PayPal launches passkey logins for Android web in the US

PayPal is expanding access to passkey logins to Android users in the US, so long as they access the website on the Chrome browser. The payment processor first introduced passkey logins for Apple’s computers and tablets running macOS Ventura and iPadOS16 in October last year. Google had yet to release stable passkey support for Android and Chrome at the time, but PayPal promised to make the password alternative available to other platforms and countries in the future. 

By December last year, passkeys rolled out to stable Chrome. Now PayPal is making good on its promise, with some limitations. The login option isn’t available for the payment processor’s Android app yet, and users can only activate it if they’re using Chrome on a device running Android 9. 

The new authentication technology allows users to access websites and services that support it without having to type in usernames and passwords. While it can use biometric authentication to verify a user’s identity, it’s not quite the same as current login tech that auto-populates login boxes using facial or fingerprint recognition. The technology creates a cryptographic key pair — one public and one private — that becomes associated with a user’s account. Apps and services that support passkeys use the public key to confirm a person’s identity by matching it to the private key, which is kept in the user’s device. As The Verge notes, some password managers can now sync passkeys between devices, as well. 

To activate passkeys for PayPal on Android, eligible users have to log in the traditional way on a Chrome browser first. Then, the option to “create a passkey” will appear, and they will be prompted to verify their identity using their biometrics or their phone’s passcode. After they’re done setting up, they’ll find that they’ll no longer have to type in anything to quickly check out purchases with PayPal on Chrome. Passkeys also provide stronger security, since they’re resistant to phishing. And, since one of the key pairs is kept on the user’s device, people’s login information won’t be compromised in case of an app or service data breach.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Twitter says it’s killing legacy verified checkmarks starting on April 1st

Pretty soon, previously verified Twitter accounts will lose their checkmarks unless they start paying for it. The website has announced that it will “begin winding down [its] legacy verified program and removing legacy verified checkmarks” on April 1st. It was never a secret that the company intended to do so. Shortly after Twitter Blue first launched in November 2022, company chief Elon Musk said that “far too many corrupt legacy Blue ‘verification’ checkmarks exist” and that the company is removing them in the coming months. 

Now, it seems the time has come for legacy verified users to lose their blue ticks — that is, if Twitter isn’t merely laying groundwork for an April Fools’ joke. Musk, after all, thinks he’s funny. It’s also unclear if the website plans to yank their verified checkmarks all at once or in batches. We’d reach out to the company to ask for clarification, but then all we’d get back in response is a poop emoji

Twitter’s announcement for legacy verified user came just as Blue subscriptions became available worldwide. Previously only accessible within certain regions, this rollout brings the service within reach of most people. In addition to getting a blue tick next to their usernames, paying subscribers will be able to make 4,000-character tweets, edit their posts and enjoy higher reply rankings. Expanding Blue’s availability is necessary if Twitter wants to achieve Musk’s goal of getting half its revenue from subscriptions. We’ll just have to wait and see whether enough people around the world are willing to pay $8 per month (or $11, if they pay through the iOS app) for its perks.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Utah passes laws requiring parental permission for teens to use social media

Utah’s governor has signed two bills that could upend how teens in the state are able to use social media apps. Under the newlaws, companies like Meta, Snap and TikTok would be required to get parents permission before teens could create accounts on their platforms. The laws also require curfew, parental controls and age verification features.

The laws could dramatically change how social platforms handle the accounts of their youngest users. In addition to the parental consent and age verification features, the laws also bar companies “from using a design or feature that causes a minor to have an addiction to the company’s social media platform.”

For now, it’s not clear how Utah officials intend to enforce the laws or how they will apply to teenagers’ existing social media accounts. Both laws are scheduled to take effect next March.

The effect that social media can have on teens, particularly younger ones, has been in the spotlight for some time. Earlier this year, the Surgeon General said that “13 is too early,” referring to the minimum age when most platforms allow teens to join. Lawmakers in Congress and in other states have also proposed laws that would limit teens’ ability to use social media apps.

Not everyone agrees that laws restricting teenagers from using social media is the right approach, though. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, an organization that promotes digital rights, has opposed the law, saying it would violate the First Amendment rights of young people. Other groups have voiced similar concerns

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Twitter Blue subscriptions are now available worldwide

You no longer have to wonder whether or not the revived Twitter Blue subscription is available in your country. Twitter has confirmed that Blue is now available worldwide. Pay $8 per month ($11 if you sign up through the iOS app) and you’ll get the no-longer-that-special blue checkmark as well as 4,000-character tweets, higher ranking in replies, post editing and other perks.

Organizations, meanwhile, can pursue a more useful tick next to their names. Twitter has begun accepting applications for the grey checkmarks that verify government officials and organizations, not to mention their equivalents at multilateral institutions. As you might guess, the criteria is stricter. Applicants have to use either their government ID or a valid email address, and have to describe their positions and functions. Businesses can already apply for gold checkmarks.

The new Twitter Blue launched in November, but it quickly ran into problems. As the checkmark looked the same whether you’d paid for it or were a legacy verified user, people quickly used the membership to impersonate notable figures. Twitter soon blocked brand new accounts from signing up for Blue, and had to relaunch the tier in December with gold and grey checkmarks in tow. 

