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Posts Tagged ‘#snapchat’

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Snapchat now recognizes food, pets, and more when suggesting filters

November 27, 2017

Snapchat is now using object recognition to identify what’s in users’ photos and serve them relevant filters. So, if you take a picture of some food, Snapchat will suggest filters with slogans like “get in my belly” and “what diet?”

Snap, the company behind Snapchat, confirmed to Mashable that the filters had started rolling out to users last week, but it didn’t provide an exhaustive list of what objects trigger the mechanism. Pets, food, and holiday destinations like beaches all seem to return specific filters, but presumably, Snap will be adding new categories as it goes along. You can test out the filters yourself just by snapping pictures of relevant photos you’ve found online. The filters are available in the normal carousel, accessed by swiping left and right.

From left to right: a freezer bag of chicken tenders (author’s own); a cute kitten; and a random beachfront. Image: The Verge / James Vincent
This isn’t actually the first time Snap has integrated object recognition into its app: the company already uses this feature to let people search for certain objects and events in stories. (Search for “basketball” and you’ll find basketball games, for example.) Combined with its augmented reality masks, it’s advanced features like these that Snap is hoping will keep users interested in the face of fierce competition from the likes of Instagram. A big redesign is also in the works.

With AR and object recognition getting faster and more accurate, it’s interesting to speculate exactly where Snapchat will go with this technology. One thing that seems certain, though, is that features like these will be used for ads and revenue generation.

Last year, we saw patents filed by Snap that described how brands could bid to have their filters associated with common objects. In one patent application, the company described how a user might take a picture of a cup of coffee, with brands like Nescafe and Keurig then battling it out to sponsor a coffee-themed filter. As with any tech, it’s all fun and games until the advertisers get involved.

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Snapchat moves to allay privacy concerns over new Snap Map feature

June 26, 2017

Snapchat wants to allay privacy concerns over its new Snap Map feature.

Launched last week, Snap Map lets users share their location with friends on a map. “It’s easy to get started – just pinch to zoom out and view the Map!” it explained, in a blog post.

Snap Map, however, has sparked concerns over users’ privacy, particularly when children are using the feature. Snapchat says users can control who, if anyone, sees them on Snap Map. “The safety of our community is very important to us and we want to make sure that all Snapchatters, parents and educators have accurate information about how the Snap Map works,” explained a Snapchat spokeswoman, in a statement emailed to Fox News.

The spokeswoman explained that with Snap Map, location-sharing is off by default for all users and is completely optional. “Snapchatters can choose exactly who they want to share their location with, if at all, and can change that setting at any time,” she added. “It’s also not possible to share your location with someone who isn’t already your friend on Snapchat, and the majority of interactions on Snapchat take place between close friends.”

Users can interact with Snap Map in three ways. The first, “Ghost Mode,” lets users enter into the map and look for content, without being visible on the map themselves. The second option, “Select Friends,” lets users choose their friends who they want to see their location. The third, “My Friends,” gives users the option of letting all their friends see their location.
Snapchat says that if users choose to share their location on the Map, the location is only updated when the Snapchat app is open — not in the background.

Nonetheless, fears about users’ privacy have prompted warnings about Snap Map. Rosenberg Police Department in Texas, for example, urged parents of children using Snap Map to pay close attention to the feature’s settings. “In order to prevent your child’s location from being shared, they should put the setting into “Ghost Mode”. To view the map and switch the mode, pinch the screen while you’re on the Snapchat camera. From there you can change the settings.In order to prevent your child’s location from being shared, they should put the setting in ‘Ghost Mode’,” it said, in a Facebook post. “To view the map and switch the mode, pinch the screen while you’re on the Snapchat camera. From there you can change the settings.”

