Tech News

Cortana Coming to Android & iOS, Facebook Clarifies Community Guidelines [Tech News Digest]

Dave Parrack 16-03-2015

Cortana crosses platforms, Facebook’s community standards, Yahoo’s password pact, 360-degree YouTube videos, Family Feud on Google, and a 1980s montage of Boston Dynamics robots.

Microsoft Plans Cross-Platform Cortana

Microsoft is planning to release Cortana Geek Humor Included! Meet Cortana, Windows Phone 8.1 Digital Assistant Cortana is the best reason to upgrade your Windows Phone early. Microsoft's answer to Siri offers great features and will make you laugh. Read More as a standalone app on Android and iOS. This is according to Reuters, quoting “people familiar with the project.” Microsoft is also said to be working on an advanced version of Cortana based on an artificial intelligence project codenamed Einstein.

The A.I. project at the heart of the future iteration of Cortana is based on Einstein’s “work on the relationship between space and time.” This therefore suggests the next-generation Cortana will be capable of tracking your life much more than the current personal assistant.

Microsoft is remaining tight-lipped about its plans to move Cortana beyond the Windows ecosystem. However, doing so makes a lot of sense for a company that, under the guidance of new CEO Satya Nadella, is looking to expand its influence. So, goodbye Google Now 6 Google Now Features That Will Change How You Search You may already be using Google Now on your Android device, but are you getting all that you can out of it? Knowing about these small features can make a big difference. Read More , and goodbye Siri 8 Things You Probably Didn’t Realize Siri Could Do Siri has become one of the iPhone’s defining features, but for many people, it’s not always the most useful. While some of this is due to the limitations of voice recognition, the oddity of using... Read More , Cortana is on the march.

Facebook Reminds Us What’s Banned

Facebook has updated its Community Standards, clarifying the guidelines on what is and isn’t suitable to be posted on the social network. The idea is to add some clarity to what were previously vague guidelines about what individual users can and cannot share with the world via Facebook.

Contrary to reports by tabloid newspapers, the policies themselves have not actually changed, but the revised guidelines are intended to help users confused after they either have content removed, or have a request to remove content rejected. Sections discussed in more detail include bullying and harassment Cyber Bullying Unmasked - The Tragic Case Of Cassidy Kids can be cruel. Almost as cruel as so-called grown-ups. That cruelty has found its way on to the web and into the lives of countless young people who thought they might be able to... Read More , attacks on public figures, and criminal activity.

Facebook also used the opportunity to publish details of requests received by governments around the world. There was a slight increase in the number of requests during the second half of 2014, from 34,946 to 35,051, with the countries responsible changing.

The social network promised to “continue to scrutinize each government request and push back when we find deficiencies.” It also promised to “continue to push governments around the world to reform their surveillance practices in a way that maintains the safety and security of their people while ensuring their rights and freedoms are protected.

Yahoo Introduces Single-Use Passwords

Yahoo has introduced on-demand passwords for U.S. users. This is an optional way of logging in, allowing you to forget your regular password Dissecting the 25 Worst Passwords in the World [Weird & Wonderful Web] There are many simple ways to create easy to remember, but difficult to break passwords. But not everyone gets it. As this list of the weakest passwords prove, it is a large tribe. Read More and instead log in to your account with a single-use password sent to your phone on request.

On the face of it this seems like a good idea, offering a higher level of security than was previously available. However, the one obvious weak point is what happens if you lose your phone Was Your Android Phone Lost or Stolen? This Is What You Can Do There are many good options for remotely locating your stolen phone, even if you never set anything up before you lost your phone. Read More , as someone else could then request a single-use password and read your emails.

Watch 360-Degree Videos on YouTube

You can now watch 360-degree videos on YouTube, with or without a virtual reality headset. Those with a VR unit such as the Oculus Rift 5 Amazing Non-Gaming Ways People Are Using Oculus Rift "It's just a gimmick." That's what people said about the Wiimote, the Kinect, and more recently Google Glass, and that's what they're saying about the Oculus Rift. If you're one of them, I implore you... Read More can simply turn their heads to look around the scene, while those without have to use the navigation dial in the top left-hand corner of the video.

There aren’t too many 360-degree videos to play with at the current time, but the one embedded above is one of the few available. According to The Verge, Google is hoping to use the technology to bring geotagged videos to Street View 5 Amazing Google Street View Mashups You Need To Try If you’ve ever used Google Maps (which I assume you have), you will know all about Street View. But did you also know there are many cool, funny and useful Street View mashups that let... Read More .

Google Feud Tests Your Knowledge

Fans of Family Feud will love Google Feud, which takes the basic premise of the television show and adds Google’s search results to the mix. You’re presented with the first half of a search query and have to find the most likely autocomplete results 12 Interesting Google Suggest Results & What They Reveal Google Search is the modern world's confessional. Whatever it is that we need help with, we just type it into the patient white search box and hope for relevant results. Google even helps us complete... Read More .

Google Feud is a lot of fun to play. However, it’s also extremely difficult, and I defy anyone to get all 10 possible answers correct before striking out. The site has also struggled to cope with the influx of traffic in recent days, so patience is recommended.

Boston Dynamics’ 1980s Montage

And finally, one YouTube user has managed to make Boston Dynamics’ humanoid robots 5 Advanced Humanoid Robots You Have to See to Believe Here, we count down some of the most impressive humanoid robots ever created. The future of robotics is coming, and it's weirder than ever. Read More look more human than ever, and it’s all thanks to Push It To The Limit from Scarface. This track from the movie soundtrack has been placed over footage of PetMan and Atlas, and the results are stunning.

All of a sudden, and thanks purely to the rousing score, you find yourself willing PetMan and Atlas to succeed. This despite the increased likelihood of these two robots turning on their creators one day, thus becoming humanity’s new overlords. I personally blame Giorgio Moroder. [H/T CNET]

Your Views on Today’s Tech News

Will you switch to Cortana if and when it comes to iOS and Android? Do you like the idea of single-use passwords? What do you think of the Boston Dynamics robots?

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.

Image Credit: Jon Fingas via Flickr

Related topics: Facebook, Microsoft Cortana, Online Security, Yahoo, YouTube.

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  1. Ben S
    March 16, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    I had a blast playing Google Feud with some guys on my hall, but I found the amount of "questions" was limited. You'd think with the millions of things people Google, there would be more variety, but we got repeats after just 15 or so minutes.

    Hopefully they can expand it, because I love the idea. I'm a sucker for game shows.