MZ Weekly News Round-Up: Heartbleed and Facebook Mobile Messaging
Around the Web: A massive security flaw, known as the Heartbleed virus, has taken over the Internet, and it very likely could be affecting you. The bug is a flaw in OpenSSL, which is the open-source encryption standard that most websites use to transmit the data that users want to keep secure. It can, for example, make an email unreadable to anybody except for the intended recipient. What is dangerous about the heart bleed bug is that web servers are capable of storing data such as usernames, passwords, credit card information, and other personal info in their active memories. The vulnerability has been in OpenSSL for about two years, and using it leaves no trace, so the safest assumption to make is that your accounts have been compromised. Once websites begin upgrading to software that is not affected by the bug, it is highly-recommended that all users change their passwords. For more information, you can visit the Heartbleed Bug site.
SEO: Google is now showing more support for businesses by displaying business telephone numbers for customer service, technical support, billing support, etc. in its search results. By adding a new schema, each number can be specified to indicate whether or not it’s toll-free, suitable for the hearing-impaired, or is global, or country-specific. There are other categories beyond those four, but those are the only ones which Google will display in the rich snippets. Additionally, businesses can now include additional markup on their website’s contact page for the address of the business, the phone number, hours of operation, etc. which Google may also display in the rich snippets. This week, the head of Google’s spam search team responded to questions about Google misattributing content for select news publishers by showing URLs of large news agencies rather than source URLs. The explanation apparently has to do with canonicalization. If a URL is canonicalized, or it re-directs to a different URL, Google will show the canonical URL rather than the destination URL. When and why exactly this occurs is unclear as of now. Google, in an odd move to make video search results less rich, is testing the removal of video thumbnail images and replacing them with a small, gray, play button followed by the length of the video. Removing thumbnail images of video frames would be an unprecedented move for Google, as they have been providing such image previews since first implementing Universal Search.
Social Media: Facebook announced that it will be removing the in-app messenger service from the mobile Facebook app, thus forcing users to download the separate Messenger software. The only devices exempt from this change will be lower-end Android devices with memory constraints, Windows Phone and tablet users, and those currently using the company’s recently-launched Paper app. Separating the chat system from the main app leaves room for Facebook to add more chat features and speed up the performance of the actual Facebook app itself.
Technology: Dropbox released a new app called Carousel this week, which gives users a new service for organizing and sharing photos and videos. Before even signing in, the software allows users to automatically back up the camera roll on their device. When enabled, the feature will sync all photos to Dropbox when connected to wifi.