TIME deals

How Apple Is Changing the International Data Roaming Game

apple-ipad-displayed
Dominic Lipinski—PA Wire/AP

Instantly connect to a local data network in more than 90 countries and territories

Data roaming was once one of the great pain points of traveling. Slowly, but surely, it is easing up—and perhaps going away all together. A short history, for the uninitiated: first, the EU proposed legislature to end roaming on the European continent by 2017 (a bill that was just approved today). Then T-Mobile made it free to roam in 120-plus countries (sluggish network speeds be damned). A third development was the perhaps quietest—Apple launched a technology called Apple SIM poised to instantly connect travelers with local data networks the second they touched ground in an international country. The only catch? They didn’t have any significant telecom partners available when the technology deployed, so the development flew largely under the radar.

Until today, that is. This morning, Apple and GigSky have announced a partnership that includes the ability to instantly connect to a local data network in more than 90 countries and territories upon touchdown—no need to visit a kiosk, talk to a service agent, or really, do anything at all. Instead, iPads with AppleSIM cards will automatically offer the option to sign up for a data plans as soon as a local network is in reach. (The GigSky network includes most of Western Europe, from France and Germany to the Netherlands; Australia; South Africa; parts of the Middle East; and beyond.)

Because travelers are accessing onto local networks, rather that roaming from their domestic carrier, prices are impressively affordable as long as you’re traveling on the beaten path. Entry-level data plans begin at just $10, covering anywhere between 10MB (in Papua New Guinea) to 75 MB (in Italy); in countries with better access, the premium plans top out at 3GB for $50. By comparison, AT&T’s best deal currently charges $30 for 120 MB or $120 for 800 MB. And unlike with most major telecom companies, travelers won’t need to worry about overage or monthly recurring charges—GigSky’s plans are inherently short-term.

For now, the technology is limited to iPad—AppleSIM has been coming pre-installed on iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 models with WiFi + Cellular capability (and have been since that model debuted last year). They’re also available at Apple stores for a mere $5 if one isn’t already in your device. Not sure whether you have one already? Simply pop out the SIM card and see if there’s an Apple logo on it.

Now there’s only one caveat that remains: at this point, Apple could confirm no plans to bring the technology to iPhone. But perhaps a year from now, we’ll have another surprise to report on that front.

This article originally appeared on Travel + Leisure

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TIME Security

This Website May Have Just Solved Passwords Forever

Now you can sign into Medium with your e-mail

Blogging site Medium has launched a password-free login system that uses only e-mail.

The e-mail login option provides an alternative to Medium’s previous login routes, which included only Facebook and Twitter, according to the site’s announcement. The change arrived after many users said they either did not have social media accounts or preferred not to use them. Other users lived in regions where Facebook and Twitter are blocked.

According to Medium, the feature works similarly to the familiar “forgot password” function. Users simply enter their e-mail addresses on the site, which sends them an e-mail with a link to login within 15 minutes.

Still, the e-mail login feature can’t detect whether a user’s e-mail has been compromised, so if someone has access to the e-mail account, they’ll be able to login.

TIME Internet

How To Keep Your Kids Safe Online This Summer

Kids Online Safety
Mike Kemp—Getty Images/Blend Images RM Children using a tablet.

School's out for summer — meaning there's lots of time for web surfing

For kids, summertime is a brief window of freedom they yearn for all school year long. Parents, meanwhile, look at it a little differently. Sure, pool parties, camping trips and sleepovers are full of laughter and fun, but they also provide parents with lots to worry about.

But that’s just offline — the Internet, where parents have even less of a view into their children’s activity, can be a troublesome hotspot in the warm school-less months. These five tips can help keep your children safe online in the summertime, even though they really ought to be outside playing anyway.

1. Have a conversation about using the Internet. This might seem like a no-brainer to some, but in today’s busy world, parents should be careful not to leave anything unsaid. Specifically, be sure to cover what kind of information kids shouldn’t share online, like their real names, where they live, or other identifying information.

“We try to get parents to start these conversations and lessons early,” says Ju’Riese Colon, the executive director of external affairs for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. For parents who don’t know where to begin these conversations, the center has a program called NetSmartz that’s designed to help kids ages five to 18 stay safe online, whether that’s on a smartphone, in a chat room, or while gaming.

2. Figure out what your kids’ devices can do. Almost everyone knows smartphones can take photos and videos, and computers can do, well, almost anything, but parents are often surprised what other devices can do.

“If you’re going to put it in your children’s hands, get to know it a little bit, get to know its abilities, whether it’s a gaming device, a cellphone, something that streams music, or an e-book reader,” says Colon. For instance, parents who aren’t very tech-savvy may not know that Kindles can surf the web, or that Xbox One gaming consoles support Skype video chatting.

