Even the most successful companies in the world make occasional blunders. Remember Apple Ping? Microsoft Bob? Well, it's nothing compared to the mess that Google has made of its messaging ecosystem. Google announced important changes to its Hangouts messaging platform in 2017, but Hangouts continues to run more than two years later. Now Google has been forced to delay the migration of Hangouts until June 2020 at least.
Google has always had a hard time choosing and keeping a messaging strategy. Groups within Google would launch a new email application every year or two until Hangouts, from Google Talk, tries to unify everyone. And for a moment, it did it. Hangouts have been integrated with Gmail, making it a favorite place for many users. However, Google wanted to emulate the success of the first mobile messengers such as WhatsApp. That's why he launched Allo in 2016. In 2017, he announced his intention to end the "classic" Hangouts. Google has finished kill Allo even before you finish closing Hangouts, which really puts everything in perspective.
Google's plan is to migrate G Suite users from Hangouts Classic to two new apps: Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat. The first is for videoconferencing and the last is a group discussion. Until now, switching to Chat and Meet was optional, but Google was planning to close the old Hangouts for G Suite users in October 2019. Google said many customers had told it that They wanted more time. the transition will not take place until June 2020 at the earliest. Until then, hangouts will continue to receive maintenance updates, but no new features will be offered.
Many non-professional customers also use Hangouts. Google said that the consumer stop would intervene after G Suite. This delay indirectly affects people who use Hangouts on their personal account. You will probably be able to continue using Hangouts Classic for about a year. After that, you can give Hangouts Chat a shot. Although it sounds more like Slack than Hangouts Classic, and the death of Allo means there is no direct successor.
After shooting Allo, Google put all his eggs in the RCS basket. However, this means working with carriers and progress has been extremely slow. Well, maybe RCS will work by the time Google attacks Hangouts Classic.
The Plex multimedia content management and distribution service has launched a new application today, which could result in painful adjustments for long-time users. Starting today, a new Plex desktop application for both Windows and macOS – this replace the existing Plex Media Player client. This marks the end of the old HTPC support for Plex.
For the uninitiated, Plex is a media player platform that organizes video, music, photos and other media. You can link Plex to files stored on computers, servers, NAS boxes and even mobile devices. Plex broadcasts all media on demand, even transcoding on the fly if necessary. Technically, you are only supposed to use it for media you own and have backed up, which is already a gray area. However, it is also popular with the torrent crowd.
The new Plex desktop application supports most of Plex's existing features and enhances some of them. As Plex users can tell you, the "Sync" option for offline downloads has been extremely slow and buggy for a long time. With the new desktop application, this feature is turned into "Downloads". It is faster, more reliable and provides clearer information when backing up content. The interface is also compatible with other Plex clients with one notable exception: the TV mode.
Years ago, the most common implementation of Plex was to connect a home theater PC (HTPC) to a TV to stream multimedia content. With the proliferation of cheap streaming devices such as Chromecast, Apple TV and Fire TV, almost no one cares anymore about HTPCs. Thus, Plex abandons the TV interface with the launch of its new desktop application. This will undoubtedly upset some Plex fans.
What about the old Windows application? The version of Plex in the Windows Store will be removed, but it is not a big loss. According to Plex, developing a Windows Store client was logical in the past because Windows Phone existed at a certain level. Today, developing for the Metro / Modern UI platform is not a good use of resources, explains Plex.
If you do not want to abandon the classic Plex Media Player, it will be updated until January 30, 2020. You can continue to use it, but it will probably be broken before long without updates. New Plex desktop applications are available for free. Some features such as mobile synchronization, live TV, etc., are stuck behind the premium "Plex Pass" subscription.
Google seems to plan a response to the next Apple Arcade service, which the iPhone maker will launch later this year. The so-called "Google Play Pass" appeared in the Play Store for a small number of users. The service offers a selection of apps and premium games with no ads or in-app purchases for a monthly subscription, but it's unclear when and if Google will actually launch the service.
The first hint of an app subscription appeared last year on XDA when the site found the mention of Play Pass in a new version of the Play Store. The company had nothing to say at that time, but now Play Pass appears on the phones. This time, Google confirmed that it was testing a subscription feature to an app and a game.
As its name indicates, Apple Arcade offers developer games such as Konami, Lego and Sega. Apple relies heavily on exclusive titles to push Arcade, but the angle of Google is to offer more than just games. Play Pass will include games like Stardew Valley and Marvel Pinball. No application is included in the initial test, so we do not know exactly what Google thinks. Although the Play Pass subscription screen mentions streaming premium music and fitness trackers will be part of the free apps. Google promises "hundreds" of apps and games as part of this service.
The test includes a free 10-day trial of the service, after which Play Pass costs $ 4.99 per month. Of course, Google could change the costs before officially announcing the service. Subscribers have unlimited access to all premium apps and games offered in Play Pass and do not see any ads in the content. Apps and games with in-app purchases will all have been unlocked. However, Play Pass will probably not work well with many free mobile games. Unlocking all these in-app purchases would break the "pay-for-win" mechanics-based experience – you would instantly win with unlimited crystals, gold, or whatever your premium currency.
Google might choose to announce Play Pass during its October event, but it might as well launch it with a blog post. It is not surprising to see Play Pass make an appearance at the October event, possibly as a feature built into the new Pixel phones. Google already offers free photo storage on Pixel phones. Why not free apps to soften the case?
In recent weeks, FaceApp – the photo enhancement tool for smartphone-based AI – has become the source of a major controversy over data privacy that appears to have been largely overestimated. However, this highlights a clear and common problem regarding the rights that we could give up with potentially any application we allow on our devices.
