Bytes: What’s new in tech
Police-proofing your phone; Google Play comes to iOS; A connected home for consumers
Police-proofing your phoneYou might want to “protect your phone from the prying eyes of cops,” said Andrew Tarantola in Gizmodo.com. It’s not uncommon for police forces to confiscate “the phones of citizens who choose to film them, unilaterally deleting images and videos of their actions.” If they try, know your rights. “You aren’t required to talk to the police without a lawyer present, or give the passcode to your phone, or consent to any sort of search.” But more and more states allow police to search your phone without a warrant. In those places, put your phone and SIM card “on lock down” using the device’s encryption features. But the best way to back up your data is by saving and sharing your photos and videos to social media services or remote cloud storage, which “give you a place to park your media that cops have a much harder time touching.”
Google Play comes to iOSApple users now have a music choice that can compete with iTunes, said Casey Newton in TheVerge.com. “Six months after its subscription music service came to Android and the Web, Google is bringing its take on unlimited streaming to the iPhone.” The company’s Google Play Music app arrived in the App Store last week, offering “most of the features that its Android counterpart does” with a native iOS look and feel. The free app allows listeners to play any songs they have backed up to Google’s cloud—up to 20,000 tracks. “But to access the real power of Google Play Music,” users will need to sign up for a $9.99 monthly subscription, allowing them to stream and download more than 20 million songs from Google’s catalog.
A connected home for consumersA new product brings us “one step closer to the connected home,” said Margaret Rhodes in FastCompany.com. GE and Quirky, a New York City–based firm “that crowdsources inventions,” have rolled out a new device called the Spotter—one of the first “consumer-friendly products” for people who want to monitor and control their homes electronically. Available for $50, the Spotter is a disk-shaped device “packed with sensors that measure temperature, humidity, light, sound, and motion.” Users can install it anywhere using magnets or adhesives, and a companion app lets users “create actions and alarms.” The Spotter can be set to let you know it’s time to turn on the humidifier, or even “when the washing machine has stopped churning.”