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Updated: 49 min 57 sec ago

Microsoft To Begin Reducing Your Free OneDrive Cloud Storage Starting Today

7/14/2016 10:00am
For those of you who forgot -- or didn't bother -- to keep the 15GB worth of OneDrive storage, starting today you will see a big change in your account. On Thursday, Microsoft will begin shrinking your 15GB OneDrive free storage to 5GB, and also cancel the 15GB storage it gave you as part of camera roll backup bonus. For its part, Microsoft did warn about the changes to people a couple of times over the past few months. It all started when Microsoft gave Office 365 subscribers unlimited OneDrive storage space. Many people abused this, uploading over 75TB worth of movies and other files in some cases. BetaNews reports: If you log into your OneDrive account and find that you still have the full storage quota available, don't be lulled into a false sense of security. The cuts are actually being spread out between July 13 and July 27. Unless you opted out of the change, you're out of luck.

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'Fourth Amendment Caucus' Aims To Fight Government Surveillance

7/14/2016 9:00am
schwit1 quotes a report from USA Today: An unusual coalition of 13 Republicans and 12 Democrats on Wednesday announced the creation of the House Fourth Amendment Caucus to protect Americans' privacy rights against calls for increased government surveillance in the wake of terrorist attacks. The group named itself after the Fourth Amendment because the lawmakers fear that the government is increasingly seeking the power to search Americans' electronic data without a warrant. They see that as a threat to the Constitutional amendment's protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. "In the face of difficult circumstances, some are quick to pursue extreme, unconstitutional measures; the Fourth Amendment Caucus will be a moderating influence that gives voice to countless Americans whose rights are violated by these ill-conceived policies," said Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich), who joined the group led by Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), and Ted Poe (R-Texas).

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Apple Launching Reality TV Show Called 'Planet of the Apps'

7/14/2016 6:00am
theodp writes: The Verge reports Apple is making good on an earlier threat to create a reality TV show about app developers. An open casting call has been issued for "Planet of the Apps," with the goal of finding "100 of the world's most talented app creators" -- news which VentureBeat suggests must be making Steve Jobs' ghost weep. Apple has teamed up with Propagate, a new production company created by the producer of "The Biggest Loser." The description of the show says: "Join us on the search for the next great app in a new original series. Those selected will have the chance to receive hands-on guidance from some of the most influential experts in the tech community, featured placement on the App Store, and funding from top-tier VCs." The show is expected to be released in 2017.

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Windows Malware Poses As Ransomware, Just Deletes Victims' Files

7/14/2016 3:00am
An anonymous reader writes: Ranscam, a ransom malware reported by Cisco's Talos Security Intelligence group, claims to have encrypted victims' files and hold them for ransom, but in actuality it has already deleted those files and is simply trying to trick its victims into paying to recover files that are no longer there anymore. SlashGear reports: "Most ransomware follow a similar tactic once they get control of a computer or mobile device. They encrypt certain files, personal documents are a favorite, and then display a message instructing the user to pay, usually with bitcoins, to receive the decryption key to save their files. Ranscam, however, is completely without honor, as much honor as you can find among thieves and scam artists. It claims to have encrypted the users' files and then makes the usual demand. However, it adds an additional threat. For each time the user clicks on the 'payment sent' button but no payment was received, it threatens it will delete a file. That, however, is a total farce. In truth, files have already been deleted, so whether the victim pays or not is moot. The perpetrators don't have any way to recover those deleted files anyway. Also, the threats it flashes users are simply static images fetched from a remote server. Users might just as well be clicking on a two-slide presentation. The good news is that reported Ranscam infections are small, according to Cisco's Talos Security Intelligence group."

