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Facebook Messenger ‘Unsend Message’ Button Spotted

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Photo Credit: Jane Manchun Wong

Facebook had earlier confirmed that the unsend feature will come in the future

Facebook](https://gadgets.ndtv.com/tags/facebook) faced a lot of backlash back in April this year, after it confirmed that it had deleted CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s messages from several recipients’ inboxes on Messenger. In retaliation, the company said that it is looking to roll out an ‘Unsend Message’ feature that will allow all users to recall their sent messages. Finally, six months after the announcement, screenshots of the ‘Unsend Message’ feature in testing have been leaked, giving us hope that the social giant hasn’t forgotten about its promise.

Tipster Jane Manchun Wong has shared screenshots of the ‘Unsend Message’ button prototype, sourced from Facebook Messenger’s Android code. It’s unclear when the company started testing the feature, and there is no word on when it will launch either. The current state of the feature is very buggy, with the button deleting the message only from the user’s Inbox and not at the recipient’s end. Indeed, it’s possible that the code has shipped but isn’t being actively used as part of a test.

Facebook remained extremely vague when asked about the Unsend feature’s launch timeline, but confirmed its arrival sometime in the future. “Though we have nothing to announce today, we have previously confirmed that we intend to ship a feature like this and are still planning to do so,” a company spokesperson told TechCrunch.

As mentioned, there is no clarity on how the feature will work, whenever it launches. Will there be an expiration timer, or will the user be able to unsend messages till a limited time? It’s still uncertain at this point. To recall, Messenger already offers a secret chat feature wherein messages can be timed to self-destruct with durations ranging from 5 seconds up to 1 day. A Facebook Messenger spokesperson has previously said that the only possible implementation would be an expiration timer similar to the secret chat feature, deleting messages after the timer expires.

Other Facebook services like WhatsApp and Instagram also allow users to delete sent messages. WhatsApp offers users with the ability to delete messages for a limited amount of time after the message has been sent. On the other hand, Instagram offers users with the ability to complete unsend a DM (Direct Message) provided the recipient has not seen the message.

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Gadgets

Apple details new iPhone features like door detection, live captions

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Global Accessibility Awareness Day is Thursday, so Apple took to its newsroom blog this week to announce several major new accessibility features headed to the iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac.

One of the most widely used will likely be Live Captions, which is coming to iPhone, Mac, and iPad. The feature shows AI-driven, live-updating subtitles for speech coming from any audio source on the phone, whether the user is “on a phone or FaceTime call, using a video conferencing or social media app, streaming media content, or having a conversation with someone next to them.”

The text (which users can resize at will) appears at the top of the screen and ticks along as the subject speaks. Additionally, Mac users will be able to type responses and have them read aloud to others on the call. Live Captions will enter public beta on supported devices (“iPhone 11 and later, iPad models with A12 Bionic and later, and Macs with Apple silicon”) later this year.

There’s also door detection. It unfortunately will only work on iPhones and iPads with a lidar sensor (so the iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 13 Pro, or recent iPad Pro models), but it sounds useful for those who are blind or have low vision. It uses the iPhone’s camera and AR sensors, in tandem with machine learning, to identify doors and audibly tell users where the door is located, whether it’s open or closed, how it can be opened, and what writing or labeling it might have.

Door detection will join people detection and image descriptions in a new “detection mode” intended for blind or low-vision users in iOS and iPadOS. Apple’s blog post didn’t say when that feature would launch, however.

Other accessibility additions that Apple says are just around the corner include 20 new Voice Over languages, new hand gestures on Apple Watch, and a feature that allows game players to receive help from a “buddy” with another game controller without disconnecting their own. Additionally, there are new Siri and Apple Books customizations meant to expand accessibility for people with disabilities, sound recognition customizations, and Apple Watch screen mirroring on the iPhone—which gives Watch users access to many accessibility features available on the iPhone but not the Watch.

Tech enthusiasts often lament that smartphones (and personal tech in general) have become stagnant, without many exciting new developments. But that couldn’t be further from the truth for many people with disabilities. Google, Apple, and numerous researchers and startups have been making significant advancements, bringing powerful new accessibility features to mobile devices.

Listing image by Apple

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Tech News

The Real Reason Betamax Lost The Format Wars

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JVC officially announced the VHS-format VCR in 1976 and with two formats on the market, both sides dug in (via Sony). Mitsubishi Electric, Matsushita, Hitachi, Sharp, and Akai Electric went with JVC’s VHS format, while Toshiba, Sanyo Electric, NEC, Aiwa, and Pioneer sided with Sony’s Beta format. Sony visited Matsushita’s Osaka headquarters at the end of 1976 to try and persuade them to adopt Betamax. Sony placed one of its players next to a JVC player with both lids off, and Matsushita went with JVC’s player because they had fewer components and could be made for less money.

