TIME Web

Facebook Has a Super Easy Way to Let You Celebrate Gay Pride

Expect to see a lot of rainbow filters this weekend

Not to be outdone by Google’s search results celebrating gay marriage, Facebook is helping its users convert their profile pictures into emblems of gay pride. The social network unveiled a new feature Friday that lets users quickly apply a rainbow-colored filter to their existing profile picture. The filter mimics the gay pride flag and arrives just two days before the annual pride parade in New York.

To see how your own profile picture looks with the new filter, visit facebook.com/celebratepride.

TIME cybersecurity

U.S. Intelligence Chief Points Finger at China for Data Hack

Director Of Nat'l Intelligence James Clapper Speaks At Council On Foreign Relations
Bryan Thomas—Getty Images Director of National Intelligence James Clapper speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations on March 2, 2015 in New York City.

Large data breach left millions of Social Security numbers exposed

The most senior U.S. intelligence official has openly implicated China in a large hack of U.S. government data.

James Clapper, the U.S. Director of National Intelligence, said Thursday that China was a “leading suspect” in a recent security breach that saw millions of personnel records of Americans stolen from government computers.

Previously, U.S. officials hadn’t named a suspect for the breach, which was disclosed in early June. Clapper mentioned China at an intelligence conference in Washington, D.C. “You have to kind of salute the Chinese for what they did,” he said, noting the difficulty of the attack.

Earlier this year Barack Obama signed an executive order that grants the Treasury greater ability to impose sanctions on countries who conduct cyberattacks against the U.S. China has denied involvement in the attack, which may have exposed as many as 18 million Social Security numbers.

[WSJ]

TIME Web

Here’s What Happens If You Google ‘Gay Marriage’ Today

You get a very special search result

Google is celebrating the Supreme Court’s Friday ruling legalizing gay marriage across the U.S. Type “gay marriage” into the search engine and you’ll see a string of cartoon couples holding hands across the top of the screen with rainbow colors that represent the gay pride flag.

Screen Shot 2015-06-26 at 10.53.13 AM 1

It’s no surprise that Google is supporting gay marriage. The company launched a “Legalize Love” campaign in 2012 to combat anti-gay laws and publicly opposed a 2011 California bill that would have banned gay marriage in the state. Other tech giants have also pledged strong support for gay rights. Apple CEO Tim Cook came out publicly as gay last October and has spoken out against religious-freedom laws in several states that could allow businesses to discriminate against same-sex couples.

TIME Fast Food

McDonald’s Sells Fewer Sodas With Happy Meals

General Images From Inside A McDonald's Restaurant
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images A Happy Meal is displayed for a photograph on a tray at a McDonald's Corp. restaurant in Little Falls, New Jersey, U.S., on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012.

The fast food giant made a pledge to curb kids' love of sugary drinks

McDonald’s is selling fewer sodas with its happy meals after removing the drinks from its kids menu.

The fast food chain agreed to remove sodas from the menu board and marketing material for its kids’ meals last July as part of a partnership with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.

Between July 2014 and May 2015, 48% of patrons got soda with their Happy Meals, compared to 56% during the same period a year earlier. McDonald’s has been pushing kids to select healthier drink options such as milk and juice instead.

The anti-soda initiative is part of a broader pledge by McDonald’s to help families lead healthy lifestyles. The company has said it will offer side salads, fruits or vegetables as an alternative to french fries in 20 major markets by 2020.

[Los Angeles Times]

TIME Apple

Apple’s New Software Has Hidden Clues About Its Next Product

The iMac is due for a big upgrade

Apple may be developing a 4K iMac and other interesting new products, according to references in the code of its latest operating system. The beta for OS X El Capitan mentions within its code support for a 4096 x 2304 resolution display, also known as 4K. 9to5Mac, which sniffed out the reference, speculates that the display could be rolled out for Apple’s 21.5-inch iMac later this year. Right now, Apple has a 5K display for its $2,000 27-inch Mac, but the smaller desktop computer hasn’t yet been given a super-high-resolution screen.

Other bits of code in El Capitan appear to indicate that Apple is working on a new Bluetooth remote control that includes a Multi-Touch trackpad and audio support. Earlier reports have mentioned that a revamped remote control with a touchpad is expected to be rolled out with a revamped version of Apple TV later this year.

TIME mergers

Charter Promises To Play by the Government’s Internet Rules

Charter Communications Buys Time Warner Cable In $79 Billion Deal
Yvonne Hemsey—Getty Images Charter Communications's office in Newtown, Connecticut is seen May 30, 2015.

If it's allowed to merge with Time Warner Cable

Charter is ready to go above and beyond the government’s requirements for maintaining a free and open Internet, as long as it gets to merge with Time Warner Cable. The cable and Internet giant submitted a statement to the Federal Communications Commission Thursday explaining why the proposed merger between the two companies, along with Bright House Networks, is in the public interest.

If the merger is approved, Charter said that it would not block or throttle certain types of Internet traffic or prioritize certain content in paid “fast lanes.” These are central tenets of net neutrality rules which the FCC recently reenacted, but Charter is agreeing to adhere to these standards even if the new regulations are later ruled illegal (it’s happened before).

