Apps

Don’t use Google Allo if you care about your online privacy

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Shortly after Google released its new messaging app Allo, public reception has been generally positive for its features, but not so much for online privacy. Just ask Edward Snowden.

The NSA whistleblower warned people on Twitter not to download the app:

His concerns are totally valid. You see, what Allo specializes in is reading your messages using its artificial intelligence to dish out automatic replies for your conversations. This also helps Allo answer questions you ask its chatbot, such as what the weather situation will be the next day or where the nearest Starbucks is.

Ironically, it was Google who publicly admitted Allo’s greatest flaw. Just as users thought their messages sent through the app’s non-Incognito Mode were safe from other eyes, the search giant recently stated that there’s no encryption preventing Google from reading your every move.

This goes against what Google claimed the app would do back when it was first announced months ago at its I/O developer conference. In this case, the company will store your messages for its records until you manually delete them, and you must use Incognito Mode to remain anonymous in the servers (similar to Google Chrome’s private browser hiding history in your own computer).

Google claims that is needed merely to assist Allo’s Assistant feature; what it really does is allow government authorities to extract and read the contents of your inbox whenever they feel like it. This is a far cry from the privacy other chat apps have been implementing the past year.

Losing one messaging service shouldn’t bother you. We still have Viber, WhatsApp, WeChat, Telegram, Facebook Messenger, KakaoTalk, LINE, and heck, even Google’s other chat system Hangouts. When it comes down to it, you’re going to use whatever your family and friends are obsessing over, anyway.

If you really must use the new trendy messaging app, there’s nothing stopping you from downloading it on the official app stores of either iOS or Android. The interface is as attractive as Google’s other material design software, and doodling over images never gets old.

[irp posts=”4893″ name=”Apple can share your iMessage contacts with authorities”]

Source: The Verge

Apps

Finally! Grab users may now pay directly using GCash

Much-awaited partnership

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GCash Grab

Grab Philippines and GCash have finally struck a partnership deal that will make payments on the superapp even easier and more convenient.

Starting February, users will be able to add GCash as a direct payment method on the Grab app, making cashless transactions on food and grocery deliveries, car transport, and other services cashless.

Prior to the collaboration, GCash users could only send money from their account to their GrabPay wallet, and vice-versa, causing a bit of hassle switching in between apps on one’s phone screen.

The partnership also means there will be no more transaction fees unlike before when Grab users have to cash in using their credit or debit cards or linked bank accounts.

Grab customers may also avail of GCash exclusive deals, and even get treats when they pay using the e-wallet.

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Apps

Twitter is teasing an ad-free subscription tier

Will cost more than Twitter Blue

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The days of a completely free Twitter are over. Back in 2021, the platform introduced Twitter Blue, a premium subscription service to introduce more features for paying users. Last year, new owner Elon Musk revamped the subscription and made the paid features more exclusive. Musk is not done. A future update will likely add a tier to eliminate all ads on the platform.

Ads and sponsored posts are persistent problems for all social media platforms as of late. Though already asking users to pay, Twitter Blue only cuts down ads for paying users by only half. As the company tries to get sponsors back on the platform, wading through a sea of ads will likely continue.

Musk, however, realizes the problem and is now dangling a carrot at those who want to get rid of ads for good. As a way to curb them, the platform’s owner teased an upcoming higher-priced subscription tier which will allegedly block out all ads.

The billionaire has not announced how much a tier might cost. Currently, the regular Twitter Blue subscription already costs US$ 8 per month. Additionally, he has not revealed if there are more plans on the docket for curbing ads.

Since acquiring the company late last year, Musk has introduced a lot of changes to the platform, often to controversial appeal. Cutting down on ads is certainly a welcome change but only depending on how much it will ask from users.

SEE ALSO: Twitter might sell usernames in online auctions

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WhatsApp now allows users to talk to themselves

Can migrate through all devices

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An unread notification triggers our inner FOMO. Once you see that red ping or that card, it’s almost impossible to ignore. Some users, to replace a traditional notepad, even message themselves on messaging apps to act as an impromptu bulletin board. Now, joining in the list of apps that allow users to do that, WhatsApp is letting users talk to themselves on the app.

Available today, WhatsApp has introduced a feature allowing users to message themselves from the list of contacts on the app. As with any other message, users can mark their conversation as unread and pin it on top of every other thread.

Compared to other developments from WhatsApp as of late, a conversation with yourself isn’t as groundbreaking, especially since other apps already offer the same function. However, the new feature does open a lot of possibilities for users.

Besides the aforementioned self-pinging system, users can also have a notepad that essentially migrates from device to device. As long as you have a WhatsApp account logged on in every device you can take with you, you can read your notes everywhere and on any device.

WhatsApp isn’t the only app to offer such a feature. Users can also do the same on Meta’s other apps including Messenger and Instagram’s private messaging feature.

SEE ALSO: WhatsApp has launched Communities

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