Google is said to be green-lighting a music-streaming service that would be in direct competition with popular music apps Pandora and Spotify. According to insiders, Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group, the big three of the music industry, has already come into an agreement with Google, licensing their songs to their new music service.
The idea that Google will have its own paid music streaming service shouldn’t come as a surprise. After all, this move will just solidify Google’s place among mobile software companies and give Android and iOS users one more reason to set-up and use a Google app. The company actually has a music service already in place, but users can only purchase specific songs or albums in this digital-media store. With this new paid subscription service, users will have access to a wide range of song catalogs.
There’s no news yet on how much this new music streaming service will cost or whether there will be ads. Some have speculated there might be, as Google gets most of its revenues from ads. What’s clear though is that Google will be competing directly with Spotify’s 6 million paying subscribers, as well as with Deezer and Pandora.
Google’s annual I/O conference in San Francisco is the perfect place and time to unveil this music streaming service. Let’s just wait and see if the company will buck to people’s expectations.
PayPal is finding a better way for its users to keep their account secured and hack-free. With all those news on hackers being able to break passwords and user identities, it’s time to say goodbye to the 50-year old password dependent technology and switch to a more high-tech and futuristic identity authentication system.
The idea was introduced by Michael Barrett who is the chief information security officer of PayPal. He believes that passwords and PINs are a thing of the past and it’s about time that we use a new standard for Internet and computer security. He further believes that fingerprint scanners are not only trendy but also something that would find its way on several smartphones any time this year.
In order to give a clearer picture and perhaps attempting to sound humorous as well, Barrett has displayed an image of a tombstone with the words ‘R.I.P. password’ and the years 1961 – 2013 added. The slide showing the image was presented at the Interop IT conference wherein the password’s inevitable death was highlighted. Passwords can no longer keep up with demands of technology and we should be ready to adapt to a better and a more secure step in accessing our accounts.
Time and again, people are advised to concoct passwords that are strong and difficult to decipher. Since we now have multiple accounts in the social media, email, banking, and even online shopping, we think that it could be tiring to think of a unique password in all our accounts. We usually end up using an identical password and one ID in every account which can be safe at first since we wouldn’t have the trouble remembering it. In the long run, our password becomes vulnerable to illegal access as it lacked enough security measures from the very beginning.
Even if the biometrics technology that is suggested by Barrett becomes available, it should be noted that the ‘password habit’ is not that easy to break. It will take time before people can get the hang of biometrics and finally say goodbye to memorizing their password. Biometrics simply involves fingerprint scanners in confirming one’s identity. Hopefully it will only require fingers and not toes for hygiene reasons.
Aside from releasing its own tablet line online retail giant Amazon is also eyeing on the smartphone industry. Rumor has it that the internet company is currently working on two handsets, one of which is said to equip 3D screen capability.
The latest Amazon scuttlebutt describes the new smartphone utilizing a glasses-free 3D technology. In addition, a retina-tracking system will be included in the handset allowing users to navigate by only using their eyes. If you could remember, this eye-scrolling technology was previously rumored on the Galaxy S IV. Will Amazon be the first to launch a handset that supports it?
Amazon has yet to comment on these smartphone rumors but it is good to note that the company had confirmed that indeed it has plans to expand its hardware offerings; aiming to reach new heights above its Kindle slates. In fact, the company has been reported to be working on the smartphone concept since 2010 under Project A, B, C and D or collectively known as the “Alphabet Projects”.
Meanwhile, aside from its 3D phone project Amazon is rumored to offer a a set-top box and an audio-only streaming device. We will certainly hear more about Amazon’s upcoming devices in the following months. Stay tuned.
While the Google Glass headset does some cool stuff, it still needs to interface with a traditional smartphone to do things like navigation, and text messaging. Until now, the optical wonder would only pair for these functions with an Android smartphone running the Glass companion app.
This will change very soon, however, one of the Google representatives in its New York office told me when I picked up my own unit yesterday afternoon. Glass, the Google employee told me, will soon be able to handle these features independent of the device the user has paired it to (and maybe even independent of the Glass companion app).
Glass will currently interface with any iPhone over Bluetooth, or use any Wi-Fi connection to get online. However, iPhone users are currently unable to get turn-by-turn directions through Glass, which is arguably one of the most useful features for the headset.
Ideally, enabling Glass to work with the iPhone will lead to the ability to access navigation feature on the phone. It’s not known if this could be accomplished via the built-in Apple Maps app for navigation, or if the iPhone will need to have Google’s own Google Maps app installed.
Google Glass remains a pricey gadget, $ 1,500 a pair being the going rate. The Google Glass official tech specs page states the Glass Explorer editions feature a five-megapixel camera with 720p video capture and sixteen gigabytes of storage, 12GB of which is usable.
Controversial online money Bitcoins might be coming sooner than expected. After months of lobbying and fluctuating stocks, the first Bitcoin ATM is ready to be unveiled and startup company Lamassu is prepared to show it off at this year’s Bitcoin Foundation Conference slated on May 17. The small Bitcoin ATM will make it easier and safer for people to transfer their Bitcoins without having to use online services.
For those unfamiliar with the concept, Bitcoins are online currency that can be moved around the Internet without the need of going through a bank. This online money can be used to purchase goods online with companies that accept them. Bitcoin ownership is anonymous which is why the finance world, and governments, is keeping a close watch on this novel way of transacting. However, since Bitcoins are fluid currency and all transactions are done online, they’re quite hard to buy and very hard to change into cash. The solution is to use an ATM catering to this type of currency.
A Bitcoin ATM will work the same way as ordinary ATMs. For instance, users who want to make a deposit can just walk up to the machine and they’ll be prompted to scan a QR code on their smart phone. The handset will then communicate to the machine where the Bitcoins will be sent. After confirmation, the user will insert their cash which is then counted and authenticated before being converted to the equivalent Bitcoin amount. The ATM then issues a receipt with a confirmation number. This number is crucial as it’s what given to another party when they need to withdraw the money. Aside from the convenience, exchanging your hard cash for Bitcoins is fast as the entire process would only take about 15 seconds to complete.
Lamassu is the company pushing for the integration of Bitcoin ATMs and they’re boasting that their product is the first of this type of technology anywhere in the world. There are a number of currencies that can be exchanged for Bitcoins and vice versa, like the dollar and the Euro. Bitcoin ATMs can be programmed to accept and convert any currency, making it a very useful tool in border cities that deal with numerous currencies. The machine’s compact size makes it easier to ship to different areas and its price tag of $ 5,000 is admittedly cheaper that what would cost to put up and run traditional ATMs.