Oopsies Karens, can’t mess with Uber drivers anymore :)

Oopsies Karens, can’t mess with Uber drivers anymore :)
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez / Unsplash

Well, we have all heard of passenger safety on Ubers. Parents are concerned, and so are individuals when riding alone in an Uber. Indian parents deem Uber unsafe to a certain extent and keep a constant tab on you when you are riding. But have you ever thought of driver safety? A driver is as much at risk as you are, in an Uber. I tried looking up statistics concerning driver assaults in the US, but guess what? No data! Not a single company reported numbers. To tackle this, Uber US is now allowing Uber drivers and riders to record cab rides. Yes, worried about privacy? Riders can record the cab ride, and it will be uploaded to an encrypted Uber server. Uber itself cannot listen to the recording! Only if the driver chooses to raise a safety issue, a trained expert will decrypt and listen to the tape. You will be informed that you are being recorded before it actually happens, so no worries. Uber is also rolling out an audible seat belt alert. The alert will notify the driver if the passenger were to not wear their seatbelt, and the notification will be delivered using push notification on the driver’s phone. Wow! Uber is really stepping up its game. Sorry, Karens :)

Now that we are talking about security, Life360- the family security application- has been selling your location data all along! The Markup reports that they have been selling data of over 31 million people since 2016, and that includes children! One data broker mentioned themselves, that, “Life360 is one of the biggest data sources for the industry.” And they term themselves as a security application :) But there is no use in crying over spilt milk. So to prevent Life360 from further deleting your data, go and turn off location services for the app as swiftly as you can! Life360 is also looking to acquire Tile, the original AirTag company. So if you have a Tile, your data right be at stake! Man, securing yourself online can be a pain.

Anyway, let’s circle to the tech giants. Apple is launching iOS 15.2 and the flagship feature is that your iPhone can detect parts that were changed and whether they are Apple Official or not. This doesn’t do any good to the common day user, but this is superb for the second-hand market! Users can actually see if the phone parts are genuine or not. With iOS 15.2, Apple is also launching its voice plan for Apple Music- the cheapest option if you want to use Apple Music. So, Apple Music for $4.99 or Rs 49. So, 60 million songs are on your fingertips, but all via Siri— you can’t access them otherwise. Apple is also rolling out the hotel keys via the Wallet app in collaboration with Hyatt. So, your hotel key will now be integrated into your wallet app, and you can unlock your hotel door thanks to your phone! RIP keycards.

And now for Microsoft!  The weather widget is now coming back to the taskbar. Yes, Windows 10 had it, and now it's moving to Windows 11. It is not used but yeah, okay. Windows 11’s new Insider update also features a notepad dark mode. Now that's something we have been waiting for forever. So, well done on that, Microsoft.

Heading over to Google! Teams messes your life up. Literally. Yes, it does it when your boss or teacher is shouting at you during a meeting, but this time it’s way more serious. Teams messes around with your Android device, which disables you from making 911 calls. A Pixel 3 user reported that he was unable to make a call to emergency services. This happens if you have Teams installed but have not signed in to the application. Google is actively working on a fix, has acknowledged the issue and will be resolving it in Android’s next security update- on 4th January 2022. Well, there are a couple of more interesting updates from Google. They launched the first Android 12 beta for large screen devices! This means that your large screen devices will shortly get the update! And, let's be honest, this year, Android looks sleek and quite polished! Furthermore, have you ever messed your Google Pixel up? If you haven’t- well done! If it works just fine and hasn’t stopped working then, Woah! That's surprising. Whatever it is, if you ever mess your phone up, don’t use Google’s mail-in service to repair it. This is the second time where photos inside your device were leaked. This is not it, a user reported that Google employees tried logging into his account and went through selfies! That’s an invasion of privacy! We don’t care if you are one of the tech companies, you don’t do that! No way!

This time’s edition is heavy, with so much writing and reading. Still, it is not the end! WhatsApp is pilot testing cryptocurrency payments in the US. It works with elegance and simplicity, unlike WhatsApp’s design. All you have to do is three taps and viola you will be able to send someone cryptocurrency. I am not gonna get into the technical aspect but this stuff works like magic because of Novi wallet. I don’t usually talk about cryptocurrency in my newsletter but since the topic is fresh, I’ll do it. Coinbase, the digital cryptocurrency wallet, will let users earn interest on their cryptocurrency holdings! How cool is that? This feature works around the world but not in the US! That’s so cool. All tech concerned implications start in the US and this time, nope, just nope. It’s not because Coinbase hates the US but because of the SEC and their previous troubles.

Now for some short snippets before I end this newsletter. Among Us- last year’s internet sensation- is getting an upgrade, a big one at that. An upgrade in virtual reality! Yes, you will be able to Among Us in VR. You will be on the spaceship and actually be the impostor. How cool is that? Once we are on the subject of games, let’s talk about it some more. Tesla is creating havoc again :) Not in a good way but, they are allowing drivers to play arcade games on their screen while the car is moving! How unsafe is that! It is insane. NTSB, where you at? More on safety! Instagram is raising some serious safety concerns for teenagers. A report showcased that it only takes 3 clicks for a teenager to find drugs on Instagram. Just three clicks. Instagram was also charged for instigating suicide among teenagers. Not as an individual but as an application. That’s a lot of negative news. Now for something positive! Instagram is bringing back the chronological feed. That means, the new algorithm takes a back seat. Well done, Instagram. The algorithm was messed up anyway.

Now for the second positive news, this is the end of the newsletter. Finally, how do you feel? You just read over 1200 words. That’s a lot, to be honest. This was a very happening week with a lot of action. To be on top of tech news, make sure to subscribe to Sunday Tech Highlights. Until then, make sure to update all your devices and I will catch you next week.