Your iPhone is watching you.

You may remember a couple of years back that iPhones were secretly tracking your every move. This data was susceptible to attacks through a hidden file that iTunes copied to your computer when you synchronised it. Apple quickly addressed the issue and removed the exploit. I actually like to have my location tracked. I turned it on with the Google app for iOS and I even uploaded that original iTunes file to an open data project. The only caveat is, I like to know it’s being tracked, and I like to know what it’s being used for.

The iOS7 secret

iOS7 is tracking your every move. It’s recording key locations you visit in your life and it’s using those to improve its mapping facility. It knows where you live and it knows where you often visit. Question is, did you know? I certainly didn’t.

Yeah but the little location icon pops up in the top right corner, correct?”

Certainly, apps like Google Maps, Google and anything which uses your GPS location trigger the icon in the top right.. But it’s a little more shady for Apple’s latest option hidden way down in the location settings of your phone. You’ll probably never notice the little icon ever appear.

Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services (bottom) > Frequent Locations

Yes it’s all likely innocent, yes it’s likely private data but, hiding it under a general “Enable location services” when you first setup your phone is a little sneaky. And hiding it under 5 difficult menus is just wrong.

For example, the Google app drops the icon in the bottom left corner, and is open about how and why they track your information. And you have to opt in to that specific feature.

Google's method

Google Chrome

 

With the release of Google’s new web browser named “Chrome”, will this mean a shift in browser usage?

It’s the same situation as Firefox found itself in nearly four years ago, and it’s only just catching Microsofts browser.

So, is Chrome any good? I downloaded the BETA yesterday and have been playing ever since.
I am pleased to say it’s extremely fast. It features a new open source Javascript Engine named “V8″ as well as multiple tab processing. This means the browser can handle processes from each individual tab rather than processing the lot at the same time, which competitors such as Firefox 3 and IE7 do (IE8 BETA has a similar system to Chrome).

Although it may take up a little more memory and power it ultimately makes for a faster browsing experience and more stability. If one of the processes fail you only lose one tab rather than the whole browser.
Firefox has a similar stability system included where it re-initiates your tabs after a crash. Google Chrome never has to close when a piece of dodgy Javascript breaks the tab. It just closes it.

Things I like in Chrome:

  1. The truely awesome Chrome Inspector
    A great debugging tool is built right into Chrome. Want to know what’s making your page load slowly? Not sure how long your page takes to load? Want to know which elements load first? This shows you the lot. You can see which order elements load, how long they take to load, how long it takes for each element to load after the previous as well as file information and the built in debugger and property inspector. You have to use it to truly understand it’s complexity. Simply click the control button, then down to Developer>Javascript console and click away!
  2. Incognito Browsing (and the awesome logo)
    It’s basically a porn mode. Very much like IE8’s new privacy feature. Upon opening this new “Incognito Window” all your history and web cookies won’t be stored meaning your basically invisible on the internet. It also means your mom/mum won’t find that dirty website you have been visiting over the past few days…
    I also love the “spy” logo very similar to Gamespys logo. It looks very cool for a Google graphic! (I also love the Chrome logo).
  3. The iGoogle like welcome page
    When opening a new tab you have the option of showing a “New Tab page”. It shows your most visited websites in order and also shows your full browser history with time and date. Clicking show full history actually allows you to see your online travel path. The new tab page also shows new bookmarks and recently closed tabs. A feature I like very much as losing closed tabs can be easy.
  4. Organised tabs
    When you have several tabs opened, keeping track can be difficult. And when Firefox adds your tab onto the end of the list it can be hard to find again. Google Chrome adds the tab next to the currently opened one, which helps keep them organised. The more tabs you have open at any one time, the harder it becomes to sort, and the more valuable this feature becomes.
    Click on the image to see a better example.
  5. Unobtrusive status bar
    This is a personal preference. The more browser space is available, the better. This means you can see more of the page at any one time. Even if it is 10px worth of space, every little bit helps.
    When hovering over links the status bar pops up in the lower left corner, then fades away when you move away from the link. Simple and effective.

To be honest I could write about the new Chrome all day, but I know that it’s already been well documented. Maybe I got a little carried away.

To download Google Chrome simply head over to their website.