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Microsoft’s Android Launcher Now Lets You Track Your Kid’s Location and App Usage

Microsoft's Android launcher has family-location tracking feature

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Hackers bleeding large Indian firms by $10 mn on average each year: Microsoft. (Wikimedia commons)

Microsoft is reportedly rolling out a new locating tracking feature to its Android launcher app to help users track locations of their family members.

The new update also includes an activity report of what apps are being used on a device and for how long, The Verge reported.

Microsoft’s Android location tracking is part of a broader set of family-focused improvements on Android and the web.

Representational image.
Representational image. Wikimedia Commons

“While Microsoft has always supported website blocking on Windows PCs, the software maker is extending this feature to Android as well,” according to the report. “Any existing Microsoft family group website blocks for Windows machines will now carry over to ‘Edge for Android’, making it easy to block websites across mobile and PC,” the report added.

Microsoft is reportedly also launching a “Microsoft Network (MSN) Kids” site to provide news specifically for kids in the elementary or middle school age range.

Also Read: The Xbox One Will Reportedly Soon Support Alexa and Google Assistant

“The site offers editorially curated, age-appropriate news and features from partner publishers such as Time for Kids, Popular Science, Sports Illustrated for Kids, National Geographic, and USA TODAY,” Shilpa Ranganathan, General Manager of mobile experiences, Microsoft, was quoted as saying. (IANS)

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Microsoft Employees Decry ‘996’ Chinese Work Culture

The Alibaba Founder Ma has suggested that people in China should work for 72 hours in a week or 12 hours a day for six days

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FILE - Microsoft Corp. signage is seen outside the Microsoft Visitor Center in Redmond, Washington, July 3, 2014. VOA

A group of Microsoft employees has come forward to support Chinese tech workers on the gruelling ‘996’ culture, writing a petition in defence of a trending GitHub repository that is being censored in China.

In a letter written on web-hosting service Github, owned by Microsoft, the employees have asked the company to keep the “996.ICU” GitHub repository uncensored, The Verge reported on Monday.

The repository “996.ICU” is a reference to the working hours that tech workers in China are protesting — 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., six days a week.

The ICU refers to employees who work under these grueling hours, eventually ending up in the Intensive Care Unit at hospitals.

“The “996.ICU” repository was established in March by Chinese tech workers who were protesting extreme overwork,” said the report.

The “996” philosophy has been endorsed by the tech billionaire and Alibaba Founder Jack Ma.

Several local Chinese browsers have already blocked access to 996.ICU, including Tencent, Alibaba, Xiaomi, and Qihoo 360.

Microsoft, that owns GitHub, has not blocked the repository till now.

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A man walks past a Microsoft sign set up for the Microsoft BUILD conference at Moscone Center in San Francisco, April 28, 2015. VOA

“We, the workers of Microsoft and GitHub, support the 996.ICU movement and stand in solidarity with tech workers in China. We know this is a problem that crosses national borders,” wrote employees in the petition.

“Another reason we must take a stand in solidarity with Chinese workers is that history tells us that multinational companies will pit workers against each other in a race to the bottom as they outsource jobs and take advantage of weak labour standards in the pursuit of profit,” they added.

Microsoft workers called on Chinese tech companies to comply with local labour laws, which limit their workers to 40 hours a week.

“We encourage Microsoft and GitHub to keep the 996.ICU GitHub repository uncensored and available to everyone,” they said.

Also Read- Apple Spent Over $30 mn on Amazon Cloud in Q1 2019

Since 996.ICU is hosted on GitHub, the repository can’t be blocked at a network level without blocking the entire site, which would be catastrophic to Chinese software developers.

“The ultimate decision of whether to risk China’s GitHub access falls to Microsoft, which so far hasn’t indicated a firm position on the protests,” the report added.

The Alibaba Founder Ma has suggested that people in China should work for 72 hours in a week or 12 hours a day for six days.

“If we find things we like, 996 is not a problem. If you don’t like (your work), every minute is torture,” he said in a blog post. (IANS)