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Snapchat, Skype, BBM not protecting users’ privacy, says Amnesty International

October 21, 2016

CBC News Posted: Oct 20, 2016 8:01 PM ET Last Updated: Oct 21, 2016 2:37 PM ET

More than 100 million people use Snapchat every day. Amnesty International says the service does not do enough to ensure its users’ privacy, putting its mostly young users at risk. Major messaging services like Snapchat, Skype and BlackBerry’s BBM are not taking basic steps to ensure privacy, according to Amnesty International. The organization said this failure has serious human rights repercussions since it leaves users, and particularly activists, vulnerable to spying from cybercriminals and government agencies.

“If you think instant messaging services are private, you are in for a big surprise,” Sherif Elsayed-Ali, the head of Amnesty International’s technology and human rights team, said in a news release. “Young people, the most prolific sharers of personal details and photos over apps like Snapchat, are especially at risk,” he added.
Skype does not offer encryption for its messaging at all, while Facebook Messenger does on its new ‘secret’ service. (Patrick Sison/Associated Press)

The organization conducted a privacy assessment of the most popular messaging apps in the world. Some of the other apps included in the report are Facebook’s messaging service and WhatsApp, Apple’s iMessage and Facetime, Google’s Allo, Duo and Hangouts, Tencent’s QQ and Wechat, and Telegram.

Facebook and Apple scored the highest for having the best security. China-based Tencent came in last, with Blackberry and Snapchat also bringing up the rear.
Encryption should be ‘minimum requirement’

Amnesty’s main concern with many of the services is that they do not have what’s known as end-to-end encryption set as the default.

End-to-end encryption is considered secure because only the people communicating with each other can read a message. Encryption scrambles data and therefore blocks anyone who may try to intercept or surreptitiously read a message (unless they peer over a person’s shoulder).

In some cases, like with BlackBerry, end-to-end encryption is only offered as a paid service. It’s not offered at all on Snapchat, Skype (owned by Microsoft), or on Tencent’s apps.

Amnesty says this should be considered a “minimum requirement” and not just a nice add-on for tech companies.
More than 100 million people use Snapchat every day, and two billion people use Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.

The companies were also ranked on how transparent they are when it comes to communicating their security policies to users.

While some companies say they take security seriously, their actions say otherwise.

“Although it has a strong policy commitment towards privacy, in practice [Snapchat] does not do enough to protect its users’ privacy,” said Amnesty International.

‘Secret’ Facebook messages

Facebook scored highest because WhatsApp deploys end-to-end encryption as a default. The company also recently rolled out its new “secret” messages feature which uses end-to-end encryption. But Facebook’s Messenger, when not in “secret” mode, does not encrypt messages.

Apple also scored well because it provides encryption on iMessage and Facetime. But the Amnesty report said the company needs to do more to ensure its users know that SMS messages are less secure than iMessages, which are between two iMessage users.

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Snapchat Said to Pick Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs to Lead IPO

October 12, 2016

Snapchat has chosen bankers for its initial public offering, which could happen as soon as March, according to people familiar with the matter.
Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. will lead the offering and were notified of their role early this week, said the people, who asked not to be named because the information isn’t public. JPMorgan Chase & Co., Deutsche Bank AG, Allen & Co., Barclays Plc and Credit Suisse Group AG will also be involved as joint book runners, the people said.

Snapchat, which recently changed its corporate name to Snap Inc., makes an application for sharing selfies and videos, watching news videos and chatting with friends. It has more than 150 million daily active users and aims to generate more than $350 million in advertising revenue this year, up from $59 million in 2015, people familiar with its plans have said. Because the company’s revenue is less than $1 billion, it qualifies to file IPO documents confidentially with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Snap, with a private market value of $18 billion after its last funding round, will be the largest social media IPO since Twitter Inc. in November 2013. Snap plans to go public even as other large startups, such as Uber Technologies Inc. and Airbnb Inc., take more time, raising private capital or borrowing money instead.

Morgan Stanley’s lead role comes after the bank arranged a credit facility for Snap in September. Mary Ritti, a spokeswoman for Snapchat, declined to comment, as did representatives for Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank. Representatives for Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan, Barclays, Allen & Co. and Credit Suisse didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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