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Don’t be jealous of iMessage. Google’s fancy texting update is rolling out – CNET

Apple’s iMessage is the glue that keeps users stuck to the iPhone.  Jason Cipriani/CNET If you’re an Android user and have grown tired of boring text messaging, help is on the way. Google recently announced a slow rollout of RCS Messaging for users in the US, joining users in the UK, France and Mexico who gained access earlier…

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Don’t be jealous of iMessage. Google’s fancy texting update is rolling out     – CNET

Apple’s iMessage is the glue that keeps users stuck to the iPhone. 
Jason Cipriani/CNET
If you’re an Android user and have grown tired of boring text messaging, help is on the way. Google recently announced a slow rollout of RCS Messaging for users in the US, joining users in the UK, France and Mexico who gained access earlier this year. Google expects to make the feature available to all users in the US by the end of the year. The new messaging capabilities are built into Google’s own Messages app, much in the same way that iMessage features are built into Apple’s Messages app, so if you don’t use Google’s Messages app, you’ll want to start. 
Let’s face it, Android phones do many things well, but when it comes to texting, the iPhone ($699 at Amazon) has Google beat. Apple’s iMessage supports group messaging and read receipts and has that addictive blue bubble that automatically texts other iPhone users over Wi-Fi, not just your cellular data connection. 
The fact that Android phone-makers use different messaging apps by default keeps the act of texting from becoming as distinctive as iMessage is to iPhone users. Google wants to change all that, and is working to make text messaging more powerful, more consistent across Android phones and more fun to use. And it’s doing it with a messaging protocol called RCS.
Here’s a look at what RCS is and does, what it’ll give you and when you’ll able to start using it on your Android phone.

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What does RCS mean?
RCS is a type of messaging protocol that stands for Rich Communication Services. When it’s widely available, it will replace SMS, the text messaging standard that’s been used since the 1990s. 
SMS messaging has evolved some over the years, expanding past the original 160-character limit and adding MMS (multimedia messaging) for sending pictures and videos. However, SMS is starting to show its age and limitations. RCS would allow texting on Android to be as flexible and powerful as text message platforms like WhatsApp and WeChat. 
Google doesn’t refer to RCS Messaging by its name in the Messages app. Instead, Google refers to it as Chat. Just know that the two terms are interchangeable. 
Group messaging gets a whole lot better with RCS messaging. 
Google
How will RCS make texting better?
The biggest change is that RCS messaging will let you share high-resolution photos, videos, GIFs and texts over Wi-Fi as well as over your phone’s data connection. You’ll be able to see if contacts are typing to you and when they’ve received and read a message. Group conversations will also see improvements. 
It’s basically iMessage, but for Android. 
Google has an entire website dedicated to explaining the benefits of RCS messaging if you want to get into the finer details. 
What other features will RCS have? 
Once RCS messaging becomes more prominent, you’ll be able to chat with businesses to place and track orders, make payments and get help with a product. Business chat is something that Apple’s iMessage platform currently has, but bringing a similar feature to Android users is a welcome addition. 
Are RCS conversations end-to-end encrypted, like iMessage?
No. RCS messages are routed through Google’s servers on the way to the recipient and are deleted as soon as they’re sent, but the protocol currently lacks end-to-end encryption. If you want a more secure messaging protocol, you’ll have to use another messaging service like Apple’s iMessage, WhatsApp or Signal. 
How RCS texting will work on Android phones
In order to use RCS messaging, you’ll need to use Google’s Messages app as your default text messaging app. If you live in one of the countries where Google has rolled out the service (more on this in a minute), then at some point you’ll receive a prompt in the app asking if you want to enable chat features. Follow the prompts in the app to turn on chat, including entering your phone number if prompted. 
After chat is enabled, you can continue to use the Messages app as you normally do, but when you’re talking to someone who also has the feature turned on, you’ll get the added features of RCS messaging. You can tell when someone you’re messaging has chat turned on because the text box will say “Chat message” instead of “Text message.”
Some phone-makers, like Samsung, have integrated Google’s RCS platform into their own default Messages apps, and over time companies like LG could do the same. But right now, your best bet is to use Google’s Messages app. Doing so will give you the added benefit of being able to send text messages from your computer.
For more details, read our article about Chat features in the Messages app. 
If your carrier supports RCS, Google’s Messages app will have settings for the chat feature.  
Jason Cipriani/CNET
Does it matter which carrier I use?
Not anymore. Prior to Google’s recent announcement, the availability of RCS messaging depended on who made your Android phone and who your wireless carrier was. Now, with Google bypassing carriers altogether, the only thing you need to worry about is making sure that you’re using Google’s Messages app. 

