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How to text from your computer with Android Messages

6th October 2020
"Google android messages from web."

Google has the ability to text from the web with Android Messages. The feature gives users a lot more flexibility in choosing how and where they can carry on conversations. As long as your Android smartphone is powered on, you can text from a desktop computer or even other mobile devices — including iOS products like an iPad if you just open up Safari. Aside from text, you can also send emoji, stickers, and images over the web.

Using Android Messages on the web requires using Android Messages as your main texting app on your phone. I like it just fine, and Google is clearly planning big things for the future, but if you prefer, say, Samsung’s default messages app or something else, the two don’t work together.

With that out of the way, getting started and setting things up is fairly simple.

Make sure you’ve got the latest version of Android Messages installed on your phone.

Go to messages.android.com on the computer or other device you want to text from. You’ll see a big QR code on the right side of this page.

Open up Android Messages on your smartphone. Tap the icon with three vertical dots at the top and to the far right. You should see a “Messages for web” option inside this menu.

Tap “QR code scanner” and point your phone’s camera at the QR code on your other device. In less than a second, your phone will vibrate, and the two will be linked up. You should notice your conversations show up in the left column of the browser window. Google says that “conversation threads, contacts, and other settings will be encrypted and cached on your browser.”

Note: this doesn’t mean your actual text conversations are encrypted. They’re not.

And that’s it. To make sure you don’t have to repeat the QR process, you can keep your computer paired with your phone by enabling “Remember this computer.” There will probably be a pop-up asking if you want to enable that the first time you use the web version of Messages. If you missed it, just go to the settings menu, which you can access from the web version of Android Messages by clicking on the three-dot icon to the right of “Messages.” (Of course, you shouldn’t turn this on if you’re using a public PC that other people can easily access.)

WHICH BROWSERS WORK WITH ANDROID MESSAGES ON THE WEB?

Chrome
Firefox
Microsoft Edge
Safari

REMOVE A COMPUTER’S ACCESS TO YOUR MESSAGES

If you want to revoke a web browser’s access to your conversations and messaging, you can quickly do so from your Android smartphone. Go back to the “Messages for web” area of Android Messages, and you can choose to sign out of individual computers or all of them with a click.

THERE’S A DARK MODE!

Dark themes can be handy if you find that all an app’s whites and light grays might overload your eyeballs at night. If you want to enable the Messages dark theme on mobile, tap the same icon with three vertical dots and looking for “Choose theme.” You can go with light, dark, or the system default.

On the web app, you’ll find “Enable dark theme” in the menu that you get after clicking on the three-dot icon to the right of “Messages.

KEEP YOUR PHONE POWERED ON

Android Messages on the web can’t work independently of your smartphone. So if your battery dies or if your phone shuts off for any reason, you won’t be able to send any texts from your computer.

DRAG MEDIA INTO THE ANDROID MESSAGES CONVERSATION

Sending a photo from Android Messages on the web is dead simple. You can either use the attachments icon — to the right of emoji and stickers — or just drag and drop media into the conversation window to send an MMS.

Source:theverge


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Apple to launch its own web-based search engine

31st August 2020
"Apple's engine would weaken Google's stranglehold on search"

A new report claims that factors are increasingly pointing to Apple expanding Siri search results and Spotlight Searches even farther, with the company potentially working on a universal search engine.

Apple already has a search engine it uses for Spotlight Searches and Siri. However, if a new report is accurate, Apple may be looking to ditch the financial arrangement it has for Google to be the default on the iPhone, and launch its own full search engine.

The main tentpole to the argument made on Thursday morning by Jon Henshaw at Coywolf says that it isn't clear if Siri Suggestions are using Google at all anymore. Instead, Apple is returning search results with Spotlight Search, and is bypassing other search engines.

In AppleInsider's own brief tests on Thursday morning, some outgoing and return traffic to and from Google for Siri Suggestions in iOS 14 passed through our router. The same search terms in iOS 13 pulled nearly entirely from Google.

The report goes on to say that Apple is investing heavily on search, and pointing to job postings for search engineers. However, the number of available jobs in related fields has decreased in the last year, versus increased. This may be a factor of coronavirus limitations more than anything else, making a year-over-year comparison difficult.

An update to the "Applebot" web crawler page for web developers was made in June as well. Henshaw notes that the changes included how to verify traffic was actually coming from Applebot, and the company provided details about differences in the crawler between desktop- and mobile-centric searches. The update also made clear that the crawler renders ages similarly to Google, and a section about search rankings was amplified upon. At present, the information Apple has promulgated about the crawler is very similar, if not identical, to how Google scans pages.

