Codeaweb Blog

Yahoo aims to phase out passwords with new service

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Yahoo’s next step in password security is to eliminate them altogether.

Starting on Thursday, the company announced, users of the Yahoo Mail app on both iOS and Android will have access to a new service called Yahoo Account Key, which uses smartphones to verify identities in lieu of traditional passwords.

Here’s how it works: When users who sign up for Account Key try to access Yahoo Mail, they will no longer need to enter their password. Instead, the Account Key service will send a message to the smartphone connected to the account.

With a tap on yes or no, users can indicate it is a legitimate attempt to get into the account or deny unauthorized access.

If their smartphone is lost or stolen, users can verify identities through an email or a text message sent to alternative accounts and numbers.

Dylan Casey, vice president of product management, said Account Key is more secure than traditional passwords because it prohibits anyone from signing in to access an account without the verification that Account Key provides.

Satnam Narang, a security manager with Symantec, called the approach “a step above a password” but said it still falls short of the golden standard of what’s known as two-factor authentication, which requires users to confirm their identify with two different pieces of information.

He also expressed doubts that most users will let passwords die easily and encouraged widespread adoption of password management tools until a new verification method replaces them for good.

“I think passwords are going to be around for a little while, I don’t think they’re going away as soon as we’d like them to. They’re so ingrained in everything we do from banking to email to shopping, you name it,” Narang said.

In addition to Account Key verification, Yahoo executives announced a revamped version of Yahoo Mail that allows users to connect with, manage and search Outlook, Hotmail and AOL email accounts while signed in to their Yahoo account.

The new Mail also connects to Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook to add photos and create “contact cards” with email, telephone and social media information for contacts.

WhatsApp now lets you backup conversations, photos and videos to Google Drive

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We had earlier reported about how WhatsApp has been testing its new update to the Android app which will let you backup your WhatsApp conversations to Google Drive.

Scott Johnston, Director of Product Management has now officially announced the feature. In a blog post he wrote, “Starting today, WhatsApp for Android lets you create a private backup of your chat history, voice messages, photos, and videos in Google Drive. And once you do, you can restore everything on a new device with just a couple taps.

“The new backup feature is rolling out over the next few months, so keep an eye on your WhatsApp settings to see if it’s available,” he further added.

A previous report revealed how the feature will come with the latest update with version number 2.12.45 for Android. This version could be downloaded from the company’s official website.

With the new update, you will need to select the option to take a backup to Google Drive in the chat ‘Settings’ tab. You will naturally have to connect your Gmail account associated with Drive to the WhatsApp account.

WhatsApp already has the offline conversation backup feature but with the online conversation backup, your WhatsApp chats will show up in Google Drive whenever you take a backup while being connected. This will make backing up comparatively speedier.

Backing up conversations has been an oft-requested feature on WhatsApp.

Recently, WhatsApp also released the Material Design for Android smartphones. It is currently available only as an APK file. The new Material Design overhaul brings a refined look. Though the general layout is same, it now has a refreshing colour scheme – a deep green title bar that blends seamlessly into the three tabs for calls, chats and contacts. The chat window comes with new buttons to record voice messages, and also made available in attachment option pop-up.

During group chats, you will find a cleaner layout and a larger cover image. You will also find some cosmetic changes made to the media selection screen.

Recently the company CEO Jan Koum also announced on his Facebook page that WhatsApp has reached 800 million monthly active users.

Google rolling out Android 6.0 Marshmallow update for Nexus

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Google has announced that it has started rolling out the new Android 6.0 Marshmallow to Nexus users. The Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 7 (2013), Nexus 9 and Nexus Player will get an over the air (OTA) software update to Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The newly launched Nexus 5X and 6P along with the upcoming Google Pixel C tablet will ship with Android 6.0, straight from the factory.

For Nexus users who wish to get the immediate update, images for the Nexus 6, 5, 9, player, and 7 (2013) are available for download at the Nexus system image page. The final build of 6.0 is called “MRA58K.” The build has no major differences from the Android M Developer Preview #3 that has been out almost for a month and a half and, it’s just bugfixes.

For those who can wait, the over-the-air update for Nexus will arrive any day now. After the Android 6.0 file is downloade, owners will receive a notification with steps to walk through the installation process.

