Google Plus, Google’s social networking arm, is going to be shut down moments after the company announced a major data breach happened, wherein the private information of around 500,000 users was made public over a period of three years, ranging approximately from March 2015 to March 2018. What is really surprising about this data reveal is that when the breach happened last spring, Google decided to cover up the issue, rather than address it like the mature company it was expected to be.
The glitch happened when Google allowed close to 500 external apps (438 apps, to be precise,) to obtain users’ full names, email addresses, occupations, relationship statuses, genders and ages, even for accounts which were made private. While these tools require the permission of the users for access, the information is more often than not made publicly available to these apps through third party users. Google said it could not identify the users whose data was leaked and therefore, it did not want to send out a mass memo regarding the issue.
Post the reveal of the data breach, Google said it did release an internal memo about the bug, but did not tell its users because it wanted to avoid dealing with the immediate regulations that would have been certainly imposed. Incidentally, this was when Facebook was in the spotlight for the Cambridge Analytica scam and if Google came under the radar for this, the repercussions would be massive, to say the least.
Repenting its decision to not do anything about the breach earlier, Google has finally decided to do something now. Not only is Google going to shut down Google Plus, its initiative, Project Strobe, is going to conduct a root and branch initiative of the third party developer access to Google accounts and Android data.
After this breach was brought to the public’s notice, Google has now decided to shut down Google Plus for a period of 10 months. However, people will still be able to use this networking platform for enterprise purposes and not for personal purposes. To improve the experience of the users using the G Suite, Google is going to notify customers the moment a data breach happens. Further initiatives on how Google is going to protect users’ data are going to be announced soon.
Paul Allen: Remembering This Tech Genius Through His Journey
When you think Microsoft, you invariably think of Bill Gates. However, how many times have you stopped to think about Paul Allen, the other man behind one of the most successful tech companies in recent history? While not many know Allen was the reason Microsoft came to be, the history of Allen’s life journey is just as enriching and exciting.
The first seeds of invention
Paul Allen and Bill Gates were friends since they were really young. Growing up, they discussed their dreams and hopes, but never thought they would ever work together as adults. When the time came for them to branch into the world of innovation, invention and creation, it was Allen who came up with the genius idea of him and Gates working together.
Their first ever venture together was way back when they were in school, in the year 1972, when Allen and Gates launched Traf o Data, a software company which analyzed and tracked traffic patterns. Although this project didn’t do as well as the two hoped, it definitely sowed the seeds of a new line of thought for both Paul Allen and Bill Gates. Both of them grew up and went to different colleges, with Allen landing up in Washington State University and Gates going to Harvard.
While Gates lasted a little longer at university, Allen dropped out after the first two years, realising college was not his cup of tea. When Allen found out Gates was looking at creating new software for computers, he suggested they work together and this is how their first successful project, BASIC, came to being. Allen also played an integral role in naming the company Micro-Soft. In fact, he was the one who suggested the name!
By the time Gates and Allen had reached the point of success that propelled Microsoft to the number one position, Allen was already looking at how to market Microsoft’s patent software. When Gates promised the world IBM would change the way personal computers functioned, it was Allen who completed the successful purchase of the software (Quick and Dirty Operating System) which changed the world!
The beginning of the end
Three years after one of the most historically turning points in the journey of Microsoft took place, Allen left Microsoft to focus on his health. He was fighting with Hodgkin’s lymphoma for and his deteriorating health was making it difficult for him to keep with the day to day going ons of Microsoft. Three years after he left Microsoft, Allen started Vulcan, named after the Roman god of fire, making sure personal investments were in order.
Despite struggling with cancer for this long in his life, Allen loved to live life king size. From owning a magnificent yacht to owning more than one prominent sports team, Paul Allen made sure he lived a life where every moment was lived to the fullest. In October 2018, Allen announced he was diagnosed with cancer that came back after a long period of remission and nothing he was doing was really helping him get better.
With Vulcan growing into one of the largest investment firms, Allen has been able to fund several prominent places in Seattle including the city’s Museum of Pop Culture, Washington State University and University of Washington. Also known for being a lover of rock music, Allen also founded a band called The Underthinkers and wrote or co wrote EVERY single song in the 2013 album!
An inspirational man, a dreamer and creator like never before, the day the world lost this tech genius (October 15, 2018,) was a truly sad day. Forever labelled as the day the world lost a brilliant genius, recovering from Paul Allen’s death is not going to be an easy feat. Despite officially leaving Microsoft in the year 1983, Allen stayed on the board of directors till 2000 and when he passed away, he stood as the 44th wealthiest man in the world. Just like Bill Gates mourns the loss of one of his oldest and closest friends, so does the rest of the world.
