Weekly Bytes | WhatsApp’s ‘view once’ feature, Microsoft Teams’ new enhancements, and more

Here’s our curated list of important tech news from this week in byte size.

WhatsApp’s ‘view once’ feature for sharing media

WhatsApp on Tuesday said it has started rolling out a new media sharing feature, enabling users to share ‘view once’ photos and videos that will disappear from the chat after they’ve been opened. The disappearing media will be marked with a new ‘one-time’ icon and after the media has been viewed, the message will appear as ‘opened’. Also, the media will not be saved on the recipient’s device. After sending a view once photo or video, a sender will not be able to view it again, and can only see if the recipient has opened it, if they have read receipts turned on. Although it is possible to take a screenshot or screen recording of the media before it disappears, and the sender won’t be notified if it happens, WhatsApp noted. If a disappearing media is not opened within 14 days of it being sent, the media will expire from the chat, it added. The company had introduced disappearing messages feature last year. Recently, WhatsApp had introduced a feature to allow users to join missed group calls.

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Microsoft Teams gets new enhancements

Microsoft has introduced some new features to its Teams platform to improve the meeting, calling, and chat experience of its users. Teams desktop app now provides organisers with an option to lock a meeting to avoid interruptions from late joiners. The option is available under more actions in the participant pane. The platform also brings support for transferring calls between different devices, like from a user’s laptop to their mobile phone. Besides, users can now hear posts and chat messages read aloud using Immersive Reader on Teams iOS and Android apps. Teams also gets support for Safe Links to protect users from malicious links. Finally, users can now find meeting recordings in Microsoft search based on the meeting transcript. This week, Microsoft also announced the availability of Windows 365, a cloud-based OS that enables businesses to access Windows 10 or 11 software on any device, anywhere.

Twitter Spaces introduces co-hosting option

Twitter on Thursday said it is introducing co-hosting option on Spaces to make it easier for hosts to manage the audio rooms. A host can invite two co-hosts for an audio space. And, the co-hosts can speak, help invite other speakers, manage requests, remove participants, pin Tweets, among other things. However, they don’t have the privilege to invite or remove co-hosts or end the Space, according to Twitter. In addition, the update to Spaces expands the group of people that can speak at the same time in a Space, from 10 to 13, which will include one host, two co-hosts, and ten speakers. Also, the ‘Fleets line’ where Fleets were displayed earlier, will become the ‘Space bar’ for Spaces, according to Twitter. In another development, Twitter announced a partnership with international news agencies Reuters and the Associated Press to provide more context to tweets and posts on the social network.

Facebook announces AU$15 million news fund

Facebook on Wednesday announced an AU$15 million Facebook Australian News Fund that will invest in public-interest journalism, and support regional and digital newsroom innovation and economic sustainability, the company said in a statement. The support will be provided in the form of two funds – the Newsroom Sustainability Fund (NSF) and the Public Interest Journalism Fund (PIJF). Each fund will allocate AU$2.5 million per year over three years. While NSF will provide grants to fund regional newsrooms and digital-first publications; PIJF will offer grants to small, regional publishers and independent journalists, Facebook said. The firm also announced the expansion of Facebook News to Australia, which will begin to roll out to a small number of people in the country. “We’re planning to expand Facebook News to more Australians through the coming months,” it noted. In another update, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission criticised Facebook for making “misleading claims” to explain why it had disabled the accounts of researchers studying political ads on its platform.

DHL orders electric planes, aims to build first electric network

DHL Express said on Tuesday it has ordered 12 fully electric Alice cargo planes from start-up Eviation, and aims to set up the world’s first electric air cargo network. Eviation expects to deliver the Alice electric aircraft to DHL Express in 2024. “We firmly believe in a future with zero-emission logistics,” DHL Express CEO John Pearson, said in a statement. “Together we will take off into a new era of sustainable aviation.” Alice can be flown by a single pilot and carry 1,200 kilograms. The aircraft can be charged while loading and unloading operations occur as it requires 30 minutes or less to charge per flight hour, and has a maximum range of up to 815 kilometres, the company noted. It is ideal for feeder routes and requires less investment in station infrastructure, it added. Alice’s first flight is slated for later this year. In a separate development, the Central Government has revealed that it is not considering any changes to the tax rates for importing electric vehicles into the country.

Logitech’s new wireless earbuds for hybrid work

Logitech has launched new wireless earbuds dubbed Zone True Wireless to help people working in hybrid environments. The earbuds are targeted to be certified by all three major video conferencing platforms – Google Meet, Microsoft Teams and Zoom, according to the Switzerland-based company. Equipped with a noise-cancelling mic and active noise cancellation, the wireless earbuds are said to offer clear audio during calls, even in noisy surroundings. The earphones have Bluetooth and come with a USB receiver to allow people to use them with their smartphone and computer and move easily between the two devices. Zone True Wireless will be available globally later this year for $299 (about ₹22,274). Logitech also launched Zone Wired Earbuds with USB-C, USB-A, and 3.5mm connectors for $99 (about ₹7,375). In another gadget update, Amazon has introduced a smart soap dispenser with an integrated 20-second LED timer, and an option to pair with a compatible Echo device.

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