Today in Tech News Digest, we compile a smattering of Beats Music reviews, Yahoo Search is made secure, the Department of Defense chooses BlackBerry, the saga of Banned Bluebook is revealed, Twitter expands its targeted ads, and Windows Phone is found to be beating the iPhone… in a handful of countries.
Beats Music Reviews
Beats Music has launched, with the maker of the overly expensive headphones and speakers now adding a music streaming service to its repertoire. Unlike its rivals Spotify and Rdio, Beats Music doesn’t have a free, ad-supported option. So, is the new kid on the block worth the asking price?
Time suggests Beats Music is “a serious contener,” that is ultimately “well-curated, with some rough edges.”
CNET suggests that, “despite some bugs and small shortcomings, Beats Music has an appealing interface and some features … that help differentiate it from its competitors.”
ReadWrite compares Beats Music to “a human DJ— leading you from familiar places to unfamiliar ones all while keeping you in the proverbial groove,” but warns that it needs to “make its business model work and keep its curation pools brimming over with batches of fresh new music” in order to succeed.
The Wall Street Journal calls Beats Music “a lively app” which employs a “fun approach to music discovery.” This meant the reviewer could “easily find new music I actually wanted to listen to.”
Most reviews are extremely positive about this latest music streaming service. And as Beats Music is available to everyone with an Android, iOS or Windows Phone device free on a 7-day trial basis, we can all make our own minds up.
Yahoo Search Secured
Moving forward, any traffic sent to a website from Yahoo Search will show up as “Direct Traffic” in web analytics programs….
— Evan Britton (@Elbst23) January 22, 2014
Yahoo has plugged a major security hole by forcing all Yahoo searches through a secure server. This makes it more difficult for third parties to collect data on specific searches; third parties such as the NSA (National Security Agency).
This is Yahoo catching up with Google, which instituted the same change in September 2013. However, unlike Google, it appears Yahoo has failed to make the necessary changes to how referrer data is passed on, which means website owners watching analytics will likely see a huge drop off in the number of referrals from Yahoo.
The DoD Still Loves BlackBerry
— Jeff Rubingh (@Rubingh) January 22, 2014
The popularity of BlackBerry handsets has tanked in recent years, but it still has one fan. The DoD (Department of Defense) has recently committed to BlackBerry by ordering 80,000 BlackBerry handsets for its employees.
While this may be a drop in the ocean compared to the losses suffered by BlackBerry, it’s a ringing endorsement how it handles security, with iOS and Android clearly not passing muster.. The main reason behind the decision to stick with BlackBerry appears to be
The Saga Of Banned Bluebook
— Yale Alumni Magazine (@yalealumnimag) January 22, 2014
The saga is rather long and involved, hence the word saga being applied, but luckily The Washington Post has a lengthy write-up all about the events. The subject was also discussed during Technophilia 97, the latest episode of the official MakeUseOf podcast.
Twitter Tailors Targeted Ads
Twitter is expanding its targeted ads effort, allowing advertisers to target Twitter ads individual users based on their user IDs and email addresses. Those who don’t want to be exposed to targeted ads can opt out by unticking the ‘Promoted Content’ box in the Twitter privacy settings. Because forcing users to opt out rather than opt in appears to be the new norm.
Where Windows Phone Is Winning The War
Switching to Windows Phone from iPhone feels, well, weird. #lumia
— Zack Batsaikhan (@BatzayaB) January 23, 2014
And finally, you may think Windows Phone is a dismal failure that’s faring badly when compared to Android and iPhone, but you’d be wrong. At least if you base your assessment of how Windows Phone is doing on a specific set of two dozen countries.
As reported by Forbes, Windows Phone is outselling the iPhone in 24 countries around the world, including Colombia, Greece, Hungary, India, Italy, Mexico, Pakistan, and South Africa. So, mock Windows Phone all you want, but there are plenty of territories where it’s doing better than Apple’s “premium” product.