google Larry Page and Sergey Brin

Google has been accused of intentionally displaying old versions of its site in order to convince web users to install the latest browser software 

The BBC reports that users took to Google's online support forum to complain about seeing outdated versions of the site. Expecting an apology and a fix for the issue, they were surprised when a Google employee appeared and told them that it "isn't a bug" and in fact "working as intended." 

One user posted screenshots that show Google displaying an old version of the site from 2013 because his web browser hadn't been upgraded to the latest version.

Old version of Google screenshot

Many commenters using older versions of the Opera and Safari web browsers reported similar issues, with Google displaying versions of the site that were often years out of date.  

This version of Google Image Search dates from before the site's 2010 redesign.Old Google Image Search

In 2013, users of Internet Explorer 9 were stopped  from accessing Gmail after the browser was added to Google's list of unsupported browsers, in favor of Internet Explorer 11.

Google regularly ends support for the third-oldest generation of each major web browser. A 2011 post from the company explained that "Older browsers just don’t have the chops to provide you with the same high-quality experience."

SEE ALSO: This 19-Year-Old Lost $46,000 Because Google Says He Didn't Follow Their Rules

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steve jobs introducing apple icloud

Apple products are designed to “just work.” But iCloud, Apple’s integrated internet-based service for synchronizing content across devices, is an uncharacteristic wreck — and has been for awhile. 

Millions of people are learning about iCloud after a 4chan user hacked several prominent actresses’ phones and posted hundreds of private photos online this weekend. 

Thing is, that particular hack was allegedly the work of several hackers over several months — though they didn't admit to how they pulled off this photo heist, it's believed to be the result of an exploit in the Find My iPhone API, which allowed hackers to repeatedly try different passwords without getting locked out. Apple patched that exploit Monday morning.

What might irk some users is that at least one of the actresses said she deleted her photos prior to this leak. It’s possible she did delete those pictures locally on her device, but not in iCloud. Remembering to delete both copies (locally, and in iCloud) is one common usability issue that could be simplified in the future, but it’s also possible this was a case of mishandled user data, where a deleted photo could still be found on another synched device. This is actually another common complaint among users.  

There are plenty of long-winded grievances about iCloud on Apple's support forums, with tales about data loss and corrupted files after syncing and kids accidentally discovering their parents' plans to wear Santa Claus outfits and much more. This particular piece from The Verge was written a year and a half ago, and astoundingly, the vast majority of its criticisms still apply today.

Here’s the thing: Apple can fix its cloud right now. 

cloud-pricing-plans-dropbox-google-microsoftLet’s start with the price. Apple is and will always be “high-end,” but 5 GB of iCloud storage on a mobile device is a pretty tame offering, to say the least. Google and Microsoft both offer 15 GB to start. 

If you want another 10 GB of space, Apple wants you to pay an extra $20 a year; for $8 less, Google will give you 10x the storage for the year. 

Apple should double the starting storage for users and reduce the penalty to pay for more iCloud storage. But more importantly, Apple needs to address the quirks of synchronization — sometimes you don't want to sync information to all your devices, and syncing becomes problematic when devices disconnect and reconnect to the internet after awhile (Handoff in iOS 8 will help with this).

But perhaps above all, iCloud needs to learn how to play nicer with other devices in general.

Obviously, being closed-off is a hallmark of Apple products, but Google and Amazon are dominating the cloud space right now, while Apple is missing out on a potential revenue stream since it could allow developers to rent server space or store or process data in those servers, but simply decides not to do that.

But even if Apple didn't open up its data centers, it could still teach iCloud to work better with non-Apple devices and be a true cloud — currently, it's more like a small playground for Apple stuff that's not as useful or practical as it could be.

As ReadWrite’s Jodi Mardesich points out, if you’re a developer and you want to offer your app on more than one App Store, iCloud is little more than “a backstop service they can integrate into apps — if they dare. It can provide cloud storage for apps — a place to stash saved games or documents, for instance, but [even] that can be problematic.”

Javier Soltero, cofounder and CEO of the email app Acompli, told ReadWrite “if you even have the slightest intention of creating a cross-platform tool, iCloud doesn’t make sense.”

