The leaked Instagram long-form video hub has been confirmed to be launching soon as IGTV, which will be accessible from the Explore tab, and will allow users post longer-formed video of ten minute length and above.

Instagram has been wooing online content creators to the new platform to create videos that are at least 10-minute long, instead of the 1-minute maximum videos allowed currently on the app.

While the photo-cum-video sharing service has witnessed exponential growth in the past few years, it's still grappling with discovering the turnkey feature that will permanently sway users to its side against the fierce competition from Snapchat.

Albeit, the growth projection puts Instagram as adding 100 million users every four months, and with the recent announcement of 800 million in September 2017, Instagram may be hitting 1 billion monthly users this second quarter.

The IGTV videos will be similar to what's available in YouTube rather than a direct competion to the likes of Netflix, and will offer a link-out option for creators to drive traffic to their other web properties. It will be full-screen with a resolution of up to 4K, and users will be presented with a collection of recent videos, popular titles and the ability to continue watching clips from where they stopped.

Instagram may also be adding a direct monetization avenue for the creators, which perhaps will include revenue sharing, though no official confirmation about the possibility.

The overriding idea is to enable these creators express their style of content and also leverage their already sizeable audience on the platform, to expand the IGTV footprint on mobile platforms rather than the more regular publishers and TV studios.

Instagram's longer-form video service launching as IGTV, accessible from the Explore tab

Google has announced the rolling out of Messages for the Web, with features including GIF search and smart replies as part of an updated messaging experience for Android users.

While the company had earlier renamed its Messenger, Android Messages, which now serve as the default messaging app across all Android phones, with works in progress to bring Rich Communication Services (RCS) to Android Messages for better messaging experience.

Google had also moved the team behind its messaging App, Allo to work on Android Messages, with the aim to offer features such as receipts that show when a message has been read, stickers, maps and more.

The roll out of Messages for Web is part of an updated messaging experience for Android users in response to Apple's iMessage, with Android Messages now in a better position to compete with the web support.

As Apple's iMessage can be accessed on Mac using a dedicated app, Google aims to make Messages for web similar by offering the Web access to messages, allowing Android users to view and respond to conversations on desktop, even when not with their Android smartphone.

Google is also prepping additional features for Android Messages like previewing of web links in conversations; and the ability to copy one-time passwords with a tap or perhaps two taps – both the copy and the paste functions – is now a lot easier than before.

Albeit, Android users are required to download and install the latest version of the Messages app from Google Play to enjoy these new features.

Android Messages arrives to the Web, with GIF Search and Smart reply

The Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG) has announced the successor to their popular image format with the same moniker, called JPEG XL, which aims to offer substantial improvement in compression efficiency than existing image formats.

JPEG XL will feature desirable web distribution capabilities and offer about 60% overall improvement compared to the legacy JPEG format, coupled with efficient compression of high-quality images.

And the announcement is coming on the heels of JPEG 25 years anniversary, a remarkable achievement indeed for the legacy image format, and to celebrate JPEG's birthday, the organization behind it deems it wise to draw up the future roadmap.

With billions of images captured, stored and shared on daily basis, increasingly applications, websites and UI experts are relying on those images to share experiences, stories, visual information and put up appealing designs.

Therefore, an efficient image compression format is highly invaluable, to this end, the JPEG Committee issued a Call for Proposals following its 79th meeting in April 2018, with the objective of seeking technologies that fulfill the objectives and scope of a Next Generation Image Coding.

The Working Group is hopeful to see JPEG XL as an important format for imaging products and services as its predecessor was; the popular legacy JPEG format which has been in service for a quarter of century now.

It has given an August 15, 2018 deadline for expression of interest, registration and submissions to the Call due September 1, 2018. To stay posted on the action plan for JPEG XL, you can follow up on the project website at

JPEG XL: the Next generation of the JPEG image coding format

Exemplar GAN (ExGAN) are a type of conditional GAN that utilize exemplar information to reproduce quality personalized in-paintings. While GAN is a class of artificial intelligence algorithms in unsupervised machine learning, implemented through a system neural networks contesting with each other in a zero-sum game framework.

Facebook research attempt to replace closed eyes with open ones in a remarkably convincing manner through In-Painting Eye with Exemplar Generative Adversarial Networks. This is an instance of intelligent “in-painting” when a machine fills in a space with what it thinks should be at the point.

ExGANs successfully produced photo-realistic personalized in-painting results that are both perceptually and semantically plausible by applying them to the task of closed-to-open eye in-painting in natural pictures.

Facebook researchers were able to include “exemplar” data showing the target person with their eyes open, from which the GAN learns not just what eyes should go on the person, but how the eyes of this particular person are colored, and the actual shape.

The test results were stunning, as most people mistook the fake eyes-opened photos for real, and unless they knew a photo was definitely tampered with, they probably couldn’t differentiate it in the Newsfeed.

Albeit, the capabilities still falls short in some instances, resulting some strange looking artifacts of a person’s eye if partially covered by a lock of hair, and sometimes giving a complete color mismatch.

However, their detailed nature make it particularly useful as the capacity to convincingly replace the eyes weren't available in other photo editing tools. Facebook has introduced the new benchmark dataset for the task of eye in-painting for future comparisons.

Facebook demos Exemplar GAN (Generative Adversarial Networks) In-Painting to produce personalized results

Apple's augmented reality toolkit, ARKit 2, already has a number of key upgrades that vastly improves how iOS handles augmented reality, which alongside iOS 12 the company believes the big deal is actually getting them on millions of devices.

The iPhone X's front-facing TrueDepth camera uses ARKit 2 to track eye movement, and Apple's other iPhones arriving later this year will also feature same AR capabilities, and most probably the next iPad Pro.

ARKit 2 is not just used to see objects, but also to pin information to them, such as purchase information, or player stats hovering over athletes at a future sporting events. Also, iOS 12 is able to handle in-browser AR experience, through a new common format developed with Pixar, called USDZ, that will ultimately help Apple to turn 3D files into AR-ready objects.

The USDZ format currently support only iOS devices, but it can potentially become a universal format that if incorporated into ARKit 2 can make the virtual experience better, for instance, using 3D AR creations to reflect real-life objects.

Another interesting area is the shared AR worlds, which is relatively a new stuff: Google demoed the first multiplayer AR apps at its developer conference, and Apple's multiplayer support in ARKit 2 will also be able to enact the same.

The shared worlds will open up collaborative projects that could enable people to visit and interact with each other. Just imagine possibilities like the next wave of holograms in classrooms, and experimental art projects, such as Google's group AR doodle app that's live already.

Albeit, there's still a pretty long way to go, and the future of augmented reality is very much in a state of flux.

