Google Meet Adds AR Masks, Duo-Style Filters, Effects

Video calling application Google Meet recently added new video filters, effects, and augmented reality masks for personal calls on iOS and Android. 

Google tweeted on July 7 that the new features are available via the sparkle icon at the bottom right of the video feed during a call, which brings up a carousel of different effects that include colour filters and animated AR face effects.

Most of the options are only available for personal Gmail accounts, while Workspace users have to keep things more professional with a limited selection of blurring and virtual background options.

The new video effects are the latest example of Meet”s shift from targeting enterprise and business users, to targeting consumers more generally after Google released Meet free to personal Google accounts last year.

The filters are very similar to what is already been available for Google”s consumer-focused Duo video chat service, and 9to5Google has previously reported that the company plans to eventually replace Duo with Meet.

The tech giant also made some small changes to its Google Meet app in June.

After seeing a gradual interest in live streams, the company installed an option to add captions to your live streams. New features also include options to raise hands and shift to the main grid. 

Samsung Galaxy F02s, Samsung Galaxy M02s, and Samsung Galaxy A12 Prices in India Increased

Samsung Galaxy F02s, Samsung Galaxy M02s, and Samsung Galaxy A12 have received a price hike in India. All three Samsung smartphones are now Rs. 500 more expensive across their variants. Samsung has not issued an official statement announcing the increase in prices, but the new prices of all three handsets are now reflecting on the Samsung India website. It is being speculated that the price hike is due to the global chip shortage that has affected almost all big manufacturers. Samsung launched Galaxy F02s, Galaxy M02s, and Galaxy A12 as budget-friendly devices in 2021.

Samsung Galaxy F02s price in India

Samsung Galaxy F02s has received a price hike of Rs. 500. The smartphone is offered in two storage variants — 3GB RAM + 32GB storage and 4GB RAM + 64GB storage. The price, at launch for the former was Rs. 8,999 that now costs Rs. 9,499. The latter, priced at Rs. 9,999 at launch, is now be available for Rs. 10,499.

Samsung Galaxy M02s price in India

Samsung Galaxy M02s when launched was priced at Rs. 8,999 for the 3GB RAM + 32GB storage variant. This variant is now available, after a hike of Rs. 500, for Rs. 9,499. The 4GB RAM + 64GB storage variant, which was priced at Rs. 9,999 at launch, is now available for Rs. 10,499.

Samsung Galaxy A12 price hike in India

Samsung Galaxy A12₹ 12,999 is available in two storage variants — 4GB + 64GB and 4GB + 128GB. The 4GB + 64GB storage variant was priced at Rs. 12,999 and the 4GB + 128GB storage variant was priced at Rs. 13,999 at launched. Both variants, after the hike of Rs. 500, are now available for Rs. 13,499 and Rs. 14,499, respectively.

In other Samsung-related news, the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE has allegedly leaked in a 360-degree render ahead of its launch. It shows that the upcoming Fan Edition (FE) smartphone is very similar in design to the vanilla Galaxy S21, as is the case with Samsung’s FE smartphones. It is expected to launch in August.

Mi Mix 4 Tipped to Feature Completely Invisible Under-Display Camera, Secondary Display at the Back

Mi Mix 4 is tipped to debut with an under-display camera that will be hidden under the screen and completely invisible to the naked eye. Xiaomi has been working on its in-house under-display camera technology for some time. However, it is yet to be seen on a commercial device. In addition to the advanced under-display camera, the Mi Mix 4 is suggested to have a secondary display at the back, next to its rear cameras — just like the Mi 11 Ultra.

A tipster who goes by pseudonym Ice Universe on Twitter has reported Xiaomi’s plans to deploy the completely invisible under-display camera on the Mi Mix 4. The tipster said that the traces of the under-display selfie camera on the new Mi phone would not be visible to the naked eye.

