Instagram to roll out new rules for banning accounts, changes to curb spread of misinformation

In a bid to make the platform more secure, Instagram has announced three major changes to the photo and video-sharing app that will roll out “soon.” Firstly, the company will frame a new set of rules for banning accounts. Secondly, it will now let the Facebook fact-checkers scrutinize the posts, and thirdly, it will introduce a feature that will let users appeal against the company’s decision to takedown any post.

Instagram told Engadget that it is working on a new policy for account removals that will start rolling out “soon.” Currently, Instagram’s policy allows “a certain percentage” of violations before removing an account. With the new guidelines in place, Instagram will remove accounts after an undisclosed amount of violations. What’s noteworthy is that these rules will be the same for every user, and the company won’t share the exact number of strikes it will put in place. The company hopes that by this way, violators won’t be able to take the advantage of the system.

The second major announcement will help the company curb misinformation on the platform. Reportedly, Instagram will soon run potentially false posts past Facebook’s fact-checking partners who will scrutinise the post. In this process, Instagram will follow the policies put in place by Facebook, according to which, the false posts will not be deleted but they won’t appear in the Explore tab and in the hashtag result pages.

“Our approach to misinformation is the same as Facebook’s — when we find misinfo, rather than remove it, we’ll reduce its distribution,” a spokesperson was quoted as saying. Moreover, Instagram is also considering adding pop-ups that appear when people search for misinformation.

The third key announcement is a feature that will let users request a review of a post that has been taken down. According to the company, if it realises it made a mistake, it will restore posts. Moreover, every appeal will be sent to a different reviewer than the one who made the original decision to take the post down. This will be done to ensure that the posts are thoroughly inspected. Instagram also says that it is developing a text- and media-matching technology that will use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to extract text from a meme and analyse its content whether its harmful or not.

BSNL Rs 47, Rs 198 STVs revamped to offer more data to users: Report

BSNL seems to be trying its best to stay relevant in the telecom race, where it’s definitely not easy to go head to head against the likes of Vodafone-idea, Jio and Airtel. The state-run telco has reportedly refreshed its Rs 47 and Rs 198 Special Tariff Vouchers to offer more data to its user. TelecomTalk claims that with the Rs 198 recharge, BSNL users will now get to avail additional data benefits, while the Rs 47 plan previously offered only voice benefits, it now offers some data as well. Additionally, the validity of the Rs 198 plan has also been extended. 

As per the report, BSNL’s Rs 198 STV recharge will now credit 2GB data per day to a customer’s account. This plan should now be valid for 54 days. The same plan previously offered 1.5GB data that had a validity of 28 days. After the revamp, users will get to avail 108GB of cumulative data instead of just 42GB. Coming to the Rs 47 plan, BSNL is said to now offer 1GB data with the plan, along with unlimited calling for 9 days. As mentioned, this pack previously came with only voice benefits and no data. The Rs 47 pack is said to be all circles, except Mumbai and Delhi. 

BSNL recently refreshed its STV 35 recharge to offer more data and also revised the Rs 53 and Rs 395 prepaid data vouchers. The Rs 35 STV voucher is said to now offer 5GB data for 5 days, instead of 200MB of data for the same time period. As for the Rs 53 data voucher, users will get to avail 8GB data for 14 days instead of just 250MB for 21 days. The Rs 395 prepaid data voucher now features unlimited voice calling, along with 2GB daily data. Post exhaustion of data, the internet speed will be capped at 80kbps. 

Huawei lists eight phones that will get Android Q update

Following Google’s official Android Q announcement at its annual Google I/O conference, its partner companies have started to reveal which phones would get the stable iteration of the next OS. Huawei is one of those partners and it has announced a list of eight phones that will get the Android Q later this year. Reportedly, this is the first batch of Huawei phones that will receive the update, which means that more phones could be added to this list later.

The phones that will get the Android Q stable update are: Huawei Mate 20, Mate 20 Pro, Mate 20 X, Mate 20 Porsche Edition, Huawei P30, P30 Pro, Honor V20, and Honor Magic 2. However, there is no information about the timeline for this update. In the last two years, Google has rolled out the stable OS update for Pixel devices in August, so this year is likely to be no different.

The upcoming Android release focuses on bringing new mobile experiences, more control of privacy and enhanced security. It introduces several new features, including Live Captions and Smart Replies, Dark Mode, Focus Mode, and a new framework for updates under which the users will receive key updates to the operating system automatically in the background similarly to how Android apps update via the Play Store.

But before this is rolled out, the release will have six betas, out of which three are already out. You can see the list of all phones that will get the Android Q beta update here. Also, you can check this article to learn more about what the next major Android release will offer. Further, if you want to experience the Android Q beta on your Pixel device, you can visit this link to enroll your device, and later receive the beta build as an over-the-air update. For the other devices, you will have to manually flash the beta build onto the phone.

