Author: News Aggregate

Look Out Apple: Is Spotify Building Its Own Smart Speaker?

Spotify is working on a line of “category defining” hardware products and is ready to start setting up the manufacturing process. The streaming music company intends to create a hardware category “akin to Pebble Watch, Amazon Echo, and Snap Spectacles,” according to job adverts posted over the past year. One ad for a senior product manager, posted last April, called for an expert to “define the product requirements for internet connected hardware [and] the software that powers it.” Today, a trio of job adverts (spotted by industry site MusicAlly) have been posted, seeking an “operations manager,” “senior project manager: hardware production,” and “project manager: hardware production and engineering” for the hardware. The first of those adverts states that “Spotify is on its way [to] creating its first physical products and set-up an operational organization for manufacturing, supply chain, sales and marketing.” The new hire would manage the supply chain for the new product, suggesting the company is ready to begin the manufacturing process shortly. Spotify declined to comment on this story. Historically, the streaming service has largely relied on third-parties to make it available to users. Its Spotify Connect feature allows products such as Amazon’s Echo, Sony’s PS4, and even BMW 7 series cars to directly pull streams from the cloud. But it has also faced pressure from a few manufacturers who don’t want to incorporate the Connect functionality...

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Google Pay Is In, Android Pay and Google Wallet Are Out

Two-and-a-half years after it launched its Android Pay system for mobile purchases, Google is revamping its digital payments platform to make it “simpler, safer, and more consistent” for users. The company announced today that it is rolling out a new Google Pay app for Android device users that will replace its previous app, Android Pay. It’s also giving “a fresh coat of paint” to its seven-year-old peer-to-peer payment system, Google Wallet, now renamed Google Pay Send. Google first unveiled its new plans for mobile payments in January, and even more updates are in the works, with additional features expected to become available over the next few months. Google Pay across the Google Ecosystem The new Google Pay app is part of Google’s wider plan to bring mobile payment capabilities to every part of the Google environment, according to Gerardo Capiel, product management director for consumer payments, and Varouj Chitilian, engineering director for consumer payments. “We’re currently working on bringing Google Pay to all Google products, so whether you’re shopping on Chrome or with your Assistant, you’ll have a consistent checkout experience using the cards saved to your Google Account,” Capiel and Chitilian noted today on the Google Blog. “As we continue to expand to even more devices and services, the new app offers an exciting glimpse of what?EU?s to come.” The new Google Pay app features a Home tab...

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What Do We Know About Hospital Data Breaches?

Almost every month, a new data breach hits another organization. Many of these involve sensitive patient data at hospitals and medical centers, highlighting the need for better security solutions within our healthcare systems. A recent study provides insight into the type of data breaches hospitals face and which kinds of hospitals are most at risk. Reported in the February issue of The American Journal of Managed Care, the study found that improper disposal or theft of paper records and patient films still happens more often than network attacks. However, much more data is exposed when a cyberattack or electronic data breach occurs. “Even with sophisticated health information technology (IT) systems in place,” the report noted, “security breaches continue to affect hundreds of hospitals and compromise thousands of patients’ data.” Ransomware Rise The researchers, who analyzed data from a 7-year period from 2009 through 2016, pointed out that healthcare hackers no longer rely on just selling stolen data. Instead, many use “ransomware” tactics to shut down systems unless they are paid a financial bounty. In May 2017, for example, a crippling ransomware hack hit the British Health System and many others. Dubbed WannaCry and WannaCrypt, the huge ransomware attack on May 12 hit hospitals, schools, government agencies, and organizations around the world, locking them out of their own systems and demanding ransom to be paid in Bitcoin. Rare But Dangerous...

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New ARM-Powered Windows 10 PCs Have a Downside

When Microsoft unveiled a new lineup of Windows 10 PCs running on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon ARM chips in December, it touted those devices as a way for businesses to transform with “always-connected” computing. However, it turns out those ARM-based devices will also be limited in ways that x86-based PCs are not. Microsoft offered details about those limitations last Thursday in an online document for developers. After it was spotted by Thurrott and other tech publications, however, the document was retitled and the list of limitations removed. On the updated page on the Windows developer center, Microsoft now offers a list of solutions for ARM-based devices that don’t handle desktop apps in the same way as x86 PCs. In the original version, viewable on the Internet Archive and in screenshots, Microsoft identified six “necessary limitations” inherent to Windows 10 on ARM, including lack of support for x64 apps and improper functioning of assistive technologies and cloud storage apps. Win 10 on ARM Is Not Win 10 on x86 Among the other limitations for ARM-based Windows 10 PCs that Microsoft identified in its original post: no support for drivers other than ARM64, some non-functioning games, no support for the Windows Hypervisor Platform, and incorrect performance of some apps that assume the device is running a mobile version of Windows. “This list must have been published by accident, as the software giant removed...

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Despite Expert Advisers, Facebook Forges Ahead with Kids’ App

Facebook is forging ahead with its messaging app for kids, despite child experts who have pressed the company to shut it down and others who question Facebook’s financial support of some advisers who approved of the app. Messenger Kids lets kids under 13 chat with friends and family. It displays no ads and lets parents approve who their children message. But critics say it serves to lure kids into harmful social media use and to hook young people on Facebook as it tries to compete with Snapchat or its own Instagram app. They say kids shouldn’t be on such apps at all — although they often are. “It is disturbing that Facebook, in the face of widespread concern, is aggressively marketing Messenger Kids to even more children,” the Campaign For a Commercial-Free Childhood said in a statement this week. Messenger Kids launched on iOS to lukewarm reception in December. It arrived on Amazon devices in January and on Android Wednesday. Throughout, Facebook has touted a team of advisers, academics and families who helped shape the app in the year before it launched. But a Wired report this week pointed out that more than half of this safety advisory board had financial ties to the company. Facebook confirmed this and said it hasn’t hidden donations to these individuals and groups — although it hasn’t publicized them, either. Facebook’s donations to...

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