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New PanicButton plug-in is not quite what you think it is

(TECH NEWS) New Google Chrome plug-in makes closing your browser easier and quicker.

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panicbutton

One click close

Largely thanks to the Incognito Window feature, Google Chrome is a favorite browser for people sneaking, creeping and snooping around the Internet.

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These users will rejoice at the announcement of PanicButton, a new extension that allows you to hide all your tabs at once with one single button and restore them later.

All roads lead to close

When installed, the PanicButton extension allows you to close all your tabs with a single button, either an icon in your Chrome toolbar or a keyboard shortcut.

After the PanicButton is clicked, it turns from red to green and allows you to reopen the closed tabs.

It also saves the taps you closed in a new bookmark folder to be re-opened later, if you so desire. You can set a password to prevent others from reopening the tabs, too.

Disappearing browser

While the intentions of PanicButton are up to interpretation, the fact that it is made by a company called HideMyAss.com removes a lot of questions.

If you don’t get where we’re going, it’s probably primarily meant for hiding “adult videos.”

More than just coverin’ your ass

There are, of course, other uses for the extension. Perhaps you’re on Facebook snooping on ex-boyfriends or co-workers and don’t want anyone to see.

Maybe you just have a lot of tabs open, realize you’re late for something, and need to quickly close and save all of them.

When I was in college, there were lots of times when I was doing research, needly to quickly close my laptop to run to class, and probably would have benefitted from quickly being able to bookmark all the tabs rather than just hoping they’d all still be open when I got back to work later. Other extensions exist for this though that aren’t pitched in such a furtive way.

You gotta have options, kid

OneTab is one competitor, which works by converting all your open Chrome tabs into a list, rather than actual tabs, that can then be restored individually or all at a time after they’re closed.

There’s also TooManyTabs, which turns your tabs into a dropdown window to preview all your tabs. It also can be configured to save a list of all your opened pages in a spreadsheet in your Google Drive to be opened later.

If you’re more concerned about maxing out your memory than being overwhelmed with lots of tabs, Tab Hibernation might be right for you. It automatically puts all your other tabs to sleep, meaning they won’t reload or slow down your browser unless you’re actively visiting them.

Plugging in Panic Button

PanicButton does stand alone in some of the features it provides, especially the fact that it can be prompted with a keyboard shortcut and that your list of tabs can be password protected.

It has perks, but comes with a bit of a dark shadow over it.Click To Tweet
Do what you gotta do though, no judgement.

#PanicButtonSaveYourButt

Brian is a staff writer at The American Genius who lives in Brooklyn, New York. He is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, and majored in American Culture Studies and Writing. Originally from California, Brian has a podcast, "Revolves Around Me," and enjoys public transportation, bicycles, the beach.

Tech News

Google chrome: The anti-cookie monster in 2022

(TECH NEWS) If you are tired of third party cookies trying to grab every bit of data about you, google has heard and responded with their new updates.

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3rd party cookies

Google has announced the end of third-party tracking cookies on its Chrome browser within the next two years in an effort to grant users better means of security and privacy. With third-party cookies having been relied upon by advertising and social media networks, this move will undoubtedly have ramifications on the digital ad sector.

Google’s announcement was made in a blog post by Chrome engineering director, Justin Schuh. This follows Google’s Privacy Sandbox launch back in August, an initiative meant to brainstorm ideas concerning behavioral advertising online without using third-party cookies.

Chrome is currently the most popular browser, comprising of 64% of the global browser market. Additionally, Google has staked out its role as the world’s largest online ad company with countless partners and intermediaries. This change and any others made by Google will affect this army of partnerships.

This comes in the wake of rising popularity for anti-tracking features on web browsers across the board. Safari and Firefox have both launched updates (Intelligent Tracking Prevention for Safari and the Enhanced Tracking Prevention for Firefox) with Microsoft having recently released the new Edge browser which automatically utilizes tracking prevention. These changes have rocked share prices for ad tech companies since last year.

The two-year grace period before Chrome goes cookie-less has given the ad and media industries time to absorb the shock and develop plans of action. The transition has soften the blow, demonstrating Google’s willingness to keep positive working relations with ad partnerships. Although users can look forward to better privacy protection and choice over how their data is used, Google has made it clear it’s trying to keep balance in the web ecosystems which will likely mean compromises for everyone involved.

