Apps

7 essential apps for young professionals

An urban dweller’s must-haves!

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Most of us rely on our apps to connect, work, and move. Switching between apps, doing work, messaging people — everything can be done in a single tap. I’d be lying if I said apps didn’t help improve my life. It offered me convenience, and as a young 20-something in the midst of his blossoming career, apps made me more efficient and productive.

When I attended Social Media Week in Manila, I was reminded of how my life depended on my apps. The event tackled how apps are changing our lifestyle, behavior, and culture — it might even be bringing the worst in us.

As a young adult filled with hope, I believe apps bring the best in us — not the worst. The only time apps will make a negative impact in our lives is when you abuse it. Always, always use it sparingly. Believing that apps aren’t inherently bad, here are apps that definitely make any young adult’s life easier.

Grab

After Uber left my country, Grab took over. While I hate monopoly, Grab made itself indispensable, hosting a full suite of services that everyone would badly need in the worsening living condition in the metro. From taxis, private cars, to express shipping, and even food deliveries — Grab ingrained itself in our lives, it’s going to make you wonder: “What was life before Grab?”

Zomato

As an urban dwelling young adult, Zomato has been essential for my date nights. It suggests restaurants and cafes which would make my life easier when deciding for a place to eat with my beau. Hangouts and catch up with friends are also easier, with their 1+1 or 2+2 promo, allowing us to eat at our heart’s content without spending too much.

Google

If there’s one thing that you should have on your smartphone, it’s Google’s mobile apps. It has everything you need — Chrome, Search, GMail, Maps, Drive, Calendar, Contacts, you name it! Work and life would be a lot easier if you have these. Trust me.

Klook

Traveling has been one of every young adult’s goals they hope to achieve before turning 30. In case you didn’t know, travel is eighty percent planning. As a frequent traveler, Klook made my trips easier, allowing me to buy mobile sim cards, book a tour, and get discounts even before I arrive at my destination. Klook, in a sense, can save you time, money, and headaches so you can focus on the adventure waiting for you.

YouTube

There’s more to YouTube than vlogs and music videos. If you use YouTube right, you can get tips on how to achieve your fitness dreams, some DIY crafts to keep you occupied, styling tips, gadget reviews, and more. By now, you already know that learning doesn’t stop at school. If you want to commit to self-development, YouTube can be your university — hosting courses that appeal to your interests.

Instagram/TikTok

Just like YouTube, Instagram is more than just aesthetically-pleasing photos and TikTok is more than just a collection of wacky, senseless short videos. Both apps are changing the way we consume content, with young adults using Instagram and its Stories feature more to connect and update with friends and the people they admire. Tiktok, on the other hand, is becoming a platform for the younger generation. Nonetheless, both Instagram and TikTok can provide inspiration and laughter — if you scour and follow the right accounts.

GCash/PayMaya

Banks might be leaning towards apps for accessibility and convenience, but GCash and PayMaya revolutionize the way we handle our finances. Through these apps, we can transfer charge-free between banks albeit it’s a tedious process. On the other hand, you can use both GCash and PayMaya to pay your bills, load your prepaid cards, and send money — while getting rebates for using their services.

Bonus: Angkas

I can’t recall how many times Angkas saved my life. When I woke up late for a meeting and I braved the horrible traffic jams to make it, Angkas was always there. The future of motorcycle taxi in the Philippines is still blurry, but every young professional must have this app to get through the metro. Don’t worry about the cost, though. You can always make money, but you can’t get back the time wasted stuck in traffic. Make the most of your youth!

Apps

4K streaming could be cheaper soon

Thanks to the H.266 format

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Watching 4K videos on YouTube or Netflix is taxing on mobile data, consuming about a gigabyte or more. But a new compression method could change 4K streaming soon.

Developed by Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute, the H.266 / Versatile Video Coding format aims to bring a more efficient way of compressing and streaming videos digitally. This new standard is meant to replace two existing standards — the H.264/AVC and H.265 HEVC.

Compared to the two, H.266 can transmit 4K videos at a much lower file size. The institute says H.266 can transmit a 10-minute UHD video at only 5GB of data.

