TechSummit Rewind 090

Editor’s Note: This is the TechSummit Rewind, a daily recap of the top technology headlines.

Europe widens antitrust probe into Google’s ad business


The European Commission is doubling down on efforts to dig whether Google has broken rules around the restriction of consumer choice with its search and price comparison products. The Commission maintains that the com abused its search position to promote its own products ahead of others’.

“We have further strengthened our case that Google has unduly favored its own comparison shopping service in its general search result pages. It means consumers may not see the most relevant results to their search queries. We have also raised concerns that Google has hindered competition by limiting the ability of its competitors to place search adverts on third party websites, which stifles consumer choice and innovation.”

-Margarethe Vestager, European Commissioner for Competition

“We believe that our innovations and product improvements have increased choice for European consumers and promote competition. We’ll examine the Commission’s renewed cases and provided a detailed response in the coming weeks.”

  • Google, in a statement

Valve going after gambling sites that use Steam


Valve is cracking down on third-party websites that use Steam to facilitate gambling, according to a company statement.

“Using the OpenID API and making the same web calls as Steam users to run a gambling business is not allowed by our API nor our user agreements. We are going to start sending notices to these sites requesting they cease operations through Steam, and further pursue the matter as necessary. Users should probably consider this information as they manage their in-game item inventory and trade activity.”

-Erik Johnson, Valve Software

“A number of gambling sites started leveraging the Steam trading system, and there’s been some false assumptions about our involvement with these sites. We’d like to clarify that we have no business relationships with any of these sites. We have never received any revenue from them. And Steam does not have a system for turning in-game items into real world currency.”

-Valve, in a statement

Microsoft wins appeal over seizure of foreign emails


According to a ruling by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan, the U.S. government can’t force Microsoft and other companies to turn over customer emails stored on servers outside the United States.

“Congress did not intend the [Stored Communications Act]’s warrant provisions to apply extraterritorially. The focus of those provisions is protection of a user’s privacy interests.”

-Susan Carney, Circuit Judge

“We obviously welcome today’s devision.”

-Brad Smith, Microsoft president & chief legal officer

According to Smith, the decision helps ensure that “legal protections of the physical world apply in the digital domain.”

Facebook Messenger now supports Instant Articles

Facebook Messenger

Facebook Messenger now supports Instant Articles.

Instant Articles will be marked in Messenger with a lightning bolt icon in the top right corner of links shared in the app. According to Facebook, they will first begin showing up on Android before coming to iOS next week.

Line shares up 33 percent after NYSE IPO

Line messenger

Line started trading at $42 on the New York Stock Exchange Thursday after raising over $1 billion in its IPO. That’s up 33 percent over its IPO price of $32.84.

The stock closed down slightly from that high at $41.58.

Nest launches $199 outdoor security camera

Nest Cam Outdoor

Nest has launched the Nest Cam Outdoor, a Nest Cam upgrade that’s designed to withstand the elements.

The Alphabet-owned company also shared updates coming to the Nest app, including greater controls over your devices and sharing, and new alerts when the Nest Cam sports a person.

Skype announces new WebRTC alpha for Linux; Chrome OS users can now make voice calls

Skype for Linux

Skype has announced a new WebRTC version of Skype for Linux, which adopts a more responsive interface and features that users have known from the Microsoft-owned product for years on other platforms including file-sharing and compatibility with a broader range of emoticons.

The alpha version is available to download now, and is compatible with Skype’s other major platforms (Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, etc.). However, users won’t be able to make calls to those using the existing older versions of Skype for Linus.

“Skype for Linux Alpha is not a functioning Skype client yet. We’re sharing it with you now, as we want to get it in your hands as soon as possible.”

-Skype, in a statement

Additionally, Skype has also revealed a new web-compliant version of its app for Chrome OS users. Its latest alpha version lets you place voice and video calls in addition to text messages. However, video and voice calls to landlines/mobile phones don’t work yet.

Pinterest acquires team behind Highlight


Pinterest will acquire the team behind Math Camp, the creators of Highlight, and will be sunsetting its Roll and Shorts applications in the next few weeks.

Most of the team is joining Pinterest, including CEO Paul Davison, who will work across multiple areas of Pinterest.

Some of the work done on Math Camp’s other apps will be open sourced in a range of libraries and frameworks.

Alcatel Idol 4S arrives in U.S. with VR goggles for $350


Alcatel is bringing its Idol 4S flagship to the U.S. for a pre-order price of $350 ($400 retail, $37/month).

The phone will come in a plastic box that’s part VR goggles and part container for included accessories like JBL headphones, a screen protector, and a protective Incipio case.

For the price, the device also boasts an impressive spec sheet: an octa-core Snapdragon 652 CPU, 3GB of RAM, and a 5.5-inch Quad HD AMOLED display. The American Idol 4S will have a fingerprint sensor on the rear for easier unlocking and payments.

The Idol 4S will also pack dual JBL-certified speakers that can pump out sound through the back and the front of the phone, a 16-megapixel rear camera with 360-degree image capture built in, as well as a dual SIM card slot. It’ll ship with Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, with a planned update to Android N.

Facebook plans live video push during conventions


Facebook has partnered with 22 media organizations, including C-SPAN, CNN, Yahoo, Fox News, The New York Times, and local media to use the “Facebook Lounge” as a studio for live broadcasts during the political conventions in Cleveland and Philadelphia.

“This is the most engaged we’ve been at the convention and its highly correlated to the fact we have a lot of tools to offer. We’ve come a long way from 2012 – we didn’t even have video back then, it’s hard to believe. And now we’ve taken it to the next level with Live. Our presence at the convention is different because our role generally in the conversation around elections is different.

“We make the tools pretty straightforward for people to use them on their own. We shouldn’t need a whole sort of hand in hand engagement to get good content.”

-Crystal Patterson, Facebook head of government & politics outreach



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