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Facebook Unveils Messenger Rooms Shortcut on WhatsApp Web: Here's How to Use It

Users first have to update the latest WhatsApp Web version in order to create a room shortcut. However, the feature is not available on the mobile app yet.

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You Will Have to Update to Zoom 5.0 by May 30 Because Video Calls Move to The New Encryption

You Will Have to Update to Zoom 5.0 by May 30 Because Video Calls Move to The New Encryption

Once the new AES 256-bit GCM encryption is active, you will see a green shield icon in your video call window to confirm that the conversation is being encrypted with the new standard.

  • News18.com
  • Last Updated: May 25, 2020, 9:26 AM IST

Zoom, the incredibly popular video meeting app, is asking all users to update to the new Zoom 5.0 version before the end of the month. In an email communication with existing users, Zoom says they must update to the Zoom 5.0 version to take advantage of the new AES 256-bit GCM encryption. This comes at a time when Zoom is seeing usage skyrocket, but concerns remain about the privacy and security issues regarding video calls and user data. Zoom has more than 300 million daily users around the world.

The GCM (Galois/Counter Mode) encryption method will be enabled for all Zoom calls from May 30 onwards, and anyone using a Zoom app version older than Zoom 5 will be unable to join. Zoom had released this update late last month. “Beginning May 30th, 2020, Zoom will be enabling GCM encryption across the entire Zoom platform, providing increased protection for meeting data,” says the email sent to Zoom users.

Till now, Zoom has been using the 128-bit AES keys and with ECB (Electronic Code Book) encryption, which is less secure. Once the new AES 256-bit GCM encryption is active, you will see a green shield icon in your video call window to confirm that the conversation is being encrypted with the new standard. “A new encryption shield appears in the upper left of your Zoom Meeting window and indicates a secure, encrypted meeting. After May 30, the shield will be green for all users, denoting enhanced GCM encryption. Clicking the icon also takes you to the Statistics page for additional encryption details,” says the company. All parties in a Zoom call need to be on the Zoom 5 version of the app for the encryption to work.

Zoom has since also received new features, including the ability to report a user who may be misusing Zoom, updated Leave Now or End Meeting options and select data center regions when scheduling a meeting. Zoom is available for PCs, web browsers, Android devices, Apple iPhone, Apple iPad and Google ChromeOS. At a time when millions around the world are working from home to stay safe from the Coronavirus pandemic, video calling apps are more relevant than ever before. Zoom is competing with the likes of WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Skype, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, Google Hangouts, Houseparty and more.




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WhatsApp Users, Messenger Rooms is Coming Soon: Here is How to Get it on Android Right Now

Image: WABetaInfo

Image: WABetaInfo

Messenger Rooms feature lets you do group video calls with up to 50 people. This comes at a time when video calling apps are a rage and gives Facebook an advantage in terms of a potential user base as it competes with the likes of Zoom, Microsoft’s Skype and more.

  • News18.com
  • Last Updated: May 17, 2020, 9:47 AM IST

The Facebook Messenger Rooms is now available for WhatsApp for Android, well, at least those users who want to try out the latest beta of the popular instant messaging app. The latest beta incudes the Messenger Rooms feature with lets you do group video calls with up to 50 people. After it became globally available on Facebook or the Messenger app depending on which country you are in, the rollout has now started on WhatsApp as well.

For this, you need to download the WhatsApp for Android beta 2.20.163 on your Android phone. This comes from the ever-reliable folks over at WABetaInfo. This feature is still being activated globally, and you may not initially get it. But have patience, it will happen. If Messenger Rooms is available for you, it will show up as Rooms in the chat sheet in any chat window—the same menu that allows you to share documents, location, contacts and access the gallery on the phone to share photos and videos.

Secondly, if you go to the Calls tab in WhatsApp for Android beta, you will see the Create a Room option when you tap on the calling button to add or dial contacts.

From what we can figure out about the current implementation of Messenger Rooms in WhatsApp, you will still be directed to the Messenger app to continue using the group calling feature. This could be a very smart way of driving more downloads of Facebook’s Messenger app. The requirements of end-to-end encryption could perhaps be the main reason, which is why Facebook has been looking to get all its apps under one encryption family to allow seamless interoperability.

