Tech

Chrome adds new security features to stop mobile subscription scams
techcrunch.com
Google today announced that Chrome will soon get a new feature that aims to stop mobile subscription scams. Those are the kind of sites that ask you for your phone number and that then, unbeknownst to you, sign you up for a mobile subscription that’s billed through your carrier. Starting with the launch of Chrome 71 in December, Google will pop up a prominent warning when a site doesn’t make it clear that users are signing up for a mobile subscription. To make sure that developers who are legitimately using this flow to offer users a subscription don’t get caught up in this new system, Google also published a set of best practices for mobile billing today. Generally, developers are expected to make their billing information visible and obvious to users, display the actu [...]
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Netflix’s hackathon produces a way to navigate its iOS app with ARKit and Face ID
techcrunch.com
Netflix’s internal hackathons have consistently produced fun and often silly hacks, from that “Netflixtendo” hack a few years ago that let you run Netflix on the original NES to the more recent “audiobook mode” that turned Netflix series into old-school radio shows by way of Audio Descriptions. This year’s hackathon doesn’t disappoint either, with new hacks that are both as goofy and interesting as in years past, including an AR and Face ID-powered hack that lets you navigate Netflix with just your eyes, another designed for “Sharknado” fans and more. “Jump to Shark” lets viewers skip right to the good parts of the so-bad-it’s-good “Sharknado,” so they can watch the bloody action sequences with sharks, ins [...]
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Photomath raises $6 million for its math-solving app
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Photomath just raised a $6 million funding round from Goodwater Capital, with Learn Capital also participating. Photomath has created a hugely successful mobile app for iOS and Android with 100 million downloads so far. Photomath first launched at TechCrunch Disrupt London back in 2014. The company was working on text recognition technology. Photomath was just a demo app to promote that technology. But the startup accidentally created a consumer success. The app instantly attracted millions of downloads from many desperate students willing to learn math with their phones. Years later it is still one of the most downloaded apps in the App Store and Play Store. And the reason it’s been so successful is that it’s a simple concept. After downloading the app, you just have to point your pho [...]
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Instagram prototypes bully-proof moderated School Stories
techcrunch.com
Instagram is considering offering collaborative School Stories that only a certain school’s students can see or contribute to. And to make sure these Stories wouldn’t become bullying cesspools, Instagram’s code shows a warning that “School stories are manually reviewed to make sure the community is safe.” School Stories could create a fun space for kids to share with their peers beyond the prying eyes of their parents or strangers, though they could also exacerbate teen culture issues around envy and exclusionary social scenes. The code was first discovered by TechCrunch’s top tipster Jane Manchun Wong. Instagram declined to comment on the record regarding the code, though previous discoveries from its code that it also “no-comment’ed” [...]
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Google Pixel 3 XL users are getting twice the notch, thanks to a bug
techcrunch.com
Over the past two years, the notch moved from anomaly to fact of life, and no company has proven itself more pro-notch than Google. From its embrace of #notchlife in Android Pie to the downright gigantic one found up top on the Pixel 3 XL, Google’s really notchin’ it up. In fact, as noted by Android Police, the Pixel 3 XL has a notch so nice, Google’s delivering it twice. A number of owners have reported an admittedly hilarious bug that’s causing the massive handset to double up on the notch, with a second cutout appearing on the side of the device. So my Pixel randomly grew another notch today. https://t.co/c6Pff9MVmW pic.twitter.com/ugjfLmCkDZ — UrAvgConsumer (@UrAvgConsumer) October 24, 2018 Google has acknowledged (acknotchleged?) the issue and noted that it’s work [...]
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Apple News will launch a real-time election results hub on November 6
techcrunch.com
Apple is preparing to launch a new way for its customers to track election results. At 8 PM ET on November 6, the company will swap out the existing Midterm Elections section in the Apple News app and replace it with a new Election Night section instead. This section will also replace Apple News’ Digest tab at the bottom-center of the app, in order to lead users directly to the special section where they’ll be able to track the live results, updates on key races, latest developments and more. The company is partnering with the Associated Press for its real-time election results, as do many news organizations thanks to AP’s history and experience with verifying results. Here, Apple will use that AP data to inform a number of dynamic infographics, as well as offer a comple [...]
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Consumers spent $329M on the top 10 subscription video apps last quarter
techcrunch.com
Last year, the top subscription video apps like Netflix and Hulu raked in a combined $781 million, and that trend is showing no sign of slowing down in 2018. In the third quarter of 2018, U.S. consumers spent an estimated $329 million in the top 10 subscription video-on-demand apps across the App Store and Google Play — a figure that’s up 15 percent from the $285 million spent in Q1. The data is the latest in a new report from app intelligence firm Sensor Tower, which has been following the growth of subscription video apps for some time. Last year, for example, it found that Netflix’s app topped the charts in terms of revenue, when compared with all the other non-game apps on the market. Netflix hasn’t fallen from its top-ranked position, the new data shows. In fa [...]
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Facebook reorganizes Oculus for AR/VR’s long-haul
techcrunch.com
Facebook is again looking to whip Oculus into shape for its 10-year journey towards making virtual reality mainstream. According to two sources, Facebook reorganized its AR and VR team this week from a divisional structure focused around products to a functional structure focused around technology areas of expertise. While no one was laid off, the change could eliminate redundancies by uniting specialists so they can iterate towards long-term progress rather than being separated into groups dedicated to particular gadgets. Facebook confirmed the reorg to TechCrunch, with a spokesperson providing this statement: “We made some changes to the AR/VR organization earlier this week. These were internal changes and won’t impact consumers or our partners in the developer community.” Oc [...]
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