Posts with «small businesses» label

1Password's new feature lets you safely share passwords using just a link

Password sharing in the workplace and at home is a common practice, but doing so securely can be tricky. 1Password aims to address that with its new feature that gives you a way to share log-in credentials in a secure way even with people who don't have an account with the service. It's called Psst!, which is short for Password Secure Sharing Tool, and it's apparently one of the company's most requested features.

Based on a research the company conducted, most workers reuse corporate credentials. Of those people, 36 percent admitted to sharing log-ins with other workers and clients via insecure channels, including emails, chat apps, spreadsheets, documents and texts. In another survey, 1Password found that most families share passwords between members and also use insecure methods, such as writing them down and messaging them to each other.

Psst! allows you to share credentials with anybody by generating a link with the information that other people can access, even if they don't have a 1Password account. You can choose how long the link remains valid, from an hour to 30 days, after which it will automatically expire. You can also choose to share the credentials with anybody who has the link or with specific people only. If you choose the latter, the service will require the recipient to confirm their identity by verifying their email addresses before giving them access. 

The service has launched this new feature alongside its announcement that it now has over 100,000 business customers and that it's growing its employee headcount to 500. Jeff Shiner, CEO of 1Password, said in a statement:

"Having the ability to share passwords and other credentials outside of a business or family has been one of our most highly-requested features, and I’m very excited by today’s launch of Psst! as it helps keep everyone, not just 1Password customers, safe online. Crossing the 100,000 business customers mark is a clear indication that businesses understand the need to safeguard their passwords and other sensitive information online."

1Password

Gogoro launches its battery-swapping tech in China

Gogoro has announced that its hot-swappable battery technology has arrived China and will be compatible with two local scooter brands so far. It's the company's first large-scale expansion, after promising earlier this year to bring its scooters and tech outside of Taiwan.

In May, the company announced a partnership with China's Yadea, the largest electric two-wheel manufacturer in the world, and DJC, another Chinese scooter giant. "Today’s launch in China, the world’s largest two-wheel market with more than 300 million riders, is a key milestone for all cities," said Gogoro founder and CEO, Horace Luke. 

Yesterday, both companies unveiled electric scooters designed to work with Gogoro's hot-swappable batteries, branded "Huan Huan" in China. Yadea announced two vehicles that will be "part of a larger portfolio of Gogoro-powered vehicles, while DJC took the wraps off its own prototype, Gogoro-powered scooter. 

Gogoro

Gogoro is the largest scooter company in Taiwan, but is best known for its unique swappable battery tech that lets users avoid the usual wait for a charge. The system allows users to buy scooters without a battery, making the initial purchase cheaper. Users then "rent" batteries via a subscription and are charged per Ah of electricity used. When their battery gets low, they can head to a "GoStation" and swap for a freshly charged one in as little as six seconds. The company uses cloud tech to ensure users can find batteries easily and that they don't overload energy grids.

The scooters come at a good time in China, which enacted legislation to retire up to 250 million gas- and diesel-powered vehicles by 2025. The launch could also act as a test of Gogoro's battery swapping tech for future expansions around the world. 

Tinder is rolling out its own in-app 'coins'

Tinder will introduce a virtual in-app currency designed to help users spend more time on the site and eventually pay real money, according to a Bloomberg report. The "coins" will be a way for Tinder to monetize non-subscribers by allowing them to make ad-hoc or one-time purchases. 

Users who stay active and up-to-date on the site will be able to acquire coins for free. However, you'll also be able to pay real money for them, much as you can with in-app game purchases. The coins can be used to purchase Tinder perks like Super Likes or Boosts that help you find the best possible match. 

Tinder runs on a freemium model that lets you use the app without paying. However, users can gain extra features via a subscription (from $10 to $30 per month), like more granular filters, Boosts and the ability to see people who've shown interest in your profile. 

Tinder parent Match.com has said that Tinder users have a higher propensity to pay than ever, and was encouraged by small market tests conducted last spring. "[The currency] will play an important role as the Tinder experience evolves and becomes more immersive, because virtual currency is useful in the context of gifting digital goods," Tinder CFO Gary Swindler told Bloomberg

Tinder is the most popular dating app in the US according to Statista, and despite its reputation, has played down its image as a hookup site. The currency will roll out starting in Australia (chosen because it represents the app's global member base), later this month. 

Android 12 has been released to the Android Open Source Project

Following a preview at I/O 2021 and multiple betas since then, the next version of Google's mobile operating system is ready for prime time. Android 12 is now officially available. But if you own an Android device, don't get excited just yet. With today's announcement, Google is uploading the source code to the operating system to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). As things stand, the update isn't publicly available on any current devices. But that should change soon.

Google says it will start rolling out Android 12 to Pixel devices starting sometime in the "next few weeks," with availability on Samsung, OnePlus, Oppo, Realme, Tecno, Vivo and Xiaomi devices to follow later this year. Once the OS finally makes it to your device, you can look forward to checking out Google's new Material You design language, an updated privacy dashboard that includes a timeline of all the data the apps on your phone have accessed, the ability to capture scrolling screenshots, a new one-handed mode and more. Until then, the wait continues.    

