Brazil Court Blocks Facebook Funds Over WhatsApp Dispute: Report

Brazil Court Blocks Facebook Funds Over WhatsApp Dispute: ReportA court in Brazil on Thursday blocked BRL 19.5 million ($6.07 million or roughly Rs. 40 crores) in Facebook Inc funds after the US-based social networking company’s WhatsApp messaging service failed to turn over messages sought in a drugs case, the G1 news service said.

Brazil’s federal police said WhatsApp has defied repeated orders to turn over messages sent and received by suspected members of an international cocaine smuggling ring that has been under investigation since January.

Without the data, it will be difficult or impossible to prove links between those captured in recent raids and their confederates in Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay and Spain, G1 reported, citing the police.

After repeated failure over five months to turn over the information, a judge in Brazil’s southern Parana state froze the funds, which are equal to WhatsApp’s accumulated fines for non-compliance in the case, G1 said.

Because WhatsApp has no bank accounts in Brazil, the judge froze funds owned by its parent, Facebook, the article said.

The Brazilian court, though, did not use provisions of Brazil’s Internet law that allows courts to shut down service in some cases of non-compliance with court orders.

A similar case earlier this year prompted a judge to shut WhatsApp down for 72 hours, angering many of the service’s 100 million Brazilian users. The shutdown was lifted after about 24 hours by another court.

At the time of that blockage, Facebook said WhatsApp does not store client messages and could not read them if they did because they are encrypted.

Google Keep Now Arranges Your Notes by Categories

Google Keep Now Arranges Your Notes by CategoriesGoogle Keep, the company’s note-taking mobile app, is receiving an update with a new organisational feature that would allow it to automatically categorise your notes into categories like songs, games, movies, books, and food. The new feature will be available on Android, iOS and Web version of the application.

You can search for your Google Keep notes via keywords according to their categories later on. Though Keep might not be as feature-rich an app as its paid counterparts, it has kept on improving thanks to regular updates. A major update earlier this year brought centralised settings for lists and reminders.

Google Keep has become an extremely attractive option to the consumers considering the recent hike in rates by its competitor Evernote. On Tuesday, Evernote hiked prices for its paid plans, while limiting the number of devices users can utilise its free plan on.

The company hiked the prices for both of its paid plans – Evernote Plus and Evernote Premium. Evernote Plus, which used to cost $2.99 a month or $24.99 a year, will now cost users $3.99 and $34.99, respectively. Evernote Premium will now cost its users $7.99 each month, or $69.99 for an entire year compared with $5.99 and $49.99 earlier.

Facebook Messenger Launched for Windows 10 Mobile

Facebook Messenger Launched for Windows 10 Mobile

Facebook has officially launched the Messenger app on Windows 10 Mobile. The Facebook Messenger app is now available on the Windows Store for free. To recall, Facebook had launched its Messenger app for Windows 10 PCs and tablets back in April, this launch makes it available on Windows 10 Mobile as well.

The app contains more or less the same features as its iOS and Android equivalents. Facebook Messenger app for Windows 10 Mobile lets you change themes, change username, do group conversations, send stickers, and even send gif images. The app works on Windows Phone 8, Windows Phone 8.1, Windows 10, and Windows 10 Mobile. Last week, Facebook rolled out the universal Facebook app for Windows 10 PCs, tablets, and smartphones in beta.

Facebook Messenger recently also got a redesign that adds several new features including a new home tab, birthday, and favourites section. It introduces a new Favourites section that shows the people you converse with most frequently. The app even received an important feature that reintroduced support for SMS messages inside the Android app. In April, Facebook Messenger also hit a major milestone and recorded 900 million active monthly users, up from 800 million in January.

For all the Euro 2016 fans, Facebook Messenger also launched a hidden game inside the app that allowed users to play a game called KeepyUp whenever they used a football emoji. To activate the game, you need to be running the latest version of Facebook Messenger for Android or iOS. Then, just send the football emoji in any conversation inside the Facebook Messenger app. Tap on the emoji after sending it, and Messenger opens the game up automatically.

