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Welcome to this week’s tech news roundup. Here is what’s latest in Firefox, Chrome, Android, iOS and more. Vertical Tabs in Firefox Mozilla is... April 6th Tech news roundup: Chrome Safer, Anonymous Chatgpt and Brave Browser welcomes AI

Welcome to this week’s tech news roundup. Here is what’s latest in Firefox, Chrome, Android, iOS and more.

Vertical Tabs in Firefox

Mozilla is finally adding Vertical Tabs in Firefox. The feature isn’t unique to the browser, it is available on Microsoft Edge, Brave and Vivaldi. Users had been requesting the feature for a long time, and Mozilla has finally released a test build of its browser that allows users to access their tabs from a vertical strip. It displays all open tabs in a list on a sidebar, not just as icons, but with their tab title.

Vertical Tabs in Firefox

Right-clicking on a tab brings up the tab menu with all the usual options. You can also use keyboard shortcuts to manage your tabs. Interestingly, the sidebar also has shortcuts for Mozilla’s AI features called “Insights”. Vertical Tabs in Firefox isn’t available in the stable version of the browser, it is being tested in the Nightly version to ensure that bugs are addressed before it is added to the general release channel.

Update Google Chrome now to patch a new Zero-Day Vulnerability

Google has released an update for Chrome that patches a 0-day security vulnerability. The issue is related to JavaScript, and was demoed by security researchers Edouard Bochin and Tao Yan at the Pwn2Own hacking contest in March.

Google says that it fixed an exploit that used an out-of-bounds read “plus a novel technique” that bypassed the V8 hardening, to execute arbitrary code in the browser’s renderer. The issue also affects other Chromium-based browsers, Microsoft Edge has been updated with a patch for the 0-day vulnerability. Since the exploit was demoed publicly, chances are that hackers could possibly try to use it for malicious purposes, which is why Google released an emergency security update for the browser.

You can update Google Chrome to version 123.0.6312.105 or above to patch the vulnerability.

Android 15 could improve your phone’s battery life

Google has big plans for Android 15, which is slated to be released later this year. Experts who have reviewed the code base of the latest test version of the mobile operating system have discovered traces related to a new adaptive timeout feature.

The code strings in Android 15 Developer Preview 2 which was released in March, mention that when the feature is enabled, the phone will automatically turn off the screen when you are not using the device. This could improve the battery life of your phone. Older versions of Android have some screen timeout settings that locks the screen after a certain period of inactivity, while another feature, called Screen Attention” turns the display off while you are not looking at the device. The new feature is designed to turn off the display early when you are not using the phone. However, it is not clear how the Android 15 will determine when the phone is not being used.

Brave Browser for iPhone and iPad now has a built-in AI

Brave Browser has been updated to introduce its AI-powered assistant, Leo, on iOS and iPadOS. Users may access Leo by tapping on the address bar and selecting “Ask Leo”. The AI-feature is quite similar to ChatGPT, Microsoft CoPilot, Google Bard, it is capable of summarizing web pages, videos, generate text content and code, provide translation of web pages, transcriptions of video or audio, etc. It also supports voice-to-text input, using which you can dictate your queries.

Brave Browser’s AI-assistant supports three large language models (LLMs): Mixtral 8x7B, Claude Instant models from Anthropic, and Llama 2 13B from Meta. Leo uses Mixtral 8x7B as the default option, and this can be changed from the app’s settings. Leo is available in Brave Browser version 1.63 and above for iPhone and iPad. The assistant can be disabled from the browser’s settings.

You can now use ChatGPT without an account

OpenAI has announced that its popular AI-chatbot service, ChatGPT, is now available for all users without an account. Prior to this, users had to submit their phone number and email address to register for a free account before they could access the service. Now, all you need to do is to visit and start asking your queries. The chatbot uses the GPT-3 language model to provide answers for your queries.

You can now use ChatGPT without an account

There are some disadvantage for not signing up for an account, for example, you cannot access your chat history, or save a chat, or share a chat with other users. You can prevent the chatbot from using your data to train its models by clicking on the Settings button in the bottom right corner of the page, and turn off the toggle that says “Improve the model for everyone”. There are some restrictions in place to prevent the AI from being used to generate harmful content.

Disney Plus will stop users from sharing their passwords this summer

Disney Plus is cracking down on password sharing among users. The company’s CEO, Bog Iger, has confirmed that the service will implement new rules from June 2024, to prevent users from sharing their accounts with other members. Users who try to access an account from other locations will be prompted to sign up for their own account. The cheapest subscription from the service is the Disney Plus Basic plan, which costs $7.99 per month, but shows advertisements between shows. This may become the most popular plan when the company’s password sharing rules are rolled out globally in September.

The streaming service will follow Netflix, which implemented a similar restriction last year, to stop people from accessing the same account outside their household. It allowed users to add other members to their account for an additional fee. The move proved to be successful, as Netflix gained 24 Million subscribers to its ad-supported tier. It is clear that Disney wants to emulate that success.

EU may ask Apple to allow users to delete the Photos app

Apple made several changes to iOS 17 last month in order to comply with the European Union’s Digital Markets act law. But according to a new report, officials in the EU say that Apple’s compliance model does not meet the objectives of the obligations under the law, which include easy uninstallation of apps, easy change of default settings, choice screen for apps. One of the apps that Apple has not allowed users to uninstall is the Photos app.

This is technically integrated with the camera roll interface in iOS, so making it removable could be troublesome for Apple. But it will likely need to allow third-party gallery apps to be used as the default photo viewer app on iPhones.

Apple allows game emulators on the App Store

Google has allowed emulators on its Play Store for Android devices for several years, but iPhone users have not had that luxury. But it’s finally happening. 9to5Mac reports that Apple has announced that it now allows game emulators on its App Store for iOS and iPadOS. Unlike other changes that the Cupertino company has made, this change is not exclusive to the European Union. It is a worldwide change, which will allow app developers to distribute their game emulators on the App store. Retro game console emulators will be allowed to download games, but they will still need to follow strict guidelines to prevent unauthorized distribution of games belonging to third-parties.

This is good news as we may soon get Retroarch, PPSSPP, and other emulators on the App Store. This could turn out to be another reason for users to switch from Android to iOS.