Epic Games Store is getting a proper achievement system next week

Nearly three years after coming out to take on Steam, the Epic Games Store is about to get more robust support for achievements. Starting next week, you’ll have the chance to earn XP by completing specific tasks in select games. Some of the titles that will support the feature out of the gate include Rocket League, Hades, Pillars of Eternity and Alan Wake Remastered, with more to come later in the year.

Epic’s system includes four tiers of achievements, with each level granting you a different amount of XP. For instance, in unlocking a bronze-level accomplishment, you’ll earn between five and 45 XP, while a gold one will net you as much as 200 XP. Once you accrue 1,000 XP in a single game, you’ll earn its platinum achievement.

With the update, Epic is also rolling out new pages where you can track and share the progress you’re making towards unlocking all the goals in a specific game. You’ll also see that information displayed through the library interface.

One thing to note is that this new system is different from the developer achievements Epic implemented about a year ago. That system will continue to be there for developers who don’t want to engage with the new one, though the company says it expects “this new system will roll out [to] all developers on the Epic Games Store in the coming months.”  

'Battlefield 2042' beta starts October 8th

You won't have to wait until November 19th to learn whether or not Battlefield 2042 is any good. DICE and EA have revealed the open beta for the massive-scale team shooter will take place between October 8th and October 9th. As is sometimes the case with blockbusters like this, pre-order customers and EA Play members can start playing early, on October 6th.

The beta is limited to the classic Conquest mode on a single map, Orbital (the one from the trailer, pictured above). You can choose from one of four Specialists (read: player classes). The game supports as many as 128 players on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S and PC, but you'll be limited to 'just' 64 players on PS4 or Xbox One.

A two-day public test isn't exactly extensive. It might give you a feel for the game, though, and could help you decide whether or not it's worth $60 (on PC and older consoles) or $70 (PS5 and Xbox Series X/S). If nothing else, this suggests the developers are confident enough in the game to give everyone a brief sample.

Yahoo is building a new calendar app with help from the creator of Sunrise

Mention the name of Sunrise to a select demographic of nerds and you’re likely to elicit a visceral reaction. Before Microsoft purchased the calendar software in 2015 and shut it down about a year later, it was one of those apps people loved to praise. Thoughtful design and features helped it differentiate itself and earn a passionate fanbase in a crowded market that was dominated by heavyweights like GCal.

But then Microsoft shut down the app and fans were left to look elsewhere, with almost no alternative coming in to fill the void. But the good news is something similar could be on the way. Yahoo (Engadget’s parent company) is working on a standalone calendar app called Day. We know, not the most exciting sell, but stay with us.

According to TechCrunch, the company has recruited Jeremy Le Van, one of the co-founders of Sunrise, to help design the software. What’s more, the company has reportedly granted Le Van’s team the freedom to develop the software independent of other Yahoo properties. In its current iteration, the app apparently doesn’t feature any Yahoo branding or integrations. Moreover, the plan is to make it into something that can integrate with whatever email client and other tools people use.

Obviously, we’ll have to see what the final product looks like, but even if Day is only half as good as Sunrise it will make the calendar conversation more interesting.

Android's accessibility updates include a way to control your phone using your face

Google has introduced quite a lengthy list of Android features, including new accessibility tools for the mobile OS that rely on eye and facial gestures. Starting this week, users will see a new addition to the Android Accessibility Suite that can turn a phone's front-facing camera into a switch. Aptly called Camera Switch, the tool replaces keyboards, mice and touchscreen displays as a device's input method. With the feature, users will be able to navigate their phones with eye movements or with facial features, such as smiling or opening and closing their mouths. The tech giant started beta testing it in August, but it's now giving the feature a wider rollout.

Google

The tech giant has also launched a new application called Project Activate specifically for those don’t speak or have neurological conditions. Its purpose is to make it easier for the users to communicate with other people. They can program the app to speak phrases like "Please, wait!" when they move their eyes a certain way or make a gesture with their face. The application can also be programmed to play audio, make phone calls or send texts, such as emergency messages seeking assistance. 

Finally, Google has updated its Lookout app with handwriting recognition. It can now read out handwritten and printed text for Latin-based languages while in Documents mode. Further, it can now recognize Euro and Indian Rupee in currency mode, with Google planning to add support for more currencies in the future. The tech giant first announced Lookout back in 2018 as a way to provide Blind individuals and people with visual impairments spoken notifications about their environment. Google added food and document scanning to its capabilities in 2020, along with support for languages other than English. 

The Morning After: China’s tech crackdown reaches TikTok

ByteDance has announced that Douyin, the version of TikTok for China, will introduce new limits for minors under 14. These minors will now be limited to just 40 minutes of use per day and can’t access the app at all between 10 PM and 6 AM.

ByteDance is also urging parents to add in more comprehensive user data to avoid kids lying about their age to get around the ban. At the same time, the company unveiled a new TikTok-esque app called Xiao Qu Xing ("Little Fun Star"), which offers short educational videos.

This is another fairly dramatic move as part of China’s broader crackdown on digital media and video games. Officials have recently described gaming as “spiritual opium” and limited kids playtime to just three hours a week.

