Facebook began testing a downvote button in February, now the company is rolling out the feature which is quite distinct from the popular dislike button to more users around the world.

While the trial period saw the feature extended to a limited number of its users in the U.S., the test seems good enough, as the company has now embarked to rolling out the downvote button to some more users in Australia and New Zealand.

According to Facebook, People want to see better public discussions on the platform, and would want more spaces where people with different opinions can have more constructive dialogue.

Facebook is running the test in New Zealand to allow people to upvote or downvote comments on posts from Public Pages, with the hope to make the feature easier for users to rank the comments that they believe deserve to rank higher, rather than the comments that get the strongest emotional reaction.

So far, the downvote button have only appeared on certain public pages based in Australia, and only for Facebook's mobile app.

Facebook's main aim is to explore a new way for people to give feedback about comments on public page posts, as part of its effort to curtail fake news and general misinformation on the platform.

Facebook's downvote button is rolling out to more Users around the World



The much expected Windows 10 April update, otherwise known as the “Redstone 4” release has brought with it some nifty new features and improvements, including Timeline and Nearby Sharing functionalities.

Marked as version 1803, the April Update brings with it some enhancements like: Focus Assist, Data Management and tons of other improvements to Microsoft's browser, Edge - including demo functionalities, such as underpinnings for Progressive Web Apps, and a way of uploading apps to the Microsoft Store.

Albeit, the new version of Windows 10 looks nearly identical to earlier versions, but the feel is somewhat smoother owing to some subtle changes Microsoft introduced with Fluent Design which gives a semi-transparent “acrylic” UI that brought out the colors of background apps.



Fluent Design, Microsoft’s new aesthetic permeate farther and farther into Windows 10 design, lending it a bit of “frosted glass” effect within the Start menu. Microsoft have also added shortcut icons for Documents and Pictures above the Start Menu icon in the lower left, with the notifications moved to the Action Center on the lower right.

And perhaps, what's the most noticeable new feature, Timeline optionally records the pages you visit using Edge (though not supported on any other browser) and keeps track of the documents you use within Microsoft Office.

The feature is on by default, and on clicking the taskbar button reserved for Task View, Timeline will open up to reveal your recent activities, dating back to the past days and weeks.



Microsoft also introduced a rather take-on to AirDrop, Near Share, also known as “Nearby Sharing” in the Settings menu to allow Windows PCs to share files and URLs with other nearby PCs, similar to how Apple's AirDrop feature debuted several years ago works.

Additionally, the Edge browser and File Explorer “Share” options, now directly connect to nearby PCs, which formerly is limited to routing the data through Mail, Facebook, Twitter, and other apps.

Near Share requires a Windows PC (smartphones are not supported) with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi enabled, and you’ll need to turn on Nearby Sharing in the Settings menu to share data. Though the way Windows assigns PCs names—with a seemingly random string of letters and numbers—can make identifying which PC you’re sharing with a bit complicated.

While there are many other ways of transferring files, Near Share presents a nifty addition to a Windows tricks, as it makes sharing large files or quickly beaming a complex URL, or zip a photo or a small file to a colleague in a conference room, a breeze.

Microsoft's Windows 10 Redstone 4 Update brings Timeline and Nearby Sharing



Amazon has announced an initiative it dubbed Alexa Brain, which is focused on improving Alexa’s ability to track context within and across dialog sessions, as well as make it easier to discover and interact with Alexa’s over 40,000 third-party skills.

While this is perhaps the first of what Amazon says are many enhancements scheduled this year to make its virtual assistant more personalized, smarter, and more engaging.

The initiative focuses on enhancing Alexa's tracking of context and with memory update, Alexa will be capable of remembering any information you demand of her, by storing and retrieving it later. For instance, you can direct Alexa to remember an important day by saying something like, “Alexa, remember that Sean’s birthday is June 20th.” Alexa will then reply, “Okay, I’ll remember that Sean’s birthday is June 20th.”

It effectively turns Alexa into an information engine, and a reminiscent of chatbots, which were designed to remember anything you told it, for later retrieval over SMS or messaging platforms.

Alexa will also be able to have natural conversations, through what the compnay called “context carryover” - Alexa will be able to understand follow-up questions and respond appropriately, even though you haven’t addressed her as “Alexa.”

According to Ruhi Sarikaya, the head of the Alexa Brain group, speaking at the World Wide Web Conference in Lyon, France, the feature takes advantage of deep learning models applied to the spoken language understanding pipeline, in order to have conversations that carry customers’ intent and entities within and across domains.

Finally, there's a refocus on Alexa’s skills, the third-party voice apps that aim to help you do more with Alexa – like checking your credit card account information, playing news radio, ordering an Uber, playing a game, and more.

As it’s becoming harder to dig around in the Alexa Skills Store, users will be able to launch skills using natural phrases, instead of explicit commands like “Alexa, open [skill name]” or “…enable [skill name].”

These capabilities will be going live for U.S. users in the coming weeks, while a more broader roll out will follow soon.

How Amazon's Alexa Brain initiative makes the virtual assistant smarter

The much awaited Gmail update has touched down for many users, while the roll out includes a major revamp that brings a new interface and strong privacy features, among others.

Google's refreshing design has brought new features to the Gmail web client, which is perhaps the most major update coming to the web-mail service, doing away with the old web interface which is a bit of a glitch, as the new redesign offers a more modern feel, with ergonomic buttons, cleaner menus, and collapsible panels.

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

For those using Gmail for work, having a safe, strong, and secure web client is as important as push notifications and scheduling, but the whole package here is a major upgrade for users generally, and covers the over one billion people who use Gmail every day.



The new Gmail focus on productivity and security starts right within your inbox. And once a message or conversation has an attachment, you’ll be able to preview or open it without needing to scroll through a list of messages. Also, there's now a snooze button which lets you keep your inbox organized. And you can easily access Google’s productivity tools, such as Calendar, Meet, and Tasks, right from Gmail.

Additionally, it will keep track of your messages with a new “nudge” feature that reminds you to reply to messages after they’ve been dormant for some days, coupled with the smart replies now integrated into Gmail web client for faster responses.

On the privacy front is what Google calls the "confidential mode" which is applicable to outgoing messages, denying the recipient the ability to forward, copy, download or print the message once they receive it.

The messages sent as confidential are not directly received into the inbox, as Google makes it work by not sending the confidential content directly, but providing a link to the content in your mailbox and is accessed by the recipient through Gmail account or, HTTPS (if they use other email provider).

The new Gmail is currently rolling out globally, so to check if you've gotten the update, click on the gear icon in the right corner and look for the “Try the new Gmail” option.

What's new in Google's Gmail update with regards to privacy and productivity



Opera Software launched a new browser, Opera Touch with a slew of clever interfaces meant to make it easier to use on mobile, touting it as the perfect browser for one-hand operations, as the concept is designed around one-handed use.

But beyond the one-handed operations, Opera Touch is quite distinct from the regular mobile browsers, with features that allow you to push websites from your mobile phone to desktop, or vice versa, so long as you’re using Opera on both platforms.

