Here are today's top 10 stories from Tech News Today for December 13, 2013:
- Twitter changed its policy for blocking accounts yesterday then quickly changed it back. The new policy would have allowed blocked users to continue to see and interact with the accounts of those who blocked them as a way of hiding the fact they had been blocked. After a backlash against the policy change Twitter decide to revert the change and said they would “continue to explore features designed to protect users from abuse and prevent retaliation.” Read more at techcrunch.com.
- Watch out Intel, here comes Google. An anonymous source tells Bloomberg Google is considering designing its own ARM server processors. Intel currently controls more than 95 percent of the market for chips in servers that use PC processors. By using its own designs, Google could control interactions between hardware and software more effectively. Google is currently Intel’s fifth largest customer, according to Bloomberg supply chain analysis, and spends at least $500 million on Intel server chips each year. Read more at bloomberg.com.
- Microsoft's been mulling over its next CEO for a while, but it's not going to be Steve Mollenkopf because he's going to head up Qualcomm as its CEO. Mollenkopf was the COO of Qualcomm and a Bloomberg report pegged him as a potential replacement for Steve Ballmer. Mollenkopf replaces Paul Jacobs as CEO; Jacbos will stay with the company as chairman. Read more at allthingsd.com.
- The US FCC voted on Thursday to launch a public review of the ban on mobile phone calls during airplane flights. For 22 years phone calls have been banned on planes to prevent interference with ground-based cellular communication. However those technological issues have largely been resolved. The social issue of hearing someone talking on a phone on a plane is not the province of the FCC but it is the area of another US agency. The US Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said his agency might institute its own ban under its authority to protect aviation consumers and workers. Read more at bbc.co.uk.
- A new study from web security firm Incapsula finds that over 60 percent of all Internet traffic now comes from bots - that's automated software that includes hacking tools , spammers, and search engine catalogers — and it's up 21% from 2012. 31% of bots are malicious, according to the study, but there is a little good news- spam bots decreased from 2% of traffic last year to half-a-percent in 2013. Read more at time.com.
- The Pirate Bay played the domain switching game this week and has wound up in Peru at thepiratebay.pe. A Pirate Bay spokesperson told TorrentFreak that a new system being developed will make domain names irrelevant and will lead to a rise in file-sharing services. The new system is a BitTorrent-powered browser that will let users share files without hosting the file on a central server. Read more at torrentfreak.com.
- Google announced a change to the way its Gmail client will show images in email messages. Instead of fetching the image directly from the server reference in the message, Google will server the image from Google’s own secure proxy servers. There’s some debate over how this might affect email marketers who put small images in email in order to track open rates. It seems the tracking might still work and even be more accurate but metadata like IP addresses and their associated geographical data might be lost. Read more at washingtonpost.com.
- Aereo, the TV streaming service that uses remote, miniature antennas to pull free over-the-air signals from broadcast networks like Fox, ABC, and NBC, is headed to the Supreme Court to battle the broadcasters that oppose its business model and have asked the court to appeal decisions made by the lower circuits, which ruled in Aereo’s favor. Aereo has now agreed with the opposition’s petition for the Supreme Court to hear the case. If Aereo wins, any “Aereo-like” technology will be irrelevant as Aereo will be deemed nationally legal. Read more at techcrunch.com.
- The new generation of game consoles is selling great in the US but the new games aren’t. NPD released its numbers for the video game market sales in November. Overall console sales were up 80% year over year on the strength of the launch of the Sony PS4 and Xbox One. Software sales, mostly meaning games, were down 41% year over year. Sony’s PS4 did outsell Xbox’s One but was also on sale for one more week during the month. NPD also noted sales of the Nintendo 3DS rose 15% year over year on the strength of the Legend of Zelda: A link between worlds. Read more at allthingsd.com.
- The FIDO Alliance lined up a new ally and it's none other than Microsoft. Microsoft will be a part of the Alliance's board of directors. Fido aims to bring simplicity to authentication. The Alliance's board counts Google, Lenovo, Paypal and others as its members. Read more at engadget.com.
For insight, analysis, and discussion of these topics and more, check out Tech News Today for December 13, 2013.