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Indians can now use UPI to make purchases on Play Store

Because debit cards are too old school

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Google’s Play Store has now added Unified Payments Interface (UPI) as a payment option for users in India. The payment method is widely used in the country and is directly linked to a bank account.

Earlier, users had to rely on credit or debit cards. In a side move, Google also started selling cash cards at popular electronic stores. But, cash cards meant users had to buy a fixed amount of credit. With UPI, they now have the liberty of directly paying only what’s required.

XDA Developers were the first one to spot the feature addition and it’s rolling out OTA to everyone. To ensure you get it, just update the Google Play Store to v16.3.37 or more.

For those who aren’t aware, UPI is India’s homegrown protocol for transferring money and making payments. It is directly linked to a bank account and various client apps like BHIM, GPay, PhonePe, PayTM, and more can be used to initiate a transaction. Instead of relying on a physical card, UPI protocol brings authentication of transactions directly to your phone.

The transfer method is widely adopted in the country and thanks to a universal interface, it can be used for pretty much every Indian bank. Every major e-commerce service like Amazon, Flipkart, and Spotify have adopted the payment service to bolster sales.

In fact, UPI has overtaken debit card transactions by volume and value according to The Reserve Bank of India. This minor addition is sure to get a lot of traction, in turn discouraging app piracy.

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Facebook, Twitter, Instagram coming to Huawei AppGallery soon

At least, their CEO believes so

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At a press briefing following the launch of the Huawei Mate Xs, Huawei CEO Richard Yu told GadgetMatch that our most used social media apps like Facebook and Twitter should be arriving on the AppGallery soon.

Huawei has been on the unfortunate receiving end of the US government’s ire following accusations of spying for the Chinese government. In 2019, tech news headlines were dominated by the rift between the US and Huawei — the biggest of which happened when the US banned companies like Google from working with Huawei.

It was a huge hit as the company relied on Google’s mobile operating system Android for its smartphones.

The company has started rebounding since. Over the last six months, they’ve announced their own HarmonyOS. It’s not only meant for their smartphones but it’s more of a single OS that connects all of their products.

They have also heavily invested in getting more apps on the AppGallery. This is why Yu strongly believes that all the apps we usually use like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter will soon be able to easily make their way to all new Huawei phones.

Ban affected their first foldable

Yu also noted that the ban heavily affected the global release of the Huawei Mate X — the predecessor of the Huawei Mate Xs.

The Huawei Mate X never made it out of China specifically because of the lack of Google Mobile Services. This wasn’t an issue in China since the company’s HongMengOS had already gotten a wide adoption in the country.

Now, Huawei hopes to make the same wide adoption through the AppGallery. In the meantime, Huawei is also pushing HTML5 based Quick Apps as an alternative to apps that are not available in AppGallery.

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Facebook will pay for your voice recording, if you agree

It’s for their smart speaker

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Much has been said about Facebook’s track record for violating user’s privacy. As such, the company took some steps to rectify its shortcomings. However, the company remains firm on its data collection practices.  After all, data from the users provide a lot of revenue opportunities for the company.

The company is now trying out an odd way to let it collect these data. Facebook is now resorting to paying willing users to have their voice recorded. By consenting to Facebook’s collection of your voice and personal details, you can get rewards which you can also exchange for a measly amount of money.

If you are eager to try out this Facebook’s new scheme, you can do so by downloading the Viewpoints app. The company launched the app months ago to test out new features for its platform. Through the app, you can receive an invite from the company prompting you to say “Hey, Portal” and the name of your 10 friends in exchange for a reward. Apparently, the social networking company is very eager to know everybody on this planet.

There’s a caveat for trying out though. Only US users can sign-up at the moment. Additionally, you have to say out the prompt five times in order to receive a single reward.

Where will Facebook use the data collected from you? The company is actively developing its new smart speaker — Facebook Portal. By donating your voice to a company with serious privacy violations in the past, you will help them fine-tune the product’s interaction with people.

The company assured that all activity coming from its Viewpoints app will never be shared on Facebook. Also, the company promises to never share all collected data with any other third-party companies without your permission. However, the company still has the right to use other data including payment and device data for better ad targeting.

A step in the right direction?

Over the years, governments and individuals have scrutinized major tech companies for invasive data collection practices. Much of the scrutiny lies in the lack of consent and permission and the scope of data collection. Facebook, in particular, got a bad rep over the years for collecting data anonymously. Worse, the company failed to safeguard this collected data, resulting in leaks with major political implications.

So maybe, this is a step in the right direction for the company. Data collection agreed upon by the users legitimizes the company’s practices — even if it is invasive and unnecessary in the first place.

Source: Android Authority

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Google’s Emoji Kitchen will mash-up your favorite emojis

Rolling out on Gboard

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Do you know that Merriam-Webster adds new words to the dictionary every year? Do you also know that the Unicode Consortium adds new emojis to everyone’s devices every year? Such is the way of language. New ways to communicate will always emerge out of nowhere. Usually, they form whenever two things combine into an all-new form. It’s easy enough to combine words together, but how do you do that with emojis?

Google is developing a way to fuse emojis into new ones. In an official blog post, the Android developer announced the new feature called Emoji Kitchen. A feature of Gboard, Emoji Kitchen unlocks a plethora of new emojis. How about a cowboy ghost? Or a crying robot? Or a kissing poop face?

Prior to the Emoji Kitchen, users already received access to emoji variants in the past. Today, you can select different skin tones for human emojis. With the Emoji Kitchen, you can mix existing ones with each other. Likewise, users can access the feature automatically by opening compatible emojis. Opening the cowboy emoji sub-menu, for example, will open up its different variants.

Naturally, Emoji Kitchen will combine only existing emojis. In other words, you can’t create an all-new emoji from nothing. All new emojis come from Google’s own designers. Still, the feature’s new combinations will come in handy. Especially when I feel like a… monkey cactus?

Emoji Kitchen is slowly rolling out to Gboard users starting today. If you don’t want to wait for an official version, you can sign up for the Gboard Beta program for instant access.

SEE ALSO: Emoji documentary to show at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival

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