Xiaomi is one of the first companies developing its under-display camera technology. It was spotted filing patents even for dual under-display selfie cameras in 2019. Last year, the company also introduced its third-generation under-display camera tech that was touted to be ready for mass production this year.Mi Mix 4 launch

The Mi Mix 4 launch has been confirmed since February, though Xiaomi has not yet announced an exact launch date. The rumour mill, however, suggests that the new model in the Mi Mix series may debut along with MIUI 13 in August. Xiaomi brought the Mi Mix 3 in October 2018 that received an upgrade in the form of the Mi Mix 3 5G in February 2019.

Mi Mix 4 specifications (expected)

On the specifications front, the Mi Mix 4 is rumoured to have a full-HD+ display and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 SoC. The smartphone is also speculated to have a 4,500mAh battery with fast 120W wired charging and 80W wireless charging. Furthermore, it is said to come with Ultra-wideband (UWB) support.

WhatsApp May Start Public Beta Testing of Multi-Device Support Soon

WhatsApp may begin early testing of the much-anticipated multi-device feature soon. This feature, as the name suggests, will enable users to login into multiple devices with the same WhatsApp account, without having to log out of any of them. This feature is expected to allow users to link up to four devices with the same account at once. Multi-device support on WhatsApp has leaked in the past on many occasions and it is now tipped to be nearing launch. This comes after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and WhatsApp chief Will Cathcart confirmed that multi-device testing for public beta users will roll out in a month or two.

WABetaInfo, a popular WhatsApp features tracker, tweeted on July 6 that multi-device support will roll out soon for testing purposes. The tracker will announce the rollout with details on how to be a part of the public beta programme soon. The public beta programme is expected to offer access to limited users only and therefore users must follow WABetaInfo and keep the notifications on to get real-time updates. In any case, the tracker confirms that multi-device beta will enable the use of WhatsApp Web without an Internet connection on the phone.

The features tracker noted that WhatsApp users need to be on the latest beta version of WhatsApp for Android and WhatsApp for iOS to be able to participate in the multi-device beta programme. The first version of public beta is expected to roll out soon, and then the company is likely to test it for a while before rolling it out commercially for all users.

India Top Country in World in Use of Mobile Apps, Says IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad

India has become the top country in the world in the use of mobile applications and the government is encouraging and promoting Indian innovators to create apps, IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad informed the Rajya Sabha on Thursday. Replying to supplementaries during the Question Hour, he said the Digital India programme coupled with encouragement being given by the government to promote Indian innovators to create apps has of late become a big movement.
“You will be happy to know that India has become the top country in the use of mobile applications. But we have to expand further and I”m quite sure in the coming years, Indian mobile app platforms on hosting of mobile apps will surely give a tough competition to the international platforms,” he said.
The minister said that the government has started allowing Mobile Seva AppStore to also host apps free of cost. “In our mobile government app, all have come on board and its total download is 8.65 crore. Therefore, it is an improvement in the right direction… We are encouraging Make in India apps for Indians. We started a very good Aatmanirbhar Bharat mobile app innovation challenge in which 6,940 app developers came and we selected 25 in nine categories and also rewarded them,” he said.

Indian App Makers Want a National Alternative to Google Play
Replying to a question on whether the government is developing its own app hosting platform, Prasad said there is already a Mobile Seva app store and there are state government messaging centres and a lot of dedicated messages were sent during the COVID-19 period.
“But we want more innovations to come from outside the government. And that’s what our whole policies are about,” he said. The minister said cyber-security is important and in the grand challenge some people whose products were questionable were not allowed. “We have also stopped some apps which were having vulnerability as far as cyber security was concerned. Cyber security is very much in the focus of our operations,” he said.

