Here are today's top stories from Tech News Today for January 09, 2014:
- We told you Monday that Yahoo accidentally distributed malware in Europe to millions through malicious advertising posted on the Yahoo.com site - 4 day period between December 31 and January 3 - There may have been between 2 and 2.5 million infections. The malware redirected visitors to a site with even more malware. Today we’ve learned that some of the malware turned victims’ PCs into bitcoin miners -- gobbling up PC resources of the victims and generating money for the malware creators. Read more at bbc.co.uk.
- Fingerprints are so 2013. Samsung might be adding an eye scanner to its upcoming Galaxy S5 smartphone to compete against Apple’s iPhone 5s fingerprint scanner - That’s what Samsung's mobile V.P. Lee Young Hee tells Bloomberg in a story published today - Hee also said to expect the Galaxy S5 by April - and that the phone “will be paired with a new wearable device that will be an evolution of the Galaxy Gear smartwatch." Read more at bloomberg.com.
- Sexting teenagers aren’t the only ones who need messages that self-destruct - new iOS app called Confide enables encrypted, private, temporary messages - designed for professionals - uses email not phone numbers - screenshots difficult, sender notified if it happens - words are hidden unless users pass hand over the screen - ‘wand’ effect - notification for read messages - possible snag: government regulation of business requires audit trail and the retention of business messages. Read more at getconfide.com.
- Sure, all this wearable computing sounds promising, but how are we all willing to pay to buy into the future? - Google Glass is $1,500 - the Sony SmartWatch 2 runs you $200, The ‘Pebble Steel’ $249 - that's too expensive for a lot of people. Arcos says it's launching a basic smartwatch this summer for $50, which is cheaper than most watches. It'll handle smartphone notifications, music playback, will have a 1.5-inch non-capacitive e-ink screen, and, here's the wow factor - it can even tell the time. Read more at archos.com.
- Android and iOS dominate the market. But a Linux-based alternative called Tizen has powerful backers - Samsung, LG, Intel, Fujitsu, Huawei, Vodafone and Orange - Spokesperson for Japan’s largest carrier, TNN Docomo, told AFP that Tizen phones hit in March - Japanese paper Mainichi Shimbun said yesterday Samsung’s Tizen phone will be announced before Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, February 24 - details about Tizen app stores at that event - Other alternative platforms: Canonical’s Ubuntu Linux for smartphones, Firefox OS and Sailfish - Tizen has the best shot. Read more at computerworld.com.
- Tou know who comes to mind when I think of wearable technology? Dick Tracy. No, seriously, the original Smart Watch was a 2-Way Wrist Radio worn by the comic book cop in the 1940s... he was quite a trendsetter, and Bem Wireless is bringing him back with a watch called the Speaker Band.It’s really a Bluetooth microphone and speaker in wristwatch form that works with iOS or Android, it answer calls, lets you listen to music, has 6 hours of talk time, and even caller ID. It'll you you 50 dollars - and ships end of the month. Read more at pocket-lint.com.
- A Google+ user named Stefan M. noticed Chromecast icons in latest version of the Google+ Android app - those icons might reveal future plans to enable the app to display Google+ photos, hangouts and posts on TVs using Google’s Chromecast dongle. A Google representative told Tech News Today that: "We don't have any plans to announce at this time." Read more at gigaom.com.
- IBM’s Watson computer has had a lot of fun playing Jeopardy, but now it's time to put the artificial intelligence system to work. IBM is investing the non-trivial sum of one billion dollars into a new business unit for Watson, which includes a $100 million equity fund toward new innovation at its Watson Developers Cloud, which is currently available to developers. IBM also plans to hire 2,000 employees in New York City. The computer, which used to be the size of whole room, has slimmed down to the size of three pizza boxes. Read more at reuters.com.
- Would you trust an app to park your car? French company Valeo demo’d their prototype ‘automated parking valet’ app CES parking lot yesterday - iOS, Android - get out of the car before you park - Valeo’s main business is making car parts and electronics - Park4U system uses ultrasonic sensors, laser scanners and cameras already installed in some BMWs, Range Rovers and others - find a good spot, then park - when you’re ready to leave, the app can summon the car and it will pick you up - on the market in 4 years. Read more at valeo.com.
- Think twice next time you take to Facebook to complain about your crappy salary. GigaOM reports some financial startups are now checking Facebook and Twitter feeds before giving you a loan, and that a “new breed” of companies, like Kabbage are using social media to look for contradictions between what borrowers say to the bank and what they say on social media. They might also look at how many “friends” you have, kind of like a financial Klout score. They don't all work the same though, the startup Flurish (also known as LendUp) only checks social media when provided voluntarily by an applicant. Consumer advocate groups oppose the trend, and claim federal laws aren’t doing anything about it, according to The Wall Street Journal. Read more at gigaom.com.
For insight, analysis, and discussion of these topics and more, check out Tech News Today for January 09, 2014.