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Tor Project Installs New Board of Directors After Jacob Appelbaum Controversy

7/13/2016 11:30pm
An anonymous reader writes: The Tor Project announced today that is has elected an entirely new board of directors as part of a larger shake-up after accusations of misconduct by former employee Jacob Appelbaum. Appelbaum left the company in June after the nonprofit organization said it had received multiple accusations against him. The seven board members that are leaving the organization said in a statement today that it is their "duty to ensure that the Tor Project has the best possible leadership." The New York Times reports that the board agreed to step down following the controversy surrounding Appelbaum. Some of the board members who will be leaving include Tor Project co-founders Roger Dingledine and Nick Mathewson, who will continue to work on the organization's technical research and development team, according to the statement. They will be replaced with several prominent cryptographers and scholars, including University of Pennsylvania professor Matt Blaze, Electronic Frontier Foundation Executive Director Cindy Cohn, and security technologist Bruce Schneier. Meanwhile, researchers at MIT have been working on a new anonymity network that they say is more secure than Tor.

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Theresa May Becomes UK's 'Spy Queen' and New Prime Minister

7/13/2016 9:30pm
An anonymous reader writes from a report via Ars Technica: Theresa May has become the new British Prime Minister. As she sat down with the Queen on Wednesday, a controversial surveillance draft legislation that looks to significantly increase surveillance of Brits' online activity will be debated during its second committee stage day in the House of Lords. Ars Technica reports: "The Investigatory Powers Act could be in place within months of May arriving at Number 10 -- if peers and legal spats fail to scupper its passage through parliament -- after MPs recently waved it through having secured only minor amendments to the bill. As home secretary, May fought for six years to get her so-called Snoopers' Charter onto the statute books." According to Ars Technica, Theresa May's key political moments on the Investigatory Powers Bill start in 1997 when she became the Member of Parliament for Maidenhead. During her opposition years, her home affairs record shows that she generally votes against the Labour government's more draconian measures on topics such as anti-terrorism and ID cards. Mid-2009: May votes against requiring ISPs to retain certain categories of communications data, which they generate or process, for a minimum period of 12 months. 2010: She was appointed home secretary in coalition government between the Conservatives and junior partner the Liberal Democrats. 2011: The previous government's shelved Interception Modernization Program is rebranded as the Communications Capabilities Development Program (CCDP) by home office under May. Mid-2012: The CCDP morphs into Communications Data Bill, which is brought before parliament. Late-2012: May's Snoopers' Charter bid fails as deputy PM Nick Clegg orders the home office to go back to the drawing board. Mid-2014: May rushes what she characterizes as an "emergency" Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill through parliament, after the European Court of Justice invalidates the Data Retention Directive for failing to have adequate privacy safeguards in place. Late-2015: British security services have intercepted bulk communications data of UK citizens for years, May reveals to MPs for the first time as she brings her revamped Snoopers' Charter bid -- this time dubbed the Investigatory Powers Bill (IPB) -- before parliament. Mid-2016: MPs support thrust of IPB as it passes through the House of Commons. July 13, 2016: Theresa May becomes the UK's new prime minister as peers in the House of Lords undertake a second day of committee stage scrutiny of the Investigatory Powers Bill. UPDATE 7/13/16: Boris Johnson, the former London mayor who led the Brexit campaign, has been made foreign secretary by the new Prime Minister Theresa May.

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Ex-Google Engineer Launches Blockchain-Based System For Banks

7/13/2016 8:50pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: A former Google engineer, whose speech recognition software is used in more than a billion Android smartphones, has launched a company that uses blockchain technology to build a new operating system for banks. Paul Taylor, a Cambridge University academic with an expertise in artificial intelligence, speech synthesis and machine learning, started working on the system, called Vault OS, two years ago in a basement in London's Shoreditch district, known for being a tech start-up hub. The technology, which underpins the digital currency bitcoin, creates a shared database in which participants can trace every transaction ever made. The ledger is tamper-proof and transparent, meaning that transactions can be processed without the need for third-party verification. The system also negates the need for costly in-house data centers, as it uses cloud-based systems, which banks can use on a "pay-as-you-go" basis, which means that there is no single point of failure. Taylor said major high-street banks were spending around a billion pounds ($1.3 billion) a year on computer technology, much of which he said was being used for propping up the current "legacy" systems rather than on any innovative technology. The start-up has been working with about ten banks, Taylor said, at least one of which would be starting a trial using the new system in August. He expects the system to be up-and-running within about a year. In banking-related news, a Congressional report shows that China's spies hacked into computers at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) from 2010 until 2013 and American government officials tried to cover it up.