How Apple intends to improve Augmented Reality (AR) Experience

Microsoft announced their leveraging of artificial intelligence (AI) at scale to greatly improve the quality and reliability of the Windows 10 April 2018 Update rollout, which as a first time marks the fastest transition from consumer-only to enterprise-ready edition of the software.

The update quality and reliability was as a result of the AI inputs, and Microsoft will expand the release to make the April 2018 Update (version 1803) available for all compatible devices running Windows 10 worldwide.

Microsoft's AI approach selects devices intelligently that its feedback data indicate would make a great update experience and offers the April 2018 Update to those devices first.

With the AI model, feedback and telemetry data, the company is able to quickly adjust and prevent devices that are not currently suitable from being offered the update until they've been sorted out. And if the issues are resolved, it then proceeds with the update, which allows for throttling the update rollout to customers without needing them to take any action.

The April 2018 Update, in fact is officially the fastest version of Windows 10 to reach 250 million devices, and reaching the mark in less than half the time it took the Fall Creators Update.

While the 45-day interval between the launch and the declaration was the shortest for Windows 10, with the pronouncement of corporate suitability breaking the previous record, set by the 1709 upgrade of 86 days after its October 2017 debut.

Microsoft is harping on the ability to safely rollout an updated version of Windows 10 at massive scale and velocity leveraging AI to ensure the broadest number of customer devices have the latest security, technology and features in the shortest period as well.

Microsoft breaks new record with AI-powered Windows 10 April Update rollout

App Maker, is an online tool for quick building and deployment of business apps on the web developed by Google. While the tool has been in beta for the past one year, the company has finally announced the general availability of the service to all developers who wish to give it a try.

The tool is to enable people in organization, especially those with little coding experience to build own business apps, and it comes with any G Suite Business and Enterprise subscription, which data is based on G Suite or Google’s Cloud SQL database or any other database that supports JDBC or that offers a REST API.

Albeit, it takes quite a bit of work to set up the database connectivity, but after that, the design aspect is actually pretty easy — and coupled with ready-made templates, which makes the final application building quicker, irrespective of platform.

App Maker affords the developers with a low-code application development environment which allows building of applications through an easy drag and drop system.

While developers can access Gmail, Google Calendar, Sheets and other data sources, the main applications will likely rely on a database. Another caveat is that it focuses only on Google’s own services, with little or no built-in support for third-party services, although Google has promised to bring more functionality to the service.

App Maker is now available and open to all G Suite Business and Enterprise customers, as well as G Suite for Education customers.

Finally, Google's App Maker is now available and open to all developers

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which is the domestic intelligence and security service of the United States, has been notorious for its iPhone cracking stunts with tools believed to be supplied by third-party security services.

Apple with the upcoming version of iOS (iOS 12) will look to block the loophole that the law enforcement have leveraged to crack into locked iPhone with a feature known as USB Restricted Mode, that limits the number of access through the USB port.

While the FBI had relied on solutions from GrayShift and Cellebrite, particularly GrayShift’s GrayKey, which is capable of unlocking even newer iPhone models, through the use of the USB port to access the iPhone in order to crack its password.

The GrayKey is able to crack locked iPhone using more attempts than would normally be allowed, which process takes from two hours to more than 24 hours, depending on the strength of the password.

Now, Apple has confirmed the USB Restricted Mode security patch will make it into the final iOS release, to help customers defend against hackers, identity thieves and intrusions into their personal data.

Albeit, the company is not expressly trying to suppress law enforcement, rather it claims to have the greatest respect for the agencies, and don’t design its security improvements to frustrate their efforts to do their jobs.

The infamous federal order issued asking for Apple to help the FBI crack into an iPhone belonging to Syed Farook, one of the attackers in the shooting at San Bernardino, California is perhaps a pointer.

Apple, however, opposed the judge's order to assist the FBI break into the iPhone of Syed Farook, calling the directive "an overreach by the U.S. government."

Apple to thwart Law Enforcement's iPhone cracking with USB Restricted Mode

Microsoft earlier in the week released the beta version of the Mac edition of the Office application suite, Office 2019 for Mac, with new tools and functionality, like email delivery scheduling and Excel funnel charts.

While Office 2019 for Mac is the next perpetual update to Office on Mac and is set to ship alongside Office 2019 for Windows in the second half of 2018, and the beta is meant for volume license customers who intend to run the "perpetual" version of the suite, not the applications provided to Office 365 subscribers.

It offers new features to help end users create amazing content, such as the roaming pencil case and ribbon customizations across Office apps; with focus mode in Word; Morph transitions, in-click sequence, and 4k video export in PowerPoint; new charts and functions in Excel; and focused inbox in Outlook.

Albeit, these functionalities are already available in Office 365 ProPlus, as such Office 365 subscribers will have no reason to be tempted into beta testing Office 2019 on Mac, or any other version of the software.

With the new Office, Microsoft will be wooing those customers who are considering moving to the cloud, as Office 2019 for Mac will be a valuable upgrade to keep some or all of their apps on-premises.

Also, Office 2019 for Mac includes new features expressly for IT to help simplify deployment and management, with the Command-line tools allowing IT admins to centrally control how and when Office updates are applied to users' devices, and support for industry-standard MDM policies.

Additionally, it will give IT the power to enforce organization-wide security policies, including preferences for Visual Basic macros and app settings.

Microsoft, however hasn't fixed a date for the release of more broadly-distributed Office 2019 for Mac to the public. But you can join the Office 2019 for Mac preview, by signing up here.

Microsoft Office 2019 for Mac will give IT the power to enforce organization-wide security policies

The small software programs that enable customized browsing experience, Chrome Extensions, which hitherto can be installed from multi-vendor sources, will soon be restricted to the Chrome Web store.

While the software extensions offer such nifty capabilities like: ad blocking and better tabs management, in addition to Chrome browser's swift performance, with clean interface and easy synchronization with mobile devices, that has made the browser very popular.

Google will be removing the ability of "inline installation" that allow other sources to offer installation of extensions as a result of the growing malware concerns, so that users must have to resort to the Chrome Web Store for adding an extension to Chrome.

Albeit, the initial plan was that Chrome Extensions can be installed from any source, but Google cited the increasing malware issues for the reversal of its stance.

The Chrome Web Store been managed by Google itself, offers the necessary background checking to ensure available software are free of malicious codes, that can serve as a conduit for spyware that allow hackers to steal personal banking information from your computer.

Google in a bid to stem the tide, will be offering a three-phase plan to make the Chrome Web Store the only gateway for Chrome extensions.

The first phase, stated on June 12, all new extensions can't be installed inline any more. While the second phase, coming up on September 12, will have inline installation disabled for existing extensions. And all other sources that offer inline installations will redirect to the Chrome Web Store for installation.

