By BeauHD from Slashdot's closing-down-shop department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Android Police: Google announced its plans to sunset its Google+ social media network for consumers on a sour note in October. The platform, which has a small but dedicated user-base, decided to shut down following Google's acknowledgement of a data exposure that affected up to 500,000 Google+ profiles. Shortly after, in December, the shutdown timeline was expedited due to another, larger bug that had the potential to reveal private user information and impacted approximately 52.5 million users. Now, the company has detailed its shutdown timeline for the consumer version of Google+ -- and it's not wasting any time.
The shutdown timeline is as follows:
- As early as February 4th, you will no longer be able to create new Google+ profiles, pages, communities, or events.
- The Google+ feature for website comments will be removed by Blogger by February 4th and other sites by March 7th. All Google+ comments on all sites will be deleted starting April 2nd.
- Google+ sign-in buttons will stop working in the coming weeks, but in some cases will be replaced by a Google sign-in button.
- Google+ Community owners and moderators who are downloading data from their Community will gain additional data for download starting early March 2019. That includes author, body, and photos for every community post in a public community.
-On April 2nd, all Google+ accounts and pages will be shut down and Google will begin deleting content from consumer Google+ accounts. Photos and videos from Google+ in users' Album Archive and Google+ pages will also be deleted. Photos and videos backed up in Google Photos will not be deleted.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's abuse-the-system department
Scammers are reportedly using YouTube's "three strike" system for extortion. "After filing two false claims against [YouTuber ObbyRaidz], scammers contacted him demanding cash to avoid a third -- and the termination of his channel," reports TorrentFreak. From the report: The YouTuber, who concentrates on Minecraft-related videos, reports that he's received two bogus strikes on his account. While this is nothing new, it appears the strikes were deliberately malicious with longer-term plan to extort money from him. "I have been striked twice and basically extorted," ObbyRaidz revealed this morning. "If I don't pay this dude he's going to strike a third one of my videos down."
The alleged scammer contacted ObbyRaidz, who lives in Texas, via Twitter. He or she warned the YouTuber that unless he paid a sum via PayPal or bitcoin, another complaint and therefore a third strike would be added to his account. "Hi Obby, We striked you," the message from "VengefulFlame" begins. "Our request is $150 PayPal or $75 btc (Bitcoin). You may send the money via goods/services if you do not think we will cancel or hold up our end of the deal. "Once we receive our payment, we will cancel both strikes on your channel. Again -- you are free to charge back if we don't but we assure you we will." The YouTuber was then granted "a very short amount of time" to make his decision whether to pay the amount or potentially lose his channel. The YouTuber goes on to say that YouTube has not provided any assistance resolving this problem. "It's very unfortunate and YouTube has not done very much for me. I can't get in contact with them. One of the appeals got denied," he explains.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's up-next department
Apple plans to launch iPhones with a more-powerful 3-D camera as soon as next year, stepping up the company's push into augmented reality, Bloomberg reported Wednesday. From the report: The rear-facing, longer-range 3-D camera is designed to scan the environment to create three-dimensional reconstructions of the real world. It will work up to about 15 feet from the device, the people said. Apple's new system uses a laser scanner, rather than the existing dot-projection technology which doesn't work as well over longer distances, according to the people, who asked not to be identified discussing unreleased features. That's just one of many new features -- including a third, more advanced camera, enhanced photo-capture tools and a more powerful chip -- that Apple plans to include in coming generations of iPhones, the people said.
[...] For 2019, Apple plans successors to the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max -- code-named D42 and D43 -- and an update to the iPhone XR, said the people. The larger of the new high-end iPhones will have three cameras on the back, and other handsets could eventually come with the upgraded system, too, the people said. [...] Apple's next operating system update, iOS 13, will include a dark mode option for easier nighttime viewing and improvements to CarPlay, the company's in-vehicle software.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's browser-updates department
Following Mozilla's footsteps, Google has released Chrome 72 for Windows, Mac, and Linux. From a report: The release includes code injection blocking and new developer features. You can update to the latest version now using Chrome's built-in updater or download it directly from google.com/chrome. With over 1 billion users, Chrome is both a browser and a major platform that web developers must consider. In fact, with Chrome's regular additions and changes, developers often must make an effort to stay on top of everything available -- as well as what has been deprecated or removed -- most notably, Chrome 72 removes support for Chromecast setup on a computer. To set up a Chromecast, you'll now need to use a mobile device.
As this isn't a major release, there aren't many new features to cover. Chrome 72 for Windows, however, blocks code injections, reducing crashes caused by third-party software. The initiative to block code injections in Chrome started last year, with warnings letting users know that Chrome was fighting back. Those warnings are now gone, and Chrome blocks code injections full stop.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department
Scientists claim they have found new evidence of a link between infection with the protozoan parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, and schizophrenia, in what is described as the largest study of its kind. From a report: T. gondii, a brain-dwelling parasite estimated to be hosted by at least 2 billion people around the world, doesn't create symptoms in most people who become infected -- but acute cases of toxoplasmosis can be dangerous. Healthy adults are generally thought to not be at risk from T. gondii infections, but children or people with suppressed immune systems can develop severe flu-like symptoms, in addition to blurred vision and brain inflammation.
