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FaceApp goes viral again, raises security concerns

Taking social media by storm

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FaceApp is taking social media by storm once again. The popular editing app which went viral two years ago has resurfaced after celebrities, YouTubers, and even NBA stars posted elderly versions of themselves.

Quick to jump in the bandwagon, people followed and started posting their aged version on Twitter and Instagram. Fancy seeing a glimpse of yourself in the future, as well? Here’s how you can do it.


Easy, step-by-step guide on FaceApp

Download FaceApp via Google Play Store or the App Store. Open the app and select the photo you want to edit. Pro tip: Avoid using selfies with caps, sunglasses, and other accessories on.

After choosing a photo, you can then pick from an array of filters: Beauty, gender-swap, or the old age filter that everyone is obsessing over, and many more!

Using the old age filter, you can see how you’d look like when you’re over 60 years old. If you want to see how you and your partner look when you’re old and wrinkly, just apply the filter first on your face since you can only apply it one at a time. Then, save it, and upload the saved image to apply the filter once again.

You can do this with group photos, too, except you’ll need more patience. It’s an excruciating process but isn’t it worthwhile?

Is our security compromised?

FaceApp’s sudden virality has raised major privacy concerns, just like when Zepeto went viral last year. This is almost always the case when the app in question appears to be collecting data from its unknowing users.

A report on Fast Company indicates that the Russian company behind FaceApp saves the photos uploaded by transmitting it to their servers back in Russia. While it’s all fun and magic on your end, the report supposes your security may be compromised.

Moreover, the US government poses the app as a threat to national security, prompting the FBI to investigate the Russian startup. Will this be a similar saga between the US and China trade war? Let’s hope it won’t escalate into a bigger issue.

FaceApp has responded to these allegations claiming that images are deleted from their servers within 48 hours from the upload date.

At the end of the day, FaceApp is pretty much similar to Facebook and Google, who have taken more information from us than we realize. If you’re still afraid, the best course here is to stay away from photo editing apps and resist the urge to try senseless features for the sake of fun and likes on social media.

 

Apps

Hong Kong protests: Apple succumbs to pressure from China

Trying to please both the sides

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Every international company, whether based in China or the US, is now stuck in the middle of the Hong Kong protests. While the people want pro-Democracy ideals to govern their city, China refuses to back down and continues its passive-aggressive push.

Apple has reportedly removed the Quartz app from the App Store at the request of the Chinese government. Quartz’s Investigations editor John Keefe confirmed the app has been removed from the App Store and even the website has been blocked in Mainland China.


The publication has been covering the Hong Kong protests in detail and this hasn’t gone down well with the government in Beijing. China has a long history of suppressing free speech and it’s not surprising to see them block off content that doesn’t suit their narrative.

Though, users are furious at Apple for not taking a stand and bowing down to pressure. A few days back, the Cupertino-based giant removed the Taiwanese flag from its keyboard for some users to please the Chinese officials.

Apple was also in the news this week due to its initial rejection of an app that kept a tab on police movement in Hong Kong. Back in 2017, Apple removed the New York Times app from App Store after the Chinese government requested its removal because it was “in violation of local regulations.”

It is necessary for Apple to stay on good terms with China because of its business interests. Almost every other product designed by Apple will find its roots back in China, where everything is built — components as well as finished iPhones.

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Instagram is finally getting a dark mode

Out on iOS, beta on Android

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The spookiest and scariest month is upon us! A week into October, we can’t wait to sink our teeth into Halloween. While we wait for our monsters to wake up, the tech world is slowly paving the way for a scary month. For one, Instagram, Facebook’s popular photo-sharing social media network, has started embracing the dark side.

The app has released a much-awaited update for its iPhone variant. The update includes a dark mode, in collaboration with the newly released iOS 13’s native dark mode support. Finally, Instagram turns off the lights on its iconic (and sometimes obnoxiously bright) white theme. We can now browse throughout feeds in eye-pleasing darkness.


Sadly, the new dark mode is not accessible using a normal on-and-off switch. The mode switches on based on your own iPhone’s settings.

In addition to iOS, Instagram is also slowly rolling out the update for Android users. Unfortunately, the update is available only for Instagram Beta users. Even then, the Android update is only starting to trickle down to users worldwide.

Regardless, Instagram’s dark mode is a welcome addition to our growing list of dark mode-friendly apps. It’s getting easier to distract yourself from startling jump scares during those inevitable horror movie marathons on your couch this Halloween.

SEE ALSO: Facebook Dating is now live with Instagram integration

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This is Huawei’s alternative for missing Google Play services

Filling up the vacuum

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2019 has been an awfully difficult year for Huawei. While the US and China are embroiled in a trade war, the Chinese telecommunication giant is stuck in the cross-fire. Like every other phone maker, it relies on Google’s Android operating system and services to deliver a complete experience to the end user.

However, President Trump has barred American companies from doing any business with Huawei, which means the brand can no longer leverage Google Play services. Google has been banned from China for the longest time, so this won’t have any effect on Huawei’s sales in the country, but it will completely derail Huawei’s plans of global domination.


To counter these missing Google apps, Huawei has released a plethora of in-house apps that will ensure the user doesn’t feel left out. AppGallery is will replace the Google Play Store and can be used in 170+ countires. Launched way back in 2011, it was initially released for users in China only. In 2018, it was shipped to non-Chinese users and became a pre-installed package on all new phones.

Similarly, Huawei Browser replaces Google Chrome, Huawei Mobile Cloud replaces Google Drive, and Huawei Music replaces YouTube or Play Music. There’s also an addition of Huawei Themes, Huawei Assistant, and many more.

Thanks to the open-source nature of AOSP, Huawei is not completely barred from using Android on its smartphone. The recently launched Mate 30 series runs on Android, but doesn’t come with Google apps out-of-the-box, including Google Play Store.

This reminds us of Samsung’s Galaxy phones that usually ship with Google apps as well as Samsung’s own suite of apps. They are pretty much meant to do the same job, but come from two different vendors. Ultimately, offering more options to the user.

Will you be fine with these replacements or are Google apps necessary? As Plan B, Huawei has already announced its Harmony OS and we expect it to be ready for phones in the coming years. But, that’s still a long way down the line.

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