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You should replace your Samsung Galaxy Note 7 before it’s too late

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As you might have heard, Samsung’s best phone ever is literally exploding around the world. The chances of you owning an unsafe unit are slim – Samsung claims only one in every 42,000 units are affected – but the inconvenience of replacing your Galaxy Note 7 or asking for a refund shouldn’t hold you back. Take the latest incidents as examples.

samsung-galaxy-note-7-garage-explosion

In what seems to be the most damaging instance yet, a man’s garage in Horry County, South Carolina caught fire while charging his Galaxy Note 7 two days ago. The scare happened as Wesley Hartzog came back to his home after leaving his Samsung phone charging in the room. The source of damage was found to be near the electric socket used to charge the handset, leading to the speculation. No one was injured, but Hartzog and his family are now forced to live in hotels while repairs are made.

Another similarly scary case also happened two days ago in St. Petersburg, Florida, where another man lost his Jeep Grand Cherokee to a fire. The cause is centered around the Galaxy Note 7 Nathan Dornacher left charging inside the vehicle, as he and his wife were unloading a desk they bought from a yard sale. While you shouldn’t leave a phone charging in a car under the scorching sun, a handset shouldn’t explode strong enough to destroy a large SUV either. Again, luckily, no was harmed.

samsung-galaxy-note-7-car-explosion

The situation has become so bad that the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) sent out a statement advising Galaxy Note 7 users against charging or even turning on their phones while in flight. Despite there being only 35 reported incidents as of September 1 (doesn’t include the two reported here), the FAA is taking no risks, and considers the Samsung phone a possible explosive. To make matters worse, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) urges consumers who own a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 to “power them down and stop charging or using the device.” Samsung is agreeing with the CPSC, and is asking users to exchange their phones right away.

So, what exactly is causing the explosions? Samsung UK explained that it’s an issue with the battery cell, wherein overheating occurs when the anode-to-cathode comes into contact, which is a “very rare manufacturing error.”

We recently explained how to tell if your Galaxy Note 7 is safe or a possible hazard, and we also covered the replacement process for customers in the Philippines. Our advice is to choose the latter option before any more unnecessary accidents arise.

Sources: WMBF News, Fox 13

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Google bug leaks users’ location data from Home and Chromecast

Data privacy issues hit another tech giant in Google

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If you have been using Google products lately, particularly Google Home and/or Chromecast, be warned! A bug that affects these devices have reportedly been leaking location data of its users through the Google Home app. The bug was discovered by Craig Young, a researcher at Tripwire — a security firm in Portland, Oregon.

Young was creating an exercise to demonstrate how websites identify and control smart screens and speakers when he discovered the bug. He noticed it while using the Google Home app to access nearby wireless networks in the area. After the device connects to a wireless network, the app sends location data to Google’s geolocation services.

What is very interesting about the bug is that the location is precise, and hackers can easily track that location without the need for GPS. Young made a video below to demonstrate how the bug worked using a website he made. This basically shows that it is that easy for hackers to know exactly where you are and access your information — leaving your privacy at risk.

Young reported this issue to Google back in May, but the report was closed as a “Status: Won’t Fix (Intended Behavior)” message. This means that the code worked and produced the expected results it needed. However, when Krebs on Security contacted Google about the bug, the tech giant took action and is working on a patch to be released in July.

Young warns that the bug can be used for more dangerous privacy scams such as phishing, hacking, extortion, and blackmail. Scammers can also pose as the FBI to ask for your personal data based on your location. The bug can even affect your other smart devices like your smart TVs, not just the aforementioned Google products.

One solution that Young suggests is that you use your smart devices on multiple networks — either by adding a guest network or creating a multi-router system.

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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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YouTube Music and YouTube Premium launch in more countries

YouTube continues to expand its services

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YouTube has come a long way since it was launched 13 years ago. Google is making sure their video-sharing service continues to evolve with the introduction of YouTube Music and YouTube Premium to more countries.

YouTube Music was already launched last month in very few countries including the US, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, and South Korea. Today, it’s also making its way to the UK, Austria, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Russia, Spain, and Sweden. It offers music videos, albums, singles, remixes, live performances, and covers. It’s basically a dedicated music service like Spotify or Apple Music.

The new app that’s available on both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store features Smart Search that finds songs intelligently by lyrics or by song name. It can still look for what you are searching even with bizarre phrases like “That space-themed Spice Girls song in the desert.” YouTube Music is ad-supported, but there’s also a premium version for US$ 9.99 per month, or US$ 14.99 for a Family Plan.

YouTube Red is now YouTube Premium, and it’s available in more countries just like YouTube Music. The Premium service of YouTube is ad-free, has background playback, and it includes all the benefits of Music Premium. Premium members also get access to all YouTube Originals, including the hit Cobra Kai. Individual subscription is priced at US$ 11.99 per month or US$ 17.99 for a Family Plan

Source: YouTube

SEE ALSO: Incognito Mode becomes available to YouTube’s Android app

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