On July 14, developer Joshua Nozzi tweeted a charge (since removed) indicating that FaceApp seemed to download all the photos from a user's library and not just the photos selected by a given user for use with the application's services. He also pointed to Russia's involvement in the company, reinforcing common concerns about the illicit Russian involvement in US data-related cases. In a few days, a pseudonym security researcher Elliot Alderson responded at 9t05 cover of Nozzi's charge by Mac with contrary evidence. FaceApp too replied with a statement to 9t05Mac with similar intent. Here is the abridged version:
We could store a downloaded photo in the cloud. The main reason is the performance and the traffic: we want to make sure that the user does not download the photo several times for each editing operation. Most images are removed from our servers within 48 hours of the download date.
FaceApp performs the essential of processing photos in the cloud. We only upload a photo selected by a user for editing. We never transfer other images from the phone to the cloud.
Although the main R & D team is in Russia, user data is not transferred to Russia.
Although 9t05mac has taken the plunge by publishing Nozzi's accusation, his claims have been proven false, Chance Miller – the author of the article – raises an important point:
It's always wise to take a step back when applications like FaceApp become viral. Although they are often popular and can provide humorous content, they can have unintended consequences and privacy issues.
The false accusation of Nozzi seems more to be an honest mistake than a malicious act. Miller's argument shows why we are more prone to panic when independent circumstances give us a picture of danger. Although we should always take the time to find evidence of our claims before publishing them, in order to avoid widespread panic unnecessarily, it is not difficult to see how a person could commit this mistake while people are in alert status for this type of activity.
Although FaceApp has not prompted anyone to own their photo library to build a massive database of US citizens for the Russian government – or the conspiracy theory that you prefer – this incident highlights the ease with which we provide wide permissions once we download an application.
When an application requests access to your smartphone data, it generates a large network by necessity. Photo apps do not require the right to save photos or access only photos that you explicitly show, but to your entire photo library. You can not provide access to the microphone and camera, or anything else, with granular permissions that let you control what the application can do. In addition, smartphones do not provide a simple way to see what applications are doing. Newspapers of any kind, or a way to monitor network activity, are not made available to the average user.
For this reason, most users do not have the opportunity to know if an application has made them lose confidence or not. Until we have better control over the applications our apps can and can not access on our devices, we need to consider the worst case scenario every time we download. Unless a person has the knowledge and willingness to regularly monitor the activity of applications, as well as to read (and understand) the terms of service of each application in their entirety, that person can not exclude the possibility of the use of the application. malicious use of their data. After all Facebook has just been fined $ 5 billion for allowing the very consensual leak of user data. (not that it mattered) and much of this has happened through the association of a person with a user who has downloaded the problematic application.
Although the most commonly used apps do not end up in such controversial situations, data leaks happen quite frequently so we have to remember what we risk with every contribution of our personal information. Each granted access, each uploaded photo and each piece of information provided to an application, that it identifies us directly or indirectly-Provides a company with new information about us which it often claims ownership through its terms of service. They may or may not use the data collected for unpleasant purposes, but they allow themselves this right through a process they know that almost everyone will ignore. Businesses need a broad language in their legal agreements to protect themselves. Unfortunately, this legal requirement also creates a framework for leveraging users when a company publishes an application for data collection purposes.
Granular permissions on smartphones are a step forward in addressing this issue, but it will not prevent applications from continuing to request extended permissions and requiring access as an admission price. At this point, most of us know that we pay with our data when we do not pay with our dollars, but the problematic difference lies in the exact cost. Most people would probably not be afraid that FaceApp would use their selfies to improve the quality of service, but they might feel different if these data were used for some other reason. Even if we do not provide all of our photo libraries, and even if FaceApp removes images 48 hours later, they still have enough time to take advantage of the data voluntarily provided by users. Although it seems that they have no malicious intent, we do not know exactly what our data is costing us because we do not know how they use it.
The same applies to almost all the applications we download. Without transparency, we pay a fixed cost in secret. With repeated actions on many applications, it becomes very difficult to determine the source of the potential problems. FaceApp seems to work like any other application: asking for extended data permissions by necessity and reducing liability through a service terms contract. With each application, we must ask ourselves if the service provided is worth the cost of an unknown cost.
Although you know that it is really uncomfortable to realize too late that the application on your phone is too invasive to your liking, the next thing is this: virtually all the most popular free apps are invasive in some measure. In fact, many free apps that you probably have on your smartphone have privacy policies that make the appearance of FaceApp good.
Do not believe us? Let's take a look. A walk on the service of analysis of applications Annie App show the best free apps, by downloads, on iPhones and androids around the world. By limiting ourselves to the research field only in the US and focusing only on the current situation, we get a snapshot of the ecosystem of application download.
FaceApp is still among the top 10 free downloads for the iPhone and the Google Play Store, but these are the other apps we are looking at today.
"If you connect to the app using a third-party site or platform, such as Facebook, Apple Game Center, and Google Sign-In, we will access information about you from this site or platform. , such as your screen name, your profile information, and your friends lists (.) "
Do you have something private about your Facebook profile? Perhaps you should not.
You start to have the picture?
Essentially, all free apps accumulate an extremely disturbing amount of personal data from users. Some certainly have better privacy policies than others, and there is not always something bad, but being shocked by the transgressions perceived by FaceApp is missing the forest for the trees.
The online ecosystem, and most of the applications that it encompasses, follows you one way or the other. So think twice before downloading the next free app – your future will thank you.
. (tagsToTranslate) iphone (t) apps (t) faceapp (t) tech (t) smartphones</pre></pre>