Chinese leaders are reportedly concerned that children are becoming addicted to video games, which is having a detrimental effect on their development. The science behind video game addiction is controversial and disputed, with research into the condition ongoing.

Either way, the changes to Douyin aren’t likely to be that wide ranging in isolation since it’s thought that less than half a percent of users are under 14. It’s just the overall trend that’s likely to be worth keeping an eye on, especially if this anti-game rhetoric spreads to other countries.

— Dan Cooper

Ikea's new $40 wireless charging pad mounts underneath your desk or table

No more drilling or unsightly charging plates on your table, desk or nightstand.

IKEA

When I added an Ikea-branded wireless charging plate to my Ikea nightstand, I had to buy a custom Ikea hole saw to drill through into the top. As it turned out, Ikea furniture is sufficiently weak that I managed to scorch the wood and the paint with just the friction of the saw. The charging plate was, mercifully, big enough to cover the burn marks, so I never got any lectures about being bad at DIY. I had, however, learned my lesson that drilling out a QI charger was not my forte.

Ikea seems to feel similarly and has now launched the new Sjömärke QI charger, which is strong enough to charge a phone from the underside of your desk. You can glue or screw the chunky $40 unit to the underside of a suitable wooden or plastic table top. Then, all you have to do is drop your phone on the right spot and watch as about 5W of juice wafts into your phone. Or, at least, you will when it arrives in October.

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ZTE Axon 30 review: An 'invisible' selfie camera comes at a cost

That cost being… awful selfies.

Mat Smith

ZTE’s Axon 30 is one of those rare smartphones offering a (pretty much) invisible front-facing camera. The lack of notch, punch-hole or cut-out means users can take full advantage of the 30’s gorgeous, 6.92-inch, 2,460 x 1,080 120Hz AMOLED display. But, for $500, there are a couple of teeny-weeny compromises you’ll have to accept, including, er, lackluster selfies. We won’t spoil the rest of Mat Smith’s review but, suffice it to say, his feelings on this handset are pretty complicated.

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iOS 15 is now available

Your iPad, Watch and Apple TV will also get updated operating systems.

Cherlynn Low

iOS 15 and its device-specific cousins have now arrived and are making their way to your tech as we speak. Some of the biggest new features include upgraded FaceTime and Messages, better notifications and a Google Lens-esque Live Text function. Some of the more notable features announced at WWDC haven’t arrived just yet, including SharePlay, but those are expected to drop later in the year. At the same time, Apple showed off the full trailer for Finch, the Tom Hanks-fronted post-apocalyptic movie about a man, his dog and his robot trying to survive after the world ends. I imagine it’s a bit like if Cormac McCarthy had written Turner and Hooch after watching Short Circuit.

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US officials can't decide if Honor smartphones are a national security threat

Uh-oh.

Honor

When Huawei went on the US entity list, the Chinese giant was prevented from working with pretty much every tech company worth mentioning. Huawei couldn’t source chips from Intel or Qualcomm or get software help (and Play Store access) from Google. Consequently, Huawei spun out and sold off Honor, its budget division, for it to thrive free from the sanctions threatening its own future as a global brand.

Unfortunately, those best laid plans may be undone by a quartet of federal agencies who are deciding if Honor should go on the same entity list. Reports suggest that teams from the Pentagon and Department of Energy are in favor of addition, while the Commerce and State Departments are against. If this deadlock can’t be solved, however, the decision could ultimately end up on Joe Biden’s desk to sort out.

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The biggest news stories you might have missed

Apple's 2022 iPhones could feature notch-less designs, but not in-display Touch ID

DoorDash expands alcohol deliveries to 20 states and DC

OnePlus' 2022 flagship will share a unified Android 13 system with Oppo

Roku's new Streaming Stick 4K gets Dolby Vision, HDR10+ and better Wi-Fi

Roku OS 10.5 adds better voice support, 5.1 Roku speaker configurations

Niantic's AR Catan game is shutting down on November 18th

Niantic is discontinuing development on Catan: World Explorers. Announced in the fall of 2019, the studio had yet to release the game officially, and it was only available in early access in select markets outside of the US. Later today, Niantic plans to remove World Explorers from the App Store before shutting down the servers that power the game on November 18th, making it unplayable thereafter. With today’s announcement, the augmented reality title will not roll out to additional countries, and Niantic has removed all in-app purchases from the experience.

It’s not clear what exactly went wrong with development but it appears scope creep may have played a part in Niantic’s decision to cancel the project. “We had a vision for trading, harvesting and building up the world in seasonal play and resetting the board each month, just like you do for each new game you play at home,” the company said in a blog post spotted by Protocol. “But trying to adapt such a well-designed board game to a global, location-based Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) game was a tough challenge."

Niantic notes that lessons it learned while working on World Explorers will go on to inform future projects. However, it’s hard to say what the cancellation will mean for the company’s other games. Following the runaway success of Pokémon Go, a variety of companies have partnered with Niantic to create similar AR experiences using their own properties. More notable examples include Hasbro and Warner Bros. Those same companies may now realize replicating the success of Pokémon Go may not be as easy as they initially thought it was.