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Everywhere you look, it seems some company is either spying on their users or failing to protect their users' data. Protecting yourself might seem like a hopeless task, but these top privacy apps can really make a difference.

It's easy to feel that personal privacy is a dead issue. Once you go online, your every action is exposed, either through data lost in a breach or misuse by advertisers and online merchants. But don't give up hope. You don't have to go totally off-grid to retain or regain control of your privacy. Smart people around the world have come up with a variety of programs to attack the problem from different directions—creating apps that range from VPNs to email providers that don't spy on you or share your data. You may have to lay out a little cash, but the alternative is using free services that pay themselves by monetizing your private data.

The Email Nightmare, Part 1

Like the internet itself, email was invented by optimists and academics who never dreamed that anyone would misuse it. Read someone else's mail? How rude! Fill up inboxes with unwanted junk mail? They had no idea what was coming.

One type of privacy app aims to protect the content of your email conversations from snooping and tampering. Preveil, Private-Mail, ProtonMail, and StartMail let you lock down your communications using a technique called public-key cryptography. All but Preveil use a protocol called PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) to generate a pair of keys, one public, one private. To send me a secure message, you encrypt it with my public key, and I decrypt it with my private key. Simple!  

Using Preveil is even simpler, though. A high-tech system involving what they call wrapped keys means you never deal with a key, public or private. It does also mean you can't connect with users of other PGP-based services, but few consumers know how to set that up.

This public key technology also lets me send you a message that's digitally signed, guaranteeing it came from me, with no tampering. I simply encrypt the message with my private key. The fact that you can decrypt it using my public key means it's totally legit. ProtonMail and StartMail automate the key exchange process with other users of the same service, while Private-Mail requires that you perform the exchange yourself. With any of these, you can exchange secure messages with anybody who provides a public key.

Of course, not everyone has embraced public key cryptography for their email. With StartMail and ProtonMail, you can send encrypted messages to non-users, though you don't get the same level of open-source security. The service encrypts the message using a simple password, and you transmit the password via some avenue other than email, perhaps a secure messaging app.

Virtru offers email encryption for free, but only if you use Gmail, and only in Chrome. Like Preveil, it handles key management internally, though it doesn't use public-key cryptography. You send an encrypted message and the recipient clicks a button to read it, without either of you entering a password.

The Email Nightmare, Part 2

With the contents of your email conversations encrypted, no hacker can sniff out just what you're saying. However, your email address itself is exposed any time you send a message, buy a product online, or sign up for any kind of internet-based service. That might not sound problematic, but your email address is typically your user ID for many sites. A hacker who finds your email and guesses your weak password now owns the account. And, of course, having your email address floating promiscuously around the web just invites spam.

But how can you communicate without giving a merchant or service your email? The solution lies in a simple technology called a Disposable Email Address, or DEA. The DEA service provides and manages these addresses, ensuring that mail sent to them lands in your inbox, and that your replies seem to come from the DEA. If you're done dealing with a particular merchant, or if one of your DEAs starts receiving spam, you just destroy it.

Burner Mail, Abine Blur, and ManyMe are among the services offering DEA management. ManyMe is unusual in a couple of ways. First, it's free, which is uncommon. Second, unlike most such services it doesn't make you register a new FlyBy email (as it calls them) before using it. Say someone at a cocktail party asks for your email. You can make up a FlyBy address on the spot, without giving your actual email away.

Abine Blur takes the concept of masking your actual identity online to the next level. Besides masking your email address, it offers masked credit card numbers, different for each transaction. You load the masked card with exactly the amount of the transaction, so a sleazy merchant can't overcharge you or use the card again. It even lets you chat on the phone without giving your actual number.

It's worth noting that Private-Mail and StartMail also offer a modicum of DEA management. StartMail lets you manage up to 10 permanent DEAs, and an unlimited number of DEAs set to expire within two weeks or less. Private-Mail offers five alternate email identities, without full DEA management.

Throw the Trackers Off the Scent

As they say, if you're not paying, then you are the product. You can surf the internet endlessly without paying a fee to visit specific sites, but those sites still work hard to monetize your visits. Advertising trackers plant cookies on your system, taking note when a tracker from an ad on a different website encounters that same cookie. Through this and other tracking methods, they form a profile of your online activity, a profile that others are willing to pay for.

Some years ago, the Internet's Powers That Be, recognizing that many users prefer not to be tracked, ginned up a simple Do Not Track message to be sent by the browser. This DNT system never became a standard, but all the top browsers adopted it anyway. It had no effect, because websites were and are free to ignore the header.

In place of the ineffectual DNT header, many security companies started devising active systems to identify and block ad trackers and other trackers. You'll find this feature as a bonus in many security suites and some privacy-specific products. Abine Blur, Ghostery Midnight, and ShieldApps Cyber Privacy Suite offer active DNT. Unlike most such implementations, Midnight deters tracker requests in any internet-aware application.

The trackers, in turn, invented a different technique for identifying individuals across different websites, relying on the ridiculous amount of information supplied to each site by your browser. This ranges from your IP address and browser version down to minutiae like the fonts installed on your system. There's so much information that trackers can create a fingerprint that's almost sure to identify you, and only you.

So, what can you do? Make a liar out of your browser, that's what. TrackOff mixes up the data sent from your browser so it's different for each website. Cyber Privacy Suite also scrambles your fingerprint. Important info still reaches the site, but not in a consistent way that could be fingerprinted. Steganos Privacy Suite once included a component to foil fingerprinting, but the latest edition has dropped that feature, along with its active Do Not Track component.

Using a Virtual Private Network, or VPN, disguises your IP address but leaves plenty of data unchanged for the fingerprinters. Even so, keeping your internet traffic encrypted and having your IP address hidden are valuable ways to protect your privacy. In addition to their other privacy components, Ghostery Midnight and Cyber Privacy Suite include VPN protection.

Passwords Protect Privacy

Passwords are terrible, but we don't yet have a universal replacement. For security, you must use a different non-guessable strong password for every secure site. The only way anybody can accomplish that feat is by relying on a password manager. Unless you use a different strong password for every website, a data breach on one site could expose dozens of your other accounts.

In a perfect world, you already have an effective password manager in place, and you've taken the opportunity to fix any weak or duplicate passwords. On the chance you aren't already equipped, some privacy products have taken to including password management as a bonus feature. Abine Blur, for one, offers a complete, if basic, password manager. It even rates your passwords, giving extra credit for those logins that also use a masked email address.

You can get Steganos Password Manager as a separate program or as part of Steganos Privacy Suite. Either way, it's not a standout. You're probably better off with a top-notch free password manager. Cyber Privacy Suite seeks passwords stored insecurely in your browsers and moves them to encrypted storage, but doesn't do any password management beyond that protective step.

Icloak Stik is a tiny, bootable USB device that provides you with an entire private operating system; more about that below. Within that private OS, it offers the One Ring password manager built into the Tor Browser. That's important, because your existing password manager won't work in the Icloak environment.

Many Other Modes

Just as your private data can be exposed in many ways, software companies find a variety of ways to protect it. One unusual service comes from Abine DeleteMe. Rather than create disposable email addresses, this service attempts to clean up your existing email and other personal data. It searches dozens of websites that legally aggregate public information. Wherever it finds you, it sends an opt-out request to remove your data. This process can't be fully automated, so DeleteMe is relatively expensive.