It was a bumpy road getting to this point, however. We’d seen a number of announcements and partnerships from Google, Android device makers and even carriers that RCS is finally going to roll out. But the truth is, only a small number of phones on an even smaller list of carriers ended up supporting it.
Verizon added RCS support for the Pixel 3 ($459 at Amazon) and Pixel 3 XL ($1,315 at Walmart) and intended to support the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus, but that’s where the fun stopped. In 2018, Google and Samsung announced a partnership to bring RCS messaging to more Android devices, but at the time, without carrier support, it didn’t mean much. 
Adding to the confusion were companies like Verizon, whose Message+ text messaging app supports RCS, but doesn’t use Google’s Universal Profile. So, if you’re a Verizon customer who uses Message+, you can use the RCS spinoff as long as you’re chatting with another Verizon user who is also using Message+. 
Some carriers supported Google’s RCS Universal Profile and have made RCS available to users, such as Sprint and Google Fi. 
Outside of the US, Google enabled RCS for the UK and France in July of 2019. 
It’s easy to see why Google has decided to forgo carrier support and release RCS messaging on its own. 
When will I get RCS messaging on my Android phone?
Good question. Google said only 1% of users in the US would receive access to RCS right away, but the company expects the majority of US users to have access “by the end of the year.” 
We’re following the story and will update this FAQ as development arise. Until then, the only thing we can do is wait.
Samsung’s Messages app supports RCS as well. 
Angela Lang/CNET
What about RCS on my iPhone?
Apple has kept quiet about whether it plans to support RCS on the iPhone. But it’s much more likely that Apple will keep using its own iMessage platform to make iPhone users feel like they’re part of a rarified community.
How to use RCS right now, with a catch
Don’t want to wait? Reddit users figured out a way to enable RCS on any Android phone, regardless of whether or not the rollout has reached your device. The process is somewhat technical, but the instructions are straightforward. Keep in mind that you’re accepting some risk by trying it out, and the program could stop working at any moment. That’s the nature of the beast.
If you’re tired of standard text messaging, check out these messaging apps that offer their own iMessage-like features. Then again, you could always jump ship to iOS — switching to an iPhone isn’t as hard as you’d think. 
Hopefully, we’ll see mass adoption of RCS messaging sooner than later. 
Andrew Hoyle/CNET
Originally published earlier this month. Updated with new information. 

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Google Home: Two settings to achieve max smart home privacy – CNET

Keep your personal information private by setting up Voice Match on Google Home. Josh Miller/CNET Some things Google Home knows about you are obvious — what music you like, how bad you are at math — because those are the things you rely on it for the most. But Google Home ($130 at QVC) knows a…

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Google Home: Two settings to achieve max smart home privacy     – CNET

Keep your personal information private by setting up Voice Match on Google Home.
Josh Miller/CNET
Some things Google Home knows about you are obvious — what music you like, how bad you are at math — because those are the things you rely on it for the most. But Google Home ($130 at QVC) knows a lot more about you than you might realize. That’s because your smart home speaker is tied to your Google account, so it’s also connected to a deep well of personal information, like your email address and debit or credit card number. That means privacy and security settings are just as important with Google Home as with your Gmail account.A lot of the same steps you should take to protect your Gmail account, like using a strong password and checking your recovery contact information, will help secure Google Home as well. But you may not know how to get to those settings using the Google Home app, which may be the only Google app you have on your phone or tablet.

Our newsletter sends you the best tips for your Google Home smart speaker.

