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U.S. slams Alibaba and its challenger Pinduoduo for selling fakes – TechCrunch

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China’s biggest ecommerce company Alibaba was again on the U.S. Trade Representative’s blacklist over suspected counterfeits sold on its popular Taobao marketplace that connects small merchants to consumers.

Nestling with Alibaba on the U.S.’s annual “notorious” list that reviews trading partners’ intellectual property practice is its fast-rising competitor Pinduoduo . Just this week, Pinduoduo founder Colin Huang, a former Google engineer, wrote in his first shareholder letter since listing the company that his startup is now China’s second-biggest ecommerce player by the number of “e-way bills”, or electronic records tracking the movement of goods. That officially unseats JD.com as the runner-up to Alibaba.

This is the third year in a row that Taobao has been called out by the U.S. government over IP theft, despite measures the company claims it has taken to root out fakes, including the arrest of 1,752 suspects and closure of 1,282 manufacturing and distribution centers.

“Although Alibaba has taken some steps to curb the offer and sale of infringing products, right holders, particularly SMEs, continue to report high volumes of infringing products and problems with using takedown procedures,” noted the USTR in its report.

In a statement provided to TechCrunch, Alibaba said it does “not agree with” the USTR’s decision. “Our results and practices have been acknowledged as best-in-class by leading industry associations, brands and SMEs in the United States and around the world. In fact, zero industry associations called for our inclusion in the report this year.”

Pinduoduo is a new addition to the annual blacklist. The Shanghai-based startup has over the course of three years rose to fame among China’s emerging online shoppers in smaller cities and rural regions, thanks to the flurry of super-cheap goods on its platform. While affluent consumers may disdain Pinduodou products’ low quality, price-sensitive users are hooked to bargains even when items are subpar.

“Many of these price-conscious shoppers are reportedly aware of the proliferation of counterfeit products on pinduoduo.com but are nevertheless attracted to the low-priced goods on the platform,” the USTR pointed out, adding that Pinduoduo’s measures to up the ante in anti-piracy technologies failed to fully address the issue.

Pinduoduo, too, rebutted the USTR’s decision. “We do not fully understand why we are listed on the USTR report, and we disagree with the report,” a Pinduoduo spokesperson told TechCrunch. “We will focus our energy to upgrade the e-shopping experience for our users. We have introduced strict penalties for counterfeit merchants, collaborated closely with law enforcement and employed technologies to proactively take down suspicious products.”

The attacks on two of China’s most promising ecommerce businesses came as China and the U.S. are embroiled in on-going trade negotiations, which have seen the Trump administration repeatedly accused China of IP theft. Tmall, which is Alibaba’s online retailer that brings branded goods to shoppers, was immune from the blacklist, and so was Tmall’s direct rival JD.com.

Taobao has spent over a decade trying to revive its old image of an online bazaar teeming with fakes and “shanzhai” items, which are not outright pirated goods but whose names or designs intimate those of legitimate brands. Pinduoduo is now asked to do the same after a few years of growth frenzy. On the one hand, listing publicly in the U.S. subjects the Chinese startup to more scrutiny. On the other, small-town users may soon demand higher quality as their purchasing power improves. And when the countryside market becomes saturated, Pinduoduo will need to more aggressively upgrade its product selection to court the more sophisticated consumers from Chinese megacities.

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Here’s How To Lock Chrome’s Incognito Mode Tabs With Your Fingerprint On iPhone

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Millions of internet users worldwide use Chrome’s Incognito mode to hide and protect their web activity. Google mentions on a support page that Incognito mode doesn’t keep a record of the websites you’ve visited or the site data/cookies associated with the browsing session. Further, with locked Incognito Tabs on Chrome, iPhone users can be double sure about their privacy. Before the feature arrived, iPhone users had to manually close all the Incognito Tabs before handing over their phone to someone else. The locked Incognito Tabs feature locks all the Incognito Tabs in the current session behind a password or biometric entry.

Once you enable the locked Incognito Tabs feature on your iPhone, you wouldn’t have to worry about anyone sneaking on your Incognito Tabs. The moment you minimize Google Chrome and open another app, or head to the home screen, Chrome will lock the Incognito Tabs. The next time you try to access the tabs, Chrome will ask you to enter your iPhone’s passcode or a registered biometric match. On certain iPhone models like the iPhone 8 or the iPhone SE (2022), Chrome allows unlocking Incognito Tabs via Touch ID. On the other hand, iPhone models like the iPhone 13 and iPhone 14 ask users to access their Incognito Tabs through Face ID, as these models don’t have a fingerprint scanner.

Nevertheless, whether you have an old or a new iPhone, the locked Incognito Tabs feature should come in handy. Let’s discuss the steps involved in enabling the feature on an iPhone (or an iPad).

Here’s how to lock Incognito Tabs on iPhone

The locked Incognito Tabs feature is located in Chrome’s Settings menu, and it is pretty easy to enable it. Follow the steps given below on your iPhone.

  1. Open Google Chrome.
  2. Press the three-dot icon at the bottom right corner of the screen. You should see a menu with a quick action list on top.
  3. Swipe left on the list and hit the Settings option.
  4. Now scroll down to locate and select the Privacy and security option.
  5. In the Privacy and security menu, tap on the toggle beside Lock incognito tabs when you close Chrome. Tap Enable in the confirmation dialogue box, and you’re ready.
  6. Press Done to get out of the Settings menu and back to the browsing screen.

Upon following all the steps successfully, you should be able to activate the locked Incognito Tabs. Now, let’s test the feature.