In fact, gaming consoles have progressed a long way from the Nintendos of our youth. “Almost every game allows you to interact with others,” says Colon. This is problematic because it’s providing a new forum for people to reach children. Colon doesn’t necessarily think parents should ban their kids from online multiplayer games, but she does recommend making sure the online conversations in those games — whether they involve voice or text chats — stick to the topic at hand. So, if you’re on a co-operative mission, strategize around how to capture that flag. If the talk extents beyond that into real-world information, children should say “game over.”

3. Follow your kids online. Gaining independence is part of growing up, which is why parents have such a difficult time with their kids hanging out unsupervised with friends. But just as you wouldn’t send your children outside without knowing where they are, you shouldn’t send them out into the virtual world unmonitored either, says Colon. For instance, parents should create accounts on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social networks their kids want to use, and supervise their activity on those forums.

But before doing that, check to see if your children — at their particular ages — should even be on these sites. For instance, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube require that users be at least 13 years old. WhatsApp requires its users to be 16; Vine allows users who are 17 and older.

4. Know who your kids are connecting with. In addition to joining the same social networks as your child, it’s a smart plan to friend their friends, too. While some might find this to be the kind of thing a helicopter parent would do, it’s really just responsible parenting to know what your kids talk about on- or off-line. Of course boys will be boys and girls will be girls, but it’s important that they learn among peers, not amidst strangers.

That’s why it’s important to follow the accounts that follow your child. To begin with, if they are strangers or people posting inappropriate content, you can see what your child sees and tell him or her to block them. Or, if they are your kids’ friends, you can have talks about whether what they’re posting online is appropriate and about what’s happening in their world in general.

5. Set some limits. Everything is great in moderation — especially the Internet. But that doesn’t just mean parents should limit the time their kids spend on the web. Parents should also communicate where children can and cannot visit.

It’s impossible to keep track of every app or site that’s appealing to teens or kids, says Colon, so she recommends getting some help. One place to start is with your Internet Service Provider — they may have parental tools and filters designed to keep some of the more prurient online content out of your home. Secondly, look to the device your child is using to access the web. Linking app stores to your credit card (and not giving the password or card number to your little one) will ensure they need your permission before they can install new apps. The Parental Controls preference on Macs and Windows computers can also keep children on the straight and narrow, as well.

Parents reading this who feel like there’s a lack of quick tricks and shortcuts to keeping their kids safe online may be overlooking the common thread throughout these five tips: communication. The biggest key to keeping your children safe online isn’t walling off the Internet or crippling their computers (though a little bit of that can help), it’s helping them understand how big the world is, and which places within it are safe to roam.

“They’re inquisitive — that’s what children are, and that’s what makes them so wonderful,” says Colon. “But at the same time, we need to guide them in the direction in which they need to go.” And that’s never more true than in the summertime — even if the best place for them is outside.

TIME Web

Yelp Study Says Google Is Cheating in Search

Study finds Google is promoting its own content

New research claims that Google is gaming its search results in its own favor to the detriment of competitors.

Google has “increasingly developed and promoted its own content as an alternative to results from other websites,” according to the report co-authored by Michael Luca, a Harvard Business School economist, Tim Wu and the Yelp Data Science team.

And yes, Yelp, which lists reviews of businesses, is a competitor that has cried foul over Google search results in the past. Perhaps more to the point, Tim Wu is a former advisor to the Federal Trade Commission, which settled a suit with Google in 2013. In January 2013, Wu defended the FTC’s decision to settle, writing that Google won search results because it was a better search engine, not because of its wealth and influence in Silicon Valley and Washington D.C. power corridors, according to Re/Code.

Wu, has changed his mind about that, citing changes in how Google search works.

He told Re/Code:

“The main surprising and shocking realization is that Google is not presenting its best product. In fact, it’s presenting a version of the product that’s degraded and intentionally worse for consumers … “This is the closest I’ve seen Google come to [being] the Microsoft case.”

Those are very strong words. In 2001, a federal judge ruled that Microsoft acted in anti-competitive ways by parlaying its monopoly power in Windows into other areas of computing, namely web browsers. This judgement was thrown out on appeal, in part because the judge talked to the media while still hearing the case.

This research comes at a touchy time for Google which faces an antitrust investigation by the European Union.

Fortune reached out to Google for comment and will update this story as needed.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

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 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 Web

Google Will Remove Revenge Porn From Search Results

Google
Virginia Mayo—AP Google

People can request to have links to private photos removed by Google

Google will begin removing revenge porn from its search results at the request of victims, the search giant announced in a blog post Friday.

