To the surprise of some, Opera has released a new version of its Web browser for Linux-based operating systems.
Available to download now, the last new version of Opera for Linux was version 12.16 from around a year ago, which doesn’t include a lot of the newer features seen on other platforms. Opera stopped updating the Linux build when it abandoned its own rendering engine and browser stack in favor of Chromium. Now, a Chromium-based Opera 24 is available to download for developers.
The company said in a blog post that it had been testing the new build exclusively on 64-bit Ubuntu Linux running the Unity or Gnome Shell. Although it could work on other Linux systems, support isn’t guaranteed.
View original post here: Opera’s Chromium-based Web browser is now available on Linux
Update: This is a video that’s been shared throughout the Internet purporting to show a concerted DDOS attack coming mainly from China and concentrated on United States internet servers on the day that Facebook’s service was down for many users worldwide.
We’ve looked into this further, however, and it turns out this attack bore no relation to Facebook’s outage on Thursday. For one thing, we’re told the time stamps don’t square up quite correctly. We’ve updated this post’s headline to make that completely clear. Meanwhile, Facebook says its initial statement that the outage was due to an internal software configuration error still stands.
So, as action-packed as it is, the video above was just another of the many global DDOS attacks that regularly occur in cyberland (showing why companies like Facebook have had to erect top-notch security teams for constant protection.) Technology companies large and small are increasingly targets for such attacks — as more people come online, the potential for havoc gets larger.
Update 2: And now, the video has been pulled from YouTube for violating the site’s policy against “spam, scams, and commercially deceptive content” (the title of the video said the attack caused the Facebook outage.) You can still see a blip of the video in the screenshot embedded in this post.
Original post: This past Thursday, a number of Facebook users worldwide were unable to access the social networking site worldwide for about a half an hour. Such an outage is big news for as large a site as Facebook, and at the time, the company acknowledged the event with a short statement that attributed it to a software configuration that had been enacted before the outage.
According to footage posted by a YouTube user called Tournaments Replays that was allegedly pulled from Norse, a security intelligence company that monitors cyber attacks in real time, there appears to have been a large distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) attack coming mainly from China and concentrated on United States internet servers on the day that Facebook’s service was down for many users worldwide. Video of the alleged attack is embedded above.
See the original post here: This Video Shows A Day In The Life Of DDOS Cyber Attacks
The ability to identify someone is one of the biggest issues of the modern world. It’s wrapped up in everything from your Facebook profile to your application for a new passport. And digital identity is core to this.
In the US Jumio (funded by Andreeeseen Horowitz among others) offers automated ID verification via scanning the ID card, which just goes to show how important major investors think this space is.
Applying for an account, investment portfolio, loan or other financial product is pretty hard online. In most cases it requires a trip to a bank post office to verify your ID. High security ID verification is generally pretty tedious.
And it’s not just a nice-to-have. Banks must verify ID, either for anti-fraud or for anti money-laundering requirements. Usually people have to snail mail, fax or photocopy their IDs.
In other words the the area is ripe for startups – but it’s a high barrier to entry.
Coming out of Munich, the latest to join the fray is IDnow. This lets consumers verify their identity online, using their smartphone, tablet or webcam via image recognition of their ID document – like an ID card.
This is the first startup to come out of JET A (that’s the code name for jet airplane fuel), the holding company set up by Felix Haas (former founder of Amiando) who is co-founder and executive chairman of IDnow.
So here’s how IDNow works.
First you take a photo of your ID document.
An IDNow app uses the flash light of your smartphone to illuminate the official government ID and its hologram. The hologram reflect in the flash light and IDNow measures these reflections to verify that it’s an official government ID.
IDnow’s patented image recognition software then compares the person against the document it’s scanned. (All current international ID documents are supported). Next, an IDnow ID verification expert reviews the documentation via video chat.
Both financial product provider and customer are informed immediately of the results and the data is processed only on the consumer’s devices. (This setup satisfies Germany’s stringent privacy protection standards, so it could well be rolled out internationally).