So Apple can address the small kinks in the armor — the synching issues, the backend errors, and the bugs along the way — but the company should think bigger in terms of upgrading the platform as a whole. Now is a great time to reassess iCloud's usefulness, particularly with so much new Apple hardware right around the corner.

It's too closed-off and inconsistent right now — iOS 8 will be a big step in the right direction thanks to Handoff, which will hopefully fix some of the synching problems between Apple products, one of the most common complaints. But iCloud could be much more functional and easier to use, and a more reasonable storage option for developers and end users alike. Let's hope someone says "iCloud" more than once or twice on stage come Sept. 9

SEE ALSO: Why Apple Should Delay The iWatch To 2015 — Summed Up In One Word

SEE ALSO: Why Mobile Payments, Not A Bigger Screen, Will Be The Defining Feature Of The iPhone 6

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kate upton modelA hacker who says they are responsible for uncovering nude photos of more than 100 celebrities including Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton says the mobile hit job was plotted by multiple people and took months to pull off. 

Daily Mail's James Nye found the alleged hacker's comment on an anonIB thread early Monday. In the comment, the hacker thanked the community for its support. This person also said they were on the run, and that they'd be moving to a new location where they'd continue to post about the hacked photos and videos. The FBI has launched an investigation into the hacking and Apple has patched up a security flaw in iCloud that could have enabled the hacker(s) to access the celebrities' private photos. Apple has not officially commented on how the security breach happened but says it is "actively investigating" the situation and that it takes its users' privacy "very seriously."

"Guys, just to let you know I didn't do this by myself," the alleged lead hacker wrote. "There are several other people who were in on it and I needed to count on to make this happened. This is  the result of several months of long and hard work by all involved. We appreciate your donations and applaud your excitement. I will soon be moving to another location from which I will continue to post."

Here's the screengrab of the comment, from Daily Mail:

nude photo hacker celebrity threadHere are all of the ways the photos could have been hacked from iCloud.


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SEE ALSO: Nude Photos Of Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, Ariana Grande Leak In Massive Hack

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iphone-6-gold

Mobile payments is an idea that sounds much better than it is in practice. At least for right now.

Despite the efforts of PayPal, Square, and even Google Wallet, few people have actually replaced their wallets with their smartphones, which was the original idea behind mobile payments: Since most financial transactions are electronic these days (sorry cash), we should be able to make our wallets and our phones into one single product.

Apple’s alleged mobile payments system, which was actually patented years ago as the “iWallet,” describes how users could control their financial accounts and transactions on their phones, but also be able to pay for goods directly with those devices as well, thanks to a near-field communications (NFC) chip. 

iwallet

Services like Google Wallet use NFC, though barcodes and QR codes are still more popular among mobile payments users at the moment.

Compared to other services, Apple's mobile payments platform, made secure by its proven Touch ID fingerprint scanner, iPhone users could see their credit card profiles, messages from their banks, and even schedule payments directly from their phones. 

Apple already stores a great deal of financial data in iTunes, but by giving users control over their finances in a simple app, they can learn more about their spending habits, ore even set spending limits on their children's’ devices, which would disallow kids from charging millions of dollars worth of in-app purchases.

Apple must have found a great solution, because it’s finally convinced all of the major credit card companies to work together on the service, according to Re/code. 

iwatch conceptWhile the iPhone would reportedly anchor Apple’s forthcoming mobile payments service, the company’s unannounced wearable device is also expected to play a role in this service, since the wrist device will have tight integration with the iPhone. This could allow “iWatch” customers to leave their iPhones in their pockets as they pay with their wrists. 

It’s unclear if and how this service will become an extra revenue stream for Apple, but if people can actually — finally — substitute all of the items in their wallets with valid digital substitutes, it should give consumers one more reason to buy an Apple device this season.

People might be happier about having a bit more visual real estate to use their apps, but killing the credit/debit card once and for all with a simple and more efficient solution — if that's what actually happens on Sept. 9 — would be a much bigger deal.

SEE ALSO: There's Mounting Evidence That Apple's New iPhone Will Allow Us To Make Easy Mobile Payments

SEE ALSO: Why Apple Should Delay The iWatch To 2015 — Summed Up In One Word

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Apple is expected to introduce a new mobile payment service on Sept. 9, which is expected to be a standout feature in the new iPhone 6. But based on Nielsen data from July, which was charted for us by Statista, most people are using mobile payments by presenting a barcode or QR code on their smartphone, which is popular among ticketing agencies for transportation and sporting events.

