Apps

Google Lens is now available on iOS

Scan all of the things!

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A master at recognizing images, Google is the go-to guy when you want to find out more about a photo. Last year’s launch of Google Lens packed the tech into a convenient app. Now, the former Android exclusive finds a home in iOS.

Launched late last year, the image recognition software followed in the footsteps of the Google Goggles from years ago. Back then, Google Goggles was just a playful way to see if Google knew what something is when you took a photo of it. Its novelty quickly ran out.

Of course, now we know that Google can really tell what objects in a photo are. Sorting images by subject is already a feature on Google Photos.

Google Lens promises similar features to its predecessor, powered by AI technology. It differs from the former by integrating Google Assistant when it recognizes an object. Did you just a take a photo of a Crowne Plaza? Well, Google Lens can reserve you a night’s stay with a few clicks.

When it launched, Google Lens was still an Android exclusive. Now, following an announcement on Twitter, Google will launch the tech on iOS over the course of the next few weeks. Some devices already have the app fully integrated into the iOS version of Google Photos.

Google only warns that users who want the feature should have the latest version of Google Photos (v3.15).

AI-powered image recognition is still an imperfect tool. It has its fair share of mistakes. However, at least, the move to iOS makes the tech available for a wider public.

SEE ALSO: Google announces three new photography apps

Apps

Zoom’s security is tied to China

Opening access to Chinese authorities

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Days ago, Zoom’s status as an indisputable teleconferencing solution today blew out of proportion. Though its userbase is still on the rise, Zoom is constantly finding more and more flaws in its infrastructure. For example, a report has recently revealed the platform’s lack of true end-to-end encryption.

Today, The Citizen Lab, a research laboratory in Toronto, revealed another concerning flaw with the popular app. Apparently, the mostly American company employs “at least 700 employees in China. Though the company is still primarily American, Zoom’s Chinese presence can open it up to “pressure from Chinese authorities.” Even if a meeting’s participants are in the US, for example, Chinese parties can still access the meeting.

As we already know, Zoom’s encryption is lackluster, allowing Zoom employees to access private information if they need to. Of course, despite the revelation, Zoom has still claimed its respect over its users’ information.

However, with potential Chinese interference, who can really tell? In the report’s conclusion, The Citizen Lab does not recommend the platform for secrecy. Though a good chunk of users come from university settings, government officials, like UK’s Boris Johnson, have also started using the platform for official state meetings.

Additionally, the report goes into a potential flaw with Zoom’s “waiting room” feature. Before a meeting starts, a host can keep participants in a virtual waiting room before starting. Apparently, the feature can allow malicious parties to infiltrate the call. However, The Citizen Lab chose not to disclose the flaw to the public. Instead, they forwarded the flaw to Zoom; the company quickly turned the feature off for now.

Regardless, even without the feature, Zoom-bombing is quickly turning into a trend. All over the world, students have found ways to access meetings from other classes even without official access. Though disruptive, Zoom-bombing is still within the realm of jokes and pranks. Of course, the infiltrative method is easily exploitable by more malicious entities.

Despite its ease of access, Zoom is quickly losing its potential as a secure online platform for the quarantine era.

SEE ALSO: Zoom, Skype now used for virtual drinking parties

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Apps

Going Cashless: Make payments, transfer funds all on your phone

It’s pretty convenient

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So you’re stuck at home with some extra time on your hands. When you feel like taking a break from all the shows you’ve been watching, perhaps you can make time to figure out how to transition to cashless payments.

We’re dealing with a unique situation right now and cashless transactions is one of the little ways in which we can help with social distancing measures. Not to mention, it’s also pretty convenient.

If you already have a bank account, chances are you’re already using that bank’s mobile app. If not, we encourage you to do so. But we’re not going deep into that. Today, we’re looking at other payment services that will help you go cashless.

GCash

We partnered with GCash a while back for this quick How-To video. But if you don’t feel like watching, the text comes right after.

Before anything else download the app on the App Store, Google Play, or AppGallery.

Step 1. Open the GCash app and enter your mobile number. Tap “Next” to proceed.

Step 2. Fill in the mandatory information. These include your First Name, Last Name, Birthday, Address, Email Address. When you’re done, tap “Next” to proceed

Step 3. Review your information. Gotta make sure everything’s accurate and matches any official ID you have with you. If you have a referral code, input it using the drop down below your information. Afterwards, tap “Next”.

