Uber Technologies Inc has added two top vehicle security researchers, the company announced, high-profile additions that come as the ride-hailing service ramps up its work on technology for self-driving cars.
Charlie Miller, who had been working at Twitter Inc, and Chris Valasek, who worked at security firm IOActive, have resigned from their jobs and will join Uber this week.
Miller and Valasek won wide attention this month after demonstrating that they could hack into a moving Jeep.
Uber said that Miller and Valasek will join the company’s Advanced Technologies Center, a research laboratory Uber opened in Pittsburgh in February and staffed with dozens of autonomous vehicle experts hired away from Carnegie Mellon University.
An Uber spokeswoman said Miller and Valasek will work with the company’s top security officers “to continue building out a world-class safety and security program at Uber.”
Raffi Krikorian, who heads Uber’s Advanced Technologies Center, tweeted a welcome to the duo last week.
Miller tweeted that he was looking forward to starting his new job on Tuesday. Valasek tweeted that his last day at IOActive will be Monday.
As Uber plunges more deeply into developing or adapting self-driving cars, Miller and Valasek could help the company make that technology more secure.
Uber envisions autonomous cars that could someday replace its hundreds of thousands of contract drivers. The San Francisco company has gone to top-tier universities and research centers to build up this capability.
Relevant tweets will appear in desktop results for queries performed in English. The search doesn’t need to include the term “twitter” or twitter hashtags — if there are tweets that Google thinks are relevant, it will surface them anyway.
Last Friday, for instance, a search for “President Obama” returned recent tweets from Obama’s Twitter account near the top of the page, below a few news articles.
The tweets that appear will include photos and links that may have been contained in the tweet.
Google has provided links to tweets in its search results for a long time, but showing the actual tweets could potentially give a boost to Twitter at a time when it’s struggling to add new users.
Google noted the expansion on Friday in an update to its earlier announcement around the mobile rollout.
The company has said it will make the feature available in other languages besides English.
Facebook, for instance, is the largest social network in the world, with more than 1 billion active monthly users. But it didn’t garner significant growth among U.S. Internet users in the past three years, according to a new study from the Pew Research Center.
Some 72% of online U.S. adults use Facebook today. That is up only 5 points from 67% in 2012, Pew noted.
By comparison, Pinterest more than doubled its user base, going from 15% of online U.S. adults in 2012 to 31% today. Similarly, Instagram also showed strong momentum, growing from 13% three years ago to 28% now.
Other major players, including Twitter and LinkedIn, also saw growth but not at such a strong pace.
Pew reported that 23% of online adults use Twitter, a 7-point increase from the 16% who used it in 2012. As for LinkedIn, a quarter of online adults use the site, up from 20% in 2012, the survey noted.
“Interesting but not surprising,” said Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with ZK Research. “I have six kids under 23 and none of them use Facebook regularly. I think Facebook is almost considered an older person’s social tool now… Much of the growth in the younger population is on Instagram, Vine, etc.”
The Pew study also shows that while younger users are using Instagram and Pinterest, they clearly haven’t abandoned Facebook.
According to Pew, 82% of online U.S. adults between the ages of 18 to 29 use Facebook, along with 79% of those between 30 and 49, 64% of those ages 50 to 64 and 48% of those 65 and older.
The company plans to test the device in the U.S., according to several messages posted on Twitter by the Project Ara team. Neither the exact location nor precise timing of the tests was given.
“We are looking at a few locations in the U.S.,” one tweet said.
The Project Ara smartphone is designed to let users easily swap out its components.
The idea is that users purchase the hardware modules, like processors and sensors, themselves and snap them together to create a customized smartphone. In so doing, users could improve their device on their own terms, rather than buying a new phone outright.
Google had planned to commence initial testing in Puerto Rico this year, though those plans were scrapped as part of a ”recalculation,” announced last week.
The hastag #Yeswearelate was affixed to one of the tweets on Monday.
Google did not immediately respond to comment further.
The app, called NewsCast, hasn’t been formally announced, but it was first spotted by Neowin’s Brad Sams. It takes in articles from around the Web and starts reading summaries of them to users in an ongoing playlist. Users can save articles for reading later and view the full text of any article NewsCast pulls in using a built-in browser or a distraction-free reading view.