Finally, developers will be required to update their websites with a December deadline to rid their codes of the inline installation.

Google to restrict Chrome Extensions installation to the Chrome Web Store

Snapchat is rolling out a new feature, called Clear Chats that will allow users to delete messages that are already sent, just as possible with Facebook-owned WhatsApp.

While Facebook had demonstrated that sent items can be recalled on the platform, through the secret deletion of messages sent by Mark Zuckerberg, which the company quickly dismissed as a new capability coming to everyone.

But Snapchat has beaten it to the launch, as the Clear Chats feature will be rolling out to all users globally over the next few weeks.

The Clear Chats feature will be especially useful for deleting those embarrassing messages sent by mistake, and also make it more easy for people to retract sensitive information sent over Snapchat. As it already auto-delete messages after they’ve be seen, this nifty addition will help to even further thwart cases where ex-lovers accidentally exposed their nude images.

The feature can be used by holding down on a text, image, video, memory, sticker or audio note in a one-on-one or group chat, then pressing the delete button. Snapchat will now retract the message, albeit it requires good internet connection and updated version of the app to work.

The recipient will be notified about the deletion, which is a good thing as social media evidence is increasingly useful, while the unsend feature tends to undermine it.

Snapchat is definitely not slowing down on its effort to boost growth with more unique features, especially attractive to the teens, even though it hit slowest growth rate ever last quarter.

Snapchat's Clear Chats feature to allow users delete sent messages

The Net Neutrality rules were passed in 2015, with many people agreeing to the basic principles of the rules, albeit some specific aspects were a subject of intense controversy.

It's a proposal that ISP and government regulators should treat all data on the Internet as the same to prevent broadband companies from favoring their own content over competitors', passed by the U.S. Federal Communication Commission (FCC).

The new Republican-led Federal Communications Commission's proposed to roll back the net neutrality rules, with most aspects still requiring approval from the Office of Management and Budget, which has now been taken care of, and the FCC scheduling June 11 as when the roll back will take effect.

The controversy, however is that to get the rules to hold up in court, an earlier, Democrat-led FCC had reclassified broadband networks so they fall under the same strict regulations that govern telephone networks.

Ajit Pai, the FCC Chairman called this "heavy-handed" and "a mistake," arguing that it will deter innovation and investment in building and expanding broadband networks.

The most significant change on the proposal coming from the Republican-led Federal Communications Commission is the stripping away of the FCC's authority to regulate broadband and the shifting of that responsibility to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Going forward, the FTC is now the new helms man, and saddled with the responsibility of taking action against companies that violate contracts with consumers or that participate in any fraudulent activity.

The FCC's roll back of Obama-era Net Neutrality rules takes effect

Apple at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC 2018), said it would implement new privacy features to block major web-tracking systems, which most users may not be aware that they are following them, from tracking their browsing habits on Safari browser.

The privacy tools will make it more difficult for web trackers to identify and track users on Safari web browser, thus prevent them from following your browsing sessions.

While many popular websites were circumventing users privacy settings by deliberately restoring previously deleted HTTP cookies using local storage outside the control of the browser; which emphasizes the porousness of most browsers privacy settings, allowing persistent tracking, even when you're using private browsing mode.

Apple stance for privacy is so serious that the company doesn't even trust its app developers to get things right, which is more reason it requires that iPhone users should grant them permission before they can access their location information.

Its browser, Safari was the first to block Flash by default, as series of security breaches were tied to the technology, and Apple had also rejected the ad industry's plea to sidetrack its "intelligent tracking prevention" system on iOS devices.

Albeit, web cookies make online shopping easier, which is one good thing it can do, by allowing shoppers to get to see more of the items they really care about, which eliminates the searching for such items.

But, Apple doesn't seem to fancy the cookie tales, as it takes privacy "extremely seriously" and these cookies are way against users privacy.

That's why it's coming up with a better way to give users more control, Apple update in Fall will prevent collection of users data until they interact with third party's widget, by clicking on the Like button, after asking whether they're comfortable sharing information with the third party.

How Apple's new privacy features will help prevent web tracking

Indeed, these are not the best of times for the social media giant, Facebook, as the company has been grappling with so many privacy issues and antitrust concerns.

Now, Facebook has made public an embarrassing bug in its system that exposed about 14 million users private information publicly when they had intended to share them privately. According to the company, every posts made between May 18 and May 22, 2018 were mistakenly shared as public, even though the user had setup the privacy status.

Facebook was only able to revert posts to private again after May 27, so it's likely that some sensitive information might have trickled onto the news feed of total strangers during the nine days the buy held sway.

The bug was as a result of a new feature Facebook is currently testing, which would suggest that people share featured profile items publicly. Albeit Facebook mistakenly set "public" as the default for all posts, making posts shared during that period to evade users privacy settings.

Affected users will be notified with a "Please review your posts" pop-up in their news feed, and will be required to review their privacy settings that might have been altered.

Facebook, however assured users that the bug didn't impact anything posted before the stated period and that they still have the ability to choose their audience as before.

Facebook admittedly shared Private Information of 14M users as a result of bug

Microsoft is hard at work to position its IoT platform, Windows 10 IoT Core as the go-to architecture for deploying the Internet of Things for both individual users and corporate organizations.

The software giant is offering a new program that guarantees 10 years of updates for its customers on Windows 10 IoT Core, which means its taking off the responsibility from third-party partners (OEMs) who are saddled with the creation of apps for the platform, to guarantee security updates for the devices for a decade.

Apart form pushing out the updates, Microsoft is also giving OEMs the ability to manage the updates and have access to the device’s core architecture.

The service is in a way enabling partners to commercialize secure IoT devices backed by industry-leading support. While the third-party partners will have the ability to manage updates for the OS, for the apps and settings for OEM-specific files.

It also give the makers of Windows-powered applications on machines like healthcare devices or ATMs this ability to manage it over a period.

Microsoft will allow customers to assess the Device Update Center to control and customize how their devices get the updates. And it includes a security check called Device Health Attestation that allows the OEMs to evaluate the trustworthiness of the devices before it is updated with a third party service.

The IoT space is growing and will witness at least 20 billion connected devices online by 2020 according to Gartner. And Microsoft wants to be the leading provider with Windows 10 IoT Core for these connected devices.

Microsoft entice customers to Windows 10 IoT Core with a decade of updates

Instagram is prepping to launch a long-form video posting capability for its users, or perhaps switching to a longer view of its short video format.

The feature will allow users post longer-formed video of up to one hour length, instead of the current one minute only videos, and it supports vertical video shooting, according to insider report obtained by The Wall Street Journal.

While the photo-cum-video sharing service has witnessed exponential growth in the past few years, it's still grappling with finding the turnkey feature that will permanently sway users to its side against the fierce competition from Snapchat.

