Google Allo No Longer Features in Top 500 Apps on Google Play

Google Allo No Longer Features in Top 500 Apps on Google Play

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Google Allo has seen a drastic ranking drop in last one month
  • Google recently added a chatbot named Lucky to the app
  • The app has consistently dropped out of top 500 in recent weeks

It seems like Google’s experiment to simplify messaging and video chats with the release of its Allo and Duo apps is not going as well as the search giant would have hoped – Google Allo is not featuring even in top 500 apps on Google Play in the US currently.

On the basis of Google Play data provided by App Annie, it is clearly visible that Google Allo has dropped out of the top 500 apps several times in since November, with a sharp downward trend more evident in the last couple of weeks, Android Police pointed out in its report. You can see the times it has dropped off the chart as the blank spaces in the graph below, with yellow representing Communications app rank, red representing Applications rank, and blue representing overall rank.

us google allo app annie 1 US Allo App Annie

Things aren’t very different in India either – in the same period, Google Allo dropped off the top 500 charts in the first week of January, as you can see in the graph below.

india google allo app annie 1 India Allo App Annie

Notably, Google introduced Hindi Assistant for India in December last year and Amit Fulay, Group Product Manager at Google, claimed at the time that the app had received tremendous response, especially in India, which he said had one of the highest number of Google Allo users.

Just two months ago, the text-messaging app was ranking consistently around top 200 apps but has seen almost a free-fall since mid-December, AP pointed out in its report.

Google recently added a new chatbot named Lucky to the Allo app that provides users with GIF images on the basis of their requirements. In order to get help from the chat bot, users need to simply type @lucky in the app followed by whatever phrase they want.

Considering that Google has been consistent with its updates to Allo since its launch, it comes across as a surprise that the app is failing to gain traction among Android users.

WhatsApp Sued for Sharing Data With Facebook by German Consumer Group

WhatsApp Sued for Sharing Data With Facebook by German Consumer Group

WhatsApp, the Facebook-owned messaging app, has been sued by a German consumer group for sharing data with the parent company. The Federation of German Consumer Organisations (Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband) also referred to as VZBV has asked for an injunction in a Berlin court against data sharing between WhatsApp and Facebook.

Notably, the suit challenges the transfer of data between Facebook and WhatsApp. “Our experts brought the misconduct to light. Now we’ll meet in court. Be it Facebook, GoogleAmazon or now WhatsApp: we target violations,” said VZBV. The group has alleged WhatsApp transfers private data to Facebook without consumer approval.

Last year, WhatsApp made some changes in its terms of service after which it could start sharing the phone numbers of its users with Facebook. Though, users were able to opt out of the sharing. The move was seen as a subtle but significant shift for WhatsApp, which for long promised to protect the privacy of more than 1 billion users around the world.

ZDNet points out that despite users opting out, WhatsApp still exports the data to Facebook. It also claims that Facebook utilises the phone numbers from WhatsApp to improve its friend suggestion feature on the social platform.

According to Bloomberg, WhatsApp however defends itself and claims that the privacy policy and terms updates comply with the law.

The European Commission in December sent a Statement of Objections to Facebook alleging that it provided incorrect or misleading information during the Commission’s 2014 investigation under the EU Merger Regulation of Facebook’s planned acquisition of WhatsApp. The European Commission had earlier stressed that companies are required to give the Commission accurate information during merger investigations.

  HP Recalls About 101,000 Laptop Batteries Due to Fire and Burn Hazards

HP Recalls About 101,000 Laptop Batteries Due to Fire and Burn Hazards

In a new development, HP is recalling specific laptop batteries due to fire and burn hazards. The company is looking to recall as many as 101,000 laptop batteries worldwide, soon after this defect came to light. Notably, the latest action by the company is an expansion of the recall from June 2016, which saw 41,000 batteries recalled.The Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued a fresh noticeinforming users that HP has recalled more than 100,000 lithium-ion batteries made by Panasonic used in its notebook computers. CPSC says that these batteries sold in a specific timeframe tend to overheat, and can pose ‘fire and burn hazards’.

