Google Photos wants money: Stricter storage limitations kick in next week

Google Photos would like some of your money.

The service is turning six years old and will kick off its quest for monetization next week, when Google will start getting more restrictive about photo storage limits. The goal is to push users over the 15GB free limit that comes with every Google account so they’ll buy more storage via the “Google One” program.

Google Photos launched with two photo storage tiers: uncompressed “Original” quality, which counted toward your storage usage, and compressed “High Quality” photos, which did not count toward the limit. Starting on June 1, all newly uploaded photos—even the compressed ones—will count toward the storage limit. Images uploaded before that date that didn’t count toward the limit still won’t count. But with automatic upload, it’s only a matter of time before shutterbugs fill up their online storage.

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New USB-C Type 2.1 standard offers up to 240 W power delivery

Yesterday, Benson Leung—Google engineer and intrepid USB-C cable tester—dropped the news on Twitter that a new USB-C cable specification has been released. The new spec allows for considerably heftier charging rates between compliant USB-PD devices.

Although Leung points out that the new specification has been under development for two years, very little has changed. Comparing the USB-C 2.0 standard to today’s 2.1 standard, the optional new Extended Power Range (EPR) specification—which bumps maximum voltage up to 48 V, sufficient to deliver 240 W at 5 A—seems to be by far the largest change.

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Google’s long-awaited Fuchsia OS is starting to quietly roll out on its first consumer device, the first-generation Nest Hub, 9to5Google reports. Google’s work on Fuchsia OS first emerged in 2016, and the open-source operating system is notable for not being based on a Linux kernel, instead using a microkernel called Zircon. “You don’t ship a new operating system every day, but today is that day,” tweeted a Google technical lead on the Fuchsia OS project, Petr Hosek.

While the rollout on the Nest Hub (which originally released as the Google Home Hub before being renamed) begins today, the whole release process will take several months. It’ll come to users in the Preview Program first, before slowly releasing more broadly. We’ve known for a while that the operating system has been tested on the Nest Hub, and earlier this month more evidence for a release emerged thanks to a Bluetooth SIG listing that showed the Nest Hub running Fuchsia 1.0.

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Windows Phone failed, but its design stood the test of time

In 2012, the smartphone market was exploding with some insane competition. Mobile operating systems were desperately trying to catch up to Apple and the iPhone. During this time, platforms like WebOS and Blackberry were still in the game. But they were on their way out, as they struggled to create an ecosystem of apps as Android and iOS had done. However, not everyone had given up to Google and Apple just yet, as Microsoft pushed its new Windows Phone platform on a large assortment of new smartphones.

Windows Phone shared more similarities with iOS and Android than BlackBerry did, in the sense that it focused more on the on-screen keyboard and a better app marketplace. Microsoft also benefited from having many different hardware manufacturers creating high-end devices that ran the Windows Phone OS. The vast variety of phone options, with top-of-the-line specs, put Windows Phone right up there with Android and iPhone, even if only for a very brief period.

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Graphical Linux apps are coming to Windows Subsystem for Linux

This week, Microsoft launched support for graphical and audio Linux apps under the Windows Subsystem for Linux—although the new feature is only available in the Dev channel of Insider builds, for now. The new feature is nicknamed WSLg, and it includes both X and PulseAudio servers. We gave WSLg some limited testing today, and it performed rather well.

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Meet Thistle, the startup that wants to secure billions of IoT devices

For more than two decades, Window Snyder has built security into products at some of the biggest companies in the world. Now, she’s unveiling her own company that aims to bake security into billions of connected devices made by other companies.

San Francisco-based Thistle Technologies said on Thursday that it received $2.5 million in seed funding from True Ventures. The startup is creating tools that will help manufacturers build security into connected devices from the ground up.

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Pay for your NBN internet with Bitcoin: Aussie RSP Launtel joins growing list of companies now accepting $BTC as payment

Tasmanian Retail Service Provider (RSP) Launtel has joined a growing list of companies that accept Bitcoin as payment for their services. Recently we brought you news that you can now buy a Tesla with Bitcoin, which was quickly followed by news you could buy a gaming PC with Bitcoin from Dream PC Australia (among other cryptocurrencies) and now we can pay our NBN internet bill with Bitcoin.

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Samsung starts official smartphone upcycling program

Samsung on Wednesday kicked off something genuinely innovative in the smartphone market: an official consumer upcycling program. Samsung’s “Galaxy Upcycling at Home” initiative was announced at CES 2021, and today it enters a “beta” release. The program allows users to transform old phones into smart home devices that work through Samsung’s SmartThings app, which has two new modes: a sound sensor and a light sensor.

Samsung says the sound sensor mode will “accurately distinguish sounds in everyday surroundings, and users can choose to save certain sound recordings. For example, if the device detects sounds such as a baby crying, dog barking, cat meowing, or a knock, it will send an alert directly to the user’s smartphone, and the user can listen to the recorded sound.” Samsung says the mode is meant to act as a baby monitor or pet care solution.

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Brace yourselves. Facebook has a new mega-leak on its hands

Still smarting from last month’s dump of phone numbers belonging to 500 million Facebook users, the social media giant has a new privacy crisis to contend with: a tool that, on a massive scale, links Facebook accounts with their associated email addresses, even when users choose settings to keep them from being public.

A video circulating on Tuesday showed a researcher demonstrating a tool named Facebook Email Search v1.0, which he said could link Facebook accounts to as many as 5 million email addresses per day. The researcher—who said he went public after Facebook said it didn’t think the weakness he found was “important” enough to be fixed—fed the tool a list of 65,000 email addresses and watched what happened next.

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