Google’s threatening tactics exposed in FTC report
A newly obtained 2012 Federal Trade Commission report shows the government decided not to pursue an antitrust lawsuit against Google. But, the investigators found evidence that Google was demoting its competitors in search results, putting its own services at the top—even if they weren’t as relevant. Worse, Google threatened to remove sites from the engine when they complained. The FTC got Google to agree to turn over a new leaf and change their algorithm so, in tests, things were less weighted in Google’s favor. Business Insider has a good summary if you’d like more info.
FB shines some light on the posting grey areas
This week Facebook published clearer Community Standards to help end the confusion over some of its policies. For example, the new standards say you must use your “authentic identity” and not necessarily your legal name (this was a huge issue with members of the non-traditional gender community and Native Americans were also having their accounts frozen). There are also new sections in there specifically about sexual exploitation and revenge porn, and the Standards also make it a bit more clear how they define harassment, nudity (breastfeeding photos have been a perceived problem) and hate speech. You can read them for yourself here.
Milky Way galaxy 50% larger than previously thought
Our galaxy may look some kind of flat, spinning circle, but new research says it’s actually not. In fact, like Ruffles Potato Chips, the galaxy actually has ridges making it look, “like a piece of corrugated cardboard.” Because it’s 3D in a big way, it makes the Galaxy about 50 percent bigger than we thought—how cool is that?
Windows 10 coming this summer
Microsoft will be offering a free upgrade to Windows 10 for “hundreds of millions of customers” who are currently on their Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 systems. Heck, apparently Microsoft will even let those with pirated software upgrade—but through the Windows Store (which doesn’t sound like it’ll be free for these folks, although it originally sounded like they could upgrade for nothing).
Is Microsoft Explorer about to die?
This week multiple stories hit the web saying that Microsoft’s browser is going the way of the Dodo. The sensationalist headlines have been softened a bit as the story was clarified: there will be a new, yet-un-named Microsoft browser in the works code named “Project Spartan” but that doesn’t mean IE is completely dead. Apparently it’ll still live on in some versions of Windows 10 for enterprise compatibility.
Settlement reached in Target data breach
Target will pay $10 million dollars in a class-action case stemming from their 2013 data breach. It still needs to get the okay from federal court, but if approved, Target will create an account to pay victims—and up to $10,000 in damages. Now I’m almost wishing our credit card number had been stolen…but not really. If you were affected, I hope you qualify for some compensation!
Try before you buy an Apple Watch
According to 9to5Mac, starting mid-April, most Apple Stores will have watch try-on stations. Reportedly you can make an appointment for a 15-minute slot to take the watch out for a spin (well, at the store, anyway). Of course, you’ll also have the chance to reserve an Apple Watch of your very own, and set a pick up time on April 24th when it launches. Walk-in trials will also be possible, but I would expect you’ll have to wait a while.
Look out Apple Watch—luxury Android watch coming soon
The luxury Swiss brand TAG Heuer announced they’ll be partnering with Google and Intel to create their own smartwatch. According to BloombergBusiness, “TAG Heuer is set to handle design and manufacture, while Intel will provide an SoC platform [system on a chip] and Google will lend its Android Wear platform and help develop software.” Price and features will be announced at launch, expected be at the end of the year.
Amazon gets green light to test drone delivery
After Amazon threatened to pull their drone delivery project out of the U.S., the FAA has given the company special permission to research, test, and train with its Prime Air delivery drones. Here’s the kicker though—like with the other exemptions the FAA has handed out, the drones have to stay within sight of the pilot at all time. Also, Amazon’s pilots must have at least a private pilot AND a current medical certification. These limitations will make it tough for Amazon to roll out drone delivery to any real scale…at least for now.
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