While Google Chrome also offer same functionality of continuation from computer with pop up window when you open a new tab on mobile, but Opera Touch offers a more convenient feature it calls “Flow” to make sure a site transfers over.

Once you launch opera Touch, the address bar opens up for you to begin typing a URL or a search query, with a button at the bottom of the page that you can tap to access your other tabs or to start a new one. While the Flow feature creates a feed of websites that you’ve shared from one platform to the other that you can scroll through to find exactly what you’re searching.

Also, Opera Touch includes a voice search function and allows users to scan a QR or barcode to perform a search.

Opera has indeed demonstrated some lofty browser ideas in the past of which many have been confined to oblivion, like the erstwhile Opera max, and just recently the company also announced plans to shut down its free VPN app for iOS and Android.

But just how possible is it for Opera to convince people to change from whatever browser they’re currently using; especially, the majority using Chrome on desktop to move over to Opera browser, as the tab syncing feature only works if you use Opera on both mobile and desktop?

How Opera Touch browser envisage the mobile web convergence



Amazon's Alexa voice assistant is used in millions of gadgets including the company's popular speaker, Echo, which uses programmed skillset called Skills to carry out voice commands, like asking after the weather condition.

Security Researchers from CheckMarx, a security firm discovered a flaw with Alexa that allowed a Skill to continue listening long after a person deactivated the software, which flaw could enable hackers to turn the Echo into an eavesdropping device.

While Amazon never stipulated how long Alexa will keep listening after a command is completed, which prompted researchers from CheckMarx to run the tests, After Alexa carries out a command, it's supposed to stop listening.

But the researchers developed a Skill that allowed it to continue listening indefinitely by taking advantage of Alexa's "Reprompt" command. CheckMarx's researchers found that a developer could write in the code for Alexa to do that, even if it perfectly understood the command.

Also, the researchers were able mute the command so that you wouldn't hear the Alexa asking you to repeat yourself, which allows Alexa to continue listening without the user being aware.

The proof-of-concept used is a calculator Skill that functioned like any calculator would, but after it completed a math problem, the Echo Dot continued listening for more than a minute until the researcher told it to stop.

Albeit, the voice recording actually goes to Amazon, but the transcription is sent to the developer that developed the skill.

The flaw is perhaps worrisome because Amazon's Echo smart speakers in the home could have been listening to customers all along. Though Amazon claims that the voice assistant doesn't listen to people until its wake word is activated.

Amazon has promptly fixed the reported flaw, which CheckMarx made public with its findings on Wednesday, since April 10.

Amazon fixes Alexa's eavesdropping flaw on Skills to carry out commands



Google launched Meet in March 2017, as an improved video meeting experience providing better performance over classic Hangouts video calls, with more secured and reliable method for guests to join meetings.

The company overtime updated Meet to include an API for reporting, phone dial-out and in-meeting chat. And Just recently, Google introduced the Hangouts Meet hardware room kit and for G Suite Enterprise customers, with support for up to 50 participants, more international dial-in phone numbers, and the ability to record meetings to Google Drive.

Now, Google acknowledging customers' feedback regarding Hangouts Meet, will enable Meet for all newly created meetings in Google Calendar starting 21 May 2018.

While the transition from classic Hangouts video meetings to Meet for G Suite customers will start after 21 May 2018 - and no action is required on their part, as all newly created Calendar events will contain Meet video meeting details by default, but existing events will still run classic Hangouts.

By the second half of 2018, all existing Calendar events will include Meet video meetings, and the classic Hangouts links will be disabled.



Google also introduced the ability to include US dial-in phone numbers to all Meetings created by users with G Suite Basic and G Suite Business licenses.

What browsers are currently supported?

Meet supports only latest Google Chrome at the moment; while compatibility with next stable version of Firefox is expected in advance of automatic activation in May and a solution for Internet Explorer and Safari browsers will come in advance of automatic activation with no opt-out.

Why Switch to Meet?

Meet is designed specifically for the enterprise user and provides significantly better performance over classic Hangouts video calls, with a cleaner, more focused user experience and a simple, secure and reliable method for guests to join meetings.

The streamlined interface allows enterprise users to focus on common workplace actions, such as inviting others or presenting content.

Also, it is easier than ever to start and join video meetings from mobile devices, computers, or a conference room, with up to 25 (G Suite Basic and Business) or 50 (G Suite Enterprise) people at a time.

But per adventure you need more time to prepare for the transition, you can temporarily extend your use of classic Hangouts as default video conferencing option for at least four weeks by opting out under Apps > G Suite > Google Hangouts > Global Settings.

However, starting from June, all Calendar events will include Meet video details instead of classic Hangouts links. Albeit, previously created classic Hangouts video links will still be usable until at least August 13, 2018 .

Google announces the transition of Hangouts video calls to Hangouts Meet

With the massive wave of privacy concerns from the social media sector, Twitter have in response to the new set of regulations from the European Union updated its policies to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Starting this month, the company will be introducing some changes to make it easier for users to manage their personal information; while the change in policy is the first call and bothers on how Twitter collects, uses and shares its users data.

The new GDPR regulation which goes into effect on May 25 gives people in Europe rights to access and delete data that companies like Twitter have collected about them.



According to Twitter, "We also recognize that to enjoy real freedom of expression, you also need and deserve meaningful privacy and security controls. It’s this very philosophy that has informed the process of updating and revising our Privacy Policy for everyone who uses Twitter around the world."

While all Twitter users will be able to have access to their data and control how it's used by the company when the GDPR rules goes into effect, only EU residents will have the law backing them with the new regulations.

Twitter have provided direct links to your core privacy and security settings, which are accessible when you are logged into the social network. Through these settings you can see what data Twitter has relating to your account and decide if to share it with the company or not.

Albeit, the old privacy policy does allow data portability or data erasure, and offer ways to download the data or request it to be modified or deleted; the new policy has made it more visually clear and easy to use.

Twitter updates Policy on how it collects and shares users data

Microsoft have been trying to woo users on the Google platforms into using its products and services, with Cortana becoming cross-platform compliant, and now it is extending its Edge browser advantage, Windows Defender browser protection to Chrome.

The add-on dubbed "Windows Defender Browser Protection" (WDBP) can now be downloaded to Chrome on Windows or macOS computers from the Chrome Store, to bolster Chrome's anti-phishing mechanism.

While the WDBP was originally built in on Microsoft's own browser Edge, the add-on runs on the company's SmartScreen technology that guards users from malicious websites, or phishing attempts that try to install malware and from malicious links in email messages.



This is possible through a constantly-changing list which Microsoft keeps of likely bad destinations on its servers, generated in part from telemetry sent by the SmartScreen technology.

Albeit, Microsoft hasn't fully documented the extension's operation beyond the general information on its site and the description on Chrome Web Store, which reads thus "if you click a malicious link in an email or navigate to a site designed to trick you into disclosing financial, personal or other sensitive information, or a website that hosts malware, Windows Defender Browser Protection will check it against a constantly updated list of malicious URLs known to Microsoft."