Step 4. Set your Mobile Pin by inputting a 4 digit MPIN. It’s very important that you can easily remember your MPIN. It serves as your password to access your GCash account. You also need it for your future GCash transactions. So yeah, don’t use your birthday or any birthdays of anyone you’re super close with. Protect your MPIN like your life depended on it. Tap “Submit” to move on.

Step 5. You will receive a 6-digit authentication code via SMS in the device authentication page. Enter the code to authenticate your device.

Step 6. Enter your 4-digit GCash MPIN and click ‘Log In’ to enter the app.

Congratulations! You’re now on GCash. There’s a ton that you can do here. This is where I connected my bank account so I’ve been using GCash to move money around my other accounts, transfer money to my family and friends, load up my prepaid sim, and of course the usual in-store transactions. You can also link it to your Lazada account for your online shopping needs.

For more information, visit the GCash Help Center.

PayMaya

PayMaya is very similar to GCash in that they practically let you do the same things. As mentioned earlier, these are making cashless payments, transferring funds, as well as online shopping. Personally, this is the account I used for most of my app subscriptions like Netflix, Spotify, and NBA League Pass.

Again, make sure you have the app. Get it on the App Store, Google Play, or AppGallery.

Step1: Register with your name, email and mobile number​. The mobile number can be with any network you’re currently using.

Step 2: Create a password​. Unlike GCash which uses an MPIN, the PayMaya password is a lot more like the usual passwords you use for your social media accounts. Again, make sure it’s secure and something easy for you to remember.

Step 3: Receive a verification SMS​. Enter this verification number on the app.

Step 4: Click the VIEW CARD button​.

Step 5: Input your address and birthday​.

Step 6: Receive a confirmation that your account has been activated​

PayMaya also has these cashback promos every now and then. That means anything you purchase, a percentage of that goes back to your account. Here’s a quick little video on that.

To find how you can maximize PayMaya just head on over to their Support Page.

GrabPay

Grab has surprisingly expanded its GrabPay services to more than just hailing rides, deliveries, and paying for GrabFood.

You can now also do the following:

  1. Cashless payment for Grab services (GrabCar, GrabFood, GrabExpress, GrabMart)
  2. Buy prepaid load
  3. Pay bills (Cablielink, Cignal TV, Destiny Cable, DFA, Easytrip, Globe, Manila Water, Maynilad, Meralco, Metro Cebu Water, MMDA, NBI, Pag-IBIG Fund, PLDT, Sky Cable, Smart, Smart Bro, SSS, Sun Celular, UNICEF, VECO)
  4. Pay in-store
  5. Pay online
  6. Send money for free (person-to-person and bank transfer)

Registering is pretty straightforward. Download the app on the App Store or Google Play, and then register using your phone number, Facebook account, or Google account.

For more on what else you can do with GrabPay and how they’re expanding, you may visit their Help Page.

You can also use these services to donate towards efforts in fighting COVID-19. For other ways to help check out our Where To Donate article.

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WhatsApp could soon let you use the same account on multiple phones

No need to maintain different numbers soon

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WhatsApp is working on a feature that has been in-demand for ages. The ability to use the same account (phone number) across multiple phones. So far, WhatsApp does not permit a single account on multiple devices. The only exception being the WhatsApp Web feature which can only be accessed on browsers.

However, companies including Samsung, Vivo, OPPO, and Huawei offer Dual Apps mode, allowing users to switch between two different accounts of the same chat app. This doesn’t exactly serve the purpose because you still end up having two different accounts.

With multiple device support, the chats will be synchronized across all logged-in devices. Similar to how it works on other instant messaging apps like Messenger and Telegram.

The feature was spotted by WABetaInfo in November 2019. However, it was a very limited release and didn’t exactly shed light on how multiple devices shall be leveraged. The new WhatsApp beta v 2.20.110 release was spotted by WABetaInfo recently and the team was successfully able to test the feature.

For now, a few questions remain unanswered because the company hasn’t officially released the feature. Will the first phone you logged in from become primary and the rest of the devices will rely on it to send messages, just like WhatsApp Web? Or can the feature make even the second phone run independently?

Moreover, this is exciting news for anyone who relies on more than one phone daily. Currently, you’ll have to enable two different numbers to use WhatsApp on both the phones. Considering the competition, the feature is pretty standard and we’re glad WhatsApp is finally taking cognizance of it.

Lastly, keep in mind the feature is still in beta. It could take months to reach the normal Joe and maybe never even come. That’s the point of releasing it via the beta channel. To test whether the feature or product is successful and doesn’t hinder regular usage.

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