  1. On Google Chrome’s browsing window, hit the three-dot icon at the bottom right corner and tap New incognito tab.
  2. In the incognito tab, conduct a Google search.
  3. Once you see the search results, swipe up from the bottom edge of the display to open the Home Screen.
  4. Now, reopen Google Chrome. You should see a button on your screen that reads Unlock with Touch ID or Unlock with Face ID.
  5. Hit the unlock button and then place your registered finger on the Touch ID sensor, or place your iPhone in front of your face to confirm via Face ID.
  6. Upon verifying it’s you, Chrome grants access. 

Things to keep in mind

Now that you know how to lock your Incognito Tabs on Chrome, here are a few things to keep in mind. You might think you’ll lose your Incognito Tabs if you remove Google Chrome from the recent apps list, but that is not true. Even if you do that and reopen the app, you’ll find your Incognito Tabs intact behind the biometric lock.

The second thing you should know is that Chrome only locks the Incognito Tabs upon minimizing the app, which means that your regular tabs are still vulnerable. In other words, even with the locked Incognito Tabs feature enabled, anyone can access the regular tabs on your iPhone. If the feature is unavailable on your iPhone, update the Google Chrome web browser from the App Store. Since it has been around for over a year, there’s a good chance you won’t need to update Chrome to get the feature.

Overall, the locked Incognito Tabs feature acts as an extra layer of security over anonymous browsing, as it’s not just the digital threats you need to stay away from – you need to handle the bad actors in real life.

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2024 BMW X5 And X6 Show Why Electrification Really Matters

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Automakers are pushing, now more than ever, to electrify their lineups. Whether through plug-in hybrids that can go a few miles while running only on batteries, or by making fully electric versions of cars, several automakers are continuing to iterate on electric car design. 

Chevrolet made waves with the long-rumored Corvette E-Ray hybrid that’s helped by both electric motors and a 6.2-liter V8. BMW electrified the 7-Series in the form of the 2023 BMW I7 xDrive60. That car benefitted from 544 horsepower and upwards of 310 miles of range. Cars are changing rapidly as electrification becomes more practical, and many automakers are planning on either hybridizing or electrifying their entire lineups within a few short years.

BMW just announced a host of changes to its X5 and X6 SUVs for the 2024 model year. Those changes bring a host of improvements to both models with more powerful engines, a more high-tech and contemporary interior, and a much-improved plug-in hybrid version of the X5.

Useful electrification

According to a press release from BMW, there will be two new engine choices for the X5 and X6: a twin-turbo 3-liter inline 6 that produces 375 horsepower on the X5 xDrive40i and X6 xDrive40i models, and a twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8 that throws down 523 horsepower on the X5 M60i xDrive and the X6 M60i xDrive. Both engines will benefit from a 48-volt mild hybrid system that boosts torque, and works with the eight-speed transmission to allow for a smoother driving experience. 

The real star of the new model range is the plug-in hybrid X5 xDrive50e. The revised drivetrain consists of a twin-turbo inline-6 and an electric motor that puts out 483 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque when working together. BMW says the plug-in X5 can accelerate from 0-60 miles per hour in 4.6 seconds, showing that a hybrid system is useful for more things than just efficiency. BMW also says that the plug-in can travel up to 40 miles on just battery power without using a drop of gas.

Modernized, capable interior

The inside of both the X5 and X6 will also feature a new 12.3-inch curved infotainment screen, and a 14.9-inch curved display for controls. Updates bring the infotainment in the X5 up to the latest BMW iDrive software, alongside a new heads-up display, Augmented View, and more modern features.

The displays will be paired with the updated BMW Operating System 8, which includes improvements to the optional driver support systems with the new Highway Assistant, and reverse assistance with optional parking assistance technology as well.

The base model X5 sDrive50i starts at $65,200, the X5 xDrive40i begins at $67,500, the plug in X5 xDrive50e has an MSRP of $72,500. The X6 xDrive40i starts at $73,900. Lastly, the M60i xDrive versions of the X5 and X6 start at $89,300 and $93,600 respectively. Prices do not reflect the $995 destination charge.

BMW says that production will begin in April of 2023 at BMW’s Spartanburg, South Carolina plant.

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How To Retrieve Deleted Files From iCloud

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The file recovery process varies slightly between devices, but getting a deleted file back usually takes just a few steps. After you have restored a file, folder, or album, you can find it in the same destination where it was before deletion. 

If you deleted the files from iCloud web or iCloud Drive:

  1. Click the sidebar.
  2. Click the Recently Deleted tab.
  3. Select the files you want to recover.
  4. Click Recover.

If you want to restore all files in the Recently Deleted section, instead of selecting all files one by one, click Recover All (via Apple).

If you deleted the file on a Mac:

  1. Click the Quick Access menu button on the iCloud app on your Mac.
  2. Click Data Recovery.
  3. Click Restore files.

You can also find the file in Trash and drag it out. Or, right-click the removed file in Trash and select Put Back. Your file will be sent back to where it was originally (via Apple).

On your iPhone or iPad:

  1. Open Files
  2. Select Recently Deleted.
  3. Touch and hold the file you want to retrieve.
  4. Select Recover.

If you want to restore contacts, calendars, bookmarks, or reminders, 

  1. Go to iCloud settings on the iCloud app or iCloud website.
  2. Find the Restore settings under Advanced.
  3. Pick your preferred data type.
  4. Select the backup to restore.

There a is caveat, however. If you empty Trash or Recently Deleted, your file is permanently erased (via Apple). We recommend maintaining a physical backup on a USB stick or external hard drive to keep important data safe.

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