Tech News

Google Is Reading Your Emails, Hotel Tackles Negative Reviews, And More… [Tech News Digest]

Dave Parrack 05-08-2014

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

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.

Big Brother IS watching Your Interest in Privacy Will Ensure You're Targeted by the NSA Yes, that's right. If you care about privacy, you may be added to a list. Read More .

Hotel Fines Guests For Negative Reviews

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 Investigating The Yelp Rating Algorithm: How Internet Memes Spread Many small businesses on Yelp believe the review service manipulates its rating algorithm. But is it true? We detail that investigation with first person accounts and interviews with Yelp managers. Read More by people who have never even stayed there.


Businesses clearly face a new threat to their wellbeing with negative reviews Leaving An Online Review? Word It Right To Avoid Legal Action Companies are chasing down negative commenters and reviewers with threats of legal action. How serious is this problem, and what can you do to receive an unexpected letter from a lawyer? Read More , 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

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 Phones On Planes, Sockpuppeting, Female Geeks, Lulu Larks [Tech News Digest] Planes may allow cellphones, Wikipedia suppresses sockpuppeting, Samsung told to pay up, female geeks on the rise, Microsoft interested in Winamp, Opera 18 released, Microsoft turns to eBay, and a potentially sexist app hyped by... Read More . Unfortunately, while there are no technical reasons Do Personal Electronic Devices Really Interfere With Avionics? Why aren't we allowed to use our electronic devices during a flight? What allows us to now use them except for during takeoff and landing? Read More 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 Microsoft Kills Windows XP, Hollywood Sues Megaupload, Virus Shield Scam [Tech News Digest] RIP Windows XP, Hollywood sues Megaupload, Virus Shield scam, Xbox 360 emulation, multiplayer Goat Simulator, and Mario escapes into the real world. Read More 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 The Short Story Of Flappy Bird [Weird & Wonderful Web] Few mobile games enter into the collective consciousness of the mainstream in the way Flappy Bird has done. It passes into Internet folklore, but these videos will help to preserve its virality. Read More has been turned into Flappy Birds Family and released exclusively on the Amazon Fire TV Amazon Fire TV And Fire TV Game Controller Review & Giveaway Amazon launched the Fire TV, a media center device not unlike the Apple TV, but with gaming as perk. Read More . 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 Amazon Shops New 3D Fire Phone, Say Yo To The Dumbest App Ever, And More... [Tech News Digest] Twitter adds support for animated GIFs, a new glitch is found in Super Mario Bros. 30 years after release, HitchBOT prepares to travel across Canada, and a first-person cat simulator on Kickstarter. Read More 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 10 of the Best GTA IV Videos to Get You Excited for GTA V [MUO Gaming] Read More 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

Related topics: Gmail, Windows XP.

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  1. dragonmouth
    August 5, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    While reporting child pornographers, terrorists and other criminals to the Feds is admirable on Google's part, how soon before the Feds demand reports on "incorrect" political views??? Google is bringing 1984 to the police station near you. Who needs Big Brother when Google is doing a much thorough job.

  2. Bill
    August 5, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    The XP usage numbers are for non-mobile devices accessing websites. The rest of numbers not seen are Mac OS, Vista, Linux, etc. Full numbers at: