTSD symptoms
Facebook says it has hotline for whistleblowers after report paints picture of contractors’ working conditionsFacebook has said it remains committed to ensuring that the contractors who moderate its sites are treated fairly and with respect by their employers, after a report revealed the traumatic experiences of many of the low-paid workers who keep violence, hate speech and sexual imagery off its platforms.The vast majority of the more than 15,000 people who work as Facebook moderators are employed by third-party contractors, and their working conditions are often far from the stereotype of a perk-filled Silicon Valley job. Continue reading...
Uber survives legal challenge brought by London cabbies
Judge says magistrate who awarded Uber’s 15-month permit was not biasedUber has survived a high court challenge to its licence to operate in London, after judges rejected claims of bias brought by a group of black cab drivers.In a crowdfunded legal bid, drivers had argued that Uber’s 15-month permit was decided by a magistrate with conflicts of interest, making her ruling “tainted by actual or apparent bias”. Continue reading...
Jeff Bezos: world's richest man finally tops list of biggest donors
Bezos, who holds Amazon stock valued at about $137bn, contributed a total of $2bn in 2018Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man and one frequently tagged a cheapskate when it comes to giving away money, has emerged as a leading philanthropist.Related: Jeff Bezos: the Amazon billionaire and Trump bete noire Continue reading...
Five games to play if you enjoyed Black Mirror's Bandersnatch
Zombie warfare, diligent police work and time-traveling teens … here are the gaming counterparts to Netflix’s interactive specialCharlie Brooker’s Black Mirror special Bandersnatch is Netflix’s first dive into interactive storytelling. Its success will inevitably pave the way for more ambitious creators, would-be auteurs and flagrant imitators who, just like Bandersnatch’s protagonist Stefan, are eager to explore what can happen when the outcome of their stories is decided by the viewer.Of course, video games have been playing with the power of narrative decision-making since the 1980s. There’s now a huge catalogue of interactive stories spanning genres from anime-romance to horror, crime thriller to supernatural chiller. Here are five of the best. Continue reading...
Making an influencer: Chips with Everything podcast
Jordan Erica Webber reports on the people who work behind the scenes to elevate an individual to the role of true Instagram influencerThese days, the influencer industry is so big that you can’t just spend a lot of time on Instagram and hope to gain enough of a following to be acknowledged as a true influencer.Most people need help. This week, Jordan chats to the Instagram Husband, Jordan Joseph Ramirez, influencer manager Leona McCaul and filmmaker Mun Yi Cheng, about just a few of the people who work behind the scenes to help make an influencer.
Stromer ST3 electric bike: ‘Part bicycle, part rocket booster’
The Stromer ST3 pedal electric cycle is a phenomenal ride – between screaming exhilaration and abject terrorStromer ST3 electric bike
Culture secretary to meet Mark Zuckerberg in US after snub to MPs
Jeremy Wright visits Facebook HQ following founder’s refusal to face Commons committee
Toyota Australia says no customer data taken in attempted cyber attack
Carmaker says it’s working with international cybersecurity experts to get its systems up and runningToyota Australia has been the victim of an attempted cyber attack, but believes no employee or customer data was taken.The carmaker said it had no details about the origin of the attack and the threat was being managed by its IT department. Continue reading...
'Do the right thing': ads on Facebook and Google seek big tech whistleblowers
Initiative by not-for-profit Fight for the Future offers employees of Silicon Valley firms a way to organize and leak informationSilicon Valley activists have launched a whistleblower campaign to help workers organize against “unethical tech”, including ads on social media platforms targeting the employees of those companies.Fight for the Future, a not-for-profit digital advocacy group, unveiled an initiative Tuesday to provide support for tech employees seeking to blow the whistle on their companies’ harmful products and practices. A new website, SpeakOut.Tech, encourages workers to safely leak information and organize their colleagues and includes a video ad that the group is promoting by using the micro-targeting ad features of Facebook and Google. Continue reading...
How safe are teen apps?
Beyond WhatsApp and Facebook, there are many other platforms used by children and teens that may be open to abuseSince 14-year-old Molly Russell killed herself in 2017, the apps and services our teenagers and children use – and their safety – have become a key concern for parents. Last week, the digital minister, Margot James, stated that “the tragic death of Molly Russell is the latest consequence of a social media world that behaves as if it is above the law”. James went on to announce plans to introduce a legally binding code and duty of care towards young users for social media companies.Britain’s children are not just using the likes of Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, YouTube, Pinterest and Snapchat on a daily basis. There is a wealth of apps targeted at teens and children that have their own ecosystems and controversies. Continue reading...
