Apps

Messenger Rooms is Facebook’s group video chat app

Supports up to 50 people

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All over the world, people are turning to video chat apps to communicate with each otherr. Popular apps include Zoom, Houseparty, and Microsoft Teams. Not wanting to miss the party, Facebook is launching Messenger Rooms to compete with these apps.

Facebook’s Messenger Rooms is a different service from Facebook Messenger. Messenger users have been using its video chat feature with their friends for years. The only problem though is that they can only chat with their friends. Messenger doesn’t allow a direct video chat for people you haven’t yet befriended on Facebook.

Messenger Rooms allows everyone to create a room and invite people to participate in a video chat session. You can invite anyone to a room, even those who don’t have a Facebook account. Up to 50 people can participate, and there’s no time limit on each session. In the future, anyone will be able to create a room from Instagram Direct, WhatsApp, or Facebook Portal devices.

You can share rooms directly on your News Feed, Groups, or Events page. Also, you can control the visibility and other settings of the room. If you don’t want a sketchy person to crash on your friends’ intimate video chat, you can block that person. Better yet, you can lock a room so no else can just budge in and disrupt the flow.

If you get invited to a certain room, you can instantly join the chat from the website or app. Those joining from the app gain additional features like AR effects and immersive backgrounds.

Messenger Rooms is rolling out to certain countries, with general availability targeted in the coming weeks. It remains to be seen, however, if people will adopt Messenger Rooms since group video chats are already plentiful in the market. Not to mention the fact that Facebook has been dealing with privacy and security issues over the past few years.

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WhatsApp delays roll-out of new privacy policy until May

Signal and Telegram are trending instead

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Photo by Dimitri Karastelev on Unsplash

WhatsApp rolled out a new privacy policy that clearly specifies how the instant messaging app will leverage your data for monetization. But the new privacy policy is on hold.

WhatsApp, owned by Facebook, has announced that it will delay enforcing its new privacy terms from February 8 to May 15. In the blog post, the company says that none of its privacy-focused features are changing.

“We’re also going to do a lot more to clear up the misinformation around how privacy and security works on WhatsApp. We’ll then go to people gradually to review the policy at their own pace before new business options are available on May 15,” the statement said.

It faced massive backlash as users are worried about their personal data. When the privacy policy changes went public last week, the response from the public was downright brutal. Alternative apps like Telegram and Signal started trending worldwide as users started joining it in hopes of ditching WhatsApp.

Even though WhatsApp is end-to-end encrypted, Facebook will still fetch some crucial information like your transactions, location, and other behavioral data from linked Instagram profile. And, we all know Facebook has a nasty reputation as far as personal data management is concerned. What makes it even more outrageous is that the policy is leave or take, and there’s no third option.

In the wording used, WhatsApp says the new privacy policy will change how it partners with Facebook to “offer integrations” and that businesses can use Facebook services to manage WhatsApp chats. It said that hat all private messages between friends and family members will remain end-to-end encrypted.

According to a CNBC report, India’s technology ministry also asked WhatsApp to withdraw planned changes to its privacy policy that has drawn widespread backlash.

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Ultrahuman is an all-in-one fitness app

Workout, meditate and sleep soundly

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Staying physically and mentally fit is extra challenging during a pandemic, but it’s become essential now more than ever. Ultrahuman is a fitness app launched that offers a very convenient platform that targets the three main health points: physical exercise, meditation and sleep. It helps you stay fit from the moment you wake up until you go to bed!

This newest app, which debuted on CES 2021, features different content per category. It includes home workouts and yoga programs from world-class athletes and professional trainers to focus on your physical strength. You can choose from various workouts — from running and yoga to weightlifting and HIIT. The app is designed for all fitness levels.

With the app’s biofeedback technology, you can also track your heart rate and calories burned in real-time.

There’s also content focusing on mindfulness, including guided meditations, bedtime stories, calming meditation music, nature and sleep sounds, breathing exercises, among others. Manage stress and anxiety better by improving your mental health and sleeping patterns with the help of this series.

You can also listen to “brain music”, a section where you can find songs curated by “neuro-musicians” that aids focus, sleep and productivity.

Ultrahuman also partnered with UCLA, Mindsize, and Unified Mindfulness to bring the best of mind science and technology together.

The app is available on iOS and Android, and is already rolled out across 50+ countries globally. It’s been recognized by Apple as one of the top apps they love. Apple Watch users can also integrate their app to track their health progress real-time.

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Prepare your meals through your phone, fridge using Samsung SmartThings

The kitchen, simplified

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With everything going on in the world, it’s no surprise that people are spending more time in the kitchen and looking out for new recipes.

The good news? Samsung has just the thing to get it sorted quickly and easily. They’re bringing in Family Hub features into mobile users through the SmartThings app.

Samsung’s SmartThings Cooking service helps bring all of your Samsung kitchen appliances together. How? It lets you search, plan, purchase, and meal prep seamlessly through your phone or fridge through the SmartThings app.

On top of that, it recommends customized recipes based on your taste and preferences while considering ingredients available to you. You can scroll through recipe collections when you’re undecided or quickly zero-in on meals that suit your cravings.

SmartThings Cooking, powered by Whisk, is accessible through Samsung’s SmartThings. If you’ve got the Family Hub in your smart kitchen arsenal, there’s no need to fret.

The fridge keeps tabs of what you have and don’t, adding missing ingredients directly to your online grocery cart for at-home deliveries. Not to mention, you can shop through Walmart, Kroger, Instacart, and Amazon Fresh, using the Whisk network.

With SmartThings added to the Family Hub smart fridge, you get to enjoy all the cool features and more! You get to access your other smart kitchen gadgets through widgets on the screen, prioritize most used apps, and feature family photos, notes, and recipes.

And, if cooking is what you’re worried about, Samsung has you covered for even that. SmartThings guides you through easy cooking steps and lets you control cooking modes, temperatures, and time settings with one touch. Leaving you with little room for error.

So, with all that in mind, was it really a surprise to see Samsung’s Family Hub win its sixth consecutive CES Innovation Award this year? For us, not quite.

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