Signal messaging app faces global outage days after adding millions of users

Agencies
January 16, 2021

Messaging app Signal faces global outage days after adding millions of users

San Francisco, Jan 16: Cross-platform messaging app Signal faced a global outage on Friday, just days after it was downloaded by millions of new users.

Users across the world reported they were unable to send messages on both the mobile and desktop applications.

The company posted on Twitter that it was experiencing technical difficulties and was “working hard to restore service as quickly as possible.”

Ever since its rival WhatsApp, owned by Facebook, unveiled its new privacy terms last week, Signal has seen a huge interest from new users.

Signal said that it has been adding new servers and extra capacity at “a record pace” every single day this week nonstop.

“...but today exceeded even our most optimistic projections. Millions upon millions of new users are sending a message that privacy matters. We appreciate your patience,” the messaging app tweeted.

It further said it is working to get the service back online.

Signal is experiencing technical difficulties. We are working hard to restore service as quickly as possible.

— Signal (@signalapp) January 15, 2021
“We are making progress towards getting the service back online. Privacy is our top priority, but adding capacity is a close second right now,” add the tweet image here.

According to estimates, in India, Signal was downloaded by close to 3 million users.

WhatsApp on Friday (local time) said it has decided to postpone a privacy update due to “misinformation causing concern” among people, the company said.

“We’re now moving back the date on which people will be asked to review and accept the terms. No one will have their account suspended or deleted on February 8. We’re also going to do a lot more to clear up the misinformation around how privacy and security works on WhatsApp. We’ll then go to people gradually to review the policy at their own pace before new business options are available on May 15,” the blog post read.

This came following a rise in concerns among the public regarding a threat to their right to privacy.

The New York Times reported that since the announcement of the privacy update many users and some media outlets interpreted the notification as a marked shift in WhatsApp’s data-sharing practices, mistakenly believing that the company could now read people’s conversations and other personal data.

The concerns resulted in people switching to other messaging services such as Signal and Telegram. This week, Signal became the No. 1 app in India, one of WhatsApp’s biggest markets, on Apple and Android phones, the NYT said.

Earlier this month, an advocate in Delhi filed a plea stating that WhatsApp’s update privacy policy violated the Right to Privacy and sought to direct the Centre to lay down guidelines in the exercise of its powers under relevant sections of the Information Technology Act and under the Constitution of India to ensure that Respondent Whatsapp does not share any data of its users with any third party or Facebook and its companies for any purpose whatsoever.

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Agencies
February 20,2021

Image result for Huawei to cut phone production by over half in 2021

Chinese tech giant Huawei has reportedly told suppliers that smartphone production will drop by about 60 per cent in 2021.

According to Nikkei Asia, citing people familiar with the matter, Huawei has notified its suppliers that it plans to order enough components for 70-80 million smartphones this year.

The company is reported to have shipped 189 million handsets in 2020 which was already a sizable decrease from the 240 million phones sold in 2019.

The report did not mention if any specific Huawei smartphones will be affected by the cut.

In regards to its upcoming 2021 releases, the company is set to launch its foldable smartphone successor with the new Mate X2 on 22 February.

Meanwhile, Huawei is planning to step into the gaming segment with a set of gaming notebooks and a gaming console of its own.

Its first-ever console tentatively named the 'MateStation' could be launched alongside the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X in China sometime in the second quarter (Q2) of 2021. It would probably rely on some of its in-house silicon to do the heavy lifting.

Ahead of the release of the gaming console, the Chinese tech giant may be launching a new line of laptops that are designed for gaming.

Earlier this month President Biden's nominee for Commerce secretary, Gina Raimondo, said she has seen "no reason" to lift the trade restrictions off Huawei.

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Agencies
February 23,2021

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Washington, Feb 23: Netflix has found a new way to get content in front of its users. The online streaming platform has launched a new feature that will automatically download TV shows or movies based on subscribers' preferences and viewing history.

As per Variety, the new feature called 'Downloads For You' was made available to Netflix's Android app globally starting February 22, after the company tested it out with select users in late 2020.

Netflix has also said it will test out Downloads For You in the iOS version of its app soon.
Netflix three years ago first introduced Smart Downloads, an offline-viewing feature that pulls in the next episode of users' favourite shows. Now it is trying to get users hooked by proactively pushing content to their smartphone or tablet so it is available to watch even if they are disconnected.

Netflix also said that most, not all, content in its catalogue is available to be downloaded and watched offline, with some exceptions based on licensing rights.

"We're excited to introduce Downloads For You. People who choose this new feature will have shows or movies automatically downloaded to their devices, with recommendations based on their tastes," Patrick Flemming, Netflix's director of product innovation, said in a statement.

Flemming added, "We want to make discovering your next new favorite series or film even easier, whether you're connected or not."

Another recently introduced feature is 'shuffle play', rolling out worldwide in the first half of 2021 on connected TVs, which lets subscribers press a button and randomly start streaming a recommended title or one from their watch list.

With the 'Downloads For You' feature, Netflix emphasised that users have control of how much video is downloaded to their device.

To enable the feature, users must go to the Downloads tab on the app and switch on Downloads For You. Then they can choose the maximum amount of content they want downloaded -- 1 gigabyte, 3 GB, or 5GB -- and click Turn On. The more space you allow, the more recommendations Netflix will download for you.

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Agencies
February 24,2021

564564.jpg

Washington, Feb 24: The Google Maps app is introducing dark mode for its Android users.

As per The Verge, the Google Maps app is getting a true dark mode on Android. The company announced on Tuesday that it is widely releasing the dark theme option that it has been testing in the app since September 2020.

The dark mode will be accessible in the app's settings menu, under 'theme'. Google announced the dark mode rollout as part of a batch of new features coming to Android, including some updates to Android Auto.
In addition to custom wallpapers, Android Auto is now going to feature games as well. Trivia Crack, Jeopardy!, Song Quiz, and Google's own Are You Feeling Lucky? will be available. The games can be accessed through the assistant by saying "Hey Google, play a game."

Android Auto is also getting a split-screen feature that will put Maps side by side with media controls, much like what Apple started doing in CarPlay in iOS 13 in 2019. Though this feature will only be available in cars with wider displays.

Google is adding shortcuts to the Android Auto launch screen, too, which will allow for quick access to weather or setting your home thermostat. The Android Auto features will be available in the coming days on phones running Android 6.0 and above in compatible cars.

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