The most popular stories on BetaNews this past week: June 29 — July 5

July calendarSomething of a quieter week this week — perhaps because of Independence Day and preparations there for. Still, there was plenty of news to keep us busy, including the NSA releasing a transparency report — for what it’s worth. Facebook found itself in the firing line after it transpired that the social network had been conducting psychological experiments by meddling with users’ newsfeeds. Security is an on-going concern in technology, but it’s something we have tendency to think about only in relation to computers and smartphones. One of the latest targets for malware and attacks is the power grid, and it’s hard to tell what sort of havoc could be wreaked.

Microsoft tried to do its bit for security — arguably in a misguided fashion — by taking control of dynamic DNS service No-IP, and accidentally taking out a number of legitimate sites in addition to those malware-related ones — the intended targets. In more positive Microsoft news, enhancements were made to Office 365’s collaboration options. Windows Phone is still struggling in the smartphone market, but Microsoft will be hoping that this month’s launch of Windows Phone 8.1 will help to improve things — will the addition of folder support be enough? Looking further into the future, Joe pondered what Microsoft should do with Nokia. He also decided to give Windows another chance, helped along by his new Surface Pro 3.

Maybe Joe’s renewed interest can do something to reverse Windows 8.x’s decreasing popularity. Perhaps a rebrand is in order; it looks like dropping the Surface name might be on the cards, so why not extend the idea to Windows? Looking to other sales, Samsung’s Galaxy S5 is doing “quite well” — and there’s now an S5 mini on the way. But the news is not so good when it comes to wearables — the Woz has ditched his Samsung smartwatch.

We asked whether Google Glass will ever gain mainstream popularity — almost half of you said you had no interest in wearable tech, and smartglasses in general got the thumbs up from just 13 percent of you. There are lots of companies vying for attention in the smartwatch market, but Samsung has made it clear that it doesn’t care about an Apple smartwatch. Despite rumors to the contrary, Google has said it has no plans to kill the Nexus line, but next on the company’s list of launches is Android TV. Plex users will be pleased to hear that the streaming media service will be available on Android TV right from the launch.

Have a restful, fun-filled weekend, and we’ll continue to pump news and other delights in your direction.


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