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Microsoft: Only Microsoft Edge Will Play Netflix Content At 1080p On Your PC

7/13/2016 8:10pm
An anonymous reader writes from a report via PCWorld: Microsoft made the bold claim on Wednesday that its Edge browser was the only browser of the big four browsers -- Chrome, Firefox, and Opera -- to play Netflix content at a 1080p resolution. PCWorld tested the four browsers and found this claim to be valid. The other three browsers capped out at a 720p resolution. Microsoft has been trying to boost Edge's reputation. Microsoft recently claimed that its Edge browser is more power-efficient than Chrome. (Opera later denied those claims.) This is the latest bold claim to come from Microsoft in regard to its Edge browser. Microsoft has even publicized a Netflix support document to show that Netflix streams at 1080p on Internet Explorer and Edge, and 720p on the other browsers. PCWorld used the "secret Netflix menus" that were first unearthed by Reddit users (Ctrl+Alt+Shift+D) to display the resolution and bitrate and confirm that Microsoft's claims are true. "In a blog post, Microsoft claimed Microsoft Edge was built to take advantage of platform features in Windows 10, including the PlayReady Content Protection and the media engine's Protected Media Path," reports PCWorld. "The company said it is working with the Open Media Alliance to develop next-generation media formats, codecs, and other technologies for UltraHD video, and with chipset companies to develop Enhanced Content Protection that moves the protected media path into peripheral hardware for an even higher level of security, and one that could be used to protect 4K media."

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Ask Slashdot: Why Don't Graphics Cards For VR Use Real-Time Motion Compensation?

7/13/2016 7:30pm
dryriver writes: Graphics cards manufacturers like Nvidia and AMD have gone to great pains recently to point out that in order to experience virtual reality with a VR headset properly, you need a GPU capable of pushing at least a steady 90 FPS per eye, or a total of at least 180 FPS for both eyes, and at high resolutions to boot. This of course requires the purchase of the latest, greatest high-end GPUs made by these manufacturers, alongside the money you are already plonking down for your new VR headset, and a good, fast gaming-class PC. This raises an interesting question: virtually every LCD/LED TV manufactured in the last 5 or 6 years has a 'Real-Time Motion Compensation' feature built in. This is the not-so-new-at-all technique of taking, say, a football match broadcast live at 30 FPS or Hz, and algorithmically generating extra in-between frames in real time, thus giving you a hyper-smooth 200-400 FPS/Hz image on the TV set with no visible stutter or strobing whatsoever. This technology is not new. It is cheap enough to include in virtually every TV set at every price level (thus the hardware that performs the real-time motion compensating cannot cost more than a few dollars total). And the technique should, in theory, work just fine with the output of a GPU trying to drive a VR headset. Now suppose you have an entry level or mid-range GPU capable of pushing only 40-60 FPS in a VR application (or a measly 20-30 FPS per eye, making for a truly terrible VR experience). You could, in theory, add some cheap motion compensation circuitry to that GPU and get 100-200 FPS or more per eye. Heck, you might even be able to program a few GPU cores to run the motion compensation as a real-time GPU shader as the rest of the GPU is rendering a game or VR experience. So my question: Why don't GPUs for VR use real-time motion compensation techniques to increase the FPS pushed into the VR headset? Would this not make far more financial sense for the average VR user than having to buy a monstrously powerful GPU to experience VR at all?