Henshaw also notes that the AppleBot web crawler has been busy, with him noticing it just recently. A quick perusal of AppleInsider crawler traffic has shown no notable increase or decrease in Applebot crawler traffic since 2015, following a slow launch in the fall of 2014.

However, despite some evidence that suggests that there is not an increase in factors that suggest an imminent launch, a full Apple search engine available to all makes some sense. Henshaw says that Apple's engine would weaken Google's stranglehold on search, provide better promotion for Apple services, tighten Apple's control of the full hardware and software stack, and allow developers to promote apps in larger search results beyond just App Store searches.

A big factor against Apple developing its own full search engine include the loss of the billions of dollars per year that Google pays Apple for the privilege. Additionally, it may draw some additional antitrust attention from regulators if it does so, in a time where the investigations and testimony demands are at an all-time high.

Henshaw does note that the product may never come to market.

"At this point, everything is based on observation and conjecture. They may never release a search engine. It's also possible that iOS, iPadOS, and macOS users will be using it and not even be aware of it," writes Henshaw. "It could be so tightly integrated into the operating system and native apps that alerts and Spotlight Searches slowly steal away queries that would have otherwise been made on Google."

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India might plan to launch own app store as start-ups criticize Google

2nd October 2020
"Several Indian start-up founders are calling for a local app store that doesn’t charge a high service fee."

India is open to launching its own mobile app store or expanding an existing one if it receives enough demand from domestic firms for an alternative to Apple and Google platforms, a senior government official said on Thursday. The country has some 500 million smartphone users, most of whom use Google’s Android platform, but Indian start-ups have criticized the company for policies they say stifle their growth.

SoftBank-backed Paytm, one of India’s leading payments firms, protested against the U.S. tech giant’s decision to remove its app for a few hours last month citing violations of gambling policies. Alphabet-owned Google also said this week that it will strictly enforce a policy that will levy a 30% commission on payments made within apps on its Android store.

India already runs a mobile app store that lists over 1200 mainly government-backed applications, but also Paytm, and the government could also consider expanding that instead of starting from scratch, the official added. India’s technology ministry, Google, and Apple did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Google has previously said that fewer than 3% of developers with apps on its Play store sold digital goods over the last 12 months, and nearly 97% comply with its payment system policy. Nonetheless, several Indian start-up founders are calling for a local app store that doesn’t charge a high service fee.“If we have to give 30% fees to Google and also pay for customer acquisition, how will our budding businesses survive?”

Paytm disagreed with Google’s assessment but removed certain promotions to have its app reinstated. The company’s founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma has said in interviews that Google was acting as “judge, jury, and executioner”. Without referring to Paytm by name, Google later said its policies were aimed at protecting users from potential harm and were applied and enforced on all developers consistently.

Source: reuters

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Latest beta build of WhatsApp reveals possible new features

5th October 2020
"There is a new beta version of WhatsApp and it gives a glimpse at possible features that the chat app may get in coming days."

There is a new beta version of WhatsApp out on the internet. It shows a few new features that may make an appearance in the app in the coming weeks when there is a regular update to it through the app stores.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • WhatsApp has added a few new features to its beta app.

  • One of the new features is always a mute option.

  • The new build of the chat app also hints at a redesign for call buttons.

Among the new features, there is the 'Always Mute' option which will allow users to mute a particular chat window forever. The 'Always Mute' option replaces the one year option that was available earlier.

The WhatsApp 2.20.201.10 beta version also contains some UI changes. With this version, users will get a new Storage UI look. Though the rollout of the Storage UI feature began in past beta many users didn't receive it. But with the latest one, Android users can finally get the redesigned UI. To the added features, the app is also testing the Media Guidelines feature in this beta version. Using the Media Guidelines feature, people can enable guides to align stickers, GIFs, and texts while uploading a WhatsApp story.

The information comes to the courtesy WABetaInfo which also revealed that in the new beta build of the app the voice and video call buttons for business accounts have disappeared. While the calling buttons are hidden from the Contact Info, but users can access them if you tap the profile in the chat and contact list.

WhatsApp is the most used chat app in the world as well as in India. Though the app started as a simple chat app, over the years many features like video and audio or business features have been added to it.

source:indiatoday

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