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Frightful Five: The Apple Update That Pays

Source: APPLE

Amazon takes another swing at Etsy, Apple catches up in the proprietary Pay game and Facebook matriculates a new generation of social media users with its new Messenger product for kids — this and more of the latest news from the Frightful Five, just in case you missed it.

Amazon

In another blow to online artisan marketplace Etsy, Amazon is pushing its own artisanal wares this holiday season by offering last-minute, one- and two-hour Prime Now delivery through Christmas Eve on items from its Amazon Handmade marketplace. This is the first time that Handmade and Prime Now will join forces to extend the holiday shopping season all the way through Christmas Eve.

The eCommerce giant already seemed to have something for everybody, but now it really does — including customers’ pets. Pet Profiles now allows customers to add their pets to their shopping accounts to receive discounts on pet food orders and other purchases for their fur babies.

Finally, Amazon has announced myriad new machine learning features for its cloud computing business, Amazon Web Services (AWS). These features will enable AWS customers to develop and train their own custom artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms for tasks such as real-time translation, video analysis and transcribing audio, then scanning and analyzing text for keywords and ideas.

Apple

It’s finally here: with the iOS 11.2 update, Apple Pay Cash has arrived — though reportedly the feature has yet to go live. It seems Apple had to push out the update a little sooner than planned due to a bug that was affecting how the iPhone displayed dates.

When the feature does go live, it will enable peer-to-peer (P2P) payments between Apple device users, similar to those available through Venmo or Zelle. Discover has announced that transactions via the new Apple Pay Cash card will leverage its network. Once remitted, funds will be spendable in stores, apps and online via the Discover network for owners of the iPhone SE, iPhone 6 and later, and several version of the iPad.

Vietnamese hackers have tricked the iPhone X’s Face ID user authentication technology — again. They created another mask using just 2-D and 3-D printers, at a cost of around $150, which tricked the technology easily. Luckily, these hackers worked for a cybersecurity firm and don’t plan to use their discovery for evil, but that doesn’t mean someone else won’t.

Facebook

Even millennials are too old for Facebook’s latest release, a just-for-kids messaging app called Messenger Kids. The platform is designed for children between the ages of six and 12, just in case kids weren’t getting into social media early enough. To be fair, however, the social media they’re getting into so young isn’t Facebook — it’s Snapchat and other, “cooler” platforms. If they’re going to be using the technology anyway, might as well tailor a platform especially for them, right?

This way, Mom and Dad can approve contacts and keep an eye on the texts, images and videos their kids are sending and receiving. Meanwhile, kids can enjoy masks and other fun, Snapchat-style features they want to use in a safer environment that some parents see as a “responsible on-ramp to the internet.”

Google

Google has revealed plans to bring another 1 billion users into the connected world in India, and the tech giant just made several new services available in the country. “Light” versions of apps will target entry-level smartphone users who are coming online for the first time. One of these will be the mobile payments app Tez, which supports the cashless India initiative.

A Google executive made waves with his prediction that AI and Big Data are going to become a “big issue” as governments regulate the industries that are using this new technology. Google vice president Geoffrey Hinton, helped develop some of the key algorithms that enable AIs to crunch huge amounts of data and search for patterns, so he kind of knows what he speaks.

Since these neural networks are self-learning — that is, they teach themselves to perform complex operations — Hinton said their developers cannot tell government regulators exactly how the systems work or what they do, making them extremely difficult to regulate.

Microsoft

A police operation involving help from Microsoft and Slovakian cybersecurity firm ESET arrested a cybercriminal believed to be the administrator of the Andromeda network, a collection of botnets, or groups of computers, that have been infected with viruses so that hackers can control them remotely.

Andromeda was one of the oldest malwares on the market. The arrest was significant due to the number of computers infected worldwide and because of the duration of Andromeda’s use to distribute new viruses.

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