It’s all designed to keep users up to date on the latest news while they’re commuting and don’t want to be staring at tiny text on their phone.
According to a publicly accessible webpage for the app, NewsCast is a proof-of-concept product from the Bing News and Speech teams and seems to be testing only inside Microsoft. The teams are “trying to validate several hypothesis”[sic] with the app, though it’s not clear what they’re testing. Collecting feedback from users is a major focus of NewsCast’s current build — tapping a feedback button in the app opens an email that includes a three-question survey about what users like, dislike and want from it in the future.
Microsoft isn’t the only tech company going after mobile news summaries. Facebook is reportedly testing its own Twitter-like news app, and Yahoo has received accolades for its News Digest app, which gives users bite-sized summaries about current events.
The increase is the largest ever seen between reporting periods by Twitter, wrote Jeremy Kessel, Twitter’s senior manager for global legal policy, in a blog post Tuesday.
The Transparency Report from the company indicated that government requests for account information in the first half rose by 52% and affected 78% more account holders than in the second half of last year.
The scope of the report has been expanded to include information on notices of alleged trademark violations and a section where users can check how different email providers handle the privacy and encryption of email messages from Twitter.
The total number of government requests for account information worldwide was 4,363 in the first half and referred to 12,711 accounts across Twitter, Vine and Periscope. Twitter received 2,436 requests from the U.S. that specified 6,324 accounts, which came largely in the form of subpoenas, which are usually orders to testify or provide information. In the second half of last year, the U.S. had made 1,622 information requests affecting 3,299 accounts.
Content removal requests were also on the upswing at 26% higher in the first half of this year in comparison to the second half of last year, and came primarily from Turkey and Russia. The number of accounts impacted also went up by 11%.
The increase in content removal requests reflect growing sensitivity in some countries over the use of social media for propaganda and communications by terror groups and political extremists.
“This is unacceptable and we’re not happy about it,” Jack Dorsey, who stepped in as interim chief executive on July 1, said on a call with analysts.
Twitter said it had 304 million core users in the second quarter, up from 302 million in the prior quarter.
Twitter’s struggles to increase its audience worries investors, who are focused on the company’s growth potential, and the latest figures did little to reassure them.
The data on users overshadowed the company’s second-quarter earnings and revenue, which exceeded expectations, and its bullish projections for future revenue.
Executives also made clear it would be a long process, and were candid about problems with the service.
“We do not expect to see sustained meaningful growth (in monthly active users) until we start to reach the mass market,” Chief Financial Officer Anthony Noto said on the call.
“We have not clearly communicated Twitter’s unique value. And as a result non-users continue to ask, ‘Why should I use Twitter?’ “Simply said, the product remains too difficult to use.”
Twitter recognizes “there is an issue that needs to be worked on,” Evercore ISI analyst Ken Sena said. “They were giving investors a sense of the challenge and I think the stock sell-off that you saw just reflected that.”
Herbalife Ltd has filed a petition requesting information from micro-blogging company Twitter Inc to identify an anonymous user who posted defamatory tweets against the weight-loss and nutritional products maker.
The petition for “discovery before suit” seeks to identify the person against whom a lawsuit can be filed.
Herbalife said it wants Twitter to provide information such as IP addresses and account details of the user who vilified the company and its management as “thieves, pill pushing frauds and bullies”.
“The twitter feed of @AfueraHerbaLIES contains not only defamatory, disparaging, and deceptive posts about Herbalife and its products, but also contains numerous insulting and offensive statements about Herbalife’s management team, its members, and even federal regulators,” the company said in the petition filed on Monday in Illinois.
Herbalife said the user’s tweets, accusing it of selling toxic and unregulated products, prejudice the company in its trade and are materially harmful to its reputation.
The company wants the court to order Twitter to preserve all information relating to the matter and also allow Herbalife to serve discovery upon Twitter, including document production requests.
“This is pretty straightforward. We are not going to sit back and let someone make false and defamatory statements about our company,” said Alan Hoffman, a representative for Herbalife.