While iPhones (and almost all other smartphones) are capable of presenting visible barcodes or QR codes, reports say Apple’s new mobile payments solution will leverage the company’s Touch ID security system, as well as a new near-field communication (NFC) chip, said to be exclusive to the next-generation iPhones, to pay for goods securely. According to Nielsen, 37% of mobile payment users have used NFC on their smartphones to pay for goods and services — but that could soon change if Apple finally includes NFC in one of its devices.

2014_09_01_Mobile_Payment

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After unanimous rave reviews, sold out performances and standing ovations in New York and across Australia, Spiegelworld will bring its all-new show EMPIRE to New Zealand this Summer. Read the rest of this entry »

iwatch todd hamilton gif

According to Re/code, Apple’s first wearable device will be shown off at the company’s Sept. 9 event, but it won’t be available to purchase until 2015.

There’s one very good reason for that, and it can be summed up in one word: Apps. 

When the iPhone first launched, many were skeptical of its high-end starting price of $500, particularly for an untested product with a measly 4 GB of storage space. Many are similarly skeptical of the iWatch's alleged $400 price tag.

apple_iphone_sales_trend 4e6fa4c introThat phone was a success anyway, but iPhone sales didn't really take off — or become the iPhone experience we’re all familiar with today — until the iPhone 3G, which was the first phone to ship with the iOS App Store.

The App Store, which first launched in an iTunes update in July 2008, answered the big unanswered question at the time: "What makes a smartphone so special?"

(We have yet to answer that question with smartwatches, but that's where apps come in.)

Third-party apps — software that allowed users to navigate their surroundings, order food, hail a cab, or read the news — made the iPhone into a monumental success. The iOS App Store inspired others like Google and Amazon to make their own stores, and the rest is history. 

Well, Apple is ready to launch another untested product — but like the iPhone and iPad, it will take time for developers to grasp and build apps specifically for the new screen and interface. 

Tim Cook Apple App Store

If Apple launched the iWatch in October, as earlier reports said it would, developers would only have about 30-50 days to reconfigure their apps for the iWatch or build new apps from scratch. That's not a lot of time, especially since Apple will reportedly introduce two new iPhone screen sizes this year, which ought to send developers scrambling to optimize those apps. 

By pushing the release of the iWatch to 2015, developers will have more time to build apps first for the new iPhones, and then for the iWatch, which is expected to be closely tied to the iPhone anyway. Of course, development for the iWatch will really open up once it's available to the public, so we might not see any boundary-pushing apps for some time. We’ll likely learn more about Apple's timetable for the wrist wearable on Sept. 9. 

Nobody has seen the device yet, which might be called "iWatch" or "iBand," but we have a pretty good idea of what it can do. Based on iOS 8, the company’s forthcoming software release for mobile devices, Apple’s rumored wearable will be able to talk to the company’s other gadgets — like iPhones, Mac computers and Apple TV — but also be able to control home electronics, and accurately measure your health for the sake of preventative care, among other features.

SEE ALSO: REPORT: The iWatch Might Cost $400

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Those hoping for a phablet-sized iPhone from Apple look to be in luck.

iPhone 6 Air Coque Grise 08

The 5.5-inch iPhone 6 (said to debut with a 4.7-inch model) was reportedly facing production issues, which might have forced Apple to release the handset at a later date. But the French publication Nowwhereelse (via BGR) just leaked a ton of new images (and even a video) of the rear shell of rumored device, suggesting mass production might be right around the corner.

iPhone 6 Air Coque Grise 02

As you can see from the images, which align with previous rumors and component leaks we’ve seen in the past, the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 features the same new antenna bands and cutouts we’ve seen for the smaller 4.7-inch iPhone, as well as the same placement for the new power button and elongated volume buttons.

iPhone 6 Air Coque Grise 09

The report also calls the device “iPhone Air,” a name that’s been rumored but largely ruled out by most tech news publications up to this point, considering a large iPhone would be presumably heavier and/or thicker than a 4.7-inch iPhone. It's been previously reported that both new iPhones will feature the same thickness.

iPhone 6 Air Coque Grise 03

Apple is expected to debut both iPhones at its Sept. 9 event, which will also reportedly introduce the company’s wearable device for the first time. That wearable product, however, will likely launch in early 2015, whereas the phones are expected to release in mid-September.

