The Morning After: Goodbye, Google+

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    Remember Google+? Google exposed data for hundreds of thousands of users

    Google exposed private data from hundreds of thousands of Google+ users and then chose not to inform those affected. The Wall Street Journal reports that close sources claim the decision to keep the exposure under wraps was made among fears of regulatory scrutiny.

    Google said in a blog post that nearly 500,000 users may have been impacted but because the company keeps the log data from this specific API for only two weeks at a time, it can’t fully confirm who was truly impacted and who was not. The company noted that information like Google+ posts, messages and G Suite content weren’t included in the exposure.

    Goodbye Google+Google is shutting down Google+ following massive data exposure

    Following a massive data breach, Google announced it’s shutting down Google+ for consumers. The company finally admitted that Google+ never received the broad adoption or engagement it had hoped for — according to a blog post, 90 percent of Google+ user sessions last less than five seconds. In light of these newly revealed security concerns, the company has opted to put it out of its misery over the next ten months rather than try to make the social network more secure.

    The clampdown continues.Google limits third-party access to Gmail and other account data

    In addition to shuttering Google+, the company is gradually rolling out a change to its developer tools that will give users much more control over their account-data privacy permissions. Much like permissions in recent Android versions, you’ll get permission requests one at a time for various services. You could grant access to Drive, for instance, but turn down Gmail or Calendar permissions.

    While Google didn’t say as much, the clampdown appears to be a reaction to word that its previous policies, which lacked clarity for users, let third-party apps scan Gmail inboxes. This change should make it clear what apps really want. Google is also using the fine-grained control as a way to promote better explanations to users.

    And who doesn’t trust Facebook?Facebook’s Portal smart displays aim to fix video chat

    The company is unveiling two smart displays, the Portal ($199) and Portal+ ($349), which are focused on video chatting. They have AI-powered cameras to track you as you move around the room, large screens to easily see who you’re talking to, an array of four microphones (plus more AI smarts) to capture everything you’re saying and decent speakers, so the conversation is always clear.

    Facebook says it’s building Portal with security in mind: Your video chats are encrypted, and the company doesn’t keep any records of your calls. The AI-powered camera and voice features all run locally, so they’re not relying on Facebook’s servers, and it doesn’t use any facial recognition technology. You can hit a button to disable the Portal’s camera and microphone, and there’s also a bundled camera cover for assured privacy. You can also set up a passcode, so your kids and guests won’t be making random calls to all of your Facebook friends.

    Don’t panic.Hubble Space Telescope is in trouble after gyroscope failure

    The NASA Hubble Twitter account announced that, on Friday, the Hubble Space Telescope went into safe mode after a gyroscope, used to point and stabilize the observatory, failed. While Hubble has six gyroscopes it uses to point itself and keep itself steady for observations, it can operate without one of them. The problem is Hubble has only been operating with three of its gyroscopes up to now, the minimum needed for optimal functioning. And now it’s down to two.

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    The Vault goes online-only.‘Fallout 76’ preview: This isn’t ‘Fallout 5’

    Fallout 76 is a new way to play around in Bethesda’s post-apocalyptic universe and that’ll take some getting used to for longtime series fans. However, for anyone who’s played Fallout New Vegas five times over or re-started Fallout 4 a dozen times, Fallout 76 represents a new, innovative way to exist in that universe, in perpetuity.

    Help is on the way.Microsoft promises to recover files deleted by Windows 10 update bug

    According to Dona Sarkar, who runs the Windows Insider Program, users affected by Windows 10’s October Update need to stop using their machine and contact Microsoft directly. The company was forced to halt the rollout of its latest upgrade when users started complaining that their documents, music and images were disappearing. In a tweet, Sarkar said that technical-support teams “have the tools to get you back to a good state.”

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