Tag Archives: WCCFtech.com

Researchers find a way to snoop on you through your phone’s vibration motor

Cover up your webcam, disable microphone access and put on your tinfoil hat — but it won’t make any difference, because the Illuminati can get at you through your phone’s vibration motor now. Well, kind of, anyway. Your best defense? Talk in a high voice. The “VibraPhone” research comes from Romit Roy Choudhury and Nirupam Roy, associate professor and PhD candidate, respectively, at the Electrical and Computer Engineering school of the University of Illinois at Ubana-Champaign. It’s a surprisingly simple idea, really: A vibration motor is really like a tiny speaker. And every speaker can be a microphone. Think about it. Okay, if it’s not obvious — a magnetic surface that has its position controlled by an applied voltage can also be arranged so that its own position changes that voltage instead. One way it’s a speaker, the other way it’s a microphone. So it’s not “fundamentally surprising” that the vibration

Photo-sharing app for health professionals, Figure1, adds direct messaging

Figure1, which started out as a photo-sharing app for medical professionals, has quietly added direct messaging to its platform, showing signs the startup wants to be more of a Facebook and less of an Instagram in its field. Toronto- and New York-based Figure1 only allows full access to its platform to users who are verified medical professionals or students, including: doctors, nurses, dentists, physicians’ assistants, x-ray and lab technicians, pharmacists, medical students or residents. The app has 1 million registered users to-date and, on average, 10,000 unique users check in to use Figure1 every hour according to co-founder and CEO Gregory Levey. Users typically share images of challenging or classic cases, and often seek help from the Figure1 community about how to treat patients, or even diagnose them. The app includes a “paging” feature that lets users solicit help immediately with time-sensitive cases from specific specialties. Patients’ personal information is

T-Mobile is giving every customer a share of its stock

T-Mobile had another of its un-carrier events today, which now have so many regular giveaways they are starting to look like an episode of Oprah. First, the company announced that every current T-Mobile account holder on a postpaid plan will get one share of common stock in the company, which is currently worth about $43. New qualifying customers will also get one share once they sign up with T-Mobile. Plus, existing customers will be able to earn another free share (or two if you’ve been a customer for over five years) for each new customer they refer to the company — maxing out at 100 shares a year. The prospectus for the offering is here, and gives a little more color on how exactly the promotion will work. Once a customer redeems the share via T-Mobile’s new app, the security will be held in a brokerage account at LOYAL3 Securities. Stockholders can then hold on

Facebook Live attacks Twitch with game streaming

If people spend a lot of time doing something on the Internet, you can bet Facebook wants a piece. Its latest conquest attempt is the video game streaming business ruled by Twitch and YouTube. Today, Facebook announced its working with World Of Warcraft maker Blizzard to build social login and Facebook Live video streaming into their games, starting with its new blockbuster Overwatch. Blizzard gamers will be able to login with Facebook so they can easily find friends to play with and share in-game content back to the News Feed. Thanks to the Facebook Live API, that includes live-streamed footage of them playing. Facebook users will be able to watch their gamer buddies battle monsters and compete for glory while leaving real-time comments. 100 million people use the Amazon-owned Twitch service each month, while 650 million play Facebook-connected games, showing huge potential for this new feature. Video games have become

Facebook is disabling messaging in its mobile web app to push people to Messenger

Facebook is removing the messaging capability from its mobile web application, according to a notice being served to users: “Your conversations are moving to Messenger,” it reads. Welcome news to the millions like me who switched to the web app in order to avoid Messenger in the first place! At the moment, you can just dismiss the notice and go about your business. But soon the warning will become an impenetrable wall, and your only option will be to download the official Messenger app. I’m a little worried about this, because surely the mobile site is much used by people who have good reason not to download the app. People whose phones don’t have official clients, for instance, or who can’t upgrade to the latest version of an OS, and must access via the web. And really, it strikes me as quite a hostile move, as it did before when