Here’s how to find and set the two most important privacy and security settings using the Google Home app.Facial recognition technology has come under fire from privacy advocates, but it can also be used to help secure your data.
James Martin/CNET
Secure your privacy with voice or face recognitionWhen you set up a Voice Match profile on Google Home, your smart speakers will listen for your voice and use it like a fingerprint to identify you. That way, only you can check your calendar, add to your shopping list or watch your YouTube playlist on Nest Hub smart displays. Other people can still use Google Home and can even set up voice profiles with their own Google accounts, but only you will have access to your information.That said, turning on Voice Match means possibly giving Google data about what you sound like. Google says that information is stored on your devices themselves and not in the cloud, although it may be “temporarily sent to Google to better identify” you. If you’re not OK with that, this feature is not for you.Here’s how to set up Voice Match with Google Home (the process is the same for Face Match, only it uses your device’s camera and your face rather than its microphone and your voice):1. Open the Google Home app, then tap your personal icon in the upper-right corner, then tap Assistant settings.2. On the horizontal menu bar, tap Assistant and then scroll down and tap Voice Match.3. Tap Add a device. The Google Home app will scan your current Wi-Fi network for compatible devices. Once it does, tap Continue. 4. Under Activate Voice Match on this device tap the box labeled I agree, then scroll to the bottom of the next screen and tap the next box with I agree.5. Follow prompts to teach Google to recognize your voice.Two-factor authentication isn’t foolproof, but it does add a layer of security that makes breaking into your online accounts more difficult.
James Martin/CNET
How to set up two-factor authentication on Google HomeTwo-factor authentication, aka two-step verification, isn’t a completely foolproof means of securing an online account, but it’s miles better than nothing at all. Having two-factor set up on Google Home means if anyone were to try to, say, set up a Google Home smart speaker using your stolen login info, they’d likely be thwarted unless they had also lifted your smartphone. The point is that it won’t hinder nor degrade your experience using Google Home, so there’s really no reason not to set it up.The first thing you need to do is different depending on your phone:Android: make sure you’re signed into the account you use for Google Home by opening Settings, then tap Accounts and then Add Account. Choose Google and sign into your account.iPhone: Download the Gmail app from the App Store, if you don’t already have it, and sign in with the account you use for Google Home, then Allow notifications when promptedTwo-factor authentication won’t impact how you use your Google Home smart speaker once you’ve set it up.
Chris Monroe/CNET
The rest is the same for every phone:1. Open the Google Home app, then tap your personal icon in the upper-right corner, then tap Assistant settings.2. Beneath the You menu, tap Your data in the Assistant then scroll to the very bottom.3. Under More option to manage your privacy, tap the box labeled Google Account.4. Scroll the horizontal menu bar at the top (the one that has Home, Personal info, Data & personalization) over and tap Security.5. Under Signing in to Google, tap Use your phone to sign in. On the next screen tap Set It Up then enter your password and tap Sign in.6. The screen should now say What you need with Your phone (with your phone listed) and Touch ID checked. Tap Next.7. Beneath Try it you should see the email address for your Google Account. Tap the button labeled Next beneath it.8. You should immediately get a notification on your phone asking Trying to sign in? (if you’re on an iPhone this notification will come from the Gmail app). Tap the notification and select Yes.9. If your phone asks if you want to use either facial recognition or fingerprint identification (whichever your phone has) select Yes.10. Go back to the Google Home app, which should now say It worked! Turn it on? and tap the box that says Turn On.Check out our full guide to shoring up your Google Home privacy and security settings here, or our even broader guide to securing your overall Google account here. For email-specific privacy settings, here are four Gmail settings to change right away.

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Samsung Brings Its Flagship Camera Innovation to Galaxy A Series – GalaxyA71 & A51, to Make Your Social Profile Awesome

Our social media profiles are reflection of our true personalities. Needless to say, we make that extra effort to make them look and feel special. What helps us in the process is a powerful smartphone that can not only capture stunning photos and videos, but also help us quickly process and share them across to…

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Samsung Brings Its Flagship Camera Innovation to Galaxy A Series – GalaxyA71 & A51, to Make Your Social Profile Awesome