As a safety measure, HP has recalled specific batteries compatible with HP, Compaq, HP ProBook, HP Envy, Compaq Presario, and HP Pavilion laptops purchased between March 2013 and October 2016. The affected batteries feature bar codes starting with 6BZLU, 6CGFK, 6CGFQ, 6CZMB, 6DEMA, 6DEMH, 6DGAL, and 6EBVA – if you have any of these batteries, you should follow the company’s recommended course of action. For immediate safety protocol, users with these laptops are asked to remove the battery from the laptop right away, and use the laptop by connecting to external power. Take the removed battery to the nearest service centre for more information on replacement. Furthermore, batteries sold as accessories or spares, or provided as replacements through support also need to be checked and replaced.

“Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled batteries, remove them from the notebook computers and contact HP for a free replacement battery,” the company warns. As we mentioned, the company has also listed the affected battery bar codes of the above mentioned notebooks for a more structured recall.

An HP spokesperson further toldCNET, ‘The problem affected less than 1 percent of the HP laptops sold during the time frame.’ In June 2016, HP did its first recall for the same issue with as many as 41,000 lithium-ion batteries in the US, citing the same reason as above. At that point, HP had received seven reports of battery packs overheating, melting or charring, including four reports of property damage of about $4,000 total. The expanded recall issued this week as after it received one additional report, causing property damage worth roughly $1,000.

Of course, lithium-ion batteries overheating and catching fire is nothing new, and the general public was recently shown a harsh reminder with the infamous Samsung Galaxy Note 7 controversy, where several units of the smartphone exploded or caught fire due to faulty batteries. The incidents caused Samsung to recall over 2.5 million smartphones, and saw airlines and aviation authorities across the world ban the transport of the smartphone.

  Xiaomi Mi 5c Launch Pegged for February in New Leak; Won’t Support Fast Charging 

Xiaomi Mi 5c Launch Pegged for February in New Leak; Won't Support Fast Charging

Just when we were about to give up hope on the Xiaomi Mi 5c, it has cropped up online again. The device has reportedly been spotted on the website of China’s Quality Certification (3C) centre, revealing key details about the device, and also re-igniting hopes of a launch.GizmoChina reports that five different xiomi models went through certification on the website, but the one with the model number MAE136 is expected to be the Xiaomi Mi 5c (aka Xiaomi Meri). The other model numbers that went through certification are 2105212, 2016089, 2016101, and MBE6A5.

The listing reveals that the model number MAE136 will use a 5V/2A power adapter, which means that the Xiaomi Mi 5c will not support fast charging. The smartphone is tipped to come with really narrow bezels, and a 5.5-inch full-HD display with 2.5D curved glass protection. The smartphone is expected to be powered by the company’s in-house Pinecone processor paired with 3GB of RAM.

Furthermore, it should offer 64GB of inbuilt storage. The Xiaomi Mi 5c is pegged to sport a 12-megapixel rear camera and an 8-megpaixel front camera for selfies and video chats. It is expected to run on Android Marshmallow-based MIUI 8 out of the box.

After many delays, the launch is finally pegged to be around February. Xiaomi was heavily expected to launch the device in December, but that didn’t happen, and we wouldn’t recommend you to put your hopes up this time either. Live images of the device along with specifications have been tipped several times in the past, and we sure do hope that the Xiaomi Mi 5c sees the light of the day soon.

Hugo Barra Is Joining Facebook ‘To Lead All VR Efforts’, Says Zuckerberg

Hugo Barra Is Joining Facebook 'To Lead All VR Efforts', Says Zuckerberg

Xiaomi’s Global Vice President Hugo Barra, who said earlier this week he is leaving the Chinese company to head back to the Silicon Valley, is joining Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg announced via the social network on Wednesday.

“I’m excited that Hugo Barra is joining Facebook to lead all of our virtual reality efforts, including our Oculus team,” Zuckerberg said in his Facebook post.”

Hugo shares my belief that virtual and augmented reality will be the next major computing platform. They’ll enable us to experience completely new things and be more creative than ever before. Hugo is going to help build that future, and I’m looking forward to having him on our team,” he added.

