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WhatsApp Expands its Horizons: Standalone App for Wear OS Smartwatches Now Available

Ryan Lenett

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WhatsApp users can now enjoy an extended level of convenience by sending and receiving messages, making calls, and using emojis directly from their Wear OS smartwatches, thanks to the launch of a standalone app by Meta.

WhatsApp on Wear OS

The Meta CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, has announced a new standalone app that works with smartwatches using the most recent Google’s Wear OS 3 operating system. The app lets you:

– Start new chats

– Respond to messages

– Make and receive calls

– Use voice messages and emojis

An important point to note is that all these features can be used even when your connected phone isn’t nearby, assuming your smartwatch supports LTE. This WhatsApp app for Wear OS was first hinted at Google’s I/O conference in May, along with other fresh and upgraded apps from different third-party developers like Spotify and Peloton.

Impact on the Smartwatch Ecosystem

Wear OS now has got a leg up on Apple’s watchOS because it can now work with WhatsApp. Apple’s smartwatches still don’t have their own WhatsApp app. People using Wear OS can now start chatting or making calls through WhatsApp straight from their wristwatches. The introduction of the WhatsApp app couldn’t have come at a better time, given the upcoming Samsung Unpacked event next week. We hear that they will be introducing fresh gadgets like Galaxy Watch 6 and Galaxy Watch 6 Classic, which are rumored to use Wear OS 4. This development makes Wear OS even more attractive to WhatsApp’s massive crowd of more than 2.24 billion active users. In effect, Meta expands its wearables audience with this well-known platform, pushing its boundaries after it stepped back from creating its smartwatch last year.

The Shift Towards Wear OS 3 and Up

According to TechCrunch, WhatsApp’s Wear OS app is available to all users with Wear OS 3 or newer smartwatches. Compatible devices include the Pixel Watch, Galaxy Watch 4/5, TicWatch Pro 5, and watches from other brands such as Fossil. Notably, the app is not available to users with Wear OS 2, which excludes legacy watches. On Wear OS, WhatsApp users can view individual and group chats and send and reply to messages directly from their watches. All these features work remotely if the watch is LTE-equipped. In contrast, WhatsApp lacks an app for the Apple Watch, rendering Google’s platform the first smartwatch platform with official support.

WhatsApp’s Wear OS app also gives a boost to other third-party developers, setting a precedent for what can be achieved on the Wear OS platform. It showcases the potential for other developers to create more innovative and feature-rich apps, thereby enriching the Wear OS ecosystem further.

Conclusion

The integration of WhatsApp with Wear OS is a landmark development in Google’s push to bolster Wear OS’s third-party app ecosystem. With this move, along with the planned release of new Tiles for Spotify’s Wear OS app and Peloton’s recent launch of its Wear OS app, Google is creating a win-win situation for all parties involved. For more details on the Wear OS 3 update and compatible smartwatches, visit Google’s official Wear OS page.

Ryan is a car enthusiast and an accomplished team builder passionate about crafting captivating narratives. Known for his ability to transport readers to other worlds, his writing has garnered attention and a dedicated following. With a keen eye for detail and a gift for storytelling, Ryan continues to weave literary magic in every word he writes.

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Meta Suspends AI Operations in Brazil Amid Privacy Concerns

Ashley Waithira

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Regulatory Pushback

Meta Platforms has chosen to halt its generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) tools in Brazil. This action was taken after Brazil’s National Data Protection Authority (ANPD) issued a temporary ban. It signifies the increasing struggle between tech progress and law adherence, particularly in areas with firm data privacy rules.

ANPD Reaction

The objections of ANPD to Meta’s new privacy policy triggered the halt. The policy allowed Meta to tap into user data to develop its GenAI systems. ANPD was worried about potential severe damage or harm to users’ fundamental rights, leading them to impose a daily fine of approximately $9,100 for noncompliance with their ruling, while giving Meta five additional days to prove compliance.

Meta’s Feedback

Meta described ANPD’s decision as a setback for innovation and AI competition. It also delays the advantages AI brings to people in Brazil. Even so, they’ve paused their AI function in Brazil and have started talks with ANPD concerning regulatory worries.

Brazil’s Major Role for Meta

Brazil has over 200 million residents, making it very important for Meta. It is the country with the second-largest number of WhatsApp users under Meta, after India. A recent campaign showed how important Brazil is to Meta when they launched an AI-driven ad targeting program, allowing businesses on WhatsApp access via an event held in Sao Paulo.