Instagram’s new algorithm that puts the best posts first goes live for all

If you’re looking at your Instagram today, you might notice something has changed: older posts from friends and other accounts you care about are now appearing above those that were shared more recently. Yes, the new Instagram algorithm that rearranges the order of posts to show you the “best” posts first is now live for all. We already knew that the company was planning to reorder our feeds. In March, Instagram announced plans to move away from showing posts in strict reverse chronological order, and instead boost those based on the “likelihood you’ll be interested in the content, your relationship with the person posting, and the timeliness of the post,” as it explained at the time. If you think that sounds a lot like parent company Facebook’s News Feed algorithm, you’d be right. As Facebook came to understand long ago, the posts people want to see aren’t necessarily those that are the

Snapchat secretly acquires Seene, a computer vision startup that lets mobile users make 3D selfies

Advertisement Snapchat has acquired 3D photo app maker Seene (also known as Obvious Engineering) a couple of months ago, TechCrunch has learned. Seene lets you capture 3D models from your phone with a simple smartphone camera. Snapchat could use Seene’s format for a brand new category of selfie lenses, a new 3D photo format, and potentially for future virtual reality projects. According to our sources, Snapchat was interested in Seene’s computer vision technology and its engineering team more than for its consumer product. As TechCrunch’s Matthew Panzerino said when he covered Seene’s app back in 2013: “I’m not sure what kind of future an app like Seene has at scale without the welcoming arms of a larger entity.” So step forward Snapchat as that larger entity, with its ongoing need for novelty to keep its users engaged and sharing fresh content — the lifeblood of its social platform. Seene’s engineering

Facebook kills off Notify news app

Facebook’s attempt at a real-time, notification-based news app is shutting down. Today Facebook sent an alert to users telling them “Thanks for using Notify. We’re transitioning parts of Notify into other Facebook products, and the app will no longer be supported.” Facebook launched Notify in November, allowing users to select from over 70 publishers that they wanted to send them news notifications. People would receive short summaries they could click through to view full news articles. But within days, it seems like most people had forgotten about the app, and Facebook never really talked about it again. Facebook now tells me that: “Starting on Wednesday, we will begin integrating Notify functionality into other Facebook products, like Messenger, and will be removing Notify from the App Store. Since launching Notify, we’ve learned a lot about how to make notifications as timely and relevant as possible and we heard from people using the

Commerce at Twitter is not dead

The reports of commerce’s death at Twitter have been greatly exaggerated, according to a tweetstorm by Nathan Hubbard, Twitter’s head of commerce. Last month BuzzFeed reported that Jack Dorsey had put Buy Buttons, product pages, and other commerce efforts on the “back-burner”, and the commerce team was shifted into other divisions. But now Hubbard writes “commerce is alive and well at Twitter Our commerce work has always been much broader than just buy buttons”, “Industry is just in the first phases of parsing product/market fit for the Buy Button concept across products, services and platforms”, and “As such, rumors of their demise have been greatly exaggerated :)”. Hubbard explains that Twitter learned a lot from Buy buttons and he expects they’ll come back, but in the meantime it’s concentrating on the success of dynamically personalized product ads and using customer service conversations as jumping off points for commerce. Facebook came

Gawker CEO Nick Denton goes after thin-skinned Silicon Valley billionaires

Gawker Media CEO Nick Denton joined Kara Swisher on stage at Vox Media’s Code Conference next to an empty chair — reserved for Peter Thiel, who is involved in a lawsuit against Gawker and did not attend the conference. The conversation centered around Gawker’s decision to publish a story that noted that Thiel was gay — among other controversial stories that the media organization has published — and the noteworthiness of those stories, which now could potentially significantly damage the company as a result of a series of lawsuits. The primary one is, of course, the publication of the Hulk Hogan sex tape that now threatens to bankrupt the company, which Thiel came out saying he was involved in funding the case. Gawker Media is known for a lot of great stories, Denton said (like Gizmodo’s coverage of Facebook trending topics), but some of them may have missed the mark. “There are