Barra, who’s been the face of Xiaomi ever since he joined the company after leaving Google around three and a half years ago, announced his departure via Facebook earlier this week citing health and other personal reasons.

“What I’ve realized is that the last few years of living in such a singular environment have taken a huge toll on my life and started affecting my health.” Hugo Barra said, “My friends, what I consider to be my home, and my life are back in Silicon Valley, which is also much closer to my family. Seeing how much I’ve left behind these past few years, it is clear to me that the time has come to return.”

Before joining Xiaomi, Hugo Barra was the Vice President of Product Development for Android at Google.

Is Mark Zuckerberg Getting Ready to Run for President?

As America changes presidents, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is doing something. This week, he did something in Texas: He went to his first rodeo. He wore a hard hat and a safety vest. He thanked police officers in Dallas for their hard work. He helped plant a community garden.

So what, exactly, is Mark Zuckerbergdoing? Well, even without a peep from the man confirming any interest in the job, some have started to believe that Zuckerberg is running for president.

 

The reason people think that is, well, because whatever it is that Zuckerberg is doing looks a lot like what presidential hopefuls do:

In this case, Zuckerberg was in Dallas to testify in a $2 billion (roughly Rs. 13,616 crores) lawsuit. The Facebook-owned Oculus VR company has been accused of corporate theft by ZeniMax – an accusation that Facebook has denied. But the chief executive managed to make the most of his trip on Facebook itself by looping it into an unrelated personal project.

Zuckerberg’s New Year’s resolution this year is to make sure that he has visited each of the 50 states by the end of the year. He has been to several already, (for instance: Hawaii, where he owns a house and is suing some of his neighbours), so the resolution will mean making sure he visits about 30 additional states by December.

“My work is about connecting the world and giving everyone a voice. I want to personally hear more of those voices this year,” Zuckerberg wrote in his Facebook post explaining the resolution.

But that resolution wasn’t the first thing Zuckerberg that sounded a bit presidential to some. Over the holidays, Zuckerberg said he no longer considers himself an atheist and that religion is “very important” to him. He also hired David Plouffe, President Barack Obama’s former campaign chair, to work for the philanthropic organization that he and his wife, Priscilla Chan, created.

Once again, it is important to emphasize that while the above sure does make you go “hmm,” Mark Zuckerberg has not said that he is running, or would like to run, for president.

One other reason that Zuckerberg might want to spend 2017 meeting Americans could have to do with, you know, Facebook. This year, the company was accused of having a bias against conservative news sources and topics in its trending topics bar. That accusation had a lasting impact on Facebook’s reputation in conservative circles. And after the 2016 election, the company faced repeated interrogations from the media about its influential role in spreading fake news and hoaxes. As a result, Facebook announced changes designed to improve its ability to discourage the sharing of outright false information.

Zuckerberg’s business model depends on its users believing that the platform is a newsworthy and trustworthy place where they might feel comfortable posting lots of things from their personal lives. Both perceptions have been threatened over the past year. Going out and talking to people, particularly those who have recently lost trust in the company, could be helpful PR for Zuckerberg – for reasons that have nothing to do with running for president.

With someone like Zuckerberg, it can be hard to separate signs of insatiable ambition from those pointing to a specific political goal. Take this passage from Nick Bilton, who outlined the case for at least thinking about the possibility that Zuckerberg might run over at Vanity Fair:

“If he does want the job, Zuckerberg definitely has the personality for it. When Facebook went public in 2012, I co-authored a profile of the young C.E.O. During the reporting, I heard from several friends about his penchant for playing world-conquering board and video games. Early childhood pals told me that one of Zuckerberg’s favorite video games as a boy was Civilization, the game in which you have to “build an empire to stand the test of time.” Others have told me that, to this day, Zuckerberg loves to play Risk, a strategy board game where you have to essentially take over the world.”

Interesting. Except, my dudes, I too really love playing Civilization, and I would never want to run for president. Other things pointed to in that Vanity Fair story are more concrete – like the fact that a Facebook proxy statement from April said Zuckerberg could leave Facebook to serve in a government office but still keep control of his company. Hmm. (In a long statement about those changes in April, Zuckerberg said he was “committed to our mission and to leading Facebook there over the long term.”)

