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Unauthorized, Mislabeled Microsoft Support Tool Leaks

Several mainstream tech sites this week published details of a purported new Microsoft support tool designed to fix problems with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update. After some digging, Ed Bott can report that it is no such thing. His advice: Stay far away from this "Windows Self Healing Tool." If you want to be a Windows expert, one of the most important lessons to learn is skepticism. Whenever someone claims to have a magic fix-it tool or a MakeRocketShipGoFast registry tweak, you should keep it away from any system you care about until you can confirm it does what it says it does.

Chrome to block Flash for Analytics

Google has announced its Chrome browser will begin blocking Adobe Flash Player next month, citing the lag in browsing experience as the reason. "Today, more than 90 percent of Flash on the web loads behind the scenes to support things like page analytics. This kind of Flash slows you down," Google said in a blog post. The "de-emphasising" of Flash will begin with the September Chrome 53 release and in December, Google expects Chrome 55 will default to HTML5.

Microsoft: Two Windows 10 feature updates coming in 2017

In a recent TechNet article itemizing new IT pro features for the Anniversary Update (codenamed "Redstone 1"), Microsoft officials included this line: "Windows 10, version 1607 is our third Windows 10 feature update released. Based on feedback from organizations moving to Windows 10, this will be our last feature update for 2016, with two additional feature updates expected in 2017."

Amazon Silk Browser Ignored SSL Searches

Amazon's Silk internet browser contained a serious bug which not only ignored SSL security standards in Google searches but prevented redirection to the secure version of the search engine. The Google Chrome-based Silk browser, loaded with Amazon Kindle tablets, was set up without Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology -- which encrypts communication between servers and web browsers -- and also prevented automatic redirections to Google's SSL version of the tech giant's search engine.

Google Maps Updated

Today Google released updates for desktop, Android, and iOS that are designed to improve the visual experience. After updating Google Maps on the Huawei P9, Matthew Miller immediately saw the improvements with the orange shading of "areas of interest" throughout downtown Seattle. Google uses these new shaded areas to show users where there are a number of activities and events, perfect as visitors explore Seattle, and other areas around the world, this summer.

Microsoft updates its bot platforms

Microsoft originally announced the Skype Bot Platform in March at the company's Build developer conference. As of July 8, Microsoft officials said 30,000 developers are building building bots for its platforms. As part of the updates to the Skype Bot Platform, Microsoft added groups support so that bots can now be part of group conversations. Skype Bots now also can take advantage of visual image cards, carousel cards, and receipt cards. The team also is working on single sign-in directly on cards, resulting in users having to authorize their credentials one time only.

US-EU data-sharing pact set to take effect

Members of the European Union (EU) on Friday approved the final version of the Privacy Shield, a pact between the EU and the US that sets the terms for trans-Atlantic transfers of personal data. The EU Commission will formally adopt the agreement on Tuesday.

Adobe pushes new open standard

Adobe says it processes more than six billion digital and electronic signature transactions each year through Adobe Sign and Adobe Document Cloud. So it's no surprise that the creative software giant is backing a consortium of tech providers in a push to bring about industry-wide open standards for the way documents are signed on the internet.

Facebook rolls out Slideshow movie-maker

Most people can’t shoot compelling videos, and static photos are boring. That’s why the tech giants are all pushing their own versions of automatic movie makers based on your media. This month, Apple announced its version called Memories coming to iOS 10 Photos, Google Photos already has its Movies Assistant and today Facebook is rolling out Slideshow to all iOS users around the world.

Google Earth and Maps get sharper satellite imagery

Several years ago, Google engineers figured out a way to stitch together satellite imagery to remove clouds, giving Google Earth and Google Maps users a better and more comprehensive view of the ground below. Today, the company has repeated the process, but this time with newer, crisper imagery from NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) Landsat 8 satellite.

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