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Apple pushes ‘Gatekeeper’ to protect Mac OS X from malware attacks

29 Feb

The new anti-malware feature processes indirectly to let Mac users either let or refuse application downloads based on where they come from. Apple has brought a ‘Gatekeeper’ to help saving Mac OS X users from downloading and running malicious software.

The new anti-malware feature, now fitted into the new OSX Mountain Lion, works behind the scenes to let Mac users either allow or deny application downloads based on where they come from.

In the “Security and Privacy” preference, the end user gets the choice over whether to allow applications downloaded from

  • Mac App Store
  • Mac App Store and identified developers
  • Anywhere

The pre-checked default is the “Mac App Store and identified” developers, a setting that works in tandem with Apple’s new Developer ID Program.

As part of the Mac Developer Program, Apple gives developers a unique Developer ID for signing their apps. A developer’s digital signature allows Gatekeeper to verify that their app is not known malware and that it hasn’t been tampered with. If an app doesn’t have a Developer ID associated with it, Gatekeeper can let you know before you install it.

More on Gatekeeper from Apple Insider and Daring Fireball.

Source: zdnet




Microsoft: We’re not involved in an antitrust complaint over Google+

29 Feb

Summary: Microsoft is not part of any new antitrust complaints against Google+ in Europe, company officials said.

A Reuters report on February 28 cited that Microsoft was joining in with other undisclosed companies to convince European regulators of antitrust issues raised by Google+, Microsoft is not part of any such action, Microsoft officials said.

Reuters — citing “two people familiar with the matter” — reported that “Microsoft and several other firms have complained to EU antitrust regulators about Google’s social networking tool … in a move that may prompt the EU to broaden its ongoing investigation into Google.”

A Microsoft spokesperson shared that they  have not filed a complaint regarding Google+.

Twitter and Facebook officials have made no bones about their qualms
about Google’s attempt to tie its search results to its fledgling social-networking service via a combination Google has called “Search Plus Your World.” But Microsoft isn’t a top-tier player in social networking and has less of a vested interest here. This isn’t to say that Microsoft hasn’t sought European Union regulatory intervention on other Google matters. Just last week, Microsoft filed an antitrust complaint against Google and Motorola Mobility around FRAND patents. And in March 2011, Microsoft filed a broad antitrust case against Google with  the European Commission over claims that Google was limiting access to some of its data.

So far, The EC has not issued a statement of objections based on Microsoft’s complaints. The Commission has been formally investigating various antitrust issues involving Google there since November 2010.

Source: zdnet

Skype Takes a Small Step Forward on Windows Phone

29 Feb

Almost a year after Microsoft agreed to buy Skype for $8.5 billion, we are getting a beta version of the messenger and VoIP software for Windows Phone devices. It is not quite what we expect yet, but it’s a start.

The beta version is available via the Windows Phone Marketplace and supports Skype to Skype audio calling, Skype to Skype video calling, landline and mobile calling, instant messaging, profile and account views, profile pictures, status messages — all in a Metro UI.There are various foibles in this version. That includes the requirement that the software needs to work in the foreground, no call-in-progress indication, no conference calls, a crash if a call is ended before the other party ends a call, no contact blocking and removal,  and video calling that only works in landscape mode are only the major issues.

It’s just a small step to provide the IM software for Microsoft’s phones, but the initial feedback has been positive. Tony Cripps, principal analyst at market research firm Ovum, says,

At least in its initial guise, Skype for Windows Phone offers a fairly typical Skype experience on smartphones running as a standalone application. We expect this to change in future iterations with Skype becoming a more pervasive part of the Windows Phone software platform and experience, with its functionality integrated tightly with applications and services across the phone increasing its utility.

Cripps also said that Skype could become a “social glue” for Microsoft that will drive usage of the service and furthering sales of Skype-enabled Microsoft products considerably in future.

Skype said that the beta was tested on the phone models Nokia Lumia 710 and Lumia 800, HTC Titan and Radar, as well as Samsung Focus S and Focus Flash.

Source: tomsguide

Google Fined $660,000 For Making Google Maps Free

8 Feb

Google is facing a $660,000 fine in France for making Google Maps free to businesses.

A recent authoritative official decision in a French commercial court may see Google put into much larger legal bind globally thanks to the “anti-competitive” nature of Google Maps. Why? It happened so because Google was offering a service which one of the French companies provided at free of cost. So the French company considered it  “anti-competitive” and filed  case against Google.

Honestly, it’s surprising Google isn’t facing additional anti-competitive lawsuits both locally and abroad. Case in point: a Verizon customer who purchases an Xperia PLAY smartphone has two options: use Google Maps, which is free, or use Verizon’s VZ Navigator which costs an extra $10 a month. Which service will the consumer likely use?

On Tuesday (Jan 31st) a Paris court side with French mapping company Bottin Cartographes who filed an unfair competition complaint against Google France and parent company Google for providing free web mapping services to businesses across the country.The latter provides the same service for free. It is thus complained to the court that Google’s strategy was targeted at undercutting competitors by temporarily enjoying the full cost until the market is controlled by the firm.

Jean-David Scemmama, the lawyer  for Bottin Cartographes cited,

We proved the illegality of (Google’s) strategy to remove its competitors… the court recognized the unfair and abusive character of the methods used and allocated Bottin Cartographes all it claimed. This is the first time Google has been convicted for its Google Maps application.

