Google is killing a weird group messaging app less than one year after it launched (GOOG, GOOGL)

Remember Google Spaces?

The group messaging app was launched by Google only 10 months ago, promising a new way for groups of friends to have chats around particular topics.

The app stitched together a slew of Google services such as YouTube, Search, and Chrome, allowing users to easily share video and other information about a topic — say, a new movie — without having to jump between apps, cutting and pasting relevant links and so forth. 

But Spaces will be no more. Google announced on Friday that Spaces will be shut down on April 17. And on March 3, Spaces will become “read only,” meaning you won’t be able to use the app for anything other than glancing at your old conversations with friends. 

Google Spaces

“Our goal with Spaces was to create a better small-group sharing experience, and we’ll use what we’ve learned to improve other Google products and services. Thanks again for your support,” Google said on the Spaces support page

Spaces got off to a bumpy start when it was launched in May 2016, with many users expressing confusion as to how the app fit in with Google’s already crowded portfolio of messaging apps, such as Google Hangouts and YouTube messaging. Since then, Google has introduced yet another messaging app called Allo.

For Spaces though, it’s now time to say Goodbye.

SEE ALSO: I spent 48 hours with Nintendo’s new game console, the Switch — here’s what it’s like

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Microsoft Office 2010
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71% off Cambridge SoundWorks OontZ Angle 3 PLUS Wireless Bluetooth Speaker – Deal Alert

Designed and Engineered by Cambridge SoundWorks to deliver richer fuller bass; the PLUS delivers surprising bass from such a small speaker, excellent bass performance across each type of music genre.  The PLUS battery technology and power saving design allows this speaker to play up to 30 hours from a full charge with volume set up to 2/3 of maximum playing volume.  IPX5 water resistance makes the unit splashproof, rainproof, dustproof, and sandproof.  Check out the dramatically discounted OontZ Angle 3 PLUS from Cambridge Soundworks now on Amazon.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here
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SoFi confirms $500 million in new funding as it pushes beyond lending

unicorn-money Online finance startup SoFi got its start refinancing student loans but gradually has been adding other services to members. To expand into new regions and move closer to becoming a full-service financial services company, SoFi has confirmed that it raised an additional $500 million in equity financing led by Silver Lake. Read More

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Uber says it is not behind mysterious efforts to dig up 'intimate' info about the ex-engineer who accused it of sexism


travis kalanickUber said it is not involved in efforts to collect personal, and potentially unflattering, information about Susan Fowler, the former engineer that published a tell-all blog post about sexism at the company.
On Friday, Fowler tweeted that someone was doing research for a “smear campaign” against her, warning her friends to beware of anyone seeking personal information about her. 
Many people on Twitter immediately suspected Uber as the source of the research into Fowler, due to the company’s ongoing investigation into her claims of sexual harassment in the workplace. Fowler later clarified that she didn’t know who was behind it the efforts to obtain information about her private life.

Uber told Business Insider on Friday that it was not involved:

“Uber is in no way involved. This behavior is wrong,” an Uber spokesperson told Business Insider.

The claims of sexual harassment at Uber are the latest in a string of negative publicity that the $69 billion ride-hailing company has suffered this week, along with a lawsuit by Google alleging that the technology used in Uber self-driving cars were stolen. Uber has called the lawsuit “baseless.”

SEE ALSO: Uber CEO launches ‘urgent investigation’ and sends company-wide memo after former engineer alleges sexual harassment

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There's more than $10 billion in demand for Snap's hot IPO

Evan Spiegel

There is more than $10 billion of demand for Snap’s hot IPO so far, according to people familiar with the situation who declined to be named because the information is private.

Snap’s public offering is the biggest tech IPO in recent memory. 

The company is seeking to raise as much as $3.2 billion and pricing shares at $14 to $16. That would value it between $19.5 billion and $22 billion. 

Given the $10 billion in demand, Snap’s IPO is three times covered, or oversubscribed, in Wall Street parlance. 

Snap kicked off its roadshow last week and has given meetings to hundreds of investors in London, Boston and New York this week. The company is planning to hold meetings in Los Angeles and San Francisco early next week, according to a schedule obtained by Business Insider.

The banks leading the deal, led by Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and JPMorgan, are still accepting orders, and will close the order book on Tuesday. They’re expected to allocate a hefty chunk of the available shares to a handful of institutional investors.  

It is not yet clear if Snap will decide to increase the price of the shares above the top of the initial range, or decide to sell more shares. 

Snap did not return calls seeking comment. 