Shopping, songs, TV, transport … new tech has many sectors in disarray
While Ocado is trying to turn the grocery sector on its head, other industries also find themselves the target of disruptorsNetflix has helped change the way we watch television and film, further weakening our reliance on traditional TV schedules and providing a cheaper alternative to a cinema trip. Continue reading...
The National Enquirer v Bezos: scandal hits the scandal sheet
Interest is growing in the activities of a tabloid increasingly entwined with TrumpIt has all the ingredients to make a classic National Enquirer tale: the world’s richest man, salacious leaked text messages, a feud between a press baron and the US president, pictures of a penis, private investigators, the Mueller inquiry, large sums of money, claims of foreign government involvement, accusations of dirty tricks, and an attempt to exert control over a prominent figure using compromising material.But this time the Enquirer itself is the focus of the story. The boss of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, published an extraordinary public statement on Thursday, accusing the celebrity-driven tabloid of “extortion and blackmail”. The billionaire said the paper, which had already exposed his affair with a TV presenter, had threatened to publish more compromising material unless he publicly declared that its coverage was not “politically motivated or influenced by political forces”. Continue reading...
Trusting in a GoFundMe world: Chips with Everything podcast
Crowdfunding platforms like GoFundMe have shown just how generous people can be towards complete strangers. Jordan Erica Webber looks at why humans are so willing to trust people they don’t know online.Online crowdfunding first started around the turn of the millennium, and big crowdfunding websites such as IndieGoGo, Kickstarter and GoFundMe launched around the end of the last decade. Artists and musicians have used these platforms to gather funds for books, albums and other projects. Other people have raised money for medical treatments, education, memorials and political campaigns.This week Jordan Erica Webber chats to the CEO of GoFundMe, Rob Solomon, and to Emma Houlston, who started a campaign to raise money for cancer treatment.
Bezos blackmail claims add new twist to tale of Trump, Russia and the media
Trump’s vitriol toward Amazon CEO and long ties to National Enquirer collided last month, when tabloid ran story on Bezos’s affairThe remarkable blogpost from Jeff Bezos – Amazon CEO, world’s richest man and owner of the Washington Post – accusing the National Enquirer’s parent company of blackmail adds another bizarre strand to the tangled web tying together Donald Trump, the media and the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.Bezos has long been a hate figure for Trump because of his ownership of the Washington Post. Although Bezos does not take an active role in the paper’s management, Trump has repeatedly tweeted about the “Amazon Washington Post”. Continue reading...
'Overreacting to failure': Facebook's new Myanmar strategy baffles local activists
As Facebook tries to address its role in spreading hate speech, human rights experts criticize fresh ban of ethnic armed groups
Dear Mr Zuckerberg: the problem isn't the internet, it's Facebook | Siva Vaidhyanathan
‘Driven by a set of ideals and some clever code, you built a money machine that has accumulated remarkable influence’Dear Mr Zuckerberg:
Alphabet shares sink despite making $8.9bn profit in last quarter
Parent company of Google earned $39.27bn in last quarter of 2018, with revenues 22% higher compared to previous yearAlphabet, the parent company of the internet search giant Google, earned $39.27bn in the last three months of 2018, but its share price sank as its costs rose.Related: Google board tried to cover up sexual misconduct, shareholders allege Continue reading...
Facebook and Twitter removed hundreds of accounts linked to Iran, Russia and Venezuela
The Facebook accounts had garnered about 2 million followers and researchers say they amplified anti-west viewsFacebook and Twitter both announced on Thursday they had taken down hundreds of accounts believed to have been part of coordinated influence operations from Iran, Russia and Venezuela.Related: Apple cracks down on Facebook after it paid teens for access to their data Continue reading...
Foxconn backtracks over promised factory jobs at $10bn Wisconsin site
Deal that relied on taxpayer subsidies was hailed by Trump but firm now says most jobs will be in R&D and not manufacturingFoxconn is reconsidering plans to make advanced liquid crystal display panels at a $10bn Wisconsin campus, and said it intends to hire mostly engineers and researchers rather than the manufacturing workforce the project originally promised.Related: Trump pushes back against US spy chiefs over North Korea and Isis Continue reading...
