Facebook Messenger Steals Your Soul, Snipp3t Stalks Celebrities, And More… [Tech News Digest]
Also, Windows Phone hits 300,000 apps milestone, YouTube stars are insanely popular among teenagers, Microsoft creates hyperlapse videos, Facebook bans begging for Likes, and Big Brother is listening via your bag of chips.
Facebook Messenger Causes Privacy Panic
Facebook is currently on a mission to strip messaging from the main Facebook app, forcing users to install Facebook Messenger instead. This effort began in April , and is now being rolled out worldwide. Not only is this annoying users who rightly regard having to use two apps instead of one as stupid, the permissions the app requires before installation are causing controversy.
Some reports are citing a HuffPo article from December 2013, which does appear to blow the issue out of proportion. However, despite some of the information being out of date, Facebook Messenger does need an inordinate number of draconian permissions to be granted in order to work, at least on Android.
The problem is two-fold: 1. Facebook Messenger comprises so many elements that the permissions are seemingly endless and appear to be insidiously invasive. 2. Android apps require all permissions to be granted before installation, which isn’t the case with iOS, which instead deals with them as and when they crop up.
TL;DR: Forcing Facebook Messenger on its users is a dick move by Facebook, but the privacy panic surrounding the permissions required on the Android app are being hyped up. Our headline being a prime example; Facebook Messenger doesn’t actually steal your soul. Fingers crossed.
Stalk Celebrities With Microsoft Snipp3t
Microsoft has released a new iPhone app which makes it a whole lot easier to virtually stalk your favorite celebrity . Snipp3t (pronounced “Snippet“) is a free iOS app which uses Bing to narrow searches to particular celebrities of your choosing. Thus, you’ll see a continuous stream of news related to whichever famous person you’re obsessed with this month. Why this is an iOS app and not a Windows Phone app is a question not even Bing can answer.
Windows Phone Boasts 300,000 Apps
“Selling an Old iPhone? Here Are Things to Consider.” The first thing to consider is Windows Phone.
— Paul Thurrott (@thurrott) August 9, 2014
Even without Snipp3t, there are now more than 300,000 apps for Windows Phone, according to Microsoft by the Numbers. While this is a small number compared to the 1 million plus boasted by Android and iOS, it shows developers are slowly but surely porting their apps across to Windows Phone. Perhaps our recent poll result suggesting Windows Phone will eventually win the battle of the mobile operating systems wasn’t so misguided after all.
YouTube Stars Are The New A-Listers
Forget Hollywood actors and chart-topping pop stars, the real celebrities of the future are YouTube vloggers. That is if you believe the results of a Variety survey of American teenagers aged 13-18. Six of the top 10 most influential people for that age group are Web celebs, with Smosh (see above) taking the number one spot.
This should obviously all be taken with massive pinch of salt, but it’s clear our idea of celebrity is changing. Move over Beyonce, it turns out we would rather see PewDiePie shake his booty.
Microsoft Previews First-Person Hyperlapse
There are some amazing GoPro videos being posted online, but for every gem there is also a dud. Microsoft Research is trying to help those people shooting long, boring, first-person videos, with a project that turns these often-unwatchable epics into hyperlapse videos. You can see the astounding results above, with jagged and jumpy clips turned into silky smooth journeys.
Facebook Bans Apps From Begging For Likes
Facebook is like a fridge. When you’re bored you keep opening and closing it every few minutes to see if there’s anything worthwhile…
— J D Chandler (@jdchandlerklove) August 11, 2014
Facebook is banning apps from begging for Likes, which should stop those spammy, “Like us on Facebook to be entered into a prize draw” requests. This change of policy is going live on November 5, at which point any incentivization aimed at artificially inflating the number of Likes will be banned. Good.
Using A Bag Of Chips To Spy On People
And finally, as if spies didn’t already have enough methods for snooping on what we’re saying and doing, according to New Scientist, engineers at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) have discovered a way of recording conversations via visual microphones.
As can be seen in the video above, these are able to capture conversations by measuring vibration patterns seen in plants or a bag of chips. Which isn’t scary at all.
Big Brother IS watching, and technology means watching now equates to listening as well. I’m never talking again.
Your Views On Today’s Tech News
Are you concerned by the permissions Facebook Messenger requires to work? Will you be using Snipp3t to stalk celebrities? Do you think YouTube stars are the next generation of celebrity A-listers?
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: Lord Jim via Flickr