Charter also said it would submit disputes over interconnection agreements to the FCC. Interconnection is how ISPs like Charter transfer traffic from content services such as Netflix into people’s homes. The agreements have come under increased public scrutiny over the last year due to drawn-out debates between Netflix and Internet companies like Comcast and Verizon.

Even with these promises, there’s no guarantee that the FCC will approve the merger, which would give Charter about 19 million broadband customers and 17 million TV customers. Comcast dropped a bid to acquire Time Warner Cable earlier this year after it became clear that the FCC was unlikely to approve the deal.

TIME Media

HBO Has The Most Profitable iPhone App

New Product Announcements At The Apple Inc. Spring Forward Event
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images Richard Plepler, chief executive officer of Home Box Office Inc. (HBO), speaks during the Apple Inc. Spring Forward event in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Monday, March 9, 2015.

New standalone service is attracting subscribers.

Two months after its launch, HBO’s new standalone streaming service seems to be bringing in a lot of money. HBO Now was the highest-grossing highest-grossing app globally on iOS in May, according to App Annie, a research firm that tracks app sales and downloads.

At $14.99 per month, HBO Now costs significantly more than the typical apps people download. Still, the new service managed to top other streaming platforms such as Spotify and Hulu, which cost between $8 and $13 per month in the App Store.

Right now, Apple devices are still the easiest way to access HBO Now without having it bundled with something else. Optimum sells the service with its Internet package, and Sling TV offers it with a bundle of other channels delivered online. Soon Google is planning to launch the service on Android devices and Chromecast.

TIME Wireless

T-Mobile Will Let You Upgrade Your Phone Whenever You Want

T-Mobile
Steve Sands John Legere CEO of T-Mobile announces the company's new plans on March 18, 2015 in New York City.

New plan grants customers three upgrades a year with no additional cost

T-Mobile has been wreaking havoc on the wireless industry for two years with disruptive customer deals that upset the tradition of binding two-year contracts. Now the company has another new initiative that its larger competitors may be forced to respond to.

On Thursday, T-Mobile announced Jump! On Demand, a new initiative that will let users upgrade their smartphones up to three times a year without having to pay any additional fees. Customers can get their first phone on the plan for $0 down, then pay a monthly fee toward the purchase of the new phone. When ready for a new phone, a customer can trade in their current device for another one at no cost.

Rates for the monthly payment plan vary, but an initial promotion will let customers get an iPhone 6 with a payment plan of $15 per month when they trade in their old smartphone. These phone payment rates are in addition to the cost of the wireless plan.

There is some fine print. T-Mobile has an older Jump! plan that charges a $10 per month fee but includes perks such as phone insurance. This new plan has no fee, but no insurance. The payment plan also is part of an 18-month lease, and after a year and a half, customers must either upgrade to a new phone or pay the balance on their current phone to purchase the device outright.

Still, for people who are constantly eager to upgrade, the offering is an affordable way to always have the latest and greatest device. It’s also more flexible than offerings by T-Mobile’s competitors aimed at frequent upgraders.

Jump! Unlimited kicks off on June 28 at participating physical T-Mobile stores.

TIME Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift’s ‘1989’ Will Be Available on Apple Music

Less than a week after calling Apple out, Swift says she'll bring latest album to streaming service

Less than a week after calling Apple out for not wanting to pay artists during the launch of Apple Music, Taylor Swift is now saying she’ll make her latest album available on the streaming service.

The pop star announced via a tweet that 1989, her smash hit album that was the best-selling LP of 2014, will be available on Apple Music. Swift’s back catalogue is available on some on-demand streaming services but 1989 has never been available to stream before.

The announcement is a big coup for Apple, which is entering a crowded market of subscription streaming services. On Sunday Swift penned a widely shared blog post criticizing the company for its plan to not pay artists during a three-month free trial period of Apple Music. The tech giant reversed course in a matter of hours and is now planning to pay artists a small amount for streams that occur during the free trial.

Swift has spoken out in the past against the idea of offering up artists’ music for free. She removed her entire catalogue from Spotify around the time of 1989‘s release in the fall because she doesn’t approve of the service’s free, ad-supported tier.

In her tweets, Swift also seemed to address the claim made by some observers that her entire spat with Apple might be a marketing ploy to promote herself and Apple Music. “In case you’re wondering if this is some exclusive deal like you’ve seen Apple do with other artists, it’s not,” she said. “This is simply the first time it’s felt right in my gut to stream my album. Thank you, Apple, for your change of heart.”

TIME Gadgets

How Google Wants to Make Work Meetings Wildly Better

Chromebox
Google Chromebox

Updated Chromebox product handles large meeting rooms

Google is expanding its footprint in the world of office meetings.

Last year, the company unveiled a package of teleconferencing devices that included a Chromebox computer, a webcam and a speakerphone for $999. This week, the company announced an expanded version of its “Chromebox for meetings” offering that includes a pan-tilt-zoom camera, two speakerphones and dual screen support. The onboard Chrome software is also getting an upgrade, with the ability for participants to share their screens in a full-screen mode during teleconference.

The new package, which is aimed at accommodating especially large meeting rooms, will cost $1,999. Google also throws in a free first year of its $250-per-year support fee for the devices.

Google rival Microsoft is also taking a stab at improving work meetings with its 84-inch Surface Hub device.

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