A ‘black eye’ for Apple: FaceTime bug shakes faith in iPhone security
Cybersecurity expert sees ‘nightmare scenario’ for company as app allows third parties to eavesdropIt was a tin-foil hatted conspiracy theorist’s wildest prognostication come true: the trusty and beloved iPhones that accompany users to work, to bed and even to the toilet suddenly transformed into an all-purpose spying device, transmitting audio and video to anyone with your phone number or email.“This is the nightmare scenario,” said Marcus Carey, a cybersecurity expert and author of Tribe of Hackers. “It does incite privacy fears because this is the same scenario that most people fear from the US government and other regimes.” Continue reading...
A league they can own: why pro footballers are signing up star video gamers
Soccer stars and clubs are investing millions in esports, as virtual football grows as a spectator sport – and Uefa is launching a virtual Champions League.As the fifth Russian goal struck the Saudi net in the opening game of last summer’s World Cup, the dreams of Saudi Arabian football supporters were crushed before the competition had really started. A few months later, though, fans were glued to screens once again, witnessing a Saudi player do the unthinkable and lift the trophy. This time they were watching a YouTube stream, and their star player was a gamer named “MSdossary”.Beating 20 million other players of Fifa 18, Electronic Arts’ wildly popular officially licensed football video game, Mossad “MSDossary” Aldossary was crowned the Fifa eWorld Cup champion, winning $250,000 (around £190,000) for his efforts. He has become the player to watch, an armchair Mbappé – and as football stars from Arsenal’s Mesut Özil to Dutch veteran Ruud Gullit begin investing in esports, he is drawing a lot of attention. Continue reading...
US government v Silicon Valley: Oracle said to owe $400m to women and minorities
US labor department accuses company of rampant exclusion of black and Hispanic people in hiring and higher pay for white men
From WhatsApp to Alexa : why the ad-free era is over
As we grow wiser to marketing, advertisers are finding new ways and places to plug productsWe’ve weaned ourselves off banner advertisements, with a fifth of us using ad blockers in our internet browsers, according to research firm eMarketer. So-called “native advertising” online, where advertising is presented in a similar way to editorial, has failed to take off. A US study last year from Stanford University found native advertising is no better at getting us to buy than standard online ads.“Consumers are very good at filtering out messages,” explains Lisa Du-Lieu, a senior lecturer in marketing at Huddersfield University. “If you don’t get their attention within the first couple of seconds, it just bounces off them.” Continue reading...
China accuses US of suppressing its high-tech companies
US said to be in advanced stages of inquiry over alleged Huawei theft of trade secretsChina has accused the US of trying to suppress its tech companies, as US prosecutors reportedly investigate allegations that Huawei stole trade secrets from US businesses.Adding to pressure on the Chinese telecoms firm, US lawmakers have proposed a ban on selling US chips or components to the company. Continue reading...
Shantay, you play: the drag queens of gaming
Video games and drag offer potent opportunities to play with identity. Four artists explore personas, avatars and cosplay, taking down trolls on Twitch and the power of Princess Peach
Poland arrests Huawei worker on allegations of spying for China
Polish national is also being held, risking further tension between China and the westPoland has arrested a Chinese employee of Huawei and a Polish national involved in cyber-business on allegations of spying, Polish state media has reported, deepening the controversy over western criticism of the Chinese telecoms company.However, a spokesman for the Polish security services told Reuters the allegations related to individual actions, and were not linked directly to Huawei. Continue reading...
Political change vital to democratise AI | Letter
Technical solutions focused on privacy or bias will get us nowhere, says Miranda HallStephen Cave is right to highlight the ethical issues with artificial intelligence (To save us from a Kafkaesque future, we must democratise AI, 4 January) but we should be wary of focusing on “diversity and inclusion”. He argues that including the voices of more women or black people will ensure a more ethical (and efficient) future for AI. But as software developer and activist Nabil Hassein points out: “The liberation of oppressed people can never be achieved by inclusion in systems controlled by a capitalist elite which benefits from the perpetuation of oppressions.” Let’s not kid ourselves that having female or black CEOs at Facebook would stop its abuses of power.To democratise AI, we need to take back control of digital infrastructures and build alternatives that serve collective interests. Refugee women in Hamburg and cab drivers in Texas are running cooperative platforms for finding work. Cities such as Barcelona are building identity management systems that give citizens control of their data. Tech and gig economy workers are unionising to demand better rights and hold their bosses politically accountable. These strategies recognise that AI systems relate to wider agendas such as privatisation and deregulation. To alter them we need political change, not just technical fixes focussed on privacy or bias. Continue reading...