For instance, it has recorded over 300 million daily active users for Instagram Stories, a feature it cloned from Snapchat which allow users to publish series of photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours.

And just recently, the company launched what it called "You're All Caught Up" which will enable users to know when all new posts from a give period in time (for instance, in the past 48 hours) have been viewed to help solve the perceived problem of algorithmic timeline.

As the switch to algorithmic feed, made most users unable to follow everything their friends had shared on the platform. And this resulted a lot of passive scrolling, as it was termed, meaning that they surfed aimlessly in order not to miss out on anything.

But how users will welcome the idea of a longer-formed video posting remains to be seen, if and when the feature eventually goes live.

Short or Long-formed Video posts on Instagram: Who'd you rather?

Net Applications, the California-based analytics company puts Firefox at 9.9% percentage point of user share for the month of May, losing almost a quarter of its market share.

According to the analytics report, this is the first time Firefox has fallen below the 10% margin since November 2016, while Net Applications calculate browser share by the detection of user agent strings of the browsers that visit websites under its watch.

The tallies are make up the different visits to the site, which may be multiple sessions rather than just counting only users, it measures mostly the activity, though different from rival company's metrics sources which normally focuses on page views.

Mozilla's browser, Firefox had recorded more than a quarter of the world's browser share, about a decade ago. But lately, Firefox has fallen to less than a tenth, which trend may mean that Firefox will drop below 9% by September, and then even under 8% by January 2019.

Firefox future, indeed looks bleak if the six-month average holds, even as Mozilla has devoted resources in revamping the browser, giving rise to the "Quantum Firefox". Albeit, the revamp has not helped in salvaging the browser's hold on users.

Firefox, however isn't the only browser witnessing a decline, as even Apple's Safari also took a hit, losing almost three-tenths of a percentage point to finish at 3.7%, the lowest in a year.

While Internet Explorer (IE) and Edge, all Microsoft's browsers lost seven-tenths of a percentage point last month, closing at 16.1% for all visit sessions worldwide.

Google's browser, Chrome remains the undisputed leader with an impressive 1.2 percentage points gain in May alone, the largest one-month increase since January 2017; the user share pushed Chrome to finish at 62.8 per cent.

Browser Wars: Is Mozilla's Firefox browser losing its edge?

It's been long in the coming, and finally Apple has made it possible for iOS developers to adapt their apps for MacOS with an updated UIKit that makes it easier to port to Mac computers.

While both iOS and MacOS already share some features, such as Launchpad and the dock, but the idea of merging the two operating systems is still not feasible at least for the foreseeable future according to Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of software engineering at WWDC 2018.

Apple's UIKit tools will help developers to bring iOS apps to MacOS starting in 2019, with the developers able to adapt their apps to Mac features not present on iOS apps, which features include: mouse input, window resizing, scroll bars and related controls, copy and paste, and drag and drop, among others.

Albeit, MacOS and iOS apps are written with frameworks, the two software can run tasks such as accelerating graphics, rendering text or tracking fingers on a touch screen.

But, the difference in the devices make porting an app from one to the other pretty hard at the moment. So Apple intends to bring some key frameworks from iOS down to Mac, thus allowing developers to leverage iOS software for building Mac apps.

The question of whether Apple will merge MacOS and iOS may perhaps be liken to the rumor of Google's planned merger of Android/Chrome OS, and afterwards face-out the later, which has remained elusive.

Finally, Apple's iOS apps will be able to run on MacOS computers

Microsoft's MSN Kids is a new curated news portal that's targeted at young people, and it's devoid of any content or advertising that is intended for mature audience.

The news information are curated from trusted sources, including National Geographic Channel, Time for Kids, Sports Illustrated for Kids, and USA TODAY. Albeit, there are currently no sponsored content or advertising on the site, but expressly fun contents that will keep the kids engaged.

According to Microsoft, the portal was created to help inform kids about the world in a safe, trustworthy and fun environment. MSN Kids programming is especially appropriate and appealing to grade-school age kids.

As online news coverage can sometimes leave kids feeling blue or upset about the world, including fake or misleading news reports, the portal will help the kids broaden their interests to carry on thoughtful conversations about important topics.

If your kids are in the mood to learn about amazing facts or interesting people all around the globe, discover fun facts about animals, get answers to some of life’s biggest mysteries, or just sit back and enjoy hilarious videos, this is the place for them.

Microsoft requests your feedback as you take a look around the site, do let them know what you think!

Microsoft's MSN Kids new content Experience targeted at youngsters

The long awaited upgrade to Apple's software, iOS 12 has been unveiled at the annual WWDC 2018 conference, while the actual update will be arriving in late 2018 to the iPhone/iPad devices.

While lofty expectations may have been daunted by Apple's Senior VP of Software Engineering, Craig Federighi statement on stage at the WWDC 2018 keynote, that they're doubling down on performance; and refocusing on stability and digital balance with slew of enhancements here and there.

Apple once again has a chance to popularize a rather fringe feature from its rival, Samsung which set the ball rolling with its AR emoji in Galaxy S9 smartphone, with Apple now pitching "Memoji" - an Animoji (animated emoji) that you can create of yourself in iOS 12.

The iOS 12 will allow iPhone/iPad users to make Animojis of themselves using the front-facing 3D camera, with several customization options for skin tone, hairstyles, facial features (like freckles) and accessories like sunglasses.

Also, there are new filters similar to Snapchat, stickers from your favorite sticker packs, and the ability to put your custom memoji on chat.

Apple gives Siri a new home in iOS 12, the shortcuts feature created to provide information and services that Apple thinks you need throughout your day. While Siri can identify your habits and offer actions to help you on your upcoming schedules.

The most versatile feature, however remains Group FaceTime which allow up to 32 people to join in a conference call, including with audio/video or both. And the ability to switch between a group chat to a group FaceTime.

Another big bet for Apple in iOS 12, is Augmented Reality (AR) where multiple users on iPhone/iPad can interact in the same AR experience in real time. Apple's AR software toolbox for developers, ARKit now in the second version is all about making multiuser experiences in VR possible, allowing games or building Lego with friends, even sharing a virtual document.

Finally, to drop any 3D object into the "real world" like a toy or lamp or character is now possible with Apple's 3D Graphics, which makes it easier for app developers to add to their apps with a new file format called USDZ, developed in conjunction with Pixar.

Apple's iOS 12 brings group FaceTime and 'Memoji' with slew of Siri enhancements

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which took effect on May 25, may also apply to Domain registrants Information held in the whois service.

While the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, ICANN manages the whois service, requiring accredited domain name registrars to collect and store domain owner's name and postal address, and also the personal details of the domain's technical and administrative contacts.