Google Play tweaks how ratings work, announces cash payments for purchasing apps

Google I/O 2019 is in full swing and the company made a slew of announcements during the keynote and on the next day as well. One of the announcements from the event is about how Google Play will be changing a couple of things. TechCrunch reports that Google Play Store policies are being changed to better reflect app ratings. Till now, app ratings were a cumulative representation of how well an app performed over the years. However, this is being changed so that the recent releases of the app ratings are favoured. Another notable announcement for the Play Store from Google is the ability to purchase apps with a new delayed form of payment options like cash.

“You told us you wanted a rating based on what your app is today, not what it was years ago, and we agree,” says Milena Nikolic, an engineering director leading Google Play Console. Explaining more about how the new rating system would work, Nikolic says that the average rating calculation for apps will soon be updated for all Android apps on Google Play and instead of displaying ratings based on lifetime cumulative values, more weight would be given to the most recent users’ ratings. The new rating system makes more sense as many apps start out great but go off the track with subsequent updates. The new ratings won’t be shown to consumers till August but app developers can preview the new system today via the Play Store Console. 

Coming to the new form of payment option, while there are multiple payment options to choose from when buying an app on the Play Store, Google is aiming at emerging markets with the new “pending transactions” option. The new feature will enable users to pay via traditional methods that don’t require online transactions. “We know that emerging markets are a key area of growth for you all, which is why we’re excited to announce ‘pending transactions,’” announced Aurash Mahbod, Director of Engineering at Google, while speaking at Google I/O. 

This new feature enables users to select an alternative method of payment and receive a payment code. They can then show this code to a nearby store and pay for the app they purchase. Google says within 10 minutes, users will receive their purchase and an email with their proof of payment but TechCrunch notes that the process can take up to 48 hours to get through. This would certainly make it easier for some users to pay for apps but in case they want to get a refund, they will receive Play Store credit. The feature is currently available in early access and it remains to be seen whether it will be announced for India as well. 

Xiaomi teases triple-camera smartphone for India, possibly a tweaked Mi 9 SE

After launching a 48MP-camera phone in the form of the Redmi Note 7 Pro, Xiaomi is most likely gearing up to launch a triple-camera smartphone in India. The company released a teaser on its official forum on Wednesday and the cryptic graphic seems to tease a smartphone with three cameras on the back. The teaser doesn’t reveal the name of the phone. However, Xiaomi’s Manu Kumar Jain had earlier tweeted about a smartphone powered by the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 7-series chipset (likely the Snapdragon 730 or the Snapdragon 730G), which could launch in India. It could be possible that the two teasers are talking about the same device.

The teaser itself doesn’t give away much. It shows a single-camera, dual-camera and a triple-camera stack orbiting around a planet. Now Xiaomi already has single and dual-camera phones in the country, so it’s likely that the teaser is talking about a phone with two additional camera on the back.

As of now, Xiaomi has two triple-camera powered smartphones — The Xiaomi Mi 9 and the Mi 9 SE, both of which are available in China and some other regions, but not in India. Also, neither of the two phones is powered by a Snapdragon 7-series processor. It could be possible that Xiaomi is planning to launch a new smartphone or a tweaked version of the Mi 9 SE made specially for India.

Considering there’s no other concrete information available about the upcoming device apart from the cryptic teaser, we will have to wait and see what is in store for the Indian market.

Meanwhile, the company is gearing up to launch Redmi’s first Snapdragon 855-powered flagship phone with an in-display fingerprint sensor and triple rear cameras in China. The event is likely to be held on May 13.

Samsung Galaxy On7 Prime now receiving Android Pie update with OneUI: Report

Samsung has started rolling out the Android Pie update for its Galaxy On7 Prime (First Impression) smartphone in India, a media report suggests. The latest update brings Samsung’s latest OneUI to the phone, along with the May security patch. It is being seeded as an over-the-air patch and is said to be around 1034 MB in size. Interestingly, several Android-powered phones, which usually get security updates faster than others, are yet to receive the latest package.

As mentioned above, the update brings Samsung’s new One UI, and comes with a slew of other new features. The features include a system-wide Night mode, the Scene Optimizer for the camera, a Kids Mode shortcut in the notification panel, a floating mode of the Samsung Keyboard app, and more. Those who haven’t received the update notification yet can manually check it by navigating to Settings > Software update.

Earlier this week, Google rolled out the May security update to its Pixel and Android phones. The Android bulletin says that the latest patch has resolved a total of 10 issues across Framework, Media Framework and System components. The vulnerabilities range from high to critical, with the most severe relating to the media framework and a remote attacker possibly executing arbitrary code through a crafted file.