Google India Now Lets You Flip Search Results Between English and Hindi

Google India Now Lets You Flip Search Results Between English and HindiGoogle on Wednesday to cater users in India has started rolling out a new tab on search for mobile which will show results both in English and Hindi. The new move by Google makes sense as it will cater to users who are served with results in English regardless. With the new feature, users can type query in English and then flip the tabs to read the answers in Hindi, or vice versa.

The search engine giant says that the new tab in search results throwing Hindi results will show up to users state-wise. This means users in the states namely Bihar, Chattisgarh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Delhi and West Bengal will start seeing the new Hindi tab alongside the query for any term which could be better served in Hindi language.

Google confirmed that the new tab search feature has started rolling out for mobile users and will show up on all browsers except UCBrowser and Opera Mini and will improve over time. The company explains that the feature is targeted at audience with significant Hindi-speaking populations. The new feature gives users a way to flip between English and Hindi searches when using the Google Search app or Google Search on any browser on Android or iOS.

The new feature works for all queries, according to Google and lists some examples such as Samachar, Dil Chahta Hai, and Dhoni ka janam din kab hai. It adds that users can also look up health related information and view the results in Hindi.

Google’s Shekhar Sharad, Product Manager, International Search, announcing the new feature in a blogpost said, “Indians should be able to search for information online the same way they live: moving between multiple languages depending on the moment or the audience. For example, you may search for “samachar” in English, but you would rather be better served with results for a Hindi query.”

Taxi Service Meru Raises Rs. 150 Crores in Funding

Taxi Service Meru Raises Rs. 150 Crores in Funding

Taxi service Meru Cabs Wednesday said it has raised a new round of funding of Rs. 150 crores ($25 million) from Brand Capital, the investment arm of Bennett, Coleman and Co (BCCL).

Meru will use the funds to further strengthen foothold in the Indian market with a focus on providing quality service based on a sustainable business model, it said in a statement.

“With the ongoing transformation in the taxi industry, this move is in line with the company’s efforts to showcase its services to a larger customer segment via a bouquet of media channels,” Siddhartha Pahwa, CEO, Meru Cabs said.

Innovation in services and building robust technology processes has been the focus for Meru in the last year, he added.

Since May 2015, when Meru last raised Rs. 300 crores ($50 million) from its existing investor, India Value Fund Advisors (IVFA), it has its service expanded to 24 additional cities, launched four unique services, and grown its fleet size to 20,000 vehicles, it said.

Meru is deploying these funds primarily to increase brand salience and brand awareness with the aim of widening its customer base, it added.

The country’s organised taxi-hailing market at Rs. 7,900 crores ($1.2 billion), is estimated to reach Rs. 1 lakh crore ($15 billion) by year 2022, according to industry estimates.

Introducing a service based on shared economy, Meru was the first taxi player to introduce the Carpoolservice in October.

Meru has also launched a specialised service for differently abled and elderly commuters called ‘Meru Enable’ via spacious and disability equipped vehicles and trained and sensitised drivers.

Meru receives over 70 percent of its booking from the mobile app.

Google Maps for Android Now Supports Navigation to Multiple Destinations

Google Maps for Android Now Supports Navigation to Multiple DestinationsGoogle Maps for Android was expected to bring the navigation to multiple destinations option back in April. The feature has however started rolling out to the Android users only now.

The feature requires users to install the latest version of the Google Maps for Android app. Android Police points out that the feature “is being activated via a server-side switch, not an actual update to the Maps app.” We can expect the feature to be available to users soon.

Users will be required to install or update the Maps for Android app to version 9.31. Notably, the version is steadily rolling out to the Google Play but doesn’t guarantee that multiple destination feature will work after the update.

Previously the Maps mobile app allowed users to side-track during a trip to gas stations, restaurants, cafes, and shopping marts. The app however didn’t allow users to navigate to multiple destinations, something that Google Maps allowed on desktop. Map’s multiple destination feature on Android app works same as the desktop and allows users to add multiple stops while navigating.

