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Samsung Reveals Which Devices Will Get 3 Major Updates

One of the biggest issues anyone faces when choosing an Android phone is the number of updates their device will receive. Will they get one generation of major versions of the OS? Will they receive two or even three generations?

Samsung recently had its Galaxy Unpacked event, and the company announced that many of its new devices will get three generations of updates. However, it was a bit confusing which devices would get three years and which wouldn’t. Fortunately, Samsung posted on its newsroom clearing up the issue.

Which Phones Will Get 3 Generations of Updates?

If you buy a new Samsung phone in 2020, you should be good to go as far as updates are concerned.

Here’s the complete list of devices:

  • Galaxy S20 series: Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G, S20 Ultra, S20+ 5G, S20+, S20 5G, and S20
  • Galaxy S10 series: Galaxy S10 5G, S10+, S10, S10e, S10 Lite
  • Upcoming S series devices
  • Current Note 20 series: Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G, Note 20 Ultra, Note 20 5G, and Note 20
  • Note 10 series: Note 10+ 5G, Note10+, Note 10 5G, Note 10, and Note 10 Lite
  • Foldable devices: Galaxy Z Fold 2 5G, Z Fold 2, Z Flip 5G, Z Flip, Fold 5G, and Fold
  • Upcoming Z series devices
  • Galaxy A series: Galaxy A71 5G, A71, A51 5G, A51, and A90 5G
  • Select upcoming A series devices
  • Tablets: Galaxy Tab S7+ 5G, Tab S7+, Tab S7 5G, Tab S7, Tab S6 5G, Tab S6, and Tab S6 Lite
  • Upcoming Tab S series devices

If you own one of those devices, or you plan to, then you’re all set for three major Android updates. That applies to tablets and phones.

If you’re in the market for an affordable phone, make sure to do some research before you purchase an A series phone, as some of them won’t get three generations of updates.

Not a Fan of Bixby on Your Samsung Device?

Samsung’s personal assistant is rather divisive. Some people love it, and some hate it. If you’re not a fan of Bixby on your Samsung device, check out this handy guide that’ll show you how to disable Bixby.

Read the full article: Samsung Reveals Which Devices Will Get 3 Major Updates

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You Can Now Vote for The Doodle for Google 2020 Contest

A few months ago, Google requested submissions for the annual K-12 contest to create a Doodle that will be featured on the search engine’s home page in 2020. Now, the company has combed through all of the submissions and opened Doodle for Google 2020 voting.

While it’s too late to enter your own drawings into the contest, you can still participate by voting for the national finalists.

Doodle for Google 2020

Every year, the Doodle for Google contest comes along as one of the coolest ways for young artists to get their work in front of the entire internet. Google applies a theme to each contest, and for 2020, the company has chosen kindness.

Google originally accepted submission for Doodles until March 20th. From there, the company lumped submissions into five grade groups: K-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9, and 10-12.

Google Doodle 2020

Once the company took the submissions, it picked 54 state and territory winners. Now, with the help of Google users, the company will narrow it down to five National Finalists. Of those, one will go on to become the winner of the Doodle for Google 2020 contest.

Google has a page you can visit to cast your vote. It also provides a little more information on what to expect from the contest:

Congratulations to our 54 State and Territory Winners who shared the special ways they show kindness in their families, schools, and communities.

Vote for your favorite Doodle to determine who will go on to become one of our five National Finalists, one of which will go on to become the National Winner.

It’s a Doodle Party!

Everyone loves the Google Doodle. Outside of the annual contest, Google has all sorts of fun Doodles that pop up all the time. It makes visiting the popular search engine an exciting surprise every single day.

Not only are there actual pieces of art, but there are some amazing Google Doodle games that you can play. Some of these have been truly impressive!

Read the full article: You Can Now Vote for The Doodle for Google 2020 Contest

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Telegram Launches One-on-One Encrypted Video Calls

After several years operating as a secure text messaging and voice-only calling app, Telegram has finally added video calling to its roster. This feature is now available to both iOS and Android users, albeit in its alpha stage.

Telegram Rolls Out Secure Video Calling

In a Telegram Blog post, the Telegram team explains that all video calls are secured with end-to-end encryption. This ensures that your video calls are private.

You can check if your call is secure by matching the four emojis that Telegram displays for you and your conversation partner. If the emojis match, your call is protected.

Telegram also notes that you can take extra steps to verify that your app is using encryption:

Our apps for Android and iOS have reproducible builds, so anyone can verify encryption and confirm that their app uses the exact same open-source code that we publish with each update.

And because the video calling feature comes with picture-in-picture mode, you can talk on camera, as well as read and reply to messages at the same time. You can only engage in one-on-one video calls right now, but Telegram plans on adding group video calls in the future.

