Facebook Launches Video Comments, Google Patches Chrome PDF Exploit… [Tech News Digest]
Facebook launches video comments, Google patches a serious Chrome PDF exploit, Minecraft Education Edition is released in open beta, Amazon begins UK fresh food delivery, and Google’s AI takes on Montezuma’s Revenge.
Facebook Launches Video Comments
Facebook has just launched video comments worldwide, in a bid to capture the growing market of online video creation and consumption.
The web app, iOS app and Android app are all capable of supporting video comments, so you can try it yourself right now. The video comments will work for individuals, pages, groups and events.
In what seems to be a move to target the Snapchat market, Facebook surely hopes to increase video consumption dramatically in the future.
The video commenting feature was developed during Facebook’s 50th Hackathon as a way of enabling more engaging and immersive conversations. Bob Baldwin, who was behind the project, says that this really adds to the previous commenting multimedia options of links, photos, stickers, and emoji.
“At the hackathon, we coded as quickly as we could all day, and by the evening we could feel the pieces starting to come together. A little past midnight, we had the feature mostly working on both desktop and mobile apps. And when we demoed our hack to fellow employees the following week, they absolutely loved it!” — Bob Baldwin
To use video comments, click the camera icon next to a comment field. Instead of just seeing an option for images you’ll be able to upload a video as a comment reply.
Google Patches Chrome PDF Exploit
Google has just released a patch for Chrome that fixes a flaw found in PDFium, the default Chrome PDF viewer. Recent security testing found an exploit in the jpeg2000 library that would allow malicious code to run in the browser.
Aleksandar Nikolic from Cisco Talos discovered the vulnerability, and says that it would affect all users viewing a PDF document that included an embedded jpeg2000 image, as it permitted the attacker to execute arbitrary code on the victim’s system.
“The most effective attack vector is for the threat actor to place a malicious PDF file on a website and and then redirect victims to the website using either phishing emails or even malvertising.” — Cisco Talos
The TALOS-CAN-0174 Heap Buffer Overflow Vulnerability (CVE-2016-1681) is described in full on the Cisco Talos site.
Chrome version 51.0.2704.63 is when the bug was fixed, apparently released an impressive six days after Cisco Talos reported the exploit to Google.
So, if you haven’t updated your Chrome browser in a while, do it now. Most users will be automatically updated when restarting their browsers, unless otherwise specified.
A security report from Symantec says malicious executable files have increased in frequency, and that in 2009 52.6 percent of targeted attacks used PDF exploits. Senior Symantec analyst Paul Wood says PDF attacks are on the rise.
“PDF-based targeted attacks are here to stay, and are predicted to worsen as malware authors continue to innovate in the delivery, construction and obfuscation of the techniques necessary for this type of malware.” — Paul Wood
Minecraft Education Edition Beta Released
Microsoft is giving teachers an early taste of Minecraft Education Edition, with the open beta release now available.
This edition of Minecraft is almost identical to the original, but allows teachers to set shared goals for the class and map these goals to learning outcomes. Students then learn in the self-directed environment, but also engage in teamwork and the development of communication skills.
“By using Minecraft as a platform for learning, educators can motivate and inspire every student to achieve more, and ignite a passion for learning. Get started by joining an active community of educators passionate about making learning exciting, engaging and effective.” — Minecraft Education Edition
Amazon Begins UK Fresh Food Delivery
The UK is finally getting a taste of Amazon’s food delivery service, becoming the first country outside of the US to offer this. Amazon Fresh will now deliver to North and East London, with dairy and bakery items among the thousands of fresh produce items available.
All deliveries will be transported in paper bags within chillboxes. Certain postcodes will be able to get 1 hour delivery, while the remaining areas will be guaranteed same-day delivery of items purchased before 1pm.
This service is offered to all Amazon Prime members within the delivery area. Ajay Kavan, vice-president of Amazon Fresh says the key to success lies in fast delivery.
“The bar in grocery retailing is exceptionally high. The supermarkets and grocers are among the very best retailers in the world. We will be very methodical and considered in how we roll this service out further in the UK.” — Ajay Kavan
Frozen produce has been available to purchase in the UK for some time, with most major cities able to accept delivery.
Google’s AI Plays Montezuma’s Revenge
And finally, Google’s AI has moved on from winning against top Go players to impressing gamers all over the world. The AI takes on the famously difficult Atari game, Montezuma’s Revenge, and learns as it goes along, just as humans do.
The video showcases the paper “Unifying Count-Based Exploration and Intrinsic Motivation” by Bellemare, Srinivasan, Ostrovski, Schaul, Saxton, and Munos from Google DeepMind.
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