Until the new option shows up on your mobile app, you can take a little help from the desktop to navigate to multiple destinations using the Maps for Android. Users will have to copy the full URL of a multiple destination search on Maps for desktop, and send it to themselves on mobile in whichever way they please, from an email to a message to yourself in a chat app. Once users click on the received link and then choose to open it in Google Maps, the app will open the multiple destination route navigation. We’ve independently verified the method works, and don’t hesitate to say it can truly be a boon to users.

Uber Software Tracks Drivers for High Speed, Sudden Stops

Uber Software Tracks Drivers for High Speed, Sudden StopsUsing smartphone sensors to peek over its drivers’ shoulders, Uber is promising to keep a closer eye on their behavior – while discouraging speeding or slamming on the brakes.

The global ride-hailing company on Wednesday announced an extensive test of new software that aims to increase safety by analyzing data from individual drivers and sending them daily reports about things like sudden acceleration, braking and whether they’re holding their phones when they drive.

Trucking companies and fleet operators collect similar information, while some auto insurers offer a discount to motorists who install a data-collection device in their cars. Uber, which is requiring drivers in several cities to participate, is eager to show that it’s making safety a priority at a time when some jurisdictions are mulling whether to impose stricter oversight on ride-hailing businesses.

At the same time, Uber is also trying to ease some strains in its relationship with drivers, who work as independent contractors and in some cases have sued Uber over pay and working conditions. Earlier this month, Uber modified its app to give drivers more discretion to reject rides at certain times and to charge passengers who keep them waiting.

For now, Uber says it isn’t using the new safety program to penalize drivers – or even to reward good driving habits – although the software measures some of the same behaviors that the company says are often cited by passengers when they give drivers a low rating. Repeated low ratings can lead to drivers being suspended from the service.

One part of the new program uses data from the same gyroscope and motion sensors that let smartphone users play games on their devices. Uber drivers already use a smartphone app to book rides and track their progress via GPS. By adding additional software to the app, Uber says it can measure a car’s movement and gauge how fast the driver accelerates or brakes.

The software sends a daily summary to each driver, including a count of how often the driver has sped up or hit the brakes too abruptly. But it’s an automated process: Uber says the software’s not intended to trigger human intervention in the case of a driver who’s dangerously erratic. Instead, the company says passengers should use the “help” button on its app.

San Francisco-based Uber will also use sensors to measure “phone movement,” which may indicate the driver is clutching the phone while steering. Since that can be a distraction, Uber says it will notify drivers if it detects excessive phone movement through the day, with a reminder that it’s safer to leave the phone in a mounting device. As it tests this program, Uber may also send passengers an email or text, asking if their driver was holding the phone.

A third feature will send drivers a notice immediately if they’re traveling at excessive speed, although for now, the notice will only be triggered if a car is moving more than 15 miles per hour above the posted limit on highways. A fourth program will send generic reminders to drivers about the benefits of taking a rest break.

Uber says it’s testing the new features in a handful of large cities. About half of its drivers in each test city will get the new software, so the company can compare their behavior with the half that don’t receive the notifications. After two months, the company says it will evaluate the results and decide whether to expand the programs.

LG’s VPInput App Lets Users Control Their G4, G5, V10 Smartphones From PCs

LG's VPInput App Lets Users Control Their G4, G5, V10 Smartphones From PCsLG has launched a new app called VPInput to enable users get remote access to their smartphones via PCs and laptops as well. The app is only compatible with the LG G4,LG G5, and LG V10.

In order to make this work, the users need to also download the LG VPInput PC Program (Windows or Mac) on their desktops alongside the app on any of the three smartphone. It also requires Bluetooth connectivity, and for those desktops that do not support Bluetooth – the program wouldn’t work. LG confirms that this program does not support the Bluetooth dongle, hence this functionality is only applicable for Bluetooth integrated laptops and PCs.