How to Make a Video Call on Telegram

It’s easy to make a video call on Telegram. To get started, open Telegram, and tap on your contact’s photo to access their profile.

If your contact has Telegram’s 7.0 update installed, you should see a video icon on the person’s profile. Select that icon to start a video call.

Alternatively, you can also start a video call by going to one of your chats, hitting the three dots in the top-right corner of the screen, and tapping Video Call.

During your conversation, you can quickly switch between voice and video, flip your camera, and mute the call.

Telegram Hops on the Video Calling Bandwagon

Now that Telegram has added video calling to its arsenal of fantastic features, conversations on the app can become even more engaging.

And if you want to get even more out of Telegram, try these useful Telegram features you should be using.

Read the full article: Telegram Launches One-on-One Encrypted Video Calls

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Facebook Starts Merging Instagram and Messenger Chats Together

In early 2019, Facebook hinted at its plan to merge Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp. The merger would allow for cross-platform messaging between all three apps.

And now, 18 months on, it looks like Facebook is finally putting those plans into action. A small number of users have the option to update Instagram Direct, a sign that a Messenger takeover is coming.

Instagram Introduces Integrated Chat Features

Most users have mixed feelings about the ambitious idea of a cross-platform chat integration between Facebook’s three platforms. Despite this, it looks like Facebook has already begun the Instagram-Messenger merge.

As reported by The Verge, some Instagram users have been receiving a notification when accessing their direct messages (DMs). The prompt reads, “There’s a New Way to Message on Instagram.”

The top of the notification shows both the Instagram and Messenger logos, an obvious sign of the upcoming merge.

The prompt then goes on to describe all of the new features coming to Instagram Direct. According to the note, you can update the app to get a colorful chat interface, more emoji reactions, and a swipe-to-reply touch gesture. And while the notification mentions that you can message users from Facebook, you can’t use that feature just yet.

You can opt to install the new chat system by hitting Update at the bottom of the screen, or you can save it for another day by pressing Not Now. Once installed, you’ll get the new features listed above, and the familiar DM paper airplane icon will get replaced by Messenger’s logo.

When Will the Instagram/Messenger Merge Happen?

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg hopes that Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp can eventually operate off of a universal chat platform with end-to-end encryption. However, there’s still no official date on when this will happen.

Over time, more Instagram users will likely see the Instagram update pop up on their phone as well. But in the meantime, you can check out these hidden Facebook Messenger tricks.

Read the full article: Facebook Starts Merging Instagram and Messenger Chats Together

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Microsoft Will Drop Support for Internet Explorer From November

Microsoft recently removed the ability to automatically update drivers via the Device Manager. A decision which hasn’t gone down too well with some. And now, the company has revealed its plans to end support for Internet Explorer 11 and the legacy version of Edge.

What’s Happening With Internet Explorer and Edge?

Microsoft announced this change on the Microsoft Tech Community Blog, saying:

Today, we’re announcing that Microsoft 365 apps and services will no longer support Internet Explorer 11 (IE 11) by this time next year.

Beginning November 30, 2020, the Microsoft Teams web app will no longer support IE 11.
Beginning August 17, 2021, the remaining Microsoft 365 apps and services will no longer support IE 11.

The company goes on to explain that, after these dates, Microsoft 365 won’t work correctly with these browsers. Microsoft 365 will either have diminished capabilities, or it will stop working altogether.

Either way, it’s a sign that Microsoft no longer wants to keep its older browsers alive.

Why Microsoft Is Axing Internet Explorer

If you’ve been keeping tabs on Microsoft Edge, this news shouldn’t come as a surprise to you. After all, Microsoft has been hard at work revamping Microsoft Edge to be a strong competitor for Chrome and Firefox.

Microsoft began its push when it released the Chromium version of Edge. Since then, the company has updated it with all the necessary tools for a modern-day browser. Then, Microsoft made the new version of Edge a core part of Windows 10 after an update.

Because of this, there’s very little reason to continue using Internet Explorer 11 or legacy Edge. As a result, Microsoft is cutting support for these browsers to focus on the Chromium version of Edge.

A New Browser for Windows 10

There’s a good chance that Internet Explorer 11 and the legacy version of Edge no longer has avid supporters. However, if you are one of the rare breed who still uses one or the other, we recommend jumping over to the new Chromium Edge now.

Not only is it a lot better, but Microsoft will continue to support it for the longterm.

If you want some more reasons to make the jump, be sure to read our comparison between the Chromium and legacy versions of Edge.

Read the full article: Microsoft Will Drop Support for Internet Explorer From November

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Facebook Starts to Label Ads Connected to Political Outlets

As the 2020 United States presidential election approaches, Facebook has imposed new restrictions on politically-connected news outlets. Facebook now requires these publications to go through a disclaimer process before they post politically-driven ads.