Chrome’s SameSite cookie update will launch in February, requiring publishers and ad tech vendors to label third-party cookies that can be used elsewhere on the web.

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Tech News

Computer vision helps AI create a recipe from just a photo

(TECH NEWS) It’s so hard to find the right recipe for that beautiful meal you saw on tv or online. Well computer vision helps AI recreate it from a picture!

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computer vision recreates recipe

Ever seen at a photo of a delicious looking meal on Instagram and wondered how the heck to make that? Now there’s an AI for that, kind of.

Facebook’s AI research lab has been developing a system that can analyze a photo of food and then create a recipe. So, is Facebook trying to take on all the food bloggers of the world now too?

Well, not exactly, the AI is part of an ongoing effort to teach AI how to see and then understand the visual world. Food is just a fun and challenging training exercise. They have been referring to it as “inverse cooking.”

According to Facebook, “The “inverse cooking” system uses computer vision, technology that extracts information from digital images and videos to give computers a high level of understanding of the visual world,”

The concept of computer vision isn’t new. Computer vision is the guiding force behind mobile apps that can identify something just by snapping a picture. If you’ve ever taken a photo of your credit card on an app instead of typing out all the numbers, then you’ve seen computer vision in action.

Facebook researchers insist that this is no ordinary computer vision because their system uses two networks to arrive at the solution, therefore increasing accuracy. According to Facebook research scientist Michal Drozdzal, the system works by dividing the problem into two parts. A neutral network works to identify ingredients that are visible in the image, while the second network pulls a recipe from a kind of database.

These two networks have been the key to researcher’s success with more complicated dishes where you can’t necessarily see every ingredient. Of course, the tech team hasn’t stepped foot in the kitchen yet, so the jury is still out.

This sounds neat and all, but why should you care if the computer is learning how to cook?

Research projects like this one carry AI technology a long way. As the AI gets smarter and expands its limits, researchers are able to conceptualize new ways to put the technology to use in our everyday lives. For now, AI like this is saving you the trouble of typing out your entire credit card number, but someday it could analyze images on a much grander scale.

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Tech News

Xiaomi accidentally sent security video from one home to another

(TECH NEWS) Xiaomi finds out that while modern smart and security devices have helped us all, but there are still plenty of flaws and openings for security breeches.

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Xiaomi home device

The reason for setting up security cameras around your home is so the photos can get streamed to your neighbor’s device, right?

Okay, that’s obviously not why most (if any) of us get security cameras, but unfortunately, that scenario of the leaked images isn’t a hypothetical. Xiaomi cameras have been streaming photos to the wrong Google Home devices. This was first reported on Reddit, with user Dio-V posting a video of it happening on their device.

Xiaomi is a Chinese electronics company that has only recently started to gain traction in the U.S. markets. While their smartphones still remain abroad, two of Xiaomi’s security cameras are sold through mainstream companies like Wal-Mart and Amazon for as low as $40. Their affordable prices have made the products even more popular and Xiaomi’s presence has grown, both nationally and abroad.

To be fair, when the leaked photos surfaced, both Google and Xiaomi responded quickly. Google cut off access to Xiaomi devices until the problem was resolved to ensure it wouldn’t happen again. Meanwhile, Xiaomi worked to identify and fix the issue, which was caused by a cache update, and has since been fixed.

But the incident still raises questions about smart security devices in the first place.

Any smart device is going to be inherently vulnerable due to the internet connection. Whether it’s hackers, governments, or the tech companies themselves, there are plenty of people who can fairly easily gain access to the very things that are supposed to keep your home secure.

Of course, unlike these risks, which involve people actively trying to access your data, this most recent incident with Xiaomi and Google shows that your intimate details might even be shared to strangers who aren’t even trying to break into your system. Unfortunately, bugs are inevitable when it comes to keeping technology up to date, so it’s fairly likely something like this could happen again in the future.

That’s right, your child’s room might be streamed to a total stranger by complete accident.

Granted, Xiaomi’s integration mistake only affected a fraction of their users and many risks are likely to decrease as time goes on. Still, as it stands now, your smart security devices might provide a facade of safety, but there are plenty of risks involved.

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