Tech News

Facebook Messenger Steals Your Soul, Snipp3t Stalks Celebrities, And More… [Tech News Digest]

Dave Parrack 11-08-2014

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 Facebook Pushes Messenger, OkCupid Experiments on Users, And More... [Tech News Digest] Also, Amazon launches a portal for 3D-printed products, Samsung delays release of its first Tizen smartphone, Reddit eyes profitability, Yelp adds user-generated video reviews, and Microsoft trolls Apple with Cortana bullying Siri. Read More instead. This effort began in April Windows XP To Chrome OS, Comcast Worst Company, iWatch Rumors [Tech News Digest] Switching from Windows XP to Chrome OS, forcing Facebook Messenger, Project Ara developers, Comcast named "worst company in America," Apple iWatch rumors, and an Easter PSA from Goldieblox. Read More , 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 However, despite some of the information being out of date, Facebook Messenger does need an inordinate number of draconian permissions to be granted in order to work, at least on Android.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 Join The Opt-In Program For The Facebook Messenger Beta Android App Facebook is looking for beta testers to squash the bugs and road test the latest beta versions of Facebook Messenger for Android before they are released to the general public. Read More 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 5 Ways To Contact Celebs Without Facebook Charging You Facebook has been experimenting with various different methods for making money. One of which involves charging users to send a private message to someone not on their list of friends. Whether these experiments lead to... Read More . 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 Greater Than Google: The Best Bits Of Bing When we think of searching the Internet, we without a doubt think “Google”. And why not? It’s a fantastic search engine and has some great features. But even before the idea of writing this article,... Read More can answer.

Windows Phone Boasts 300,000 Apps

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 Android vs. iOS vs. Windows Phone: Which Mobile OS Will Ultimately Win Out? [MakeUseOf Poll] Which mobile operating systems will ultimately win out? Will they survive far into the future? Or will a new mobile OS appear over the horizon to challenge the might of Apple, Google, and Microsoft? Read More 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 Extreme Sports Revealed With Amazing GoPro Videos GoPro cameras are designed to be worn or held while doing adventurous activities. They're tough and waterproof, meaning they can survive along with you (hopefully) whether you're jumping out of a plane, diving in the... Read More 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 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

Related topics: Facebook, Microsoft, Windows Phone, YouTube.

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  1. Pet Rock Disco
    September 21, 2014 at 3:57 am

    Re: YouTube. Amateurs can't act. These cable-access punks are about as talented as, well, a bag of stale chips. But with notable exceptions (the Beatles, Elvis), no one ever accused teenagers of being too discriminating in their tastes. This is the generation that made Justin Bieber and the Kardashian nymphos a cultural phenomenon.

  2. Jeremy G
    August 14, 2014 at 2:19 am

    Not talking won't help at all. Think of what they can pick up from the sound of typing.

    • Dave P
      August 15, 2014 at 1:11 pm

      I guess that's next on the agenda. These people do realize 1984 was a novel and not a manifesto, right?

    • dragonmouth
      August 15, 2014 at 8:27 pm

      " 1984 was a novel and not a manifesto, right?"
      It was a plan of action. :-)

  3. dragonmouth
    August 12, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    It is too late. Facebook users have made a Faustian bargain and are now paying the price. As the Marines say, If you got them by the gonads, their minds and bodies will follow. With more unique users than the population of China, FB could not care less about the indignation of any individual or a group of individuals. FB is big enough to dictate to everbody how things WILL be done. The one way to make FB stop and listen is for a billion or so users to close their accounts. Unfortunately, most sheep will just bleat "yes, Master" and accept any crap FB dishes out, afraid to lose all their Facebook "friends."

    BTW - the above also goes for all the other social networks. So don't feel too sanguine if you belong to Google+. Yes, you DO belong to them, lock, stock and all your data.

    • Dave P
      August 15, 2014 at 1:10 pm

      I must admit I'd like one of these collective-delete-your-Facebook campaigns to come to something. Even if it's just to give FB a scare.

      Of course Google has just as much, if not more, power over an individual's data, but you get more than just G+ for giving it up.

  4. AriesWarlock
    August 11, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    guess i won't be installing the fb app anytime soon.

    • MrX
      August 11, 2014 at 8:07 pm

      Me neither, don't like to have two apps for one service. And the fact that they are trying to force the shit onto me is just crazy. As if they don't already make enough money from all the information I give them.

    • Dave P
      August 15, 2014 at 1:07 pm

      Have a good read through the FB stance on it and you may change your mind. Part of the problem here is Android, so I have some sympathy for FB.

  5. Chinmay S
    August 11, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    Which app doesn't beg for likes? Even Candy Crush Saga need likes. King's game always asks "Like us on Facebook". If I want to, I will.

    • Dave P
      August 15, 2014 at 1:07 pm

      They can still ask for Likes, they just can't make it an essential part of the process as that's artificially inflating their popularity.

  6. CJ
    August 11, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    The Facebook Messenger issue has been immensely overblown. The permissions it needs are nothing out of the ordinary for what the app is designed to do. A clear explanation of what and why was posted by Android Central:

    • Dave P
      August 15, 2014 at 1:05 pm

      That's the same point we made in the piece. The headline was an example of the hyperbole.

  7. Tom W
    August 11, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    Hyperlapse looks amazing. I don't think it will make Microsoft any money, but as a tech demo I'm all for it.

    • Dave P
      August 15, 2014 at 1:04 pm

      You're probably right, unfortunately. Microsoft Research comes up with some good stuff but sadly most of it never becomes anything more than a concept or prototype.