Cortana always listens in order to hear its name and be a smart digital assistant. This is Microsoft answer to Siri and Google Now that is making its way to Windows 10.
Unfortunately, this will affect your notebook battery life. We have spoken with a few industry sources and we can definitely confirm that Windows 10 with enabled Cortana will have an impact on the battery life. We are testing this as we speak to check how big the impact is.
We don’t know how significant the battery life decrease will be, but the good thing is that you will be able to switch Cortana off in case you don’t need it. We heard that many new Toshiba notebooks will come with a dedicated Cortana button, as this is the easiest way to save battery life. Cortana on Toshiba won’t listen until you press the button.
It would be smart if Microsoft would come up with Cortana enable / disable keyboard shortcut. Win + Q will enable Cortana news while Win + S will bring you directly to the Cortana search engine.
Windows 10 seems to be a logical upgrade for anyone who has Windows 8.1 on their notebooks and misses the options from Windows 7, and some familiar UI elements. We use Windows 8.1 on some devices, while most of our computers still have Windows 7 and nothing more. Microsoft DirectX 12 will force us to Windows 10 but from what awe can tell from Preview release, the upgrade to Windows 10 from with 7 seems like quite seamless and logical step.
Just make sure to be aware that your notebook battery life might suffer because of Cortana. Have in mind that this “talk to your PC and expect a smart answer” option can be disabled.
As of the next build to the Windows Insider program, Microsoft will require that participants associate their Microsoft Account — typically the same username and password combination for accessing company services such as Outlook.com, OneDrive and Skype — with the preview on their PC.
“You’ll need to connect the MSA [Microsoft Account] that you registered for the Windows Insider Program with (and accepted the ‘Microsoft Windows Insider Program Agreement’) in order to continue receiving new Windows 10 Insider Preview builds (both Fast and Slow rings) from Windows Update,” wrote Gabriel Aul, the engineering general manager for Microsoft’s operating system group who regularly blogs about the preview.
Most testers have already done so, but those that haven’t need to toe the line. “We’re introducing new infrastructure in Windows Update to help us deliver new builds more effectively to Windows Insiders, and ensure that we’re flighting builds to people who have registered and opted in to the program,” said Aul.
Part of that move is due to the impending release of Windows 10, another to the fact that Microsoft will — contrary to past practices with beta programs — continue Insider after the initial launch.
Insider will then become Windows 10′s fastest release “branch” — Microsoft’s label for the multiple update cadences it will offer users — and receive new features, functionality and UI (user interface) and UX (user experience) changes before those on other tracks. Within Insider, users can select from different “rings” — subsets that denote how rough-edged the builds are — as they will be able to do if updating on the other tempos, “Current Branch” and “Current Branch for Business.”
Aul also reiterated what he had said previously on Twitter, that Insider participants would receive the July 29 first stable release starting that day.
As part of the acquisition, announced Wednesday, Twitter will discontinue Whetlab’s beta service on July 15, and will no longer accept sign-ups for the product. Current users will be able to export their data from Whetlabs’s website in either tab-separated format or JSON.
It’s not clear how Twitter plans to use Whetlab’s technology to enhance its existing machine-learning plans. However, the startup’s tool seems useful for any company implementing machine-learning techniques. The technology, which was developed by researchers at Harvard, Toronto and Sherbrooke universities, takes in information about the problem a user wants to solve with machine learning. It then gives the user a series of suggestions to help them optimize a machine-learning model to solve the problem.
Users don’t have to send Whetlab their data, nor do they need to use a special machine-learning toolkit, according to the company’s product page. “You can run your code on your own private machines at whatever scale you want. What we do is help you use those resources optimally by telling you what you should try next,” the page reads.
The acquisition makes sense for Twitter, which is trying to offer users more customized experiences to improve adoption of its microblogging service. Machine learning is likely critical to those initiatives, and acquiring technology that makes the application of machine-learning technology easier could benefit Twitter’s in-house development process.
Advertisers’ videos and those uploaded to Twitter natively through its new video recording tool will play automatically on the company’s desktop site and in its iOS app, with Android functionality coming soon, the company announced.
The changes also apply to videos recorded with Twitter’s Vine app and GIFs.
