Today’s topics include the EU’s antitrust charges against Google regarding the Android mobile operating system, research that suggests shortened URLs may be less secure, Microsoft’s announcement that it will be offering free cloud training programs for IT professionals and the addition of a group-calling feature to the Facebook Messenger app for iOS and Android.
European Union officials on Wednesday slapped Google with new anti-competition charges related to its Android operating system, broadening the company’s legal battles on the Continent.
In a Statement of Objections, the European Commission formally charged Google with breaching European Union antitrust rules by using its market dominance to impose unfair restrictions on Android handset makers and mobile network operators.
Google Wednesday denied that it had breached EU rules and described its business practices surrounding Android as enabling competition while giving consumers more choice and control.
Shortened URLs are convenient for sharing long Web addresses in email messages and through social media but at the same time may be a privacy hazard. URLs produced by popular services are so short they are vulnerable to brute-force searching, a Cornell Tech research effort found.
In a paper published in April, two researchers revealed that the 5- and 6-character URLs produced by popular shortening services could be easily searched to discover sensitive documents shared by their owners.
Attackers could scan shortened URLs at a sustained rate of 2.6 look-ups every second, and would only have to pay $36,700 to rent the cloud computing time necessary to do so.
The cloud’s transformative effects aren’t confined to the data center. IT career paths are also being re-routed as enterprises flock to the cloud.
In response, Microsoft today unveiled two new programs aimed at helping IT professionals sharpen their skills on the software maker’s Azure cloud computing platform.
“There is a significant opportunity for IT professionals to adopt the cloud,” said Mike Neil, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise division, in an April 20 announcement.
Facebook Messenger is fast becoming an all-star utility player for the social network. A year ago, Facebook enabled video calling on Messenger.
Last week at its F8 conference, the company released a new Messenger platform for developers that includes a beta program for the popular chatbots. In addition, April 20 marked the global rollout of free Group Calling on Messenger for iOS and Android smartphones.
To enable a group conversation, users need only tap on the phone icon within the app. They then can manage up to 12 individual participants on the group call. Microsoft’s Skype and Google’s Hangouts might want to take serious notice—all this functionality is free to Facebook members.