All You Need To Know About Anil Kumble’s AI Enabled Power Bat
Anil Kumble’s Spektacom Technologies, in partnership with Microsoft, has just developed a brand new Artificial Intelligence (AI) enabled Power Bat. With the ability to collect data required for every shot hit and the details displayed both to the audience and the players, the new bat is aimed at making cricket an increasingly interesting sport! The basic aim of the new Power Bat is to increase engagement between both the audience and the coaches, giving players the chance to improve their game by leaps and bounds!
— Microsoft India (@MicrosoftIndia) October 11, 2018
A unique concept, the Power Bat has a Microsoft Azure Sphere sticker on its shoulder, whereby as soon as the batsman hits the ball, data on a wide range of parameters like speed on impact, twist on impact and quality of the shot are recorded, captured and processed. This processing and capturing is enabled with the help of a new measurement called Power Speks. The date derived from the Power Bat can be recorded during coaching and practice matches, giving the players a chance to improve their performance during the actual game.
“Our vision is to bring sports closer to fans through interesting ways of engagement using real time sports analytics. At the same time, it is important that the technologies used are seamless and do not disrupt the game or obstruct the players,” Anil Kumble said while talking about the new Power Bat. He further added, “With Microsoft, we have been able to create a secure and effective solution, and with Star India, we have a partner that can stimulate and excite fan engagement.”
Anil Kumble and Microsoft came together to redefine the way people played this much loved sport with this game changing bat! The Power Bat was revealed a couple of days ago and it is already touted to be the game changer for cricket as a sport by 2019!
Speaking about the collaboration, Anil Kumble tweeted,
— Anil Kumble (@anilkumble1074) October 11, 2018
The CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella also replied to Anil Kumble in a tweet
Bringing the power of Azure, AI and Azure Sphere to cricket, transforming how the game is played, coached and watched. https://t.co/uZOl0uS3sI
— Satya Nadella (@satyanadella) October 14, 2018
Facebook Rolls Out New Safety Measures
It goes without saying that when you put your thoughts out into the world, you deserve to feel safe and when this safety is attacked, your mental health may get affected. Facebook, a platform for promoting your thoughts and ideas, has moved from being a purely interactive social media platform to a place where trolls and trollers rule the roost. To protect its more than 2 billion regular user base, Facebook has passed new tools and tweaked its settings to act against the bullies.
Delete, moderate and remove negative comments
“Do not feed the trolls,” is what people have always said. How often does one listen to the wise sayings of the people with experience? Never, right? If a bear pokes you, you cannot help but poke back and this is how negativism breeds on a constant basis on Facebook. To counter this growing trend of hatred, Facebook is going to give its users more control over the comments.
Sharing more details about last week’s security issue for developers using Facebook Login: https://t.co/gtKc3Jm7Z2
— Facebook (@facebook) October 2, 2018
Now, not only can you hide multiple comments, you can also delete them with the click of a button. The new feature is going to be rolled out on desktops, Android and iOS versions. Furthermore, if you think a family member or friend is being bullied, harassed or abused, you can report the said post on behalf of the friend or family member. Once reported, the Community Operations team will take a look at the post and decide the required action on the basis of Facebook’s rules and regulations.
To simplify matters, if you think the decision taken by the Committee is not what you thought it would be (both for the person who raised the complaint and the person against whom the complaint has been made,) you can make an appeal and the Committee will decide accordingly.
Protection of not just individual users, but celebrities as well
So far, Facebook has allowed people to talk, criticize and discuss about celebrities and the things they have said and done, without any regard to the person’s well being. Now, Facebook is working on protecting these celebrities by making sure no celebrity on the platform is personally and negatively attacked.
Previously, Facebook had introduced a tool that protected celebrities up to a certain age. However, to improve the safety standards, the social media platform is now expanding its policies to protect celebrities without age as a barrier. With Facebook’s new tools, anyone experiencing things they do not want to on Facebook can now report, block the user and ignore the messages without letting the harasser know.
Taking safety one step forward, Facebook is going to start a new partnership with the National Parent Teachers Association in the United States and will organise over 200 community events to address the challenges faced by parents in all the states. Further, Facebook is also going to offer peer to peer anti bullying and safety programs to schools in the United Kingdom. By organising and supporting safety programs in India, Facebook is spreading the message of improving the standards of online safety in all the countries where this social media platform is used on a regular basis.
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