WhatsApp goes all-in on encryption, Twitter beats competition to stream NFL games, PlayStation 4 owners can now play games on their PC or Mac, Etsy launches its own website builder, and the best texting-while-driving ad you’ve ever seen.
WhatsApp Offers End-to-End Encryption
Love the BBC's illustration of the kind of messages that will now be ultra-secure thanks to WhatsApp's encryption. pic.twitter.com/Jx31XgWJjr
— Rhodri Marsden (@rhodri) April 6, 2016
WhatsApp has enabled end-to-end encryption of every form of communication sent through its service. By default. This means that every message, photo, video, and voice call will be encrypted from the beginning of its journey to the end of its journey. Consequently, no one but the sender and recipient(s) will be able to access it.
End-to-end encryption has been enabled by default in the latest version of WhatsApp, so users only need to update the app to be covered, regardless of what device they’re using. This means that more than 1 billion people worldwide now have access to an encrypted messaging service, which will frustrate the authorities, anger hackers, and please everybody else.
As explained by WhatsApp co-founders Brian Acton and Jan Koum in a WhatsApp Blog post:
“The idea is simple: when you send a message, the only person who can read it is the person or group chat that you send that message to. No one can see inside that message. Not cybercriminals. Not hackers. Not oppressive regimes. Not even us.”
The “Not even us” part is crucial, as it shields WhatsApp from any attempts by the authorities to force the company to reveal private communications. If WhatsApp cannot see what’s being sent using its service it cannot possibly comply with a court order from the likes of the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation). Take note, Apple.
Twitter Wins Rights to Stream NFL Games
— NFL (@NFL) April 5, 2016
In a move no one saw coming, Twitter has won the rights to stream NFL games. That’s Twitter, the social networking and micro-blogging site, streaming football games. Which is as peculiar as it sounds.
This deal, which saw Twitter beating the likes of Facebook, Yahoo, and Amazon, means Twitter will stream 10 Thursday night games through the 2016 NFL season. These will be available for free to all users regardless of location. There will also be highlights and pre-game broadcasts from the teams and players involved.
Twitter reportedly paid just $10 million for all of this content, which is a fraction of the price the U.S. television networks pay for the same games. Sources suggest other companies offered more, but claim the NFL chose Twitter because of its capacity to reach a broader audience.
This has to be considered as an experiment for both parties, and it isn’t yet clear how Twitter will actually cope with delivering live content to so many users. Its website and app aren’t exactly built for the job, especially as many people will actually want to tweet while watching the game. And if they can’t then that kills the whole point of this partnership.
PS4 Update Introduces Remote Play
Sony is set to upgrade your PlayStation 4 today, with firmware update 3.50. This update adds several new features, including the ability to appear offline, extended notifications, an event creator, a party option, and remote play on PC and Mac.
This last feature is the most interesting/exciting, as it allows PS4 owners with the necessary hardware to play PS4 games on their PC or Mac. Assuming you have a PC running Windows 8.1 or later, or a Mac running OS X 10.10, you can download the Remote Play application and free up the television.
Etsy Launches Custom Website Builder
Online marketplace Etsy has launched its own website builder designed to make it easier for sellers to create their own custom websites. Pattern, as the website builder is called, was created after Etsy discovered that “more than a third of Etsy sellers are interested in opening a commerce site of their own”. The problem is they found the process too difficult.
To make the process easier, Pattern is “fully integrated with a seller’s Etsy shop and leverages all the work they have already put into it”. It also “seamlessly imports all shop listings and content, syncs orders and inventory between sites, provides analytics integrated with Etsy shop stats, and uses the same tools for checkout and shipping Etsy sellers already use”.
Pattern by Etsy is available to try for free for 30 days, but will then cost users $15-per-month.
How to Stop Teens Texting While Driving
And finally, if you check your phone while driving you need your head examining. After all, thousands of people die every year as a result of responding to a notification while behind the wheel. And teenagers are especially vulnerable to this modern-day curse. However, the New Zealand Transport Agency might have the answer… humor.
As teenagers generally tune out serious messages, the NZTA hit them with a funny ad instead. Passengers are advised to stop drivers picking up their phones by reaching out their hands instead. Which, in some cases, leads to some very uncomfortable moments, especially when Lionel Richie is crooning in the background. [H/T CNET]
Your Views on Today’s Tech News
How do you feel about WhatsApp encrypting everything by default? Will you be watching NFL games on Twitter? Will you be making use of the PS4 Remote Play application? Will you be trialing Etsy’s website builder? Do you check your phone while driving? If so, what’s wrong with you?!
Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.
Tech News Digest is a daily column paring the technology news of the day down into bite-sized chunks that are easy to read and perfect for sharing.
Image Credit: Microsiervos via Flickr