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Google Limits Spying Done by the Apps Starting this May, Android apps won’t be able to see which mobile applications you already have on your gadget. The only exception will be made for the vital technical requirements. Previously, every newly installed application utilized the permission QUERY_ALL_PACKAGES, which would let it see which apps and games you have. This type of info would allow developers to get your “psychological portrait” and learn about your interests. Now, only security applications, browsers, file managers and some other utilities will be able to get this permission. But even then, app-makers have to file the Declaration Form in the Play Console. At the moment, developers have 30 days to make changes, adapting to the new requirements. If that doesn’t happen, all incompliant apps will be removed from Google Play by May 5.  Google’s policy states that collecting info on the installed applications practically equals violating the user’s privacy. This info is sensitive and cannot be sold to a 3d party for advertising/marketing purposes. It is quite possible that more limitations will be rolled out soon, especially protecting user’s location and browsing history. Continue Reading A New MacBook Pro is on the Horizon As we’ve learned, the upcoming MacBook Pro will have 5 upgrades and, what’s especially vital, more ports.   Upgrade #1 — Display It is expected that the new MacBook Pro will have a mini-LED screen in contrast to previous models that were powered by liquid crystals. And that means two things. First, the new MacBook’s display will be brighter and more colorful. Whether you enjoy tiny visual details in games like PUBG or use the laptop for professional work in Photoshop — your experience will elevate. Second, a mini-LED screen needs less power. So, the battery of the gadget won’t deplete too fast. Besides, MacBook’s performance can be boosted without requiring a bigger accumulator. Plus, it’s rumored there will be two models: with 14- and 16-inch displays. (The latter may even be a gaming model). Upgrade #2 — Chip MacBook will feature a new chip. It will be dubbed M1 or M1X. It is expected to have 12 cores — 8 cores for performance and 4 efficiency cores. That means that more advanced soft — Adobe After Effects, Blender, CAD and so on — will work charmingly on the MacBook. Upgrade #3 — MagSafe MagSafe was discontinued in the past. But it will make a comeback with the new laptop. At the same time, the new model isn’t likely to feature the unpopular Touch Bar for good. Namely, MacRumors agrees on that. Upgrade #4 — Extra Ports It is rumored that the upcoming model will have more extra ports. Particularly, SD-card reader and HDMI ports will make a wonderful addition. And it’ll be possible if they actually sacrifice Touch Bar. Upgrade #5 — Flat-edged design It seems Apple will ditch the classic MacBook Pro design and switch to a more flat-edged version. Plus, there will be thinner bezels. And also, some analysts believe that Apple may integrate Face ID into the new laptop. Continue Reading Microsoft Ditches Mobile Cortana Too many mobile assistants, do we really need another one? So they must have been thinking in Microsoft when they decided to shut down Cortana, its voice assistant similar to Amazon Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant. The decision was articulated back in summer 2020; as for April 2021, the mobile Cortana has been shut down. The apps have been removed from Google Play and Apple App Store. If you have your app installed, you will be able to make use of it for some time. Mobile lists and reminders you have created through Microsoft To-Do are not available through Cortana, though – only through the apps you used to create them. If you insist on talking to Cortana, on a Windows 10-operated PC you still can do it. Cortana is not shutting down completely. It remains on Windows 10, and it’s getting further updates and improvements. But its focus is now being shifted from an omnipotent pocket assistant to a rather modest voice interface for Microsoft 365 apps and services. This decision seems logical, as Microsoft does not run its own mobile platform anymore, and the existing ones have their own superior assistants. Well, Microsoft ruled by Satya Nadella has learned to admit its failures and focus on its strengths.   Continue Reading Do Facebook Algorithms Distort Your Feed View? Not Anymore! The way your feed is formed is among the most controversial things about Facebook. While its algorithms have long been rumored to select the news that you respond to the most (and come ads among them), now Facebook decides to change that for those willing. The new features will let you easier switch to non-algorithmic feed view which shows the posts by your friends and followed ones just chronologically. If you want, you can exclude page updates and focus on personal pages; this can save you hours of scrolling. Even more: you can select your favorites whose new statuses will appear first. This is done through the Feed Filter Bar with the tools you need to personalize your feed. Another bunch of options lets you adjust who can view and comment your posts. Now these groups can be adjusted separately. For example, you can make the post open, but only members of a certain group (your colleagues, your family, etc.) can comment it. This will probably be popular among confirmed celebrities, but not only. Facebook mobile apps will be updates soon, both on Android and iOS. As usual, the update will roll out during weeks, so the last ones will be able to read reviews and comments from those who have tried it first. Continue Reading