Initially, Messenger Rooms’ that allows up to 50 people in one group video chat, could be accessed via Facebook or Messenger apps and desktop versions and remains free of charge to use. Globally, users can create new Rooms via the Messenger app for the time being, while users in the US can create a room from Facebook. Now, WhatsApp is set to get this feature as well.

It is expected that the WhatsApp beta for the iPhone should also soon get the Messenger Rooms feature, which would mean we are one step closer to the final release for all users globally.

The integration with WhatsApp, which has more than 2 billion users worldwide, gives Facebook an advantage in terms of a potential user base as it competes with apps such as Zoom, Microsoft’s Skype, Google Hangouts, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Houseparty and more.




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Facebook Messenger Rooms For Video Calls is Now Available to Everyone; Should Zoom be Worried?

Facebook Messenger Rooms For Video Calls is Now Available to Everyone; Should Zoom be Worried?

At this time, Facebook Messenger Rooms will be competing for attention and video meeting hours with the likes of Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype, Google Meet, Google Hangouts, WhatsApp and Google Duo, each of those being used for personal as well as work meetings.

  • News18.com
  • Last Updated: May 15, 2020, 8:56 AM IST

Facebook Messenger Rooms is now rolling out to all users around the world. It is available in desktop and mobile, and the global rollout will surely add some spice to the already very competitive video calls and video meetings app space. Messenger Rooms’ party piece is the fact that it allows up to 50 people in one group video chat, can be accessed via Facebook or Messenger apps and desktop versions and remains free of charge to use. However, do note that globally, users can create new Rooms via the Messenger app for the time being, while users in the US can create a room from Facebook.

Facebook is also pushing the privacy controls that in play here, something that has been a concern for many since the issues with Zoom brought this aspect to the forefront. Facebook says you can start and share Rooms on Facebook through News Feed, Groups and Events. You may drop by for a Group chat whenever it is convenient for you. There are options that let you control who can see your Rooms group and who is allowed to join your room. You can also remove people from your Room if you don’t like them and the Room group can also be locked so that no one else can join at the time.

Facebook says you must download or update to the latest versions of the Facebook and Messenger apps for Android and iPhone or iPad via the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store respectively, or the Messenger Desktop App for Windows 10 PCs via the Microsoft Store and for Apple Mac devices via the Apple App Store. At this time, Facebook Messenger Rooms will be competing for attention and video meeting hours with the likes of Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype, Google Meet, Google Hangouts, WhatsApp and Google Duo, each of those being used for personal as well as work meetings.




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Google Video Call Apps Are a Massive Clutter: Have You Chosen From Google Meet, Hangouts & Duo?

The instant messaging apps are more relevant than ever before. You probably are spending more time on WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Telegram, Signal, Skype, WeChat, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Slack and more. Be it for work or for staying in touch with friends and family, messaging apps for text messages and video calls are the default mode of communication for millions around the world. Perhaps even more so, because of the social distancing requirements due to the COVID pandemic. Numbers seem to be suggesting that. Every messaging platform is gaining. Except one, which could have done much better to be default choice for video calls and instant messaging for millions of users around the world. But isn’t.

After some amount of confusion, Zoom clarified and said they clocked 300 million users in April. Microsoft has said that there are more than 200 million meeting participants in a single day in April, and there were more than 4.1 billion meeting minutes generated. Teams now has more than 75 million daily active users. Houseparty, an app owned by Fortnite developer Epic Games, clocked more than two million downloads in early March, as the first stages of the lockdown around the world kicked in. Facebook says video-calling on Messenger had straight doubled since last year and that 700 million users around the world are using Messenger and WhatsApp for calls—and that’s before the group calling update and Messenger Rooms rolled out.

Would you really shift from whatever messaging apps you are using right now, at work and for personal use?

Have You Also Read?

What is WhatsApp Aiming For? Rule The Video Meetings Space? Be a Super App? World Domination?

