Apps

Facebook acquires Giphy to integrate with Instagram

GIF memes are in high demand!

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Emojis and stickers are fine, now GIFs have become an integral part of chatting for a huge userbase across the world. Facebook wants a piece of the pie and is now buying Internet GIF repository, Giphy, for US$ 400 million.

Facebook said its planning to further integrate Giphy into the Instagram app “so that people can find just the right way to express themselves.” Giphy will continue to operate its library, Facebook said. This means that your Instagram stories and direct messages will have access to more GIFs directly.

The library currently is integrated into multiple platforms like Twitter, Slack, and more. According to the company, 50 percent of Giphy’s traffic comes from Facebook-owned apps, like Instagram and WhatsApp.

“Both our services are big supporters of the creator and artist community, and that will continue,” said Vishal Shah, Facebook’s vice president of product.

Facebook has long used Giphy’s application program interface throughout its main Facebook app, Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp. They plan to invest further in the technology and relationships with other content providers to boost the service offered by Giphy.

The blog post suggests that Facebook won’t take away access to Giphy from other developers, at least for now.

The social media giant has been aggressive in acquiring companies that compete with aspects of its business. It bought Instagram in 2012 for US$ 1 billion and WhatsApp in 2014 for US$ 19 billion.

Apps

Top iOS 15 Features to look out for

FaceTime for Android, anyone?

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The next version of iOS rolls out this fall. There are new features such as FaceTime for Android, new Memojis, rebranded Safari and Messages app, personal identification card compatibility for Wallet, and more.

But in this video, we rounded up our Top 10 iOS 15 Features you should look out for.

Watch the whole video by clicking here.

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Apps

Voilà AI Artist turns your selfies into 3D cartoons, caricatures

And many more artistic renditions!

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Voilà AI Artist

From FaceApp to Zepeto, plenty of avatars from these apps proliferated social media platforms. Most recently, the Internet went crazy with cute avatars once more. You probably noticed how people have been posting a 3D cartoon version of themselves, akin to a Disney character. It’s all thanks to Voilà AI Artist — a photo-editing app using artificial intelligence to turn your photos into artistic renditions.

Get yourself painted as a Renaissance painting.

Voilà AI Artist

Have your selfies transformed into a 3D cartoon from an animated movie.

Turn your photos into a 2D cartoon…

Voilà AI Artist

… or even have your face drawn as a caricature.

Voilà AI Artist

Voilà AI Artist is developed by WeImagine.AI., a Canada-based team of creators and developers. The app is free to download on the App Store and Google Play Store. If you’re concerned about the app’s privacy policy, read it here.

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The US revokes Trump’s executive order that banned TikTok

A level-playing field for everyone

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President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Wednesday that sets criteria for the government to evaluate the risk of apps connected to foreign adversaries. It’s specifically meant for apps like TikTok and WeChat, which President Trump banned.

It should use an “evidence-based approach” to see if they pose a risk to US national security, said Biden. If apps are found violating fundamental laws, a ban can be imposed. The task of identifying threats has been given to the US Commerce Department.

Trump’s executive order particularly targeted TikTok and WeChat. Instead, Biden is opting for a level-playing field for everyone. Biden shares the same concerns as Trump, but their approach is vastly different.

Under the previous administration, TikTok remained in a precarious position as Trump sought to ban the app unless it sold to an American company. A proposal was produced that would have seen Oracle and Walmart owning a US entity of the service and taking responsibility for handling TikTok’s US user data and content moderation.

But there were numerous legal challenges, and before they could be ironed out, Trump lost the election. The Biden administration’s new executive order does not affect those negotiations, which are a separate process. The order also calls upon federal agencies to develop recommendations – for future executive actions or legislation — on how to protect the data of US citizens.

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