Slack's Got New Feature Almost six months have passed since the announcement of Connect DM. Now, there's a new feature in the Slack app that allows all users to send private (direct) messages to almost anyone. If earlier it was possible only within your company, now you can write to any partners and clients. The pandemic and the transition to many companies' remote work influenced the decision to implement this feature. Slack has been working hard on the Slack Connect option since last year, and the new DMs are a part of that. This innovation aimed to reduce the number of emails and even replace them in communication between companies. With it, you can collect up to 20 organizations in one channel. The functionality of Connect DM is controversial. If your position involves working with several suppliers or branches of an enterprise, it can be really convenient. However, it can also turn your corporate messenger into a mess. Fortunately, some settings allow you to adjust the situation depending on the specifics of a particular organization's work. An administrator can completely disable Connect DM, restrict its use to prevent receiving messages from unverified clients, and allow its use. With the latest update, you can integrate Slack with convenient services such as DocuSign, Calendly, and CrossBeam. Continue Reading Twitter Might Add New Emoji Reactions Many users are unhappy with the limited set of reactions Twitter currently has. The company tries to resolve this situation and, according to the spokesman, is looking for new ways in which readers can express themselves. It is known that this issue is still at the research stage. To understand the wishes and requirements of users more accurately, the company conducted a full-scale survey. In particular, several sets of emojis and options for basic reactions were proposed for voting. So, you could choose which emoji you think best reflects certain emotions and moods, like “support” or “awesome.” Besides, one of the most important issues was the problem of positive and negative reactions to tweets. The developers are concerned about how much negative reactions can affect an author, and for which purposes readers plan to use such emojis. On the one hand, it is a useful innovation that will help you get rid of inappropriate tweets. On the other hand, it can lead to the fact that users will stop posting anything at all. A huge layer of complex questions is hidden behind such a simple update as emoji reactions. Twitter cannot completely abandon them since all major services like YouTube, Reddit, and Facebook have used them for long. Simultaneously, the company is trying to comprehensively assess the need for new emojis and make them suitable for most users. Continue Reading New Together Mode In Microsoft Teams: What We Know About It Microsoft for teams has become one of the largest players on the market of p2p video calls for businesses and enterprises during this difficult time of the COVID-19 pandemic. Microsoft Teams Meeting is now a staple of collaboration which, as it turns out, is a double-edged sword. On the one side, meeting with your colleagues has never been simpler. Grab a laptop, log in, and chat from the comfort of your couch.  Alas, this concept only sounds neat on paper. In reality, a conversation with more than 5 people at the same time is a test of endurance. How can you keep your thoughts in focus when there are several faces looking at you, or into a corner, or following a mysterious fly on the wall, all while being surrounded by varying environments? The Acknowledgment Talking to faces in squares is as confusing as performing in the middle of Times Square for people without prior experience. The guys from Microsoft seem to acknowledge this fact as they’ve rolled out the together mode feature (a little too late, if you ask me, as a lot of people have quit the app in favor of alternatives at this point). What’s the Together Mode, You Ask? If you’ve ever followed a Twitch or YouTube streamer, you probably know the gist. If put simply, the mode creates a shared environment for everyone who is joining the call. The algorithm takes one’s image, blurs the native background, and adds something of its own, like a shared call room, an office space, or a lecture hall.  This approach is surprisingly beneficial to networking and collaboration, as proven by brain activity studies, Microsoft’s research proves that the new together mode helps people engage more in a conversation while making them more comfortable and, as a result, much more happy after hanging out with coworkers.  What About the Business Side? Teams is a tool for collaboration. As such, it should offer more than a nice place to meet with people in a digital space as there are such mechanics as presentations, screen sharing, and content updates involved.  The new Together mode takes care of that as well by offering the Dynamic view. The mode offers more control over both the content you share and the participants you share said content with. The mode allows you to select specific people and see them side by side with a presentation you share. In addition to that, there are such features as: Video filters Lighting level tweaks Emojis Cat bubbles PowerPoint Live (coming soon) In simpler words, the new mode packs a mighty punch, and maybe, just maybe, it is enough to get back those of you who have opted to move from Teams to the plethora of alternative solutions.  What’s It Going to Be?  Feel free to download Microsoft teams and share your experience with the new modes of Microsoft Teams meetings here. Do you prefer the Together mode or the Dynamic view? We are looking to hear from you!    Continue Reading