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Parents Upset After Their Boy Was 'Knocked Down and Run Over' By A Security Robot

7/13/2016 6:50pm
An anonymous reader writes from a report via KGO-TV: PSA: Beware of dangerous security robots at the Stanford Shopping Center! After a young boy was "knocked down and run over" by one of the Stanford Shopping Center security robots, the boy's parents want to help prevent others from getting hurt. KGO-TV reports: "They said the machine is dangerous and fear another child will get hurt. Stanford Shopping Center's security robot stands 5' tall and weighs 300 pounds. It amuses shoppers of all ages, but last Thursday, 16-month-old Harwin Cheng had a frightening collision with the robot. 'The robot hit my son's head and he fell down facing down on the floor and the robot did not stop and it kept moving forward,' Harwin's mom Tiffany Teng said. Harwin's parents say the robot ran over his right foot, causing it to swell, but luckily the child didn't suffer any broken bones. Harwin also got a scrape on his leg from the incident." Teng said, "He was crying like crazy and he never cries. He seldom cries." They are concerned as to why the robot didn't detect Harwin. "Garage doors nowadays, we're just in a day in age where everything has some sort of a sensor," shopper Ashle Gerrard said. "Maybe they have to work out the sensors more. Maybe it stopped detecting or it could be buggy or something," shopper Ankur Sharma said. The parents said a security guard told them another child was hurt from the same robot just days before. They're hoping their story will help other parents be more careful the next time they're at the Stanford Shopping Center. The robots are designed by Knightscope and come equipped with self-navigation, infra-red cameras and microphones that can detect breaking glass to support security services.

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Pokemon Go Becomes Biggest Mobile Game In US History

7/13/2016 6:10pm
An anonymous reader writes: Pokemon Go is now the biggest mobile game of all time in the U.S. Not only has it surpassed Twitter's daily users, but it is seeing people spend more time in its app than in Facebook. An earlier report from SimilarWeb says Pokemon Go has surpassed Tinder in terms of installations -- the app surpassed Tinder on July 7th. Today, the tracking firm says Pokemon Go has managed to surpass Twitter in terms of daily active users on Monday. It says almost 6% of the entire U.S. Android population is engaging with the app on a daily basis. A new report from SurveyMonkey intelligence indicated that Pokemon Go has claimed the title "biggest mobile game in U.S. history." The game saw just under 21 million daily active users in the U.S. on Monday. It's reportedly closing in on Snapchat on Android, and could surpass Google Maps on Android as well. According to app store intelligence firm SensorTower, the average iPhone user on iOS spent 33 minutes catching Pokemon, which is more than any other apps it analyzed, including Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, and Slither.io. The app with the second-most average usage at 22 minutes, 8 seconds, was Facebook. SurveyMonkey did note that Pokemon Go still falls short of other games when it comes to time spent in games. Game of War sees nearly 2 hours of total daily usage for the average user, while Candy Crush Saga sees daily usage of about 43 minutes. In just two days, Pokemon Go brought Nintendo's market value to $7.5 billion. It's worth noting that it remains to be seen whether or not the game will continue to break records or turn into a ghost town like Nintendo's first mobile game, Miitomo.

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Programming Bug Costs Citigroup $7M After Legit Transactions Mistaken For Test Data For 15 Years

7/13/2016 5:30pm
An anonymous reader shares a report on The Register:A programming blunder in its reporting software has led to Citigroup being fined $7m. According to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), that error [PDF] resulted in the financial regulator being sent incomplete "blue sheet" information for a remarkable 15 years -- from May 1999 to April 2014. The mistake was discovered by Citigroup itself when it was asked to send a large but precise chunk of trading data to the SEC in April 2014 and asked its technical support team to help identify which internal ID numbers they should run a request on. That team quickly noticed that some branches' trades were not being included in the automated system and alerted those above them. Four days later a patch was in place, but it wasn't until eight months later that the company received a formal report noting that the error had affected SEC reports going back more than a decade. The next month, January 2015, Citigroup fessed up to the SEC.The glitch resided in new alphanumeric branch codes that the bank had introduced in the mid-1990s. The program code filtered out any transactions that were given three-digit branch codes from 089 to 100 and used those prefixes for testing purposes. The report adds, "But in 1998, the company started using alphanumeric branch codes as it expanded its business. Among them were the codes 10B, 10C and so on, which the system treated as being within the excluded range, and so their transactions were removed from any reports sent to the SEC."

