With its 'Nearby Friends' feature, the social media giant enters an already crowded and somewhat contentious space occupied by the likes of Foursquare and Tinder.

By Jon Gorey Fri 9:06 AM

ByNearby Friends Reed Albergotti, The Wall Street Journal


Facebook (FB) users will soon be able to receive notices on their mobile app when they're near friends, signaling an effort by the online social network to play a bigger role in real-world interactions.


The Wall St. Journal on MSN MoneyUsers will have to opt in separately to the feature, called "Nearby Friends," and agree to give Facebook permission to track them at all times, even when not logged into Facebook.


Some privacy advocates expressed concerns about the implications for users of opting into the service. Chris Conley, a policy attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, said Facebook should keep users "regularly aware" of everyone with whom they're sharing location. Jeffrey Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, called on the Federal Trade Commission to review the product.

 

Dubbed 'Project Ara,' the phone would have interchangeable parts, such as cameras or lighters, that could be slotted into a metal frame and held in place by magnets.

By MSN Money Partner Wed 2:49 PM

The Wall Street Journal on MSN MoneyGoogle's Project Ara © Mark Serr/Globe NewswireBy Alistair Barr, The Wall Street Journal


Google (GOOG) is planning a "modular" smartphone that consumers can configure with different features, executives said on Tuesday.


Google envisions hardware modules, such as a camera or blood-sugar monitor, that would be available in an "app store," like its own Google Play store for software applications.


The modules would fit into a metal "endoskeleton" designed for the phone, which Google calls Project Ara. Flat rectangular "modules" can be slotted into this frame, where they will be held in place by magnets, designers said.

 

With Google Glass on sale to the general public today, it's time to have a serious and overdue discussion about technology and privacy.

By MSN Money Partner Tue 10:27 AM

Associated Press Technology Writer Barbara Ortutay wears Google Glass in New York, Friday, Feb. 21, 2014. © AP Photo/Seth WenigFortune on MSN MoneyBy Christian Madsbjerg, Fortune


Google (GOOG) opens up its Explorer Program Tuesday, offering the general public an opportunity to purchase Glass for $1,500.


Although spots are limited, the expansion of the Glass club has created tremendous excitement across tech blogs and Silicon Valley -- finally, the tools are readily available to record our complete existence, every moment of our lives on Earth, every face we encounter.


And what about the people on the other side of the camera? As they have no legal or political mechanism for opting out of Glass, they can either jump on the bandwagon or stay home: Our entire lives are now fair game for recording and sharing.


Lest we fret too much about the prospect of full disclosure, Facebook (FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg reminds us that privacy is no longer a "social norm." It's so last century, right?

 

The widespread security flaw, discovered this week, leaves much of the Internet at risk of exploitation. Here's how it works and what you can do to protect yourself.

By MSN Money Partner Apr 10, 2014 10:27AM

File picture illustration of the word 'password' pictured on a computer screen between lines of binary code © PAWEL KOPCZYNSKI/Newscom/ReutersBFortune on MSN Moneyy David Nield, Fortune


Late Monday afternoon, the details of one of the most serious security problems to ever affect the modern Web were posted online. Dubbed Heartbleed, the vulnerability has major companies scrambling this week to patch their systems and could have been exploited to harvest data from millions of users.


The bug has been in the wild for more than two years, and leaves no trace of suspicious activity. Some estimates suggest that two-thirds of the Web has been at risk since 2011.


Heartbleed affects OpenSSL, one of the key technologies used to encrypt data online. It allows attackers to retrieve sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details from servers running the software. While OpenSSL is not used by the likes of Google (GOOG), Microsoft (MSFT) and Apple (AAPL), it's a popular choice for countless companies large and small.

 

By creating an independent, peer-to-peer 'mesh' network among devices, users could wrest the Web free from the hubs of giant corporations.

By MSN Money Partner Apr 7, 2014 11:34AM

Apple store employee uses an iPhone 5Fortune on MSN MoneyBy Ryan Bradley, Fortune


A few weeks ago, a messaging app called FireChat launched. It looks, at first, like just about any other messaging app in an already very crowded market, but FireChat is sneakily subversive and quite possibly the most important thing to happen to the Internet since international network hubs began to form in 1995.


(This is the moment when you ask: "Wait . . . what? Why?")


FireChat uses a criminally underexploited feature in iOS 7 called the Multipeer Connectivity Framework. This sounds fancy and complicated, but all it means is that one Apple (AAPL) device (an iPhone, an iPad, even an iPod Touch) can connect to another without using the Internet.


That last part is the most important and worth repeating: The device need not have a traditional network connection -- 3G, wireless, whatever -- but is instead creating its own network with another device. Two smart, connected machines, communicating via their own wireless signals, or Bluetooth, to talk to one another: This is what's called a peer-to-peer connection. It's also how Apple's Airdrop feature works.

 

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