AVG’s free version is monetized by selling user data, 4chan is sold to 2chan’s founder, a crippling Chrome bug is turned into a game, Apple updates WatchOS, and what happens when you watch every show.
AVG Free Monetizes User Data
Economists will tell you: there’s no free lunch. Yet if traffic to our site is any indication, a lot of you are searching for and downloading free antivirus programs.
Which brings to mind an interesting question: how are free antivirus programs supposed to pay for themselves? AVG recently explained that they, in part, track anonymous user information and sell that data. They even made a friendly video, to clarify things.
The key point: anonymized information about your Internet activity will be sold to third parties. The reaction hasn’t been uniformly positive, as you can imagine.
— Corbin Davenport (@corbindavenport) September 21, 2015
— iTo | Shep (@iToShepherd) September 17, 2015
*Quietly recommends family & friends to uninstall AVG Free – or ensure browser history and app settings appropriate* https://t.co/lu2v66goiw
— Jim Christie (@The_Crust) September 21, 2015
Fair enough, but on the other hand tracking user activity and monetizing that data isn’t exactly new: it’s how Facebook, Gmail, and basically any free app you can think of pays the bills at this point. The main difference here is that AVG is clearly stating what they’re doing.
Sure, it’s jarring when a security company is collecting and monetizing our online behavior, but on some level isn’t this the Internet we all signed up for by refusing to pay for things? People who value their privacy, after all, have the option to pay for it by buying AVG. As with the ongoing discussion about ad blocking, I’m sure we’ll be talking about this for years to come.
Moot Sold 4Chan to 2Chan’s Founder
saying outloud that 2chan bought 4chan is very confusing for other people
— harper (@harper) September 21, 2015
Christopher Poole, AKA Moot, founded 4chan in 2003 – he was 15 years old. Now, 12 years later, he’s selling the site to Hiroyuki Nishimura – the man who inspired Poole to create 4chan in the first place.
Nishimura is the founder of Japanese-language anonymous imageboard 2chan, which Poole has always said was the inspiration for 4chan.
“Hiroyuki is literally the only person in the world with as much if not more experience than myself in running an anonymous, large destination community that serves tens of millions of people,” Poole told The New York Times. “He’s the great-grandfather of all of this.”
Poole started 4Chan in the hopes it would become a place for English-speakers to talk about anime. That happened, but 4chan also evolved into…other things. Depending on your point of view, 4chan is:
- A cesspool of hatred and filth
- A bastion of free speech
- The disgusting site that spawned #GamerGate
- The fascist site that censored and banned #GamerGate
- Nothing of value
Which is all to say that, like most online communities, 4chan is complicated. And now it’s in the hands of the man who inspired it – who has a big job on his hands.
Chrome’s Terrible Bug Turned Into a Game
As of Monday, Chrome is vulnerable to a bug that can crash any tab, just by hovering over links with certain characters in succession. This is obviously terrible, but you know the old saying: when life gives you bugs, make bug-based games.
3030 is a simple game where you move your mouse through a maze of potentially browser-crashing links. Don’t touch a tree!
I’ve got to say: there are many things I hate about Chrome, but this bug isn’t one of them. It’ll be patched soon, and if nothing else it’s amusing.
Apple Releases WatchOS 2 for Apple Watch
If you don't pronounce WatchOS like nachos, I'm not sure we can be friends.
— Aaron Hockley (@ahockley) September 21, 2015
Apple Watch users got their first major OS upgrade yesterday. Mashable has a great video round-up of the new features.
The biggest addition is probably the possibility of native apps, the full impact of which won’t be noticed by most users until they become more common. There’s also new integration with transit directions, and a few new watch faces you can use.
A watchOS 2 favorite: extend how long the watch stays awake when you tap it pic.twitter.com/bg4om8q3Gm
— Dan Frakes (@DanFrakes) September 21, 2015
Say what you will about the Apple Watch – and people have – but it’s far from a flop. Apple sold more watches on launch day than Android Wear sold in the year leading up to it, and the device keeps winning people over. Personally, I prefer my mechanical watch (batteries are the worst), but I’m excited to see how this technology evolves – and how other companies react to it.
And Finally, The Emmys’ Intro Was Pretty Good
You didn’t watch the Emmys, because you were too busy bing-watching Doctor Who. Fair enough, but take a few minutes to watch this clip:
There’s a lot of great TV out there, and binge-watching is wonderful, but you can’t possibly watch everything. Or can you?
Your Thoughts On Today’s Tech News
Is AVG within its rights to monetize your browsing? Is 4chan better off with its new owner? Could you design a game based on browser bugs? Any thoughts on the new Apple Watch OS?
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.