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Facebook prototypes Unsend 6 months after Zuckerberg retracted messages – TechCrunch

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In April, TechCrunch broke the news that some of Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook messages were deleted from recipients’ inboxes in what some saw as a violation of user trust. Then, Facebook suddenly announced that it would actually build this Unsend functionality for everyone. Then six months went by without a peep about the feature, furthering suspicions that the announcement that it would release an Unsend button was merely a PR driven response to the scandal.

Late last week, TechCrunch asked Facebook about its progress on Unsend, and the company told us “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.”

Now we have our first look at the feature thanks to TechCrunch’s favorite tipster Jane Manchun Wong. She’s managed to generate screenshots of a prototype Unsend button from Facebook Messenger’s Android code. Currently, you can only delete messages from your own inbox — they still remain in the recipients’ inbox. But with this Unsend feature, you’ll be able to remove a message from both sides of a conversation. However, the code indicates that in the current prototype, users may only have a certain amount of time after they send a message to unsend it.

In response, a spokesperson confirmed that “Facebook internally tests products and features before they ship to the public so we can ensure the quality of the experience.”

The Unsend feature could be useful to people who say something stupid or inappropriate, disclose a secret they shouldn’t have, or want to erase evidence of their misdeeds. That could make users more comfortable speaking freely on the app, since they know they can retract their texts. But it could also open vectors for abuse, as users could harass people over Messenger and then delete the evidence. Facebook will need to ensure that Unsend doesn’t acceidentally become a weapon for bullies.

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Windows Your Phone Apps feature could be expanding to more phones

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After giving up on its own attempts at creating its own mobile platform, Microsoft switched to integrating Windows better with Android and iOS. Not all phones or mobile platforms are created equal, of course, and Microsoft has struck a sweet deal with Samsung for even deeper integration that’s exclusive to a select number of Galaxy phones. One of those features includes the ability to run an Android app from the phone in its own window, a feature that might soon be expanding to other phones or at least other Samsung phones.

In addition to a poor choice in naming, Windows’ Your Phone has a confusing number of features that depend on what phone you have. The most basic is Link to Windows, which lets you seamlessly transfer files between an Android phone and a Windows device. Phone Screen, on the other hand, mirrors the entire phone’s screen on the desktop, allowing you to interact with it while keeping your phone away.

And then there’s Apps, which lets you run those Android apps in their own windows. Like the other three features, however, these are mostly exclusive to Samsung’s phones. More recent premium flagships even get extra perks, like the ability to run multiple apps at once.

@ALumia_italia now reveals that the list of supported phones for Your Phone’s “Apps” feature could be expanding. A screenshot reveals a Galaxy A52 having access to a list of Apps, ready for launching any time. The Galaxy A52 supports Phone Screen, also shown in the screenshot, but not Apps.

Just like the Your Phone itself, there is still some confusion over what this means. Microsoft might simply be expanding the compatibility list to more Galaxy phones, or Microsoft could finally be bringing the feature to phones outside of Samsung’s line. The latter, however, requires that Microsoft open up Your Phone itself to other manufacturers’ devices, and one can only hope that will be the case soon.

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Chromebooks and tablets growth in Q2 2021 beat global chip shortage

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Just when things were starting to look up for consumer computing devices last year, 2021 brought its own big problem that’s shaking up more than just the tech industry. PCs, tablets, and Chromebooks enjoyed a surge in interest and sales in 2020 because of new work from home and remote schooling arrangements, but this year’s ongoing component shortage threatens to upset those gains. Despite that bleak scenario, tablet shipments managed to grow in Q2 this year, with Chromebooks showing the biggest wins.

According to IDC’s numbers, Chromebooks grew by 68.6% in the second quarter of 2021 compared to the same period last year. The 12.3 million units that the market shipped may not be as large as the previous two quarters but still comes close to those. HP has the highest growth at 115.7% year-over-year and also has the lion’s share of that market.

The rapid growth of the Chromebook market has been attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic, for better or worse, as Google’s Chrome OS continues to spread to new markets. The market analysis company shares that there is a noted uptick in Chromebook sales in Europe, while some countries in Asia are starting to look into the devices for use in schools.

Compared to Chromebooks, tablets had a more modest growth of 4.2%, with 40.5 million units sold. Considering how close tablets were to obsolescence, that’s still a significant improvement. Apple still leads the market with a 31.9% share, while Samsung is at a far second at 19.6%.

Nothing lasts forever, of course, and there are already concerns that this positive status for Chromebooks and tablets could start deteriorating soon. Due to supply concerns, some manufacturers seem to be focusing on more profitable Windows laptops instead. Demand for tablets, on the other hand, is expected to slow down sooner in comparison.

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Old Android devices won’t be able to sign in to Google accounts soon

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Android’s fragmentation has long been cited as one of its biggest problems, but, to some extent, it is also a strength. While the majority of today’s Android devices run versions of the operating system from at least two to three years ago, there is still a number of those that are able to keep functioning with even older versions. Of course, these can’t keep on running forever, and it seems that Google is slowly pulling the plug on these, especially the most ancient versions of Android.

For the longest time, Android 2.3, a.k.a. “Gingerbread,” was the most-used version of Android in the market. After the disaster that was Honeycomb and even with the reparations of Ice Cream Sandwich, Gingerbread remained the go-to release for many devices. That was pretty much a decade ago, which is eons for the fast-moving smartphone industry, and it’s surprising to hear that there are still a few active devices out there that might be using it.

Those probably just number in the dozens, but Google is playing it safe by issuing a notice that these devices might be left in a broken state next month. Starting September 27, devices running on Android 2.3.7 or lower will no longer be able to sign in to Google accounts. Google explains that this is to ensure a Google account’s security, implying that these older Android versions most likely have unpatched vulnerabilities that could compromise said accounts.

This change applies not only when signing into apps like Gmail or YouTube but even when signing into a Google account on the phone itself. This means that if you reset your phone or get signed out of it (because you initiated a password change elsewhere), you won’t be able to sign in to your Google account anymore. You can, however, still sign into Gmail or other Google services from a mobile web browser.

It seems that Google is slowly cutting off older Android devices by shutting down access to its servers. Early last month, it announced that phones running Android 4.3 Jelly Bean or older would lose access to Google Play Services, which could effectively break some apps. It’s somewhat amazing that there are still some devices running on these nearly ancient Android versions, but for their own security and convenience, they should probably upgrade to newer ones if they still haven’t.

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