Icloak Stik takes privacy to an extreme. You plug this tiny USB device into any PC, Mac, or Linux box and reboot. The Linux-based operating system that comes up resides entirely on the USB device. If you don't need to copy any files to the device, you can pocket it after booting up. And you can hide your IP address by going online with the Tor Browser. Once you shut down the host device, all traces of your session vanish.

If a malefactor steals your laptop or otherwise gains access to your PC, your private data could still be safe, provided you've encrypted it. We've covered numerous products solely devoted to encrypting files, folders, or whole drives. Some privacy products broaden their protection by including encryption. Steganos Privacy Suite, for example, includes the Steganos Safe encryption tool, also available as a standalone product.

Private-Mail goes beyond the usual features of encrypted email by giving you an online area to store encrypted files. You can encrypt files using PGP or using a simple password, and you can even share your encrypted files with others.

With Preveil, storing essential files in your encrypted cloud is a snap. You just treat that cloud like any other folder. Sharing with other Preveil users is also easy. 

Virtru doesn't offer cloud storage, but it gives you unusual control over your messages and attachments. You can set messages to expire, disable secure forwarding, and add a watermark to some kinds of attachments. You can also convert attachments into a protected form that only the recipient can view, just like a Virtru message.

Protect the Protectors

When you set up an encrypted email system or a disposable email address manager, your account password is a potential weakness. If you use an easily-guessed password, or if a stranger shoulder-surfs your login, you could lose control of your privacy protection. That's where two-factor authentication comes in.

The concept is simple. With two-factor authentication, logging requires at least two of the following: something you know (such as a password); something you have (such as an authentication app); or something you are (such as a fingerprint). Quite a few of the privacy tools examined here offer a two-factor option, specifically Abine Blur, Burner Mail, Private-Mail, StartMail, and Steganos Privacy Suite.

All these products rely on Google Authenticator or another Time-based One-Time Password generator. To get started, you use your authenticator mobile app to snap a QR code provided by the privacy program. Enter the code generated by the app and you're done. Now, your password alone doesn't grant access to the privacy program. A password thief won't be able to enter the code from your authenticator app, and hence won't get in.

Preveil also provides a degree of two-factor authentication by the very nature of its encryption. Connecting to your encrypted mail is easy and automatic provided that you have access both to the email account and to a trusted device. An evildoer who cracks your email account still won't gain access to your encrypted mail and files. And if you lose a trusted device, you can cancel your trust.

As for Virtru, it doesn't require a password and doesn't offer two-factor authentication. You prove your identity by logging into your Gmail account. That being the case, you'd do well to protect that Gmail account using two-factor authentication.

These aren't the only programs for protecting your privacy, and this isn't an exhaustive list of privacy-cloaking techniques. However, all these programs do their best to keep you safe from advertisers, spies, and creeps online.

Abine Blur

39.00 Per Year at Abine, Inc.
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Your subscription to Abine Blur Premium brings a veritable smorgasbord of privacy-enhancing features and services. Its masked emails feature automates the process of using a different disposable email address for every transaction. If one of those masked emails starts getting spam, you can just delete it, and you know which merchant sold you out.

What's the use in masking your email when you're giving the merchant something even more sensitive—your credit card number? Blur masks card numbers, too, and each masked card only has enough value to pay the particular transaction. No shady merchant can charge you extra, or fake another transaction on your card.

You can have all the masked emails you want, but masked cards require a small payment, because Abine expends resources processing the payment. Masked phone numbers are still more limited; you get just one. But when you use that masked phone number, you can be sure your contact won't benefit by selling it to robocallers or text spammers.

 

It's a small step from tracking your disposable email addresses to tracking your logins for all those websites. Blur includes a complete, if basic, password manager. Most password managers praise you for using a different password at each website; Blur gives you extra credit if you also use a masked email address for each.

Blur securely syncs your password and payment data across all your PCs, Macs, and mobile devices. Its browser extensions offer full access to program features and include an active Do Not Track component that foils advertisers and other trackers. On top of all that, Blur spells out how it handles your data in clear, simple detail. It's a cornucopia of privacy protection.

Abine Blur Premium Review

PreVeil

Visit Site at PreVeil
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Preveil lets you exchange encrypted email without having to switch to a special, new email account. You just keep using your existing email with Gmail, Outlook, Apple Mail, or the Mail apps built into Android and iOS. Using it with another email client requires a little work, but it's possible. You don't have to memorize or exchange passwords. The combination of access to your email account and use of a trusted device authenticates you.

With almost any encryption system, losing your master key or password means you lose access to your files. Some even make you accept a disclaimer to that effect. Preveil offers an unusual system from the deep reaches of crypto technology. Called Shamir's Secret Sharing, it lets you set up a pool of fellow Preveil users who can help you regain a lost key. They don't get any access to your key, but several of them working together can rebuild it for you.

Preveil brings top-tier enterprise-grade encryption technology to the consumer, yet presents it in a user-friendly way. This free solution is our Editors' Choice for email encryption.

PreVeil Review

ProtonMail

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You use ProtonMail the same way you'd use any web-based email service. The difference is that email conversations with other ProtonMail users are automatically protected using public key encryption. The same is true for any correspondent whose public key you've imported. You can also send encrypted mail to outsiders using a simpler form of encryption.

If you don't need more than 150 messages per day and 500MB of storage for email, you can use ProtonMail for free. Even a paid subscription isn't expensive, at $5 per month or $48 per year. The paid edition gets you 1,000 messages per day, along with the ability to create up to four protected email addresses, full tech support, and 5GB of email storage. This is a simple, solid email encryption solution.

ProtonMail Review

TrackOFF Basic

TrackOFF Basic

Advertisers really care what you do online. The better they can profile you, the more they can target ads. A nice juicy personal profile is also a commodity they can sell. With the proliferation of active Do Not Track systems, some trackers have switched to a technique called browser fingerprinting. And TrackOFF Basic stands square in their way, ensuring that your browser does its job without painting a target on your back.

Every time you visit a website, your browser sends a ton of information. It has to send your IP address, to receive the requested pages. But it also sends the browser version, OS details, even the fonts installed on your PC. Nominally, this information helps the website fine-tune your browsing experience. But there's so much data spewing from the browser that trackers can easily create a unique fingerprint, and thereby recognize you when you visit a different site.

TrackOFF doesn't suppress the info coming from your browser, as that could cause problems with some sites. It just mixes things up a little, presenting a slightly different fingerprint to each website. It does cost $34.95 per year, but that's fine for some tracking-sensitive souls.

TrackOFF Basic Review

Virtru Email Protection for Gmail

Virtru

Visit Site at Virtru
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Like Preveil, Virtru is a consumer product that takes advantage of technology developed for the corporate world. Also like Preveil, it's free, and doesn't require that you change your email address. However, it only works with Gmail accounts, and only if you access them using Chrome.

Corporations can set up in-house handling of encryption keys. With the consumer edition, Virtru takes on that role. You never enter a password or share a key. By logging in to your Gmail account, you get full access to your encrypted email. If that seems unsafe in any way, consider enabling two-factor authentication for Gmail itself.