And the company had referenced the 2017 research from NSS Labs, which scored Edge as the best browser that's capable to block phishing and socially-engineered malware attacks, recording 99% success in all attempts while Google Chrome and Mozilla's Firefox were pegged to 87% and 70%, respectively.

The move by Microsoft is seen by analysts as the devil's alternative: As Microsoft is now saddled into Protecting the majority of Windows users, not only those running Edge (or the obsolete, legacy Internet Explorer).

Meanwhile, Edge browser in its third-year anniversary has only been unable to attract a handful of audience, which Net Applications latest data analytics put at just 4% market share, and 13% share on Windows 10 machines, while Chrome still leads the pack at 61% of the entire web browser usage.

Microsoft debut Windows Defender Browser protection add-on for Chrome



Net Neutrality is 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).

Now, the FCC has taken an awkward step to erase the rules protecting the internet, with the regulations no longer in the rule book, and the final step of removing it spearheaded by the new Republican-led FCC.

While the original rules were passed in the Obama-era in 2015, with many people agreeing to the basic principles of the net neutrality rules, albeit some specific rules had been a subject of intense controversy.

The controversy stems from the fact that the rules can't hold up in court, as the Democrat-led FCC had reclassified broadband networks to fall under the same regulations that govern telephone networks, what Ajit Pai, the FCC Chairman called "heavy-handed" and "a mistake," arguing that it will deter innovation and investment in building and expanding broadband networks.

The FCC then voted on December 14 to repeal the 2015 net neutrality regulations, which prohibited broadband providers from favoring partner companies willing to pay extra to reach consumers more quickly than competitors.

Today, the rules were officially removed from the FCC books, after the commission's publication of the final notice of the repeal in the Federal Register.

However, the move doesn't mean no one will be policing the internet any more, as the Federal Trade Commission has been saddled with the new responsibility and to intervene against companies that violate their contracts with the consumers or participate in any fraudulent activity.

Here’s what you need to know about the Net Neutrality rules



Facebook has recently updated its policies as it concerns collection of data on the over 2 billion monthly users on the social network; which remains the largest social network on the planet.

The new policy released on April 19 spelt out more clearly how the company collects and uses the information entrusted to it by its massive userbase, which changes was necessitated by the recent privacy issues surrounding the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and perhaps also the issue of data grabbing by third-party authentication services.

Albeit, Facebook's privacy policy was last updated in 2016, the full text of the new data policy at more than 4,200 words, is written in a simple language meant to be easy to understand.

Facebook database of users information is indeed huge, and the company has what is more or less a listing of what it thinks your political views looks like, which views it arrives at through the information from your photos, videos and thoughts you post on your timeline.

Also it extract some other data from your interactions with friends on the network, as well as pages and posts you "like" or follow.

The company placed some limit to the kind of data third-party apps can collect on its users, years before the news of Cambridge Analytica scandal broke out. And the new policy posted to its website reveals that Facebook is poised to limit this access even further.

While Facebook will restrict developers' access to your data or have it expressly revoked if you haven't used their app in three months, some data collection from your friends' apps still continues.

And to totally shut down the data collection, you'd have to give up using the apps altogether on your Facebook account. If you actually delete your account (quite distinct from account deactivation), Facebook will delete your information, including: posts, photos and status updates, but it excuses the data collected from sources other than yourself.

That is to say everything Facebook knows about you through your friends, from other data sources and websites you visit, is kept indefinitely as long as the social network deems fit.

Therefore, the only option left to you now is to adjust your privacy settings to change how much of your data is made public and what you can share with third-party apps.

What you need to know about Facebook's new Data policy

Google is looking to Rich Communications Services (RCS), which is essentially an upgrade to SMS, with the robust messaging standard featuring capabilities found in third-party services like real-time typing and read notifications, to serve as alternative to iMessage.

While Apple's iMessage is an instant messaging service supported by the default messages application in Apple's devices running iOS 5 or OS X Mountain Lion up; now Google wish to create an Android alternative to iMessage.

The tech giant is reportedly pausing its investment in the development of Allo instant messaging app, to concentrate on RCS based Android alternative to Apple's iMessage.



The Rich Communication Suite (RCS) was initially formed by a group of leading industry players in 2007, but now officially adopted by GSMA with a Steering Committee established. And while at the Mobile World Congress (MWC 2016) festivities, the GSMA announced it’s partnership with Google and 15 global carriers to push the adoption of Rich Communication Services (RCS).

Lately, Google has been talking up RCS as the technology standard that makes things happen, with phones becoming more powerful and users expecting more functionality, like the ability to know when someone is typing a message back to them. You can check out some cool SMS services on the 85kobo.com portal.

Google's refocus on RCS promises to give Android users some more nifty functionalities, such as location sharing and emoticons, read receipts and group chat options, among others.

Google looks to Rich Communications Services (RCS) as alternative to iMessage

Facebook has confirmed an ongoing investigating into a security report that claims that users' data on the social network can be grabbed by third-party JavaScript trackers on websites using Login With Facebook.

The exploit allow the trackers to accumulate data on a user, including: name, email address, gender, location, and picture, which may depend on the users provided privacy options available to the public. And the exploitation script is able to infiltrate the database to extract identifying information, even from web pages, browser password managers, and form input systems.

Login with Facebook is a simple social login system that makes the account creation process for users easier by eliminating the manual input of users information, and also eases login by eliminating the use of passwords.



According to Steven Englehardt security research, the exploitative scripts were discovered on over 400 of the top one million websites in the world including cloud database provider, MongoDB.

While some sites were found to be bypassing Login With Facebook user data to embedded scripts that install its Amplified advertising product with iframe that would load on these sites, pulling in user data that was then accessible to the embedded scripts, thus allowing the identification of visitors.

This is certainly not the best of times for Facebook's CEO, Mark Zuckerberg with the company already grappling with the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and the requirements to comply with Europe’s GDPR law.

It's really frightening to see how Facebook users data can be exploited even outside the social platform, notwithstanding Facebook’s recent API changes designed to safeguard users privacy.

Facebook investigating reports on Data grabbed by Third-party JavaScript trackers



Opera Software launched its free VPN app in 2016, allowing users to avail its unlimited VPN to browse on mobile phones and tablets, now the company has announced plans to retire the service.

While Opera also offered a paid version of VPN Gold service on iOS that helped bolster the speed of the browser, and added more location options, with dedicated customer support for $30 a year. It affords users the ability to select between a number of countries and comes with ad blocking functionality.

Opera going forward will enable users on the Gold service to receive a free year on SurfEasy Ultra, the platform on which Opera’s VPN was based.

For those users on the free plan, they'll be able to redeem a discount of 80 percent off SurfEasy Total VPN through the latest version of the Opera VPN apps for iOS and Android. And that costs about $5 a month and includes 12 fewer regions than the Ultra service.

The SurfEasy service promises unlimited usage on up to five devices with access to 28 regions, and a strict privacy policy, and is available on both iOS and Android.

