Breakfast Briefing: Facebook's privacy update, Google shuns Windows 8, EE extends 4G

13 Dec 2012
Breakfast briefing

Today's top tech stories feature Google, Apple and Facebook

Today's technology stories include changes to Facebook's privacy practices - again - no Gmail apps for Windows 8, and Google clamping down on SafeSearch sexual images.

The social side of Facebook's privacy changes

AllThingsDigital looks at how Facebook's latest privacy changes make a play for keeping subscribers more active on the social network by trying to simplify choosing who you share information with. The premise is to stop those drunk photos from Saturday night from landing in your bosses' timelines.

"We fundamentally believe that when users are surprised, it’s bad for them, and ultimately bad for us," said Sam Lessin, director of products, identity and Timeline at Facebook. "It’s denigrating on trust."

The changes include easier access to privacy tools and controls for who you are sharing pictures and posts with alongside the text entry box.

Google shuns apps for Windows 8

Google has issued a veiled, but nonetheless withering assessment of the threat posed by Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8, saying it will not be developing apps for the platforms because it can't be sure they will take off. Obviously Google needs to be careful with its development funds, being strapped for cash and all that, but Tech Radar reveals that the company can't see a return on investment from developing apps to work on Microsoft's platforms.

"We have no plans to build out Windows apps," Bavor said. "We are very careful about where we invest and will go where the users are but they are not on Windows Phone or Windows 8." That means neither Gmail nor Drive apps will make it onto Windows handsets.

EE reveals next 4G locations

EE has said its 4G network will extend to 17 more locations in the first three months of next year, according to a report in Engadget. The mobile operator is also boosting its 3G to DC-HSPA, promising faster downloads for those unlucky enough not to be included in the 4G upgrades.

The list of new 4G locations is: Bradford, Chelmsford, Coventry, Doncaster, Dudley, Leicester, Luton, Newport, Reading, Rotherham, St Albans, Sunderland, Sutton Coldfield, Walsall, Watford, West Bromwich and Wolverhampton.

Google SafeSearch changes revealed

The Verge reports how Google has updated its SafeSearch for images to force people to say that they are looking for adult content, even if SafeSearch was previously turned off.

"The change to image search requires users to be more specific when requesting explicit content, and now presents them with a pop-up warning if Google detects that a user is searching for explicit content for the first time," The Verge explains.

Google says it is "not censoring any adult content, and wants to show users exactly what they are looking for — but aim not to show sexually-explicit results unless a user is specifically searching for them."

This might explain why a Shopping search for Gypsum in the PC Pro offices (don't ask) came with images initially blanked out yesterday, when the search engine had bizarrely auto-filled to "gypsy girls".

False "Likes" bring Facebook users back from the dead

While Facebook is trying to improve privacy (see above), it is also accused of taking liberties with people's "Like" buttons, even for subscribers that have been dead for months. Developer Bernard Meisler has penned a fascinating investigation into how people without cars had started "Liking" automakers and an anti-corporate friend that had been dead for months signed up as a friend of Big Business.

Although Meisler acknowledges that Facebook has been trying to restrict these false "Likes", he says there's a growing sense of unease from users.

"It’s hard to imagine that Facebook would start 'liking' stuff on people’s behalf without their knowledge or consent,” he said.

"But are the brands themselves doing it? Or are third-party services selling fake 'Likes' to brands? Supposedly Facebook has been trying to crack down on fake likes. Nevertheless they seem to keep popping up."

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