In his written reply, Prasad said as per India App Market Statistics report 2021, around 5 percent apps on Android are from Indian apps developers.
“The government also noted that there has to be a proper Indian app store for hosting apps free of cost in the initial stages. Accordingly, the Mobile Seva App Store was started which, apart from hosting government apps, is also encouraging private apps to come on board. This is also in line with achieving the objectives of the Honorable Prime Minister’s Aatmanirbhar Bharat mission. Mobile Seva AppStore, which is India’s first indigenously developed app store, is hosting more than 965 live apps from various domains and categories of public services. Uploading and downloading of apps is free of cost and hassle free,” the minister said.
He also said that while the government encourages private players to host apps, it is equally keen to develop and encourage its own mobile app store.

YouTube Studio Gets New ‘Checks’ Feature, Flags Copyright Issues Before Publishing

YouTube is incorporating a new feature in YouTube Studio for desktop that checks for copyright infringement whenever a user uploads a video on the video sharing platform. To make money off one’s YouTube videos, one must strictly follow copyright laws. The video sharing platform, along with copyright owners, actively checks for any violation of the laws that can lead the video being pulled down or even the channel being banned. YouTube will now check for copyright infringements before the video is being uploaded to avoid any such instance once the content is uploaded. YouTube Studio has also been spotted with another new feature – a real-time subscriber count.
A recent tweet by @MattNavarra, shows the new feature available to creators on YouTube Studio. The new Checks feature, as the name suggests, checks for any copyrighted content that is uploaded on Google’s video sharing platform before the video is being uploaded. It employs the use of YouTube’s Content ID system that scans the content against a copyright database and reports if anything is found. This system will check for copyright infringement before the video is uploaded rather than after, giving the chance to creators to make changes to the content before it is published.
YouTube has a new video upload screen featuring additional copyright checks before publishing (on desktop)

— ???? Matt Navarra (@MattNavarra) March 16, 2021
YouTube confirmed the rollout of the Checks feature on a support page, as spotted by XDA Developers, noting, “You can use the Checks page to screen your video for copyright claims and, if you’re in the YouTube Partner Programme, ad suitability. The copyright check allows you to dispute a claim or edit and fix your video if issues are found. The ad suitability check allows you to request human review if you think that our systems have made a mistake. These checks help you to learn about potential restrictions so that you can address them before publishing.”
While this system may probably not fix the whole issue of copyright infringement, but it is definitely a step forward in reducing the number of issues. However, even if the system green lights the content for copyright infringement, copyright owners can still flag the content after it is uploaded, thus probably not affecting copyright trolling in the future. But it will help creators remove any copyrighted data from their content to reduce the risk of getting banned or being demonetised.

YouTube Set to Deduct US Taxes From Creators Outside US
While trying to test out the feature, Gadgets 360 wasn’t able to view it, but YouTube does note the feature rollout will be slow. “We’re slowly rolling out this feature. If you have access, you’ll see Checks as an option in the upload flow.” When it is made available to everyone, it should help reduce the risk for creators in getting their accounts banned by mistake.

YouTube Studio now shows a real-time subscriber count on the right side of the page
In the meanwhile, 9to5Google reports a new feature spotted in YouTube Studio’s desktop app, one that shows creators a real-time subscriber count on the Creator Dashboard, in the Analytics tab. We were able to spot the feature ourselves, and its introduction will remove the reliance creators have had so far on third-party apps to track similar numbers.
In other YouTube-related news, the video sharing platform announced that it will start deducting taxes from creators outside the US. This is only meant for revenue generated from their viewers based in the US. However, the new regulations regarding these taxes don’t apply to creators within the US.

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How to Find Your Lost Android Smartphone and Erase Data Remotely

There have been many instances when we lose our phones, sometimes just in our homes when we can’t remember where we last kept them, and unfortunately sometimes they get stolen or misplaced while we are out. In the former instance, it is easy to find our Android phones using the Find My Phone feature on our paired smartwatch, or just asking someone else to ring it. But if it is lost outside of our homes, then we need a bit of extra help. Fortunately, there is an easy way to remotely find and locate your Android phone, lock it, and even erase all data if the need be.
Google offers a simple process in which users can find, lock, and erase all data on your Android phone – in the event that you lose it. The Find My Device feature allows Android users to locate the handset, lock it by remotely setting a pin, passcode, or pattern to keep away unwanted eyes. Users can even display a message on their lock screen to ask the finder to call once they have your phone. The feature also allows users to erase all data on their Android phone so that the finder doesn’t have access to it, and also trigger device protection rendering the phone unusable to anyone but the owner.