Virtru offers unusual control over your encrypted email messages. You can set them to expire after a fixed time, and change that time (or revoke access) even after sending the message. You can control the recipient's ability to forward secure messages. And you can watermark certain attachment types, to prove they came from you.

Yes, only those who access their Gmail on Chrome can make use of this tool. But the pools of Gmail users and of Chrome users are large enough to guaranteed quite a few potential users.

Virtru Email Protection for Gmail Review

Abine DeleteMe

129.00 20% Discount on any DeleteMe subscription with code PCMAG at DeleteMe
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Some DEA services require you to create a new, pristine email account to receive the mail from your disposable addresses, while others feed directly into your existing inbox. The latter approach is more convenient, but it comes with a problem. Your email address, along with other personal information, is already scattered across the interwebs. Completely wiping that information from the web is impossible, but Abine DeleteMe does everything that is possible to minimize your exposure.

DeleteMe scans websites for dozens of information aggregating websites. These sites legally collect public information and make it easy to find. They also legally must remove your info if you so request. DeleteMe automates the opt-out process as much as possible. However, automation isn't possible in some cases, so Abine retains a staff of human operators to handle those. Every six months, you get a report of what DeleteMe found, and what was removed.

Unlike automated opt-out algorithms, those human operators must be paid. That's why DeleteMe costs more than most privacy services, $129 per year. You can often find discounts, or deals to add a family member.

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[Source: This article was published in pcmag.com By Neil J. Rubenking - Uploaded by the Association Member: Issac Avila]

Categorized in Internet Privacy

By building contact-tracing into their operating systems, the companies could make a difference in the global pandemic response

Last week, Apple and Google surprised us with an announcement that the companies are spinning up a system to enable widespread contact tracing in an effort to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. The effort is barely two and a half weeks old, the companies said, and so there are many open questions about how it will work. On Monday afternoon, the companies invited us to call in and ask some questions, and I joined the group and did.

The basic idea is that as jurisdictions flatten the curve of infection and begin to consider re-opening parts of society, they need to implement a comprehensive “test and trace” scheme. You want to test people widely and thoroughly for the disease, as this article by Umair Irfan from Monday explains. And then, as you discover new cases, you want to see who those people may have come in contact with during the time that they were infectious.

Historically, this has been a manual process. Since the COVID-19 outbreak began, some countries have turned to technological means in an effort to enable public health authorities to find more people who may have been exposed and do so more efficiently. So far, it’s not clear that tech-enabled contact tracing has been all that effective. The system relies on voluntary participation, which has generally been weak. And the Bluetooth technology on which the system depends carries with it a high potential for false positives: it’s just not powerful enough to distinguish between cases where people were in very close proximity from ones in which they were 15 or more feet away.

My primary interest in this story — beyond the highly unusual nature of the collaboration between Apple and Google — is how effective it could be. But there are lots of other questions about how it will work that strike me as just as interesting. Let’s take a look at what people are saying, and what we learned today.

The biggest concern most people have expressed about the collaboration is that it will lead to damaging privacy violations. Democratic senators have led the charge here, sending an open letter to the companies expressing their fears. I’m less worried. For one thing, Apple and Google’s system is cleverly designed to maximize individual privacy; it avoids capturing location data and instead records only the proximity of your smartphone to someone else’s. And for another, I value my own privacy less during a public health emergency. I trust Apple and Google to prevent my personal health information from being identified as mine and shared with others, but given the design of the system, I fail to see how a breach would be catastrophic even if it did somehow materialize.

Still, if you’re the sort of person who likes to think through worst-case scenarios, my colleague Russell Brandom walks through some ideas about how data collected as part of this scheme could theoretically be de-identified. The schemes are generally so elaborate that it’s hard for me to imagine even a nation-state undertaking them, though it’s something to keep an eye on.

The second set of concerns has to do with how the system will work in practice. Apple and Google answered a lot of questions about that subject today; here are what I took to be the most consequential.

First, the companies said that by phase two of their effort, when contact tracing is enabled at the level of the operating system, they will notify people who have opted in to their potential exposure to COVID-19 even if they have not downloaded the relevant app from their public health authority. My understanding is that the operating system itself will alert people that they may have been exposed and direct them to download the relevant public health app. This is significant because it can be hard to get people to install software; Singapore saw only 12 percent adoption of its national contact-tracing app. Putting notifications at the system level represents a major step forward for this effort, even if still requires people to opt in.

 

Second, Google said it would distribute the operating system update through Google Play services, a part of Android controlled by the company that allows it to reach the majority of active devices. (Google says it will be available to everyone running Android 6.0, also known as Marshmallow, and higher on devices that have the Google Play store.) This is highly preferable than relying on carriers, which have historically been slow to distribute updates. It remains to be seen exactly which devices will be eligible for the update, on Android as well as on iOS. But it seems likely that the companies will be able to reach most active devices in the world — a significant feat. (Related: someone asked the companies what percentage of the population we need to use the system to get it to work. No one knows.)

Third, the companies said they would prevent abuse of the system by routing alerts through public health agencies. (They are also helping those agencies, such as Britain’s National Health Service, build apps to do just that.) While the details are still being worked out, and may vary from agency to agency, Apple and Google said they recognized the importance of not allowing people to trigger alerts based on unverified claims of a COVID-19 infection. Instead, they said, people who are diagnosed will be given a one-time code by the public health agency, which the newly diagnosed will have to enter to trigger the alert.

Fourth, the companies promised to use the system only for contact tracing, and to dismantle the network when it becomes appropriate. Some readers have asked me whether the system might be put to other uses, such as targeted advertising, or whether non-governmental organizations might be given access to it. Today Apple and Google explicitly said no.

Fifth, I’ve heard conflicting claims about the ability of Bluetooth-based tracking to measure distances. Last week I told you that Bluetooth could not distinguish between phones that were within six feet of one another, in contradiction of advice from public health agencies, and those that might be 20 or even 30 feet away. One reader pointed me to a part of the Bluetooth standard known as received signal strength indication, or RSSI, that is meant to offer fine-grained location detail.

Apple told me that the effectiveness of RSSI is blunted by various confounding factors: the orientation of the devices relative to one another, whether a phone is in a backpack or otherwise shielded from the signal, and so on. Taken together, those factors undermine the confidence of the system in how close two phones might be to one another. But it continues to be a subject of exploration.

So, to wrap up: do we feel more or less optimistic today about tech-enabled contact tracing than we did before? This post from security researcher Ross Anderson from over the weekend lays out a lot of the concerns I first shared here last week, plus some extra ones. “ I suspect the tracing apps are really just do-something-itis,” Anderson writes. “Most countries now seem past the point where contact tracing is a high priority; even Singapore has had to go into lockdown.”

On the flip side, argues Ben Thompson, there could be value in laying the technological groundwork now for expanded efforts later. He writes:

“They are creating optionality. When and if society decides that this sort of surveillance is acceptable (and, critically, builds up the other components — like testing — of an effective response) the technology will be ready; it is only a flip of a switch for Apple and Google to centralize this data (or, perhaps as a middle ground, enable mobile device management software used by enterprises, centralize this capability). This is no small thing considering that software is not built in a day.”

