Software&Apps

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Short Bytes: Technology giant Google has released a new open source website to showcase its open source projects. It’ll contain Google’s software, the supported organizations, a list of open source projects. The company has also released its internal documentation on how it “does” open source. Google has also promised to add more projects to the website in the near future.

The usage of free and open source software by technology giants is becoming more and more common with each passing day.

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Cortana has been available on Android for a year now (in the US at least), and Microsoft recently made its virtual assistant even more useful by making it accessible on the lock screen.

Today, however, the company takes things a stage further by making it possible to interact with Cortana above the lock.

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We don’t have long to wait until the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus smartphones are officially unveiled – just until Wednesday 29 March – but it looks like we’ll know all the specifications of the SGS8 beforehand.

The website WinFuture claims to have the entire spec list for the smaller of the phones (and several press photos) so you can have a browse of these and see if there’s anything there that tickles your fancy.

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Do you remember what you were doing on Twitter in 2010? Twitter accounts have been compromised by a range of security issues lately — and in at least one case the vulnerability is tied to a decision users made years ago. It might be time to double check how secure your account really is.

Early Thursday morning, the official Twitter account for McDonald’s pinned a tweet directed at President Trump.

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IBM on Monday unveiled the first enterprise-ready Blockchain as a Service offering based on The Linux Foundation’s open source Hyperledger Fabric version 1.0.

IBM Blockchain, which lets developers quickly establish highly secure blockchain networks on the IBM cloud, is a transformative step in being able to deploy high-speed, secure business transactions through the network on a large scale, the company said.

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Apple is stockpiling resources to make a splash in the augmented reality market.

The company is not only marshaling internal resources behind its AR efforts, but also hiring talented outsiders and acquiring companies with expertise in AR hardware, 3D gaming and virtual reality software, Bloomberg reported Monday.

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Facebook on Monday moved to prevent spy applications from accessing its users’ data.

The company has updated its Facebook and Instagram policies to prohibit developers from using data obtained from those platforms in surveillance tools, according to Rob Sherman, deputy chief privacy officer at Facebook.

Facebook already has taken enforcement actions against devs who created and marketed surveillance tools in violation of the company’s previous policy, he noted, adding that “we want to be sure everyone understands the underlying policy and how to comply.”

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Amazon’s Alexa may be up against big competition.

South Korean internet giant Naver, which runs Line, Japan’s biggest messaging app, unveiled on Wednesday its own AI virtual assistant.

The new assistant is called Clova, and will be entirely voice-based. It’ll be available as a smartphone app as well as a hardware speaker called Wave, similar to Amazon Echo and Google Home.

Clova is scheduled to be available in Japan and South Korea between April and June this year.

Naver is also tying up with huge conglomerates Sony in Japan and LG Electronics in South Korea, to get the Clova into toys and home appliances down the road.

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Android Wear 2.0 is finally here, and that means apps can now be directly installed on your watch and run without your phone.

You will longer need your phone nearby to use apps on your Android Wear device, because instead of requiring a tethered connection to your phone, it will communicate through Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or cellular network. In the older version of Android Wear, you could still use apps when out of range of your phone, as long as that phone was connected to a network — now your phone doesn’t need to be turned on at all.

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On the heels of recent rumors that the upcoming iPhone will have a means of biometric authentication (other than fingerprint scanning) comes the news that Apple has acquired RealFace, an Israeli tech firm specializing in facial recognition.

The report comes from Israeli site Calcalist (via MacRumors) which claims Apple bought the Tel Aviv-based company for “several million dollars.”

Some users may know RealFace from its app Pickeez, which automated the process of choosing the best photos from a bunch. At the time of writing, however, the app appears to be defunct, and RealFace’s own website is offline as well.

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