Uber Introduces UK Safety Measures Amid Licence Battle

Uber Introduces UK Safety Measures Amid Licence Battle

US ride-hailing app Uber on Friday announced new safety features for its service in Britain, as it appeals against the withdrawal of its licence in London.
The service, which has around 40,000 drivers in London, lost its licence over its reporting of serious criminal offences and its criminal-record checks for drivers, but is allowed to operate in the capital pending the appeal which is set to be heard later this year.

Uber will now “pro-actively” make reports of serious incidents related to a trip to the police, rather than encouraging individuals to contact authorities themselves, according to a statement on its website.

From next month, passengers will also receive the driver’s licence number in their booking confirmation, meaning passengers can more easily raise issues with the relevant licensing authority.

The app has already capped the number of hours its drivers can work in Britain in a bid to increase safety after heavy criticism of its business practices, and will set up a 24/7 telephone helpline for riders and drivers.

“We’re determined to change the way we do business, so we’ll carry on listening and plan to make other improvements over the coming months,” it said.
London’s transport authority said in September that it would not renew the ride-hailing company’s licence, with the appeal due to be heard in May or June.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Facebook Says SMS Spam Received by Two-Factor Authentication Users Was a Bug

Facebook Says SMS Spam Received by Two-Factor Authentication Users Was a Bug

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Facebook users had been getting SMS notifications after signing up for 2F
  • Users’ responses to notifications would appear as status updates on Faceb
  • Facebook acknowledged the issue and promised a fix

Facebook users, over the past week, have reportedly been getting SMS notifications from the social media website after signing up for the two-factor authentication security feature. While the two-factor authentication is a vital part of protecting online accounts by adding a second layer of security, the text messages, interestingly, were not related to any security features. This gave rise to speculation that Facebook was trying to increase user engagement However, Facebook has now responded to the issue saying that it was a bug, and that such notifications were not meant to be sent.

While two-factor authentication is considered a vital measure of security, requiring an attacker to have both the user’s password and physical access to a registered device before being able to log into the user’s account. However, on Facebook, the system appears to have ended up being a problem for its users, thanks to SMS notifications. Interestingly, users also complained that if they replied to the SMS notifications, these would appear as status updates on Facebook.

Alex Stamos, Facebook Chief Security Officer, explains in a blog post that it was not Facebook’s intention to send non-security-related SMS notifications to phone numbers, and also apologised for the inconvenience caused to users. He wrote, “The last thing we want is for people to avoid helpful security features because they fear they will receive unrelated notifications.”

Facebook has also promised that the bug will be fixed soon. “We are working to ensure that people who sign up for two-factor authentication won’t receive non-security-related notifications from us unless they specifically choose to receive them, and the same will be true for those who signed up in the past. We expect to have the fixes in place in the coming days,” said Stamos.

Responding to why users responses to SMS notifications would appear as status updates, Facebook again said it was an unintended consequence, and was enabled by an older functionality where users could post to Facebook via text message. This functionality would soon be deprecated, Facebook said.

While you wait for Facebook to come out with a fix, you can go to Settings > Notifications to switch off text notifications. You can also use a code generator app and a U2F key instead of providing your phone numbers to Facebook when enabling 2FA.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Microsoft’s Cortana Assistant Gains IFTTT Integration, Supports More Smart Home Products

Microsoft's Cortana Assistant Gains IFTTT Integration, Supports More Smart Home Products

In a bid to expand into the growing home automation market, Microsoft’s digital assistant Cortana will now support more smart home devices and integrate with IFTTT – a free web-based platform that helps users connect their apps and services together, the company has announced.

Cortana now supports devices from ecobee, Honeywell Lyric, Honeywell Total Connect Comfort, LIFX, TP-Link Kasa and Geeni.

Cortana running on Windows 10 Operating System (OS), iPhone, Android and the Harman Kardon Invoke speakers, can be used to control these devices.

“Say ‘Hey Cortana, set the living room thermostat to 72 degrees’ to control your ecobee, Honeywell Lyric, or Honeywell Total Connect Comfort thermostat. With vivid colours from your LIFX Wi-Fi connected light bulbs, you can set the mood just right for movie night,” the company wrote in a blog post late on Friday.