I still think that digital contact tracing is unlikely to be one of the two or three most important aspects of a country’s coronavirus response plan. Experts have told me that social distancing, wide-scale testing, and isolating sick individuals are significantly more important. And when it comes to contact tracing, we know that human beings often do a better job than smartphones — and some have argued that we need to hire hundreds of thousands of them to do the job.

At the same time, it’s possible to see how digital contact tracing could at least complement other, related efforts, including manual contact tracing. Compared to what, say Hong Kong is doing to test and trace, distributing digital tracking bracelets to everyone getting off the plane at the airport, what Apple and Google have proposed can only be described as a half measure. But in the United States at least, it may be the case that a series of half measures are all we will have to rely on.

THE RATIO

Today in news that could affect public perception of the big tech platforms.

⬆️Trending up: Oncologists say they are getting some of their best information lately on Twitter, and some are even crowdsourcing answers to difficult questions from other doctors.

⬇️ Trending down: Quarantined Amazon workers say they have not yet been paid, despite the company’s new policy about quarantine sick leave. The company says the workers will eventually get paid.

PANDEMIC

⭐ Amazon is hiring 75,000 additional workers after it filled more than 100,000 positions in the last month. The hiring spree is meant to help the company meet a surge in demand due to the coronavirus pandemic, reports Annie Palmer at CNBC:

As it continues to hire more workers, Amazon has also raised employees’ hourly pay and doubled overtime pay for warehouse workers. Through the end of April, warehouse and delivery workers can earn an additional $2 per hour in the U.S., 2 pounds per hour in the U.K., and approximately 2 euros per hour in many EU countries. Amazon currently pays $15 per hour or more in some areas of the U.S. for warehouse and delivery jobs.

Amazon has announced several benefits changes on top of the pay increases. The company has allowed workers to take unlimited unpaid time off and provides two weeks of paid leave for workers who tested positive for the virus or are in quarantine.

Amazon is going to start waitlisting new grocery delivery customers and curtail shopping hours at some Whole Foods stores. The move is meant to prioritize orders from existing customers buying food online during the coronavirus outbreak. (Meanwhile, people have resorted to using scripts downloaded from Github to scrounge for available delivery slots.) (Krystal Hu / Reuters)

After the Staten Island walkout, Amazon finally started checking workers’ temperatures at the warehouse entrance, enforcing social distancing rules, and piloting fog disinfectant. But some people say the roll out of the new safety measures has been uneven. Often, changes are made only after workers exert pressure. (Josh Dzieza / The Verge)

Here’s what nine Amazon workers have to say about working during the pandemic. “I feel like this job is essential because people need deliveries, but it’s also essential for me because I need the money to feed my family,” one said. (Louise Matsakis / Wired)

Amazon was already powerful. But with 250,000 US stores closed due to the pandemic, the company is poised to become even more dominant whenever the economy returns to normal. (Jason Del Rey / Recode)

Coronavirus is driving new surveillance systems in at least 28 countries around the world. OneZero is tracking the expansion of these programs, some of which undermine personal privacy. (And some of which are fairly ho-hum projects that aggregate anonymized data.) (Dave Gershgorn / OneZero)

The Supreme Court will start conducting oral arguments over teleconference, a major change spurred by the novel coronavirus pandemic. It will also stream a live audio feed — another first for the court. (Adi Robertson / The Verge)

The US economy isn’t going back to normal anytime soon, according to public policy think tanks and research centers. The groups have been putting together plans on how to reopen the US economy, and all say that without a vaccine, ending social distancing will be incredibly difficult. (Ezra Klein / Vox)

President Donald Trump has been promoting the antimalarial drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine as treatments for the novel coronavirus. So far, there’s not enough evidence to say if they actually work. (And a study into their effectiveness was halted on Monday over the risk of fatal heart complications.) Trump’s comments, which have been covered by the mainstream press, show misinformation isn’t just a problem for social media. (Adi Robertson / The Verge)

Russian President Vladimir Putin has played a principal role in spreading false information about the origins of the novel coronavirus. The move is part of his wider effort to discredit the West and destroy his enemies from within. (William J. Broad / The New York Times)

In China, state media and influential diplomats are also pushing misinformation about the origins of COVID-19. In doing so, they’re legitimizing rumors from the recesses of the internet — and ensuring mass awareness of those ideas. (Renée DiResta / The Atlantic)

The Senate sergeant at arms warned offices that Zoom poses a high risk to privacy and could leave their data and systems exposed. The law enforcement chief urged lawmakers and their staff to use Skype instead. (Cristiano M.Lima / Politico)

Google is making changes to search results to make it easier for people to find virtual health care options. Virtual health care providers have seen a surge in demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Jay Peters / The Verge)

Google launched a website dedicated to coronavirus updates in India. The company also tweaked its search engine and YouTube to prominently display trustworthy information about the pandemic. (Manish Singh / TechCrunch)

Google created an application portal to help the state of New York deal with a historic surge in unemployment filings. The company said it could potentially bring a similar service to other states as well. This is cool! (Jennifer Elias / CNBC)

The coronavirus pandemic has allowed Google to pull far ahead of its competitors in getting its tech into classrooms. Google Classroom, a free service teachers use to send out assignments and communicate with students, has doubled active users to more than 100 million since the beginning of March. (Gerrit De Vynck and Mark Bergen / Bloomberg)

Apple Maps will soon display COVID-19 testing locations as part of the company’s broader efforts to fight the novel coronavirus. (Benjamin Mayo / 9To5Mac)

WhatsApp rolled out its change to message forwarding to stop misinformation from spreading. Now, viral messages can only be forwarded to one person at a time. (Rita El Khoury / Android Police)

YouTube traffic is skyrocketing, but creators are still struggling. That’s because advertising rates have dropped significantly during the coronavirus pandemic. (Chris Stokel-Walker / OneZero)

Related: The audience for esports is soaring, but coronavirus has slowed down the ad market and made capitalizing on those viewers very difficult. (Seb Joseph / Digiday)

Coronavirus has ravaged the American job market, but big tech companies, including Apple, Google, Amazon, and Facebook, are still hiring. Facebook is planning to fill more than 10,000 product and engineering roles to help keep up with surging traffic. (Chip Cutter and Patrick Thomas / The Wall Street Journal)

More people are watching streamed sexual performances online due to the coronavirus quarantine. But models still aren’t earning more They say new viewers aren’t tipping as well, and there’s a lot of competition. (Gabrielle Drolet / The New York Times)

People are getting dumped over Zoom. And yes, we’re apparently calling the trend “Zumping.” (The Guardian)

[Source: This article was published in theverge.com By Casey Newton - Uploaded by the Association Member: Jasper Solander]

Categorized in Internet Privacy

Bytedance has launched a standalone search engine app, further challenging Baidu’s dominance in China’s online search market.

Why it matters: Bytedance, which owns video-sharing apps TikTok and Douyin, is increasingly positioning itself as a direct rival to Baidu.