According to Google, there were “no reports of active customer exploitation or abuse of these newly reported issues.” However, the update fixes 21 issues with Samsung Vulnerabilities and Exposures (SVE) items. These are the issues that were identified in Samsung’s own software.

The Samsung Galaxy On7 Prime was launched in January last year running on a 1.6GHz Exynos octa-core processor and 3GB RAM/32GB storage and 4GB RAM/64GB storage variants. The device sports 13MP cameras on the front and back with a f/1.9 aperture lens for each. The phone features a 5.5-inch FHD display and comes with Samsung Pay Mini support.

Upcoming Redmi flagship to have in-display fingerprint sensor, large battery

Redmi has been intermittently teasing its upcoming flagship device on Weibo and has already confirmed a lot of specs. In the latest development, the company’s General Manager Lu Weibing has teased the in-display fingerprint sensor and the reportedly large battery life of the phone by sharing an image on the Chinese social media platform.

In the image, the phone is seen having a fingerprint impression in the lower half of the display – a place where OEMs usually put a fingerprint sensor, suggesting an in-display fingerprint sensor on it. Further, the phone is seen having 47 percent charge left. The text posted along with the photo reads, “Ready to call it a day, life is very satisfied, exceeded my expectations.” This hints that the phone could have a large battery and may last up to two days in a single charge.

The news comes a day after a leaked image of the phone’s protective display sticker surfaced online suggesting that the phone might be named the Redmi K20 Pro. The stickers suggests that the phone will come equipped with a 6.39-inch AMOLED display. It is said to run on the Snapdragon 855 SoC and come equipped with a 4,000 mAh battery that supports 27W fast charging. The phone could feature a triple-rear camera setup with a 48MP sensor.

The information about the processor and the camera falls in line with earlier reports that claimed that the phone would have Qualcomm’s latest flagship under the hood and sport a 48MP + 13MP + 8MP sensor configuration for the main camera setup. On the front, the phone is rumoured to feature a 32MP sensor.

Google Maps with AR navigation now rolling out for Pixel users

Google showed off Augmented Reality (AR) infused Google Maps first at I/O 2018 and in February this year, it was said to be under testing in a closed group. The feature enabled users to find directions using AR, identify landmarks and relay more in real time. The feature is finally being rolled out to the company’s Pixel series of phones and will be available for use when one chooses their preferred method of travel as walking to their destination. The update is being rolled out in phases and all is said to be currently available only to select Local Guides and Pixel users globally.

The rollout of the new feature was announced at Google I/O 2019 event and Google Maps’ official Twitter handle later tweeted about the rollout. When using the AR option to navigate, the real world takes up the majority of space on a screen and a small view of the Google map is present on the bottom of their phone’s display. The options shows useful cues like arrows for directions and banners with street names to help a user find their way. While we have yet to test the option, some users on twitter note that the feature is quite useful to find right directions when the GPS is yet to lock on. 

The new feature was reportedly quite aggressive in saving the phones’ battery. While using the mode, one should be able to view the world via their camera when they lift their phones up and when they put it down, traditional view of Maps should pop-up. In AR mode, landmarks will also be identified when the user comes across them. There is no information on when the feature will be made available for non-Pixel smartphones. However, if the option is now available for Pixel, it can soon be expected to be made available for other devices as well.

Apple iPhone XR 2019 renders show a dual camera setup with a square bump

Information circulating the internet suggests that the upcoming iPhone XR will have a bump at the back, similar to the one we saw on the renders of the iPhone XS successor. The back of the iPhone XR 2019 seems to have the same bump we saw on the back renders of the iPhone XI. The only difference is that the smartphone will have a dual camera setup instead of a triple camera setup which is expected on the iPhone XI. It is expected to have a dual 12MP wide + telephoto camera at the back. However, specifications of the camera aren’t officially known. Coming to the front of the phone, it is expected to house a 6.1-inch display. From the front, the renders show the iPhone XR 2019 looks like its predecessor. 

The 2019 iPhone XR is expected to measure 7.8mm in thickness. However, at its thickest point, which includes the camera bump, the smartphone is 8.5mm in thickness. Just so you know, the iPhone XR that’s currently available in the market measures 8.3mm in thickness, not counting the protruding camera.

From the renders, it looks like the 2019 iPhone XR will have a notch which is expected to house the front-facing camera and the Face ID tech. From the renders, it looks like the iPhone XR will still sport a lightning port instead of USB-C. Apple shifted to USB-C for its Pro lineup of iPads and information circulating the internet suggested that the iPhones would follow suit. It looks like the iPhone XR 2019 may miss the USB-C bus. 


