Apps

Duterte Fighting Crime app popular among Android users

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It seems Philippine presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte isn’t just popular among respondents of election surveys; he’s favored among Android users as well. Or at least his image of a crime-busting vigilante is anyway.

A 2D side-scrolling action game called Duterte Fighting Crime has been trending on the Google Play store lately. In it, you take control of the admittedly foul-mouthed mayor as he takes to the streets to dispense vigilante justice using assorted firearms.

Developed by Tatay Games, the app has already hit 100,000 downloads on the Android app store, which is fairly impressive given its novelty and the simple nature of its design.

Controls are straightforward, with the game relying on just three on-screen buttons to move forward or back and shoot. Players earn a point for every enemy killed, unless a multiplier is in effect. The objective is to earn as many points as possible without getting whacked or stabbed by enemies ranging from a bank robber to a Jason Vorhees (of Friday the 13th fame) stand-in.

Duterte Fighting Crime trending Google Play

I’ve played the game, and found the fun doesn’t last past a few rounds. But hey, it doesn’t cost anything so I can’t complain too much. For what it’s worth, I did find the game’s avatar to be a faithful representation of the seven-term mayor of Davao. The app even incorporates audio clips from past interviews.

Interestingly enough, there’s a growing number of Duterte-branded games and apps on Google Play and the iOS App Store, but none for other presidential candidates. Is it just coincidence? Or are these apps cogs of a clever propaganda machine to spread the narrative that Duterte is hope made physical, the unorthodox yet effective challenger to the status quo?

Duterte Fighting Crime app (1)

Major opinion polls suggest Rodrigo Duterte is the front-runner to be the next Philippine president when election results come in on May 9. Duterte represents a paradigm shift for traditional politicians, with his tactless comments and take-no-prisoners approach to crime and desire to radically change the current political system.

He has won millions of supporters after transforming Davao into one of the country’s safest cities, but faces allegations of death squads and human rights violations.

The 71-year-old politician once again found himself in hot water four days ago after a video of him telling a rape joke went viral. Duterte later apologized for the incident, only to flip-flop on the matter later.

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Apps

Instagram is using facial recognition AI to verify your age

Currently testing

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For kids of the early 2000s, the biggest lies everyone told were whenever websites asked if they were 18 years old. Because of how limited technology was, a website’s age prompt was about as useful as blowing into a flat tire. Now, the internet has more tools at its disposal. Marking the next step in this evolution, Instagram is testing a tool that supposedly identifies a user’s age by scanning their face.

Though it’s not readily apparent with the number of children who have social media accounts, Instagram is one of those sites that require users to be at least 13 years old. But, like those old websites from yesteryear, the policy isn’t really useful for keeping children out.

Now, as reported by The Verge, Instagram wants to make the platform more secure. When a teenager wants to change their age to 18 years old or older, the app will prompt them to verify their age using one of three verification methods — at least in the United States.

The first method is simpler: submitting photos of official ID cards. The second method is a bit more complex: asking three of the user’s above-18 followers to verify the age change. On the other hand, the third uses an AI tool called Yoti.

With Yoti, users can submit a video of themselves for verification. Artificial intelligence will then analyze facial details, taking sex and race into consideration, to estimate the user’s age.

Naturally, it’s not a perfect system. There are ways to bypass it, including using someone else’s face. Regardless, it’s a bigger evolution than just simple yes-or-no prompts.

SEE ALSO: Instagram created its own font, and it’s wacky

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Android used a Drake song to diss Apple

Google doesn’t like the green bubble

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iPhone users have a certain term for Android users: the green bubble. Though it’s more known among Apple users, it’s become such a huge thing now that pop culture already makes references to it. And, due to its prevalence, Apple’s main rival, Google, has just used a popular song to diss Apple.

Users who don’t usually interact with the iPhone ecosystem might not know about the term, though. The term “green bubble” refers to how Android is visually represented on Apple’s system. Whenever an Android user joins a conversation on iMessage, the speech bubble’s color turns from the traditional blue to green. It’s become a popular way to discriminate against Android users.

On a more technical level, the change is a result of the two systems using different messaging standards. While Google uses RCS, Apple uses a proprietary system to send text and media to each other. When the two interact, Apple’s system detects this and conveys it with the green bubble.

Released in an album last Friday, Drake’s new song “Texts Go Green” takes a light-hearted approach to the phenomenon. And naturally, Google is all for it. In an unofficial lyric explainer video on their official Twitter account, Android called on Apple to fix the issue and adopt RCS.

As of late, Apple has been called out for refusing to play ball with the others in the industry. In the European Union, the company is facing an impending decree to adopt USB-C across all its devices to contribute to a universal standard in the region.

SEE ALSO: Here’s what’s coming in Android 13

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What I’ve been waiting for: An integrated Starbucks digital experience

Earning Stars through Grab and Lazada? Sign me up!

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Hold up! Starbucks is expanding its Rewards program, as part of the company’s digital innovation initiatives for this year and beyond.

Earlier this year, Starbucks Philippines announced its expansion to digital services to enhance the coffee experience. The company launched its rehashed in-app feature called Mobile Pay & Order 2.0, and a partnership with Grab, Lazada, and GCash.

Now, the coffee company wants to push for a more connected future.

An integrated partnership with Grab

Earlier this year, Starbucks announced an integrated partnership with Southeast Asian superapp Grab. The partnership aims to provide a more seamless experience across Grab’s six Southeast Asian markets.

First in the market is the Philippines, where Starbucks is bringing the experience starting on June 23, 2022. Through the Grab superapp, customers can connect to their Starbucks Rewards program and earn 1 Star for every PhP 40 spent on Starbucks orders.

If you’re a member of the Starbucks Rewards program, you’d know that every 100 Stars collected can be converted to a free Starbucks beverage or food reward, redeemable in stores.

Starbucks Grab

With the partnership, customers will be able to enjoy the Starbucks experience through Grab’s services:

  • Pay your orders via GrabPay e-wallets both online and in-store
  • Order online for in-store pick-up via GrabFood
  • Instant delivery via GrabExpress using GrabFood’s self-pick-up feature

Together with Lazada

It’s not just Grab, though. Back in February, Starbucks announced the expansion of its Rewards program through Lazada. Rewards members can link their accounts to Lazada and start earning Stars — the same way as Grab — for every purchase from the Starbucks LazMall Flagship Store.

To link a Starbucks Rewards account, members can click the ‘Member’ tab found in the Starbucks LazMall Flagship Store. Sign-in using a registered Starbucks Rewards email and password, and voila!

Gifts for your loved ones

Previously, Starbucks teamed up with GCash to allow customers to order and send eGifts through GLife, starting at PhP 300. As the company expands its digital services, eGifting is also now available through GrabGift, starting at PhP 100.

eGifts from GLife can be used to pay in Starbucks stores. Meanwhile, eGifts from GrabGifts can be used to purchase orders from Starbucks on GrabFood.

FoodShare is here to stay

Starbucks FoodShare, a program established in the United States a few years ago, made its way to the Philippines early this year. The program capitalized on Starbucks and Grab’s partnerships, where participating stores can connect with Grab drivers to pick up and deliver food donations daily.

Donations are donated to the Philippine Food Bank Foundation, a local non-profit organization, to be distributed to select beneficiaries within Metro Manila.

The program started with 40 stores in Metro Manila and has expanded to 238 stores as of writing. To date, Starbucks FoodShare has served over 50,000 meals. The company is looking to make the program a long-term commitment, with the goal of expanding the program to stores outside Metro Manila and hopefully, serving more communities.

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