This is almost 50 percent more efficient than the most advanced video format in the market, H.265 HEVC. Right now, HEVC requires 10GB of data to transmit the same 10-minute UHD video. As such, consumers can expect cheaper 4K streams with the H.266 format.

For example, a 25-minute 4K video that clocks in at 4GB can be streamed at a much lower 2GB with the new format. This will drastically reduce data and bandwidth consumption for consumers and companies.

The new video format also tries to solve the patent royalty system that has long plagued H.264 and H.265. Right now, companies have to deal with the messy system of paying licenses and royalties just to include these formats to their apps and websites. H.266 does away with these licenses, promising a better deal than the old formats.

Support and availability

As of right now, support for H.266 is being worked on both the software and hardware level. According to the institute that developed the format, Media Coding Industry Format is working on chip designs that support the new format on a hardware level.

Meanwhile, the institute is working on an encoder and decoder software which will be released this autumn.

It is worth noting, however, that H.266/VVC is not the only format that promises to improve 4K streaming on devices. Most tech companies today are adopting AV1 alongside VP9. These two formats are developed by separate organizations.

Right now, these formats — along with the H.266 — promise a better way of streaming 4K that will ultimately benefit everyone.

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Apps

Google removes 25 apps for secretly stealing your data

The apps were downloaded more than 2 million times

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Google has removed 25 apps from its Play Store for slyly collecting your data in the background. The apps were collectively downloaded more than 2.3 million times before the company clamped down.

According to French cybersecurity firm Evina, the malicious apps were developed by the same threat group. They seemed to offer different functionalities but were fundamentally designed to phish data.

The apps disguised themselves as step counters, image editors, video editors, wallpaper apps, flashlight applications, file managers, and mobile games. While offering some functionality on the front, the end-goal was always to collect user data.

Basically, what these sinister apps do is steal Facebook user’s credentials if they regularly open the account on their phone. The phishing app would overlay a web browser window on top of the official Facebook app and load a fake Facebook login page. You’d assume you’re logging in to your account, but in reality, you just handed over your username and password.

Image by Evina

Evina discovered the flaw in these apps and contacted Google for further action at the end of May. Once the company’s findings were verified, the apps were kicked from the Play Store. Google not only removed the apps from the Play Store but also disabled them on users’ smartphones and informs them via the Play Protect feature.

In recent times, users are increasingly aware of phishing and data collection since social platforms like TikTok have also been caught red-handed. Apple has emphasized its focus on privacy and announced a host of new features to protect the user via iOS 14. Even Xiaomi has added a range of new methods to protect the user in MIUI 12.

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Apps

Google, Facebook, Twitter resist China’s attempt to censor Hong Kong

China is trying to curb free speech

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Google, Facebook, and Twitter have temporarily stopped processing government requests for user data in Hong Kong. A new security law went into effect on July 1 and Google immediately paused processing requests.

Even WhatsApp has stopped processing further requests. The controversial law is seen as an attempt by China to curb free speech in the former British colony.

Pro-democracy protestors are worried the new law will be used to censor the internet. Twitter cited “grave concerns” about the law”s implications.

This is seen as China’s broader plan to establish its supremacy and expand its ideology. The new law includes the ability to ask publishers to remove information deemed as a threat to national security. Refusal to enact the request could result in a fine or jail time.

Tech companies work in tandem with local law enforcement agencies to moderate content on their platforms. With the new law, processing Hong Kong government’s request would indirectly mean handing over user data and endangering pro-democracy protestors.

In simpler terms, you could be jailed for a social media post that says anything against the administration.

Citizens are actively switching to messaging apps like Signal that provide end-to-end encryption. This helps in masking your identity to a great extent.

Previously, when the internet was shut down to curb protests, citizens used offline messaging apps like Bridgefy and FireChat to spread the world and coordinate protest efforts.

Mainland China has a firewalled internet that is highly censored and constantly surveilled. The irony is, ByteDance’s TikTok isn’t available in China while the rest of the world can freely use it.

TikTok has also officially announced it will be exiting Hong Kong within a few days. But this move is seen as a smokescreen to avoid its Chinese origin.

SEE ALSO: 6 tips to make your phone more private and secure

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