In today’s Bulldog wrapup of technology news:

  • Facebook is rearranging the notification panel on its mobile apps in an effort to broaden the audience creating, watching and reacting to live video
  • Verizon makes a video play
  • Jetpacks for real?
  • WhatsApp makes encryption changes

The details:

  • Facebook rearranging notification buttons to highlight video

Facebook is rearranging the notification panel on its mobile apps in an effort to broaden the audience creating, watching and reacting to live video on its social network.

The shift announced Wednesday is part of Facebook’s effort to turn its live video feature into a marquee attraction as more people use their smartphones to record and share snippets of their lives.

Initially introduced as a tool for celebrities eight months ago, Facebook’s live video option is now available in 60 countries.

To help promote it, Facebook is moving the button for its Messenger service so that the new video option can be highlighted on the notification panel. When pressed, thevideo button will show a directory of live streams from a user’s friends, as well as segments available to anyone on the world’s largest social network.

Messenger notifications will move to the top of Facebook’s mobile apps near the search box.

The app update for Apple and Android devices will be rolled out in phases and take several weeks to complete.

  • Verizon dips another toe into online-video programming

Could the next “House of Cards” be coming to your phone?

That’s what Verizon hopes now that it’s paid more than $100 million for a piece of the online-video studio AwesomenessTV. It’s the latest attempt by a maturing, mainstream corporation to find growth in non-traditional video programming that can reach younger audiences on smartphones and tablets.

In 2014, for instance, Disney acquired online-video producer Maker Studios for a tab that eventually hit $625 million. An AT&T joint venture bought Fullscreen, a similar production company, for an undisclosed sum the same year. Hollywood’s DreamWorks Animation bought AwesomenessTV in 2013, paying a total of $113 million after the studio hit promised deal targets.

In some ways, these arrangements are modern — albeit much smaller — versions of classic media deals struck by companies anxious to draw bigger audiences. Think Twitter buying the rights to Thursday Night Football, Time Warner Cable doing likewise with Los Angeles Dodgers baseball, or cable company Comcast buying NBC Universal.

The investment gives Verizon a 24.5 percent stake in AwesomenessTV and more original video for its Go90 streaming service, which launched in September. It will also help it make use of its $4.4 billion purchase of AOL last year, which gave Verizon a new capability to deliver ads on top of video.

  • A jetpack nears liftoff, but creator fears dream is grounded

Glenn Martin was sitting in a bar with his college buddies 35 years ago when they got to wondering: What ever happened to flying cars and jetpacks?

The next day, the New Zealander began looking for answers in the science library, triggering a lifelong quest to build a jetpack. But today, with the company he created seemingly on the verge of triumph, Martin worries his dream is slipping away.

Martin Aircraft Co. says it will deliver its first experimental jetpacks to customers this year, a big development for the new technology. But the jetpack is being designed for first responders like firefighters, an outcome that falls short of Martin’s vision of a recreational jetpack that anybody could fly.

The inventor has now left the company he founded. What’s more, he says, he’s asked for his name to be removed.

“All us guys know what a jetpack’s for,” he says with a smile at his Christchurch home. “With a jetpack, you save the world and you get the girl. Right?”

Jetpacks have often been portrayed that way in books and movies. They have formed part of humanity’s utopian future vision for the past century. Fictional characters from Buck Rogers to Elroy Jetson have used them, and a real jetpack wowed the crowds at the opening of the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

Peter Coker, Martin Aircraft’s chief executive, says he believes the best business plan is to make jetpacks for first responders and later for other commercial operators. Once all the supply chains are in place, he says, the company can then turn its attention to building a personal jetpack.

“We are now an aviation company,” Coker says. “Before, it was very much the kiwi dream. But you have to take that commercial path.”

Glenn Martin’s vision still holds true, Coker says: Creating and selling a personal jetpack remains part of what the company is all about.

  • WhatsApp extends encryption to photos, video, other messages

WhatsApp says it’s now using a powerful form of encryption to protect the security of photos, videos, group chats and voice calls in addition to the text messages sent by its more than a billion users around the globe.

The popular service owned by Facebook began applying “end-to-end” encryption to standard messages sent on Android smartphones in 2014. After gradually expanding to other formats, WhatsApp confirmed Tuesday that its encryption now works with all forms of communication on its app for Android phones, Apple’s iPhones and other devices.

Encryption has become a hotly debated subject, with some U.S. authorities warning that criminals and violent extremists can use it to hide their tracks. WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum, who grew up in the Soviet Union, says he believes consumers should have easy-to-use encryption as protection against hackers and identity thieves, as well as “rogue” governments that spy on their own citizens.

WhatsApp’s use of encryption has already caused friction in Brazil, where authorities recently arrested and then released a Facebook Inc. executive after the company said it was unable to unscramble a user’s encrypted messages. That’s because end-to-endencryption automatically encodes each message with an algorithm that can only be unlocked by the sender and recipient.

A handful of less-popular services, including Signal, Wickr and Telegram, use end-to-end encryption, while others don’t use encryption at all. Google, Facebook and Yahoo use less extensive encryption to protect emails and messages while they’re in transit, to prevent outsiders from eavesdropping. But those companies retain the ability to scanmessages at certain points and can unlock them under a court order.

Apple uses end-to-end encryption for its iMessage service, but some experts sayWhatsApp’s method may be more secure because it provides a security code that senders and recipients can use to verify a message came from someone they know — and not from a hacker posing as a friend.

WhatsApp uses encryption technology from Open Whisper Systems, a San Francisco group that developed its software with private funding and government grants, including a State Department program that encouraged encryption as a defense against repressive regimes.