Google Fixes Chrome for iOS, Malwarebytes Tackles Ransomware… [Tech News Digest]

Google improves Chrome for iOS, Malwarebytes protects you from ransomware, Oracle finally kills the Java plugin, Google Play embraces positivity, and Paul Rudd and Stephen Hawking play quantum chess.

Chrome for iOS Is Faster, More Stable

Google has released a new version of Chrome for iOS which the company claims is “significantly faster and more stable” than previous versions. Which is just as well given most iOS users’ attitude to Chrome, which is known for being sluggish and prone to crashing on their favorite operating system.

Chrome for iOS is now faster and more stable as a result of serious changes under the hood. Chrome 48 uses the same WKWebView rendering engine as Safari, replacing the old UIWebView, which was to blame for most of the speed and reliability issues. Google claims speeds may have increased tenfold, with crashes being reduced by around 70 percent.

You can download the new version of Chrome for iOS to your iPhone or iPad from the App Store. And it’s surely worth seeing whether Google’s claims are accurate. However, we suspect it will take more than this to convince the average Apple advocate to switch from Safari to Chrome. Because, in their eyes at least, Google is evil.

Malwarebytes Launches Anti-Ransomware

Malwarebytes has released new security software solely aimed at tackling ransomware such as Cryptolocker. Ransomware is a particularly nasty security threat which encrypts the files in an infected machine and demands a ransom to release them. If you don’t pay up then your files disappear.

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware is software designed to stop ransomware before it takes hold, with “advanced proactive technology that monitors what ransomware is doing and stops it cold before it even touches your files”. And as it “does not rely on signatures or heuristics […] it’s light and completely compatible with antivirus”.

The program is currently only in beta testing, and so could be buggy or broken. However, this means you can download it for free and offer “feedback, suggestions, or bug reports” before its final release. The only problem is you’ll only know it’s actually working if you get hit by ransomware, which we wouldn’t wish on anyone.

Oracle Is Killing the Java Plugin

Oracle is preparing to kill the Java browser plugin, the source of a host of security nightmares over the years. The first step is to “deprecate the Java browser plugin in JDK 9,” with Oracle promising it “will be removed from the Oracle JDK and JRE in a future Java SE release”.

The Oracle JDK is the Java Development Kit, and the removal of the Java plugin signals the end of an era. The end of an era that saw millions of people adversely affected by bugs inherent in the Java plugin. With Chrome, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge having stopped supporting plugins anyway, this is too little, too late, but I’ll still be having a drink to celebrate.

Google Play Removes Your Thumbs

Google has removed the option to give a thumbs-down to a review on Google Play. You are still able to give an honest review of the gadgets, games, and apps available to buy through Google Play, but you can no longer give a negative reaction to other reviews. Instead, you have a choice of either giving a thumbs-up or marking a review as spam.

This is Google’s attempt at making Google Play a more positive place. Good reviews that people find useful will likely be given greater authority, while everything else will be marked as spam and simply ignored. If it helps make Google Play better then it’s a good change, but there’s something strangely satisfying about giving a thumbs-down to an opinion you disagree with.

Paul Rudd Saves the Universe

And finally, if you watch only one video today, make it this one showing Paul Rudd and Stephen Hawking playing quantum chess. Produced for One Entangled Evening, a one-day conference all about the future of quantum computing, the video is gloriously geeky and breathtakingly bizarre.

Directed by Alex Winter and narrated by Keanu Reeves, the video shows the Ant-Man actor and the theoretical physicist face off at a game of quantum chess. It starts out as ordinary chess, but things eventually take a subatomic turn. Who wins? Why, all of us watching this madness unfold, of course. [H/T Gizmodo]

Your Views on Today’s Tech News

Will you be giving Chrome for iOS another chance? Have you ever been stung by ransomware? Will you miss the Java plugin? Should Google Play retain thumbs-downs for reviews? Has that video made you more curious about quantum mechanics?

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.

Tech News Digest is a daily column paring the technology news of the day down into bite-sized chunks that are easy to read and perfect for sharing.

Image Credits: Jan Persiel via Flickr