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Lexus debuting CarPlay in latest ES sedan, 12.3-inch widescreen optional available, no touch

This is the year Toyota and Lexus — among the last major CarPlay holdouts — finally release new cars that work with Apple’s infotainment system.

Lexus announced today that its seventh generation ES luxury sedan will be its first model to include CarPlay, and customers will have an option for a 12.3-inch widescreen display that makes room for two extra apps on the Home screen.

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PSA: There’s a new fake Flash Player installer for Macs, and it’s nastier than usual

Macs are not immune to malware, but they are pretty well-protected. By default, macOS won’t allow unrecognized apps to be installed, and it needs the user to agree to override this. Even when they are installed, sandboxing limits the damage that can be done, which is why most Mac malware is actually adware – annoying but not damaging.

A common way for attackers to get malware onto a Mac is to disguise it as something else, to trick technically naive users into installing it. Fake installers for Adobe Flash Player are particularly favored, and Malwarebytes has found a variant that’s nastier than usual …

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Comment: Assessing which tech company does most good for society is no easy feat

A survey reported over the weekend said that Apple lags behind Amazon and Google in having the most positive impact on society.

The original report was rather light on detail – it seems the survey didn’t ask people the reasons for their choices. That’s problematic because I suspect most people answered from their own selfish viewpoint rather than from a societal perspective …

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Unriddled: Instagram Data Downloads, Amazon’s Big Reveal, and More Tech News You Need

Welcome to Wednesday, and the latest edition of “Unriddled”: the HubSpot Marketing Blog’s mid-week digest of the tech news you need to know.

This week is big on news from Amazon — from Robots, to user numbers, to in-car deliveries. But that’s not the only thing happening around tech town, and we’re here to help decrypt what’s happening in this big, wide sector.

It’s our Wednesday tech news roundup, and we’re breaking it down.

Unriddled: The Tech News You Need

1. We Finally Know How Many Prime Members Amazon Has

In an annual letter written last week to shareholders, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos disclosed a long-sought-after figure by analysts and tech writers alike: how many Prime members it has. The grand total, he wrote, has “exceeded 100 million.”

Amazon Prime is a paid subscription model (for an annual fee of $99, or $12.99 per month) offered by online retailing giant Amazon, offering such perks as free two-day delivery on many products, as well as free streaming videos and music selections. In certain regions, a membership also includes free two-hour delivery of certain items through a service called Prime Now.

Just yesterday, Amazon announced the launch of In-Car Delivery, which allows Prime members to have Amazon packages delivered to their cars if they’re parked at home, work, or near other locations in your address book.” However, it does come with eligibility requirements, depending on the make and model of your car, and your location.

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Source: Apple

Paid Prime membership numbers, as well as some of the other figures cited in Bezos’s letter, are likely to come up the company’s Q1 2018 earnings call, scheduled for this Thursday (April 26) 5:30 PM EST.

2. Instagram Will Now Let You Download Your Data

When people began downloading their Facebook data files — present company included — for many of us, things got weird.

But some, like Josh Constine of TechCrunch, wondered when other companies would follow suit — especially those owned by Facebook, like Instagram. 

Yesterday, Constine reported that Instagram has officially made a personal data download available, largely because it will be required to do so by the General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR) — which comes into force a month from today.

An Instagram spokesperson told TechCrunch that all users should be able to download their data on the network’s desktop site, but that apps across iOS and Android devices might still be rolling out.

To download your data on Instagram’s site, you must be signed in, and can then begin the download process here. When I tried it, I was prompted for an email address and told that it could take 48 hours for the data report to be fully compiled.

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It’s worth noting that, as of writing this post, any email address could be filled in to have the data download link sent to — not just the one associated with your account. However, not only do you have to be signed into your account in order to get to that point, but when I tried it, I was also asked for my password again after entering an email address.

I also discovered that regardless of where the link is emailed, you do need to be logged into the account in question in order to download the data file.

Based on my own data download, the file contains all photos, videos, and Stories uploaded to your profile, as well as the content of any direct messages.

Your direct messages, however, are all compiled within a single JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) file format — as are files containing your historical comments, likes, and searches.

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3. A Big Week for Earnings Calls

In addition to Amazon’s above-mentioned Q1 2018 earnings call, several Big Tech players are expected to host their own this week.

Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc., held its own Q1 earnings call on Monday, where it was revealed that nearly 5,000 new employees were added to its various companies’ headcounts over the last quarter alone. At the end of March, that left Alphabet with a total of 85,050 employees.

About 40% of those new hires were the result of Google’s acquisition of an engineering team from HTC to work on the company’s Android One line.

Twitter’s Q1 earnings call is also scheduled for this week, and as of the publication of this post (7:00 AM EST on Wednesday), should be underway and available for live listening on its investor relations page.

Finally, Facebook is scheduled to host its Q1 earnings call later today (5:00 PM EDT), after two days of UK Parliament hearings on its practices.

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Source: Facebook

On Tuesday, Dr. Aleksandr Kogan — the Cambridge University professor behind the data-harvesting app who eventually sold personal user information to Cambridge Analytica — testified before the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee. Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer is scheduled to testify before that same committee tomorrow: the same day the U.S. House Judiciary Committee will be hosting a hearing on social media “filtering practices.”

4. Amazon Might Be Building an In-Home Robot

A report from Bloomberg says plans are underway at Amazon’s Lab126 — the company’s Silicon-Valley-based hardware research and development division — to build a “domestic robot,” under a project codenamed Vesta. 

These plans are far from the first within the tech sector to build such a robot, as science fiction novels and films alike have long projected a future in which robots are practically members our families — case in point: Rosie (sometimes spelled Rosey) the Robot from animated series “The Jetsons” — with many tech companies striving to follow suit.

