Waze launches a fun nostalgia mode – but is that what we want?

Get ready to jam to some oldies in your car with a clever new event provided by Google-owned Waze navigation. Starting this week, you’ll be able to activate Retro Mode in Waze to change the look of the app and discover music from bygone decades.

In a blog post, Waze cited ‘70s disco, ‘80s Jazzercise, and 90’s computer aesthetics as examples of how you’ll be able to theme your trip. The themes will also come with their own eccentric radio DJ’s to host the radio show and navigate your trip (which sounds awesome or annoying, depending on your mood).

In retro mode, you’ll also be able to change your car’s icon to a flower pot, a 90’s computer, or a Rad Racer sports car for some added fun. 

Waze also partnered with music streaming service TuneIn to provide ‘70s music to the UK, ‘90s hits to the US and Canada, and ‘80s Alive to France. 

To use this new feature, click “My Waze” in the app and tap the “Drive with the ‘80s” banner. The feature is available globally in English, French, and Portuguese. 

Analysis: Some users have other ideas

While this little event seems a fun addition on the surface, many folks who use Waze might prefer some more useful app improvements, instead. The navigation app often does point commuters to shorter routes to get them to destinations faster, but upon browsing the subreddit for the app, we found that some find it a bit buggy, and there are users who believe that development is declining.

A post by a Waze user, though it is a few months old, indicates exactly that. They lament that the app is “progressively worse at routing”, or that the app will change routes mid-drive and add more time to the trip. Users in the comments of the post seem to mostly echo those sentiments, with many others noting that they only use it to “know where the cops and other hazards are”.

This community appears concerned that Google is pushing development aside in favor of Maps, which would make sense given that it is the most popular mobile navigation app in the US. Some users are also dissatisfied with the points system that the app uses to rank reports for relevancy, legitimacy, and to prevent abuse of the system.

So, sure, we'll take a fun ride down memory lane with Waze, but let's also make sure that the old road is the best one – and that it's the shortest distance from 1970s Point A to current 2022 Point B.

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Proton launches a privacy-first alternative to Google Calendar for Android

Building on its VPN and secure email service, Proton has launched an encrypted calendar app for Android as part of its mission to create a better internet where privacy is the default.

Proton Calendar first launched on desktop back in 2020 and last year, the company released a beta version of its encrypted mobile calendar app.

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While securing your calendar may not be the first thing that comes to mind in regard to protecting your privacy, it actually contains loads of personal data including who you meet and where you meet. As this information deserves the same level of protection as your email and files, Proton has stepped up to create the most secure calendar around.

Unlike other calendar apps, all of the event details including event names, participants, locations, notes and descriptions in Proton Calendar are fully encrypted to prevent others from gaining access to your schedule.

Proton Calendar for Android

Proton Calendar for Android includes a full set of advanced features and functionalities so it can easily replace Google Calendar or any other calendar app you may currently be using.

With Proton Calendar installed on your Android smartphone, you can easily switch between day, schedule and month view to see your calendar as you like and Proton has also created a widget which you can add to your home screen for a bird’s eye view of your upcoming events.

Proton has even included both a light and dark mode with the option to easily switch between the two as well as the ability to set multiple reminders on your phone and by email to ensure you’re always on time.

For those interested in switching to Proton Calendar, there are two ways to do so. First off, you can import your existing calendar by using Easy Switch from the settings menu of your ProtonMail account. However, you can also import a local calendar file with the .ics file extension directly into Proton Calendar.

Once your events arrive in Proton Calendar, they are automatically encrypted to help keep your data, plans and whereabouts private.

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Proton launches a privacy-first alternative to Google Calendar for Android

Building on its VPN and secure email service, Proton has launched an encrypted calendar app for Android as part of its mission to create a better internet where privacy is the default.

Proton Calendar first launched on desktop back in 2020 and last year, the company released a beta version of its encrypted mobile calendar app.

Share your thoughts on Cybersecurity and get a free copy of the Hacker’s Manual 2022. Help us find how businesses are preparing for the post-Covid world and the implications of these activities on their cybersecurity plans. Enter your email at the end of this survey to get the bookazine, worth $ 10.99/£10.99.

While securing your calendar may not be the first thing that comes to mind in regard to protecting your privacy, it actually contains loads of personal data including who you meet and where you meet. As this information deserves the same level of protection as your email and files, Proton has stepped up to create the most secure calendar around.

Unlike other calendar apps, all of the event details including event names, participants, locations, notes and descriptions in Proton Calendar are fully encrypted to prevent others from gaining access to your schedule.

