About the Author

Ben Lovejoy

@benlovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer who started his career on PC World and has written for dozens of computer and technology magazines, as well as numerous national newspapers, business and in-flight magazines. He has also written two novels.

He thinks wires are evil and had a custom desk made to hide them, known as the OC Desk for obvious reasons.

He considers 1000 miles a good distance for a cycle ride, and Chernobyl a suitable tourist destination. What can we say, he’s that kind of chap.

He speaks fluent English but only broken American, so please forgive any Anglicised spelling in his posts.

Today

GOOG: 906.66

0.00

We noted last month that Verizon was throttling Netflix and YouTube usage for ‘unlimited’ plan users even before they hit the 22GB level at which the company says it may reduce bandwidth – and it has now been revealed that this was just stage one.

Verizon is now starting to throttle all video on its ‘unlimited’ plans, with bandwidth limited to as little as 480p when watching on a smartphone …

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Yesterday

GOOG: 906.66

-4.01

A total solar eclipse – the entire sun blocked by the passage of the moon – is one of the most awe-inspiring natural events you can experience. I travelled to Germany to view one in 1999, and I remember it vividly today. The light getting gradually dimmer and dimmer, a deep twilight and then the sudden and dramatic transition into total darkness.

Today will see America’s first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse in almost a century. You need to be in quite a narrow band of the U.S. to experience the totality in person, but if you’re not able to do so, there are plenty of ways to livestream the event …

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Everyone can use an Echo Dot: Just $50!

August 15

GOOG: 922.22

-0.45

Qualcomm says that next year’s Snapdragon processors will offer much more sophisticated 3D camera capabilities, including the ability to use infra-red for facial recognition.

In particular, the chipmaker seems to be aiming to ensure that Android flagships can match or beat the face-recognition system expected to be a headline feature of Apple’s upcoming iPhone 8

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Facebook rolls out Marketplace to 17 European & Nordic countries from today

Facebook Marketplace, which allows you to sell unwanted items to people in your local community direct from the iOS app, is today rolling out to 17 new European and Nordic countries …

August 10

GOOG: 907.24

-15.66

Uber adds in-app driver-rider chat facility for greater convenience and privacy

Uber is rolling out an app update that introduces a new chat feature, allowing riders and drivers to send messages to each other from within the app. Previously, communicating with the driver required a phone call or text message …

August 8

GOOG: 926.79

-2.57

A bot can use your Instagram feed to tell whether you’re clinically depressed

It seems there’s not much AI can’t do these days. Whether it’s drive a car, improve music discovery, retouch photos or narrate the world to blind people. And now machine learning can even look through your Instagram feed to decide whether you are clinically depressed …

August 2

GOOG: 930.39

-0.44

Messaging apps these days aren’t just for sending friendly greetings – increasingly, you can also use them to send cold, hard cash. Or the electronic equivalent, at least.

Skype is the latest to join the trend of supporting peer-to-peer payments through a PayPal integration in the latest update to its iOS and Android apps …

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August 1

GOOG: 930.83

0.33

Google and Apple have removed hundreds of financial trading apps from their app stores following an investigation suggesting that thousands of people may have been scammed – many of them seniors. Some have reportedly lost their entire life savings.

The action follows an investigation by a newspaper and a review by a securities & investment body …

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July 31

GOOG: 930.50

-11.03

Former Google senior vice president of Social, Vic Gundotra, has said that Android phones are literally years behind the iPhone when it comes to photography – and it’s Android’s fault.

Gundotra started by praising the quality of the iPhone 7 Plus camera in a Facebook post.

The end of the DSLR for most people has already arrived. I left my professional camera at home and took these shots at dinner with my iPhone 7 using computational photography (portrait mode as Apple calls it). Hard not to call these results (in a restaurant, taken on a mobile phone with no flash) stunning. Great job Apple.