Our social media profiles are reflection of our true personalities. Needless to say, we make that extra effort to make them look and feel special. What helps us in the process is a powerful smartphone that can not only capture stunning photos and videos, but also help us quickly process and share them across to our friends and family members.Samsung’s phones are known for their excellent smartphone cameras. Over the years, the company has been shipping highly innovative and impressive cameras on its flagship smartphones. Samsung is now bringing its innovative flagship camera experiences to its Galaxy A series phones, the Samsung Galaxy A51 and Galaxy A71. These new flagship-level camera features can help you spice up your social media profiles by capturing and sharing stunning photographs and videos.Let’s take a look at some of the most impressive new camera features in Samsung’s Galaxy A71 and Galaxy A51 smartphones at can help you take your social media posts to the next level:Single Take Makes Your Special Moments Extra OrdinaryEverything you do is worth sharing on your social media profiles and messaging platforms. Your social profiles help you stay connected to your loved ones by helping you share your most memorable moments. Single Take is a new feature on Galaxy A71 and Galaxy A51 smartphones, which was earlier available only on Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S20 series.Single Take lets you indulge in your special moments, while still capturing the best parts of it. Imagine being at a birthday celebration of a loved one, and wondering about which camera mode to select. Single Take can help you enjoy the moment while still being able to capture all the important details in a maximum of 7 photos & 3 videos based on the moment and lighting condition.All you have to do is pick Single Take mode, and capture a moment for a few seconds. Your Galaxy A71 or Galaxy A51 phone will be able to deliver stunning photos and videos that ensure you don’t miss out on anything important, and still end up with a bunch of great photos and videos to share on your social media profile.Night Hyper lapse to Impress Everyone on Your FeedOut at a party? The new Night Hyperlapse mode can help you capture stunning night-time videos to impress your social media friends and family. The mode helps you capture long-exposure style videos and light trails that are nothing but pieces of pure bliss when you share them on your social media profiles. Your friends and family will nudge you, asking you how you captured these. Night Hyperlapse mode is now available on Samsung Galaxy A71 and Galaxy A51 phones.Custom Filters to Add that Special Touch to Your PhotosWhile social media is fun, it’s also filled with a lot of noise. You’re not going to make it if you don’t look different and extra special. Well, Samsung has you covered here as well. The new Custom Filters feature in the Samsung Galaxy A71 and Galaxy A51 can help you create stunning and highly personalized photos using custom-set filters.All you have to do is create a custom filter using any of your existing photos. Custom Filters uses on-device AI to capture the rich colours and vibes of your existing photos. You can then use these filters and apply them on new photos you capture on the Galaxy A71 or Galaxy A51 to create personalized photos. Once you share these on your social media profiles, they’ll look stunning and extraordinary, unlike anyone else’s photos.Smart Selfie Angle to Make You and Your Friends Looks GreatSelfies are quite an essential part of social media. While everyone is shooting and sharing selfies, not all of them are going to look as good as yours, thanks to this highly innovative camera feature on the Galaxy A71 and Galaxy A51.The new Smart Selfie Angle mode on the Samsung Galaxy A71 and Galaxy A51 help you capture great selfies with your friends. Every time you use the front camera to capture a selfie with your friends, the camera can automatically switch to a wide-angle mode. The mode is built to capture great details when more than one person is involved in a selfie. This means your selfies with your friends are going to look fabulous when you share them on your social media profiles.Quick Video to capture videos easily when you are in the moveNever miss an important moment in your life by fiddling with smartphone camera modes. The new Quick Video mode in the Samsung Galaxy A51, Galaxy A71 lets you capture a video by long-pressing the camera button to kick off the recording. You won’t have to manually switch to the video recording mode in the camera while you shooting for your social media profiles.It makes capturing videos for your social media post simpler and easier, especially while you’re on the move. Quick Video is essential to capture those precious few seconds of moments which you’ll cherish for a long time in the future.Switch Camera While Recording that can help you save a lot of timeYou can now seamlessly switch between front and rear cameras while recording a video on your Samsung Galaxy A51. The feature is great for social media influencers and other users who want to create pro-level videos using both front and rear camera. You don’t have to stop recording to switch cameras anymore, making it more convenient and efficient to capture great videos.AI Gallery Zoom Adds That Magical Touch to Existing PhotosAI Gallery Zoom is a great feature that make the images look sharper & clearer. For example, if you get one of your photos from a friend, on a messaging platform, it could turn out to be slightly blurred due to compression systems.This feature ensures those unclear photos look more clear in your Gallery. It can make images look sharper and visually appealing, so you can easily share them on your social media profiles. The feature uses an on-device AI-powered mechanism so your personal data doesn’t leave your phone ever. The feature is also useful if you’re migrating from an older, less powerful smartphone, and are importing photos from it.Samsung Galaxy A71 and Galaxy A51 Are Perfect for Social InfluencersYou can capture a wider world with the Ultra Wide Night Mode camera’s wider field of vision. The Quad Cam’s built-in 5MP Macro Cam shoots with clarity and quality helping you bring out the ultra-fine details of your close-up shots. The Slow- mo Selfie feature on the Galaxy A71 lets you capture all kinds of stunning slow motion selfies with its 32MP front camera. So, what’s stopping you from becoming the next big thing on social media? It could be your existing smartphone. Switch to the new and powerful Samsung Galaxy A71 or Galaxy A51 and feel the difference today. The smartphones now come with Samsung’s highly innovative and powerful flagship-grade camera features that can make your social media posts pop, turning you into a celebrity amongst your fans and followers.Buy the Galaxy A51 and Galaxy A71 today! Affiliate links may be automatically generated – see our ethics statement for details.

