Google Is Reading Your Emails, Hotel Tackles Negative Reviews, And More… [Tech News Digest]
Also, in-flight cellphone calls may be banned, Windows XP is hanging on for dear life, Flappy Bird returns, an update on HitchBOT, and how iCEnhancer 3.0 makes GTA IV look better than GTA V.
Google Is In Your Email
http://t.co/oGIzE9hPTf Should Google be able to tell police about your e-mail content? What if it’s alleged child porn?
— Chris Matyszczyk (@ChrisMatyszczyk) August 3, 2014
If you’re using Gmail then Google is scanning your emails for evidence of child pornography. This is the takeaway from the story of one man being charged with possession of child porn after Google alerted authorities about explicit images discovered in his inbox.
According to a local news report, Google tipped off a child protection agency, which then alerted the police, who then arrested the 41-year-old Houston man. While all right-thinking people will support stopping the spread of child pornography, this case raises questions over how intrusive Google’s methods are for scanning emails.
We already know Google scans emails sent through Gmail, with its Terms of Service stating that, “automated systems analyse your content (including emails) to provide you personally relevant product features, such as customised search results, tailored advertising, and spam and malware detection.” But scanning for illegal activity is another thing altogether.
Hotel Fines Guests For Negative Reviews
A hotel fines guests who write negative Yelp reviews $500! http://t.co/NQgMVjOlqH pic.twitter.com/L6c5xX5kEt
— Mike Elgan (@MikeElgan) August 4, 2014
A New York hotel which tried to battle back against negative online reviews is currently experiencing an Internet backlash. The Union Street Guest House recently imposed fines of $500 for any negative review left on the Internet by guests of a wedding. This has led to hundreds of one-star reviews being left on Yelp by people who have never even stayed there.
Businesses clearly face a new threat to their wellbeing with negative reviews , but this is not the way to handle such matters. Rather than threaten people with monetary punishments, how about ensuring people enjoy their stay in the first place? Other businesses tempted to follow suit will hopefully be dissuaded from doing so by this satisfying outcome.
The U.S. May Ban In-Flight Phone Calls
If they start allowing phone calls inside a plane I’ll counter back with a Bluetooth speaker and blast music while you’re the phone #iwin
— Nelsinho Almeida (@whereisnelson) August 5, 2014
The U.S. Government looks set to ban in-flight phone calls on all planes travelling in and out of the country. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Department of Transportation is seeking to formally ban all voice calls, a ruling which would take precedence over any relaxing of the rules enacted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
It should be noted that in-flight calls are already banned, but there has been a push in recent months to overturn this ban . Unfortunately, while there are no technical reasons why calls should be banned from flights, the threat of terrorism coupled with the potential to annoy fellow passengers could mean the ban remains in place for the foreseeable future.
Windows XP Is Refusing To Die
Despite Microsoft pulling support for Windows XP in April, the ancient operating system is refusing to die. According to the latest figures from Net Applications, XP still accounts for 24.82 percent of the Windows market share, down just 1.5 percent since Microsoft pulled the plug.
Meanwhile, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 continue to struggle, with a 12.48 percent market share for July actually showing a drop on the previous month. Windows 7 now boasts a market share of 51.22 percent, making it by far the most popular version of Windows out in the wild. We hope Microsoft is taking note of these statistics while developing Windows 9.
Flappy Birds Family Lands On Fire TV
Flappy Bird is back, but the short-lived mobile gaming phenomenon has been turned into Flappy Birds Family and released exclusively on the Amazon Fire TV . The new Flappy Birds Family adds a multiplayer element as well as new obstacles to avoid, but other than that it’s still the same frustratingly difficult game we loved and hated in equal measure.
HitchBOT Makes It Halfway Across Canada
HitchBOT, a talking robot trying to hitch its way across Canada, has made it to Toronto. We briefly spoke about HitchBOT back in June when preparations for its journey were still ongoing, and since then it has made headlines across North America. You can follow the epic adventure of HitchBOT on his personal website, and please, don’t laugh at his appearance as he’s rather sensitive about it.
Mod Makes GTA IV Look Better Than GTA V
And finally, if you’re aching for an HD fix of Grand Theft Auto, then rather than wait for GTA V to hit the PS4 and Xbox One, you should get hold of GTA IV on PC. Sure, GTA IV looked pretty shoddy back in the day, but when you add the iCEnhancer 3.0 mod to it GTA IV looks absolutely stunning. If you don’t believe us, watch the video embedded above (via Wired).
Your Views On Today’s Tech News
Are you upset at the idea of Google scanning your emails? Do you have any sympathy for the hotel tackling negative reviews? Are you surprised to learn Windows XP is still going strong?
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: Michael Schreifels via Flickr