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Newsletter: Private Tweets Exposed & Fossil’s Next Smartwatch Will Be Expensive

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“Millennials and the generations that follow are shaping technology. This generation has grown up with computing in the palm of their hands. They are more socially and globally connected through mobile Internet devices than any prior generation. And they don’t question; they just learn.” ~ Brad D. Smith

ANDROID’S USER PRIVATE TWEETS REVEALED

THE STORY

A Twitter bug exposed some Android user’s private tweets.

WHAT IS THE FUSS ABOUT? 

Last year was all about debacles by Facebook, will this be named for Twitter?

Yesterday, Twitter revealed that it accidentally disclosed some Android users “protected” data. Well, you must be thinking what Protected data is? It is a way to keep your Tweets private. A user can use “Protect your Tweets” settings and use Twitter in a private manner. The users with settings enabled can approve who all can follow them or view their content.

Due to some Twitter bug, some of these users were made public, which is a serious concern. As per Twitter, the issue influenced Twitter for Android users who did several changes in account with the “Protect your Tweets” enabled.

One of the examples, let’s say a user changed the email address of your account, the “Protect your Tweets” setting was turned off.

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WHAT THE COMPANY HAS TO SAY?

“We recognize and appreciate the trust you place in us, and are committed to earning that trust every day,” wrote Twitter in a statement. “We’re very sorry this happened and we’re conducting a full review to help prevent this from happening again.”

The company added that it believes the issue is now completely resolved.

HOW LONG THE ISSUE WAS TROUBLING USERS?

One of the surprising facts is the time taken to recognize and resolve the issue. According to Twitter, users who made account changes between November 3, 2014, and January 14, 2019(the day issue got fixed), might have been impacted by the issue.

The social media giant has also notified the users affected by the issue and re-enabled “Protect your Tweets” settings if it was disabled on those accounts. However, Twitter made a public announcement as it “can’t confirm every account that may have been impacted.”

The company also informed that it has only notified people where it was able to verify that the account has been affected but it doesn’t possess a list of influenced accounts. That’s why Twitter can’t give an estimate of account affected in the process.

The mistake on Twitter’s part can’t be ignored as exposing data which users strictly wanted to keep private is not acceptable. As a social media platform, it is Twitter’s responsibility to keeps its user’s data safe.

As of now, it is not clear whether the issue will result in a GDPR violation & fine as a result.

Some of the affected users got alerts of people following them without their direct consent and noticed their accounts have become public. This might have made them re-enable the “protect tweets” setting. They didn’t report it as they could have thought it was a user glitch, well, who could have thought it would be a system-wide bug.

GOOGLE SPENT $40 MIL FOR FOSSIL SMARTWATCH TECH

THE STORY

Google just spent $40 million for Fossil’s secret smartwatch technology.

GOOGLE & FOSSIL TOGETHER?

Google & Fossil Group announced an agreement, under which the IT giant is going to take over some of Fossil’s smartwatch technology along with members of the R&D department accountable for creating the technology.

The deal was closed for approximately  $40 million, and as per the agreed terms, Fossil will provide a section of the research and development department, the one which is responsible for the intellectual property sold to Google.

So, Google now will possess a dedicated team with hardware experience working within its WearOS software platform. Also, they might work on new smartwatch designs. 

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WHAT BOTH COMPANIES HAVE TO SAY?

The president of product management for Google’s WearOS platform, Stacey Burr stated, “Wearables, built for wellness, simplicity, personalization and helpfulness, have the opportunity to improve lives by bringing users the information and insights they need quickly, at a glance. The addition of Fossil Group’s technology and team to Google demonstrates our commitment to the wearables industry by enabling a diverse portfolio of smartwatches and supporting the ever-evolving needs of the vitality-seeking, on-the-go consumer.”

Greg McKelvey, Fossil’s executive vice president of chief strategy and digital officer stated, “the technology is a “new product innovation that’s not yet hit the market.”

However, what is the new innovation and why Google is so interested to buy it, has not been clear. Well, if we talk about acquisition, $40 million is not that a big amount of Google

Whatever the technology be, Google certainly sees the use of technology.

The official statement by Burr shows that Fossil was developing some health and fitness technology and as Fossil has been with Google as hardware partner on WearOS for a long time, Google has decided to take over the section to stand in competition against Apple in wearables.

Burr also said Google examined the technology and thought it “could be brought out in a more expansive way if Google had that technology and was not only able to continue to use it with Fossil but bring it to other partners in the ecosystem”.

She also added that Fossil will introduce the technology to market as a product and it will grow “across our full breadth of brands over time,” before expanding “across the industry over time to benefit all.”

WHAT IS OUR TAKE?     

Fossil is renowned for hybrid smartwatches, devices with features like step-tracking and notifications (just like fitness band) however, it has maintained the look & feel of a wristwatch. The company also produces smartwatches with touchscreens which mirror other WearOS smartwatches as well, but its forte has always been a hybrid watch, as it belongs to the traditional accessories market.

Fossil has been a slow learner when it comes to technology such as GPS and heart rate tracking, which exist in other smartwatches for years now. However, this new discovery could be something which no smartwatches companies have adopted. Therefore, this could be the time for Fossil to outshine.

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The deal shows that Google and Fossil are working on to prepare WearOS to stand out and shine. Whether this acquisition and technology helps Google to launch Pixel watch or supports the company in refining its software, there could be a possibility that soon we could see a WearOS which could stand in the competition

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