Apps

US close to banning TikTok on government phones

The app is slowly getting cornered

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Chinese companies are having a hard time in the US and the situation is far from de-escalating. In a recent development, US government employees could soon be barred from using short-video app TikTok on their government-issued phone.

A bill named “No TikTok on Government Devices Act” was unanimously passed by the US Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. It shall now be presented to the US Senate for a final vote.

The US has been increasingly nervous about TikTok and its data collection practices. The app is owned by Chinese giant ByteDance and countries like India have completely banned the app. The country also barred 58 other Chinese-backed apps citing security concerns.

Previously, the US has hinted a possible blanket ban on TikTok. The app is immensely popular with the youth and has a suite of unique features like lip-syncing, filters, effects, and music. However, lawmakers are worried the social networking and video app could be a front for collecting data of American citizens.

Chinese law on private companies collecting data

China introduced a law in 2017 that made it mandatory for Chinese companies to support and cooperate with the country’s digital intelligence units. This further becomes a warning sign for foreign countries since their citizens’ data could be handed over to the Chinese government.

Furthermore, China has tried its best to exert influence in the region by venturing into Indian territory as well as implementing a new security law in Hong Kong that threatens the bare minimums of a democracy.

Another company that’s severely affected due to the deteriorating diplomatic ties is Huawei. The Chinese telecom equipment maker is barred from the US, Australia, and partially the UK. It could also lose its potential business in India.

TikTok has consistently maintained that it does not share any user data with the Chinese government. The app is constantly in the news and its future doesn’t seem very bright at the moment.

Apps

Google is working on a snoring, coughing detector

Might show up for the Pixel first

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Snoring can be a curse for you and the people you sleep with. Unfortunately, outside of anecdotal evidence, it’s hard to pinpoint how bad snoring can get. Some devices have developed features to detect and measure snoring. Google, joining other companies with the feature, is reportedly developing snore and cough detection for the Pixel.

First reported by 9to5Google, Google Health Studies added a new study exclusive for Google employees. The study specifically revolves around collecting audio during sleep. Google also explains that the study will eventually help Android build features that can help users fix their sleep quality.

According to the source, the upcoming detector will be a “bedside feature” that will measure nocturnal snoring and coughing. However, despite recording audio, it still promises to have the user’s privacy in mind. It’s expected that the feature will drop for the Pixel first before moving on to other Android devices.

Snoring detection isn’t new, of course. In fact, Google is already familiar with the feature, since Fitbit, a company that Google owns, offers the feature for some of its smartwatches. In Fitbit’s case, the feature contributes to the wearable’s entire suite of wellness tracking.

However, it’s a double-edged sword. While the feature can be helpful, it’s also a massive battery drain, since it requires the device’s power the entire night. Hopefully, battery efficiency is a focus in Google’s eventual take on the feature.

SEE ALSO: Google’s AI created these photos, and they look so real

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Waze now supports Apple Music

Link those accounts

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Music always goes well with driving. However, because driving demands both hands on the wheel, controlling music playback isn’t always the most seamless experiences. Thankfully, a lot of navigation apps are expanding their support towards the most popular music streaming platforms right now. Today, Waze has announced that the app now supports dual functionality with Apple Music.

Of course, Apple Music isn’t the most popular platform today. Still, expanding support is always a win. With the new update, Waze users can now control their Apple Music content straight from the navigation app.

It does need a bit of setup, of course. Users will have to link their Waze account to their Apple Music account through the Audio Player setting on the app. Besides Apple Music, Waze also supports Spotify, Tidal, Amazon Music, and YouTube Music.

Though the streaming platform is already a staple especially for Apple users, Apple Music is doing more to create a viable plan against other streaming giants today, including a cheaper Siri-only plan that rids the need for an app interface. The service also increased the price of its student plan in several countries recently.

Both Apple Music and Waze are available for download on the App Store and on the Play Store.

SEE ALSO: Apple Music increases subscription price for students

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Apple Music increases subscription price for students

In the Philippines and Singapore

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In the Philippines, Spotify is still king. However, the platform’s dominance isn’t enough to deter other music streaming services from setting up shop in the country. Much like Spotify, these other platforms are ever-changing and prone to price changes. If, for example, you use Apple Music as a student, you’re likely affected by a recent increase in the country.

In South Africa, Twitter user @LVDNoff took to the platform to reveal an email from Apple detailing a price increase for Apple Music’s student plan. “Apple is raising the price of this subscription from US$ 1.49 per month to US$ 1.99 per month,” the email read. Though it’s not a huge increase, a few extra cents can put a larger dent in a student’s allowance. Unfortunately, the email didn’t reveal why an increase was tacked on. It also doesn’t reveal if regular subscriptions might see similar increases.

MacRumors, who first reported about the tweet, uncovered something else about the price hike, too. South Africa isn’t the only country getting an increase. According to the publication’s findings, the following countries are also seeing higher student prices: Australia, India, Indonesia, Israel, Kenya, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and South Africa.

The report doesn’t indicate specific increases for each country. However, Apple Music’s website currently shows a subscription worth PhP 75 per month. When the service first launched in 2018, students paid only PhP 69 per month.

SEE ALSO: Apple launches the Apple Music Voice Plan

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