Every afternoon (or early morning, for our European readers) we feature three must-read stories about tech that were published in the last 24 hours. Some got a lot of attention, some flew under the radar. We aim for stories that are interesting and provide background information about current trends in the world of tech.
Here is today's selection.
A new Twitter worm is spreading quickly this morning by pretending to tell users who has unfollowed them. Through using this kind of smart social engineering (who wouldn’t want to know who these ungrateful people are?), this rogue Twitter app gains access to a user’s account by using Twitter’s standard authentication mechanism. The worm also attaches terms to every one of these tweets that are currently trending on Twitter, ensuring these messages get seen by an even wider audience.
If you use Google’s mobile website for Gmail on your iOS or Android smartphone, Google just launched an update that will make your life a bit easier. You can now undo a number of actions in mobile Gmail, including whenever you archive, move and delete a message or conversation, or when you add a label to an email.
The Wall Street Journal today reported on a rumor that Twitter is “in advanced talks to buy TweetDeck,” the popular Twitter client for the desktop and browser. Neither Twitter nor TweetDeck founder Iain Dodsworth have responded to these rumors.
As much as I would prefer to see a healthy ecosystem of Twitter apps, I can’t help but think that it makes sense for Twitter to buy TweetDeck, especially given what we know about Twitter’s priorities these days.
Mozilla has been lobbying for. While Microsoft, Apple, Firefox and Opera have either already implemented this feature or will do so soon, Google is still holding out. According to Mozilla's director of community development Asa Dotzler, the "Chrome team is bowing to pressure from Google's advertising business and that's a real shame." Indeed, Dotzler says in his blog post, this situation is similar to what happened when Netscape released version 7.0 of its browser.
All the way back in 2009, I reviewed the Notifications app for ReadWriteWeb and wondered if it was going to be the best push notifications service for the iPhone yet. At that time, it had more features than Boxcar, which was still in its infancy. It was also one of the first apps of its kind to use PubSubHubbub to speed up notifications of updated news feeds. over time, Boxcar ended up trumping Notifications in terms of features and the difference in speed became negligible. Now, however, Notifications is is back as Push 4.0 for both the iPhone and iPad ($0.99 - iTunes link) and while its feature set hasn't changed much from the early days (Twitter, email, RSS), the developer Fabien Penso has worked hard on making it the fastest push app out there - and, I'm happy to say, he succeeded.
The history of the .xxx top-level domain is rather long and convoluted. What started out as an effort lead by the adult industry more than 10 years ago quickly became a major political issue in the standards bodies that assign top-level domains. Indeed, even the adult industry isn't in favor of .xxx anymore today. Last week, however, ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) finally gave .xxx its blessing and the first of these domains now resolve to actual websites.
These days, barely a day passes without Google featuring a customized logo - a Doodle in Google's parlance - on its homepage. Most of these celebrate national holidays or commemorate important people. Sometimes, though, Google goes beyond simple drawings and goes the extra mile, as it did in the case of Jules Verne's birthday a few weeks back, or when it featured a playable version of PacMan as its logo last year. Today, to celebrate what would have been Charlie Chaplin's 122nd birthday, the company is featuring a video doodle on its homepage.
Given how easy YouTube makes it to share videos, it doesn't come as a surprise that this ease of use also means many of its users run afoul with copyright law. Until today, the site had a very simple three-strikes rule: after three uncontested copyright notifications, a users was banned from the service. Now, however, YouTube is getting something that's more akin to the mandatory classes DUI offenders often have to take before they can get their driving licenses back. Users with a "solid demonstrated record of good behavior over time" can get their copyright strikes removed if they complete the YouTube Copyright School.
Google is the default search engine on virtually every browser – with one exception: Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. Now that Microsoft is rolling version 9 of Internet explorer out to most of its users, Google is actively courting these users with a large blue bar on its homepage: “Come here often? Make Google your homepage.” The possible answers: “Sure” and “No thanks.” If you decline, Google will then show IE9 users an add for Chrome.
The Yandex team launched an alpha version of its new browser today and there are plenty of interesting design ideas here. Overall, it feels like a bit of a hybrid between Safari and Opera Coast. I rather like the tabs at the bottom of the screen, but I'm not sure I could use a browser without a bookmark bar as...