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WhatsApp introduces voice and video calls on desktop

Update rolling out now

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Since the pandemic, telecommuting software has turned into one of the hottest tools you’ll need today. With everyone working from home, everyone needs a good way to communicate with others in the office. However, amid the rise of Zoom and Google Meet, one popular communication app has not joined in on the fun: WhatsApp. According to a new update, that’s rapidly changing. WhatsApp is introducing voice and video calls on desktop.

Compared to other apps, WhatsApp has quickly ascended into one of the most popular mobile communication tools. However, the app has never adopted a desktop version, outside of text messaging.

In the recently announced update, WhatsApp has started rolling out the update for its desktop users. (At the time of this writing, I already have the update on my laptop.)

Further, the update is optimized for any orientation. The desktop app can easily adapt to portrait or landscape orientations.

In terms of security, WhatsApp promises that the calls are end-to-end encrypted. The company is supposedly unable to listen in on calls on its end.

After the update, WhatsApp has also stated that it is working on a next one featuring group voice and video calls. Currently, the desktop update is only eligible for one-on-one calls. Still, it’s a useful feature for all users.

SEE ALSO: WhatsApp delays roll-out of new privacy policy until May

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Yahoo Answers will permanently shut down on May 4

The end of an era

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Launched as a knowledge-sharing platform in 2005, Yahoo Answers was a popular destination on the internet where you could find the most bizarre questions with equally insane answers. But starting April 20, it’ll be available in read-only mode, meaning you can’t ask or answer anything new.

And on May 4, the website will shut down entirely. In a note, Yahoo admits that the platform had become less popular over the years, prompting the company to shift its resources to other growth products.

It’s not very surprising because Yahoo Answers feels like a museum now. The service was top-rated at launch, but its shine faded as users started flocking other web portals like Google and social networking became the new buzzword. It also lost importance amid a host of new specialized services like Quora, which offered a far better ecosystem for Q&A content.

If you were an active Yahoo Answers user and want to get a copy of your content, you can request to download all the text or images you’ve posted to the service until June 30. You won’t be given other people’s questions or answers, however.

However, it’s unlikely you’d want to download a copy of your content. It’s a widely known fact that Yahoo Answers had lost its serious charm rather quickly and was filled to the brim with content that made no sense. The platform was a hotspot for college kids to crack jokes, ask extremely naive or irritating questions, and annoy others by posting irrelevant text or images. In the end, the site was a Buzzfeed writer’s paradise.

The biggest challenges of maintaining Q&A sites are — misinformation, trolls, manipulation, and even flame wars. Yahoo used to be a very busy portal a decade ago but has now lost its dominance to Google. Now that netizens have fled to better search engines, portals, and email services, Yahoo has a plethora of old products waiting in line for the disconnection.

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Twitter is experimenting with emoji reactions

Following Facebook?

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Over the past year, Twitter has tried adopting features from other social networks, expanding what the platform can do. Already, the company is pondering on a premium subscription system, mimicking the success of popular creator services OnlyFans and Patreon. Now, Twitter is potentially adding a well-known feature from Facebook, emoji reactions.

Spotted by TechCrunch, Twitter is conducting some surveys on what the perfect emoji reaction will be. Some examples include a heart react, a laughing emoji, and a sad react. Currently, Facebook has the same system, allowing users to react in different ways to posts. If Twitter pushes through with the experiment, it will follow Facebook’s footsteps.

Echoing the report, Twitter has officially confirmed that the experiments are truly ongoing. According to a statement sent to The Verge, Twitter is hoping to share more details about the upcoming feature soon.

At its most basic form, the upcoming emoji reactions feature will expand how users can react to tweets by adding a downvote option, much like how Reddit or YouTube handles comments.

Unfortunately, doing so will likely add an extra element of anxiety for Twitter users. Instead of just worrying about how many likes or retweets a tweet gets, users might soon have to worry about what type of reactions that a tweet gets.

SEE ALSO: Twitter is working on an undo tweet button

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Instagram is releasing an Instagram Lite version soon

Rolling out globally

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Despite dropping data plans, Instagram is still one of the most data-heavy apps for smartphone users. If you’re commuting, the photo-sharing app is a definite no-no. Thankfully, the days of Instagram-less commutes are over. Announced by its parent company Facebook, Instagram is releasing a Lite version soon.

As expected, the Lite version takes up less space and will consume less data. According to the post, the new Android app will only go up to 2MB. To consume less data, Instagram Lite will take out the more data-heavy features like AR filters and transitions. The app will also have an inherent dark mode.

Instagram Lite will roll out to 170 countries worldwide. Unfortunately, the company did not enumerate which countries will receive the new app. However, the app will certainly roll out to countries with less than favorable data conditions. For example, the company has already tested the app in India, Tel Aviv, and Brazil.

Regardless, the app is still a huge help for commuters all over the world. With the app, more users can keep up with everyone’s feeds and photos. Besides Instagram, other platforms — like Facebook — have also released Lite versions of their apps.

If you’re in a data-constricted country, you might enjoy the app soon.

SEE ALSO: Instagram is making a Vertical Stories feed

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