This all only takes 1-2 minutes. The combination of IDnow technology and manual review means fewer mistakes in the whole process.
This is what the company has patent protected, and what sets it apart from Jumio. And, crucially, this level of security is what is required by European regulators.
Haas hopes the system will replace germany’s long held ‘PostIdent’ process, performed at Germany’s many post offices. IDnow is currently being trialled at some unnamed finance companies in Germany.
But what’s the kicker?
Because it complies with German and EU-wide regulations, IDNow can charge between 7-8 Euros per identification, whereas Jumio can only charge $1-2 for their non-regulated US solution.
Scale that up and you have a quite and interesting proposition going forward.
This week marks the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests, one of the most controversial events in Chinese history. China doesn’t acknowledge the event, and is known for clamping down on the internet in the run up to the June 4 anniversary — this year it appears to have disrupted multiple Google services in the country.
TNW has spoken to China-based users and seen screenshots which show Google Maps, Google’s search engine, Google Translate, Gmail and other services failing to operate in China, in line with a report from GreatFire, an organization that keeps watch of internet censorship in China. GreatFire claims in a blog post that “all Google services” have been disrupted for the past four days, but the issues are more severe today.
Google’s own transparency report suggests that traffic from Google services has been sluggish in the country since June 1, hinting that something is going on behind the scenes. When reached for comment, however, a Google spokesperson told TNW: “We’ve checked extensively and there’s nothing wrong on our end.”
Google relocated its search engine to Hong Kong from China in 2010, following allegations that the government had hacked into Gmail accounts belonging to prominent activists. Yet, despite its absence, Google services are regularly a target for the government.
China clamped down on all Google services in the country ahead of and during the Communist Party of China’s 18th Party Congress in November 2012, while Gmail was blocked in March 2011 following the threat of rallies inspired by protests in the Middle East and North Africa.
The Tiananmen Square anniversary is a hugely symbolic incident which always draws the attention of Chinese censors. In the run up to the event, restrictions are typically tighter on microblogging services like Weibo, while Foursquare was banned back in 2010 for suspicion around a large number of check-ins at the square itself.
There is some reprieve for internet users in China, since GreatFire is offering a version of Google’s search engine that it believes could withstand China’s censorship might. This version is hosted on Amazon servers — you can find it here – and the organization believes it offers hope for beating the censors.
The idea behind the approach — which the organization calls ‘collateral freedom’ — is that the Chinese government would need to block Amazon’s entire hosting business in order to make the mirrored Google search page unavailable in China. GreatFire believes that the government wouldn’t take such a bold step, and that this approach can help other websites and companies that have gone dark in China become available for internet users once again.
The company says that there are plenty of other hosting services that encrypt their content and could be used to host mirrors. So, were its hosting with Amazon to fail, it could turn elsewhere.
GreatFire believes that its approach could easily be expanded upon by Google, which has access to a range of technologies to avoid Chinese censorship.
“There are steps that Google can take to combat this censorship, which they currently choose not to,” GreatFire wrote in a blog post. “Google can tunnel through other undisrupted Content Delivery Network services to evade the block. Google can also add censorship evading functions through its popular web browser Chrome. At the moment, even the start page of Chrome will not load in China. But Google can tweak Chrome’s code to bypass censorship.”
We expect that Google services will return to relative normality after June 4, though it appears that Google is happier to stay out of proceedings in the lead up to the anniversary this year. We’ll update this post with further details as we’re aware of them.
Image via Digital Paws Inc. / Thinkstock
Anonymous social-sharing startup Whisper has confirmed a new round of funding and is launching an updated version of its app that will make it easier for users to connect with others sharing similar thoughts and emotions.
Whisper was one of the first in an emerging category of apps that enable users to share freely and anonymously with each other. But in earlier versions, it could be difficult to find content that would be relevant to you. You could view popular Whispers and Whispers nearby, but that was about it.
