Yahoo Activates Secure Search in the US

The latest update to Yahoo’s increasingly popular search engine is the inclusion of secure search as the default option. All Yahoo search terms now pass through a secure server, which users can see by the changing URL, which should read “https:”, rather than the standard “http:” on all searches.

This change is a very welcome one for anyone who is more concerned about the security of their searches; with secure search enabled, Yahoo users can be certain that outside parties are not snooping on their searches. Currently the option has only been enabled on the American Yahoo search engine, and it is not certain yet whether secure search will become the search for other countries too.

The feature began to roll out as early as January 8th, which was the date when Yahoo promised to move to secure servers. It is likely that other Yahoo properties will also receive the update as a default. An additional update- and a one-up on competitors Google- is that Yahoo’s search results will not provide referrals to nonsecure websites.

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Pinterest Introduces Handy Recipe Search Feature

When it first gained popularity, Pinterest seemed like little more than a giant scrapbook of wishful-thinking wedding plans and inspirational quotes, but it’s only grown since then. The more time passes, the more useful your mom’s favorite social network becomes.

The latest handy tool available for Pinterest is a recipe filtering search which allows you to input ingredients you just happen to have lying around. Check out the odd collection of food in your refrigerator and Pinterest will recommend a list of tasty recipes you can make. Users can also choose to filter recipes by dietary requirements. Whether you’re vegan, gluten-free or following the paleo diet, Pinterest cleverly has recipes to recommend to you too.

Another recent release from Pinterest is the introduction of the “more useful pins” product, which allows more information to be attached to pins than before. Thanks to this upgrade, pinned recipes can come with a full set of cooking instructions and an ingredient list, rather than just being a link with a pretty picture attached.

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Pages Face Smaller Audience on Facebook

On Tuesday, social media giant Facebook warned Page owners that their text updates would reach a smaller amount of their followers than before.

For some time, Facebook has been experimenting with its own formula for what users get to see in their News Feed in an attempt to boost interaction on the social network. According to the company’s extensive user preference surveys, Facebook users are more likely to interact and write statuses when they see text posts from friends, as opposed to posts from Pages.

Facebook’s algorithms have already had a hand in choosing which users see which Page updates in the past, but the new changes by the company are bound to be even more stringent than they had been in the past. “Page admins can expect a decrease in the distributions of their text status updates,” said News Feed Ranking Product Manager Chris Turitzin in an official announcement. However, according to Turitzin, Pages may also expect to see a rise in distribution and interaction on other story types.

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Are GIFs Coming to Pinterest?

In addition to pinning beautiful images, recipes, infographics and more, avid Pinterest users will now also be able to add GIFs to their online collections.

A new feature from the social media site will soon allow users to add GIFs to their pin boards, a feature which had not been possible in the past. Although GIFs have been around more or less since the start of the internet, the small moving image files only truly became popular with the mainstream internet population following the rise of Yahoo-owned microblogging site Tumblr. Previously, any GIFs which were uploaded to Pinterest simply appeared as still images unless users followed the link through to their original site.

In a statement to viral website Mashable’s social media blog, a Pinterest spokeswoman confirmed that the company was working on a way to make pinning GIFs possible. Currently, as the feature is still being tested, only a few select users have the ability to see GIFs as anything other than still images. It is unclear how long testing will last before the feature is hopefully rolled out to the rest of the social media network.

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September Release Expected for Steam Machine

The hotly anticipated Steam Machine by Alienware is expected to hit shelves in the second half of 2014.

Several attendees at the Steam Dev Days developer conference have confirmed that Alienware made an announcement regarding the Steam Machine. According to reports from several sources, Alienware officials announced that the console would be released during September.

Confirming the announcement to website TechRabar.com, Alienware global marketing director Bryan de Zayas wrote that the intention was to have the console released in time for the holiday season, but nothing was set in stone. “September is our goal but that is still a long time away and things can change.”

In preparation for the release of the console, which is intended to compete against the latest Xbox and PlayStation consoles, Alienware has been taking feedback from developers and gamers. Keen to set itself apart from the larger manufacturers, Alienware has gone out of its way to gather feedback and make upgrades according to the opinions of the few gamers lucky enough to have tried the Steam Machine.

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HP Promoting Windows 7 PCs Again

HP’s latest promotion offers a customizable PC running Windows 7, labelling the operating system “back by popular demand”. Not really the vote of confidence that the struggling Windows 8 probably needs.

With Microsoft’s hit-and-miss record with operating system upgrades, this should hardly come as a surprise to a lot of users who haven’t taken well to Windows 8. Whilst the Windows 8 operating system is definitely the future for Microsoft, there is no denying that it is nowhere near as popular as its predecessor yet.

If users aren’t comfortable with Windows 8, they’re less likely to invest in a new PC running on the update, so promoting Windows 7 isn’t too surprising coming from HP. During the last quarter, HP recorded an 8.5% drop in its PC shipments according to statistics from the International Data Corporation. With global PC sales falling as mobile devices take over, HP has to give its customers what they want- whether Microsoft is happy about it or not.

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Google Removes Adware-Filled Chrome Extensions

Google has removed two extensions from its Chrome web browser after they were found to have been converted to malware. Chrome extensions Add to Feedly and Tweet This Page were simply innocent browser apps until they were purchased and used to feed users advertisements.

First picked up by OMG Chrome and Ars Technica, some users allege that the practice of turning popular extensions into adware is by no means new, nor is it restricted to the two banned apps. Add to Feedly’s creator Amit Agarwal described in a blog post how he was given “a four-figure offer” for the simple program, which had 30,000 users. Not expecting his extension to be turned into adware, Agarwal unsuspectingly sold to program to advertisers.

Google took action against the two offending apps as soon as the news broke on the internet, banning the illegal extensions from the Chrome store. This may not be the last time that Google is forced to remove extensions from Chrome due to adware contamination; last week the developer behind popular app Honey claimed that he was also approached about selling his add-on to advertisers.

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