Google tests a feature that tells you which apps to remove when you run out of room on your phone

Running out of room on your smartphone is a problem many mobile consumers have today, thanks to sizable photo, video, and music libraries saved on their device. That means that when these users try to download a new app, that process may fail due to a lack of disk space. Since mid-May, Google been testing a new feature that could help solve this problem. Thanks to an updated user interface in Google Play, this feature would suggest which apps could be uninstalled to make room for the new download. This news was first reported by the blog Android Police, which spotted this “uninstall manager” in the wild. When a user tries to download an app they don’t have enough space for, a new screen will pop up suggesting apps they could uninstall to free up space. It also links to “Settings > Storage” where you can delete unneeded media files. Unfortunately, it doesn’t suggest uploading files

Tile raises $18 million to make personal belongings easy to find

To help people find lost, stolen or misplaced personal effects with the proverbial touch of a button, a startup called Tile has raised $18 million in a Series B funding round led by Bessemer Venture Partners. For the unfamiliar, Tile makes square, waterproof tags that employ Bluetooth low-energy radio and GPS technology to find objects they’re attached to, like wallets, keychains, purses and gym bags. A user affixes a Tile to something they deem essential or valuable, and when they need to find that item, they fire up the Tile app on a mobile device to see if it is within a hundred feet or so. If an item is nearby, the Tile app signals it to beep, to help users find what’s obscured from view. If an item is further away, the app gives coordinates so that a user can go fetch their belongings, or have someone else do

The best Meeker 2016 Internet Trends slides and what they mean

Mary Meeker’s essential 2016 Internet Trends Report 4 hours ago by Josh Constine Facebook’s new DeepText AI categorizes everything you write 1 hour ago by Josh Constine Salesforce buys Demandware for $2.8B, taking a big step into e-commerce 10 hours ago by Ingrid Lunden On painful Apple rumors 8 hours ago by Matt Burns An open letter to Tesla and Google on driverless cars 7 hours ago by John Thuma Instagram officially announces its new business tools yesterday by Sarah Perez It might be time to stop looking for the WeChat of the West 1 hour ago by Hamish McKenzie Sundar Pichai stays diplomatic about Google building its own phones 2 hours ago by Matthew Lynley Sheryl Sandberg: Peter Thiel will remain on the Facebook board 1 hour ago by Matthew Lynley Source: TechCrunch.com Mobile

Facebook’s new DeepText AI categorizes everything you write

If Facebook knows what your status update is about, it can show it to people who care about that topic. If it understands the difference between “I just got out of the taxi” and “I need a ride” messages, it can ask if you want an Uber. If it detects that you’re trying to sell something in a status update, it can automatically format post with the price and item details. And if Facebook can determine what kinds of comments on celebrities’ posts are interesting and not just “OH MY GOSH I LOVE YOU”, it can surface ones you’ll actually want to read. These are the big applications for Facebook’s newest artificial intelligence system called “DeepText”. 400,000 new stories and 125,000 comments on public posts are shared every minute on Facebook. DeepText will help Facebook analyze several thousand per second across 20 languages with near-human accuracy. DeepText helps Facebook Messenger

It might be time to stop looking for the WeChat of the West

Hamish McKenzie Crunch Network Contributor How to join the network I was recently in China, which meant I was living on WeChat. All my meetings, from CEOs to academics to old friends, were arranged through the app. I authenticated my identity for free Wi-Fi at shopping malls with WeChat. I checked in for a flight by scanning a QR code through WeChat. I watched office workers in Shenzhen pay for their lunches with WeChat. I saw a hawker selling beauty products at rip-off prices and accepting payments via WeChat. On the subway, most people were chatting with friends on… Facebook Messenger. Just kidding! You know what they’re on. Tencent’s messaging app might even be giving China an economic advantage over the West. In the U.S., people are split between multiple messengers and email. There is friction in switching between each, and opportunities lost because of the fragmentation. In China, everyone