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How to find your lost Android smartphone and erase data remotely
In order to find, lock, or erase an Android phone, there are some prerequisites required. The phone must be turned on, the user must be signed in with a Google account, the user must be connected to mobile data or Wi-Fi, they must be visible on Google Play, must have their location setting turned on, and additionally have their Find My Device setting turned on as well. If all of these pre-requisites are met with, the user must follow these steps:
Head to and sign in to your Google account, similar to the one used on the phone. Once signed in, you will see your phone on the top left corner. If you have multiple phones with the same account, choose the one that got lost. It will show you details regarding battery life and when it was last online.
Google will simultaneously show an approximate location of the handset on the map. If your phone can’t be found, you’ll see its last known location, if available.
If the phone is located close by and you know the place, you can go to the location and then select the Play Sound option to make your phone ring for five minutes non-stop, even if set on silent.
If the phone is located in an unknown area, readers are cautioned not to try to recover their Android phone themselves, and instead contact law enforcement – who may request the serial number or IMEI code. Here’s how to find the serial number of your phone.
If you wish to lock the screen, select the Secure Device option. This will let you lock your phone and sign out of your Google account. You can even display a message and phone number on the lock screen for the finder to get in touch if they discover the phone before you. If you don’t have a lock, you can even set one through this option.
You can also choose to select the third option – Erase Device. It permanently deletes all data on your phone and after you erase, Find My Device won’t work on the phone. If your phone is offline, erasing will begin when it next comes online. This will prevent miscreants from accessing any data on your phone.

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Chrome for Android v89 Gets Faster Startup, Page Load Speeds

Google Chrome 89 for Android brings performance improvements that were detailed by the search giant on Thursday, despite the version’s rollout starting earlier this week. Google claims that the latest version of Chrome for Android will use fewer resources, launch quicker, and boot up 13 percent faster than before. Google has employed the use of ‘Freeze-Dried Tabs’, which it claim help you load tabs from an earlier session quicker. The company has also incorporated PartitionAlloc on Android as well as 64-bit Windows, optimised for low allocation latency, space efficiency, and security. Improvements for the macOS build were also detailed.
In a post on the Chromium blog, Google claims that thanks to improvements in packaging and runtime of the Chrome for Android app, the latest build now has 7.5 perfect faster startup time, up to 2 percent faster page load time, 5 percent improved memory usage, and fewer crashes due to resource exhaustion.
Google says Chrome 89 for Android’s new Freeze-Dried Tabs help improve startup times by 13 percent, storing lightweight versions of older tabs that are shown at startup while the actual page loads up in the background.
For latest smartphones running Android 10 with 8GB of RAM or more, Google has “rebuilt Chrome as a 64-bit binary, giving you a more stable Chrome that is up to 8.5 percent faster to load pages and 28 percent smoother when it comes to scrolling and input latency,” said Mark Chang, Chrome Product Manager at Google.
Using PartitionAlloc, Chrome 89 for Android and 64-bit Windows are seeing significant memory savings. Google details that Chrome 89 for Windows has memory savings improvements of up to 22 percent for the browser process, 8 percent for the renderer, rendering, and 3 percent GPU improvements. The company is touting improved memory use in the new version of Chrome across platforms as well, “by discarding memory that the foreground tab is not actively using, such as big images you’ve scrolled off screen.” On macOS, the latest build has a smaller memory footprint for background tabs, while the company is also touting an improved Apple Energy Impact score.

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