Two years ago, Google+ had over 440 active monthly users. As of December 2018, it is a few months away from shutting down. This service was originally planned to shut down in August 2019, but due to a recent security bug, this date has been pushed forward to April 2019. Originally, Google+ decided to shut down in August 2019 because of a bug that released private data of hundreds of thousands of users for about three years. Additionally, the usage of Google+ declined as other forms of social media such as Instagram and Snapchat saw an increase in popularity. This also played a factor in Google deciding to shut down. The security bug that was found recently exposed private information such as email addresses even if they were private, but luckily did not expose any other information that is too important. Also, Google was able to fix this not too long after discovering it. In addition to this, they are notifying users who were affected by this. Although it is currently not being used much, it was originally fast-growing and quite popular. Just a few months after launch, it reached ninety million users, but users averaged only about a few minutes of use a day, which was a lot less compared to Facebook, which was quite similar to Google+. After a while, users stopped using Google+, and now the service shutting down has not concerned many, as not many use it. It is advisable that Google+ users delete their account especially with the recent security issues, and make the switch to a different social media.
Author: Ritik Sinha
Newer and newer generations of smartphones keep on coming, with more options and features. However, one of the biggest upcoming features is… foldable smartphones? In a developer conference, Samsung showed off a prototype of a phone with a working folding screen. Samsung is calling it the “Infinity Flex Display”, and while this technology never existed in popular phones, some lesser-known companies have implemented it, such as Royole in their FlexPai phone. The phone itself will be able to open and close like a book. When it is closed, it appears to be a small and narrow phone, and when it is opened, it appears similar to a tablet. While the concept seems cool, there are a few problems that may arise. For example, the device itself may have a clunky design. During the developer conference, Samsung intentionally dimmed the lights so that people would not be able to see anything except the screens. However, some were able to get videos and pictures of the device during Samsung’s rehearsals. In these, it is clear to see that the device is thick and the bezels of the device are quite big as well. Another problem that is clear from the pictures is that when closed, the device has a small screen size. Finally, some are wondering whether or not this technology is actually useful. It is likely that users will have to sacrifice the actual phone design just to be able to have the foldability feature. This may not appeal to most consumers if they find the sacrifice not worth it. However, if Samsung is able to implement the technology well, people who enjoy new gadgets and maybe even some regular consumers will purchase the device. A phone with the technology is planned to release sometime next year, and we are hoping it is worth the hype.
Just a week ago, Facebook took another major hit and is under controversy yet again. This time, there was a major security breach by someone who exploited a feature. This led the person to be able to gain access to about 50 million Facebook accounts, making this the company’s largest security breach ever. However, not much is known besides this. The people or person who hacked the system are unknown, and it is also unknown what information the hackers wanted. There are a plethora of different things the hackers could have used the information for, but we do not know what. Facebook is making efforts to try and find the perpetrators. However, this hack is not the only news concerning Facebook. A few days ago, users were getting messages from friends saying that they should check their account for suspicious activity, and forward the message to their friends. The message suggests that the friend got another friend request from them even though they are already friends, implying that their account got cloned. This cloning is actually real, and it occurs when a person copies pictures and information from someone’s account and then sends friend requests to their Facebook friends. These friends will likely accept the friend request thinking that it is actually them, and then the person who cloned the account can get personal information from the friends. While this cloning does happen occasionally, the messages that were spread a few days ago were a hoax, but people believe the messages and forward it to their friends, which causes people to be spammed by this message. It is advisable to just ignore these messages if you receive them. It seems like Facebook can’t catch a break with so many controversies, but hopefully, they will be able to bounce back and keep a good record for a while.
Throughout the years, smartphones have been getting more and more advanced and have been improving each year. This year will appear to be no different, as OnePlus is releasing its new flagship phone, the OnePlus 6T. The company has confirmed that this phone will contain an inbuilt fingerprint sensor built into the touchscreen of the phone, which is a feature that has not been implemented in for phones for quite a while. Consumers will be happy with this, as most smartphones usually have their fingerprint sensors on the back of the device in order to maximize the display dimensions on the front of the screen. Many believe that it is inconvenient to have to stretch your finger to the back of the phone. The 6T will also be slightly thicker than the previously released OnePlus phone, and some are even speculating that it may include a triple camera, which is a feature that could improve its camera quality a lot. We have only seen this in Huawei’s P20 Pro, which has turned out to have one of the best smartphone cameras due to the triple camera. It will be exciting to see if the OnePlus 6T will also implement this. This 6T is planned to be released during November of this year, and a few months after we will see the Samsung S10 be released as well. Mainly, the in-built fingerprint scanner is the most exciting feature as it could very well be implemented in new phones soon, an addition smartphone users will appreciate. Overall, we cannot wait to see this new addition, and if new phones also implement this feature.
Author: Ritik Sinha
The STEAM Team has seen a lot of progress recently. As we have expanded, we see it necessary to make some changes - for the better. We will continue to have high school teachers teach students STEM and art subjects at elementary schools - specifically fourth and fifth graders - every two weeks. Previously, however, most of our teachers came from one high school. To be able to reach out further, we have launched a system in which high schools can start their own branch of the STEAM team through clubs. Students can apply to start a club at their high school through our website. To be approved, we look for candidates that have already decided upon passionate and motivated people to be appointed as the president, treasurer, resource manager, and outreach manager. Having these different positions in a club will allow the club to thrive as each role will have different tasks. Every club will share the same curriculum and will be responsible for sending three teachers to teach at 2 elementary schools, with a maximum of 20 students in each class. Though there have been some changes, our goal is the same - to provide opportunities, spark creativity, and foster a passion in younger students for STEAM subjects. For more information, visit our “About Us” and “Clubs” pages, and leave any questions in the comment section below. Club Applications are available on these pages. You can also reach out to us via email (info at the bottom of the site and on the contact page). The link to the club application: http://bit.ly/2njwpDO
Recently, a Chinese tech company by the name of Huawei has come under even more controversy as security officials from the United Kingdom claim that Huawei phones could pose a risk to national security. In terms of everyday electronics, Huawei is known for its smartphones and laptops. Although not popular in the United States, Huawei is extremely popular in other countries - and the company itself is very successful. The main reason they are not popular in the United States is because of statements in February by US intelligence chiefs discouraging citizens from using Huawei’s gadgets. Their reasoning was that it is not safe to trust a company attached to a foreign government. Using their phones allows Huawei to gain power in our telecommunications infrastructure, which allows them to modify or steal information. After these statements came out, Huawei phones became locked out of the USA, as stores stopped selling them. One of their most recent smartphones, the P20 Pro, is actually very highly acclaimed, and reviews show that it is comparable to the Samsung S9 and Google Pixel 2, if not better.
Source: NDTV Gadgets (gadgets.ndtv.com)
While Huawei phones are somewhat common in the United Kingdom, they may not be for long. As stated earlier, security officials in the UK say that Huawei phones may not be completely safe for national security. A recent report showed that “Huawei’s engineering processes have exposed new risks in the UK telecommunication networks”, meaning that Huawei has posed risks in the telecommunication networks of the UK. In response to this, a Huawei spokesperson stated that they will work on improving their engineering processes. In another year, another report will show any new findings. It will be interesting to see if any stores or phone providers in the UK will stop selling Huawei phones, or if the nation will not take any precautions prohibiting the sales of these devices. If this does turn out to be more serious, we could see huge declines in Huawei’s success. For now, however, while Huawei has good phones, its best to stay away from them.
Source: Huawei (huawei.com)
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