Check out the video of the alleged 5.5-inch iPhone below.

SEE ALSO: There's Mounting Evidence That Apple's New iPhone Will Allow Us To Make Easy Mobile Payments

SEE ALSO: REPORT: The iWatch Might Cost $400

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Tim Cook iPhone

In two weeks, Apple is expected to announce the new iPhone 6 and release its latest version of its mobile operating system, iOS 8.

And iPhone users are going to be blown away by a handful of apps that take full advantage of iOS 8's new features, says Matt Johnston, chief marketing officer at app testing company Applause (formerly uTest). Applause is a Massachusetts-based startup that does crowdsourced testing of mobile apps for companies like Google, Microsoft, HBO, and Runkeeper.

Johnston says a lot of developers, particularly ones that write custom apps for enterprises like banks, media companies or retailers, are not jumping in to use the new features in iOS 8 just yet.

"A lot of them are standing back with the new stuff, and saying let's hold off updating our apps for a month or a quarter," he told Business Insider. "But the people that forge ahead and use the new features and get it right, their apps are going to appear borderline magic to their users."

These new features will give iPhone/iPad users the ability to connect their apps together and with lots of devices: Mac computers and Apple TV, of course, but Johnston says iOS 8 will also introduce plenty of "Internet of Things" activities like making your phone talk seamlessly to your thermostat.

"There's an amazing opportunity for app developers to differentiate themselves. A year from now, We'll all be numb to it. We'll think, of course this new app talks to Apple TV," Johnston says.

Three New iOS 8 Features That Will Blow Us All Away

There are three new features supplying the app magic for most third-party apps, he says.

1.  App Extensions, which will allow apps to work with one another and with all sorts of "Internet of Things" devices, sharing data between apps. (Android apps already share data in this way.)

extensibility 6

2. Continuity, which will let your iPhone/iPad work seamlessly with your Mac letting you send data and files from apps from one device to another.

WWDC3.  "Kits" specifically HealthKit, PhotoKit, and HomeKit. 

HealthKit will connect iOS 8 to health devices and let them share data.

Healthkit

PhotoKit will let multiple apps work with photos and videos.

WWDC

HomeKit is the Internet of Things tool for controlling connected devices in a user’s home.

iOS 8 Homekit

When developers do use Apple's new kits, HealthKit and HomeKit are most popular, Johnston says.

Waiting For The New iPhone

One big reason more developers aren't yet taking advantage of the new features in iOS 8 is that Apple is expected to launch new screen sizes and a new iWatch.

App developers don't know how their apps will look or perform on these devices and want to wait to get their hands on one.

Thing is, they don't have to do that. Apple has given developers a tool called "adaptive layout," which will allow their app to work on any size iOS device, Johnston says.

But many don't want to use adaptive layout. "Some of them think they can create richer or more robust apps without this adaptive layout template getting in the way,” he says.

Old Apps Won't Crash

Matt Johnston, uTestProbably the best news with iOS 8 is that app developers are taking it seriously, from those that make consumer apps to those that write custom apps for companies like banks and retailers.

They have been updating, fixing, and testing their apps to make sure they won't crash if users install the new OS on their existing phones, he says.

When iOS 7 was released, Johnston sounded the alarm to Business Insider, saying too many developers were not doing enough to prevent these kinds of crashes on fledgling operating systems. He advised people to wait a few weeks before upgrading.

Not so this time.

"Companies are more proactive than they were with iOS 7. A lot of companies were rushing to us days before iOS 7, pulling their hair out. More of them are testing to make sure their existing app works with iOS 8 and will not break or crash or have issues," he says.

The upshot is: Johnston thinks people are going to love iOS 8, especially "in 3-6 months when more apps are taking advantage of Healthkit or Homekit or extensions, and apps are talking to one another. It enables amazing things," he says.

SEE ALSO: Here's Everything We Know About The iPhone 6

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