Google knows that third-party cookies tracking users around the web are on the way out, as even the company itself is planning on phasing out support for them in its own Chrome browser. But the online ad business is only as lucrative as it is due to extensive tracking practices, so Google is looking for an alternative to cookies. Enter FLoC, or Federated Learning of Cohorts. The technology is supposed to make tracking less privacy-invasive by assigning people to random groups with similar interests, instead of following every individual around. But many other companies think that FLoC will still be pretty invasive, and now, even some European regulators are chiming in, voicing their concerns.
Mint Mobile is a popular MVNO carrier that offers discounts if you pay for multiple months at once. The company was purchased by Ryan Reynolds a little over a year ago (who is best known for playing Deadpool), and now Reynolds has released a video explaining the carrier's new pricing changes.
Facebook introduced its Access Your Information tool back in 2018, allowing users to see what data that the social media platform has gathered about them. Zuckerberg and company have used what they've learned in the past three years to refresh the tool with a better breakdown of your data, as well as a visual makeover.
Google has faced a lot of scrutiny in Europe. Whether it's finding fault with Google being the default search provider on Android phones to considering a ban on face recognition in public spaces, the EU generally takes a very pro-consumer focus on things. Now a series of working documents have surfaced that indicate the European Commission is considering a number of proposals that affect big tech — including a requirement that users be allowed to remove any pre-installed applications on a device.
Late last year, Facebook announced a tool to let users easily migrate their uploaded photos to Google Photos. The tool was initially available in Ireland, with plans to expand to more countries in the first half of this year. The social network has made good on those plans by expanding the rollout to the US and Canada in April, and now reaching a global rollout today.
Just when you think the post-Brexit situation can't get any worse for us poor sods in the UK, another depressing tidbit rears its ugly head. This time, it's news that Google users in England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland will no longer be protected by GDPR and will instead be at the mercy of the privacy regulations of the United States.
With the increasing scrutiny around the privacy of users, Google has announced some new features to give us all some additional peace of mind. Updates to Maps, YouTube, and Assistant will make it easier to control how much of your data the company has access to, and Password Checkup will help you ensure everything stays secure.
What happens if you want to watch something on the big screen, but your main source of internet is your phone, and you don't want to max out your available data? That's enough of a problem in India that Google is addressing it with a new Data Saver mode for Android TV, which is now rolling out in India and will come to more regions soon.
If you're working on any kind of software that utilizes facial recognition — a secure Face ID camera system for a phone is just one example that comes to mind — you need a good amount of data in order to train the AI that powers it. Google isn't exactly new to the data collection game, but you might be surprised to learn that it's been doing so via such an old-fashioned method.
Video game developer and publisher Beamdog has had two of its apps pulled from the Google Play Store. The Android versions of Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition and Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition have been missing from the store for two weeks, but the company hopes to get them back online soon. At the center of the issue is a new user data policy rule for publishers.