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  • 🌍 Meta Expands Threads to Europe: Daring Move Amid Tough Regulations

🌍 Meta Expands Threads to Europe: Daring Move Amid Tough Regulations

+ Google's RCS Milestone | Netflix's GTA Trilogy | Hugging Face's Rise

Hello, tech enthusiasts!

This is what is buzzing in the world of tech

  • Google's Milestone - Celebrating 1 billion RCS users.

  • Netflix & GTA - Gaming classic joins streaming giant.

  • Meta's European Move - Threads expands despite regulations.

  • Altman's OpenAI Return - Drama surrounds CEO comeback.

  • Hugging Face's Ascent - Gaining ground amid OpenAI's challenges.

  • Android 14 Features - Enhanced security and smart home integrations.

  • WhatsApp on iPad - Anticipated launch stirs excitement.

  • Apple's Security Focus - Patching 20 critical iOS vulnerabilities.

  • and more…

Read on for a deeper dive into each story.

Tech Companies

Peter Diamandis' XPrize has launched a $101 million competition to incentivize research into reversing aging. The seven-year contest, known as XPrize Healthspan, seeks to develop a treatment that restores muscle, cognitive, and immune function by at least 10 years in healthy individuals aged 65 to 80. A $10 million bonus for restoring muscle function lost to Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy will be awarded. The contest aims to leverage AI, epigenetics, gene therapy, and cellular medicine to improve increases in global life expectancy.

Google's mobile messaging protocol, RCS, now has over 1 billion monthly active users in Google Messages. The company has introduced new features within the messaging service, including Photomoji, which allows users to create emoji-like responses using cut-out photos, and an option to attach an emoji to voice messages. Additionally, group chats or emoji reactions may now include animations, and users can customize chat bubble colours. Google is working with GSMA to improve RCS, including end-to-end encryption and cross-platform functionality.

Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition is set to arrive on Netflix's subscription service on December 14, available through the App Store, Google Play, and the Netflix mobile app. The Definitive Edition includes Grand Theft Auto 3, Vice City, and San Andreas, all optimized for mobile. Netflix Games is further expanding with more iconic games and high-profile acquisitions in the pipeline.

Meta is planning to introduce its microblogging service, Threads, in Europe, marking the largest expansion since the platform's July launch. To comply with stringent European regulations, Meta will allow users to consume content without having to create a profile. Meta's move to expand markets despite scrutiny shows its commitment to the platform that rivals Elon Musk's X. This could potentially add 40 million monthly users in 2024.

AI Corner

Sam Altman has returned as CEO at OpenAI after being fired and rehired in a week. The reasons for his dismissal remain unclear, but an independent investigation is set to launch led by the new board headed by Bret Taylor. Microsoft, OpenAI's largest investor, is slated to take a nonvoting board seat. Despite the upheaval, no employees were lost, customers remained, and research progress continued. Looking ahead, OpenAI's governance and structure may see changes.

Artificial intelligence startup, Hugging Face, reported heightened interest from potential clients in the aftermath of instability at rival firm, OpenAI. The CEO attributes this to companies exploring various AI providers as they acknowledge the risks of depending on one. Cohere, another tech firm, has reportedly seen an upsurge in customer inquiries against this backdrop.

Apps & Gadgets

The first Android 14 feature bundle introduces new Kitchen Emoji combinations for Gboard and enhanced security allowing users to set a custom PIN for their FIDO2 security keys. Wear OS gets updates for easier control of smart home devices and soon will support Assistant Routines for more complex actions with voice commands. Other innovations include Google TV adding 10 new free channels, Google Messages launching several new features, and accessibility improvements like on-the-fly image descriptions read out loud for screen reader users. The changes roll out over the next few weeks.

WhatsApp is preparing to launch an iPad version of its app, which is anticipated to include features such as group chat options, archived messages, and a status tool. Similar to the recent Mac update, it is expected to support sending and receiving messages without contiguous cell phone availability. Channels or Communities aren’t available as of now but are predicted for upcoming updates. WhatsApp continues to lag behind competitor Telegram, despite recent feature enhancements.

Apple has launched security updates to rectify two zero-day vulnerabilities under attack, impacting iPhone, iPad, and Mac devices. These bugs were identified in the WebKit browser engine, permitting attackers to gain sensitive information and execute arbitrary code through device flaws. Devices affected are equipment operating on iOS 17.1.2, iPadOS 17.1.2, macOS Sonoma 14.1.2, and Safari 17.1.2. Since the year's start, the company has patched 20 zero-days.

Google Drive has introduced a document scanning feature for iOS, previously only available on Android. The scanner allows for convenient capture and library addition of photographed documents. An upgrade in the Drive's Android app scanning feature and a title suggestion feature for iPhone users in the U.S. have also been announced. Major cloud storage providers now provide native scanning features captured with a phone's camera.

Gmail is experiencing issues, causing a delay in emails. The problems were first reported on Google's Workspace Status Dashboard at 12:31PM ET and remain unresolved. The problems have affected users, including tech workers. Testing reveals inconsistencies - while some work emails are sent without delay, personal emails face delays and vice versa. Over 700 Gmail users have reported problems, creating difficulties during US working hours.

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