Apps

Instagram is working on another messaging app

How many messaging apps do we need?

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Facebook as a stand-alone social networking website has reached its saturation point in most markets and the parent company is now relying on other products like Instagram and WhatsApp to continue its advertisement machinery.

To bolster its presence, Instagram intends to take on its arch-rival Snapchat by releasing a new messaging app called “Threads”. It’s “meant to promote constant, intimate sharing between users and their closest friends.”

According to The Verge, the companion app will leverage Instagram’s “close friends” list and let users share details like location, speed, and battery life. The app is being tested internally and there has been no official word on its release yet.

On a brighter side, the app will not share your exact live location and only display a message like a friend is “on the move.” A similar feature is available on Snapchat’s Snap Map which displays a car or airplane based on the user’s movement.

With Snapchat, you can disappear from the map at any time by turning on Ghost Mode or by not opening Snapchat for a few hours. Alternatively, location-sharing is turned off by default and you can leave it that way to just lurk, watching what friends are up to.

Too many messaging apps?

Instagram was previously working on a standalone messaging app called “Direct”, but it was ditched a few months back because users weren’t in favor of shifting apps just to send a message.

Facebook has a host of messaging services now, including Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp. It’ll be interesting to see how the company justifies having yet another messaging app in its portfolio.

Lastly, Facebook has come under immense criticism after it leaked data of more than 50 million users to Cambridge Analytica. The social network lacks users trust at this point and it’s best to stay away from controversial features like these. Even its cryptocurrency “Libra” has received a lukewarm response from industry experts and regulatory bodies.

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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Apps

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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