Proton Calendar for Android

Proton Calendar for Android includes a full set of advanced features and functionalities so it can easily replace Google Calendar or any other calendar app you may currently be using.

With Proton Calendar installed on your Android smartphone, you can easily switch between day, schedule and month view to see your calendar as you like and Proton has also created a widget which you can add to your home screen for a bird’s eye view of your upcoming events.

Proton has even included both a light and dark mode with the option to easily switch between the two as well as the ability to set multiple reminders on your phone and by email to ensure you’re always on time.

For those interested in switching to Proton Calendar, there are two ways to do so. First off, you can import your existing calendar by using Easy Switch from the settings menu of your ProtonMail account. However, you can also import a local calendar file with the .ics file extension directly into Proton Calendar.

Once your events arrive in Proton Calendar, they are automatically encrypted to help keep your data, plans and whereabouts private.

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Microsoft launches special Office 365 bundle for maximum security

Microsoft has announced it will launch a new version of its Office 365 productivity bundle, designed specifically for government and intelligence agencies.

The tailor-made collaboration suite, called Office 365 Government Secret, is currently pending accreditation and should be available by mid-2022.

Announcing the news in a blog post, Microsoft CVP Paul Lorimer noted that today’s governments face many challenges, “including increasing employee engagement and productivity with the latest tools, securing and controlling sensitive data, and managing multiple applications, devices, and workloads”.

Add in a heightened demand for security and you end up with a major market in need of “secure, productive, and efficient cloud options”.

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Supporting government agencies

Office 365 Government Secret is built to support the US Federal Civilian, Department of Defense (DoD), Intelligence Community (IC), and US government partners working within the Secret enclave, Lorimer added.

“With the launch of this new environment supporting Impact Level 6 (IL6), we’re adding to the comprehensive set of Office 365 Government cloud offerings to help meet the full spectrum of government data needs.”

This new productivity suite will run the latest enterprise-grade Office 365 Government productivity, security, compliance, and collaboration applications, it was added. 

This is not the first time Microsoft has built custom solutions exclusively for government agencies. In August last year, the company announced the general availability of Azure Government Secret and Top Secret clouds.

Launched with more than 60 initial services (with more in the pipeline), the product was built to “accelerate the delivery of national security workloads classified at the US Top Secret level”. Microsoft also has more than 73 services under Azure Government Secret.

Those that plan to deploy Office 365 Secret environment should engage with their onboarding teams, the company said, in order to be ready when the final authorization is given.

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Shopify launches its own link in bio pages to help you sell direct

Shopify has announced its entry into the link in bio space: the popular set of services that make up for missing features on Twitter, Instagram, and other services.

The company's new Linkpop tool offers many of the tools you'd expect: multiple links to popular services in a simple and clean UI. 

“When you’re only sharing one link at a time with your audience, they’re missing out on all that and will have difficulty following you across all the platforms you operate on,” Shopify says. “That’s the beauty of a link in bio page. It’s a place where your audience and customers can find you, every place you are.”

Shopify integration

The obvious benefit of using Shopify's own tools is that they integrate deeply into the company's other ecommerce offerings, which have become incredibly popular over the pandemic. 

If you're selling on Shopify, your products are easily imported over to your Linkpop page. Set up is super simple and the service is free, albeit with more limited features than some paid plans that integrate into the broader suite. 

While Shopify's star has waned somewhat from its high, millions of people still use its tools to sell all kinds of products. Being the anti-Amazon is still a big market, after all, and there are few tools that make selling as easy. 

A vital service

If you use social media, you've almost certainly come across such a service, which essentially compensate for only being able to add one link to most profiles.

Linktree is probably the most popular example and the company recent raised a staggering $ 110 million at a $ 1.1 billion valuation, signalling how popular the space has become.

It remains somewhat strange that Twitter and Instagram haven't built similar features, allowing an entirely new space to flourish. Native versions of link in bio tools would have obvious advantages over third-party tools, but for some reason these have never materialised. 

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Shopify launches its own link in bio pages to help you sell direct

Shopify has announced its entry into the link in bio space: the popular set of services that make up for missing features on Twitter, Instagram, and other services.

The company's new Linkpop tool offers many of the tools you'd expect: multiple links to popular services in a simple and clean UI. 

“When you’re only sharing one link at a time with your audience, they’re missing out on all that and will have difficulty following you across all the platforms you operate on,” Shopify says. “That’s the beauty of a link in bio page. It’s a place where your audience and customers can find you, every place you are.”

