Gmail Passwords Leak Online, Microsoft Drops Windows Phone, And More… [Tech News Digest]

Also, California protects negative reviews, Deezer lands in the U.S., a Street View of the Pyramids, the 3DS which looks like a NES, and a Rube Goldberg machine lights the way.

Millions Of Passwords Published Online

The login credentials for around 5 million Gmail accounts have been leaked online, but thankfully this isn’t as serious a security breach as first thought. The passwords associated with millions of Gmail addresses were posted on a Bitcoin security board on Tuesday (Sept. 9), but it has now become clear this wasn’t a new breach, but rather a dumping of credentials from multiple sources over many years.

Google has conducted its own investigation into this leak, and concluded it is “not the result of a breach of Google systems.” Furthermore, it’s likely that “less than 2% of the username and password combinations might have worked.” So, while this is a timely reminder to regularly change your passwords and use strong, unique passwords for each site, it isn’t the cause to panic that some are suggesting.

If you want to check whether your Gmail username and password were included in this credential dump you can use to do so. If you’re worried about this being spammers harvesting email addresses — which is always a possibility — then replace three characters from your email address with asterisks. Or just change your password anyway.

Windows Phone May Be No More

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Microsoft is dropping both the Windows Phone and Nokia branding in its new promotional campaign. An internal Microsoft document first leaked by GeeksOnGadgets (and confirmed as authentic by The Verge) details the first stage of what is expected to be a major rebranding exercise for the company’s smartphones.

The Nokia brand, newly owned by Microsoft, will be dropped entirely, while the Windows Phone logo will be replaced by the all-encompassing Windows logo. This is further evidence that Microsoft is moving towards having just one version of Windows across all platforms and devices. In other words, Windows Phone isn’t dead, but the name is on life support.

California Endorses Negative Reviews

California has passed legislation banning businesses from prohibiting customers from posting negative reviews about them on the Internet. This new law was sought after some customers found themselves facing hefty fines for posting negative reviews of businesses.

Those businesses now face fines themselves if they’re caught trying to contractually prohibit customers from saying anything bad about them online. A practice that should never have been allowed in the first place.

Deezer Launches In The United States

Another day, another streaming music service enters the fray. This time it’s Deezer, which is launching in the United States on Monday (Sept. 15) after gaining a foothold in Europe. Deezer will cost $10 per month for those signing up for a full year, or $15 per month for those keen to try it out for a shorter period of time.

Deezer is hoping to differentiate itself from Spotify and its other competitors by offering high quality lossless audio streams. However, this will only be available to those with Sonos audio equipment, with those using Android and iOS stuck with the standard quality of streaming. We look down on you, plebs.

Egyptian Pyramids Added To Google Street View

The Pyramids of Giza have been added to Google Street View. This means anyone can now take a virtual tour around the area, gaze in awe upon the Great Pyramid (one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World), and marvel at the weathered face of the Great Sphinx. All without leaving the comfort of their own home. Result!

New 3DS XL looks Like Old NES Gamepad

Nintendo has unveiled a 3DS XL designed to look like the gamepad of an old Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). This is just one of a set of three new 3DS XL designs, the others featuring Super Smash Bros. and Persona Q. The NES special edition will be available exclusively at GameStop on Oct. 10 and priced at $199.

If you have fond memories of the NES then feel free to name it as your favorite games console of all time in the We Ask You we’re currently running.

This Rube Goldberg Machine Uses Optics

And finally, while Rube Goldberg machines are a pretty common sight online, this is the first time we have seen one powered by a simple beam of light. The video above, along with the Rube Goldberg machine it features, is the work of Japanese optical Internet service provider au Hikari. The lesson being that there’s power in them thar optics.

Your Views On Today’s Tech News

Will you be changing any passwords in light of this new Gmail leak? Is Microsoft sensible to drop the Windows Phone moniker? Should negative reviews be protected around the world?

Let us know your thoughts on the tech news of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.

Image Credit: David Goehring via Flickr

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