Pregnant women need to be careful too, as the parasite can cause foetal abnormalities or even miscarriage. Aside from the known physiological dangers, however, the stranger and more ambiguous risks associated with the parasite remain largely hypothetical -- although a huge body of research suggests something weird is going on. Causation remains very much disputable, but the brain-dwelling parasite -- commonly carried by cats and present in their faeces -- has been linked to a huge host of behaviour-altering effects.
Virtually all warm-blooded animals are capable of being infected, and when T. gondii gets inside them, unusual things happen. In rodents, animals seemingly lose their inhibitions, becoming more exploratory and losing their aversion to cat odours.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's legendary-internet-users department
Thelasko shares a report from CBS News: Steven Pruitt has made nearly 3 million edits on Wikipedia and written 35,000 original articles. It's earned him not only accolades but almost legendary status on the internet. The online encyclopedia now boasts more than 5.7 million articles in English and millions more translated into other languages -- all written by online volunteers. Pruitt was named one of the most influential people on the internet by Time magazine in part because one-third of all English language articles on Wikipedia have been edited by Steven. An incredible feat, ignited by a fascination with his own history.
How much money does he make from his work? None. "The idea of making it all free fascinates me. My mother grew up in the Soviet Union ... So I'm very conscious of what, what it can mean to make knowledge free, to make information free," he said. Pulling from books, academic journals and other sources, he spends more than three hours a day researching, editing and writing. Even his day job is research, working in records and information at U.S. Customs and Border Protection. He joked that his colleagues probably think he's nuts. To put in to perspective what it took for Pruitt to become the top editor, he's been dedicating his free time to the site for 13 years. The second-place editor is roughly 900,000 edits behind him, so his first place status seems safe, for now.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's to-be-determined department
Following a record 35-day government shutdown, thousands of civil servants and contractors are heading back to work this week at NASA's various centers throughout the country. "These first few days back on the job will be consumed with practical matters, such as figuring out employee backpay and how to dive back into projects," reports The Verge. "The shutdown will undoubtedly result in delays for some of NASA's long-term programs, too, but it'll be a while before the space agency can fully assess the extent of the damage." From the report: To explain how NASA is adjusting in the wake of the shutdown, the space agency's administrator Jim Bridenstine addressed employees during a town hall meeting this afternoon at NASA's headquarters in Washington, DC. "Welcome to 2019," he said during the meeting, which was live-streamed on NASATV. "NASA is now open and we're very thankful for that." The comment was met by applause from those in attendance, while Bridenstine went on to acknowledge that it's been a rough start to the year for the agency. "I want to say thank you for your patience and for your commitment to this agency and to the mission we all believe in so dearly."
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By BeauHD from Slashdot's new-and-improved department
While Gmail on the web was significantly redesigned last year, the app for Android and iOS stayed relatively unchanged, with the exception of an update last year that removed the bold colors in favor of an almost entirely white look. Engadget reports that a redesigned Gmail for mobile is starting to roll out today and it will be available to all Android and iOS users in the coming weeks. Engadget reports: Functionally, the new Gmail mobile app isn't wildly different than what came before. There's a button in the lower-right corner to compose a new email, just like before -- it's just white with a multi-colored "plus" sign, the same glyph that shows up in Gmail and Drive on the web. The iconic top red bar is now white, and the whole top area is a search bar; the old app required tapping a smaller target to get into search. Finally, there's a shortcut right to the account switcher on the main page. Previously, switching accounts required opening the sidebar, but now that option is front and center.
A few features that came to the web version of Gmail make their way to mobile today. Probably most recognizable is that attachment previews will show up below the messages, making it easier to both find messages with attachments and get a sense of the content. For those that prefer to see more messages, Google also has "comfortable" and "compact" density options that remove attachment previews and avatars, respectively. The large red phishing warnings that Gmail on the web shows also now show up in the app. Visually, it looks just like you'd expect if you've tried any of Google's recent mobile apps -- it's basically all white, with the new Google font throughout.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's desperate-for-data department
A new report from TechCrunch details how "desperate" Facebook is for data on its competitors. The social media company "has been secretly paying people to install a 'Facebook Research' VPN that lets the company suck in all of a user's phone and web activity," a TechCrunch investigation confirms. "Facebook sidesteps the App Store and rewards teenagers and adults to download the Research app and give it root access in what may be a violation of Apple policy so the social network can decrypt and analyze their phone activity." From the report: Since 2016, Facebook has been paying users ages 13 to 35 up to $20 per month plus referral fees to sell their privacy by installing the iOS or Android "Facebook Research" app. Facebook even asked users to screenshot their Amazon order history page. The program is administered through beta testing services Applause, BetaBound and uTest to cloak Facebook's involvement, and is referred to in some documentation as "Project Atlas" a fitting name for Facebook's effort to map new trends and rivals around the globe.
We asked Guardian Mobile Firewall's security expert Will Strafach to dig into the Facebook Research app, and he told us that "If Facebook makes full use of the level of access they are given by asking users to install the Certificate, they will have the ability to continuously collect the following types of data: private messages in social media apps, chats from in instant messaging apps -- including photos/videos sent to others, emails, web searches, web browsing activity, and even ongoing location information by tapping into the feeds of any location tracking apps you may have installed." It's unclear exactly what data Facebook is concerned with, but it gets nearly limitless access to a user's device once they install the app.Read Replies (0)