Seven ways technology will change in 2019
App stores, Facebook, smartphone photography, even USB cables – they are all facing disruption this yearAt the beginning of 2019, as at the start of 2018, Margrethe Vestager remains the most powerful woman in tech. The EU competition commissioner has the world’s biggest companies walking on tiptoe, afraid of her habit of enforcing competition law where the US authorities have refused to do so. Continue reading...
Google shifted $23bn to tax haven Bermuda in 2017, filing shows
Firm used Dutch shell company in move known as ‘double Irish, Dutch sandwich’ that cuts its foreign tax billGoogle moved €19.9bn ($22.7bn) through a Dutch shell company to Bermuda in 2017, as part of an arrangement that allows it to reduce its foreign tax bill, according to documents filed at the Dutch chamber of commerce.The amount channelled through Google Netherlands Holdings BV was about €4bn more than in 2016, the documents, filed on 21 December, showed. Continue reading...
UK invests millions in micro-robots able to work in dangerous sites
Devices could be deployed in underground pipe networks, reducing need for roadworksThe UK government is investing millions in the development of micro-robots designed to work in underground pipe networks and dangerous sites such as decommissioned nuclear facilities.The ambition is for the robots, developed in British universities, to mark the end of disruptive and expensive roadworks by carrying out repairs without the need to dig up the roads. Continue reading...
Keep on running with this smart sport tech
Five of the best aids for athletes, from sophisticated monitors and tracking apps to shoes that promise to boost your performanceWhether it be a training plan from an app such as TrainAsOne or Zombies, Run!, or comparing results with fellow runners via a platform such as Runkeeper or Strava, technology has helped lots of runners off the start line, coached their performance and led them to become obsessed with their digital trails. Most start off tracking their runs with their smartphone strapped to their arm, but other devices can capture metrics beyond just pace and distance. Continue reading...
It's complicated: Facebook's terrible 2018
Privacy scandals, congressional hearings, and PR disasters: a timeline of a long and difficult year for Mark Zuckerberg Continue reading...
Range Rover Evoque preview: ‘The little SUV has grown up’ | Martin Love
The second-generation of the bestselling compact Range Rover is a lot smarter and a lot less ugly than the one that went beforeRange Rover Evoque
Self-driving car drove me from California to New York, claims ex-Uber engineer
Trip by Anthony Levandowski, controversial engineer involved in Uber-Waymo lawsuit, would be longest without human taking overAnthony Levandowski, the controversial engineer at the heart of a lawsuit between Uber and Waymo, claims to have built an automated car that drove from San Francisco to New York without any human intervention.The 3,099-mile journey started on 26 October on the Golden Gate Bridge, and finished nearly four days later on the George Washington Bridge in Manhattan. Continue reading...
Robot-fried chicken – a whole new meaning to battery hens
The Shinagawa district of Tokyo is host to an automated fried chicken service – but don’t try getting any late at nightName: Robot-fried chicken.Flavours: Original, red and hokkaido cheese. Continue reading...
Facebook's privacy problems: a roundup
The social media giant’s troubles have led to lawsuits, House of Commons hearings and several apologiesFacebook disclosed on Friday that a bug may have affected up to 6.8 million users, allowing app developers to see photos that users had uploaded but never posted – but this was hardly the first mea culpa the social media giant has had to send out regarding data and security as of late.Related: Facebook admits bug allowed apps to see hidden photos Continue reading...
Microsoft Surface Headphones review: close but no cigar
Pricey Bluetooth headphones have excellent controls but only good, not great sound quality, noise cancelling and battery lifeSurface Headphones are Microsoft’s high-price, premium noise-cancelling cans aimed squarely at toppling the current kings, Bose and Sony.Headphones seem like an odd choice for the Xbox, Office and Windows maker, but the are being produced by Microsoft’s burgeoning consumer electronics arm responsible for its line of Surface computers and accessories. Continue reading...
Super Smash Bros Ultimate review – the fighting game with everything
Nintendo Switch; Sora/Bandai Namco/Nintendo
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