Zuckerberg would be 36 by the time the 2020 election rolls around, which is one year over the minimum required age to be president (by contrast, incumbent President Donald Trump would be 74). But even if the rumors of a Zuckerberg run are true – which, again, is not something that has been confirmed in any way – Bilton says that the prevailing thought in Silicon Valley is that the still completely hypothetical Zuckerberg run for office would happen in 2024.

Amazon India Sale Offers, Nokia 6 Sold Out, Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 Launch, and More This Week

  

Amazon is holding its first sale of 2017, the Amazon Great Indian Sale 2017, and today is the last day to pick up deals. Ahead of the Great Indian sale, Amazon hired 7,500 temporary workers to ensure smooth logistics, and there have been a number ofgreat deals on offer as part of the Amazon sale.

Among popular smartphone offers and deals still available as part of the Amazon Great Indian Sale are the Moto G4 Plus 16GB variant, which is available at Rs. 11,499. The Moto X Force 32GB, on the other hand, receives a Rs. 5,000 discount as part of the Amazon Great Indian Sale 2017 offers, and is up for grabs at just Rs. 21,999. The Moto G4 Play gets a Rs. 1,000 discount from its usual Amazon India listing price, and is now available at Rs. 7,999. The Lenovo Zuk Z1 gets a Rs. 2,500 discount from its usual Rs. 13,499 price, and is available at Rs. 10,999 as part of the Amazon Great Indian Sale q2017.

The OnePlus 3T doesn’t receive any price cut, but Amazon India is offering an extra Rs. 2,000 on exchange during the sale. Furthermore, the Lenovo Phab 2 Plus gets a Rs. 1,000 discount, and can be purchased at Rs. 13,999 (JBL headphones will also be bundled in for free) as part of the Amazon Great Indian Sale 2017. Lastly, if you’re looking for an iPhone, then the iPhone 5s 16GB is available at a discounted rate of Rs. 15,999 (usual price said to be Rs. 18,749).

Amazon Prime Video also had an interesting announcement this week – Amazon india has partnered with media company OML to release 14 stand-up comedy specials. Globally, Amazon also announced a Good Omens series which will be out in 2018.

Meanwhile, in China, Nokia’scomeback is off to a solid start. The Nokia 6 went on sale for the first time, and sold out in just a minute. That’s no surprise considering that there were 250,000 registrations for the Nokia 6 within just an hour, and two days ahead of the sale, the number had crossed 1 million.

Unveiled earlier this month, the Nokia 6 sports a 5.5-inch full-HD display with a 2.5D Gorilla Glass on top. The Nokia 6 is powered by a Snapdragon 430 SoC coupled with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. The dual-SIM Nokia 6 smartphone comes with a 3000mAh non-removable battery with fast-charging support.

On the camera front, Nokia 6 comes with a 16-megapixel rear camera with f/2.0 aperture, phase detection autofocus, and dual-tone flash, as well as an 8-megapixel front camera with f/2.0 aperture. The Android 7.0 Nougat smartphone has USB 2.0 port for connectivity, fingerprint sensor in the front, stereo speakers and Dolby Atmos audio enhancement.

The week has been pretty packed, and in India we saw the long anticipated launch of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4. The phone starts at Rs. 9,999 for the 2GB RAM, 32GB storage variant. The 3GB RAM and 32GB storage variant of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 will set you back by Rs. 10,999, and the top end 3GB RAM and 64GB storage variant is priced at Rs. 12,999.

The Redmi Note 4 did well in our review, scoring particularly high scores on design and battery life, but the camera, though better than what we saw with the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3, still could use some improvement. The Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 will be on sale from January 23, on Flipkart and Mi.com. No pre-registration is required.

Data deals continue to come up in India as Reliance Jio continues to grow. The latest is from Vodafone, offering 1GB of 4G data at Rs. 150, and 4GB at Rs. 250. In case that’s not enough, you can also choose the 35GB data pack, for Rs. 1,500.