Google also stated that for those who take their devices to work and wish to learn more about security and other work features in Android Marshmallow can register  for the Android for Work Live online event on November 4.

Apple acquires Perceptio, a startup developing AI technology for smartphones

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Apple has reportedly acquired Perceptio, a startup developing technology to allow companies to run artificial intelligence systems on smartphones. As of now, no financial details of the deal have been disclosed.

Colin Johnson, a company spokesman stated, “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”

Perceptio leaders Nicolas Pinto and Zak Stone are said to be both established AI researchers who specialise in developing image-recognition systems using deep learning. According to the report, deep learning is an approach to artificial intelligence that lets computers learn to identify and classify sensory input.

The company’s goal is to develop techniques to run AI image-classification systems on smartphones without having the need to draw our large sums of data. In the past, Perceptio had also released an app called Smoothie, using their AI skills and some advanced software algorithms.

Last week, Apple confirmed that it had acquired a UK-based startup called VocalIQ. The company had developed a voice assistant that it claimed was superior Siri. Both these acquisitions seem to be headed in a direction where in it can give competition to Microsoft’s Cortana and Google Now.

Twitter rolls out new feature called Highlights on Android

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Micro-blogging website Twitter has said it was launching a new feature called Highlights on the Android platform.

The new feature, which will support over 35 languages, will enable users to see a summary of Twitter activities based on their earlier set preferences and relevance in turn saving time and effort to go through the whole timeline or jump from one page to the other.

“While your home timeline is a great place to browse and engage with Tweets, we know it can be challenging to find the time to get through everything you’d like to see. No matter how much time you spend with Twitter, we want you to get the most out of using it,” Volodymyr Zhabiuk, senior software engineer at Twitter, wrote in a blog post.

“To create your Highlights, we look at things like the accounts and conversations that are popular among people you follow, tweets from people you’re closely tied to, topics and events that are trending in your area or within your network, and people that are popular or trending among people you follow,” he explained.

The users will get a notification as soon as the Highlights are ready via phone.

“We’re rolling out this experience on Android first and will consider bringing Highlights to other platforms in the future,” Zhabiuk added.

‘Shoto’ photo sharing app for friends launched for Android and iOS

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Indian-origin entrepreneur Sachin Dev Duggal, based in San Francisco, on Friday globally launched a new photo sharing app “Shoto” here.

“A trillion pictures were taken on a smartphone in the last one year which goes to show the engagement by users. Users are now more interested in photos which were clicked by others but curation always has been a problem. Shoto makes getting photos clicked by friends on various occasions easier,” Duggal told IANS.

“Shoto tells you how many photos were taken with friends or family members from times spent together and easily lets users share photos and create private or public albums.

“It collects metadata from the phone and asks the user if he or she wants to share the photos, so the privacy issue is also taken care of,” he explained.

The app, which is available on the App Store and Google Play Store, can be downloaded in over 120 countries with local language support. Among the languages available are Hindi, Spanish, French and Mandarin.

Shoto, which was in beta mode till Friday, cost the founder $1.2 million in development. It was founded in 2013 with the intent to solve the inefficiencies often attributed with sharing photos.

The app company also got funding of $1.5 million from investors like Real Ventures and Kunal Nayyar, the Indian-origin actor of popular TV series “The Big Bang Theory”.

Shoto is also a partner of the UN Foundation since June 26, 2015.

Xiaomi officially working on its first laptop

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Recently, there were reports of Chinese company Xiaomi – popular for its smartphones –working towards a new laptop range.

Since Xiaomi borrows heavily from Apple in terms of design, the range of laptops are expected to take on Apple’s Macbook range. Richard Lee, Chairman of Inventec Corp confirmed that his company is making the first notebook computer product for Xiaomi in China.

Quoting Lee, the report added, that a subsidiary “Inventec Appliance Corp, which assembles Xiaomi’s smartphones, is to jointly design and manufacture the Chinese company’s first notebook products in Inventec’s plants in China.”

Lee also confirmed that shipping of  Xiaomi’s notebook computers would commence in “the first or second quarter of next year”.

It had been reported that Xiaomi will most likely go with a 15-inch notebook size and will bundle the laptops with Linux OS. Approximate price points of the notebook are speculated to be in the CNY 2,999 region which roughly translates to Rs 31,500.

