operating systems

GitHub launches a mobile app, smarter notifications and improved code search

At its annual Universe conference today, Microsoft -owned GitHub announced a couple of new products, as well as the general availability of a number of tools that developers have been able to test for the last few months. The two announcements that developers will likely be most interested in are the launch of GitHub’s first native mobile app and an improved notifications experience. But in addition to that, it is also taking GitHub Actions, the company’s workflow automation and CI/CD solution, as well as GitHub Packages, out of beta. GitHub is also improving its code search, adding scheduled reminders and it’s launching a pre-release program that will allow users to try out new features before they are ready for a wider rollout. GitHub is also extending its sponsor progr...

Banning digital political ads gives extremists a distinct advantage

Jessica Alter Contributor Share on Twitter Jessica Alter is co-founder and chairman of Tech for Campaigns, an organization building the lasting tech and digital arm for Democrats and has helped over 200 campaigns on this front since 2017. Jack Dorsey’s announcement that Twitter will no longer run political ads because “political messages reach should be earned, not bought” has been welcomed as a thoughtful and statesmanlike contrast to Mark Zuckerberg’s and Facebook’s greedy acceptance of “political ads that lie.” While the 240-character policy sounds compelling, it’s both flawed in principle and, I fear, counterproductive in practice.  First: like it or hate it, the U.S. political system is drowning in money. In 2018, a non-presidential year, it is estimated that over $9B was spent on the...

Airbnb to ban ‘party houses’ in wake of Halloween shooting that left 5 dead

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said Saturday the company will ban “party houses” and take other steps to safeguard hosts and guests after five people died at a Halloween party hosted at California home that was rented on the service. Chesky made the announcement via a series of tweets Saturday. “What happened on Thursday night in Orinda, CA was horrible,” Chesky wrote. “I feel for the families and neighbors impacted by this tragedy — we are working to support them.” Chesky then announced that party houses would be banned and that the company is “redoubling” efforts to combat unauthorized parties. Starting today, we are banning “party houses” and we are redoubling our efforts to combat unauthorized parties and get rid of abusive host and guest conduc...

Slack investor Index Ventures backs Slack competitor Quill

Slack created a new solution for workplace communication, one copied by many, even Microsoft. But the product, which is meant to help individuals and businesses collaborate, has been critiqued for sending too many notifications, with some claiming it’s sabotaged workplace productivity. Quill, a startup led by Ludwig Pettersson, Stripe’s former creative director and design aficionado, claims to offer “meaningful conversations, without disturbing your team.” The company has raised a $2 million seed round led by Sam Altman with participation from General Catalyst, followed by a $12.5 million Series A at a $62.5 million valuation led by Index Ventures partner and former Slack board observer Sarah Cannon, TechCrunch has learned. Quill and Cannon declined to comment. The company, based in ...

MediaLab acquires messaging app Kik, expanding its app portfolio

Popular messaging app Kik is, indeed, “here to stay” following an acquisition by the Los Angeles-based multimedia holding company, MediaLab. It echoes the same message from Kik’s chief executive Tim Livingston last week when he rebuffed earlier reports that the company would shut down amid an ongoing battle with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Livingston had tweeted that Kik had signed a letter-of-intent with a “great company,” but that it was “not a done deal.” Now we know the the company: MediaLab. In a post on Kik’s blog on Friday the MediaLab said that it has “finalized an agreement” to acquire Kik Messenger. “Kik is one of those amazing places that brings us back to those early aspirations,” the blog ...

Mercedes-Benz app glitch exposed car owners’ information to other users

Mercedes-Benz car owners have said that the app they used to remotely locate, unlock and start their cars was displaying other people’s account and vehicle information. TechCrunch spoke to two customers who said the Mercedes-Benz’ connected car app was pulling in information from other accounts and not their own, allowing them to see other car owners’ names, recent activity, phone numbers, and more. The apparent security lapse happened late-Friday before the app went offline “due to site maintenance” a few hours later. It’s not uncommon for modern vehicles these days to come with an accompanying phone app. These apps connect to your car and let you remotely locate them, lock or unlock them, and start or stop the engine. But as cars become internet-connec...