  • Beijing-based Bytedance is expanding beyond its core businesses in news aggregation and short video into e-commerce, gaming, and search.
  • Toutiao Search, previously just the search function contained within Bytedance’s news aggregator Jinri Toutiao, is now a standalone app which yields results from the company’s short video apps Douyin and Xigua, as well as general content from around the internet.
  • China’s internet users are becoming increasingly accustomed to in-app search engines. Tencent launched a search function for its mega instant messaging app WeChat, allowing users to search for official account articles and content from the wider internet.

Details: Bytedance has released the Toutiao Search app on major Chinese Android app stores including Wandoujia, the Xiaomi App Store, and Huawei’s App Gallery.

  • The app is not presently available on Apple’s App Store in China.
  • The product was first released on Feb. 20, based on information from the Android app stores.
  • Users can search for items in categories such as articles, news, short videos, and pictures. Its results include mini programs that address simple user inquiries such as trash-sorting guidance and currency exchange calculations.

Context: Bytedance in August introduced the in-app search function for Jinri Toutiao. The product was not seen at the time as a direct rival to Baidu’s offering because it was not a dedicated search engine.

  • The company has been using the in-app search as a shortcut to building a Baidu rival as its apps have already amassed 1.5 billion monthly active users as of July.
  • The eight-year-old company is reported to have been taking increasing ad revenue share from China’s top tech firms including Baidu, Tencent, and Alibaba.

 

 [Source: This article was published in technode.com By Wei Sheng - Uploaded by the Association Member: Daniel K. Henry]

Categorized in Search Engine

Source: This article was Published phys.org By Marc Saltzman - Contributed by Member: Issac Avila

Whether you already own one or have thought about it, you probably know Google Home ($129) is one of those popular voice-activated personal assistants for the home.

After saying the wake words "OK, Google" (or "Hey Google"), ask a question or give a command, and you'll hear a human-like female voice respond from its clear speaker—whether you want to hear a specific song, set a timer for the oven, or control your smart devices in your home (such as a Wi-Fi-enabled thermostat).

But you already know all this, you say?

The following is a handful of lesser-known Google Home features, including a few tips and tricks, and hidden Easter Eggs.

Google Home can help you remember where you left things. Say something like "Ok Google, remember my passport is in the top drawer." When you need it in the future, ask "OK Google, where's my passport?" and it will tell you where it is, and what date you asked it to remind you.

Funny sounds. Want to entertain the kids? Google Home can play you recordings of animal noises and vehicle sounds. For example, ask what a horse or train sounds like. Google will sing for you, too! Simply say "Hey Google, sing a song" or "OK Google, serenade me," and you'll hear the assistant belt out a ditty. Ask it to do it again and it'll likely be a different tune. You can also ask it to drop a beat if you want to rap on top: say "OK Google, beatbox."

Play that song. Speaking of music, Google Home will find a song for you—even if you don't know the title. For example, say "Ok Google, play that song that says 'passionate from miles away'" and it will play Drake's Passionfruit. Your personal assistant can also be an instrument tuner; if you have a guitar on your lap, say "Hey Google, start an instrument tuner" and it will ask what musical note you want to hear.

Get flight prices ASAP. Say something like "OK Google, how much does it cost to fly from Los Angeles to New York today, returning Monday?" and you'll hear the lowest roundtrip cost. It can keep track of the cheapest flights for those dates and even email you a summary to your Gmail account.

Play games with Google Home. Say "OK Google, Mad Libs" ("the world's greatest word game") or "Hey Google, play Lucky Trivia." Expect more games to be added over time.

Personalize. You might've heard Google Home can detect different voices in your home. Therefore, if you ask how long it'll take to get to the office this morning, you'll hear a different response than if your partner asks the same question.

Shortcuts. Did you know you can create custom shortcuts for long phrases you commonly ask? For example, instead of "Hey Google, turn off all the lights in the house," you can say something like "OK Google, good night." To create a shortcut, open the Google Home app on your smartphone, enter Settings, and you'll see "Shortcuts" under "More" settings.

Google Home helps with homework. You can ask math questions ("OK Google, what's the square root of 729?"), get history help ("OK Google, who founded the United States?") or learn geography facts ("OK Google, what's the capital of India?"). You can even ask how to spell something, such as "OK Google, how do you spell 'emancipation'?" Try something trickier like "OK Google, what's 'quantum theory'?" or "Ok Google, search for monkey facts."

Weather forecasts. You likely know you can ask for weather information, but you can also for multi-day forecasts, too, in any city. For example, say "OK Google, "what will the weather be like over the next 5 days in Kingston, Jamaica?"

Voice volume. You can adjust Google Home's volume by swiping your finger on top of the unit, but you can also use your voice to change volume. Say something like "OK Google, volume at 50%," if you're not near the speaker.

Random. Google Home has a Magic 8-ball, of sorts. Say "OK Google, Crystal Ball" and ask a yes or no question.

Get organized. Google Home lets you access your calendar by simply asking for info like "OK Google, what meetings do I have today?" But you can also add events to your calendar using Google Home, too, such as asking "Ok Google, add dinner with Kellie tomorrow at 8 PM to my calendar."

My day. When you wake up, say "OK Google, tell me about my day," and you'll hear the date and time, weather, calendar events, and news. You can also change where you get your news from by opening the Google Home app and selecting desired sources.

Jetsons skills. If you own a Roomba, you can now initiate the vacuum cleaner using your voice. After you pair your Roomba with Google Home, say "Ok Google, ask Roomba to start cleaning." The future is here!

Categorized in Search Engine

Love GIF? Try these free applications on your phone.

GIFs make for the funnies and interactive modes of communication in the millennial world. GIFs are now integrated on frequently used messaging apps and keyboards. It’s quite easy to search for GIFs and share them online. However, these in-built features do not let you create Gifs.

If you’re looking for GIF-making apps, then take a look at these. These apps are available for both iOS and Android devices.

Giphy Cam

Giphy Cam comes from the biggest GIF search engine online, GIPHY. This app is available for both iOS and Android platforms. Giphy Cam lets you take videos in looping mode or a continuous one for a long Gif. Giphy Cam comes with loads of stickers and filters to choose from.

These effects are also very millennial-approved and blend well with what’s trending on the internet. In addition to filters and stickers, you can choose among clay faces, accessories, hands, magic wand and overlays. Giphy Cam will surely keep you busy scrolling through multiple editing tools and items.

Download: iOSAndroid

PicsArt Gif & Sticker Maker

This app is available only for iOS users and is my personal favorite. It has a very simple and easy-to-use UI. Gifs Art lets you capture images in burst mode, and set the speed limit for your GIF. There are effects you can apply to your Gif like fade, noir.

You can also add animated stickers and text to your Gifs. Another feature which is pretty interesting in Gifs Art is ‘Masks’. These are something like moving filters which add something like special effects to your Gifs. Apart from saving the file in Gif format, you can also save it as a live image on your iPhone.

Download: iOS

Gif Lab

If you’re looking for a straightforward no-nonsense GIF-making app on App Store, it’s Gif Lab. Here, you can capture images in frames or import one from your smartphone. The only tools for editing available on Gif Lab include stickers and text. Unlike Gifs Art, stickers on Gif Lab are quite simple like a hat, mustache, and glasses. You have options to save the file as Gif or video, and share it on social platforms.