Speaking of Jio, a new phone leak has emerged, showing a 4G VoLTE feature phone for Jio. The phone is rumoured to be priced between Rs. 999 and Rs. 1,500, but not much else is known about it. It’s worth pointing out that unlike other telcos, Jio only supports 4G, so VoLTE is the only way people can make calls on the network. From the leaked image, it appears that the feature phone will also come with dedicated buttons for Jio’s media services.

Early in the week, Samsung released the Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro in Bhubaneshwar. The dual-SIM phone comes with 6GB RAM, a 6-inch display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 653, and 64GB storage, at Rs. 36,900.

Apple meanwhile says it’s r ready to start making iPhones in India – but at a price. Among other things, the company is said to be seeking a 15-year tax holiday on imports of components and equipment, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter.

This week also saw the launch of the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro, the world’s first Tango smartphone. It has a 6.4-inch QHD display, and a total of four cameras – the normal front and back, plus a depth sensing infrared camera, and a motion tracking camera. All this is meant for augmented reality (AR) applications like indoor navigation, search, and gaming. Other launches include the Vivo V5 Plus and the V5 Lite. The phones release on Monday, but Vivo unveiled them this week. Both phones put emphasis on the front camera, for high quality selfies.

The Micromax vdeo3 and video4smartphones have now been officially launched for India as well. These budget friendly phones come preloaded with Google deo app for video-calling. Lava also launched two entry level smartphones, the A50 and A55, at Rs. 3,999 and Rs. 4,399 respectively.

And in the South Korean market, we saw the launch of the LG X300, which sports a 5-inch HD display, a quad-core Snapdragon 425 SoC, 2GB RAM and 16GB of inbuilt storage. It is priced at KRW 253,000 (roughly Rs. 14,800).

Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 Launched in India: Price, Release Date, Specifications, and More

Xiaomi India on Thursday launched Redmi Note 4, which it touted as its first big launch in country this year, in three variants. The new Xiaomi smartphone will be exclusively available in India on Flipkart, along with Mi.com. Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 will go on sale in the country starting 12pm on Monday on the two e-commerce websites. In India, the company has introduced the smartphone in Gold, Grey, and Silver colour variants, with a brand new Matte Black colour variant coming soon.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 India Price and Variants

 
 

The Xioami Redmi Note 4 has been launched it in three variants in India – the 2GB RAM/ 32GB inbuilt storage model has been priced at Rs. 9,999, the 3GB RAM/ 32GB storage model has been priced at Rs. 10,999, while the 4GB RAM/ 64GB storage model has been priced at Rs. 12,999. All three variants will be available starting Monday, and there are no pre-registrations required for the sale.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 Key Specifications and Features

 

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 sports a metal unibody design and bears a fingerprint sensor on the rear panel. As expected, Xiaomi has not brought the MediaTek Helio X20 deca-core SoC-based SKU to India, and has instead chosen to use the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 MSM8953 octa-core SoC in the country instead, coupled with the Adreno 506 GPU. The company is touting the 14nm FinFET architecture of the SoC and its benefits for battery life. The smartphone is also part of the company’s Make in India programme.

The dual-SIM (Micro+Nano) Redmi Note 4 runs MIUI 8 based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow, and sports a 5.5-inch full-HD (1080×1920 pixels) 2.5D curved glass IPS display with a 401ppi pixel density. Powered by the Snapdragon 625 SoC, it comes with 3GB and 4GB of RAM, depending on the SKU.

The rear camera on the Redmi Note 4 bears a 13-megapixel CMOS sensor equipped with PDAF (phase detection autofocus), an f/2.0 aperture, 77-degree wide angle lens, and dual-tone LED flash. The front camera sports a 5-megapixel CMOS sensor, coupled with an 85-degree wide angle lens. Expandable storage is available on the Redmi Note 4 via a hybrid dual-SIM card configuration, supporting microSD cards (up 128GB).

As for connectivity, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 offers 4G with VoLTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/g/b/n, Bluetooth v4.1, GPS, Micro-USB, and Infrared. Sensors on board include accelerometer, ambient light sensor, gyroscope, electronic compass, and proximity sensor. It is powered by a 4100mAh battery, measures 151x76x8.35mm, and weighs 175 grams.