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Google decides to block resource-heavy ads that secretly drains your device battery and network data – Digital Information World



Google announced that it will start blocking resource-heavy ads from its Chrome browser starting from late August 2020.

According to Marshall Vale, Product Manager, Chrome, they have recently found out that some of the heavy ads are responsible to put a lot of strain on the users’ battery or their home network data, without them ever knowing about it until it is too late and the damage has already been done!

Most of these ads mine cryptocurrency are improperly programmed, thus resulted as increased usage on the network. This is the reason why they can put so much strain on the battery life, draining it to no bounds. On the other hand, or maybe simultaneously, they strain already heavily saturated networks, which the user only gets to know about once they receive huge bills from the network provider companies!

There is a criterion by which Google’s Chrome will block ads. If an ad uses the thresholds of 4MB of network data, 15 seconds of CPU usage in any 30 seconds, or 60 seconds of total CPU usage, it will be blocked right away.

As per Google, only 0.3% of ads surpass these thresholds, and they account for up to 27% of network data used by ads and up to 28% of all ad CPU usage.

When Chrome will block such ads, it will show an error page in the place or frame where these ads were supposed to be shown.

In Chrome 80 that was rolled out by Google recently, there is an option of Heavy Ad Intervention. This feature basically unloads those ads that use heavy resources like CPU, battery, GPU, memory, and bandwidth.

This feature can be Enabled by opening a new tab and pasting “chrome://flags/#enable-heavy-ad-intervention” in the address bar.

By retaining this feature and further amplifying the notion of blocking such ads in the Chrome browser, Google has made an effort to show to its users that it cares for them. These ads have always been a hassle in one way or the other, and it is nice to know that finally there is a hope to get them blocked.

Google has been doing a lot of other things to make its users happy too of lately. Some tweaks here, some minor changes there. Recently it has been playing around with Chrome’s Dark Mode, and favicons, while dealing with corrupt Chrome extensions or releasing Vital Tool to let the users check the vitality of their Chrome browser. And many more!

It seems that every week, there is one good news after another from Google, and it is quite relieving especially in such crucial times of the coronavirus pandemic when the entire world is already going through so much.

These efforts by Google are commendable and much appreciated.

Read next: Google Chrome Is Working On Media Feeds Feature That Will Allow Websites To Suggest Videos In The Browser

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Three finalists chosen in Canadian Electric vehicle design competition – MobileSyrup



The Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association (AMPA) in Canada has decided on three finalist designs for its zero-emissions vehicle competition.

The designs come from teams at the Wilson School of Design in B.C, Humber College in Toronto and Carleton University in Ottawa, according to a report from Automotive News Canada.

The AMPA launched this competition in January as a way to showcase how Canadian automotive manufacturing talent could build an electric vehicle from start to finish in Canada. The car is a concept that aims to showcase the power of the Canadian automotive sector and will be named Project Arrow. While a bit of a long shot, I reached out to the AMPA to find out if the name has anything to do with the cancelled Avro Arrow Canadian fighter plane project from the late 50s.

The three finalists have been chosen out of a pool of nine applicants by a panel of Canadian judges who have worked, or are working, in the Canadian automotive space. You can find out more about the judges on the AMPA’s blog. 

The designs are as follows:

The Sea to Sky Electric’s E-Nova

Submitted by Marie-Peir Alary and Bailey van Rikxooort from the Wilson School of Design in Richmond, British Columbia, this design appears to be more in the shape of a large SUV with giant wheels and wide windshield, based on the drawing in the report. The name and its offroad looks lead me to believe it’s named after the popular Sea to Sky hiking trails in B.C.

The Archer

From Stephen Byowy, a Humber College student in Toronto. This design seems to be the most practical in terms of it looking like a modern-day SUV.

The Traction

Sent in by Kaj Hallgrimsson, Jun0Won Kim, Mina Morcos and Matthew Schultz from Carleton University in Ottawa, this drawing seems to be the most unique, with all the seats facing the center so people can face each other while the car presumably drives itself.

What’s next?

The second phase of the competition is ‘Engineering Specifications’ and its set to conclude in the Fall. There isn’t much on what teams will need to do, but they are tasked with creating supplier RFP report to request any odd or custom parts they might need for their vehicles.

Then in 2021, we’re expected to see a virtual unveiling of the cars and finally, in 2022, the concept car will release and people will be able to tour it.

Image credit: Automotive News Canada

Source: Automotive News Canada, AMPA, Project Arrow

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Rumor: Alleged 2021 5.5-inch iPhone prototype shows notchless screen and USB-C port – 9to5Mac



A new mock-up of the 5.5-inch 2021 iPhone has been shared by Macotakara today that suggests a notchless screen and USB-C instead of a Lightning port (or nor port at all) could be in the works. The prototype also shows what could be a different camera setup compared to what we’re expecting on the iPhone 12 later this year.

At the end of last year, we learned that Ming-Chi Kuo expects the highest-end 2021 iPhone to be a fully wireless device, ditching the Lightning port and also skipping the USB-C port. However, today’s alleged 5.5-inch 2021 iPhone prototype shared by Macotakara suggests that the entry-level model could make the switch to USB-C along with a notchless screen.