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Google Gets Land For Its Futuristic Headquarters, Thanks To LinkedIn Deal

7/13/2016 4:50pm
An anonymous reader writes from a report via Ars Technica: Silicon Valley Business Journal reports that Google and LinkedIn have worked out a deal that will allow the two neighbors to swap a few million square feet of real estate. The deal will help give Google enough room to build its futuristic "canopy" campus. Ars Technica reports: "Google will receive all of LinkedIn's existing Mountain View territory, which consists of LinkedIn's 370,000-square-feet headquarters and almost eight acres of land LinkedIn had planned on turning into office space. LinkedIn will move a few miles across town into four office buildings currently owned by Google that come out to about 750,000 square feet of office space. LinkedIn instantly gets to double its office space while avoiding a costly 'five- to six-year' construction project, and Google gets the space and building rights it needs to build its crazy indoor/outdoor spiderweb canopy utopia. Google owns a huge chunk of land in Mountain View with many office buildings, but the buildings have all been hand-me-downs. In February 2015, Google announced plans to renovate its campus with an ambitious design featuring a large membrane covering configurable activity space. To expand, both LinkedIn and Google needed to compete for Mountain View's 2.2 million square feet of available commercial square footage. The city, fearing it would become an all-Google town, awarded the majority of the construction rights -- 1.4 million square feet -- to LinkedIn, leaving Google with nowhere to build its new headquarters. With the real estate swap, those construction rights go to Google, so the company now has all the space it asked for." Last month, Microsoft announced plans to acquired LinkedIn for $26.2 billion.

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TOS Agreements Require Giving Up First Born -- and Users Gladly Consent

7/13/2016 4:10pm
An anonymous reader shares an Ars Technica report: A recent study concludes what everybody already knows: nobody reads the lengthy terms of service and privacy policies that bombard Internet users every day. Nobody understands them. They're too long, and they often don't make sense. A study out this month made the point all too clear. Most of the 543 university students involved in the analysis didn't bother to read the terms of service before signing up for a fake social networking site called "NameDrop" that the students believed was real. Those who did glossed over important clauses. The terms of service required them to give up their first born, and if they don't yet have one, they get until 2050 to do so. The privacy policy said that their data would be given to the NSA and employers. Of the few participants who read those clauses, they signed up for the service anyway. "This brings us to the biggest lie on the Internet, which anecdotally, is known as 'I agree to these terms and conditions,'" the study found. The paper is called "The biggest lie on the Internet: Ignoring the privacy policies and terms of service policies of social networking services".This reminds me of a similar thing F-Secure security firm did in 2014. It asked London residents to give them their first child in exchange of free Wi-Fi access. The company, for the record, didn't collect any children.

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China Hacked US Banking Regulator From 2010 Until 2013 - and US Officials Covered It Up: Report

7/13/2016 3:25pm
According to a Congressional report, China's spies hacked into computers at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) from 2010 until 2013. The report adds that American government officials tried to cover it up. From a Reuters report: "Even the former Chairwoman's computer had been hacked by a foreign government, likely the Chinese," staff at the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology said in the report. The report was the latest example of how deeply Washington believes that Beijing has penetrated U.S. government computers. But while making the allegation that China was the culprit, the report does not provide specific evidence to support that conclusion.

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AT&T Thinks Drones Can Fix Terrible Reception At Baseball Games, Music Concerts

7/13/2016 2:45pm
Cell services are at some of their worst behaviors at music concerts, baseball games and other similar large public gatherings. AT&T thinks it might have a solution for it. In a blog post today, the carrier company announced the idea of building cell extensions into drones and flying them in to handle the large dense traffic demands. From a report:AT&T has dubbed the drones "Flying COWs" -- the COW stands for âoeCell on Wings.â The drones would boost LTE coverage to areas in need of it during occasional large events. They would be tethered to the ground to prevent them from going rogue and flying away. The trial project is part of AT&T's just-launched national drone program, which will focus on how AT&T and its customers can benefit from drones. The program director, Art Pregler, said they wouldn't have to fly too high, perhaps just under the roofline of stadiums or buildings. AT&T also envisions that Flying COWs could provide boosted coverage in disaster response situations, particularly when vehicles aren't otherwise able to drive into the affected areas.