Shopify integration

The obvious benefit of using Shopify's own tools is that they integrate deeply into the company's other ecommerce offerings, which have become incredibly popular over the pandemic. 

If you're selling on Shopify, your products are easily imported over to your Linkpop page. Set up is super simple and the service is free, albeit with more limited features than some paid plans that integrate into the broader suite. 

While Shopify's star has waned somewhat from its high, millions of people still use its tools to sell all kinds of products. Being the anti-Amazon is still a big market, after all, and there are few tools that make selling as easy. 

A vital service

If you use social media, you've almost certainly come across such a service, which essentially compensate for only being able to add one link to most profiles.

Linktree is probably the most popular example and the company recent raised a staggering $ 110 million at a $ 1.1 billion valuation, signalling how popular the space has become.

It remains somewhat strange that Twitter and Instagram haven't built similar features, allowing an entirely new space to flourish. Native versions of link in bio tools would have obvious advantages over third-party tools, but for some reason these have never materialised. 

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Firefox 98 launches with better features to download files

Mozilla has updated its Firefox web browser across all available platforms to version 98, with a refreshed look for iOS and Android, and an easier way to download files.

Since its refreshed look in 2021 called Proton, Firefox has been busy working on smaller refinements to improve the overall experience of its web browser across desktop and mobile devices.

But this also applies to Firefox on iOS and Android, where its appearance has been inspired by Apple's efforts to refine its Safari browser. That's right, the Firefox mobile browser address bar is now at the bottom of the interface, alongside being able to set a wallpaper to the main page.

Version 98 is available for everyone on the web, while you can download or update the web browser from the App Store or Google Play Store.

How are Downloads improved in Firefox 98?

Clearly, this is a release focused on how and where you download files. It's something many of us do almost every time we use a web browser. Back in the days of Internet Explorer, you could only download one file at a time, with a window that displayed the progress on a dial-up modem.

Thankfully the web has moved on since then, but Mozilla has improved download management further with Firefox 98:

  • Go To Download Page: Locates the download reference page even after leaving the site or closing the tab.
  • Copy Download Link: Copies the download link to let you share it or save it.
  • Show In Folder: Opens the folder that contains your downloaded files.
  • Remove From History: Removes a file from your list of downloaded files.
  • Clear Preview Panel: Clears the list of downloaded items in the preview panel that opens when you start a download.
  • Always Open Similar Files: Makes Firefox automatically open downloaded files of the same type with the system default application.

These improvements will help if you download multiple files frequently. If you're a designer or a researcher, having Firefox know which app to open for certain file types will cut down the steps from downloading a file to opening it in the app of your choice.

As we approach version 100 in the coming months, we may see more refinements to Mozilla's web browser to mark the big number. But even if we don't, better management of your downloaded files is still a big win for your workflow.

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Facebook Reels launches worldwide for iOS and Android alongside new features

Similar to Instagram Reels, Facebook is launching its own take on the feature first influenced by TikTok, outside of the USA from today (February 22), rolling out to 150 countries, including the UK.

In a blogpost, Facebook is also announcing features to help creators earn money from the reels that they create, alongside reels that can last for up to 60 seconds, and more features to come.

Facebook Reels launched in the USA back in September 2021, with users being able to access short videos from friends and pages, all in one section.

But the elephant in the room is to wonder where Instagram fits in this, and whether Facebook Reels has a place alongside TikTok, Snapchat and others.

New features also arrive

Alongside the ability to create 60-second reels, you can also create remixes of existing reels that others have created. This works similar to duets on TikTok, where you can use an existing video to showcase your reactions or respond to the original video.

If you're midway through making a new Reel and you need to pause, a new 'save to draft' option can help you pick off where you left off later in the day.

There's also going to be ways to share your Reels through Stories, alongside a dedicated Reels label at the top of the Facebook app to make it easier for users to find other videos.

Finally, ways to monetize Reels are slowly arriving, such as an upcoming feature called Stars, which is a way to 'tip' creators while a live Reel is ongoing.

Facebook Reels in action on iOS

(Image credit: Meta)

Reels looks to mimic what's made TikTok so successful so far. Instagram Reels has seemingly done well for Meta, but Instagram Stories is still its shining jewel.

Time will tell whether having two types of Reels from Meta will be worth having, but for now, better features with a worldwide rollout could help Facebook pivot to video in a better way, compared to its previous efforts of Facebook Live and Facebook Video feeds.

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