 

Download: iOS

GIF maker, video to GIF, GIF editor

Among the dozens apps, you’ll find on Play Store with the same one, this one does a decent job at creating Gifs. There are basic editing tools such as trim, adjust, reverse, and more. GIF maker also lets you add filters, frames to your videos. In addition to adding stickers and text, you can also draw on your video and make it in a meme format.

Download: Android

Gif Me! Camera

Gif Me! The Camera is one of the most popular Gif making apps on Play Store with over a million download. Similar to other apps, Gif Me! Camera lets you edit videos by changing the speed, keeping it backward and in loop. You can also delete frames from your GIF video that you don’t require. Additional tools include adding frames, stickers, filters, and text to your GIFs.

Download: Android

Source: This article was published hindustantimes.com By Marcia Sekhose

Categorized in Others

Your iPhone may be an Apple product, but it can still run your favorite Google and Microsoft apps.

Just because you prefer the curved aesthetics of the iPhone doesn't mean you want to buy entirely into the Apple software ecosystem. After all, Google and Microsoft make iOS apps that are just as good as Apple's defaults. Although some apps require a few extra steps to replace the built-in versions, you can make the switch relatively easily, especially if you already use Google or Microsoft for your email and other cloud services.

Here, we'll guide you through the apps you need for the swap and how to download them. While you can always switch back to the Apple versions, you may find that you don't want to.

Switch to Microsoft

If your computer runs Windows, you own a Surface laptop or tablet, or you simply like Microsoft products, you'll probably enjoy the company's iOS apps. Instead of using the default versions of iPhone's email, cloud storage, and other services, here's how to replace them with Microsoft apps.

Email, calendar, and contacts

Start with your email client: You'll need to download Outlook for iOS. On top of email, it handles your calendars and contacts, and it can work with both Microsoft and non-Microsoft (like, say, Apple) user accounts. To import any emails, calendars, or contacts into the app, tap the menu button on the top left, then the settings button (the cog icon), and choose Add account.

Calls and messaging

Skype for iOS can take care of all your video calling, voice calling, and messaging needs. However, Apple's mobile platform won't allow any app to take over SMS duties, so you're stuck with its Messages app. Still, the newly-revamped Skype app has a clean look and a comprehensive set of features that includes group chats and group video calls. Your only problem might be getting your friends to use it.

Cloud storage

You can also replace Apple's cloud-storage program iCloud with Microsoft's OneDrive. When you install the app for iOS, it will sync files between your phone and any computer, Windows or macOS, that has the OneDrive desktop client installed. OneDrive also backs up all the photos and videos on your phone, although you do have to pay for storage space if you've got a lot of files. Prices start at $2 a month.

AI assistant

As with Messages, you can't completely replace the iPhone's default digital assistant: When you press and hold the Home button, Siri is the AI that will launch. However, you can install Cortana for iOS and launch it manually, then direct all your queries to Microsoft's app instead of Apple's. You can also sync any reminders and notes you've made in Cortana for Windows or Android over to your iPhone.

Office suite

For your work needs, you'll need to create documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. Swap Apple's free Pages, Numbers, and KeyNote apps for, respectively, Microsoft's free WordExcel, and PowerPoint apps.

If you've already created documents in the Apple apps, you'll need to convert them to a format that Microsoft's versions can understand. To do so, open a file, then tap the menu button (three dots on the top right), choose Export, and pick the Microsoft format. You can also choose how to export the file, either sending it via email or saving it to the iPhone's local storage.

Web browser

If you install the Microsoft Edge web browser on your iPhone, you'll be able to sync bookmarks, passwords, browsing history, and more with an Edge browser you use on a Windows PC. Unfortunately, Apple doesn't let any browser oust Safari as the default one on iOS. So when you tap on links in other apps, such as Facebook, they'll automatically open in Safari instead of Edge.

Your iPhone should be fairly well Microsoft-ized by now, but for the finishing touch, install Bing Search and Feed, which acts as a stripped-down web browser. Now that Microsoft Edge is available for iOS, Bing isn't quite as useful (we prefer Edge). But you can still use Microsoft's search engine to look for websites, images, news, and more. The app also includes a basic map-search feature, though Microsoft doesn't offer a dedicated mapping app for iOS.

Switch to Google

If you've decided to take the Google route rather than the Microsoft one, start with its signature feature: the Google search app. In addition to searching the internet and Google Maps, it provides a feed of news and other information that Google curates based on your previous activity, such as your Chrome browsing history. For a more natural, conversational approach to Google search, install the Google Assistant as well.

Email, calendar, and contacts

Next, install Gmail for iOS or Google's other email app, Inbox, which provides more automation and smart features. You can pick up your Gmail activity right where you left off on any of your other devices. Alternatively, connect Gmail to your Apple email address: Tap the menu button (the three lines on the top left), then your username, then Manage accounts, then Add account, and finally choose iCloudfrom the list.

You can also use your Gmail account to log into Google Calendar for iOS. The slick and easy-to-use calendar app is just as good on iPhones as it is on the web and everywhere else. It will, of course, sync all your Google events and appointments, and you can add your Apple calendars as well. To do so, tap the menu button (the three lines on the top left), pick Settings, tap Manage accounts, and turn the iCloudtoggle switch to on.

Calls and messaging

Again, Apple won't let you replace Messages as the default SMS app. But you can still manually use Google apps for the same purposes. Try Allo for text-based messaging, Duo for video calling, and Hangouts for messaging, phone calls, and video chats. While Hangouts remains the most comprehensive option, Google continues to add new features to Allo and Duo, so keep an eye on those apps as well.

Cloud storage

To back up your data, look no further than Google Drive, which will sync all your files with computers, other mobile devices, and your Google cloud locker. Drive also lets you save your Apple contacts to your Google account, even though Google doesn't offer a dedicated app for contacts: Open the menu (three lines on the top left), tap the cog icon, and hit Backup.

For larger files, specifically your iPhone photos and videos, Google Photos makes backing up a breeze. When you first install the app, it'll ask if you want to back up photos and videos. Say yes, and as long as you don't mind that it resizes your files (down to 16 megapixels for images and 1080p for videos), you can store an unlimited number of pictures and clips for free. If you want to keep your files at their original resolution, you can pay Google for extra space in the cloud, which starts at prices of $2 a month.

Office suite

Google has its own office apps for iOS, in the form of DocsSheets, and Slides. They interface seamlessly with the web versions, so you can keep creating and editing from anywhere.

If you've already created documents in the equivalent iOS apps, you may need to reformat them in order to open them with Google's apps. Launch the appropriate Apple app—Pages, Sheets, or Keynote—and then open the file you want to transfer. Next, tap the menu button (three dots on the top right), choose Export, and select the Google format option. Once you've exported the file, the appropriate Google app will be able to open it up.

Web browser

As mentioned previously, you can't completely replace Safari as the default browser on iOS. But you can still download Google Chrome for iOS and launch it manually when you want to explore the internet. Sign into the web browser with your Google account (it should prompt you to do so when you first open the app), and Chrome will carry over all of your bookmarks, passwords, browsing history, and other data from your computer. Even if most links will open in Safari by default, you can at least make sure Gmail links open in Chrome: Open Gmail, choosing Settings from the left-hand menu, then selecting Google apps, followed by Chrome.