In early April, Google said that 2 million new users are connecting on Google Meet every day, and they’re spending over 2 billion minutes together. That might be a lot of G Suite users as well, but the positioning is working among enterprises as well. That being said, a simpler and refined communication apps ecosystem might have helped Google at this time. It is all a bit confusing. From what I can count, they have six apps that do roughly the same tasks as each other. In many cases, it is pretty evident overlap. We have Google Chat, Hangouts, Google Meet, Google Duo, Google Voice and Messages. What do they do?

Google Chat, as described by Google is, “a powerful way to communicate with people in your organization.” It must be accessed via a G Suite account.

Google Meet is a more powerful tool for businesses and enterprises for video meetings, letting you share desktops, presentations and more. All premium features of Google Meet are available to everyone at this time. Which begs the question—what is Google Chat doing? I’m sure it has a purpose, but it is all very confusing. It was earlier called Hangouts Meet. In fact, Google Meet is now being integrated within Gmail, a prime location that was once occupied by Hangouts.

Then there is the consumer version called Hangouts which still retains the branding as we have known it for a long time. This is a messaging app that you can use to connect with friends, family and colleagues. You can do text messages, video calls and voice calls. Much like WhatsApp. The thing is, Hangouts is preloaded in a lot of Android phones, or you are often prompted to download it in other Android phones—which should have been its ticket for success. But that hasn’t happened.

There is also Duo, also an app preloaded in pretty much most Android phones now. It can do video calls, group video chats and well, that’s also available across a variety of platforms including desktop, Android and the iPhone—just like Hangouts.

Have You Also Read?

Good News! Google Meet’s Premium Features Are Free For Everyone as it Battles With Zoom

I am sure you would have noticed the Messages app in your Android phone. This is the default app for texting and RCS-enabled chat. It also has a desktop version, much like its siblings, and WhatsApp Web for a more recognizable reference.

One has to perhaps trace Google’s attempts all the way back to 2009. That is when Google Talk graced Gmail. It was a real-time text messaging service and Voice (in some countries) for voice chats. Then came Google Wave which tried to mash together a bit of instant messaging, forums and collaboration between colleagues—it did not work, because no one really knew what it really was for.

Google attempted something with Buzz in 2010 for something which was more social networking focused, and that eventually have way to Google+ some years later. This is also when we welcomed Hangouts, the instant messenger app that exists till today. In 2013, Hangouts got SMS handling capabilities for Android phones, and voice over internet protocol (VoIP) was added soon after. Finally, it seemed like the complete communications package was coming together. Google Talk, Google+ Messenger, Android’s SMS app, and Google Voice rolled together into one single app. That should have been a pivotal moment.

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Battle Royale: Which of These Indian Video Conferencing Apps Would Win Govt Challenge?

It wasn’t. in 2016, Google added three more apps to its unplanned arsenal—Allo, Duo and Spaces. Partly inspired by all the hype around Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the need to feed people suggestions for what their replies should be. In dynamic conversations which hardly follow a set pattern of formalities and language, it predictably didn’t have people thronging to use it. Duo survives till date, but Allo and Spaces walked into the sunset a while ago.

For a while, one could say Google was experimenting. But now it is becoming apparent that the company, which has got pretty much everything nailed down perfectly, still trips over when it comes to instant messaging. Is it already too late though? Would you really shift from whatever messaging apps you are using right now, at work and for personal use?

Things might change. But we say that with a lot of apprehension. It is being reported that Javier Soltero, VP and GM of G Suite at Google, is now taking charge of the message apps ecosystem. Straight away, it has been consolidated into one unified team. Perhaps now we will have one messaging solution for enterprise users and one for personal and informal usage. Much like how Microsoft does with Teams and Skype. Much like how Facebook is smartly playing the Messenger and WhatsApp cards. We have seen many a false dawn, so we’ll reserve our judgement till it actually happens.

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Embarrassed? Apple iMessage May Soon Let You Edit a Message After You’ve Sent it

Embarrassed? Apple iMessage May Soon Let You Edit a Message After You’ve Sent it

It is likely that this edit capability will land on your iPhone sooner than an edit button on Twitter.