The good news now is that domain name owners, may be getting free privacy guard for their whois data, albeit it will make finding out who's behind an internet domain a little bit harder, which will potentially pose some problems for law enforcers or anyone else trying to report a domain.

EPAG Domainservices, the German registrar told ICANN about it resolves to stop collecting personal details for the technical and administrative contacts as the GDPR came into effect, stressing that the surplus requirement is against the principle of data minimisation, though it will keep collecting information about domain name owners.

But ICANN filed a counter suit at the Regional Court in Bonn, Germany, for an injunction to enforce EPAG to continue recording administrative and technical contact details for domains it registered, or pay a €250,000 (US$291,000) fine.

The court, however rejected ICANN's request, which refusal was as a result of lack of evidence that the additional information was necessary, given that the same person could as well be listed for all three contacts. It questioned that rationale for even demanding for the personal information about the administrative and technical contacts.

ICANN, however has sought for further clarification of the GDPR requirements for the whois service from the European Commission and the Article 29 Working Party, the Umbrella body of the EU's national privacy regulators.

Aftermath of GDPR: Will ICANN keep Domain registrants Information secret?

The debate over Real-time vs Algorithmic Timeline continues, as Instagram claims that the changes to algorithmic feed it made in 2016 has been effective, despite criticism from some users on the platform.

Algorithmic Timeline uses machine-learning to understand users interest as they interact with the platform, meaning the more you use it, the more accurate the suggestions will get over time. While real-time update means the natural flow of conversation which is supposed to be spontaneous, and thereby requires that you'll have to follow all conversations one at a time.

Albeit, the real-time update makes it rather too burdensome to collect on the information that matters to you, which is the reason the algorithmic timeline is preferred above it.

Algorithmic timeline favored posts that people cared for the most, based on past interactions, rather than the recent posts at the top of its feed. But just how does Instagram classify "relevance" or what are the ranking algorithm that is employed to decide what falls under the category?

There are fears about the possible abuse of the feature, as a monetization scheme, as the company may want to offer paid access for brands that are looking for targeted advertising.

Instagram is purported to favor a post, if it thinks something in it will matter to you based on your past interactions on similar content. While the analysis is based on machine learning of the content in the post, with timely posts prioritized over older posts.

The company, however denied any plans to offer paid access to brands that are looking for targeted advertising, stating that it won't down-rank users post in favor of advertisements, but if they post several items it may swap the important ones between the different posts.

Instagram defends its choice for Algorithmic feed as effectively more relevant

The Blockchain technology has caught the attention of the Internet's largest services providers including: IBM, HP, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP and now, Amazon has also joined the list of Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) providers.

Amazon BaaS offerings is meant to address the shortage of in-house Blockchain developers, which services are still in hot demand, by offering means to allow customers test the emerging technology without the associated risk of deploying it in-house.

While Blockchain has the potential to unleash new possibilities that were formerly out of reach for many small organizations, with such unique services advantage as decentralization, secure, transparent, and immutable interactions, for processes and transactions.

ConsenSys is an AWS Partner Network (APN) Advanced Technology Partner that is enabling associations of two or more companies to launch and operate enterprise Blockchain networks on Amazon Web Services (AWS) without spending months and millions of dollars writing the code.

Amazon has also partnered with Kaleido to offer its cloud services on which to host an Enterprise Ethereum-based, open-source blockchain platform, which makes Kaleido the first managed blockchain SaaS on AWS; available in AWS regions across the world.

Additionally, AWS announced blockchain developer templates based on Ethereum and Hyperledger – which are the most popular business-grade, open-source blockchain platforms.

Microsoft became one of the first software vendors to offer BaaS on its Azure cloud platform back in 2015; with the Azure Cloud open to a variety of blockchain protocols, supporting simple Unspent Transaction Output-based protocols (UTXO), Smart Contract-based protocols, and other newly developed protocols.

And IBM followed suit by launching a number of pilot projects with supply chain and financial services companies.

The IBM's Blockchain Platform, is a cloud-based service that enable the electronic exchange of 12 different currencies across Pacific Islands as well as Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

Backed by the KlickEx Group, a United Nations-funded, Pacific-region financial services firm, and, a nonprofit organization that supports an open-source blockchain network for financial services, the IBM's platform also allow consumers in developing nations to transfer funds directly to mobile wallets.

Albeit, Amazon's model is a bit more centralized, but it's still very much a distributed ledger system; more accessible and easier for customers to use, and even faster for them to connect to AWS services securely.

Amazon's foray into blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS) with AWS offerings

Facebook is currently testing different breaking news model as a replacement for the Trending Topic section, with a "breaking news" label and a dedicated local news tab, called Today In.

While the "Trending Topics" section raised some controversy in reaction to the 2016 removal of human moderators from Trending Topics, leaving it solely to AI algorithm, which opened the door for larger scandals like misinformation and fake news campaigns.

The "breaking news" feature is being tested by about 80 publishers, Facebook will also launch live news coverage, with daily news briefings and weekly deep dives in Watch tab, its homepage for video.

And the "Today In" section will be concerned with local news stories, which will be kicking off in 33 US cities, with an estimated average of 8 percent traffic from Facebook to the publishers pages.

According to Facebook, research shows that over time people found the Trending Topic to be less and less useful, albeit it was only available in five countries and accounted for less than 1.5 percent of clicks to news publishers on average.

The company have scheduled the removal of Trending from Facebook platform next week and also remove products and third-party partner integration that rely on the Trends API.

Facebook is exploring new ways to help people stay informed about timely, breaking news that matters to them, while making sure the news they see on the platform is from trustworthy and quality sources.

Facebook Trending Topics section to give way for breaking News models

The network technologies, DNS and HTTPS, help browsers to thwart snooping and subsequently the tampering of website location by middlemen, by encrypting the connections to the web servers that host websites.

While the Domain Name System (DNS) serves as the phone book for the internet, it converts readable domain names into IP addresses needed to communicate with computers across the network, and thus enable web users to get to their target resources, as often times, popular resources exist in different locations.

HTTPS, on the other hand is the secure version of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol used to fetch data from websites.

Mozilla has commenced a project to thwart network snoopers by encrypting connections to the web servers that host websites, by the combination of the network technology, DND and HTTPS called DoH, to prevent middlemen from figuring out the internet servers Firefox users are trying to reach and from sending the user to a fake version of a website.

Firefox's implementation of DoH would help seal off major holes, as regards privacy and security, though there are technical challenges that aren't going away anytime soon, but gradually things will improve.

The support for DoH has been added to Firefox 62 to improve the way Firefox interacts with DNS, while DoH employs encrypted networking to obtain DNS information from a server that is configured within Firefox.

