Daily Archives: June 5, 2015

Chrome adds new ‘Touch to Search’ feature for Android

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Android users will have another reason to boast over iOS. Chrome is rolling out a new Touch to Search feature, giving users a quick and easy way to contextually search from within the browser. Of course, it’s only available on Android mobile devices. This one-touch search is a welcome feature instead of having to fumble around to highlight, copy, paste, and search on your mobile browser.

Touch to Search sends a selected word to Google Search, using the current webpage as context for the search. The feature can be toggled on or off in Settings. The new feature is part of a server-side update from Chrome, and it, reportedly, isn’t appearing on all devices yet.

This appears to be a more well-thought out version of one of Chrome’s infrequently used flags, which let you test new Chrome features that haven’t been perfected yet. The “contextual search” flag allows users to tap a word to search for it. But, users complained the tap is too short, leading them to search for words accidentally; therefore, hindering the browsing experience. With Chrome’s new feature, the word must be highlighted to search for it, leading to less accidental searches.

Earlier, Google announced its Now on Tap feature at I/O, which lets Google Now get things done by jumping from app to app with a few taps. Tap to Search is along the same lines, but its functionality is limited to within the Chrome browser.

If you don’t already have Chrome for your Android device, you can always download it from the Google Play Store.

Source: Reddit

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Brainwaves Could Replace Passwords

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WASHINGTON: The way human brain responds to certain words could be used to verify a person’s identity, according to a new study which suggests that brainwaves may one day replace passwords.

Researchers from Binghamton University in the US observed the brain signals of 45 volunteers as they read a list of 75 acronyms, such as FBI and DVD.

They recorded the brain’s reaction to each group of letters, focusing on the part of the brain associated with reading and recognising words, and found that participants’ brains reacted differently to each acronym, enough that a computer system was able to identify each volunteer with 94 per cent accuracy.

According to Sarah Laszlo, assistant professor of psychology and linguistics at Binghamton University, brain biometrics are appealing because they are cancellable and cannot be stolen by malicious means the way a finger or retina can.

“If someone’s fingerprint is stolen, that person can’t just grow a new finger to replace the compromised fingerprint – the fingerprint for that person is compromised forever.

Fingerprints are ‘non-cancellable’,” Laszlo said.

“Brainprints, on the other hand, are potentially cancellable. So, in the unlikely event that attackers were actually able to steal a brainprint from an authorised user, the authorised user could then ‘reset’ their brainprint,” Laszlo said.

The study was published in the journal Neurocomputing.

Facebook Messenger now lets you send friends a map with your location

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Facebook Messenger has never been shy about letting friends see your location. If you’ve got location enabled in a conversation, the person you’re chatting with can just tap on any message to see where you were when it was sent. But now Facebook is making it a bit easier to share other locations with your friends, family, and colleagues; a new feature coming to Messenger will let you share a location directly inside the conversation. And this doesn’t have to be your current position. You can share a meeting spot at a music festival or the restaurant where you’re meeting a friend for dinner. Facebook says this is replacing the old location feature.

With this update, you have full control over when and how you share your location information. You only send a location when you tap on the location pin and then choose to send it as a separate message. You can also share a location—like a meeting spot—even if you’re not there.

Facebook is quick to note that nothing is changing in terms of permissions or when it’s pinging for your whereabouts. “Messenger does not get location information from your device in the background — only each time you select a location and tap Send when you use the Messenger app,” the company said in a blog post. And of course, you’ve always got the option of disabling location entirely. This is just one of those “there when you need it” features.

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SpaceX’s New Satellite Network Will Beam Down Internet Access

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Elon Musk, the PayPal co-founder now leading Tesla and SpaceX, never seems to be short on radical ideas. His space outfit has filed an application with the FCC last week for a new network of satellites that will beam down internet access to areas that have little or almost no connection to the internet right now. SpaceX initially plans on launching two satellites initially and eight in total, it expects these satellites to last up to a year.

Earlier this year SpaceX raised $1 billion from Google and it’s believed that the company is going to put this money to use for this network of internet beaming satellites.

If it’s granted the permission to go ahead, SpaceX could launch these satellites from Vandenberg Air Force Base on the California coast instead of Cape Canaveral in Florida. This is mentioned in the orbital parameters provided in its application.

The test satellites will provide internet broadband to three locations, Redmond, Washington, Fremont, California and Hawthorne, California. Once the testing is completed more satellites will probably be sent up to connect more remote parts of the Earth to the internet.

SpaceX isn’t the only company that’s working to bring the internet to remote locations, Google is doing something similar with Project Loon and even Facebook is using internet-bearing drones for this purpose, but none of them are sending satellites up in space just yet.

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Facebook rolls out super lightweight app for people on slow mobile networks

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Earlier this year, Facebook piloted a new, stripped-down version of its mobile app aimed directly at developing markets. Called Facebook Lite, the app would allow people using phones that don’t have high-end specs and large batteries to connect to their network of friends. Today, Facebook Lite is getting an official rollout, landing first in Asia and later in parts of Africa, Latin America, and Europe.

The Facebook Lite app runs on Android, and is pared down to give people the absolute basics. Thus, it’s only 1MB, making it quick and easy to install. Data-heavy features like video and locations services are supported, but users will be able to receive push notifications and share pictures on the fly. The app has also been optimized to take advantage of 2G networks and work in areas with a bad signal.

Facebook has been pushing hard to get people in developing countries online (and using Facebook), perhaps most notably its experimental fleet of solar-powered internet drones. Its most recent initiative, Internet.org, is designed to encourage developers to design online services for their countries. However, the company has so far endured criticism for how the initiative could stifle net neutrality and competition.

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