The Morning After: Google makes two-factor authentication the default

Tap to confirm it's you.

Jon Fingas/Engadget

Wednesday marked World Password Day, which is a convenient time to highlight better password practices. Maybe you’re already using a password manager to keep track of your unique logins, and you’ve enabled two-factor authentication in all of the places it’s available, but if you haven’t, Google is going to give you a nudge.

If your account is set up properly and you have a phone that supports it, Google will automatically enroll you in its two-step verification system. On iOS and Android, it sends a prompt to your phone, just to make sure it’s really you logging in. It’s easier to use than generating a code or carrying around a physical key, and more secure than sending a text message. If you hadn’t already set up the prompt, expect to see it soon.

— Richard Lawler

Apple emails reveal how it tried to stop Netflix from pulling in-app iOS purchases

According to internal emails from the Epic vs. Apple court case.

The Morning After
Robert Galbraith / reuters

Before Netflix dropped in-app purchases on the iOS Store, Apple really tried to convince the streaming company to keep the option. Netflix abandoned in-app iOS Store purchases in December of 2018, but that decision was still in the planning stages when the emails circulated in early 2018. Netflix was concerned that users who signed up for Netflix on iOS had a tendency to cancel more often than when they joined on Netflix's website or other ways — not to mention that 30 percent cut that Apple was taking.

By July 2018, Apple had created a presentation meant to sway the streamer in favor of keeping in-app purchases. It highlighted all of the promotion work it did for Netflix and noted its advertising had boosted downloads by up to seven percent. But Netflix dropped in-app subscriptions anyway. Continue reading.

Microsoft testifies on the struggle to bring xCloud to iOS

It also took some knocks about its own Xbox Store restrictions.

And Epic and Apple’s legal battle continues to offer insights into cross-company interactions. Microsoft testified at the trial yesterday, as a witness for Epic, and explained how iOS rules essentially blocked its xCloud gaming service. Microsoft argued that other apps, like Netflix and Shadow (a Windows 10 PC simulator), offered similar "interactive" functionality to xCloud, yet were not barred from the store. It eventually gave up on getting xCloud on the App Store and instead released an iOS web browser version in beta. However, Microsoft's business development head, Lori Wright, noted that on iPhones all the gameplay is through the App Store and that people rarely play games on the browser on an iPhone. Continue reading.

'Animal Crossing' and 'StarCraft' join the Video Game Hall of Fame

It also inducted ‘Microsoft Flight Simulator.’

The Morning After
The Strong

After narrowing down a list of 12 finalists, The Strong National Museum of Play has inducted four new titles to its World Video Game Hall of Fame. In order of release, they are 1982’s Microsoft Flight Simulator, 1985’s Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?, 1998’s StarCraft and2001’s Animal Crossing. They beat the likes of the original Call of Duty, Portal, Guitar Hero and FarmVille this year. Anyone can nominate a game, but a panel of journalists and video game historians helps the museum make its final decision each year. Both Flight Simulator and Animal Crossing have experienced recent boosts in popularity, with new titles expanding each series — and attracting new fans. Continue reading.

Twitter’s 'Tip Jar' is here

In-app tipping for your Twitter users.

Twitter just introduced its long-rumored in-app tipping feature. Some users can now add a tip jar to their profile, so other users can pay them without leaving the app. Twitter says for now it’s making the feature available to “a limited group of people around the world who use Twitter in English,” including creators, journalists, nonprofits and other influential users.

Accounts can be connected to Bandcamp, Cash App, Patreon, PayPal and Venmo. And, notably, Twitter doesn't take a cut from users' tips. Continue reading.

Facebook adds new audio and inbox features to Messenger and Instagram

You'll also find a new reply feature and more.

Facebook is introducing several new features to its suite of messaging apps. There are now inbox-seen states in Instagram, so you'll know if the person you recently messaged has seen your DM, making it easier to find out if your friend — or online crush — is ghosting you.

Some of the updates are even simpler, like swipe to archive gestures in Messenger to make hiding old chats easier. The next time you send a voice memo to a friend over Messenger, you won't have to hold the record button. Instead, all you need to do is tap the mic icon. This will also, eventually, come to Instagram, too. Continue reading.

Cowboy 4 electric bike launches with a step-through model

Both versions come with an integrated cockpit for your phone.

The Morning After

Cowboy’s fourth-generation urban electric bike has landed, and this one comes in two frames. While the standard Cowboy 4 looks like its predecessors, the C4 ST version is a step-through model with an upright riding position meant to attract a broader audience looking for a more comfortable ride. In short, a lower top tube makes it easier to mount.

Both models have 50 percent more torque than their predecessors. A new integrated cockpit has an easy smartphone mount, so you can use the company's app or any other navigation app. Docking your phone in the cockpit will wirelessly recharge it, too, using the bike's battery, perfect for extended map app use. The C4 and C4 ST both have a range of 70 KM (around 43 miles) and are now available for pre-order from Cowboy's website, with shipping due in September. Continue reading.

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