Facebook Moves Towards Political Neutrality

Facebook is taking steps to make the platform more politically neutral. It already lets you turn off all political ads, and it’s now putting more restrictions on political news outlets.

In the past, some political outlets were able to bypass Facebook’s ad authorization process by claiming the news exemption. This exemption allowed certain publications to post ads without having to provide a disclaimer. By skirting around the disclaimer process, political publications could unfairly influence elections.

The social media giant is finally closing this loophole for political outlets. Any news source that Facebook considers “political” will have to take extra steps to publish ads.

Facebook’s Business Help Center defines a political publication as “an organization, company, or other group whose primary purpose is to influence politics, public policy, and/or elections.”

This includes any outlets that have ties to political parties, politicians, PACs, and other political organizations. Not only do all political publications now have to go through the ad authorization process, but their ads need to have a “Paid for by” disclaimer attached.

On the Facebook Journalism Project blog, Facebook explains the goal of its new policy:

Identifying politically connected publishers is a new process for us, and we will learn and adapt as needed, while continuing to make ads on Facebook more transparent and protect the integrity of elections.

And while political news organizations can still register as a news Page, they’re now barred from appearing on the Facebook News feed. Facebook’s new rules also prevent political publications from using news messaging on the WhatsApp Business API and the Messenger Business Platform.

How Facebook Still Poses a Threat to Elections

Despite the fact that Facebook has put new restrictions on political outlets, the social network can still influence politics. To find out more, read our article explaining how your data on Facebook is used to win elections.

Read the full article: Facebook Starts to Label Ads Connected to Political Outlets

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You Can Now Use the Surface Pro X’s Eye Contact Feature

With companies around the world increasingly adopting a work-from-home model, webcam etiquette has never been more important. If you never know where to look during a video conference, Microsoft is aiming to fix this with its new Eye Contact feature for the Surface Pro X.

What Is the Eye Contact Feature?

The Eye Contact feature solves a minor dilemma with webcam etiquette. Ideally, you should look directly into your webcam so that you maintain “digital eye contact” with everyone in the call; however, doing so means you can’t see what’s on your screen.

Microsoft aims to remove this problem with Eye Contact for the Surface Pro X. Eye Contact was previously under testing on the Windows Insiders program, but Microsoft has now released it to the public.

You can see its release via the Microsoft Support page for the  Surface Pro X’s update history. Under the August 2020 updates category, you can find a lot of patches mentioning, “Enables the Eye Contact feature.”

An example of the Eye Contact feature in action

Eye Contact was first announced on the Windows Blog on July 22, 2020. In the post, Microsoft discusses how the feature works:

Powered by artificial intelligence capabilities of the Microsoft SQ1(TM) processor, Eye Contact helps to adjust your gaze on video calls so you appear to be looking directly in the camera on your Surface Pro X.

Therefore, if you own a Surface Pro X, you can now watch other people on your video call without looking like you’re not paying attention.

This feature appears to modify the webcam feed on an operating system level. As a result, you don’t need to set up Eye Contact for each app you use manually. As long as you tell your Surface Pro X to enable it, it should work on all voice calls regardless of what app you use.

Making Video Conferencing Easier

As businesses begin to work from home, workers are learning of the awkward etiquette of video conferencing; however, Microsoft aims to help out with its new Eye Contact feature.

This means that, now, anyone with a Surface Pro X can use the power of AI to make it appear as if they’re looking into their webcam.

If you’re still new to working from home, be sure to check out our essential tips for online video conferencing.

Read the full article: You Can Now Use the Surface Pro X’s Eye Contact Feature

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TikTok Caught Collecting Device Data on Android Phones

TikTok is alleged to have collected the MAC (media access control) addresses of Android devices without the users’ consent. Although Google previously banned this practice, TikTok continued to secretly steal device data for over a year.

How TikTok Broke the Google Play Store’s Rules

According to the Wall Street Journal, the China-based TikTok tracked the MAC addresses of Android devices for at least 15 months. TikTok began using this tactic in 2018.

If you don’t know what your MAC address is used for, it’s a unique hardware identifier for your device. This number can be used to find and track your device as you browse the internet.

You can’t change or reset your MAC address, making it useful for advertisers. By using your MAC address, advertisers can push tailored ads based on the content you look at.

In other words, TikTok likely stole MAC addresses for advertising purposes, a violation of the Google Play Store’s policies. The Google Play Console Help page clearly states Google’s policies regarding advertising and the use of MAC addresses:

The advertising identifier may not be connected to persistent device Identifiers (for example: SSAID, MAC address, IMEI, etc.) for any advertising purpose. The advertising identifier may only be connected to personally-identifiable information with the explicit consent of the user.