It wasn’t just the recording media themselves that were better; Sony’s videotape players and recorders were better because they manufactured most of them themselves. And if Sony didn’t build them, it was done by manufacturers they closely monitored, so quality was never an issue. But according to Grunge, JVC wanted to do things differently and licensed its VHS technology to any manufacturer that wanted to make its VCRs. Sony wouldn’t allow its players to be made without direct oversight. This decision ultimately helped lead to the demise of the Beta format as it fostered competition between the various companies making the VHS players and, in turn, eventually drove the prices down to a level far more affordable choice than Sony’s high-priced machines.

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Science

A collision strips dark matter, starts star formation

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Enlarge / The dark matter-poor galaxies are so diffuse that you can see right through them.

The Universe’s first galaxies are thought to have formed at sites where a lot of dark matter coalesced, providing the gravitational pull to draw in enough regular matter to create stars. And, to date, it’s impossible to explain the behavior of almost all the galaxies we’ve observed without concluding that they have a significant dark matter component.

Almost, but not all. Recently, a handful of galaxies have been identified that are dim and diffuse, and appear to have relatively little dark matter. For a while, these galaxies couldn’t be explained, raising questions about whether the observations had provided an accurate picture of their composition. However, researchers recently identified one way the galaxies could form: A small galaxy could be swallowed by a larger one that keeps the dark matter and spits out the stars.

Now, a second option has been proposed, based on the behavior of dark matter in a galaxy cluster. This model may explain a series of objects found near the dark matter-poor galaxies. And it may suggest that galaxy-like objects could be formed without an underlying dark matter component.

Bullet time

The galaxy cluster that’s the inspiration for this model is called the Bullet Cluster. First described in 2006, this huge grouping of galaxies is the product of a collision between two previously distinct clusters. Because dark matter doesn’t interact physically, the dark matter portion of each of the two clusters passed gracefully through the collision site and continued on its way. The regular matter, in contrast, experienced an actual collision, with shockwaves developing within the large amounts of gas that accompanied the galaxy clusters.

Observations of gravitational lensing indicated that most of the mass was with the dark matter, which had moved past the collision site. But most of the visible matter is still near where the collision initially took place. This method of separating regular and dark matter has held up well to further observations and modeling.

The new work relies on extending the mechanism involved in creating the Bullet Cluster down to the scale of individual galaxies. The physics works the same way: A collision slams normal matter into a messy collision driven by its interactions, while dark matter passes smoothly through the mess. It’s not clear how much of the regular matter structures can survive this sort of mess. But, because there can be a lot of gas present after the dark matter has moved on, it’s possible the regular matter can form structures that lack a dark matter component.

The new research applies this logic to the two best-established dark matter-free galaxies, called DF2 and DF4, which are dwarf galaxies that exist near a normal, large galaxy called NGC 1052.

This goes to 11

It’s easy to model collisions between dwarf galaxies that create a situation akin to the Bullet Cluster, with dark and regular matter separated. Collectively, these are referred to as “bullet dwarf” collisions. (Dwarf bullet would seem to be more descriptive, but that wasn’t chosen for some reason.)

But in this case, the researchers were able to put a lot of constraints on the model based on the physical situation around NGC 1052. One of those constraints was provided by NGC 1052, the large galaxy in the area. There’s no real reason to expect these sorts of galaxy collisions to occur near a large galaxy like that. Its presence in the area suggests that the proximity was central to the collision: One of the smaller galaxies involved in the collision was in orbit around NGC 1052.

Obviously, having both in orbit would make a collision more probable. But it would also mean that the dwarf galaxies wouldn’t have a combined speed that would create a sufficiently violent collision. So at least one of the galaxies would have to come in from outside the system and pick up speed while being drawn in toward NGC 1052.

The other major constraint they have is the existence of the two dark matter-poor galaxies, DF2 and DF4, as well as a sense of their relative motion. The relative motion allowed the researchers to trace the galaxies’ movements backward through time and conclude that any collision probably took place about 8 billion years ago, which is in good agreement with the age of some of the stars in DF2.

Models of the collision suggest that, in addition to DF2 and DF4, this collision should produce two dark matter-rich dwarf galaxies, and those should appear to be roughly along the line defined by DF2 and DF4. So the researchers looked in a catalog of objects for other dwarf galaxies in the region that might have emerged from the collision. Instead of four total objects, they found 11.

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