Opera, however assures users of the desktop browser VPN offering that the service won't be affected, as the shutdown would only affect its VPN app for iOS and Android.

Opera Software shutting down its free VPN app for iOS and Android



The proliferation of online news service is the rave nowadays, with the likes of Google and even an unlikely candidate Wikipedia, all toeing the news line; now Apple is set to join the party.

According to reports, Apple is planning to launch a subscription news service to be based on Texture, the magazine app it acquired last month, while Texture originally offers its subscribers access to about 200 publications for $9.99 per month.

Texture is sort of Netflix for news magazines, while Apple plans to integrate Texture service into the existing Apple News and launch a premium service in about a year time. Apple had cut over 15 staffers from Texture team immediately after the acquisition in March, and most likely will be unifying the remaining Texture staff into the existing Apple News team as well.

While the erstwhile Apple news app called Newsstand combined several magazines and newspapers, but the publications were only provided on personal subscription basis.

And the later offshoot of the service, Apple News which was launched in 2015, also took same format, albeit this latest subscription service involving multiple publications could steer Apple News to the next level and perhaps lead to revenue resurgence akin to the $9.99 offering per month for Apple Music.

Apple currently earns revenue from subscriptions for its iCloud storage and Apple Music, and it's also getting a cut of subscriptions sold by third-party apps on the App Store.

The launch of a news subscription service based on Texture would add to the other paid services to beef up Apple's revenue streams, including from iCloud storage and music streaming on Apple Music.

Apple prepping to launch News Service based on Texture magazine app

Microsoft has announced an end-to-end IoT security system that's built on microcontroller (MCUs), the sort of devices that use tiny and relatively low-powered embedded objects for connectivity and basic control features.

According to the company, the next decade will witness nearly every consumer gadget, every household appliance, and every industrial device connected to the Internet. And all these everyday devices have one thing in common, a tiny chip, called a microcontroller (MCU), hosting the compute, storage, memory, and an operating system right on the device.

With these devices as gateway to our homes, workplaces, and sensitive data, they also become targets for attacks. For instance, imagine a typical household and consider what could happen when even the most mundane devices are compromised: a weaponized stove, baby monitors that spy, the contents of your refrigerator being held for ransom.

While there hasn't been much of a solution to the internet of things (IoT) security wise, Microsoft hopes to turn the table in its favor with a group of new security products for IoT devices.



Microsoft Research came up with the ways to secure this vast number of MCU-powered devices, and by leveraging years of security experience, and learning from across the tech industry, have identified what it calls "the Seven Properties of Highly-Secure Devices".

It comprises the need for multiple layers of defense-in-depth, both in hardware and in software, to repel hackers even when they've fully breach one layer of security.

Microsoft Azure Sphere, is the name given to the new solution for creating highly-secured, Internet-connected microcontroller (MCU) devices. It includes three components that work together to protect and power devices at the intelligent level.

Azure Sphere Security brings the rigor and scale Microsoft has built over decades protecting its own devices and data in the cloud to MCU powered devices. It comprises both hardware (tiny chip called a microcontroller) that can go into smart devices and an operating system (Azure Sphere OS) that can run the device safely.

This is perhaps the first initiative that aims to create a comprehensive system to lock down security on IoT system and devices.

Microsoft, however is yet to announce any product partnerships, but two manufacturers already endorsed the project: refrigerator maker SubZero and consumer appliance manufacturer Glen Dimplex.

Microsoft's new IoT Security system product, Azure Sphere

Mozilla has released WebAssembly Studio beta, an online IDE for the WebAssembly (wasm) portable code format to help developers to easily code on the platform and teach others on the WebAssembly format.

The IDE project was born as developers wanted to merge the existing tools, WasmExplorer and WasmFiddle, while the WebAssembly code format promises to speed web application performance, and it also has the support of the major browsers, including Mozilla's own Firefox browser.

The WebAssembly Studio beta comprises the following key features: interactive embedding of objects via the system for embedding content; accessibility tools, and supports C, C++, and Rust languages.



As compilation is mostly done on the server-side, the call for enabling support for all language that compiles to WebAssembly is necessary - the WebAssembly IDE seeks to improve on that in subsequent betas, according to Mozilla.

Some improvement is also expected in the user experience, performance, and error reporting, with regards to the ability to download and build WebAssembly Studio projects locally using accessible tools.

And the LLVM compiler back end is used for C and C++, so the support for the Emscripten LLVM-to-JavaScript compiler is still under consideration. If you wish to try out the WebAssembly Studio IDE, you can download the source code from GitHub.

WebAssembly Studio beta released to help developers on the portable code format



TechCrunch's Startup Battlefield Africa first launched last year, October with 15 startups from across the continent pitching for the recognition and price, with Kenyan startup Lori Systems winning the inaugural Startup Battlefield in Nairobi.

Lori Systems carted away the price of US$25,000 in equity-free funding and an all-expenses paid trip for two to compete in the Battlefield at TechCrunch’s flagship event, Disrupt SF 2018.

TechCrunch is heading back to Africa this week to checkout the amazing startups taking root for placements in its global Startup Battlefield competitions at Disrupt in San Francisco later in September.

Samantha Stein, Startup Battlefield Director, will be in Lagos (Nigeria) and Accra (Ghana) to meet with founders, investors, angels, and established entrepreneurs across the region, with startups and investors required to learn about TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield program at any of the upcoming meetings scheduled.

While Startup Founders will learn how to apply for Battlefield with a solid application, and the investors will learn how to refer companies in their various portfolio.

The 2018 TechCrunch Africa Meet and Greets commences on April 17, at CCHub (Time: 1:30pm – 3:00pm) and April 18, at MEST (Time: 3:30pm) in Lagos, Nigeria. For Accra, Ghana the event will hold on April 20, at MEST (Time: 3:00pm – 5:30pm) and rescheduled same day between 6:00pm – 7:30pm local time.

Techcrunch Startup Battlefield is an invite only event, so you can apply here for Lagos, Nigeria event or for Accra, Ghana event here. For questions, please address your email to: battlefield@techcrunch.com.

Startup Battlefield returning to Africa with touch down in Ghana and Nigeria



Google is pushing to make up for poor connectivity and the high cost of data in Africa, with the release of Google Go app to help internet users in overcoming the rather unfortunate situation. The Google Go app reduces the amount of data consumed in displaying search results by about 40 per cent and caches previous searches to be accessible in offline mode.

The Google Go Voice search has been adapted to work better on slow connections, including 2G to provide a lighter, faster way to search the Web for information.

It supports Android devices with low storage capacity and with low Read Access Memory (RAM), as the app is especially coded to help address the peculiar challenges of most African users. With more and more Africans getting online nowadays, most using less capable mobile phones as their primary device, it became necessary to cater for the needs of these huge demography of users, helping them to connect with the people, places and things that matter to them.



As poor data connectivity, high costs and the low RAM or storage space in devices have often made it hard for people in Africa to get the most out of the internet, according to Google.