SEE ALSO: WALL STREET SPEAKS: The case for and against investing in Snap’s massive IPO

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One of the founders of Apple tells us a great story about Steve Jobs' personality

On April 1, 1976, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and a third person, Ronald Wayne founded the Apple Computer Company. After just 12 days, Wayne decided that the company could open him up to too much liability, so he sold his 10% stake in Apple and had his his name taken off the paperwork.

Ronald Wayne explains how Steve Jobs’ relentless personality helped him build a multi-billion dollar empire.

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Riptide GP: Renegade is available now on Windows 10 and Xbox One

Riptide GP: Renegade

We’re especially excited to bring this game to Xbox One. Back in 2010 we released our studio’s very first game, Hydro Thunder Hurricane, as an Xbox 360 Summer of Arcade exclusive, and in many ways Renegade is the culmination of work that started way back then.

Being a console racer, the game features single-player modes, ghost racing (Challenge Mode), online multiplayer with up to 8 players, and — one of the most popular features from the Hydro Thunder series — local split-screen multiplayer. In fact, the Xbox One supports up to 6 players for split-screen racing and the Windows 10 version supports up to four players in split screen!

Oh yeah, and did I mention it’s one of the very first 3rd party Xbox Play Anywhere titles? That means shared Gamerscore and Achievements, save game progress, and cross play across Xbox One and Windows 10 — all for the price of a single game.

In many ways Riptide GP: Renegade is a hybrid of our favorite elements of Riptide GP and Hydro Thunder, and the culmination of 8 years of game engine development and racing game experience. We’re very excited to be bringing this franchise back to Xbox, where it all began for us and we hope to see you online on Xbox Live for some arcade racing throwdowns!

Head over to Xbox Wire to read more!

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Announcing Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 15042 for PC and Build 15043 for Mobile

Hello Windows Insiders!

Today we are excited to be releasing Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 15042 for PC and Build 15043 for Mobile to Windows Insiders in the Fast ring. We have discovered a bug that impacts our ability to release this build to PCs running 32-bit (x86) versions of Windows 10 Insider Preview builds. Because the majority of Insiders in the Fast ring have PCs running 64-bit (x64) – we decided to go ahead and release this build with 32-bit PCs blocked until our next flight. UPDATE: PCs running 32-bit (x86) versions of Windows 10 Insider Preview builds should be able to receive this build just fine! We fixed the bug. Also – please read the known issues below.

What’s new in Build 15042

New Cortana animation in OOBE (PC): We know how much you love animations, so we wanted to share with you our updated Cortana persona that you’ll see when you land on the Cortana page in OOBE:

Prompt to enable Flash in Microsoft Edge (PC): Back in Build 15002, we introduced click-to-run Flash by default in Microsoft Edge, for better security and performance across the Web. In today’s build, we’ve added a new dialog in the URL bar to make it clearer when Flash content has been blocked. Just click the puzzle icon to allow Flash once or every time you return to the same site.

Improved reading experience with Microsoft Edge: You loved the new Edge reading experience and gave us a TON of feedback. Here are some we implemented:

  • When reading a locally saved EPUB book in Microsoft Edge on PC, a book icon will now be used in the place of the previous generic in the tab bar.

  • If you switch pages while an EPUB book is being read aloud in Microsoft Edge, the reader will now jump to that new location in the book.
  • If you’ve changed the read aloud settings when reading an EPUB in Microsoft Edge, those settings will now be preserved for subsequently opened books.