Popular app Snaptube caught serving invisible ads and charging users for premium purchases they haven’t made

A popular video downloader app for Android has been found generating fake ad clicks and unauthorized premium purchases from its users, according to a security firm. Snaptube, which boasts some 40 million users, allows users to download videos and music from YouTube, Facebook, and other major video sites. The app, developed in China, is not on Google Play because the app maker claims Google will not allow video downloader apps on the store. Some third-party app stores estimate Snaptube has been downloaded over a billion times to date. The app’s developer says that the app is “safe” to use. But researchers at London-based security firm Upstream, which shared its findings exclusively with TechCrunch, said the free app ends up costing consumers. Upstream’s chief executi...

Foursquare CEO calls on Congress to regulate the location data industry

The chief executive of Foursquare, one of the largest location data platforms on the internet, is calling on lawmakers to pass legislation to better regulate the wider location data industry amid abuses and misuses of consumers’ personal data. It comes in the aftermath of the recent location sharing scandal, which revealed how bounty hunters were able to get a hold of any cell subscriber’s real-time location data by obtaining the records from the cell networks. Vice was first to report the story. Since then there have been numerous cases of abuse — including the mass collection of vehicle locations in a single database, and popular iPhone apps that were caught collecting user locations without explicit permission. The cell giants have since promised to stop selling location dat...

Cryptocurrency’s bad day continues as the SEC blocks Telegram’s $1.7 billion planned token sale

Cryptocurrency’s bad news day continues to get worse as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has said it has filed an emergency action and received a restraining order for the $1.7 billion planned token offering of Telegram’s blockchain. The move from the SEC follows the continued dissolution of the corporate alliance that was supporting Facebook’s planned Libra cryptocurrency. EBay, Stripe and Mastercard drop out of Facebook’s Libra Association Telegram’s ambitious founder Pavel Durov was hoping to launch the Telegram Open Network as a payment option that would exist apart from the global regulatory system in much the same way that Libra would have done, according to initial TechCrunch reporting. Telegram plans multi-billion dollar ICO for chat cryptoc...

Twitter admits it used two-factor phone numbers and emails for serving targeted ads

Twitter has said it used phone numbers and email addresses, provided by users to set up two-factor authentication on their accounts, to serve targeted ads. In a disclosure Tuesday, the social media giant said it did not know how many users were impacted. The issue stemmed from the company’s tailored audiences program, which allows companies to target advertisements against their own marketing lists, such as phone numbers and email addresses. But Twitter found that when advertisers uploaded their marketing lists, it matched Twitter users to the phone numbers and email addresses users submitted to set up two-factor authentication on their account. The issue was addressed as of September 17, the disclosure said. Two-factor authentication is an important security feature that makes it fa...

Opera’s desktop browser gets built-in tracking protection

Browser maker Opera today announced the launch of version 68 of its flagship desktop browser. The marquee feature of the launch is the addition of a tracker blocker that will make it harder for advertisers and others to track you while you browse the web — and which has the additional benefit of speeding up your browsing session. Indeed, Opera argues that turning on both the tracking protection and the built-in ad blocker can speed up page loads by up to 23 percent. The new tracking protection feature is off by default (as is the existing ad blocker). The tracking feature uses the EasyPrivacy Tracking Protection List, which has been around for quite a few years now. “We consider the tracker blocker to be a browser feature which can be kept on at all times, “writes Opera PC prod...

Why is Dropbox reinventing itself?

According to Dropbox CEO Drew Houston, 80% of the product’s users rely on it, at least partially, for work. It makes sense, then, that the company is refocusing to try and cement its spot in the workplace; to shed its image as “just” a file storage company (in a time when just about every big company has its own cloud storage offering) and evolve into something more immutably core to daily operations. Earlier this week, Dropbox announced that the “new Dropbox” would be rolling out to all users. It takes the simple, shared folders that Dropbox is known for and turns them into what the company calls “Spaces” — little mini collaboration hubs for your team, complete with comment streams, AI for highlighting files you might need mid-meeting, and integra...

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