  • News18.com
  • Last Updated: May 11, 2020, 9:42 AM IST

Apple could be lining up a significant update for the iMessage messaging app, if the new patent becomes a reality. Apple iMessage, a messaging app on iOS, iPadOS and macOS, could soon allow users to edit a message after you’ve sent it. In a new patent application titled Devices, Methods, and Graphical User Interfaces for Messaging filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Apple talks about a bunch of new features for its popular messaging app. But what stands out is the potential ability to edit a message after it has been sent. We have all been in that awkward spot where an important message has gone with a spelling error, or we have spelt the receiver’s name wrong or some such thing. That may soon be a thing of the past, at least for iMessage users on the Apple iPhone, iPad and Mac devices.

“But current messaging applications have numerous drawbacks and limitations. For example, they are limited in their ability to easily: acknowledge messages; edit previously sent messages; express what a user is trying to communicate; display private messages; synchronize viewing of content between users; incorporate handwritten inputs; quickly locate content in a message transcript,” says the patent application. It also addresses some limitations that most present instant messaging platforms tend to have such as, “integrate a camera; integrate search and sharing; integrate interactive applications; integrate stickers; make payments; interact with avatars; make suggestions; navigate among interactive applications; manage interactive applications; translate foreign language text; combine messages into a group; and flag messages.”

At this time, Apple iMessage is competing with the likes of WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Telegram, Signal in the instant messaging space and a whole host of video meeting tools such as Microsoft Skype, Microsoft Team, Google Hangouts, Google Meet and Zoom. The versatility to iMessage as an all-in-one communication app for messages, video calls, group video calls and more gives it an advantage over rivals, at least on the iPhone, iPad and macOS. Right now, no app allows you to edit a text message after you have sent it. If iMessage does get this feature soon, it will be the first to get something that most of us have been waiting for. Whether we realise it or not.

Apple has still not made iMessage apps for Android and Windows 10, for instance, and remains exclusive to Apple’s iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Mac devices.




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What is WhatsApp Aiming For? Rule The Video Meetings Space? Be a Super App? World Domination?

WhatsApp and mind-boggling numbers go hand in hand. As of February, WhatsApp had crossed 2 billion users worldwide. It is by far the most popular instant messaging app in the world, followed by its own sibling, Facebook Messenger. Chances are everyone you know is using WhatsApp. It is to instant messaging what Xerox is to photocopying. That being said, Facebook isn’t about to let a low hanging fruit get away. WhatsApp could very well be in the prime position to become the default name for the video calling, group calling and video meeting requirements for millions around the world. While the competition remains busy trying to compete with each other.

Look at the traction that the Coronavirus pandemic has translated into. Zoom clarified and said they clocked 300 million users in April. Houseparty, an app owned by Fortnite developer Epic Games, clocked more than two million downloads in early March, as the first stages of the lockdown around the world kicked in. Facebook says video-calling on Messenger had straight doubled since last year. Microsoft has said that there are more than 200 million meeting participants in a single day in April, and there were more than 4.1 billion meeting minutes generated. Teams now has more than 75 million daily active users, confirmed Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

WhatsApp builds from a foundation of strength. It has a massive user base, like no other.

Messenger Rooms is one part of the plan

It was just last month that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had said how as many as 700 million users around the world are using Messenger and WhatsApp for calls. That’s voice calls and video calls to colleagues, friends and family. It is not surprising then that Facebook wants to do everything to not only keep this user base engaged, but also away from rivals such as Zoom, Google Meet, Skype and others. That would be true for the business use case and for personal users as well. What arrived on the scene was Messenger Rooms. It allows a maximum of 50 participants in a group video call. That’s the same limit as Skype’s Skype Now. Even though Zoom offers the ability to get 100 people to join as part of the free subscription tier, WhatsApp has the added advantage of familiarity, almost everyone has it and well, Zoom has been haunted by privacy issues for a while now.

The fact is that Messenger Rooms is so versatile, you can start or join a Rooms chat from Messenger, Facebook, Instagram Direct, WhatsApp, or even the Portal smart display. That is the power and extent of Facebook’s ecosystem of apps truly making their presence felt.