Firefox, however does not use DoH by default, to use (or not use) DoH simply go through the configuration editor to configure it. Also, if you want to test DoH outside of a shield study, the support works best in Firefox 62 or newer and Shield studies will not override your manual configuration.

Mozilla's attempt to close privacy holes with DNS over HTTPS technology

The Firefox Nightly version has a new update that makes tracking protection easier to discover, and to use, which affords web users better safeguard for their privacy.

Mozilla is a major advocate for browser-side protection to block websites and advertisers from following web users online behavior, which tracking is especially useful for their ads targeting despite the fact that it invades the users privacy.

The new update to Firefox will let users to easily block tracking on site by site basis, instead of just using the former approach of clicking on the privacy icon on the left side of the address bar.

Formerly, the tracking protection mechanism was tucked away in a submenu, but with the new update, Mozilla makes it easily accessible from the three-line menu in the upper right of the browser.

And this is perhaps the browsers getting more supportive on the side of web users, even against its own developers by ignoring the programmers' code that want them to track users for ads targeting. Albeit, Firefox doesn't block all tracking websites by default, but just like Google's Chrome ad filtering and Safari's intelligent tracking protection, both of which perform selective blocking.

Other privacy feature in Firefox Nightly is the ability to clear cookies and other data a specific site has stored on your device. And just like the tracking protection, this option is also available in the three-line menu.

The new privacy features on Firefox Nightly, which is developers version of the browser, is expected to arrive in the mainstream Firefox by the end of September.

How Firefox browser makes it easier to find and use Tracking protection

VPNFilter is a malware traced to Russian hackers which is capable of infiltrating office routers, and potentially able to steal information passing through the router.

While the analysis of the malware’s activity is rather complicated as it uses encryption and unattributable networks, its behavior on networking equipment is particularly alarming, with components that allow for stealing of personal credentials from websites.

It targets routers produced by several manufacturers and network-attached storage devices by at least one manufacturer.

The malware's destructive capability is such that it can render an infected device unusable, which can be triggered on individual victim machines or corporate systems, and it has the potential of cutting off internet access for millions of victims worldwide.

The devices believed to have been affected by VPNFilter are Linksys, MikroTik, NETGEAR and TP-Link networking equipment in the small and home office (SOHO) space, as well at QNAP network-attached storage (NAS) devices.

Some notable infections observed by Cisco occurred in the Ukraine and the Justice Department connected VPNFilter to “fancy bear” - a Russian-linked espionage group.

The US Justice Department announced the security breach that attempted to disrupt a global botnet of hundreds of thousands of infected home and office (SOHO) routers and other networked devices under the control of a group of hackers known as the “fancy bear” - which has been operating since 2007, targeting government, military, security organizations, and other institutions perceived of intelligence value.

The threat is extremely difficult to defend due to the nature of the attack, as the majority of infected devices are connected directly to the internet, with no security devices or services between them and the potential attackers.

The only remedial recommendation from the Cisco’s crack security squad is that concerned institutions should reboot all their routers.

VPNFilter Malware infection detected in over 500,000 Networking routers

Mozilla has finally heeded its developers plea to enable Web Components on Firefox browser, which technology makes it easier for the programmers to create websites and also for the web users.

While Web Components support on Chrome dated back to 2013, it avail developers the ease to create website building blocks, which is reusable without worrying about compatibility issues that may hamper the website.

The technology, however is perhaps a surplus for basic websites, only advanced sites can benefit from it, such as YouTube - which already uses Web components - and when a website running the technology is viewed with a browser that doesn't support it, the website will likely be slower.

Albeit, the major browser makers are only gradually embracing the two big pieces to the technology, Shadow DOM and Custom Elements, which make it possible to isolate chunks of code so that it doesn't disturb other parts of the website, and to allow developers to create their own custom website.

The Web component technology is particularly helpful for big libraries of pre-written software called frameworks, which are now widely used in web programming.

Mozilla sees it as a big step forward, stating that it's the basis of a safer, faster and more productive development model for the Web. It joins the lot of other Firefox improvements targeted at developers which will be arriving later this year according to Mozilla.

For now, Web components only work in the Nightly test version of Firefox, but Mozilla has scheduled to extend the support to the main version of the browser in September.

Finally, Mozilla brings support for Web Components to Firefox browser

Snapchat in the coming weeks will be launching its first Lens that will let users react to sounds, and not just to what it hears, but also what it sees.

While the company has already rolled out the first Lens that reacts to what it hears, the messaging app will be getting more Lenses that react to what it sees, and mimicking ears pulse and eyes glow based on the sounds it hears.

It comes in the form of animal mask with ears that pulse and shine, and eyes that move, based on the sound the phone's microphone detects and also it appears to react more as the volume increases.

Albeit, it's only just a fun and awe-inspiring addition, which many youngsters will find appealing as a poke stuff.

Snapchat has been hard at work to stay one step ahead of Instagram in terms of new features; like the creation of “Shows” with television networks for its Discover section, and launching a Stories Search feature for viewing publicly submitted posts on some topics, among other innovative features, but it is still struggling with growth.

And perhaps, Snapchat with the slew of new features will be more favored by the youth demography, notwithstanding the intense competition from Facebook-owned Instagram, may still gain a strong foothold globally.

Snapchat Lenses to let you react to Sounds and track Objects, among others

The first major Gmail redesign happened just recently, and Google's refreshing design has brought some exciting new features to the web mail client.

While most of Gmail’s new features were lifted from some notable messaging apps, many were already available in Google’s more refreshing messaging app, Inbox by Gmail, with others quite entirely new.

The changes in interface are mere cosmetic, the biggest changes are definitely those in the enhancements under the hood, which concerns users privacy and productivity.

Below is a critical look at what really stand the Gmail system out in it's biggest update so far!

  • The AI Nudge feature

Gmail introduced Nudging, a new artificial intelligence enhancement that reminds you about emails that might need a urgent response. Albeit, other messaging service like Astro and Trove also provide similar feature based on artificial intelligence, Gmail has an edge in that its comes free to all users, while Trove offers the enhancements for enterprise users to improve their communications within the organization.

  • Assistive unsubscribe

Gmail will now offer a further help in flagging email from spammers that you didn’t read by suggesting that you unsubscribe from it. Though, the feature was already offered by Astro, but by a different moniker, Insights with section to unsubscribe links for emails you haven’t attended to lately.

  • Confidential Mode

The "Confidential Mode" let users set “expiration date” to sent emails. While the emails marked as Confidential can’t be copied, forwarded, printed or downloaded, but beyond the edged restrictions is the fact that email can be either secure and less easy to use, or easy; and certainly can't guarantee both conditions.

  • Smart Reply

The Smart reply feature debuted with Inbox by Gmail app, and it was extended to the mobile version of Gmail afterwards. Now it lands on the revamped Gmail, allowing users to reply messages without having to type out any words, by simply replying with a message template sorted out by AI filters.

