Google’s “Android Messages” to take on Apple’s “iMessage” and Facebook’s “Facebook Messenger”?
THE TECH CIRCUIT - Yasunari Ramon Suarez Taguchi (The Freeman) - February 14, 2018 - 12:00am

Word has it that Google has laid down the foundations to make the Android operating system’s default messaging app a full-featured RCS (rich communication services) messaging suite that allows users to send messages via the internet.

The rumor came after the Android Police technology website revealed that it had discovered significant changes in the code of the latest version of “Android Messages” – the application which serves as the default SMS app for Android-driven smartdevices.

At its core, the code of the updated version of the app holds references to possible internet-anchored messaging features that allow users to “text over WiFi and data.”

This means that the app can be used to facilitate internet-anchored communications on-the-fly, allowing for multimedia-rich communications that go beyond the limits of regular SMS without the need for third-party add-on applications/services.

Essentially, the discovery of the code hints of the possibility that Google is positioning “Android Messages” to take on full-featured RCS suites like Apple’s “iMessage” or Facebook’s “Facebook Messenger.”

Google’s history in developing all-in-one messaging suites has been described by many as cumbersomely divided, given the distributed functions of its “Hangouts,” “Allo” and SMS-anchored messaging applications.

The implication that the internet-of-things giant is set on consolidating its messaging offerings into one application alludes to a maximization of the global Android user base to challenge the likes of “iMessenger,” Facebook Messenger,” “WhatsApp” and the like.

Facebook tests a “downvote” button for comments

Over the weekend, Facebook confirmed reports that it is testing a “downvote” button which can be used to mark inappropriate comments on posts on public profiles/pages.

The feature being tested serves as a way for Facebook users to inform Facebook that a comment is off-topic, offensive or misleading. The social media network clarified that it is not a “dislike” button, and that it won’t affect the ranking of a post, page or a comment.

Facebook’s statement on the feature being tested reads: “We are not testing a ‘dislike’ button. We are exploring a feature for people to give us feedback about comments on public page posts. This is running for a small set of people in the U.S. only.”

Like the ‘reactions’ button, tapping on the “downvote” button opens options to mark a comment as either “off topic,” “offensive” or “misleading.” It is presumed that information collected from the feature will be used in the social media network’s plans to make time spent on Facebook well spent.

Reception on the news has been mixed. Some are seeing it as a positive move, while others see it as the source of possible problems pertaining to censorship, given that the feature is designed to hide a post should it garner enough “downvotes.” More information on the feature being tested is hosted on Facebook’s official news portal.

A smartphone rated with a two-day battery lifecycle

Following the rollout of an Android-driven smartphone series last year, HMD Global (the firm responsible for developing and marketing the current generation of Nokia-branded smartdevices) recently announced the pricing and availability of the “Nokia 2”.

Identified as a budget-friendly smartphone and initially announced in October last year, the LTE-compatible device is powered by a 4100mAh-rated battery and runs on components that are configured to utilize the least amount of power.

HMD notes that the utilization of the components allows the smartphone to have a two-day per charge battery lifecycle. This aspect of the device comes as a boon for those who have problems with smartphones whose batteries don’t last through the day.

Topped by an HD screen measuring five inches, the smartphone comes with Android Nougat (Android 7.1.1) out of the box. It runs on a quad-core processor and comes with 8 gigs of internal storage, with support for microSD storage of up to 128 GB.

The “Nokia 2” comes after last year’s release of the “Nokia 3,” “5,” and “8,” handsets that are attributed to be the first of Nokia’s range of Android-driven smartphones. More information on the device is hosted on Nokia’s official online channels.

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