Autoplaying videos, though possibly annoying, will help Twitter compete against Facebook, which started placing autoplaying videos, including those from advertisers, in users’ feeds in 2013. Twitter makes the bulk of its money through advertising, and more Internet companies are looking to siphon video advertising dollars away from traditional TV.
On Twitter, the videos will start playing without sound unless they’re tapped on.
Twitter users who don’t want autoplaying videos can change their settings to revert to the click-to-play format. Users can also change their settings so videos only play automatically when they’re connected to Wi-Fi.
Users will not see auto-playing videos if they have a low bandwidth connection on their device, Twitter said.
Twitter is using the same amount of viewing time as Facebook to define a video “view”: three seconds.
Twitter began testing auto-playing videos earlier this year.
And many advertisers, analysts and investors say Twitter already has the right person for the job: not interim CEO Jack Dorsey but Adam Bain, the company’s president and head of revenue, who has emerged as an early favorite.
Twitter’s outgoing chief executive, Dick Costolo, resigned abruptly last Thursday amid pressure from investors to increase the user base and improve what’s known as direct response advertising, the most lucrative type on the microblogging site.
Those ads prompt users to take an action, such as signing up for a website or buying a product. Improving them is central to Twitter’s ability to make more money.
Before joining Twitter in 2010, Bain served as president of the Fox Audience Network where he was responsible for monetizing advertising platforms across News Corp’s web properties. At Twitter, he has helped aggressively grow the advertising platform. He holds many of the company’s most valuable relationship with advertisers and understands the media business, advertisers said, and could help redirect Twitter so it meets advertisers’ demands and makes more money.
For now, advertisers hope the management change will “light a fire” under Twitter, said Adam Epstein, chief executive of ad Marketplace, which works with search advertisers. Even though they have discussed ways to improve advertising with Twitter executives, the company has been slow to change.
“When you talk to Twitter, you can throw some great ideas on a whiteboard, but there seems to be a lack of urgency,” Epstein said.
They also hope Twitter makes the site easier to use so that more people become regular users and click on ads. Advertisers also want Twitter to provide data that allows them to gather more information on consumers.
Last week it was reported how Geeknet Inc. was in the process of being bought out by retailer Hot Topic for $16 a share or $37 million in cash.
However we have just discovered that deal was squashed because Thinkgeek got a better deal from Gamestop.
GameStop offered $20 per share and Hot Topic wanted away. GameStop’s $20 per share deal also includes $37 million in cash and comes out to a total valuation of $140 million.
Geeknet must pay Hot Topic a three percent “break-up fee,” which GameStop has agreed to reimburse.
What this will mean is that ThinkGeek customers can pick up ThinkGeek merchandise in GameStop stores.
The press release also mentions the potential of offering GameStop PowerUp Rewards members “exclusive, unique and cutting edge merchandise related to their favorite entertainment.”
The deal should be concluded by the end of GameStop’s second financial quarter of 2015, which will happen in August.
Hackers from Brazil have managed to discover a new exploit for the PS4 which enables them to bypass the DRM on any software and games.
A couple of weeks ago, a number of electronic stores in Brazil had been advertising the means to copy and run a series of ripped retail games on the console.
At the time little was known about the hack back then, but information gradually began to trickle out from customers and make its way around the web. Please see below for commentary from Lancope.
Gavin Reid, VP of threat intelligence, Lancope said that Sony was playing an arms race against groups that benefit from the abilities to copy and share games.
The hack originates from a Russian website and has been pushed into the public by Brasilian retailers. The hack isn’t necessarily a jailbreak for the PS4, nor is it really a homebrew technique.
What they did was use a retail PS4, with several games installed on it, with it’s entire game database and operating system (including NAN/BIOS). This was then dumped onto a hacked PS4 via Raspberry Pi.
The entire process costs about $100 to $150 to install 10 games and $15 per additional game.
“Open source groups like Homebrew with more altruistic motivations of extending the functionality of the console alongside groups selling modified consoles specifically to play copied games and of course the resell of the games themselves at fraction of the actuals costs. This has happened historically with all of the major consoles. It would be highly unlikely not to continue with the PS4,” he said.