Smart Reply is built on a system of "recurrent neural networks", with "long short-term-memory" (most useful in predicting an accurate response) devoid of any human interception, meaning that no human is reading your email messages.

According to Google, the encoding of email is handled by one network, which after consuming the words of a message, produces a list known as vector. The vector captures the meaning behind the message, then a second network utilizes "the vector" to create an appropriate reply.

What features in Gmail redesign really stand out from the pack?

The safety of your files and documents shouldn’t be left to luck, as a necessity your smartphone carries all your important information and therefore entrusting these data to a capable hand is a wise choice.

PhoneRescue Data Recovery Software by iMobie is capable of recovering a wide range of file types including: messages, contacts, photos, call history, calendar, reminders, and other data from third-party services.

Just like the moniker, PhoneRescue helps mobile phone users to rescue their beloved information, in scenarios like: accidental deletion, data corruption or outright data loses.

Key Features of PhoneRescue

  • ForceRestore: Help to Save Data from Inaccessible Backups.
  • NO-DATA-LOSS Technology for Max Success Rate.
  • Accurate Data Recovery with SmartCompare and SharpMatch.
  • Thunder-Extraction for Risk-Free Data Recovery.
  • SecureLOGIN with The Strongest Encryption technology.

PhoneRescue can be downloaded on Windows and macOS computer, and you’ll need to connect your iPhone/iPad or Android device to a PC to run the program.

How to Recover Your Data from iOS Device

This scenario is based on MacBook Pro running El Capitan. The PhoneRescue software passed the virus scan as 100% free of virus/malware issues. Also, it is worthy to note that iMobie is an Apple Certified Developer, so there's no reason for fear as its software have passed some rigorous testing by Apple.

And the scanning process is read-only, as such it won't affect any existing data on your device. It explicitly ask your permission before accessing your data from iCloud, but still it is recommended that you keep a back up of your data on the device before using the software.

The download and installation process is pretty easy; it launches with an animation of PhoneRescue icon, which is followed by the “Quick Tips" window. The window contains a list of instructions on how to maximize the process of data recovery.

It offers four recovery modes: Recover from iOS Device, Recover from iTunes Backup, Recover from iCloud, and iOS Repair Tools. But in this review we’d be talking about how to recover your messages from iPhone.

Procedure to Recover Messages on iPhone

This is the first mode and it is best for recovering items deleted from your iPhone including: photos, videos, messages, etc. And it is ideal especially if you don't have backups or you’re unable to retrieve the content from iTunes or iCloud.

First, make sure your iOS device has been recognized by your computer. Then the app will begin to analyze your device, the process takes only a few seconds.

The results will be ready within few minutes, and then you can select the messages you want to restore from the recovery list.

It worthy to note that “Recover from iOS Device” mode tends to discover more files than what was actually deleted, which makes it a bit time-consuming to sort out the particular files you want to recover.

PhoneRescue is perhaps a good choice, when you accidentally delete messages off an iPhone, as it gives you the assurance of recovering your lost data.

The price starts at $49.99 for Single license (1 PC), and $69.99 for Family License (5 PCs). Though, there’s a FREE version for both Windows & Mac to try out the software.

Easy ways to recover deleted Messages and other essential data from iOS and Android Devices

Chromebooks are becoming more popular nowadays, thanks to slew of improvements Google has brought to the cloud-centric operating system, Chrome OS, making it the most secure platform on the planet.

Asides the security edge, Chrome OS is perhaps more powerful as its able to run apps from three additional operating systems, including Windows and Linux.

While Apple and Windows fans claim that their respective platforms can run the Chrome browser, as well as having the benefits of Chromebooks with cutting-edge tools for content creation; and even Linux users arguing that Chromebooks can’t be used for software development.

It behoves us to clear the myths and to assure you of the conceivable alternative in the new reality of Chromebooks.

  • Chromebooks does not support software development
Chromebook's support for Linux makes it a vial platform for developers to create, test and run their apps for phones, tablets and laptops; with popular editors, and able to code in their favorite language or launch projects to Google Cloud with the command-line, all possible on Chromebook.

  • Can't run Windows on Chromebooks
Google has updated Chrome OS to support Windows apps and the new beta version of CrossOver app is available on Chromebooks with free support.

And the Pixelbook is an exciting new step for Chromebooks, as until now it could do little more than browse the web, also bringing support for Android apps to Chromebooks.

  • Chromebooks are limiting & slow
Chromebooks currently run more apps than any OS and these apps run in some form of emulation, so they aren't as fast as on their native platforms. But same aspects of work are slower on other platforms, with the differences more when compared to macOS, Windows or Linux devices.

Pixelbooks can run dozens of tabs and extensions pretty fast, and Google is already working on integrating Intel’s high-performance “Kaby Lake G” processors, with Radeon graphics for faster processing capabilities.

Besides, Chrome extensions are so powerful that its result is basically more of “super internet” that’s way better and functional than the regular use. Albeit, using too many extensions in Chrome does bug it down, and makes it a bit slower on especially outside the chrome environment on Windows or MacOS platforms.

However these problems are not present on high-end Chromebooks, like the Google's Pixelbook; even with Acer Chromebook 13, Chromebook Spin 13 and Chromebook Spin 15 also joining the high-end Chromebook.

Jargon Buster: The most common Chromebook Myths Dispelled

The Java deserialization vulnerability have affected numerous Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) providers, which susceptibility is by deserialization-based remote control execution.

Java object is serializable if any of its superclasses implements the interface or its subinterface,, while serialization means the conversion of its state to a byte stream so that it can be reverted back into a copy of the object.

Now, Oracle on accounts of the deserialization vulnerability plans to drop Java serialization which has really been the Achilles heel in SaaS platform security. According to Mark Reinhold, chief architect of the Java platform group at Oracle, the removal of serialization is part of Project Amber, which focuses on productivity-oriented Java language features.

There's a new framework been implemented to replace the current serialization technology, and it will support the Java version of data classes.

The framework would also support graph of records, with which developers could plug in a serialization engine of their choice in various formats such as JSON or XML, and it will enable serialization of records in a more secure environment.

Albeit, the deserialization vulnerability discovered in the Jackson-Databind module (CVE-2017–7525) in June 2017 was patched by creating a blacklist, but it doesn’t accept certain Java classes.

For unsafe serialization data streams to be accepted, there is a way to filter the classes to provide a defense mechanism against the serialization’s security weaknesses. Oracle received many reports about application servers running unprotected ports with the serialization streams, which is more reason the filtering capability has been developed.

Oracle to axe serialization based on Java Deserialization vulnerability

Snapchat's location sharing was criticized after its always-on coordinate broadcast on Snap Map proved rather too intrusive for some users.