People posting private, explicit photos of their ex-partners (typically women) on the Internet for all to see has become a growing problem. In the coming weeks, Google will introduce a form that victims of revenge porn can use to request that links to those images don’t show up in user searches.

“Our philosophy has always been that Search should reflect the whole web,” senior vice president for search Amit Singhal wrote in the blog post. “But revenge porn images are intensely personal and emotionally damaging, and serve only to degrade the victims—predominantly women.”

Google stressed that the policy will be “narrow and limited.” The company removes sensitive information from its search results in a few other instances, such as when a result links to a person’s bank account number or signature. And in Europe, Google now has to remove more subjective negative information about citizens thanks to a court ruling that enshrined a “right to be forgotten” online.

TIME apps

Now You Can Use Skype Right in a Web Browser

The video chat service said hundreds of millions wanted it

The Microsoft-owned Skype announced Friday that Skype for Web, which puts the popular video chat service in a web browser, is now available in beta mode to users in the United States and United Kingdom.

“Now, anyone going to Skype.com (or web.skype.com) in the U.S. and U.K. can sign in and connect to Skype for Web to get to their conversations in an instant without downloading the Skype app,” according to a company blog post.

Skype says the new feature is especially helpful for those who sign-in on Skype from a mobile phone, but also want to access calls and instant messages easily. It could also be helpful for people using computers at an Internet cafe or hotel without Skype downloaded, the company says.

“Skype for Web is an important step for Skype as we move towards implementing the technology to make Real-Time Communications (RTC) on the web a reality,” the company continued. “But just as importantly, we’re doing it because the hundreds of millions of people that visit Skype.com every month told us they want to call and IM when they visit our website.”

The service is expected to be rolled out around the world in the next few weeks, according to Skype.

Earlier in June, users found a bug that could crash Skype – and it was only eight characters long.

TIME Web

Microsoft Leaks Plan for Worldwide Wi-Fi Network

NYC To Turn Some Of Its 12,000 Phone Booths Into Free Wifi Spots
John Moore—Getty Images A free Wi-Fi hotspot beams broadband internet from atop a public phone booth on July 11, 2012 in Manhattan, New York City.

The network would reportedly include 10 million hotspots in 130 countries

Microsoft is preparing to launch a worldwide Wi-Fi service that will reportedly give subscribers access to millions of hotspots.

Details of the plan temporarily went live on a Microsoft webpage Tuesday, which VentureBeat captured in a screenshot before the page was wiped clean.

“We are evaluating a new service, called Microsoft Wi-Fi that will bring hassle-free Wi-Fi to millions,” a Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement to Time while declining to elaborate on any further details from the leaked webpage.

Those details describe a network of 10 million hotspots in 130 countries that lets subscribers circumvent the fussy login routines they’ve come to love and hate at airports, cafes and other public places.

“Don’t waste time filling forms with personal information or managing different carriers to get connected,” the web posting read. “Sign in once and you are done.”

The service appears to mimic Microsoft’s existing offering of Skype WiFi, a network of more than 2 million hotspots. But this latest version appears to involve a much bigger network of participating Wi-Fi providers.

VentureBeat reports that the service will be available to existing Office 365 enterprise customers and subscribers to Microsoft’s Work and Play Bundle, which costs $149 annually. The Microsoft Wi-Fi webpage included download links for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Windows Phone.

 

TIME Internet

Google’s Nuttiest Project Is Making Big Progress

Google Internet Balloon
Jon Shenk—AP Google has been testing balloons which sail into the stratosphere and beam Internet down to Earth.

Project Loon is getting a lot more sophisticated

Project Loon, Google’s ambitious plan to deliver Internet access to remote places via balloons, is becoming more than just a moonshot. At its annual I/O developers conference, the company told Bloomberg that it has had two key breakthroughs with Loon recently that could help it scale to achieve its goal.

Initially launching a single balloon required a dozen employees. Now Google has built a 50-ft.-(15-m)-tall, cube-shaped contraption called the Autolauncher, which can send balloons airborne every 15 minutes with the aid of just four people.

Secondly, Google has increased the range the balloons can travel and still carry an Internet connection. The company has developed technology to transfer Internet signals from balloon to balloon, which will allow the balloons to travel up to 497 miles (800 km) away from a ground station that’s connected to the Internet. Previously the balloons could only travel 50 miles (80 km) from a ground station and maintain an Internet signal. With the new innovation, Google will be able to cover the entire region of West Africa using only about eight ground stations.

Though Loon is still in an experimental phase, the advancements mean it may reach commercial deployment sometime in 2016.

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