As the Coronavirus pandemic wraps the world, WhatsApp has seen a 40 percent increase in usage, according to a study by Kantar, a data and consulting company. WhatsApp is the social media app experiencing the greatest gains in usage as people look to stay connected.
The Facebook-owned instant messaging app is people’s go-to option in many markets, India being the largest. The country is on complete lockdown for 21 days, that’s until April 15. While everyone stays indoors and practices social distancing, the only way to communicate is through the internet. Naturally, WhatsApp has seen the highest surge since it’s used by literally everyone in the country with a smartphone.
WhatsApp usage increased to 27 percent during the early stage of the pandemic. This rose to 41 percent during the mid-phase and then shot to 51 percent in the late phase. Keep in mind, these are global figures, not just a particular market. The report doesn’t provide region-wise numbers but highlights that Spain witnessed an unprecedented rise of 76 percent.
Further, the report mentioned that WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram saw an over 40 percent increase in their usage from users below the age of 35. It’s evident that the younger generation is more tech-savvy and habituated to social media. When there’s no option to venture out, the internet is their comfort zone.
The report also highlighted that these apps were surely the preferred means of communication but not in providing trustworthy news. WhatsApp is infamous for being the top medium to spread misinformation. The Government of India has launched a mass-scale advertising campaign to educate citizens about spreading forwarded messages responsibly.
Workplace-messaging service Slack also disclosed it had added paying 7,000 customers between February 1 and March 17. The same day, Microsoft said its rival Microsoft Team service had gained 12 million active daily users in seven days.
Similarly, video streaming services have also experienced a massive surge in usage. This prompted them to reduce default video streaming quality to ensure too much bandwidth isn’t consumed. Higher bandwidth usage would mean more stress on a telecom carrier’s infrastructure, leading to slower transfer speeds and high latency.
As general rules, the CDC or The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention listed these to help with preventing the spread of COVID-19:
- Stay home when sick
- Cover coughs and sneezes
- Frequently wash hands with soap and water
- Clean frequently touched surfaces
Netflix is working on its first PC game
It’s a AAA title
Though off to a relatively slow start, Netflix is now a gaming company as well. As of late, the platform included a variety of mobile games in its catalog of content. Every Netflix subscriber can play any of the games. Now, Netflix is working on something else entirely: a game for the PC.
Spotted by Mobilegamer.biz, Netflix has recently posted new job openings for a game director, an art director, and a technical director. All three listings describe a “brand-new AAA PC game” as a project. One listing even describes “one of Netflix’s first generation of internally developed original games.”
Currently, Netflix taps into other game studios to produce titles for them. Aside from a few independent developers, the platform even partnered with Ubisoft for mobile titles. (One of which will be based on the Assassin’s Creed franchise.)
With the listings in place, the company is expanding its efforts to developing its own titles. Right now, the unnamed project doesn’t feature a lot of details. While the project is still looking for a creative director, it’s likely that the plot isn’t finalized either.
Throughout the past year, the company has bled for subscribers. Since then, they have tried various strategies, including potential punishments for account sharing and cheaper subscription tiers.
TikTok is now under investigation by the European Union
For transferring data to China
TikTok has now found its way under the microscope of the European Union. The collective is now investigating the platform for allegedly shipping off its citizens’ data to Chinese servers.
In a letter shared by FCC commissioner Brendan Carr (via Engadget), the current president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen has confirmed ongoing investigations concerning TikTok in several countries in the European Union.
For one, Ireland is currently investigating how the platform transfers data to China and how it processes the data of minors. The Netherlands is also investigating the same data transfers and TikTok’s advertising towards minors.
NEW: The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, confirms that #TikTok’s data transfers are under investigation & object of several ongoing proceedings.
— Brendan Carr (@BrendanCarrFCC) November 22, 2022
For a while now, the European Union has persistently investigated various tech companies to review their compliance with the continent’s General Data Protection Regulation, which presents a stricter view on data privacy. Various companies have already found themselves on the receiving end of penalties brought down by EU courts.
An investigation on TikTok has been a long time coming. For years, the United States has doggedly hounded TikTok for the same violation of shipping user data to Chinese servers. The company continues to face threats of a ban on foreign soil.
Though an investigation in Europe is just another fight the company must face, it’s nothing to shrug off. Lately, the European Union’s ruling on charging standards is forcing Apple to finally ship their devices with USB-C, instead of the proprietary Lightning cable. The Union, especially when completely united across all the included countries, can very well make an impact on the tech industry.
Ford elevates automobile experience through FordPass
Start, stop, lock, and unlock using your mobile device!
Ford is inching closer to becoming a technology company with its array of innovative features packed in its automobiles.
During the 25th anniversary celebration of Ford in the Philippines, the company marked the advent of FordPass in the country. It’s a mobile application that allows access to vehicle-specific content and support, making it a smart all-in-one platform for connectivity and security.
Vehicles equipped with FordPass Connect — or a cellular model containing an eSim that enables the vehicle to connect to the internet — can utilize remote control functions. For instance, Ford vehicle owners can remotely start, stop, lock, and unlock their automobiles, as well as check the fuel level through their smartphones.
There’s also a vehicle locator feature that allows Ford owners to find their vehicles in crowded parking areas. The feature is extremely useful for those who always forget where they parked their cars.
How to install FordPass?
To install FordPass, simply download the app via the App Store and Google Play Store. Select the FordPass icon on the homescreen, select “Philippines” and create your account.
After you enter your details, you can request a code for a one-time pin (OTP) to be sent via SMS. Registration will be complete when you received an SMS confirmation.
FordPass is available on mobile devices running Android 7.0 and above, and iOS 14.0 and above.
How to add a Ford Vehicle on FordPass?
If you have the next-generation Ford Ranger and next-generation Ford Everest (all models), you can add your vehicle to your FordPass app.
Click the drop-down on top of the screen and select ‘Add Vehicle’. It will prompt you to enter your vehicle identification number (VIN) and you’ll have to wait for confirmation. Once done, you can enter a nickname for your Ford Vehicle. Then, activate it.
FordPass is accessible to Ford owners starting December 2, 2022.
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