Other changes, improvements, and fixes for PC

  • You should no longer see “Initializing…” when attempting to download new builds.
  • The download progress indicator shown when downloading new builds under Settings > Update & security > Windows Update should be working as expected and it should no longer appear you are getting stuck at 0% or at other percentages.
  • We fixed the issue causing the Settings app to crash when navigating to Settings > Devices and you should be able to pair a Bluetooth device without any issue. The Bluetooth quick action from Action Center should also now work again. This issue may also have resulted in generally decreased reliability in the quick action section of the Action Center.
  • You should be able to launch the Connect UX via Action Center, Win + K, or Settings again.
  • We fixed an issue where under Settings > Update & security > Windows Update Insiders might see the text “Some Settings are managed by your organization” even though the PC wasn’t being managed by an organization.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in the Action Center sometimes appearing blank and transparent without color.
  • We fixed an issue where upgrading with an Xbox controller paired over Bluetooth could result in touch input not working and unexpected beeps when using the mouse.
  • We fixed an issue where items displayed in the autocomplete dropdown when filling form fields in Microsoft Edge would not insert when clicked.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in images unexpectedly being missing from certain PDFs when viewed in Microsoft Edge.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in web notifications not launching the associated website in Microsoft Edge after being clicked.
  • We fixed an issue from recent flights resulting in some downloads from Microsoft Edge unexpectedly getting stuck in the “Waiting to download” state.
  • We fixed an issue where the preview thumbnails for certain websites appeared blank as they were taken before the webpage ran its JavaScript / Ajax to fully draw its layout.
  • We fixed an issue where the calculator button on the keyboard wouldn’t work if Microsoft Edge was in focus.
  • We also fixed an issue where Win + Shift + left/right arrow wouldn’t work on Microsoft Edge after selecting text on the open website.
  • We fixed an issue where pressing Alt + C with text selected in Microsoft Edge didn’t open the Cortana pane on recent flights.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in Microsoft Edge not being able to open the file:// protocol with the AdBlock Plus extension enabled.
  • We fixed an issue where in Microsoft Edge, if you were already on a website associated with an app, clicking a link on that website to go somewhere else on the website’s domain would unexpectedly launch the associated app.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in not being able to insert words into certain text fields in Microsoft Edge when using the handwriting panel to enter text.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in the password placeholder text being unexpectedly shifted down in certain password text fields in Microsoft Edge.
  • The new Share icon is now visible in Microsoft Edge and the Windows Ink Workspace Sketchpad and Screen Sketch.
  • We fixed an issue we certain devices on recent builds where resuming from hibernation could result in a bug check.
  • We fixed an issue where sometimes a single notification toast might not pop up, only to be unexpectedly found duplicated in the Action Center.
  • We broadened our recent fix for an issue that had some PCs with older graphics chipsets seeing white or colored boxes in the place of text and some UI elements in UWP apps to cover more hardware.
  • If you right-click an app suggestion in Share, you’ll now find a context menu option to turn them off.
  • We fixed an issue where ink would go under the Windows Ink protractor when inking with the highlighter.
  • We fixed an issue where the first ink stroke into the Windows Ink Workspace Sketchpad wouldn’t enable the clear all button.
  • We fixed an issue where the sample ink stroke seen in the Windows Ink pen, pencil and highlighter flyout would appear to blink when the flyout was first opened.
  • We fixed an issue that could result in the new XAML scrollbar animation (as seen in Settings) becoming stuck in the transition state.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in “Microsoft Camera Front” and “Microsoft Camera Rear” unexpectedly showing up, with barcode scanner icons, as optional devices to connect to in Devices Settings on Surface Books.
  • We fixed an issue where explorer.exe might crash the first time an ISO file is double-clicked.
  • We fixed an issue from the last flight where if the gateway host name was of the form [ipv6address]::port, Remote Desktop couldn’t connect to the gateway.
  • We fixed an issue where the bug check screen on high resolution displays wasn’t rendering the “Frowny” part of the frowny face.
  • We fixed an issue where night light might not turn on/off automatically if the device was asleep at the time at which the night light state was scheduled to change.
  • The night light on/off animation’s duration has been increased to 2 minutes – appreciate everyone who’s shared feedback for this feature, keep it coming!
  • Microsoft Edge’s “Inspect Element” and “View Source” options should launch correctly to the DOM Explorer and Debugger, respectively.

Other changes, improvements, and fixes for Mobile

  • We fixed the issue causing the Settings app to crash when navigating to Settings > Devices and you should be able to pair a Bluetooth device without any issue. The Bluetooth quick action from Action Center should also now work again. This issue could have also resulted in decreased Flashlight quick action reliability.
  • Using Continuum to connect to a display wirelessly should also work as expected.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in screen rotation sometimes unexpectedly not working on the last Insider flight.
  • We fixed an issue where live tiles were not updating some apps such as Outlook Mail and Calendar.
  • We fixed an issue where under Settings > Update & security > Phone update Insiders might see the text “Some Settings are managed by your organization” even though the phone wasn’t being managed by an organization.
  • We fixed an issue from recent flights where you couldn’t paste or drag a folder from the PC to your phone
  • We fixed an issue where tapping the link for a website with an associated app would crash Microsoft Edge and not open the associated app.
  • We fixed an issue where downloads from Microsoft Edge directly to an SD card might unexpectedly use space on the local phone storage as well.
  • We fixed an issue where the keyboard might dismiss after a second when opening a new tab in Microsoft Edge and quickly starting to type.
  • We’ve fixed an issue that could result in your personal typing dictionary being unexpectedly deleted and having to train the keyboard from scratch.
  • We fixed an issue where, during the download of a phone update, after disconnecting then reconnecting to Wi-Fi due to low reception you might get an error saying the download needs a better connection to continue, despite currently being connected to a good Wi-Fi connection.
  • We’ve improved the video playback experience when using Continuum for phone wirelessly over Miracast.
  • The icon for Windows Insider Program under Settings > Update & security should be no longer a square.