Other Go apps includes: Maps Go, Files Go and the Google Go all part of the Internet giant's effort to expand its reach into sub-Saharan Africa, where Facebook has already rolled out several initiatives to bring low-cost and free broadband to hard-to-reach areas.

It is currently available in 26 countries in sub-Saharan Africa through the Google Play Store and will become pre-installed on all Android Oreo (Go edition) devices, available in stores in Africa soon.

How Google Go apps tackle slow Internet connectivity in Africa



Google is currently testing a new redesigned web version of its email service, Gmail, with early testers stumbling on an interesting new feature that would enable users to send expiring email message.

While the idea of self-destructing messaging isn't a novelty, the fact that this is coming to a major email provider is worth the attention, albeit it's pretty unclear at the moment how it will be compatible to other email providers and clients.

Google is perhaps evolving beyond the simple POP3/IMAP/SMTP protocols, with some of the email providers, like ProtonMail already offering expiring emails support that expires after a specific time, and becomes unreadable.

ProtonMail users can only send an expiring message to another ProtonMail user, and it appears as a regular email in the inbox, but after the expiry date, the message is automatically deleted from the recipient's inbox and the sender’s outbox as well.

The expiration date can be configured so that the email message will disappear after a week, or 1 month, or years, et al. And Gmail users can also ask the recipient to confirm their identity with a passcode sent via text message before they can access the message.

However, it’s quite unclear if Gmail self-destructing message feature is going to be compatible with old and non-Gmail users, and if the integration will work better in the future as more people move to the new Gmail.

The new Gmail will also introduce smart reply, and a more easy way to access G-Suite apps from within Gmail, and it's expected to debut in the coming week.

The new Gmail may debut with self-destructing message capability



If you've ever asked Google or Siri, or Alexa, or any of the other various virtual assistants on the market to look something up, play you a song, or even set a timer, then you definitely have encountered a form of chatbot.

But chatbots can be used for a lot more than simple tasks like finding where the nearest fast food restaurant is. Stores like Tj Maxx started using chatbots to boost sales and never looked back, as customers were extremely happy with the clever automated assistant.

They have some chatbots that can talk you through the buying process – helping you to find the perfect deal for you. Nordstrom’s bot is quite advanced. It helps you narrow down gift choices for other people based on a series of questions about their characteristics.

Not all bots out there are quite as advanced, but most can answer basic questions. They can be a great aid to customers and companies. Clients can simply ask the bot a question through instant chat or live chat and get most of the answers that they need straight away.

This could be in the form of a basic customer query, like what the regular shopping hours are, or narrowing down buying options. So they can be used to improve customer service and boost sales at the same time.

And, best of all for businesses, chatbots don’t require a pension plan or time off. It’s a win-win for companies and clients – a 24/7 company representative that should always have the right answers. The infographic below outlines more predictions of the sort as well as more mind-blowing data on how businesses are winning through chatbots.

Conquering The World – Chatbots Gone Wild

How Businesses are Winning by Getting Chatty (Infographic)



Formerly Google Apps for Work, now G Suite is a platform for cloud computing, with productivity and collaboration tools, software and products developed by Google, especially for enterprise customers.

It comprises of Gmail, Hangouts, Calendar, and Google+ for communication; Drive for storage; Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, and Sites for collaboration, with all applications running in the Cloud. Now, the company has rolled out enhancements to Sheets, including the ability to record macros.

While the ability to record macros was first introduced in Microsoft Office, to automate a repetitive task, so that users can record a macro with the Macro Recorder in Microsoft Excel.

Google’s effort to appeal to more business customers with G Suite product portfolio, led to the launch of macro recording to provide a way to automate repetitive tasks within the G Suite spreadsheet tool, potentially to save enterprises hours spent on the job.

The macro recorder allow G Suite users to record actions within Sheets and then play them back without writing out codes, and the recorded macro is automatically converted into Apps Script, a scripting language derived from JavaScript.

Also, it is possible for users to write custom Apps Script functions and import them as new macros to spreadsheet.

Other new features introduced to Sheets include the ability to add printing page breaks, custom paper sizes, and more options for row and column grouping. The updates come as Google plan to attract more enterprise customers to its productivity suite, which now has more than three million paying customers.

The new features adds to Google’s recent enhancements to Sheets, involving pivot tables, and machine learning capabilities, to simplify the management of large datasets.

Google’s effort to make G Suite Apps more Appealing to Enterprise customers



Facebook continues with slew of improvements as it brings additional features to the Camera to make it a more capable tool to shoot creative contents, and allowing users to draw on the world around them in AR and shoot back-and-forth the Boomerang GIFs.

The AR tool allow users of Facebook Camera to scribble on the virtual world around them, and then, on moving the Camera see the markings in place. According to John Barnett, Facebook Camera Product Manager, the “3D drawing” feature give people an easy way to create with augmented reality and draw in the world around them.

And Facebook Camera users can add the AR drawings before or while they’re recording, and it also allows them to draw out something on a frame, which then is panned or zoomed to reveal it.

The technology understands the corners and objects in a room, by which users could use to detect surfaces like walls and tables to wrap the drawing onto them.

While Facebook launched its AR effects in early 2017 and had since added AR tracker target experiences that's triggered by real-world posters or QR codes, this new feature may perhaps make AR more appealing to youngsters.

And the looping GIF creation which was added to the Facebook Camera a year ago, is potentially being replaced by Boomerang’s back-and-forth animated video clips.

Facebook Camera Product Manager, John Barnett described the feature as easy “3D drawing” and confirms that it's rolling out to users over the coming weeks.

Facebook brings Augmented Reality (AR) drawing and Boomerang GIFs to Stories



While Apple's transition to 64-bit entered full swing in mid 2017 with the launch of iOS 11, the company is now rallying its PC users to move to the more advanced technology, as it begins alerting those that are still stuck to older Mac apps.

The latest version of Apple's MacOS software, MacOS High Sierra and at least the very next version of the software will still support older apps running on 32-bits, though the company's computer operating system is transitioning to the more advanced technology.

If you've installed the latest version of Apple's MacOS software, you'll get a warning whenever you try to open an older apps running on 32-bit technology.

Apple had warned its developers that MacOS High Sierra would be the last version of the operating system to fully support 32-bit apps without compromise. And that the next version of the software, though will still run 32-bit apps, but there would be some compromise as apps won't work as intended.

The company had already transitioned some of the underlying technology for its computers, such as the Metal graphics tool, to work only with 64-bit apps, while the processors in Mac computers are all running 64-bit.

The 64-bit technology obviously enables faster apps that can handle large amounts of data more efficiently than the 32-bit processors that's common in older computers and mobile devices, that's more reason Apple has been pushing developers to update their apps to 64-bit technology.

Apple's transition of Applications from 32-bit to 64-bit is now in full swing

Lens is a new augmented reality (AR) feature in Google Photos app that can analyze any picture, and provide more background information about them, by scanning the photos.