The newest version of the app is designed to change that, by highlighting Whispers that are similar in theme to those shared by each user. Each time a user creates a new post, the app shows other Whispers related to that topic, which improves the way in which users find others who share similar thoughts or emotions.
“The whole focus is about giving everybody access to all the Whispers,” CEO Michael Heyward told me by phone. It doesn’t matter what feeling or emotion you have when you post, he said, but the app should be able to help you find someone who has posted something similar.
The app has also added a new search function and now highlights categories of content, both of which will expand the ways in which users can discover Whispers.
Heyward said that about half of all active users actually contribute content, but even if they don’t, the app will now allow them to search or browse categories to find Whispers relevant to them. That functionality now appears front and center on the home page of the app, so that users can easily find content they want to read.
With search, Whisper faced two challenges, according to Heyward: First, it had to tie things together on the back end to make Whispers relevant to one another. Second, the app needed to help users determine what to search for. That’s what categories are all about.
On top of search and categories, the app has also added a new “Explore” tab that enables users to scan a map for things that people share around the world. By doing so, users can now view what others are saying in any given place, based on their locations.
With these updates, the app will provide a more personalized experience. Unlike previous versions, where nearly everyone saw the same global feed, the update is designed to make the content people see more relevant and meaningful to users.
In addition to the latest update to the app, Whisper is confirming a new round of funding. The round, which had been previously reported by Re/code, will add $36 million to the company’s coffers. With the funding, Whisper has raised a total of $60 million altogether since being founded just two years ago.
The new financing round included investment from new investors Tencent, Shasta Ventures, and Thrive Capital, as well as existing investors Lightspeed Ventures and Sequoia.
See the original post here: Whisper Confirms $36M In New Funding, Adds Related Posts, Categories, And Explore Feature To App
Adobe reports that its Creative Cloud online service, which powers access to some 16 creative applications including Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and their helper resources, is not accessible online anywhere in the world.
Adobe said in a statement:
Adobe login is currently offline, impacting access to some Adobe services. We apologize for the disruption. We have identified the cause and are working to restore the service as quickly as possible. We will share updates on Twitter at @AdobeCare.
We’ll keep this post updated as Adobe brings the service back online.
Image credit: Ian Usher / Flickr
See the original post here: Adobe’s Creative Cloud experiences extended worldwide outage
Mobli, the social-mobile photo and video-sharing app which competes with Instagram and the like, has a major update out today that adds one, single important new feature: live broadcast streaming. The question is, will this be enough to attract the attention of the millions sharing images on Instagram and, now, WhatsApp?
mobli has over-hauled the app to make it faster, improved the UI, the website and is now opening up to 3rd party developers.
However, I put it directly to CEO and founder Moshe Hogeg, that although this might seem like a significant move, the fact is that live streaming from mobiles has not proved as viral as photos, straight recorded videos and, latterly, short Vine-like videos.
Live streaming, to put it bluntly, is unlikely to be the magic bullet to take Mobli out of it’s also-ran status at 15 million active users, into a new stratosphere.
“Standalone live streaming apps like Qik were boring. It’s the combination of being able to post pictures, video AND do live streaming – the integration – that we think users will be attracted to,” he tells me.
However, one can’t but get the feeling that this is a last throw of the dice for Mobli – since no live streaming app has been that successful.
It also faces competition not just from Instagram but WhatsApp which has about 600 million pictures shared a day.
Mobli’s integration of live streaming is going to have to fly in the face of evidence that live broadcasting really just not that interesting enough of a feature – even when it’s been implemented in the YouTube app.
Of course, far be it for me to criticise – let’s see what Mobli’s numbers look like in six months to a year. Maybe I’ll have to eat my leather jacket. But I doubt it.
After the bell today Groupon reported its first quarter financial performance, including revenue of $757.60 million, and non-GAAP earnings per share of $0.01. Analysts had expected for the company to earn $0.03 per share (non-GAAP) on revenue of $740 million.
