Tech News

Google Kills Google Plus Links, Check Your Privacy Settings, & More… [Tech News Digest]

Dave Parrack 02-06-2015

Google+ shunted to the sidelines, Google privacy settings, Facebook threats are fine, LEGO Worlds channels Minecraft, BlackBerry prevents Typo, and the FIFA official who doesn’t understand satire.


Google Stops Promoting Google+

Google is starting to distance itself from its social network, removing the Google+ link from the top of many of its properties. The standalone G+ icon has disappeared, with Google+ relegated to the drop-down menu along with all of its other services.

This may not seem like a big deal, but it suggests Google is starting to shunt Google+ Google Plus: A Guide For Everyone If you’re reading this guide, you have probably wondered, “Why should I sign up for Google+?” The answer is simple: Google. You may have heard of them. Read More to the sidelines. Sure, it’s now on the same level as YouTube and Google Drive, but Google was previously pushing G+ so hard it upset users annoyed at having it forced on them.

This move also comes hot on the heels of Google Photos being split off into its own separate thing Hola is Basically a Botnet, Congress Redirected to Nude Photos, & More... [Tech News Digest] Also: Google offers unlimited photo storage, how you can pretend to be a destructive cat, and YouTube celebrates its 10th anniversary. Read More , which is the stongest sign yet that Google+ will be broken up into various different components. Is it too soon to add Google+ to the deathwatch? Let us know in the comments below.

Check Your Google Privacy Settings

Google has rolled out a new My Account page to help individual users control their privacy settings and understand the options available to them. The simplest way to check everything is as it should be is to take the Privacy Checkup and Security Checkup, step-by-step guides to the most important settings.


Once you’re satisfied with those, you can “manage the information that can be used from Search, Maps, YouTube and other products to enhance your experience on Google,” “Use the Ads Settings tool to control ads based on your interests and the searches you’ve done,” and “Control which apps and sites are connected to your account”.

All of which should help ensure you’re only sharing what you want to share with Google and others trapped within its extensive ecosystem. Alternatively, you could go into full tinfoil hat conspiracy theory mode and try to break away from Google completely How To Clear Your Data From Google & Attempt To Regain Some Of Your Privacy Wiping all trace of you from the web is not easy, but after reading Dragnet Nation by Julia Angwin you might just want to try. It's time to stop willingly throwing away your privacy. Read More .

Court Brands Facebook Threats Fine

The United States Supreme Court has overturned the conviction of a man sent to prison for posting sickening messages on Facebook. Anthony Elonis was previously sentenced to three years in prison for the messages, sent to various people including his estranged wife. But the Supreme Court has decided “Elonis’ conviction cannot stand.”


Elonis used a pseudonym to post the messages on Facebook, which included hateful wishes mentioning rape and murder. However, the Supreme Court decided that free speech is sacrosanct Will Facebook's New Flagging Feature Stifle Freedom of Speech? Introduced ostensibly to help Facebook remove fake news stories, thereby stopping such a post going viral, it turns out that the new flagging feature is open to abuse. Read More in this case, and that the “defendant’s mental state” should have been taken into account. Which asks more questions than it answers, and suggests the law still hasn’t got a handle on social media.

LEGO Worlds Is a Minecraft Clone

LEGO is trying to grab a piece of the insanely popular Minecraft pie with its own version of the game. Called LEGO Worlds, this Minecraft clone is now available for PC through STEAM Early Access, which allows eager gamers to get their hands on titles before they’re ready for mainstream release.

LEGO Worlds features a “limitless collection of procedurally generated worlds” which players can customize brick by brick. Sound familiar? LEGO Worlds is so similar to Minecraft there could be a legal battle brewing. But then Minecraft owes its very existence to LEGO, so perhaps all’s fair in love and war. And blocks.

BlackBerry Settles Case With Typo


BlackBerry has settled its case against Typo, the company which was selling snap-on keyboards Sony Launches Ugly SmartEyeglass, Say Hello To A Smarter Barbie [Tech News Digest] Sony eyes ugly, Hello Barbie speaks, BlackBerry sues Seacrest, Bing brings the Oscars, Modern Family loves Apple, and the fake selfie marriage proposal. Read More which look extremely similar to the default keyboard on BlackBerry phones. Typo was essentially offering Apple fans the chance to add a physical keyboard to their iPhones, much to the chagrin of BlackBerry.

The settlement means Typo has “agreed to permanently discontinue selling anywhere in the world keyboards for smartphones and mobile devices with a screen size of less than 7.9 inches.” This means Typo can only now target owners of larger tablets such as the full-sized iPad. Bad luck, Ryan Seacrest.

FIFA Official Cites The Onion

And finally, in light of the FBI investigation into bribery and corruption at FIFA, one high-profile official has defended himself by citing The Onion. Which, for those not in the know, is a long-running satirical news website Faking It: 8 Of The Best Spoof News Websites Keeping up with the news of the day, whether it be local, national, or international, is important. It's never good to bury your head in the sand, unaware of what is happening around you. However,... Read More . Oops.

Jack Warner, a former Vice President of FIFA, used an article from The Onion to back up his claims that the FBI is only looking into the organization because the United States lost out on securing the 2022 World Cup. Which is pretty ridiculous even before The Onion is brought into play.


Warner soon deleted the video, with a replacement edited to remove all references to The Onion uploaded in its place. But, as so many people find out to their cost, the Internet never forgets. [H/T The New York Times]

Your Views on Today’s Tech News

What should Google do with Google+? Have you checked your Google privacy settings? Should Facebook threats be a criminal offense? Will you or your children be buying LEGO Worlds? Should Typo be allowed to mimic BlackBerry? Have you ever mistakenly believed a story by The Onion?

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 Credits: Yuri Samoilov via Flickr

Related topics: BlackBerry, Facebook, Google, Google Plus, Minecraft, Online Privacy, Online Security.

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