The thing is, when we talk of video calling apps and video conferencing solutions, we immediately visualize a meeting that has 100+ people, all trying to get their message across as part of a corporate jamboree. That is not always the case. More often than not, it is smaller teams that need to connect, for a quick brainstorming session, for a status update, quick guidance or simply to drop in and say hello. For that to work, it is just clunky and ostentatious to have to set up a meeting, share a meeting link and a password and download a separate app on your phone or PC.

Simplicity is what really is WhatsApp’s strongest point here. It is as simple as picking up your phone or opening WhatsApp web, ticking off the list of contacts you want in the meeting and making a call. You spend lesser time on the riffraff. Be it for the Messenger Rooms or for the now more-powerful Group calling.

Simplicity is WhatsApp’s strongest point. It just works.

Group Video Calls are equally brilliant for work and fun

A few days ago, a new update for WhatsApp for Android phones and the Apple iPhones landed with the more powerful group calling feature. Instead of 4, you can now get 8 people on a group voice or video call. “Over the last month, people on average are spending over 15 billion minutes talking each day on WhatsApp calls, well above a typical day before the pandemic, WhatsApp had said at the time. More friends can be part of the social distancing catch-up. More colleagues can join in and share brilliant ideas on how to go about things. This will work even on Android phones or iPhones that are old and not as powerful anymore—it is priceless for those who may still be rocking older smartphones. The same flexibility cannot exactly be vouched for, for the other video meeting apps. Except perhaps FaceTime, which works brilliantly on all iPhones, no matter how old.

All that being said, it is still lesser than 32 participants that Apple FaceTime allows, the 12-person limit that Google Duo now has and Skype which supports 50 participants. If that really a limitation? Perhaps not.

End to End Encryption remains its strongest suite

If you don’t really want a scenario where the privacy of your calls is not exactly a certainty and the promises sound a bit dodge, chances are you’ll stay away from Zoom. In that regard, WhatsApp has pushed the end-to-end encryption capabilities extensively over time. “And just like written messages, all those calls are protected with end-to-end encryption,” they did the same with the new group calling too.

In fact, Messenger Rooms will also have end-to-end encryption enabled for all calls. Simply put, it makes it extremely unlikely that anyone will able to eavesdrop on your conversation as it traverses the depths of the world wide web, without your knowledge.

With Rooms and Group Calling, Facebook’s idea is simple. It is not to try and be the platform that tries to appeal to casual users, small groups, smaller teams, medium sized meetings and large enterprises—basically redevelop the app to a one-size fits all. It is to be versatile enough for different use cases, and that is where the volumes could very well be.

Facebook’s idea for WhatsApp is not to be a one-size fits all. It is to be versatile enough for different use cases

WhatsApp builds from a foundation of strength. It has a massive user base, like no other. It has usage statistics and insights that tell exactly how people use video calling and group calling features. It has something for pretty much everyone now.

Ads in WhatsApp are coming, no two ways about it

While WhatsApp is like no other instant messaging app in the world, it does have one glaring shortcoming. From the business side of things. It doesn’t make money for Facebook. It has to be monetized at some stage. That is how a business makes financial sense. There has been talk for a while now that ads would eventually make their way into the WhatsApp app. It hasn’t happened so far, but don’t bet on the status quo for too long. Ads in WhatsApp Status could be the start. How Facebook manages opening doors to its platform for advertisers and yet be able to secure user data privacy is a matter for another debate.

That is where Facebook’s plan to unify WhatsApp, Messenger and Facebook with one encryption platform could help.

WhatsApp Pay could provide the big boost

Last but not least is the final piece of the jigsaw for WhatsApp. Digital payments. This will be particularly good in developing economies such as India, where mobile based payments are a big deal. The much-awaited UPI mobile payments service got the approvals from the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) in February, for what will be a phased roll-out. The first phase will mean 10 million users. This will also fit in perfectly with the Government of India’s push for digital payments, as part of the Digital India mission.

Facebook surely has Paytm, the incredibly popular mobile payments and shopping platform, in its sights. As of August, Paytm had planned an injection of Rs 750 crore to clock 250 million monthly users by the end of the financial year. That is the user demographic that Facebook will be looking at. It won’t be a challenge to find these users though, because chances are high that almost every single one of these 250 million Paytm users will also have WhatsApp installed on their phones.

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