Scemmama also added that Bottin argued its case against Google for two years. But at last Google France was instructed to pay 500,000 euros i.e. of about $660,000 in damages and interest to the plaintiff and also of an additional 15,000 euro fine for its act. Obviously Google France plans to make higher appeal.

“We will appeal this decision,” a Google spokesperson stated. “We remain convinced that a free high-quality mapping tool is beneficial for both Internet users and websites. There remains competition in this sector for us, both in France and internationally.”

Google fought the American court system last year in a Delaware District Court after British Telecom filed a lawsuit claiming that Google Maps violates patents it holds related to navigation information. Google also faced a 100,000 Euro fine in France almost a year ago for collecting private information via Street View drive-bys.

Source: tomsguide

Facebook Ads Becoming (A Little) More Valuable; Mobile May Be Next

6 Feb

In the S-1 filing for Facebook’s IPO, the company offers a little more insight into its advertising business, which it describes as “the substantial majority” of its revenue (and that’s an understatement).

In 2009, advertising accounted for 98 percent of Facebook’s revenue. The count reduced to 95 percent in 2010 and to 85 percent last year because of the growth of revenue from payments. Even though the growth of advertising revenue has come down, it is climbing and it grew 69 percent in 2011, to $3.2 billion, but it grew 145 percent in 2010. (As one point of comparison, our corporate masters at AOL reported $1.3 billion in ad revenue last year.)

What is propelling the growth? Facebook’s increasing traffic, which led to a 42 percent increase in ads served. In addition to that, the company says that the average price advertisers pay per ad increased by 18 percent. There is also another factor that is to be considered. Facebook has raised the minimum bid price for per ad, “to reduce the frequency with which low quality ads are displayed to users.”  (Hat tip to Inside Facebook for catching that last bit.)

As testimony of the effectiveness of  its socially driven ad strategy, the filing points to a Nielsen study, which found that Facebook ads wrapped in social data (i.e., including “Friend X liked Brand Y” above an ad) did 50 percent better in ad recall than Facebook ads without that data.The filing also makes some of Facebook’s advertising success stories prominent, and it talks about the advertising ad spend from specific companies —  namely, the ones whose executives are also on Facebook’s board. The Washington Post company spent $4.2 million on Facebook ads in 2011. Netflix spent $3.8 million.

There is, however, one big gap in Facebook’s monetization strategy. Despite the fact that mobile makes up about half of Facebook’s traffic, the company doesn’t currently serve ads in its smartphone apps, something the filing brings up multiple times. However, Facebook says, “We believe that we may have potential future monetization opportunities such as the inclusion of sponsored stories in users’ mobile News Feeds.”

Source: techcrunch

Finally! Google Wallet Is Available to AT&T and Verizon Nexus Owners

3 Feb


Really it sounds good and exciting. Verizon and AT&T both had, until now, cock-blocked Google Wallet functionality on the Galaxy Nexus phone.  Blocking its installation while developing their own proprietary NFC payment service, code-named Iris. The program seems to be a fiasco just because the Google Wallet app is now available in the Android Marketplace right now.

One has to install from the website for the first phase of the release since mobile based app are returning incompatibility errors, but as long as one possess an unlocked GSM Nexus on AT&T or Verizon one should be good to go.T-Mobile users are out of luck for the time being but they can always hack it on to your phone until the official version comes through. [Brief Mobile]

Source: gizmodo



New Facebook For iPhone 4.1 Includes Timeline Access and Faster Photos

21 Dec

Facebook has just pressed out version 4.1 of its popular iPhone app.  The update includes the change of ability to view the new profile Timeline, Subscribers, Subscriptions, pop-over notifications, and add people to friend lists. The app seems to work well with its quick response and photos are loaded significantly faster. Facebook launched Timeline globally a few days ago. But it is to be noted that initially it could only be accessed from and Facebook for Android. This update will provide more exposure to Timeline because as Facebook fro iPhone has 99.5 million monthly active users and 57.6 million daily active users, says the AppData.

Facebook for iPhone 4.1 may have been planned to launch alongside the Android update, but could have been delayed by necessary bug fixes. Its release shows that Facebook isn’t favoring Android mobile development just yet, though its Android app now has more daily active users than its iPhone app. You may only see Timeline through the app if you’ve already opted into the profile redesign via the web. Though Facebook for iPhone 4.1 runs on iPad, Facebook says Timeline access for its dedicated iPad app is coming soon.

In 4.1, notifications, messages, and requests now load in partial-screen popovers rather than separate full screens. This feature has made it easier and faster to swap to the previously viewed pages. As the loading time of the photos is less, it will make viewing them a less interruptive part of the news feed browsing experience. Facebook has also fixed a most annoying bugs of the app in which a different photo would be accidentally loaded in spite of the other from the same album. Pressing on the Friends button below someone’s Timeline cover, they can be added to one’s friends lists. This feature will be much more useful when one accept a new friend request from mobile and without delay, want to restrict their access to his/her content by putting them in a privacy controlled friend list. But there is no way to edit a friend list directly, though. A Subscribed button on the Timeline also lets you select the types and volume of someone’s posts that you see in the news feed — great for quieting noisy friends. The Android app and mobile site added these features tomorrow.

Source: techcrunch