If you have followed Xiaomi since its entry into India, there were speculations of it releasing a laptop in the past as well. It has also been speculated over the past few months that the Xiaomi laptops would ship with Linux. However, since the launch of Windows 10, we wonder if Xiaomi has been working with Microsoft to launch the devices with the latest version of Windows operating system.

Microsoft develops its own version of Linux-based OS for cloud-based services

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Microsoft is currently working on a Linux-based operating system which will not be running on desktops or laptops but, is aimed at driving the networking hardware in the enterprise space. The company is working on building Azure Cloud Switch (ACS), a software which will make it simpler to control hardware which powers cloud-based services.

Kamala Subramanian, Redmond’s principal architect for Azure Networking describes the new Azure Cloud Switch as a cross-platform modular operating system for data center networking built on Linux.

ACS allows us to debug, fix and test software bugs much faster. She points out that, “It also allows us the flexibility to scale down the software and develop features that are required for our datacenter and our networking needs.”

ACS strives for easier configuration and management by integrating with Microsoft’s monitoring and diagnostics system. By deviating from the traditional enterprise interactive model of command line interfaces, it allows for switches to be managed just as servers are with weekly software rollouts and roll backs thus ensuring a mature configuration and deployment model.

Subramanian says, “We’re talking about ACS publicly as we believe this approach of disaggregating the switch software from the switch hardware will continue to be a growing trend in the networking industry and we would like to contribute our insights and experiences of this journey starting here.”

Facebook will not withdraw internet.org from India

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Defending its free Internet platform internet.Org, Facebook on Thursday said net neutrality principle arose when operators started selling different levels of speed to provide faster access to certain services.

 

“When users purchase Internet access, they should be able to go where they want to, and that concept of net neutrality rules in context of operators who originally wanted to sell different tiers of speeds to consumers so that certain services can be accessed on a faster basis,” Facebook Vice President for Mobile and Global Access Policy Kevin Martin said at the India Economic Convention 2015.

He said that Facebook supports the concept of net neutrality and its programme internet.Org is to enable people to realise the importance of Internet by providing access to basic web service free of data cost.

Through internet.Org, mobile users can access websites available on the platform for free. Even websites are not required to pay any charge for coming on to the platform, but need to follow certain technical criteria for joining it, he said.

Additionally, neither Facebook nor other websites are required to pay for Internet usage by end users.

A government panel in India has criticised this kind of platform, saying this can act as a gatekeeper and should not be allowed. However, the social media giant says it is a gateway to access Internet and not a gatekeeper.

Martin said that Facebook is looking forward to launching a special Wi-Fi service in India which will help subsidise cost of accessing Internet.

“We also have our connectivity lab which is looking at Drones and unmanned aerial vehicle to lower the cost of service to people without infrastructure. We are rolling out a kind of Wi-Fi service at a lower cost which is trying to adjust cost issue in other countries and looking out to do that in India,” Martin said.

“The only limitation for any developer to participate (in internet.Org) is that it has to be structured so that it uses limited amount of bandwidth,” Martin said.

He said that Facebook also has different set up for its own service that it provides through internet.Org.

“It doesn’t have any advertising, videos on it so that users can fully utilise it and at the same time do not use too much bandwidth,” Martin said.

 

LG will host an event on 1 October in New York; may announce the dual-display V10

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LG has sent out invites to the media for an event which will take place on October 1 in New York City. The company has not announced as to what it will unveil but it looks like LG will unveil the dual display smartphone called V10.

Judging by the above invite, it looks like LG might present some sought of a movie theme during the launch.

According to rumoured specifications, the smartphone is said to include an ‘auxiliary ticker display’, which has been previously seen on Samsung’s Continuum smartphone, which was introduced in 2010. The handset which has  indicates that the device is said to have a 5.7-inch display along with a Snapdragon 808 processor paired with 3GB RAM.

It is said to be equipped with a 16MP rear camera along with a 5MP front facing camera. The LG V10 will most likely have an internal storage at 64GB and can be further expanded via microSD card. In addition, the device will also include a finger-print scanner.

In line with the recent report about Google launching two Nexus devices on september 29, a new report now reveals more details about the LG-built Nexus smartphone.

According to a report  LG built Google device will be named Nexus 5X and will carry a price tag that is slightly more than the original Nexus 5. Citing sources related to the matter, the report further adds that the Nexus 5X will go on sale starting September 29.