On a GAAP basis, Groupon lost $37.8 million, or $0.06 per share. The company’s adjusted EBITDA for the quarter totaled $40.3 million.
In regular trading, Groupon fell under 3% in down day for the market. After reporting its earnings beat,
Groupon is up just under 4%. Just kidding, Groupon is now down over 3%. Investors are having a hard time making up their minds at its results.
Today’s earnings come on the heels of its last quarter’s massive post-report swing. Groupon shot north more than 10 percent after reporting better-than-expected results, but an anemic profit forecast for the calendar year sent it down more than 10 percent quickly. It was one of the more impressive whipsaws I’ve ever seen in a public company.
Unit volume in the first quarter was up 85% year-over-year to 84 million, while gross billings totaled $1.82 billion the quarter, up 29% from the year-ago period. The company saw 54% of its deals kick-in from mobile customers.
The company ended the period with cash and equivalents of $1.0 billion.
Speaking simply, Groupon posted revenue growth, billings growth, user growth (+24% yearly actives since year-ago period), and so forth. Groupon has plenty of cash to boot. Still, investors seem somewhat skittish about either its inability to post a real profit for now, or its long-term growth potential. More shortly.
What’s interesting is that Groupon in fact raised its guidance today: “Groupon is increasing its full year outlook, and now expects Adjusted EBITDA to exceed $300 million.” That said, raising a non-GAAP figure is only so impressive. Following its poorly received growth projections detailed in the fourth quarter of 2013, perhaps this was adjustment too little.
Read the original: Groupon Beats In Q1 With $757.6M In Revenue, Non-GAAP EPS Of -$0.01
With all the handwringing about the future of local business, a startup called Alignable aims to connect those businesses and help them work together.
The company was co-founded by Eric Groves (formerly a senior vice president at Constant Contact) and Venkat Krishnamurphy. Groves, who’s the company’s CEO, said that most local businesses don’t have a way to work with each other or even know what’s going on at stores down the road.
“It’s amazing how local businesses truly feel like they’re alone,” he said.
With Alignable, on the other hand, businesses can connect with each other, send each other messages, and post to a communal news feed for their town. One common use case, Groves said, is to can mutually promote their sales and events through their various Facebook followings and email lists. Another use case is asking for advice, like how to obtain a certain permit.
As an example, Groves showed me the page for Hollister, Calif. the small town where I used to work as a newspaper reporter. There was a fair amount of activity, with a post from the Hollister Downtown Association about an upcoming beer and wine tour at the top of the feed, and many of the businesses having reposted it to their own Facebook Pages.
Even though the company hasn’t done much marketing or press, Groves said Alignable is now being used by tens of thousands of communities in all 50 states of the US. In many cases, he said the initial interest is driven by downtown associations, main street organizations, and chambers of commerce. (However, he noted that the community pages aren’t controlled by any one entity — anyone can post what they want.)
Alignable has raised $3 million in funding led by Saturn Partners (an early Constant Contact investor), with participation from NextView, LF-VC, Boston Seed, Longworth Partners, and CrunchFund. (Like TechCrunch, CrunchFund was co-founded by Michael Arrington. Also, Arrington was sitting a few yards away from me as I wrote a lot of this post.)
Read the original post: Alignable Is A Social Network For Local Business Owners
If you’re a WordPress-using photo-blogger looking to save yourself some spadework, you might like this little tool developed by Automattic.
Rather than manually scheduling posts for individual photos one at a time, Postbot lets you drag-and-drop your snaps to upload and schedule them automatically – you can edit the details for each image as they’re uploading to save time, and a post is created for each one accordingly.
Postbot then schedules them to publish at pre-set intervals over a number of days. You can also stipulate that it doesn’t post on weekends too.
To set yourself up, hit the Connect with WordPress.com button and, if you’re logged in to your WordPress.com account, you’ll be asked to grant access to Postbot. However, it will also work with your self-hosted WordPress.org blog if you’re using the Jetpack plugin and the JSON API is enabled. It can be used on the desktop or mobile browser.