To set up their connected home with the digital assistant, users need to open Cortana on Windows 10 or go to the Cortana app on their phone, click Notebook and then click Connected Home.

“From there, you can connect your favourite smart home accounts and control your devices from anywhere you use Cortana,” the post added..

The tech giant also announced Cortana’s support for IFTTT.

IFTTT (If This Then That) is both a website and a mobile app that was launched in 2010.

“Using IFTTT, you will be able to customise your experience by creating your own phrases to use with services on IFTTT. You can also use Applets on IFTTT with Cortana to trigger multiple actions with one phrase,” Microsoft said.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

12 Google Messaging Apps: A Grand Tour

12 Google Messaging Apps: A Grand Tour

Get this, Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) has not one, not two, not three but 12 messaging apps. You would think that a tech giant like Google would be interested in developing a single app that does everything for everyone, but that’s not the case. In fact, the tech giant seems focused on improving each app to be the best at what it does, so that users can choose the service that best suits their needs.

Here’s a quick look at how each app works.

Google Messaging Apps

Google Voice

Launched by Google on March 11, 2009, Google Voice is the tech giant’s oldest VoIP product. The app includes a free phone number for U.S. users and you can instruct it to ring your cell phone, work or home phone, or all three, whenever someone calls your Voice number. You can also instruct the app to send SMS texts and voicemails to Hangouts.

Google Hangouts

This is a unified communications service that allows you to initiate and participate in video, voice and text chats, either one-on-one or in a group. Hangouts is built into Gmail and Google+. The mobile app is available for both Android and iOS devices.

Project Fi

This is a phone carrier from Google that works by giving you mobile data service on three mobile networks that your phone will intelligently switch between. It uses WiFi to send texts and to make calls. Unlike traditional carriers that bill you after you use their service, Project Fi is a “prepaid” carrier, which means that you pay upfront for your service in the trailing month. Fi is currently available only to U.S. users who own either Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus 6 or Pixel smartphones.

Google Duo 

Google Duo is a simple video-calling service that allows you to connect with your customers on both Android and iOS. It is one of the two communication apps launched by Google at the 2016 I/O conference. Its standout feature is Knock Knock, which gives you a preview of who is calling by firing up the camera on the other end of the line. 

Inbox by Gmail

Inbox by Gmail is an email service that was developed and launched by Google in limited edition on October 2014 and later released to the public in May 2015.

Inbox intelligently bundles similar messages together, allowing you to dismiss all of them with a single click. It also highlights important events such as trips and clusters together hotel and flight information.

Gmail

One of the most familiar of Google’s messaging options, this is a free, advert supported email service that’s available on the web and also through mobile apps for iOS and Android. Unlike the newbie Inbox, Gmail has an All mail folder, experimental “Labs” add-ons and extensive options in settings that include Blocked Addresses and Filters.

Google Chat 

Before the standalone Hangouts app came, you could still place VoIP calls and instant messages from Google+ and Gmail using Chat. The instant messaging service is colloquially known as gchat, gtalk or gmessage, but they are not Google endorsed. Chat remains embedded on Gmail.

Google Allo

Launched in May 2016, Google Allo is a Smart messaging app for iPhone and Android. Allo works for group chats, allows you to send pictures, share fun stickers and so on. Allo is great for talking to the Google Assistant.

Google Groups

Launched in February 2001, Google Groups is 16 years old! The service provides discussion groups for people sharing common interests.  A good number of people still use Groups because they at some point joined a group and that’s where the conversations still takes place.

Google+

During its first years, Google+ allowed users to send texts, emails, edit and share photos as well as make video calls. A few years ago, Google changed its all-in-one approach, becoming more like a cross between Facebook and Reddit. The platform’s content is organized by “Collections” that make it easy for you to find relevant content.

Google Spaces

This social service by Google is less than a year old. Spaces makes it easier to find and share images, articles and videos without leaving the app as Google Search, Chrome and YouTube come built in. 

Google Messenger

Messenger from Google is a communications app that helps you to send and receive MMS and SMS messages to any phone. The app has a great interface and supports text, pictures, emoji and GIFs. You can make it your default texting app that people can always text you on. Messenger is only available to Android users.

[“Source-smallbiztrends”]