Maps

Google offers some types of iOS apps that Microsoft doesn't. For example, you can rely on Google Maps to get from A to B quickly and safely and find places of note nearby. If you use the app online or on an Android device, you know you'll also get features such as live traffic updates and a list of favorite "starred" locations. If you need live directions, try it in full-screen turn-by-turn navigation mode.

Music and video players

Finally, there's Google Play Music and Google Play Movies & TV, which can effectively replace everything that iTunes and Apple Music usually do on an iPhone. They let you stream music, films, and television shows and even download content for offline access. What you can't do is purchase new content right from iOS, so if you're buying or renting something new, you need to pay up on a computer or other device before the content shows up on your iPhone.

Source: This article was published popsci.com By David Nield

Categorized in How to

Imagine you went to a networking event last night and met a potential business partner. You're all set to send a pleasant follow-up note but realize you've forgotten the one thing you need–their email address.

While you can find most people on various social networks–from professional ones like LinkedIn to personal ones like Facebook–email still reigns supreme as the preferred method of getting in touch. Email's more personal and professional at the same time, and your contact is all-but guaranteed to have an email address, as there are 2.9 billion email addresses in the world.

Contacting people over social media has more hurdles than sending a simple email. You might have to pay to send a LinkedIn message, or the person might not accept Direct Messages on Twitter from strangers. It's worth the trouble to just email instead.

Finding email addresses isn't always easy, though. Most people are protective of their email address, for good reason: We all hate spam. With a little investigative work, though, you can find almost anyone's email address. Here's how.

Start with Quick Email Searches

Google search for email
A Google search might be all you need to find an email

The first place you should look for email addresses is the “About” page of their company’s website. You might find anything from a brief bio to detailed contact info for every team member. Dig around a bit, and you might find email addresses in unexpected places. For instance, on Zapier's About page, you'll find team members' contact information by hovering over their photos.

Personal websites are another great place to check. If you can find a personal blog or landing page for that contact, you'll likely find an email address on their Contact page. At least, it's worth checking.

Google can help out, by finding other personal sites or the email address itself. There’s a chance your prospect's email address is listed somewhere online, so just search for their first and last name along with the word and email perhaps their company name. Google will find anywhere this combination appears.

If you can find your prospect's social media account, check their profile for contact information. Users sometimes list this information on LinkedIn or Twitter, often with a space between their email address and the domain. On Twitter, for example, use the search from operator to find an email address (e.g., email from:dannyaway).

Twitter email search

Alternately, use 3rd party Twitter search app SnapBird. It can search through all of the Tweets from your feed or followers; just enter a keyword such as “email” and the user’s name, and it’ll do the rest.

LinkedIn is also worth exploring for email addresses. It lets you export contacts and their email addresses if they’re available on their profiles, for an easy way to find addresses of anyone you're already connected with. You can also use a tool such as Lusha to find contact information for people on LinkedIn, including their corporate email address, personal email address, and phone number.

Then, there are also several “people search” websites that can be helpful, including SpokeoPeopleSmart, and Pipl. Some sites are free to use (including Pipl), while you'll need a paid subscription to unlock most people search sites' full features.

When all else fails, you can try guessing. Seriously. If you can find the naming convention the company uses perhaps from another employee at that firm (in some cases, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), you can try that format with your prospect's name and wait to see if the email bounces back. Guessing might not be efficient, but it could work.

Try an Email-Finding App

If you’ve completed your web and social media search and still can’t find a trusted email address, it’s time to use a tool designed for this email search. Fortunately, there are lots of apps just for this.

Just enter your prospect’s name along with their company name, and you’ll receive either the app’s best guess or a list of viable options. Here are the best options:

Email Generator

Email Generator

Part of your initial email search may involve entering various name and company domain combinations into Google. This is not only time consuming, but it can be frustrating considering the various combinations that can exist. That’s where Email Generator comes in. It generates over 50 popular email combinations for that name for you in seconds just from their name and company domain.

As an added bonus, Email Generator will also give you potential email variations for popular email services like Gmail and Outlook. If you’re confident that you’ve found the correct email address, consider installing Email Generator’s email tracking software, MailTrack.io, which will let you know when your email recipient opens it.

Price: Free

Mail Tester

Mail Tester

Once you've found a potential email address, use Mail Tester to see if the email address is valid. It can't tell you if that's the real email for the person you want, but it can confirm whether or not that email address exists on that domain name.

If the email address is valid, Mail Tester shows the server info it found. If it’s unable to confirm the accuracy of an email address, it will display a message stating that the company’s server doesn’t allow email verification.

Keep in mind, even if the app can’t confirm whether an email address is accurate, that doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with the email address. Sometimes it comes down to whether or not a company’s server will allow Mail Tester to connect to it and provide users with valid information. The only way to be 100% certain is to send an email to the address and see if you receive a bounce-back notification stating that the email address doesn’t exist.

Price: Free

BuzzStream

BuzzStream

BuzzStream is another fantastic app to use to boost your email search. It can find contact information (including social network profiles) for “influencers”, people who are active on social media and blogs. Once you've gotten in touch with an influencer, it will save those messages, and let you share them with your team to easily follow up.

When you need to find email addresses, simply add in the company URL and the app will display both employee email addresses and the company’s Twitter handle. If the app can’t find the email address of a specific person, it will provide you with the about and contact pages of the company as a starting point. Or, use its free email research tool to get auto-generated Google Search links that'll help you find their email address.

Price: Free 14-day trial; from $24/month for one user

Voila Norbert

Voila Norbert

Voila, Norbert is one of the simplest ways to find an email address. Just enter the first and last name of anyone you’re trying to find, along with the company’s domain name. It'll then ping the domain to show any addresses it finds that might match the name, along with reviews from users to show if the address is actually valid or not.

It works surprisingly well for finding company addresses. Keep in mind that some companies strive to keep the email addresses of their employees private, though, so if Voila Norbert isn’t given access it lets you know.

Price: Free for searching up to 50 email addresses; plans from $49/month

Voila, Norbert Zapier integrations coming soon!

Email Hunter

Email Hunter

Email Hunter lets you find email addresses right from its homepage. Just enter the company domain name into the search field, click search, and the app will find all of the publicly available email addresses for that company domain.

It also shows the number of sources found online for each email address, to add to the verification and validity of each one. That makes it an even better bet for finding email addresses that actually work.

Price: Free for searching up to 150 email addresses per month; plans from $49/month

See Email Hunter integrations on Zapier

Conspire

Conspire

Conspire is a little different from the other apps on this list. Rather than solely providing emails, it operates on the “six degrees of separation” theory. Like the game "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon," where you try to figure out how a person would be connected to Kevin Bacon or some other celebrity, Conspire assumes you might know someone who knows someone who knows your prospective contact.

If you’d like to meet a new potential client through the people you already know, the app will show you the best possible path—based on people in your network—to reach out through. You can then connect with folks just outside of your network even if you haven’t met them by mentioning your mutual contacts.