Dyson V11 Absolute vacuum cleaner, Pure Cool Me air purifier and Lightcycle task light launched in India

Dyson has launched three new devices in India. The list of new products includes a new cordless vacuum cleaner, the Dyson V11 Absolute, a new personal air purifier called the Dyson Pure Cool Me and the smart light, Dyson Lightcycle task light. The Dyson V11 Absolute builds on the existing V11 cordless handheld vacuum cleaner and brings a slew of new features and functions to it. 

Dyson already offers desk air purifiers, which, thanks to the company’s smart implementation of the Air Multiplier technology, also work as a fan. However, the new Pure Cool Me employs the company’s proprietary Core Flow technology that is said to focus air better on a user. Dyson is introducing a new smart light category in India with the Lightcycle task light. The IoT enabled smart lamp connects with the Dyson Link app and uses a microprocessor to sync and adjust its output depending on the time of the day. 

Dyson V11 Absolute

Starting with the new Dyson V11 Absolute vacuum cleaner, the device offers cord-free functionality similar to its predecessor but introduces some new features. First off, it sports a new LED display on the back, which shows the current cleaning mode being used, remaining battery life and more. The screen is also used to remind users of when the vacuum cleaner’s filter needs to be replaced or when it is not connected properly. It also notifies the user if something is blocking the intake vent and shows instructions on how to clear it. 

There’s also a Dynamic Load Sensor or DLS system on the Dyson V11 Absolute that works with the High Torque cleaner head. It’s apparently capable of intelligently picking up brush bar resistance (up to 360 times per second) and relay the information to the motor and battery’s microprocessors to adjust suction power between carpets and hard floors. “This enables carpets to be deep cleaned and runtime to be extended on hard floors,” says Dyson.

Dyson claims that the Dyson V11 Absolute is capable of delivering 40 percent more suction power over the Dyson Cyclone V10 to clean up dust, dirt and dust mites. This is thanks to the V11 motor by Dyson, which is touted to spin at 125,000 rpm. Additionally, the new cleaning device features an Auto mode that automatically senses what type of surface is being cleaned and adjusts the power and suction capabilities accordingly. There’s also a Boost mode for souping up the purifier’s suction power to the max and an Eco mode that is said to deliver up to one hour of cleaning. 

Dyson Pure Cool Me air purifier

The Dyson Pure Cool Me air purifier adds to the company’s existing lineup of air purifiers in India. However, it is said to be in a different sub-category all together. The new Pure Cool Me air purifier implements the company’s proprietary Core Flow technology, which is an air flow control method that is said to direct air with greater accuracy. It comes equipped with an H-13 grade HEPA filter that can capture harmful air particulates like PM10, PM2.5 and below, down to 0.1 microns. The device filter also comes equipped with a VOC filter that is touted to remove harmful gases from the air. 

Since the new Pure Cool Me air purifier is designed for personal use, the company says it has engineered it to be “as quiet as possible.” It also comes with multiple features that we have come to expect from a Dyson air purifier like oscillation, timer, sleep mode and more. It sports an LCD screen that shows what settings the air purifier is being operated on and when its filers need to be changed. The Dyson Pure Cool Me will be available in White/Silver and Black/Nickel colour models. 

Dyson Lightcycle task light.

The new Dyson Lightcycle is a smart light by the company, which supports IoT connectivity and comes with a slew of features. With local daylight tracking, the Lightcycle receives data about the sun’s current position to adjust its colour temperature and brightness accordingly. This is said to be possible with a 32-bit microprocessor on the device. The smart light features three cool and three warm LED lights that can deliver light temperature ranging between 2,700 and 6,500 kelvin and achieve over 1000 LUX brightness. 

As mentioned, the Dyson Lightcycle task light can be connected with the Dyson Link app. This enables a user to manually control the brightness and colour temperature output via the app. The device also features preset modes: Study, Relax, Precision, Boost, Wake-up, Sleep and Away. One can also pre-program and save their lighting preferences with the brightness ranging between 100 and over 1,000 LUX and colour temperature from warm 2,700 kelvin to cool 6,500 kelvin. Additionally, the Lightcycle task light is said to not diminish in brightness and light quality for 60 years. 

Price, launch date and availability 

The new Dyson V11 Absolute vacuum will be available in two variants starting from Rs 52,900, while the Dyson Pure Cool me is priced at Rs 25,900. They will go on sale from May 8 and June 1 respectively. The Dyson Lightcycle task light is priced at Rs 39,900 and will be available from May 15. 

The three devices will be available online via Dyson’s website and Amazon. One can buy them offline from the company’s demos stores in DLF Promenade, Select City Walk in New Delhi and VR Mall in Bengaluru. In-home Demo services will also be available in New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad as well as at select Croma stores in Delhi NCR and Mumbai.