Worldwide Privacy Issues

The use of personal information by companies like Meta without express consent is part of a larger debate involving privacy and data protection on a global scale. This conversation is gaining momentum, particularly in regions with strict regulations on data protection like the European Union. Incidences such as the reported inclusion of Brazilian children’s photos in datasets expose them to misuse through malicious deepfake techniques.

Impact on the Tech Industry

The European regulatory environment has caused companies like Apple to make certain decisions. A recent example is the delay in introducing their new AI system called Apple Intelligence into Europe for this year, citing data privacy and protection regulations affecting Digital Markets Act (DMA) compliance. Similarly, Meta announced it wouldn’t roll out its multimodal AI models in Europe due to an uncertain European regulatory scene, emphasizing the challenges tech firms face while trying to abide by difficult data protection rules worldwide.

Complying with Rules

ANPD’s ruling requires Meta to adjust its privacy policy, excluding the processing of personal data for GenAI training. The suspension of its AI tools in Brazil is Meta’s response to government issues and an attempt to address the authority’s concerns about GenAI.

Balancing Tech Progress and Privacy

The events in Brazil highlight the fine line between advancing AI technology and guaranteeing strong data privacy. As companies like Meta grow their AI capabilities, they must also stay within global data protection laws. This is necessary to maintain user trust and comply with legal standards.

Conclusion

Halting generative AI tools in Brazil by Meta highlights the importance for advanced AI companies like itself to prioritize data security. Regulatory bodies enforce strict privacy standards, pushing tech companies to adapt and discover ways for innovation that equally respect users’ basic rights. The current happenings in Brazil remind us that achieving technological progress must align with principles of data privacy and safety.

Talking openly with authorities and considering their regulatory concerns can lead companies towards resolutions that will protect user privacy while advancing technology. The ongoing negotiation between innovation and regulation, as shown by the situation in Brazil, emphasizes the need for a balanced approach when it comes to technological progress.

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Google Adds Gemini AI Features to Gmail and Workspace Apps

Jonas Muthoni

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Google has updated its Workspace apps, such as Gmail, with new AI based features from the Gemini brand. These adjustments aim to make managing emails, documents and data more effective using sophisticated AI models like Gemini 1.5 Pro.

Gemini AI Sidebar in Gmail

A new Gemini side panel is being brought by Google on the web that can compress email threads and draft new emails. It offers “proactive prompts,” but it also allows users to ask “free form questions,” as stated in a Google blog post. The AI features are developed using Google’s top quality models.

Main features of Gmail’s Gemini sidebar,

  • Email thread breakup
  • Email thread response suggestions
  • New email drafting help
  • Solving queries about emails from inbox or Google Drive files

Gmail’s mobile apps are also getting these functionalities which allow users to use Gemini for condensing threads. However, access to these features is limited only to paying subscribers, including customers of specific Google Workspace addons and Google One AI Premium subscribers.

Gemini AI in Other Google Workspace Apps

Google extends the use of Gemini features beyond Gmail into other Workspace utilities like Docs, Sheets, Slides and Drive. The company revealed these updates during its I/O 2024 event. They are now accessible for users.

Functionality across various Workspace utilities,

  • Docs: Gemini can aid with content writing and refining, information summarising, brainstorming and generating content based on other files.
  • Slides: Gemini has capabilities of creating . new slides, custom pictures and condensing presentations.
  • Sheets: In Sheets, he helps in tracking and managing data,
  • Drive: Using Gemini one can get summaries of single or multiple documents, get easy to understand details about a project

To use these features on the web, users can click on the “Ask Gemini” icon that looks like a sparkle next to their profile picture at the top right corner. The click will launch an assistive experience in the same tab offering suggested queries and automatic summaries.

Preemptive and Assistive AI Features

The introduction of the Gemini AI sidebar by Google aims to make Workspace apps easier to use and more efficient. Proactive help in managing data and projects is also included amongst these AI abilities along with drafting and summarization capabilities.

Noteworthy features,

  • Automatic shortening of ongoing work
  • Preemptive prompts for productivity improvement
  • Sophisticated reasoning and extended context window given by Gemini 1.5 Pro

Users are recommended to review AIgenerated content because sometimes inaccurate info may get generated by these advanced systems. Such care is especially needed while writing essential emails or documents.

