Facebook Tests a ‘Downvote’ Button, Microsoft is Shifting its Windows Strategy, Amazon Settles Tax Row With France and More News
We keep on exploring the most resonant tech news. Here are Top 10 selected that might interest you.
1) Snap Revenue Surges on User Growth, Advertising Gains
The company delivered sales that blew past analysts’ expectations, its first upbeat quarterly report since going public, as advertisers start to get more comfortable spending money on its Snapchat app. The stock jumped as much as 31 percent in extended trading.
Snap’s first year as a public company has been marked by hurdles, including the loss of its heads of product and engineering. Facebook Inc. has copied some of Snapchat’s most popular features for bigger audiences, while a dramatic redesign of the Snapchat app is rolling out slowly. The numbers on Tuesday may help some on Wall Street revisit their original thesis on the company: that Snap, already popular with young people, has enough growth potential to carve out a solid slice of a digital ad market dominated by Facebook and Google.
Read more at Bloomberg
2)Instagram tests resharing of others’ posts to your Story
Instagram purposefully lacks a “Regram” button to promote original sharing, but it’s easing up on that philosophy when it comes to Stories. Instagram now confirms to TechCrunch that it’s testing an option that lets you share public feed posts from other users to your Story. This could let you add commentary and overlaid stickers to a meme, celebrity post or even a friend’s photo. For users whose lives aren’t so interesting, resharing could give them something to post.
Instagram confirmed the test and TechCrunch sent it a screenshot posted by Zachary Shakked. The company tells us “We’re always testing ways to make it easier to share any moment with friends on Instagram.” The feature is currently only testing with a small percentage of users, but it seems like a sensible addition that I bet will get rolled out further.
Read more at Techcrunch
3) Google has paid security researchers almost $12 million for bug bounties, $2.9 million in 2017 alone
Google today announced it has paid out almost $12 million since launching its bug bounty program in November 2010. In the past year alone, the company paid 274 different security researchers $2.9 million, although the year before that it paid out over $3 million.
Bug bounty programs are an excellent addition to existing internal security programs. They help motivate individuals and groups of hackers not only to find flaws, but to disclose them properly when they do, instead of using them maliciously or selling them to parties that will. Rewarding security researchers with bounties costs peanuts compared to paying for a serious security snafu.
Read more at Venture Beat
4) Bitcoin returns of 1,278%, Ethereum still sets transaction records, ICOs raised $3.2B in Q4 up from $1.2B in Q3, Korea fills China void
If bitcoin is in a bubble, it is one of the few in the history of finance – if not the first – that expanded with negligible use of credit.
That’s just one of the unique takeaways from CoinDesk’s State of Blockchain 2018 report, the latest in the quarterly series setting out our in-depth research on the rapidly evolving world of cryptocurrencies and the technologies they’ve inspired.
Released Wednesday, the report provides a 160-plus slide analysis of some of the data points propelling this story forward.
The report covers public blockchains, DLT, consortium chains, initial coin offerings (ICOs), trading and investments, and regulation, and also features the results of our 70-plus question sentiment survey, which provides insight from over 3,000 CoinDesk readers.
Here are five of the most significant trends that defined both Q4 and 2017:
Read more at Coindesk
5) Amazon settles tax row with France, value undisclosed
Amazon said on Monday it had settled a long-running dispute with French tax authorities, who have been seeking nearly 200 million euros ($249 million) from the online retail giant.
Neither Amazon nor the French authorities would say what the settlement was worth.
Amazon first acknowledged in 2012 that the French government was seeking back taxes, interest and penalties for the fiscal years from 2006 to 2010 in relation to “the allocation of income between foreign jurisdictions”.
Read more at Reuters
6) Apple is about to have a great year — here’s what to expect it to launch in 2018
Apple launched a lot of new phones and computers in 2017, propelling the company to its biggest year — selling 322 million individual gadgets, according to one estimate.
But that was last year.
Right now, in Cupertino, California, Apple engineers, designers, and marketers are working on the iPhones and iPads that will launch this year.
Apple never comments on future products, but thanks to a robust ecosystem of journalists, analysts, and rumormongers, we can put together a pretty good preview of what to expect from Apple in 2018. Of course, release dates and details can change.
Read more at Business Insider
7) Facebook tests a ‘Downvote’ button that lets users flag inappropriate comments
Facebook is trialling a ‘downvote’ button that allows users to signal if a comment is inappropriate or misleading.
The new button, which appears to bring Facebook closer to having a ‘dislike’ button, is currently being tested on five per cent of android users in the US.
Downvote counts aren’t shown to the public, but Facebook says it will help the site gauge whether certain posts are inappropriate.
The downvote button also does not affect how a comment is displayed to other users, although it hides the comment for the user who taps,
It is not currently known if – or when – the company will expand testing.
Read more at Dailymail.co.uk
8) Microsoft is reportedly shifting its Windows strategy as it tries to outmaneuver Apple and Google
Last weekend, long-time Microsoft blogger Brad Sams reported that Windows 10 S — the latest version of the operating system, launched in mid-2017 — is, for all intents and purposes, dead.
The report set off all kinds of conversations in the world of Microsoft fans, who wonder what it could mean for the future of Windows 10 itself. The truth, Business Insider has learned, is a little bit more complicated, and depends to some extent on your perspective.
The idea of Windows 10 S is that it offers a smoother, more secure, and more streamlined experience, with the added benefit of extending a laptop’s battery life. The tradeoff is that it can only install apps from the Windows Store, rather than from the internet, a disc, or anywhere else you might get software.
Read more at Businessinsider
9) Twitter posted a surprise jump in revenue — but it’s struggling to gain users
Twitter reported its fourth quarter earnings before the market opens on February 8. It reported revenue of $731.6 million, above analyst estimates of $686.4 million. That gain in revenue was a surprise, and it’s the company’s first increase in revenue in a year.
But Twitter also reported that it had 330 million monthly active users, slightly missing analyst estimates of 333 million. The company’s total number of monthly active users was flat and showed no increase from the previous quarter.
Twitter’s stock price surged 20% in pre-market trading after its announcement.
Read more at Business Insider
10) Key iPhone Source Code Gets Posted Online in ‘Biggest Leak in History’
Source code for iBoot, one of the most critical iOS programs, was anonymously posted on GitHub.
Someone just posted what experts say is the source code for a core component of the iPhone’s operating system on GitHub, which could pave the way for hackers and security researchers to find vulnerabilities in iOS and make iPhone jailbreaks easier to achieve.
The GitHub code is labeled “iBoot,” which is the part of iOS that is responsible for ensuring a trusted boot of the operating system. In other words, it’s the program that loads iOS, the very first process that runs when you turn on your iPhone. It loads and verifies the kernel is properly signed by Apple and then executes it—it’s like the iPhone’s BIOS.
Read more at Motherboard