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Zoom is now rolling out end-to-end encryption for free, paid users

But there’s a twist

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Video conferencing service Zoom has announced it’s rolling out end-to-end encryption for all users globally. It’s now available for users as a technical preview for the next 30 days and users can provide feedback.

The technical preview means the company is still working on the feature and user feedback could bring changes to the end implementation. End-to-end encryption means that the company hosting the service too cannot snoop around. The encryption key is saved with the user and all communication between two people remains secured.

The feature is opt-in only, meaning users have to manually go to the Settings tab and enable end-to-end encryption. You’ll also be prompted to create a one-time passcode, which Zoom says will help them prevent abuse. By default, Zoom meetings and webinars use AES 256-bit GCM encryption for audio, video, and application sharing.

Due to the added security layer, you won’t be able to dial-in on calls via an ordinary phone. Additionally, it’ll disable a few features like join before host, cloud recording, streaming, live transcription, Breakout Rooms, polling, 1:1 private chat, and meeting reactions.

End-to-end encryption is available on Mac and PC, the Zoom Android app, and Zoom Rooms. It’s yet to roll-out on iOS since the updated patch hasn’t received approval from Apple’s App Store yet.

Zoom says that this is just a part of their security update and the company plans to roll out better identity management and E2EE SSO integration as part of phase 2. Altough, the latter is scheduled for 2021.

Lastly, Zoom for Android has received a new update and it brings along support for live streaming to YouTube.

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Google will blur NSFW photos soon

Turned on by default

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When I search for “food porn” in Google, I’m looking for enticing photos of food to whet my appetite for dinner. Sometimes, Google has other plans and shows me more than what I bargained for. Finally, the search engine is implementing a way to save us from those awkward moments. Google will soon blur explicit images from search results.

For Safer Internet Day, Google has announced the feature to help protect users from accidentally seeing graphic images — including both gore and pornography — from a search. The feature, which will start rolling out in the coming months, will turn on by default. Instead of showing the images directly, users will face the blurred version and a prompt to view the image despite the warning.

If you don’t mind an accidental shower of NSFW imagery, you can turn the feature off at any time. Alternatively, as always, users can also choose to filter out all explicit search results, blurred or otherwise.

Though the feature is easily adjustable, Google will not offer the same flexibility to supervised accounts. Any accounts supervised by a parent or a school will not be able to change how they view explicit content. Parents can add supervision to the accounts of their children.

SEE ALSO: Google is working on a ChatGPT competitor called Bard

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Google is working on a ChatGPT competitor called Bard

Potentially more info on Wednesday

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ChatGPT is taking the world by storm. Amid all the controversy of the technology’s capabilities, the language learning software has everyone talking about it. ChatGPT isn’t the only player out in the market, though. After enjoying a few months of unrivaled dominance, the software now has competition. Google is officially working on its own ChatGPT alternative called Bard.

Today, Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced Bard, an “experimental conversation AI service.” Powered by Google’s own Language Model for Dialogue Applications (or LaMDA, for short), Bard aims to leverage a gap in ChatGPT’s framework: the lack of connection to the web.

Unlike ChatGPT, Google’s software will connect to the internet. Besides offering uncannily realistic conversations, Bard will likely use information available on the web to complement output with up-to-date results. Since it’s a Google product, that should come as no surprise.

Now, Google’s history with language learning software is interesting. Even before Bard’s introduction, Google was already a huge proponent in AI and language learning. The company is even instrumental in developing GPT-3.5, the underlying technology behind ChatGPT. Currently, Google’s AI is also at the forefront of the Pixel’s camera, especially through the Magic Eraser tool.

Though the announcement seems definitive already, Google is holding an event on Wednesday, presumably to unveil more information about the software.

SEE ALSO: Google is working on a way to read a doctor’s handwriting

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Instagram possibly letting users pay for a blue badge

Copied from Twitter’s playbook

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Twitter got the internet into an uproar after implementing a way to pay for a coveted blue checkmark. Despite the controversy, other social media platforms are potentially introducing similar systems soon. As spotted in new code, Instagram has started referencing paid badges, hinting at a similar feature in the future.

First noticed by developer Alessandro Paluzzi (who spotted other unannounced developments in the past), Instagram’s coding includes mentions of an “IG_NME_PAID_BLUE_BADGE_IDV,” via TechCrunch. Additionally, Paluzzi found references to a Facebook version of the same code. To cap things off, he also discovered a few references to an upcoming subscription product from the current code.

A word of caution, though: Small references inside code might not mean much for the platform’s future plans. Paluzzi himself says that the feature is essentially unconfirmed for now, especially without a prototype.

Given the controversy surrounding the paid blue checkmark, it’s likely that Facebook and Instagram are waiting if Twitter’s experiment translates to better revenue in the long run. Though the initial Twitter Blue brouhaha simmered down for now, the new feature — along with Musk’s other changes to Twitter — are still experiments to test the new ownership’s vision for the platform.

For their part, both Facebook and Instagram have experimented with additional features to expand their offerings to their users. It’s not unheard of for either platform to draw inspiration from the winning features of other social media platforms.

SEE ALSO: Twitter reverses Facebook, Instagram ban

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