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This is Firefox’s new QuantumBar Address Bar design

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Firefox 68 will be the first stable version of the web browser that features the rewrite of Firefox’s address bar. The new component, called QuantumBar — matching Mozilla’s use of the Quantum name since the release of Firefox 57 Quantum — replaces the Awesome Bar in Firefox 68.

The core difference between both address bar implementations lies under the hood. Awesome Bar uses classic Firefox components such as XUL and XBL that are purged from the browser, the QuantumBar web technologies.

Firefox users should not see much of a difference when they are updated to Firefox 68; Mozilla wanted the new implementation to look and feel like the old in the first release.

Mozilla plans to activate the QuantumBar in Firefox 68 and to introduce updates to the address bar in future versions of the web browser.

A new design mockup reveals information about planned changes and experiments.

firefox new quantumbar address bar

Mozilla plans to introduce changes to the QuantumBar implementation after the release of Firefox 68. The changes won’t be massive in scale but they may improve functionality or change the layout or design of the address bar somewhat.

One of the first changes that Firefox users may notice once the changes land is that the address bar gets a bit bigger when it is selected or when a new tab page is opened. It is a visual indicator that the bar is selected.

The list of suggestions and on-off searches displayed when users start to type in the address bar won’t fill the entire browser window width anymore. The suggestions use the same width as the address bar once the change lands.

Firefox continues to highlight the user typed text in the list of suggestions. Mozilla plans to change that for search suggestions however. Search suggestions will have the suggested part highlighted instead to make. Whether that might lead to some confusion as to what gets highlighted when users type in the address bar remains to be seen.

Another useful change is that Firefox “remembers” the current state of input. Current versions of Firefox forget what you have typed if you click outside of the area or switch tabs accidentally. The new implementation displays the last state automatically so that you may continue right away.

The on-off search icons come with descriptive text that explains that the searches are for a single search only and won’t change the default search provider in the Firefox browser.

Mozilla plans to run a number of experiments next to these changes that might make their way into the final version of the browser eventually. The following experiments are considered currently:

  • Display the Top 8 sites from Activity Stream on address bar activation — Firefox displays the top 8 visited sites taken from Activity Stream when the address bar is selected.
  • Replace one-off searches with Search shortcuts — Instead of running searches when search icons are selected, Firefox would simply open the search engine.
  • Single SAP — Removes in-content search from Activity Stream and Private Browsing (removes the search bar on New Tab page and other pages)
  • Search Tips — Provide contextual information to help users understand QuantumBar functionality.
  • Search Interventions — Intercept Firefox specific-searches to “surface buried functionality”.

Firefox 68 is scheduled for a July 9, 2019 release.

Source: https://www.ghacks.net/2019/06/27/this-is-firefoxs-new-quantumbar-address-bar/

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Instagram to require birth dates in move to block under-13 users

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Instagram said Wednesday it would require new users to verify they are at least 13 when they join the visually focused, Facebook-owned social network.

The move aims to help Instagram comply with a US law and its own policies that require any user to be at least 13.

“Asking for this information will help prevent underage people from joining Instagram, help us keep young people safer and enable more age-appropriate experiences overall,” an Instagram blog said.

The company said the age information would not be visible to others but would help in creating “age-appropriate and safer experiences” on the social network with more than a billion users.

It was not immediately clear how Instagram would protect against young people providing false information, which has been a persistent issue for social media.

The announcement came a day after a TechCrunch article which noted that Instagram did not follow the example of most of its social media peers in checking the ages of users, which could put the network in violation of the Child Online Privacy Protection Act.

The article noted that Facebook and Instagram both employed moderators who may lock the accounts of any users they suspect are under 13.

Source:
https://punchng.com/instagram-to-require-birth-dates-in-move-to-block-under-13-users/

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Facebook tests tool that allows users to export photos to Google

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Facebook today announced a new tool that would allow users to transfer their photos and videos from Facebook to other storage services, starting with Google Photos.

This tool would be similar to the one we already have that allows us to download our Facebook information. While I’m sure many users already have their photos backed up to Google’s repositories, those who don’t might find this easy to use when it eventually rolls out to everyone. At the moment, the tool is in testing, with the company taking feedback from its users.

The tool itself would be nifty enough, but it’s part of a larger endgame that involves Facebook, Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Twitter. All of these companies are part of the Data Transfer Project, an open-source project aimed at (as the name implies) making it so that “all individuals across the web could easily move their data between online service providers whenever they want.” So that means that Facebook‘s tool could potentially work with, say, Microsoft’s OneDrive or Apple’s iCloud.

Steve Satterfield, Facebook‘s Director of Privacy and Public Policy, says of potential privacy concerns: “We’ve kept privacy and security as top priorities, so all data transferred will be encrypted and people will be asked to enter their password before a transfer is initiated.” He also links to a Facebook white paper where the company ruminates on the conundrums in “data portability” — a paper that acknowledges photos are one of the easiest use cases: “It seems clear that people should be able to transfer data such as the photos they upload to a service.”

This tool isn’t being offered in a vacuum. Facebook‘s currently the subject of scrutiny from antitrust regulators worried about its anti-competition tendencies. Actually, that might be underselling it. The FTC launched an investigation into Facebook in July for just this reason, as did the Department of Justice in September. Satterfield obliquely refers to this — or at least this among Facebook multitude of other problems — when he says “We’ve learned from our conversations with policymakers, regulators, academics, advocates and others that real-world use cases and tools will help drive policy discussions forward.”

Most likely this effort from the Data Transfer Project is born in response to the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Article 20 of the GDPR states:

The data subject shall have the right to receive the personal data concerning him or her, which he or she has provided to a controller, in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format and have the right to transmit those data to another controller without hindrance from the controller to which the personal data have been provided… [and] the data subject shall have the right to have the personal data transmitted directly from one controller to another, where technically feasible.

Facebook is currently testing the Photo Transfer tool in Ireland. It plans to make it available worldwide in the first half of 2020.

Source:
https://thenextweb.com/facebook/2019/12/02/facebook-tool-google-photos/

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WhatsApp Spotted Working on Self-Destructing ‘Delete Message’ Feature in Latest Android Beta

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WhatsApp has released a new Android beta update, and this version is said to show the company restarting work on a previously reported feature. This feature, earlier called Disappearing Messages, allowed users to delete their messages automatically after a stipulated period of time. This feature has now been renamed to Delete Messages in the latest beta, and it has been implemented in the Dark Mode as well, which is also under development. The Delete Messages feature is also under development, therefore you won’t be able to see it even after you update to the latest beta version.

The latest Android beta from WhatsApp carries the version number 2.19.348. The update can be installed via Google Play beta programme, or can alternatively be side loaded using an APK from APK Mirror. In this beta update, the Disappearing Messages feature reportedly sees its name change to Delete Messages. The feature is available in Contact Info or Group Settings and can be enabled by administrators only. As mentioned, this feature is still under development, so users won’t be able to see it even after updating to the latest beta.

The WhatsApp Delete Messages feature brings the ability to choose how long new messages will last, before they are deleted. Options include one hour, one day, one week, one month, and one year. These options could change when the feature rolls out in the stable version. Furthermore, this Delete Messages feature has also been implemented in Dark Mode as well. To recall, Dark Mode is also under development, and the latest feature was first spotted by WhatsApp features tracker WABetaInfo.

As is the norm with all features spotting, there is no word on when this feature will be enabled for beta users, or when it will roll out in the stable version.

Source:
https://gadgets.ndtv.com/apps/news/whatsapp-android-beta-disappearing-delete-messages-spotted-under-development-dark-mode-2138777

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