Now, the company has reimagined location sharing as it wants to let you send your ongoing real-time location to friends, as more private, closed up feature and ephemeral messaging that is Snapchat’s best shot at staying relevant.

While the idea of location broadcasting have kept some users from exploring the Snap Map, owing to some privacy concerns, but this new feature will perhaps give them enough reason to try it out.

As location shared will only go live for eight hours after you last open the app. At any time, however you can cancel someone’s access from the Snap Map, which you’ll need to go through the location consent flow first, if you’ve never enabled it.

Albeit, it works only with bi-directional friends, you can’t ask for the spot of your favorite Snap star if they're not following you, and you can turn off getting requests if people are spamming you.

Essentially, the location sharing is now built on the privacy people want from Snapchat, rather than the little freaky idea of giving an open access of all your contacts to know your whereabouts on the Snap Map.

Instagram, the Facebook owned platform has been ruthlessly cloning Snapchat's best features, like Stories and Discover, but Snap Map represent one of the app’s best differentiator.

Snapchat reimagines Sharing of Real-time Location on the platform

Amazon's digital assistant, Alexa has just acquired a new skill in the Smart Scheduling feature which allows the popular virtual assistant to cut the time needed in managing personal schedules in the office.

The Smart Scheduling makes it easier for enterprise users to manage personal schedules via Alexa voice commands, with the ability to engage appointments and schedule meetings based on the participants’ timing and availability.

While Alexa is quickly gaining traction among the consumers, the company is also aiming to replicate the success in the workplace by the launch of Alexa for Business service.

The new feature has invariably placed Alexa for Business a step ahead of the competitors such as Microsoft and Google, all of which are also working on voice-enabled task automation enhancements for their respective digital assistants.

Also, the integration with calendar applications is key for Amazon as its main competitors, Microsoft and Google, are already entrenched in the office collaboration space.

Alexa can potentially integrate with other workplace productivity tools, with calendaring as the first point of call; albeit expanding the integration to other productivity tools for the different workflows and tasks will definitely give Alexa more edge in the workplace.

Other productivity capabilities, Amazon is working on includes: recording and transcription of meetings, with providing ‘intelligent’ summary for actionable items and completion of tasks, among others.

Amazon pitches Alexa to Enterprises with Smart Scheduling Assistant

While two-factor authentication is becoming a highly sort after prerequisite for online security, most web users find it pretty hard to set up, and as a result tend to neglect this very critical mechanism for safety.

Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a form of multi-factor authentication method of confirming a user's claimed identity by utilizing a combination of two different factors: something they know, or something at their possession, before giving them access to their account.

It offers a credible security that even hackers find very difficult to beat, and thus many web service providers have implemented it to better safeguard their users account.

Facebook in a bid to encourage more users to implement the security mechanism has simplified the process for two-factor verification, by adding support for third-party authentication apps like Google Authenticator and also streamlining the process to make it easier to set up in the first instance.

The move makes it possible to use the 2FA without entering your phone number on the platform just to bring additional security to your account.

Also, the idea of third-party support is necessitated as SMSes aren’t generally regarded as more secure method for 2FA because hackers can to take control of your SIM and through a process that relies heavily on social engineering, which is something that isn’t possible using hardware-based authentication devices or third-party apps.

The new 2FA support is now available in the “Security and Login” tab in Facebook settings if you wish to implement it right away.

How Facebook makes Two-factor Authentication easier for users on the platform

Twitter has announced the closure of its TV apps on Android TV, Roku and Xbox, which apps’ shutdown could be due to lack of people watching Twitter on TV.

While the shutdown is coming at a period when Twitter is trying to turn its users from third-party apps into using its mobile apps and web clients, as recently, it attempted to kill off popular third-party Mac apps with a series of API changes.

Albeit, Twitter's live streaming content have expanded over the past year, with the TV apps as a way to get the video contents in front of the audience – and particularly those that are looking to watch live sports, follow breaking news and other major world events.

The decision is perhaps tied to GDPR compliance, as Twitter is killing off these apps as they were undeserving of time and attention.

As Xbox and Roku doesn't support a standard regularly supported video player, have made them more difficult to maintain, and the Twitter’s API changes may be a reason too.

However, Twitter for tvOS (Apple TV) and Amazon Fire TV will remain available.

The company launched the two apps to deliver premium livestreaming video to Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV in September 2016, and they were the two that escaped the ax.

Twitter shutting down its TV apps on Android TV, Roku and Xbox

Google has gone full speed in its effort to ensure that every website is HTTPS compliant, as it releases a roadmap for signaling encryption in Chrome browser.

Beginning from October, Google will start marking HTTP sites (non-encrypted websites) as "affirmatively non-secure" in Chrome's address bar. While Chrome will also tag the pages with a red "Not Secure" marker when users enter any kind of data.

According to the Chrome security team, marking all HTTP pages as 'not secure' is a step towards removing Chrome's positive security indicators so that the default unmarked state is secure.

Formerly, HTTP sites were still on the high side to warrant marking all the sites with a strong red warning, but recently the number of HTTPS compliant pages far out number the non-secure sites.

So users should expect that the web is safe by default, and they’ll be warned when there’s an issue, as Chrome’s default unmarked state is now secure. Chrome will roll this out over time, starting by removing the “Secure” wording and HTTPS scheme in September 2018 (Chrome 69).

Albeit, Google had previously announced its signage changes, but now it's taking several more steps along this path.

Google's roadmap for signaling encryption in Chrome browser

The chronological ordering of feed is perhaps more preferred than the algorithmic feed, given that algorithmic feed makes it pretty difficult for users to know if they've seen all of the new updates from the people they follow.

Instagram wants to solve this paradox with a new feature, called "You're All Caught Up" which will enable users to know when all new posts from a give period in time (for instance, in the past 48 hours) have been viewed.

The feature is still in the works, though Instagram has confirmed that it is currently been tested among a limited number of users.

Instagram's earlier switch to algorithmic feed, made most users unable to follow everything their friends had shared on the platform. And this resulted a lot of passive scrolling, as it was termed, meaning that surfed aimlessly in order not to miss out on anything.

When the new feature goes live for all users, Instagram will display a mid-feed banner that says there’s nothing left to see for a user that has seen all of the content their friends have shared in the last 48 hours.

It will read: “You’re all caught up, you’ve seen all new posts from the past 48 hours,” but how that will help to reduce the amount of time spent passively scrolling for missing update remains to be seen.

Instagram is also rolling out a new “Usage Insights” feature to show users how much time they’ve spent in the app, which is coming on the heels of the clarion call for improved digital health for those addicted to social media.

What Instagram's new feature, 'You're All Caught Up' is all about?