A global rollout may be essential to boosting Blue’s popularity. According to a leak source, the paid option reportedly had just 180,000 subscribers in the US as of mid-January. CEO Elon Musk is said to want half of Twitter’s revenue to come from subscriptions, and that requires reaching a wide audience. Now, it’s less a question of availability and more whether enough users will consider the extra features worth the outlay.

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Here’s what TikTok’s CEO told Congress about the app’s ties to China and teen safety

At his first Congressional hearing, TikTok CEO Shou Chew tried to downplay TikTok’s ties to China and parent company ByteDance. But lawmakers at the House Energy and Commerce Committee were far from satisfied with his answers.In her opening statements,…

‘Lord of the Rings: Gollum’ will finally arrive on May 25th

After a particularly long incubation process, The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is almost ready to ship. Daedalic has revealed that its stealth action take on JRR Tolkien’s fantasy world will be available May 25th on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S. A Switch version is due later in the year. While the mechanics of the game are by now familiar, this still promises to be a fresh take if you weren’t enthused with the hack-and-slash of Monolith’s Middle-earth games.

You play Gollum in a previously unrecorded story of his search for (what else?) the Precious during the first few chapters of The Fellowship of the Ring. He’s clearly not a brawler, so he has to sneak and climb to survive. And crucially, the battle inside his corrupted mind plays a key role. You have to choose between giving into Gollum’s darker impulses or hanging on to the shreds of kindness from Smeagol. While this is an original tale based on the books, you’ll run into familiar characters and navigate a world heavily inspired by Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movies.

To say Gollum has taken a while to finish would be an understatement. It was originally unveiled in 2019, and even then wasn’t expected to arrive until 2021. That year came and went (the pandemic didn’t help speed development), and even a tentative September 2022 release didn’t happen after a delay that was only supposed to last “a few months” as Daedalic took extra time to polish the title.

The timing might work in the game’s favor. In 2019, Amazon’s Lord of the Rings TV series was still in its infancy, and the last big Tolkien game (Middle-earth: Shadow of War) was old news. Flash forward to 2023 and it’s another story. Amazon’s The Rings of Power show is a major success, and movie effects house Weta Workshop is making its own game set in the franchise. There’s a renewed interest in hobbits and orcs, and Gollum might benefit from that demand.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

United and Archer will open an air taxi route to Chicago’s O’Hare airport in 2025

Archer Aviation and United Airlines announced a partnership today to launch a commercial air taxi route in Chicago. The companies plan to open the flight path between downtown and O’Hare International Airport in 2025.

Besides being United’s headquarters and largest hub, Chicago’s airport commute makes it an ideal testbed for flying taxis. For example, the drive to or from O’Hare, in the western suburb of Rosemont, can take anywhere from 35 minutes to over an hour, depending on traffic; even in one of the city’s elevated trains, it can take around 45 minutes. But Archer estimates a flight in one of its air taxis will only take 10 minutes to travel from O’Hare to its destination at a downtown helipad. The program will initially be limited to the mainline O’Hare / downtown route, but the companies eventually plan to add smaller paths to surrounding communities.

Archer describes the upcoming route as “cost competitive” for passengers without going into specifics. But even if it’s initially limited to deep-pocketed business travelers, the program should be good for the environment. Archer’s air taxis use electric motors and batteries and don’t produce emissions. “This exciting new technology will further decarbonize our means of transportation, taking us another step forward in our fight against climate change,” said Mayor Lori Lightfoot. “I’m pleased that Chicago residents will be among the first in the nation to experience this innovative, convenient form of travel.”

The partnership is the latest in United’s aggressive investments in flying taxis. Last year, the airline ordered at least 200 electric flying taxis from Eve Air Mobility; that followed a $10 million deposit it placed with Archer the month prior.

In addition to Chicago’s (ground-based) taxis and ride shares, the city has a robust public transportation system built around elevated trains and buses, the latter of which the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) has committed to converting to electric by 2040. (The CTA already deploys 23 electric buses.) If all goes according to plan, the flight path will help decrease emissions and traffic congestion, something most Chi-town residents can get behind.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

ChatGPT’s new plugins will deliver real-time stats

Following the release the new GPT-4 engine and Whisper API in March, OpenAI announced Thursday that it has begun introducing plugins for ChatGPT. These will enable the chatbot to interact with 3rd-party APIs, tailoring its responses to specific circums…

You can now embed a legitimate audio workstation right on your website

Digital audio workstations (DAWs) tend to be power-hungry, so it was already a pretty big deal when Soundation managed to fit most of the required features in a handy web app. But now the company has refined the code to allow anyone to embed a fully-fu…

‘Cyberpunk 2077’ is getting a path-tracing ‘Overdrive Mode’ in April

Nvidia wants game developers to remember that ray tracing isn’t the end of the line. A new Cyberpunk 2077 technology preview (“Overdrive Mode”) supports path tracing, the next goalpost to make games look even prettier and keep you buying expensive new …