Conspire uses data from your linked Gmail account to get a sense of your current network. It then scores each relationship to give an idea of how “strong” the connection is, using the To, From, CC, Subject and Date fields of your emails—along with your frequency of communication—to determine connection strength. This data determines how you and your contacts communicate.

 

Price: Free

Find an Email with a Browser Extension

Another handy way to find email addresses is with a browser extension—many of which work right inside your Gmail inbox. With just a couple of clicks, you can quickly look up an email address without opening a new app or webpage.

Rapportive (Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer)

Rapportive gif

Rapportive puts contact info discovery right inside Gmail. It can be used in conjunction with an app such as Email Generator. Simply enter a few email variations into the “Send To” field when composing an email in Gmail. Hover over each email address and Rapportive will show as much profile information as possible.

For example, with a real email, Rapportive can show you the contact’s full name, profile pic, company name and location, and links to websites (both personal and professional) and social networks. That's enough to be confident that you’ve found the right email address. Or, if it doesn't find any info, you'll see a grey block which means you'll need to keep searching for the right address.

And, when you're reading emails, Rapportive will show that same contact info in the right sidebar for a simple way to learn more about your contacts.

Price: Free

Clearbit (Chrome)

Clearbit

Similar to Rapportive, this Chrome extension integrates with Gmail. However, instead of checking variations of an email address, Clearbit quickly finds email addresses from its database, along with other company and personal data. Just enter a company's name, select the correct one, then filter through the contacts it finds there.

Then, when you receive an email, Clearbit can also give you extra info about each email—something extra helpful when trying to remember how you met a contact.

Price: Free for up to 50 searches per month

See Clearbit integrations on Zapier

Datanyze Insider (Chrome and Firefox)

Datanyze Insider can find any email address with just the first and last name of the contact—no need to enter a company domain name.

To use the extension, highlight the contact’s name as it appears online (for example, in LinkedIn or the company’s about page), right click, choose “Datanyze Insider” and click “Find email”. Datanyze Insider will then ping email addresses that are most likely to be valid (based on name and company domain variations) and display the ones that appear to be valid. It also provides a percentage for how confident it is that it found the correct email address.

Price: Free

Ninja Outreach (Chrome)

Ninja Outreach searches a company's website for any mention of a contact's name that you highlight on the web page. If it doesn’t find a match, the extension will check its own database for a match. Ninja Outreach will also give you links to the prospect’s social networks, location address, and more.

Price: Free without signup to search for addresses; register for a Ninja Outreach account to get full features including contact form autofill, web app templates, and enhanced website information

Find That Lead (Chrome)

Find That Lead adds an icon next to people's names on web pages you visit, such as LinkedIn. Click the icon and the resulting pop-up menu will display the person's company name and email address. If the search isn’t successful, the plugin will display the best result it was able to find, along with a percentage score of how certain it is that the email address is accurate. It can also work with a tool such as Rapportive if you need added certainty before sending an email.

Price: Free for up to 10 emails per week; from $15/month for additional searches

LeadFuze (Chrome)

LeadFuze helps you build a relevant contact list. It does the tedious work for you of finding email addresses, social network profiles, and prospect details such as titles and company names for an entire list of contacts. Once you have a list you’re happy with, you can set up targeted emails and subsequent follow-up emails. To be sure you have the correct email addresses, LeadFuze includes reports to see whether your email has been viewed.

Price: Free for up to 20 leads; plans from $150/user/month

Source: This article was published zapier.com By Milveen Eke-Allen

Categorized in How to

Google has created a new search engine called Poly, which is designed for finding 3D objects to use in apps with virtual and augmented reality capabilities.

If you’re developing for AR and VR, you need 3D objects in your apps— full stop. Now you can build on others’ work with 3D objects discovered in Poly.

Poly is integrated with Google’s Tilt Brush and Blocks tools, and allows for direct uploads of OBJ files.

”Whether you’re creating an intense space walk in VR or a serene garden of AR flowers, you’ll find the ingredients you need in Poly.”

Poly contains thousands of models to discover, which are absolutely free to use. Objects found in Poly can be modified by the end-user, or used as-is.

‘Liking’ an object will allow you to import it into either the Tilt Brush or Blocks tools, where you can then “remix” it and build upon it.

While Poly has been designed for developers, anyone can use it to view 3D objects in their mobile or desktop browser.

The 3D objects can also be downloaded as animated GIFs, which do nothing more than spin in circles.

Another thing you can do with these objects is view them in VR with Cardboard or Daydream View.

One thing Poly cannot do, which perhaps maybe it should, is utilize AR technology to place an object in the room with you.

Maybe that’s something that will be added in the future. AR and VR are still in their infancy, so Poly will likely evolve over time as the technology matures.

Source: This article was published searchenginejournal.com By Matt Southern

Categorized in Search Engine

Searches for events will now surface a list of activities that include location and date details.

Google announced a new search feature today that will make it easier to find events.

Google app and mobile web searches for events will now surface a listing of activities pulled from Eventbrite, Meetup and other sites across the web.

Google product manager Nishant Ranka writes:

To try it, type in a quick search like, “jazz concerts in Austin,” or “art events this weekend” on your phone. With a single tap, you’ll see at-a-glance details about various options, like the event title, date and time, and location. You can tap “more events” to see additional options. Once you find one that’s up your alley, tap it to find more details or buy tickets directly from the website.

Rolled out today in the US, Google shared the following image highlighting how its latest search feature works:

Event results include filters that let you drill down by dates or look for specific events happening “today,” “tomorrow” or “next week.”

Google provided the following link to its developer guidelines for creators so that they can make sure their event listings show up in within the new search feature: Google Search Events guide.

Source: This article was published searchengineland.com By Amy Gesenhues

Categorized in Search Engine
  • Halide is a new camera app developed by former Twitter and Apple employees.
  • It's super easy to use but adds advanced camera functions.
  • It costs $2.99 and is available for the iPhone now.

Earlier this week, a former Twitter employee and former Apple designer joined forces to release a new camera app called Halide. It's loaded with functions that both advanced and casual photographers will love.

The gist of Halide is simple. It's not about applying filters or anything like that to your photos. Instead, it just provides really easy gesture-based functions that can help you take better pictures.

Halide is $2.99 and is available from iTunes now. Here's a look at what it can do, in case you're a little wary of spending that much on a new app.

 

This is the main Halide screen you see when you open the app.

CNBC Tech: Halide

Todd Haselton | CNBC


Slide your finger along the focus dial to bring near or far objects out of focus manually.

CNBC Tech: Halide 2

Todd Haselton | CNBC


Tap this small button in the corner to apply a red hue to objects when they're in focus. This is on more advanced cameras, and it works really well here!

CNBC Tech: Halide 3

Todd Haselton | CNBC


Slide your thumb up and down on the screen to adjust the exposure. Slide up to increase it (brighten), or down to decrease the exposure (darken.)

Handout: halide

Halide


There are plenty of other options, too, like the ability to snap raw photos, add your GPS location, overlay the app with a grid for better positioning and more.I don't typically use advanced camera apps because they tend to have too many unnecessary features, but Halide is really easy to use.

Source: This article was published on cnbc.com by Todd Haselton

Categorized in Others
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