Robots have often been front and center at major brand keynotes at large-scale annual tech events like CES, where this year, Sony and LG were only two companies debuting their own. (LG’s robot, Cloi, malfunctioned more than once durng this presentation).

Bloomberg does correctly make the case that Amazon has laid a strong foundation for building such a domestic robot — which it predicts could be a moving Alexa of sorts that would accompany users throughout their homes — citing its success with the Echo personal assistant device, which was something of a pioneer in that area.

However, the same argument could be made about Google, whose Home device has seen success since its 2016 debut. It has been speculated by some, however, that the Alphabet portfolio company could possibly be taking a loss in its hardware-building efforts, especially given the Q1 fiscal results indicating Nest — the home automation device manufacturer owned by Google — had an operating loss.

And while Bloomberg says Amazon’s Vesta project has been underway for several years now, it also points to job listings on the Lab126 site showing an aggressive investment in getting such a robot built and, possibly, out to market. According to Research and Markets, consumer robot market share is expected to reach nearly $15 billion in the U.S. by 2023.

What Else Is Going Down in Tech Town?

More of the Latest From Facebook

Did Mark Zuckerberg’s answers to lawmaker questions help restore faith in Facebook? Not really, according to new data — which indicates people trust the social media giant even less since the CEO’s congressional hearings earlier this month. Read full story >>

Speaking of trust: What are social media networks doing to protect your personal information? Check out this infographic and learn how three platforms are keeping information secure. Read full story >>

Yesterday, Facebook publicly disclosed its content review policies to shed light on decisions to remove or allow certain posts. The company also plans to roll out an appeals process around these decisions. Read full story >>

That’s all for today. Until next week, feel free to weigh in on Twitter with your tech news questions or thoughts on what kind of events and topics you’d like covered here.

Featured image source: Amazon

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery game now available on iPhone and iPad, but it’s an obnoxious free-to-play game

Fans of the Harry Potter franchise are in luck this year, with two titles hitting mobile platforms in 2018. One of these games, Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery is now live on the App Store and available as a free download for iPhone and iPad.

The RPG title sees players wandering the streets of Diagon Alley, attending magic lessons and exploring the secrets of Hogwarts. The game includes rich visual environments and features several of the original actors and actresses from the films as voiceover talent. However, the terrible free-to-play nature of this title becomes evident very quickly …

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4 Tools to Help Rank Your YouTube Videos

Are your YouTube videos ranking in YouTube search? Looking for tools to optimize your titles, keywords, and tags? In this article, you’ll discover a four-step process to reveal high-performing keywords for your YouTube content. #1: Gauge Topic Interest with Google Trends Before you create a YouTube video, the first step is to find a topic […]

This post 4 Tools to Help Rank Your YouTube Videos first appeared on Social Media Examiner.

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How to Delete Your Facebook Account, Group, or Page [Easy Guide]

There are a lot of reasons you might be thinking about deleting your Facebook account — perhaps you think you spend too much time on it and want to take a social media cleanse, or maybe you and your friends have already stopped using it, so there’s no reason to keep it around.

It’s important to understand deleting your Facebook account is different from deactivating your account — once deleted, it can never be recovered.

Which means, if you’re intent on getting rid of your account for temporary detox purposes, you might want to consider alternative methods to detoxing from social media without deleting anything.

But if you’re sure you’re ready to leave the world’s most popular social media network, it’s a simple process.

Keep in mind, if you delete your Facebook, your photos and all your Facebook information will be lost forever. If you want to save that information, I’d suggest downloading a copy of it.

To download a copy of all your Facebook information, go to “Settings” and click, “Download a copy of your Facebook data,” and then, “Start My Archive.”

This will ensure you can still find all those awkward middle school photos, years down the road.

To find out how to delete or deactivate your Facebook account, or delete a group or page you’ve created, read on.

How to Delete or Deactivate Your Facebook Account

Once you’re sure you’re ready to delete your Facebook account permanantly, click this link. When you click the link, this message will pop up:

All you need to do is click “Delete My Account.”

Facebook notes it takes a few days to complete deletion after you request it, and if you log back into Facebook during that time, you’ll cancel the deletion request.

Remember, if you think there’s a chance you’ll want to reopen your Facebook account in the future, you might want to deactivate it instead of deleting it. If you deactivate your account, Facebook saves all your information, photos, and settings, and you can reactivate at any time. In the meantime, your profile will just be hidden.

How to Delete Your Facebook Group

We’ve covered how to delete your account, but let’s say you don’t want to delete your whole account — you just want to delete a group you created.

Note: if you didn’t create the group but you’re an admin, you can only delete the group if the original creator leaves it.

1. Go to the group you want to delete, and click “Members.” Click beside each person’s name, and select “Remove from Group.”


 

2. Once you’ve removed everyone else in the group, choose “Leave Group” next to your name.

3. Click “Leave and Delete”.

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4. And voila! Your Facebook Group is gone.

How to Delete Your Facebook Page

If you created a Facebook Page for a personal business you’ve since abandoned, or an old fan Page for Justin Bieber that no longer suits your passions, there’s an easy way to delete it.

To delete a Page, you have to be the creator of a Page — something I learned the hard way. This was the inspiration behind my very short-lived business, “Caroline’s Consulting Business.”

If you want to delete a Page you’ve created, here’s how:

1. Go to your Page, and click “Settings.”

2. From the General Tabs within Settings, scroll to bottom and click “Remove Page.”

 

3. Click “Delete [Page Name]” then click “Ok.” 

4. And that’s it! It’s important to note Facebook takes up to fourteen days to delete your Page.