Google at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2018, announced Lens' new ability to scan the photos of your pets, including dogs and cats, to extract more information and fun facts about the different breeds, and also allows you to create a themed movie of your pet.

The feature is live for both Google Photos app and its virtual Assistant, and Lens would be picking up “improved support for recognizing common animals and plants, like different dog breeds and flowers” in the coming weeks according to Google.



Google Photos will also be able to create photo books for cats and dogs, joining the existing ability to create a themed movie for your cat or dog.

Google stated that Lens for both Android and iOS can identify breeds and provide more information, which functionality is about now rolling out to all users. Albeit, this functionality is only live on Lens for select flagship devices, including Pixel line of devices.

Meanwhile, the feature is still relatively trivial, and perhaps Google is giving us more  reason to adopt using the lens: for instance, it can also scan a business card and serve up the name and phone number to enter into your address book.

Google Lens on Photos and Assistant provide fun facts about your pets

Mixer, a live streaming platform for video and games owned by Microsoft is giving its streamers a new way to customize their channels: add images, overlays, transitions, and text to their streams, or to switch between scenes.

This is possible through the company's partnership with Lightstream Studio which makes the tools available for creators to give their streams a more professional look-and-feel, without requiring much technical expertise.

The partnership will also allow streamers to route their feed into the web-based Lightstream Studio platform, and accessible through supported browsers on a PC, Mac or tablet.



Microsoft launched a dedicated new URL https://mixer.golightstream.com to allow streamers to use their phone as a remote control for changing their scenes, and gamers can use the Studio to create status screens like “Starting Soon,” or “Be Right Back,” then quickly rotate through them, as needed.

And Mixer Streamers are now able to direct their streams to Lightstream Studio from their mobile devices, PC, or their Xbox native broadcast.

The support for native Xbox streams is perhaps the main rallying point, albeit the integration will not impact other third-party services alert systems, such as StreamLabs, StreamJar or Tipeeestream, but they can link those accounts within their Lightstream settings.

Microsoft's effort is to bring the streaming service at par with Amazon-owned Twitch, which is arguably the leader in game streaming for both concurrent streamers and viewers, as well as rival YouTube Gaming.

Microsoft's Mixer getting customization tools via partnership with Lightstream Studio

While Google acquired the GIF platform, Tenor in March to improve image search, the company has now deployed the keyboard tool exclusively to power GIF searches in LinkedIn messaging.

Tenor GIF search tool is already powering the keyboard on a number of different social platforms, including Facebook Messenger. Google's acquisition of the versatile messaging tool, is perhaps to actualize its resolve to index the world’s information in a way that’s easily discoverable.

Google Images update in recent weeks has seen the deployment of Tenor to improve its GIF capabilities, and Tenor is also the GIF platform that powers Gboard, Google's own keyboard.



The deployment of the GIF engine on LinkedIn, gives Google another avenue to an altogether different platform to extend the variation of GIF search. And most people already use Google Images to find more information about a topic, and to help communicate and express themselves with millions of GIFs every day.

As GIFs are increasingly popular in messaging apps nowadays, Tenor coming to LinkedIn is perhaps one example of how the tool is becoming almost a prerequisite for any messaging platform.

Its capabilities includes ability to place sponsored GIFs inside its quick search interface, offering brands a unique opportunity to capture the attention of users as well as creating a new advertising category that could be very appealing for larger businesses.

The new GIF engine is now available for about 50% of U.S. based LindedIn users, and will be rolling out globally in the coming weeks.

Google deploys it’s GIF engine, Tenor to power LinkedIn messaging



The next Windows 10 upgrade, code-named Redstone 4 which is expected to arrive in Spring, will bring improvements to Windows 10 in several fronts, especially in GPU management.

While Microsoft acknowledged many under-the-hood improvements in Windows 10, the developmental cycle isn't closing up anytime soon, which underscore the additions or subtle changes coming in Windows 10 Spring Update.

Though, most of these changes seem provisional, which means it obviously need more work, even as Microsoft is inclined to keep on developing the operating system. We've highlighted below what we think are the top features expected in the next update of Windows 10, Redstone 4 schedules for Spring release.

Better GPU management

The next Windows 10 update will make default the functions of selecting which GPU apps running on your PC: with both AMD and Nvidia providing utilities as either the economical integrated graphics chip inside your CPU, or the power-hungry discrete GPU.

And in cases where you’d prefer the integrated GPU to run a simpler operation to save your PC’s battery life, the new control makes that possible also.

Do Away with password in Windows 10 S

Those using Windows 10 S machine will be able to completely eliminate passwords in accessing their PC with the Authenticator app for Android or iOS, which serves as a more secure two-factor authentication method.

The authenticator app offers the option to enter a time-limited code to access your PC, and also allows you to approve an authentication request with one click.

On-demand Bluetooth pairing

The Redstone Update partially eliminates the need to click otn the +icon to begin the pairing process, and then initiate pairing on the device. Now if you rigger a pairing request from a device, it pops up a notification asking whether you’d like to go through with the request, what Microsoft calls Swift Pair.

Swift Pair will be quite handy in the home, albeit, it seems a little rife for exploitation in a crowded place, like: airport lounge or the workplace. But Microsoft have restricted to the Surface Precision Mouse, at least for now.

Other nifty features include: better Settings for your PC’s audio, Autocorrect/autosuggest for hardware keyboard, and tracking controls with Eye Control. Additionally, the Microsoft virtual assistant, Cortana is getting updated Lists, as well as better natural-language recognition, a la the Harman-Kardon Invoke.

What to expect in Microsoft’s next Windows 10 update, Redstone 4



The nonprofit Internet giant, Mozilla is poised to bring interoperability to its programming language, Rust to work alongside WebAssembly and JavaScript in web application development.

Mozilla has created a bridge between the types in JavaScript and the Rust language, called wasm-bindgen, to build on the WebAssembly portable code format, with wasm-bindgen providing high-level interactions between WebAssembly (wasm) modules and JavaScript.

In turn, JavaScript and WebAssembly would be able to communicate with strings, JavaScript objects, and classes instead of just integers and floats.

While WebAssembly supports only two integer types and two floating-point types, making four in total, JavaScript and Rust developers often require richer types, like Rust developers working with Result for error handling.

But with the bridge between WebAssembly and JavaScript, wasm-bingden, JavaScript could invoke WebAssembly functions and WebAssembly could do the same for JavaScript functions. And JavaScript could also call a Rust API with a string or a Rust function to catch up with a JavaScript exception.

The wasm-bindgen high-level functions include, exporting of Rust structures and functions to JavaScript, and import of JavaScript functions and objects to WebAssembly.

Though, wasm-bindgen is built on ECMAScript modules, the goal is to eventually be used alongside languages like C and C++. Albeit, Mozilla maintains that wasm-bindgen isn't yet ready for expansion to other programming languages.

Mozilla working to make Rust Programming language like JavaScript, for use alongside WebAssembly in web apps



Instagram is prepping a new feature called Nametags, which will allow users to create a unique image that people can scan with the Instagram Stories camera to follow them, just like Snapchat's QR codes.