Once the entire thing is set up, users will be able to browse through their LG G4, G5. and V10 smartphones from their PCs/laptops without having to pick up their smartphone devices every time. The user will essentially be able to control the smartphone using the PC keyboard and mouse.

“The VPInput app gives LG smartphone users control of their devices using their PC’s mouse and keyboard, a convenient solution when you’re at your desk but want to check your phone without interrupting your workflow,” said the company.

The program also allows inputting text, and use functions (Ctrl+V, Ctrl+C) from the keyboard on LG compatible smartphones. This program will be useful especially at work, where all smartphone and PC files could be accessed simultaneously on one screen. Furthermore, users can just continue to communicate on IM apps, and other chat services from one device. Screenshots taken on the PC can be sent to contacts through the smartphone as well. The app is available for free download on Google Play.

Supreme Court Dismisses PIL Seeking WhatsApp Encryption Key

Supreme Court Dismisses PIL Seeking WhatsApp Encryption KeyThe Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed a PIL urging it to ask the government to seek the private key from WhatsApp and similar applications to access their contents in times of need.

An apex court bench of Chief Justice T.S. Thakur and Justice A.M. Khanwilkar asked the petitioner, Sudhir Yadav, to approach the appropriate authorities.

Yadav – a Haryana-based RTI activist – said he was not asking for a ban on WhatsApp but wanted the government to ask WhatsApp and 20 other similar applications to share their private key if and when required.

He said this was similar to what the government insisted vis-a-vis BlackBerry.

Yadav said that in the absences of the private key, it would take the government years to access a message. The petition said that in order to decrypt any message on WhatsApp, one would need a whopping 115, 792, 089, 237, 316, 195, 423, 570, 985, 008, 687, 907, 853, 269, 984, 665, 640, 564, 039, 457, 584, 007, 913, 129, 639, 935 key combinations, which is almost impossible for even a super computer.

In his petition, Yadav said any terrorist or criminal can safely chat on WhatsApp and make plans to harm the country and the Indian intelligence agencies would not be able to tap into their conversations to take necessary actions.

Other messaging platforms such as Hike, Secure Chat, Viber and a few others are also using high encryption and constitute a threat to national security, the petition said.

Yadav, 27, told IANS that he had written letters to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) and the Ministry of Communications and IT before filing the petition, but received no reply.

Twitter Dashboard App to Help Small, Medium Businesses Connect With Customers

Twitter Dashboard App to Help Small, Medium Businesses Connect With CustomersTo help business owners connect with their users, micro-blogging website Twitter has launched Twitter Dashboard – an app to streamline engagement for business accounts.

Available on iOS, it can also be accessed on the Web. Twitter in its blog post introducing Dashboard said it is a place for businesses to “share news, tell stories, and have conversations that support, educate, and delight their customers.”

The company said Dashboard can help small and medium businesses engage with their audiences by creating a custom feed that shows what’s being said about them on the social network. The tool will also help schedule tweets. Twitter will also provide “Tweet tips geared just for businesses,” which will help start conversations and engage audiences.

Earlier this week, Twitter added a new feature that would let a user add virtual stickers to photos by just searching them like hashtags.

The company is also creating collections of stickers that are linked to the time of year and events such as New Year and Christmas. The new feature was similar to adding a sticker to a Snapchat post where a user can resize, rotate and add multiple stickers to each post.

Twitter’s management has been doing everything to get the company back on its feet.

Recently, it acquired 18-month-old London-based startup Magic Pony Technology to expand its capabilities in machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI).

The announcement came a week after Twitter invested $70 million in popular music streaming service SoundCloud to push its stalled growth amid rumours that technology giant Google might soon acquire the company.

The 10-year-old Twitter has been facing stalled user growth and growing competition for quite some time. A sequential decline in its monthly active users (MAUs) base triggered a sharp fall in Twitter shares as the company announced its fourth quarter results recently