This 2021 iPhone mock-up was made based on data from Alibaba, so it’s worth taking this rumor with grain of salt.

A 5.5-inch 2021 iPhone likely means it would be the entry model based on what we’re expecting for the 2020 iPhone lineup, with the more affordable iPhone 12 models coming in 5.4- and 6.1-inch sizes and the iPhone 12 Pro landing with 6.1- and 6.7-inch displays. Macotakara does mention that this is just one prototype that Apple is considering so naturally, there’s no guarantee this design and features will make it to market.

Macotakara says the case dimensions of this prototype are the same as the 5.4-inch 2020 iPhone but with a slightly larger screen at 5.5-inches. However, one interesting part of this prototype would be the entry-level 2021 iPhone gaining what could be a 3 or 4 camera setup. One major way Apple has differentiated its iPhone lineup is with camera hardware and features, like the 11 Pro having an additional lens over the iPhone 11.

Apple has been working toward a making iPhone with a “single slab of glass” design for many years. The iPhone X display design is still seen today in the iPhone 11 lineup (expected in the iPhone 12 series too) so removing the notch totally that houses the Face ID components and TrueDepth camera would be a big step forward in the screen to body ratio and Apple evolving the iPhone display’s design.

The iPhone 12 lineup may feature slightly smaller notches but if this prototype does turn out to ring true, the entire 2021 iPhone lineup would likely go notchless if the 5.5-inch entry-level model did.

The Macotakara video below suggests that Apple could launch its first under-screen front-facing camera with the 2021 iPhone lineup to make this potential notchless design happen.

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Google Faces Privacy Lawsuit Over Tracking Users in Incognito Mode – Threatpost



A $5 billion class-action lawsuit filed in a California federal court alleges that Google’s Chrome incognito mode collects browser data without people’s knowledge or consent.

Google faces a $5 billion class-action lawsuit over claims that it has been collecting people’s browsing information without their knowledge even when using the incognito browsing mode that’s meant to keep their online activities private.

The lawsuit, filed in the federal court in San Jose, California, alleges that Google compiles user data through Google Analytics, Google Ad Manager and other applications and website plug-ins, including smartphone apps, regardless of whether users click on Google-supported ads, according to a report in Reuters.

Google uses this data to learn about private browsing habits of Chrome users, ranging from seemingly innocuous data that can be used for ad-targeting—such as information about hobbies, interests and favorite foods—to the “most intimate and potentially embarrassing things” that people may search for online, according to the complaint.

Google “cannot continue to engage in the covert and unauthorized data collection from virtually every American with a computer or phone,” the complaint said, according to the report.

The technology problem at the root of the report is a feature called incognito mode in the Chrome browser, which ironically is one that is supposed to protect people when surfing the internet. Chrome users can turn on incognito mode to protect their browsing history, sessions and cookies from websites that want to use this information for marketing or ad-targeting purposes.

Google Chrome incognito modeHowever, the feature has long had a problem in that even when using their mode, people’s activity has still been detectable by websites “for years” due to a FileSystem API implementation, Google Chrome developer Paul Irish tweeted last year.

Though Google said it implemented the FileSystem API in a different way in Chrome 76, released last year, the problem persists even in the latest version of Chrome 83, which was released last month, according to a report filed Thursday in ZDNet.

It is still possible to detect incognito mode in Chrome–as well as other Chromium-based browsers, such as Edge, Opera, Vivaldi, and Brave, which share the core of Chrome’s codebase, according to the report, which said Google still has not set a timeframe to fix the issue.

Developers even have taken the Chrome codebase scripts to expand the ability of websites to block incognito mode users from browsing, expanding it to other browsers that don’t use the same code base, including Firefox and Safari, the report said.

Ironically, the problem that’s put Google in legal hot water is nearly the same as the one the company accused browser rival Apple of having earlier this year in its Safari browser.

In January, Google researchers said they identified a number of security flaws in Safari’s private-browsing feature—called Intelligent Tracking Protection–that allow people’s browsing behavior to be tracked by third parties. Apple responded by saying it had already fixed the flaws in an update to Webkit technology in Safari.

Search-engine rival Duck Duck Go used news of the class-action suit as an opportunity to laud its own technology, which it offers as an alternative to Google search as a way to allow people to search and use the web privately.

“Incognito mode isn’t private. It never was.” the company said on Twitter. “DuckDuckGo is private. Will always be.”

Longtime Google critic, author, psychologist and researcher for the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology Dr. Robert Epstein also took to Twitter to reiterate his longstanding public opinion over Google’s privacy violations.

#Google #Surveillance & Advertising just got sued for $5 BILLION for lying about its bogus ‘incognito’ mode on its Chrome browser,” he tweeted. “As I’ve always said, you’re STILL being tracked when you’re in that mode.”

The current case against the technology giant is Brown et al v Google LLC et al, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 20-03664. The New York-based law firm Boies Schiller & Flexner is representing the plaintiffs in the class-action suit, Chasom Brown, Maria Nguyen and William Byatt.

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