Google puts all of your data in one place, OK Google gets a list of commands, Symantec suffers security scare, Facebook changes the News Feed again, and a Game of Thrones fan theory gets confirmed.
Google Reveals “My Activity”
Google wants to show you all the data it's collected about your online habits: so you can freak the f out https://t.co/fOzXZdcQ7t
— Michele Martell (@mjmartell) June 30, 2016
Google has launched a new tool designed to help you review your online activity and delete anything you don’t want retained. Called My Activity, this is a timeline of your various activities using Google’s manifold products and services. The data revealed within includes, “things you’ve searched for, websites you’ve visited, and videos you’ve watched”.
This isn’t the first time Google has attempted to collate your various online activities in one place, but it is the most comprehensive we have seen so far. Which is both a blessing and a curse. The bad part is seeing just how much data you’re leaking for Google to Hoover up. The good part is being able to retroactively delete activities and disable types of tracking.
My Activity should prove useful to anyone concerned about their online privacy and security. By reviewing your online activity regularly, you can makes changes to the products and services you use in order to stop leaking so much data. The only problem is the more features you disable, the less useful Google’s products and services become. So, it’s a balancing act.
A List of All the OK Google Commands
OK Google is Google’s answer to Siri and Cortana, a voice-activated personal assistant that’s there for your bidding. However, beyond the obvious questions such as, “What’s the weather like?” and “Who is the President of the United States of America?”, it’s hard to know the limitations of OK Google without a lot of trial and error.
Thankfully, a developer named Kitze has compiled a list of all of the OK Google commands in existence, and built a website specifically to keep track of them all. As there are literally hundreds of commands and thousands of variations, it’s virtually impossible for regular websites to publish an exhaustive list. As shown by our list of 20 OK Google commands.
Kitze’s website, located at ok-google.io lists everything you can say to Google in order to get a proper response. The commands are broken down by category, and are fully searchable. According to Product Hunt, Kitze hopes to develop the site further, with other people contributing, and lists of commands for Siri, Cortana, and Alexa being added in the future.
Update Norton Antivirus Products Now
Symantec Updates Now Available for Norton and Enterprise Products https://t.co/mTFTXcWifT
— Norton (@NortonOnline) June 29, 2016
If you’re running Norton (or Symantec) security software on your PC or Mac then you should update it as soon as possible. This is because the Project Zero team at Google has discovered “multiple critical vulnerabilities … [including] many wormable remote code execution flaws” in current Symantec products.
Google has been pretty scathing in its assessment of these threats, stating they are “as bad as it gets”. This is because they “don’t require any user interaction, they affect the default configuration, and the software runs at the highest privilege levels possible”. All of which should send a shiver down the spines of anyone running the affected products.
Symantec has already verified these issues and released updates to the products affected. It has also stated it’s “not aware of these vulnerabilities being exploited in the wild”. However, some of these products cannot be automatically updated, meaning you should patch them at your earliest convenience. This page details all of the issues and necessary updates.
Facebook Forges a Friendlier Feed
Facebook is changing the News Feed again, this time to favor friends and family over publishers. What this means in a nutshell is that you’ll be seeing less updates posted by publishers, and more updates posted by your friends. So, if the MakeUseOf page shares an article you probably won’t see it, but if one of your friends does you probably will see it.
In a short blog post, Facebook explained why it was making this change, claiming that despite tinkering with the News Feed already, “people are still worried about missing important updates from the friends they care about”. Hence the need to further favor updates from friends at the expense of publishers. Which sounds great for ordinary people, but terrible for publishers.
The problem, as always, is the sheer amount of influence Facebook has in this regard, with the social network able to make an article fly or die thanks to the sheer size of the potential audience. If publishers find their traffic negatively affected by this change, they will have to find more ways to drive traffic to their site(s), and more ways to make money from visitors.
R+L=J Is Confirmed!
And finally, one of the most popular Game of Thrones fan theories has now been confirmed, with R+L=J revealed to be true. Characters and fans alike have been led to believe Jon Snow is Ned Stark’s bastard child, fathered while he was away from Winterfell. The truth is much more complicated.
For the uninitiated, R+L=J decodes as Rhaegar + Lyanna = Jon. Rhaegar was Daenerys Targaryen’s brother, making her Jon’s aunt, and Lyanna was Ned Stark’s sister, making him Jon’s uncle. It also means Jon is Sansa Arya and Bran’s cousin. All of which gives him more claim over the Iron Throne, but less claim over Winterfell.
How will this revelation change things? Knowing Game of Thrones, in a myriad of different ways, that is once Bran reveals the truth. It also means Jon Snow is literally a song of fire and ice, being half Targaryen and half Stark. Which suggests he’s the most important character in the whole series.
Your Views on Today’s Tech News
Are you shocked by the amount of data Google has on you? Which OK Google commands do you use regularly? Have you updated your Norton security software yet? What do you think of the changes Facebook is making to your News Feed? How will Jon Snow’s parentage affect Game of Thrones?
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.
Tech News Digest is a daily column paring the technology news of the day down into bite-sized chunks that are easy to read and perfect for sharing.
Image Credit: Marcin Wichary via Flickr