But he went further …

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July 26

GOOG: 947.80

-2.90

Niantic blames carriers for Chicago GO Fest failure; says other festivals will go ahead

After Niantic’s Pokémon GO Fest in Chicago turned into something of a disaster – with many attendees unable to use the game at all, and others unable to login or suffering crashes – the company has laid most of the blame at the feet of carriers …

July 24

GOOG: 980.34

7.42

Secure messaging app Telegram has borrowed a feature from SnapChat in the form of photos & videos that disappear after a time-out.

You can now set a self-destruct timer for any photos and videos you share in private chats. If you set a timer, the countdown starts the moment your recipient opens the photo or video you sent. After the time runs out, the photo/video will disappear forever, just like in Secret Chats.

Telegram checks photos & videos to see whether they are publicly-available ones …

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July 21

GOOG: 972.92

4.77

Unlimited data plans have to be one of the most blatant examples of false advertising. Whether you’re grandfathered into an old plan, or buy one today, deep in the small-print will be a note that the carrier reserves the right to throttle your speeds once you hit a certain usage level.

But Verizon Wireless has been accused of taking this one stage further, and throttling Netflix and YouTube usage for unlimited plan users even before they hit the 22GB level at which the company says it may reduce bandwidth …

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More than 10M people take part in FCC consultation on net neutrality

Some 40 tech giants calling on the public to voice their support for net neutrality appears to have been successful: more than 10.5M comments have been made on the FCC website …

July 19

GOOG: 970.89

5.49

American owners of Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus phones will at long last get access to the Bixby assistant, first announced alongside the two phones. The company says that Bixby will be made available in the U.S. in an update happening sometime tonight…

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July 18

GOOG: 965.40

11.98
Google Glass Enterprise Edition in use at Boeing
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Google may have long since abandoned its ambitions to sell Glass as a consumer product, but a focus on enterprise applications has apparently been more successful as the Enterprise Edition finally gets its official launch today…

That day has been a long time coming. We exclusively revealed the plan to reboot Glass as an enterprise device in a series of posts back in early 2015. Since then, we’ve seen FCC images and a patent, and even an eBay listing before we confirmed the name more than a year ago …

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July 17

GOOG: 953.42

-2.57

Google has won at least an interim victory in its dispute with the U.S. Department of Labor over a planned anti-discrimination audit of the company.

An administrative judge has ruled that Google was justified in its refusal to hand over pay data for 21,000 employees to allow the Dept of Labor to check whether the company was paying men more than women …

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July 14

GOOG: 955.99

8.83

Google Street View is great for exploring an area from the comfort of your sofa, but if you want some more inspirational images to see how great a place can look, you probably seek out some better-quality photos. You may not have to do that for long thanks to a machine-learning project Google is running.

Google fed an experimental deep learning system a supply of professional photos from which to learn, then had it try its hand at emulating these from a set of around 40,000 plain old Street View snaps …

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U.S. Border Protection can search devices but not cloud accounts, as searches climb dramatically

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has advised a Senator that while it has the power to search electronic devices and examine all data stored on them, these powers do not extend to searching data stored in the cloud …

July 13

GOOG: 947.16

3.33

A French court has ruled against the country’s own tax authority, and decided that Google need not pay a €1.11B ($1.27B) tax bill. Although the ruling so far applies only to Google and only in France, it sets a precedent that could influence other cases in Europe.

The French government took the view that when Google sold ads to French companies, that revenue was earned in France, and was subjected to taxes there. Accordingly, it sent the company a bill for almost $1.3B, covering ads sold in the country between 2005 and 2010, down from an earlier demand for €1.6B …

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July 12

GOOG: 943.83

13.74

It’s not often that a huge list of tech giants get together to speak with one voice, and it’s even more remarkable when they are protesting legislation which could actually benefit them, but that’s what’s happening today. A Day of Action has been called to ask the FCC to retain net neutrality rules.

Amazon, Dropbox, eBay, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Netflix, Reddit, Snap, Spotify and Twitter are just 11 of the 40 tech companies encouraging you to have your say …

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