While Instagram have a history of cloning Snapchat's best features, now it has extended to the friend codes, that allow it users to find new people to follow, with the Nametags making it easier for people to visually promote their Instagram account.

The feature was spotted on Instagram’s Android APK released last month, and thanks to Genady Okrain who has provided screenshots and more details of the Instagram Nametags feature. Also spotted is code for an Instagram Video Calling feature discovered in its Android APK, revealing a Portrait mode feature called Focus which is now in testing.

Nametags will let users create custom tag using emoji patterns, and also can be based on the newly launched augmented reality selfies.

And they’ll be able to bring up the Nametag editor by simply scanning a QR scanner button on their profile, then choose a pattern of emoji or a selfie they can jazz up with augmented reality face filters that then becomes an emoji pattern.

However, as with all test features there's no guarantee that it will become available for everyone anytime soon.

Instagram testing Nametags; its counterpart for Snapchat's QR Code

While there are many music converters in the market that are advertised to convert Apple Music on Mac, most of these audio converters can only convert non-DRM audios or DRM-ed audios, but TunesKit DRM Audio Converter covers both world, and can also complete the task of saving Apple Music in common MP3 audio files.

TunesKit DRM Audio Coverter for Mac can help Apple iTunes users strip DRM protection off movies or TV shows rented/purchased from the Apple Store and to convert the M4V videos to DRM-free MP4 format on their Mac computers.

It does these by simply removing the DRM from Apple Music to produce a clean and clear copy of the song as MP3, AAC or lossless FLAC, or WAV format, which can be transferred to any MP3 player or portable device of your choice.

Main features of TunesKit DRM Audio Coverter for Mac

  • Convert all non-DRM and common Audio files to other format.
  • All-in-one DRM audio tool to remove DRM copy protection from Apple Music, iTunes M4P and Audiobooks.
  • Convert DRM-ED Audios to MP3, AAC, WAV, M4V, M4B, and FLAC.
  • Customize audio settings and split large audio into small segments.


What is the Requirements and file formats supported?

TunesKit DRM Audio Converter is fully compatible with Mac OS X 10.8, 10.9, 10.10, 10.11, and macOS 10.12 Sierra, and as at the time of this review, it's perfectly compatible with the most up-to-date iTunes 12.7.

And TunesKit DRM Audio Converter runs the latest multiple-thread audio conversion technology, which makes it possible to convert the DRM-ed or non-DRM audio files at a 30X faster speed than normal converters, and still maintains a high quality for the output files.

It is perhaps the most complete audio solution that convert all popular audio formats, including MP3, WAV, WMA, FLAC, AAC, OGG, M4A, M4R, AC3, AMR, APE, et al. And also, Apple Music M4P, iTunes tracks, M4A, M4B audiobooks, Audible AA, AAX to MP3, M4A, WAV, FLAC, M4B, AAC so that you can play the converted audio on any device or player.

How to Convert DRM-ed and non-DRM Audios to other formats



To convert audios to other formats with TunesKit DRM Audio Converter, including adding audios, adjusting output preferences, and converting the files can be done in these 3 easy steps : First, Open TunesKit Audio Converter, then directly drag the audio files (both DRM or non-DRM is supported), from your computer drive to TunesKit conversion window or alternatively, import the audio files via the "Add Files" button at the top center.



Then set the output audio preferences, including output format, codec, bit rate, sample rate, etc. By simply clicking the ’Editing" icon or the "Format" option and you'll get to the setting window.



And the last part, all that’s required now is press the "Convert" button at the bottom right corner and TunesKit will begin to convert the audios to MP3, M4A, WAV, FLAC, M4B, AAC for you at up to 30X faster speed.

Conclusion

TunesKit DRM Audio Converter for Mac is indeed a superior audio converting software, as It offers all the best features for handling audio files such as removing DRM, converting audio formats, customize playback settings and so on.

Also, it offers a FREE Trial which is great to help you try out the software and you'll finally find that this smart app is well worth your $40 bucks. No matter what you need to do with your audio files or what kinds of music you have, you can always let this smart tool to help you do it quickly and reliably.

TunesKit DRM Audio Converter Review: An All-in-one Audio Solution for Mac



Google Cloud text-to-speech engine for developers was overhauled last month, now the company has announced an update to the speech-to-text service to improve the voice recognition performance.

The updated Cloud Speech-to-Text API promises significant improvement in word errors reduction, and down to around 54 percent across all Google’s testings, which in some cases the results were actually better than the above figure.

Now, the API built on the core speech recognition technology in which both its Search and Assistant service depends on is better optimized. As more natural voices are available to the service through Google DeepMind WaveNet models, enabling developers to select between different machine learning models based on use case.

The API currently offers four models: First model is for short queries and voice commands, the second is for understanding audio from phone calls and third for handling audio from videos. While the fourth model is recommended for all other scenarios by default.

It replaces the automatic model selection, as this new tailoring was achieved after customers requested that Google should utilize real data to train the model.

Google will be bringing a beta feature that automatically punctuate long-form speech transcription to suggests commas, questions marks, and periods. And, the company will allow developers to tag transcribed audio or video in order to tell Google what models Speech-to-Text to prioritize.

The company says that it will use the aggregate data from all of its users to decide on which new features to build on next.

Improvements coming to Google Cloud Speech-to-text service



Microsoft has scheduled the unveiling of ARM64 developer kit preview at its Build conference in May, which brings native support for 64-bit apps on Windows PCs running the Qualcomm Snapdragon ARM processor.

While the Qualcomm Snapdragon ARM processor is notorious for its battery-sapping tendency which is perhaps it's major caveat, and the inability to run 64-bit apps. Microsoft plans to share more details on a preview of its ARM64 software development kit (SDK) at its Build developer conference in May, which will serve to enhance the deficient Qualcomm Snapdragon ARM processor.

Though, it remains unclear when a final version will debut, or when its supported apps will roll out to users on Windows PCs, as such applications that are 64-bit only typically need to run natively for performance reasons.

Microsoft focus of engineering investments on the native ARM64 SDK is to enable developers to natively write their application for the supported devices, and developers will now have to decide whether to buy into the vision of Microsoft for Windows PCs running ARM chip inside.

Also, users of a Qualcomm Snapdragon PC have to make another sacrifice in tolerating apps written for the Intel Core chips which have to be interpreted, given that the translation feature slows down the app.

Microsoft, however, adds that as more developers try out code compiled for the ARM processor using the 32-bit SDK or the 64-bit version, the app will automatically download the updated versions to users.

Microsoft ARM64 developer kit to support native 64-bit apps on Qualcomm-powered PCs



Facebook in a bid to make buying ads on the platform more transparent will be requiring that business pages submit an ID verification, and subsequently make other ads the Page is running to be open for people to access to know who's behind the ads.

The company is perhaps looking to implement some parts of the proposed Honest Ads Act before even the government tries to enforce it on the Web, which move is intended to help increase accountability, as well as prevent manipulation of its users.

