10 must-read articles for 28 August (Wired UK)


Your WIRED.co.uk daily briefing. Today, Google is killing Flash ads, SoundCloud sued, Instagram photos go rectangular and more.

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1. Google Chrome will kill all Flash ads from 1 September

Google is following through with its promise to shut down non-important Flash files on websites in Chrome (The Register). From 1 September all Flash adverts and other superfluous Flash content will be click-to-play by default in the browser. The move will essentially freeze nearly all Flash ads. Anyone wanting to see a Flash ad will need to right-click and select “Run this” to unfreeze it.

2. Google rejects EU antitrust charges

Google has finally responded to the European Commission, which in April accused it of distorting search results to favour its shopping service, harming rivals and consumers (Reuters). Kent Walker, the firm’s general counsel said the Commission was “wrong as a matter of fact, law, and economics”. The Commission will now consider Google’s response before deciding on its next step. Google could be fined 10 percent of its global turnover if found guilty.

3. SoundCloud sued by UK’s performing rights organisation

PRS, the British songwriters’ performing rights organisation, is suing SoundCloud (The Guardian). The legal action comes after “five years of unsuccessful negotiations” with the streaming service, according to a leaked email to PRS members. The lawsuit alleges SoundCloud is not paying songwriters royalties when their music is used on the site. The service is already partially licensed in the US having signed deals with Warner Music Group and Merlin, but the likes of Sony have pulled their music after negotiations stalled.

4. MPs demand Facebook and Twitter rethink autoplaying video

MPs have called on Facebook and Twitter to clamp down on autoplaying videos in the wake of the murder of a US TV news crew (BBC). Footage of the shooting went viral this week, with many people inadvertently seeing it when it autoplayed on one of the social networks. “Social media, just like traditional media, should consider how shocking other content can be, and make sure consumers are warned appropriately,” said Conservative MP Matt Warman.

5. Instagram photos and videos no longer have to be square

Facebook-owned Instagram is finally embracing the humble rectangle and now allows non-square images to be shared (The Next Web). The social network said it had made the decision to allow people to fit more things into their photos — be that friends or landmarks. To switch between formats users will need to tap a small cropped square icon on their profile grid.

6. Facebook draws 1bn users in single day

“On Monday, 1 in 7 people on Earth used Facebook to connect with their friends and family,” wrote founder Mark Zuckerberg (The Verge). That’s one billion people using the social network in a single day — a new milestone for Facebook. “It’s just the beginning of connecting the whole world,” Zuckerberg added.

7. Rapture game soundtrack pulled from UK charts

The UK’s Official Charts Company said the inclusion of the soundtrack from Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture in the classical charts was a mistake (Engadget). Its rules state original soundtracks performed by single and various artists are ineligible. Developer The Chinese Room described the decision as “snobbery in action”.

8. Uber China closes in on $1bn funding

Uber’s Chinese arm has closed its $1bn (£647.7m) funding round early, according to people familiar with the matter (Reuters). The success shows investors are confident the ride-hailing service can compete in a strong Chinese market. Investors reportedly include Hillhouse Capital, Asia’s biggest hedge fund and Chinese Internet giant Baidu. According to an internal document the fundraising values Uber China at $7bn (£4.5bn).

9. French woman wins disability grant for ‘gadget allergy’

A French court has issued a disability grant to a woman claiming to suffer from an allergy to electromagnetic radiation (Yahoo/AFP). Like many suffering from Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity Marine Richard, 39, experiences tingling, headaches, fatigue and nausea. The pseudo-allergy, caused by emissions from cellphones, laptops and other electronics, is not recognised as a medical condition in most countries, including France.

10. Discovery launches online VR channel

Discovery VR features 360° videos that can be viewed in a browser or through a dedicated Android and iOS app (Ars Technica). The videos work with Google Cardboard or Samsung Gear VR, with support for Oculus Rift coming soon. Currently available are VR videos of shark dives, skateboarding and pro-surfing.

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28 August 2015 | 6:41 am – Source: wired.co.uk


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