Known issues for PC

  • A small percentage of PCs may fail to update to this build due to a corrupt registry key. If your PC appears to be at the spinning dots black screen during boot for an unusual amount of time while updating to this build, hard reboot your PC and then run the following commands in an admin Command Prompt:

    reg delete HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINEsystemsetupupgradensimigrationroot /f
     
    netsh int ipv6 set locality state=disabled
     
    reg delete HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlNsi{eb004a01-9b1a-11d4-9123-0050047759bc}28 /f

    For more information on this issue, see this forum post.

  • While we fixed the primary bug causing this issue, some Windows Insiders may still hit nonstop exceptions in the Spectrum.exe service causing their PC to lose audio, disk I/O usage to become very high, and apps like Microsoft Edge to become unresponsive when doing certain actions such as opening Settings. As a workaround to get out of this state, STOP the Spectrum.exe service and delete C:ProgramDataMicrosoftSpectrumPersistedSpatialAnchors and reboot. For more details, see this forum post.
  • [GAMING] Some popular games might minimize to the taskbar when launched. You can click on the game on the taskbar to get the game back.
  • [GAMING] Certain hardware configurations may cause the broadcast live review window in the Game bar to flash Green while you are Broadcasting. This does not affect the quality of your broadcast and is only visible to the Broadcaster.
  • Microsoft Edge F12 tools may intermittently crash, hang, and fail to accept inputs.
  • The icon for Windows Insider Program under Settings > Update & security is shown as a square.
  • Windows Hello face authentication might not work, showing a “Camera couldn’t turn on” error on the lock screen, on some Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book devices

Known issues for Mobile

  • Speech packs will be unable to download on this build.
  • Adding a new card / paying with an existing card will not work in Microsoft Wallet.

Community Updates

We spent last week at Ignite Australia for the Windows Insiders Program for Business announcement. For more details, please see Bill Karagounis’ blog on it.

We’re so happy to see such interest from all of you around wanting to run Insider builds in your enterprises and to connect deeper with other communities of IT Pros. You’ll be hearing a LOT more from us in the next few months about how we want to co-create solutions with you to help you do your jobs better, easier and faster. Sign up here if you want to learn more today!

ALSO: I highly recommend reading Anita’s blog post about the recent Bug Bash we did and how awesome it was!

Keep hustling team,
Dona <3

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Behind-the-scenes of the Windows 10 Creators Update Bug Bash

Hi! My name is Anita George, and I am the leader of the two Bug Bashes for the Windows 10 Creators Update (the one in November 2016 and the one we just finished up in Feb). For this most recent Bug Bash, Windows Insiders completed approximately 108,900 Quests and submitted or upvoted an astounding 115,100 feedback items! Thank you so much to everyone that took the time to Bug Bash with us. The level of participation was just incredible! So what goes into running a Bug Bash? I’d like to take some time to explain the behind-the-scenes work that happens to make a Bug Bash successful.

I can’t take full credit for running the Bug Bashes. There is a team of people from across the Windows and Devices Group (WDG) that help with prepping and running an event of this magnitude. We call them the “Bug Bash Crew”. These people are responsible for external Bug Bash prep like driving Quest creation, setting up webcasts, monitoring data, designing the Bug Bash badge, and sending out surveys. We have representatives from some of the key areas in WDG like Shell, Apps, Surface, Xbox, IoT, HoloLens, Windows Insider Program, Localization, and Feedback Hub. Below is a picture of our Bug Bash Crew with some familiar names for those of you that participated in one of our Beam webcasts.

Bug Bash Crew

Bug Bash Crew + twitter handles: (left to right) Anthony Kinsey (@AKinseyMSFT), Aman Benes (@Aman_msft), Jen Gentleman (@JenMsft), Kyle Hagel, Aiko Diamond, Josh Moore, Sunitha Gowda, Anita George (@anitag_MS), Jason Howard (@NorthFaceHiker), Srini Malladi (@srinivm_MSFT), and Reid Szafraniec (@ReidMSFT).

We also do a lot of work to help our internal WDG employees to get involved in Bug Bashes and this participation spans across 27 buildings on Microsoft campus and one building in Vancouver, BC. We provide an internal wiki (website) with key information about the Bug Bash and show regular daily updates on how the Bug Bash is progressing through a reporting dashboard.