Not only did TikTok fail to ask for users’ consent, it also used a layer of encryption to cloak its activities. You can opt to reset your advertising ID on other apps, but because TikTok makes use of your MAC address, it’s impossible to refresh it.

TikTok stopped collecting MAC addresses in November 2019. This just so happens to coincide with when TikTok began receiving heavy criticism from several countries.

The TikTok Controversy Continues

The ByteDance-owned TikTok is no stranger to controversy. With the US on the verge of banning the app due to the security threats it poses, ByteDance still insists it has no malintent. That said, it might be time to delete your TikTok account.

Read the full article: TikTok Caught Collecting Device Data on Android Phones

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Facebook Seeks to Stop the Spread of COVID-19 Misinformation

As COVID-19 continues to spread around the world, so does misinformation about the virus. In an effort to stop the spread of fake news about COVID-19, Facebook has removed and/or labeled millions of misleading posts.

Facebook’s COVID-19 Takedown

As you probably already know, Facebook has become a breeding ground for COVID-19 conspiracy theories and false information. In this quarter’s Community Standards Enforcement Report, it was revealed that Facebook has removed 7 million posts containing COVID-19 misinformation.

The majority of these posts contained misleading information about fake COVID-19 cures and preventative myths. Meanwhile, another 98 million misleading posts received warning labels. This is in addition to Facebook’s crackdown on hate speech, which also led to the removal of several million posts this quarter.

Facebook’s attempt to put a stop to misinformation hasn’t only affected everyday users. After US President, Donald Trump, posted a video of his Fox News interview, Facebook quickly removed it. In the video, Trump mentioned that children are “almost immune” to COVID-19, which goes against Facebook’s policies on COVID-19 misinformation.

Facebook Provides More Context to COVID-19 Content

From now on, whenever you share a link related to COVID-19 you’ll receive a notification. This notification informs you how old the article is, and will also help you identify the original source.

Facebook’s vice president of feed and stories, John Hegeman, described the purpose of the notification in an About Facebook post, saying:

The notification will help people understand the recency and source of the content before they share it.

Facebook hopes that this will force users to stop and think before they share a potentially misleading post. The only exceptions to the warning notification are credible health institutions, such as the World Health Organization.

The pop-up will also provide a link to Facebook’s COVID-19 Information Center. This page gives people access to trustworthy COVID-19 information from both local and global health organizations.

How to Find the Truth About COVID-19 Online

Misinformation can spread like wildfire. Once one post is shared, there’s no telling how many times it will get passed around. Facebook’s efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 misinformation will hopefully help squash the myths about the virus.

For accurate information about this pandemic, check out these sites you can trust for reliable information about COVID-19.

Read the full article: Facebook Seeks to Stop the Spread of COVID-19 Misinformation

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Facebook Bans More Hate Speech, Including Blackface

Although Facebook has had a ban on hate speech for a while, it has now expanded its definition of the term. Under Facebook’s new Community Standards, Facebook will remove any posts involving blackface and anti-Semitic stereotypes.

Facebook’s War on Hate Speech

Facebook’s quarterly Community Standards Enforcement Reports give users insight into what the tech giant is doing behind the scenes. More specifically, it details the measures Facebook is taking to combat inappropriate content on Instagram and Facebook.

The latest Community Standards Enforcement Report shows that Facebook’s hate speech detection rate has jumped from 89 percent to 95 percent. This led to the removal of 22.5 million harmful posts, a significant increase compared to the first quarter’s removal of only 9.6 million posts.

Additionally, Facebook worked to remove 23 hate groups, and also saw an uptick in the number of resolved harassment reports.

Facebook’s improved hate speech detection system is credited with the increase in post removals and content policing. New advancements let Facebook better detect hate speech in English, Spanish, and Burmese.

In a post on About Facebook, Guy Rosen, Facebook’s vice president of integrity, remarked that Facebook strives to become a safe platform for everyone:

We’ve made progress combating hate on our apps, but we know we have more to do to ensure everyone feels comfortable using our services.

Facebook’s Latest Community Standards Update

To ensure an inclusive environment on Facebook, the company also announced updates to its Community Standards on hate speech. The amendment adds more offensive content to the list, including blackface and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.

Under the new guidelines, users partaking in blackface will have their content removed. The same goes for any users posting content that contains Jewish stereotypes, particularly those alluding to Jewish people controlling the world’s major institutions.

Will Facebook Succeed in Combatting Hate Speech?

It’s clear that Facebook has made massive improvements in finding and detecting hate speech. With the new updates, Facebook is on track to significantly reduce the amount of harmful content on the site.

As you probably know, Facebook is constantly in the spotlight for its invasive privacy policies. Here are several reasons why Facebook is a security and privacy nightmare.

Read the full article: Facebook Bans More Hate Speech, Including Blackface