Apps

Facebook Messenger now comes with AR games

Another fun way to have a video chat with friends

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Facebook is rolling out an update for the Messenger app on iOS and Android devices with a brand-new feature. Now, you can play games powered by augmented reality (AR) technology with up to six friends on video chat. These games can be accessible through the video icon on your conversations with your friends.

The first of two games in the update is Don’t Smile. The challenge for the users is pretty straightforward: you smile, you lose. The twist here is that using AR, the loser’s face will be contorted into an exaggerated Joker smile for all your friends to see — like a staring contest.

The second game is Asteroids Attack, a team-based game that allows users to navigate a spaceship through rocks and powerups. In this game, AR detects head movement as a way of navigation.

The Messenger app has already incorporated a gaming feature among friends. Whether you activate the game via emoji or using third-party games installed within the app, you’ve had countless ways to play games with your friends through Messenger. With video chat being one of Messenger’s primary features, Facebook simply wants to add more fun to the whole experience.

Facebook promises to release more games in later updates. For now, the new games will not come with in-game ads, sponsored brands, or in-app purchases, but these are things the company will be looking into. They are considering partnerships with developers outside of Facebook for AR games, as well.

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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