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Guccifer 2.0 Drops New Documents

7/13/2016 2:05pm
Joe Uchill, reporting for The Hill: Guccifer 2.0, the hacker who breached the Democratic National Committee, has released a cache of purported DNC documents to The Hill in an effort to refocus attention on the hack. The documents include more than 11,000 names matched with some identifying information, files related to two controversial donors and a research file on Sarah Palin. "The press [is] gradually forget[ing] about me, [W]ikileaks is playing for time and [I] have some more docs," he said in electronic chat explaining his rationale. The documents provide some insight into how the DNC handled high-profile donation scandals. But the choice of documents revealed to The Hill also provides insight into the enigmatic Guccifer 2.0. The hacker provided a series of spreadsheets related to Norman Hsu, a Democratic donor jailed in 2009 for running a Ponzi scheme and arranging illegal campaign contributions. The DNC responded by assembling files to gauge the exposure from Hsu to its slate of candidates.

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90% Of Software Developers Work Outside Silicon Valley

7/13/2016 1:25pm
An anonymous reader shares a Quartz report: So much code to write, so few developers. The chronic talent shortage afflicting Silicon Valley is now all over the US -- and the developers are too. A study by the software trade group The App Association analyzed government and private sector data to map where software developers live, and it identified 223,054 open positions around the country. It found that most developers live far away from the technology epicenter of Silicon Valley, and job openings follow a similar pattern. The upshot: Silicon Valley-style talent wars are moving away from tech hubs to smaller metro and even rural areas. Everywhere from rural Vermont to the middle of Montana is in need of programmers. "You can find places where you didn't expect software developers to be, but they are part of the local economy," said association spokesman Jonathan Godfrey in an interview. "It's pretty much everywhere."

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Why So Much Coverage Of Amazon Prime Day? The Incentives, Of Course

7/13/2016 12:45pm
Olivia Solon, writing for The Guardian: In July 2015, Amazon declared its own annual holiday: Amazon Prime Day. The retail giant promised deals on a wide range of products for customers signed up to its membership program, Amazon Prime. This is the second Amazon Prime Day, and it's pretty hard to miss. At the time of writing, the #PrimeDay hashtag was one of Twitter's top 10 worldwide trends. Media outlets including the Daily Mail, USA Today, the Telegraph, PC World and CNet are publishing numerous stories about the discounts on offer, and urging readers to sign up for an Amazon Prime trial. What many of those readers won't realise is that publishers are financially incentivised by Amazon to write about Prime Day. By signing up to the retail giant's affiliate programme, Amazon Associates, publishers can earn commissions from linking to products on Amazon.com.In some other news, Amazon announced on Wednesday that the self-created holiday was its biggest sales day ever, with worldwide orders rising more than 60% compared with the previous Prime Day.

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Google Will Let You Share Movies, Apps, and Music You Buy With Up To Six People

7/13/2016 12:00pm
Google reportedly plans to introduce Google Play Family Library plan later this month which will enable users to share their Android apps, games, and media purchases with five different people. The feature, which is similar to Apple's Family Sharing plan, is something that many will find super useful. If nothing, you can split the cost of an app or a music album with your friends. CNET reports:It works like this. Everyone in the group will be able to access every single app, video and book that's available to the [primary] account holder. If you decide to let the kids run wild on your media collection, you can even remove specific titles from the library to keep it more kid-friendly, or hide certain artists you might not want to share with others. You don't have to pay extra to sign up for the Google Play Family Library, but you will need a credit card saved to the account for future purchases. To avoid any financial snafus that might come with multiple account users, Google will send a receipt so there aren't any unpleasant (or expensive) surprises.

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