Internal employees across the different teams in WDG work to create and review Quests while members of the Bug Bash Crew are responsible for publishing these Quests at the right time and for the correct builds and devices. The Quests do not get authored by the BugBash Crew. When you are running through a Quest, you are performing steps that an engineer from that specific feature team has written down in the hopes that someone will exercise his/her feature. We have some Quests that we want to make available on certain days, like after the second Bug Bash build goes out. We group Quests based on some themes like “apps”, “devices”, and “quality” so that participants can focus on similar functionality for that day. Many feature teams want their Quests to show up on the first day of the Bug Bash, but we found doing this in small, themed groupings is more consumable than getting 232 Quests all on one day, for example.

Our Microsoft employee participants also need to know where internally to install the latest builds which can be complex since we have engineers running in different rings (like Canary and Selfhost) and some will run local builds of Windows with preliminary code that hasn’t made it into a flighted build. Over the course of the last two Bug Bashes, we have shifted our focus to the Feedback Hub and now all Microsoft employees participating in the Bug Bash internally enter their issues into Feedback Hub just like Windows Insiders. During the Bug Bash and after it ends, we triage the items in Feedback Hub as well as the bugs that get moved into Visual Studio. We try to complete this triaging within 2-3 weeks after the end of the Bug Bash.

Every Bug Bash, we host an internal Microsoft event to generate new and interesting bugs. For the Bug Bash in November, we set up a Device Room which contained about 10 Surface Studios, a bunch of IoT devices, and new performance Surface Books. Employees could stop by during the 4-hour event to try running Quests on this unique hardware. For the February Bug Bash, we tried something much different inspired by all the work we’ve done in emerging economies in Africa and other parts of the world. We set up a limited connectivity network in one of our campus buildings to simulate what many people in the world experience when trying to use technology over the internet. We called it Nigeria Day, hosted by Dona Sarkar, and we had good African food and music as people tried running Quests with low connectivity.

Nigeria Day

Participants in Nigeria Day: (left to right) Tommy Lasebikan, Fernando Sanchez Gonzalez, Jeremiah Marble, Bambo Sofola, Wale Martins, Dona Sarkar, Shina Oyetosho, Ayuba Audu.

One key area we focus on during the Bug Bash is collecting data to determine if the Bug Bash is progressing as expected. In the past, this was time-consuming as we pulled data from multiple places with multiple data-science experts looking at it and validating it. Between the November and February Bug Bashes, we had a small team of engineers work on creating a Power BI dashboard that would show progress on Quests completed, feedback items entered, bugs triaged, and whether teams and individuals inside of WDG were participating more than others. We did this to form a healthy competition between the 78 Windows Engineering Directors and their teams. Overall, this was a huge time savings for the Bug Bash Crew and was used heavily by the engineering teams. We also monitor the progress of our Windows Insider activity during the Bug Bash with this dashboard. Do you know that the most completed Quest was the one for our new Night light feature? And the Apps and Games category received the most feedback items from Insiders? Outside of the United States, Germany was the most active country to provide feedback, followed closely by India in second place. Way to go, Germany and India! We are looking to see what parts of this dashboard we can provide externally to Insiders for the Bug Bashes in the future. Wouldn’t that be fun?

If you have feedback on the February 2017 Windows 10 Bug Bash, let us know through Feedback Hub. I hope this information gives you some insight into what we do inside of WDG Engineering to provide you with an optimal Bug Bash experience.

Thank you everyone for participating. We couldn’t have done it without you!

Anita George.

#winbugbash #neverstopquesting

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Android device updates: Sprint, T-Mobile Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge make the leap to Nougat

At long last, Nougat is coming to Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge phones—at least, those from Sprint and AT&T. Nougat is also rolling out to T-Mobile’s LG Stylo 2. Meanwhile, Google may have identified an annoying bug that was vexing some Pixel owners. Each week, we round up all the major software updates to hit the Android ecosystem, including phones and tablets on U.S. carriers, unlocked phones, smartwatches, and Android TV devices. Make sure your device is running the latest available software so you can enjoy new features—and fewer bugs and security holes.T-Mobile Galaxy S7: T-Mobile’s update page notes that you’ll need your phone’s battery to be at 50 percent or higher to get the fresh Nougat update. It includes all the great features you’ve been waiting for, so check for an update if you haven’t received a push notification yet.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here
http://www.cio.com/article/3173702/android/android-device-updates-sprint-t-mobile-galaxy-s7-and-s7-edge-make-the-leap-to-nougat.html#tk.rss_consumerelectronics

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Computer Systems Cloud Specialist