Pricing Plans and Availability

The rollout of Google’s new side panel called Gemini along with its features will happen across several subscription plans, including,

  • Google One AI Premium
  • Addon for Business and Enterprise by Gemini
  • Gemini Education addon as well as Education Premium addon

All these features will be fully deployed by Google in coming weeks. The aim behind using these AI tools is improving the efficiency of users across varied platforms, both web based as well as mobile.

In summary

The addition of new Gemini AI features represents considerable advancement in terms of integrating state of the art AI functionality into tools that are being used by millions every day. Google strives to offer a more productive and smooth user experience through these enhancements in Gmail and other workspace apps. These powerful tools come with a caution suggesting users to confirm the correctness of the content generated by this AI.

Given AI technology’s continuous advancement, it can be said that the Gemini features offered by Google stand at the cutting edge of AI supported productivity, showing promise to redefine how users interact within their digital workspaces.

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Microsoft Unveils Affordable Copilot+ AI PCs

Ashley Waithira

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June 18, 2024, was a crucial day for Microsoft and Windows 11 users as Microsoft presented its new range ofilot+ AI PCs. With Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X processors, these computers will bring hightech AI capabilities straight into people’s homes.

Cheapest Copilot+ PC, Surface Laptop 7

The most affordable new Copilot+ AI PC is surprisingly from Microsoft. The Surface Laptop 7 costs $999.99, currently the lowest price for a Copilot+ PC. This modern laptop has a Snapdragon X Plus processor, 16GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD with a clear display of 2304 x 1536 resolution at a rate of 120 Hz refresh and brightness as high as 600 nits.

  • Price tag, $999.99
  • CPU, Snapdragon X Plus
  • RAM Size, 16GB
  • Data Storage Size, An adaptable 256GB SSD
  • Screen Details, A crisp display with dimensions of –13.8 inches at resolution levels of –2304 x1536 pixels along with the refresh speed of –120Hz.

The impressive range of features on the Surface Laptop makes it an excellent choice for those wanting to try out new Copilot+ AI abilities. Unlike its counterparts like Surface Pro11 which need an extra buy for the keyboard , this variant has an inbuilt one, increasing its appeal.

Specifications and Efficiency

The new Copilot+ PCs by Microsoft come loaded with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X series processors, recognized for their superb AI processing abilities. The advanced features of Copilot+ include ,

  • Cocreator, A tool built into Windows Paint that converts text to imagery.
  • Windows Studio Effects, Tools that improve webcam visuals such as auto framing and background blur of video calls.
  • Live Captions with Translation, Video content can be transcribed and translated in real time.
  • Recall, This feature records all activities on the device (it has been suspended over privacy worries) .

Preliminary performance tests have shown pleasing outcomes. Using the Handbrake application, the Surface Laptop 7 with the Snapdragon X Plus processor managed transcoding tasks well outshining some of Intel’s freshest products.

User Feedback and Market Response

This introduction of Copilot+ PC’s has gotten tech enthusiasts talking, they are seen as a huge step for Windows’ ARM platform providing longer battery lives and high tech AI capacities. But not without a few challenges on its way.

  • Compatibility Problems, Issues were faced by certain applications especially those that need specific AI models.
  • A weak spot in Battery Testing , There were inconsistencies during different battery tests , indicating software refinement problems .
  • Inconsistent Geekbench ML Ratings, Mixed results were found when comparing Snapdragon X Elite’s performance in machine learning ratings against Intel’s Hardware.

Apart from these challenges there is positive outlook overall for this product line. Microsoft’s ambitious move into the AI PC sector could have a strong influence on future computer sales.

What the Future Holds

Gazing forward, Microsoft’s aim is to sell over 50 million AI PCs in the next year. This lofty goal is driven by the growing need for AI technology. The market for AI PCs will grow swiftly as more users experience the benefits of AI features on their personal computers .

  • Upcoming Upgrades, Later this year , launches by Intel and AMD of their own AIenabled processors are expected , marking potential competition.
  • New Possibilities with AI Technology , Ongoing enhancements in AI technology will further enrich the array of applications and additional benefits, boosting capabilities of these computers. .
  • Data Privacy, Addressing data confidentiality problems when using AI enabled functions like Recall is vital to retain user confidence.

In Summary

The launch of Copilot+ AI PCs by Microsoft signifies a major innovation in integrating Artificial Intelligence into personal computers. These state of the art devices with competitive pricing and backed by Qualcomm’s high powered processors are set to transform the industry. As technological advancements continue, users can look forward to an even broader range of practical applications to improve their digital experiences.

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