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Realme Narzo 20 Pro, Narzo 20A, Narzo 20 Launching on September 21: What Do We Know So Far

Realme Narzo 20 Pro, Realme Narzo 20A, and the Realme Narzo 20 will be launching in India on September 21 and are expected to carry Android 11-based Realme UI 2.0. That’s pretty all that has been officially revealed about the series by the company; however, there have been several leaks and rumours surrounding the phones.…

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Realme Narzo 20 Pro, Narzo 20A, Narzo 20 Launching on September 21: What Do We Know So Far

Realme Narzo 20 Pro, Realme Narzo 20A, and the Realme Narzo 20 will be launching in India on September 21 and are expected to carry Android 11-based Realme UI 2.0. That’s pretty all that has been officially revealed about the series by the company; however, there have been several leaks and rumours surrounding the phones. The Realme Narzo 20 series was initially teased by the company at the start of September and then once again at IFA Berlin 2020. Now, as we move closer to the official unveiling, let’s take a look at what we know so far.Realme Narzo 20 series India launch event, expected pricingThe Realme Narzo 20 series is set to launch in India on September 21 through a virtual event and the company has already sent out invites for the same. The event will start at 12.30pm and will be streamed on Realme’s social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.The Narzo 20 series is a follow up to the Realme Narzo 10 series that was launched in India back in May, offering impressive specifications for an entry level price point. The Realme Narzo 10 launched at Rs. 11,999 for the sole, 4GB + 128GB storage model and the even cheaper Realme Narzo 10A came with a price tag of Rs. 8,499 for the single 3GB + 32GB storage option. The Realme Narzo 20 series can be expected to be priced around the same, at least for the non-Pro variants.Realme Narzo 20 series colour variants, configurationsA known tipster claimed earlier this month that the Realme Narzo 20 will come in 4GB + 64GB and 4GB + 128GB storage variants. It was also said to have two colour options, namely Glory Silver and Victory Blue. The Realme Narzo 20A that is likely to be the cheapest of the three models, is said to come in 3GB + 32GB and 4GB + 64GB storage variants. Further, it could come in the same Glory Silver and Victory Blue colour variants.On the other hand, the Realme Narzo 20 Pro is said to come in 6GB + 64GB and 8GB + 128GB storage options. The phone is rumoured to be offered in Black Ninja and White Knight shades.Realme Narzo 20 Pro specifications (expected)Tipster Mukul Sharma recently tweeted the alleged specifications for the all three phone models. The Realme Narzo 20 Pro may feature a 6.5-inch full-HD+ (1,080×2,400 pixels) display with a 90Hz refresh rate and 90.5 percent screen-to-body ratio. The phone is expected to be powered by the MediaTek Helio G95 SoC.In terms of cameras, the Realme Narzo 20 Pro is expected to feature a quad rear camera setup that will include a 48-megapixel sensor with an f/1.8 lens, an 8-megapixel sensor with an ultra-wide f/2.3 lens, a 2-megapixel macro shooter with f/2.4 aperture, and a 2-megapixel sensor with an f/2.4 black and white portrait lens. For selfies and video calling, the phone may sport a 16-megapixel shooter with f/2.1 aperture.It is said to come with 4,500mAh battery with support for 65W fast charging. The smartphone may feature a side-facing fingerprint scanner. The Realme Narzo 20 Pro may measure 162.3×75.4×9.4mm and weigh 191 grams.Realme Narzo 20 specifications (expected)The Realme Narzo 20 is said to feature a 6.5-inch HD+ (720×1,600 pixels) display with 88.7 percent screen-to-body ratio. It may be powered by the MediaTek Helio G85. It may feature a triple rear camera setup that includes a 48-megapixel primary image sensor with a 6P lens and f/1.8 aperture, an 8-megapixel ultrawide lens with a field of view of 119 degrees, and a 2-megapixel macro lens. A massive 6,000mAh battery with support for 18W fast charging is expected as well.Realme Narzo 20A specifications (expected)The same tipster also shared specifications for the Realme Narzo 20A. The dual-SIM Narzo 20A is expected to feature a 6.5-inch HD+ (720×1,600 pixels) display with Gorilla Glass protection and a screen-to-body ratio of 89.8 percent. It may be powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 SoC.In terms of optics, the Realme Narzo 20A is expected to feature a triple rear camera setup that includes a 12-megapixel primary sensor with an f/1.8 lens, a 2-megapixel black and white sensor with an f/2.4 lens, and a 2-megapixel retro sensor with f/2.4 lens. For selfies, the phone is expected to feature an 8-megapixel shooter at the front.The Realme Narzo 20A may pack a 5,000mAh battery with support for 10W charging. In terms of connectivity, the phone is said to support Bluetooth 5.0 and 2.4GHz Wi-Fi.Should the government explain why Chinese apps were banned? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below. 

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