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You might well expect that if you perform a Google search while signed into your Google account that the results will be tailored according to what that company has learned about you over the years. But what about when you're not signed into your account? A study carried out by the privacy-centric search engine DuckDuckGo yielded some slightly surprising results. In tests earlier in the year, it was found that even when people searched without logging into a Google account -- or when they used private browsing mode --  "most participants saw results unique to them", suggesting there was still personalization of results. While this was a small study with just 87 results involved, the findings are interesting, nonetheless. Conducted back in June -- during the US midterms -- DuckDuckGo wanted to use its study to test the influence of Google's "filter bubble". This "bubble" is the activity you would expect from Google -- the personalization of search results based on what it has been able to learn about you. When you're logged into your Google account, it's easy to understand how the company gathers information about you. But when you're using private browsing mode -- or just logged out of your account -- and you see similar personalization, it is a little worrying. More content posted on OUR FORUM.

Today at Snapdragon Summit, the chipmaker Qualcomm announced Snapdragon 8cx for Always Connected, Always On Windows 10 devices. This new high-end Snapdragon 8cx chipset will power 2-in-1s instead of smartphones and tablets. At its event, Qualcomm shared more details about the chip that will rival Intel that powers the high-end PCs. Qualcomm also detailed how its Snapdragon processors can contribute to the PC industry and address the battery backup and internet connectivity problems. Earlier this year, Qualcomm unveiled Snapdragon 850 platform which is made specifically for Windows laptops. The new Snapdragon processor takes the Windows on ARM project to the next level. Qualcomm is calling the 8cx its “most extreme” package yet. This new platform promises a major boost to Windows performance. The key changes include enhanced AI and machine learning capabilities, improved performance and up to 24 hours of battery backup from traditional 2-in-1s. The Snapdragon 8cx is more powerful than the Snapdragon 850 and it is set to come out next year. The Snapdragon 8cx, a 7nm chip that’s currently in testing and it’s going to power the future Always Connected PCs from Microsoft partners. This is the most powerful and fastest Snapdragon chipset ever made. The new system-on-chip (SoC) features the highly-anticipated eight-core design. The platform also contains support for faster LPDDR4X memory which ensures faster performance. The Qualcomm’s “Extreme” chipset for Windows 10 ARM devices promises better performance, more power, improved connectivity, and up to 25 hours battery backup. More details are posted on OUR FORUM.

Microsoft confirmed the leaks that they will be using Google’s Chromium web rendering engine for the Edge browser, and would be contributing their developer expertise to evolving the Chromium and other open source web engines. VentureBeat has asked Google and Mozilla, the non-profit behind the Firefox browser, what they thought of the announcement.  Not afraid of being embraced and extended by Microsoft, Google has welcomed the move, saying: “Chrome has been a champion of the open web since inception and we welcome Microsoft to the community of Chromium contributors. We look forward to working with Microsoft and the web standards community to advance the open web, support user choice, and deliver great browsing experiences.” Mozilla, on the other hand, was not encouraged, and painted themselves as the last bastion of the free web, saying: “This just increases the importance of Mozilla’s role as the only independent choice. We are not going to concede that Google’s implementation of the web is the only option consumers should have. That’s why we built Firefox in the first place and why we will. Follow this and more browser news on OUR FORUM.

The definition of computing is changing day by day. One of the earliest sections to adopt this change is the education market, where Microsoft had the dominance in the 90s and early 2000s. But after the introduction of Chromebook, education sectors have switched to it because of the low cost, easy to use, durable PCs which Microsoft and their OEMs do not have. As a result, we have seen that Microsoft is working on different types of devices in search of new usage scenarios for PCs to grab all the possible markets. Andromeda is an open secret now. But in recent leaks, a new device code-name is floating around- ‘Centaurus’. Unlike the pocketable Andromeda, this is a more tablet-like dual-screen device which may run on Windows Core OS, a lightweight, easy to use, flexible version of Windows operating system. This operating system is being made to compete with Chrome OS like lightweight operating systems. As the dual screen foldable computers are very expensive to produce, it will be a bit risky for the market. That’s why Microsoft is trying to make the technology less expensive and perfect to find an appropriate place for the new PC form factor by experimenting with different type of devices at once. Currently, Microsoft is very successful with touch, pen and e-ink enabled computing devices. Microsoft apps (like OneNote, Office apps etc) which support such technologies are very successful even in education sectors. Learn more on OUR FORUM.

24 years after the release of the original PlayStation, the PlayStation Classic has arrived, although not to fanfare or critical acclaim. It turns out that despite being more powerful than its full-sized counterpart, the PlayStation Classic is an example of how newer things aren’t always better. Digital Foundry report that, while an attractive package on the outside (complete with 3 fully working buttons on the actual console and a controller that resembles the original non-DualShock controller), the Classic just isn’t good on the inside. Sure, the game selection on offer is interesting and full of decent titles, but any positives of the console are weighed down by the negatives. The classic is limited to 720p output but has no filters, scanlines, or adjustments available. It’s also locked to RGB full range. When you first start up a game, you’ll be instantly hit by several display issues – most notably, the image quality is extremely blurry as a result of poor scaling and heavy filtering. It doesn’t help that 9 of the available games are the PAL versions, meaning that they run slower and tend to lag during gameplay. There are also audio issues galore – the music randomly slows down during parts of Final Fantasy 7 and Ridge Racer Type 4 randomly has sudden glaring. There is more posted on OUR FORUM.

As tech companies such as Google wrestle with employee objections to working with the U.S. military, Microsoft Corp.’s president is throwing his company’s support behind the Pentagon. Microsoft is “going to provide the U.S. military with access to the best technology … all the technology we create. Full stop,” Brad Smith said Saturday during a panel at the Reagan National Defense Forum at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley. Smith acknowledged that “there is some angst” in some workforces, including Microsoft’s, about tech companies’ involvement in military contracts. In June, after thousands of employees voiced objections to a contract that allowed the military to use Google’s artificial intelligence tools to analyze drone footage, Google decided not to renew the contract. Smith said he wanted to quell such concerns. “We want Silicon Valley to know just how ethical and honorable a tradition the military has,” he said. The future and use of artificial intelligence and autonomous systems have broad implications, he said, and are “of importance to everybody and not just young people who happen to live on the West Coast.” Smith expressed openness to hearing his workers’ opinions, saying that Microsoft would “engage to address the ethical issues that new technology is creating.” He recalled an email he had received from an employee who grew up in Belgrade, Serbia — which was bombed by NATO forces in 1999 — that said the employee needed to think through Microsoft’s reasoning for working with military contracts. Smith said he understood the employee's background would lead to such hesitation. But he did not mention Microsoft taking any action or changing any policy as a result. Other tech industry executives pushed back against the idea that Silicon Valley workers are less inclined to work with the Defense Department solely because of cultural differences or qualms about the moral implications. Read employee objections, an open letter to Microsoft, and more on OUR FORUM.