And to fight fake news and election interference, Facebook Pages and advertisers buying political or "issue" ads on "debated topics of national legislative importance" like education or abortion will also need to verify their identity and location.

Facebook will use the details provided through the verification process to append a "Political Ad" label and "Paid for by" information to all election, politics and issue ads.

While the Pages or advertisers that refuse to provide the require ID, will be flagged as fraudulent or any trying to interfere with foreign elections will have their Pages prevented from posting to the News Feed or have their ads blocked.

The ID verification also applies for people managing Pages with large numbers of followers, and those who manage large Pages without adhering to the process will no longer be able to make post on the page.

The company plan to release a public, searchable political ads archive, which will contain all ads with the “Political Ad” label, and display the image and text, as well as additional information like the amount spent and demographic audience information for each ad.

Facebook is currently testing the authorization process, and users will begin seeing the label and additional information in the US later this spring.

Facebook to require ID Verification from Businesses' running ads on the platform



Twitter announced its plan to retire Site Streams & User Streams, and replace them with the Account Activity API (currently in beta), last year. But it was rescheduled for June 19, 2018, following complaints from top Twitter clients, like: Tweetbot, Twitterific and Talon who argued that the upcoming API changes could potentially break the way their apps work.

The problem stems from the fact that some third-party developers haven’t obtained access to the new API — and the changes would definitely take some time to be implemented correctly.

And the new API have got some limitations that could keep apps from working as they usually do, which will potentially break functions like push notifications and timeline updates. Also, it isn't clear if the Account Activity API is capable of handling real-time data as is the case with User Stream and Site Stream APIs.

Albeit, Twitter's developer documentation states that "the Account Activity API delivers real-time access to all activities…", and the standard version of the API accepts only 35 subscriptions.

The aforementioned developers believe this means their apps could only support 35 Twitter accounts for push notifications and won't support automatic timeline refresh since client devices typically aren't running web servers.

Twitter, however hasn't scheduled any new date for when it will retire the streaming API, but maintains that it’ll give “at least 90 days notice” before eventually effacing it.

Upcoming Twitter API changes could break the way apps work



While there has been a heated debate over who should own newly created intellectual property, especially as it concern technology companies like Microsoft, who also operate in the customers’ markets and compete against the developers with the very technology they co-created.

Now, Microsoft has offered to let developers share ownership rights for intellectual property developed in partnership with the company in its Shared Innovation Initiative. And Microsoft pledges not to impose any contractual restrictions to prevent developers from porting new, shared innovations to other platforms.

The initiative according to analysts puts Microsoft ahead of the curve on the ecosystem in co-development of applications, which is perhaps becoming the preferred platform of the future.

Microsoft's Shared Innovation Initiative is based on a set of principles designed to address co-created technology and intellectual property (IP) issues that give customers clarity and confidence regarding their work with Microsoft.

According to the company, the initiative is designed to strike a healthy balance that will both help its customers grow their business through technology and enable Microsoft to continue to improve its platform.

The newly published Shared Innovation Principles will cover seven areas, including: Respect for ownership of existing technology, Support for open source, Transparency and clarity, among others.

Microsoft as an active contributor to open source development, welcome the opportunity to work with the community to contribute to work that they co-create if the developers chose to do so. And the above principles presents a path that will ensure that the co-creation of digital technologies creates new economic value to companies around the world.

Microsoft offer developers ownership right for Intellectual Properties developed with the company



There was a public backlash on Facebook for the purported retraction of Mark Zuckerberg's messages from recipients' inbox, which act was perceived by critics as utterly lacking merit as it portends lack of trust.

And Facebook confirmed that it had actually deleted some messages sent by some top executives, as well as those sent by CEO Mark Zuckerberg, from the inboxes of the recipients without disclosing it.

While at present the Facebook help maintains that in using messages on Facebook, sent messages can't be unsent or removed from the recipient's inbox.

But now, the company plans to roll out the “unsend” feature to its messaging service, and perhaps present the incidence as mere testing, as it vows that no such messages from its executives will be deleted again, until the feature has been extended to all users on the social network.

That means eventually all users will be able to set an expiration time for their messages, after which they’ll be automatically deleted from the recipient’s inbox.

However it remains unclear when the unsend feature will be ready for public release, and exactly how the system will operate; but at least having such an addition to the messaging system will be quite worth the while.

Facebook prepping to extend "Unsend Message" feature to all its users



Twitter in its biannual transparency report revealed that over 1.2 million accounts have been suspended for terrorist content Since August 2015, while the network is now fully resolved to stamping out the spread of misinformation and propaganda.

The company has also reaffirmed the commitment to permanently suspend terrorist accounts from the platform, with more granular data on country-withheld content policy, and expanded reporting on requests for account information.

According to the report, between the period of July 1, 2017 through to December 31, 2017, a total of 274,460 accounts were permanently suspended for violations related to the promotion of terrorism.

The promotion of terrorism represent less than 0.2% of all suspensions in the most recent reporting period and reflect a 50% reduction in accounts reported compared to the previous reporting period. And of those 274,460 accounts suspended in the last reporting period, 93% were flagged by internal, proprietary tools, and 74% of those accounts were suspended before their first Tweet.

Twitter attributed the feat to years of hard work in making the site an undesirable place for those seeking to promote terrorism, resulting in the shifting away of such activities from the platform.

Albeit, it has sought the public's input on how to fix the undesirable environment once and for all.

Over 1.2 Million Twitter Accounts suspended for Terrorist-related contents

Microsoft has announced the implementation of advanced malware detection and protection coming to its webmail service, Outlook.com with additional protection for sharing and reading of files stored on the cloud service, OneDrive.

While the most common malware attack is now the ransomware which infected PCs spread from file to file, thereby encrypting the documents stored on the machine and the bad guys will demand that you pay a stipulated amount of money for the digital key to decrypt the files.

Microsoft have added the ability to “roll back” the files stored in OneDrive to older versions of the same file up to a month ago, in order to help in the recovery of the lost files and return it to the state it were before the malware attack.

It was made possible through the Microsoft's automated threat-detection systems which helps to figure out the point at which the ransomware attack stated, and it alert the users on their mobile that an infection has been detected.

And it will notify you of possible infections by any of the pre-selected channels that Microsoft normally use to contact you, like: popup notification, email or text messages.



According to Kirk Koenigsbauer, the corporate vice president for Microsoft Office, with the growing presence and sophistication of online threats like viruses, ransomware, and phishing scams, it’s increasingly important to have the right protection and tools to help protect your devices, personal information, and files from being compromised.

Microsoft is pitching its cloud storage service, OneDrive as the solution to ransomware attacks: given that when you upload your critical files before your PC gets infected, you’ll still be able to access all your files, albeit an older uninfected version.

The Files Restore capability was previously only for OneDrive for Business customers and now extended to Office 365 subscriptions for home users. Though, the Outlook protection is not yet available to the Office 365 version of Outlook.

Microsoft's webmail, Outlook.com getting ransomware protection