Apps

Government of India is considering a ban on WhatsApp Calls

Will this actually prevent militants from communicating?

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WhatsApp and many other Instant Messengers have been in the crosshairs with governments around the world due to the misuse of available onboard encryption. End-to-end encryption protects the user’s messages from snooping eyes, but at the same time, the technology has been abused by terrorists and criminals to protect themselves from law enforcement authorities.

According to NDTV, a meeting was held in New Delhi yesterday where the Home Ministry expressed its concern over anti-national elements in the country using social media apps to carry out their activities. It was highlighted that detained terrorists had revealed to the Jammu and Kashmir police that they were taking directions from across the border via WhatsApp calls during the Nagrota army camp attack in 2016, in which seven army men were killed.

The authorities have now expressed a desire to monitor social media apps including messaging apps like WhatsApp. Top officials from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), as well as those from security agencies and J&K police, agreed that WhatsApp is “the preferred medium of communication for anti-national forces.”

It is highly unlikely that WhatsApp or any other major player will hand over the encryption keys to the government, hence the authorities are trying to bring these services under Indian jurisdiction by establishing new policies. WhatsApp’s parent company Facebook is already in hot water after data of more than 50 million users was shared with third parties without consent. Telegram stood by its users and declined to share the keys with the Russian Government a few months back and the app has been banned in the country since then.

The authorities are also considering taking inspiration from Gulf countries like the UAE where VoIP calls are strictly banned over major players like WhatsApp. Currently, the officials are meeting with representatives of social media platforms for compliance.

Apps

Instagram releases IGTV app for creators

Now capable of uploading hour-long videos

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Have you ever wanted to upload a video longer than a minute on Instagram? You’re in for a treat as the photo-sharing company launched its latest product: IGTV!

IGTV comes with a stand-alone app that allows you to watch longer videos from content creators all over the world, and upload your own videos, as well. With IGTV, creators can upload a video up to an hour long. However, keep in mind that the videos have to be vertically oriented when you upload them.

“It’s built for how you actually use your phone,” according to Instagram’s business blog. Of course, newer accounts won’t be able to fully maximize this new feature as IGTV limits the upload time to ten minutes. However, Instagram is working on applying the one-hour limit to everyone in the future.

Much like a TV, IGTV features channels from different content creators from around the world. When you follow a creator on Instagram, you can access their IGTV channel through a button above Stories. Meanwhile, the IGTV app allows you to scroll through a list of channels according to your preferences. The app filters the channels according to who you’re following and the most popular creators on IGTV itself.

Instagram hopes to add more features to IGTV in the future to help content creators. These features range from advertisements in between videos to an option for monetization — something YouTube is doing right now. Instagram wants to give content creators another means to reach their audience while earning revenue from their content, too.

The IGTV app is now available for download from the Google Play Store and Apple App Store for free! Integration with the Instagram app will follow suit once an update arrives.

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Facebook Messenger will soon autoplay videos in your conversations

Nope, we don’t want videos playing while chatting!

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When using a free service, expect it to have ads. That’s what exactly Facebook is doing to keep their platform free of charges, but they’re running out of room for ads inside their main app, so they’re finding more places to put them. That’s why Messenger, Facebook’s messaging app, started to have ads for quite some time now, and it’s about to get more.

Currently, ads inside Messenger are static and they’re bearable since they don’t necessarily get in the way. As mentioned earlier, Facebook wants to put in more ads in their messaging app. Not just simple ads though, but autoplay videos. Videos are more valuable for the company since they sell higher to advertisers. But, can users deal with videos automatically playing while they’re chatting with friends and family?

Stefanos Loukakos, the one who runs Messenger’s ad business, says he’s aware how autoplay videos would feel intrusive and that the company will monitor user behavior to learn if these new ads turn people off. He did claim in an article by Recode that they’re not yet sure how things will work, but basic ads in Messenger didn’t show any changes with how people used the platform and videos may or may not have the same effect.

Autoplay video ads on Messenger will roll out early next week to select (and unlucky) users.

SEE ALSO: Facebook Messenger’s new interface makes it simple again

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Android Messages web client goes live and gets new features

Text, images, and stickers are all supported

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Android Messages‘ much-awaited feature is finally available and it’s not the only new thing to try out. Google has five new features for users of Messages, from web support to smart replies.

The web version of Android Messages is now rolling out to users, allowing them to send and view messages on their desktop or laptop’s browsers.

Users may visit messages.android.com to access the Android Messages for web. They must also have the updated app on their phone to pair their browser with their phone. People can send stickers, emoji, and attach images aside from sending simple text messages.

The other new features of Android Messages include nifty smart replies for quick responses, instant preview of a link to an article in the conversation, built-in GIF search capabilities, and a useful shortcut for copying one-time passwords such as verification codes when logging into certain apps.

The new features, according to Google, are slowly becoming available to Android users and the rollout will continue throughout the week.

Source: Google

SEE ALSO: The future of Android messaging gets support from carriers worldwide

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