Our favorite Microsoft Teams feature is coming to more users

Microsoft is preparing an update for collaboration platform Teams that will extend access to of the most useful features to a wider range of users.

As explained in a new entry in the company’s product roadmap, Microsoft is bringing the meeting transcription service to customers running Teams on virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI).

The update is currently scheduled to take effect in June, after which employees using virtual machines will have full access to the feature.

Microsoft Teams update

The transcription feature was first made available to Teams users roughly a year ago, giving meeting attendees an easy way to review the conversation after the fact. It also gives anyone either late to join or unable to participate the ability to catch up after a meeting has concluded.

“Live transcripts provide a way to follow along with what has been said and who said it. After a meeting, the transcript file is automatically saved in the chat tab for that meeting,” the roadmap entry explains.

Until now, the feature has been available exclusively to employees running the standard Microsoft Teams clients for desktop and mobile, excluding the fairly sizable section of users running Teams out of a virtual machine.

With the upcoming update, however, Microsoft will ensure that all users are able to benefit from the functionality.

The broad objective is to ensure the meeting experience is consistent for all Microsoft Teams users, no matter which client or hardware they are using to dial in. Beyond the transcription feature, the company has made a number of recent additions with this goal in mind.

For example, Microsoft recently extended access to background blur to VDI users, announced an update that will improve the meeting experience on Mozilla Firefox, and enabled the live captions feature for guest users.

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iPhone 6 users can no longer access Twitter, and they’re not happy

The latest update to the Twitter app has killed off support for iOS 12, with the latest version of the app now requiring iOS 14 or later in order to function – and that means users of the iPhone 6, which can’t be updated beyond iOS 12, can no longer access all of Twitter’s features. 

While we can’t get hold of an iPhone 6 to see for ourselves, users across Twitter have been complaining about losing access to many features on their phones, following the update.

Without the option to upgrade beyond iOS 12, it’s plain to see why iPhone 6 users, along with owners of the iPad Air and 6th-generation iPod Touch, are a bit miffed about the Twitter app's latest requirement.

Users stuck on iOS 12 report that while they can still see tweets on their timeline, the rest of the app no longer functions correctly. 

Thankfully for users who are still clinging to their iPhone 6, it is not a completely lost cause, as it is still possible to use Twitter on the device, as the web client still functions without issue, but it’s hardly a perfect solution/it’s no substitute for the full app experience.


Analysis: a shocking twist that was a long time coming

Although the loss of full app functionality has come as a shock to many iPhone 6 users, the demise of Twitter on iOS 12 has been a long time coming, as the social media giant officially dropped support for the nearly four-year-old operating system in early 2021. 

Even after official support for the app stopped on iOS 12, iPhone 6 users were still able to enjoy the core functionality of the app, albeit without the new features of the latest versions. 

Looking at the numbers though, it’s no surprise that Twitter will have wanted to scuttle the older version of the app. According to Apple, only 2% of iPhone users are still using a version of iOS that’s older than iOS 14, which makes maintaining an aging version of the Twitter app a largely worthless but nonetheless costly endeavor. 

Regardless of the fact that this decision only affects 2% of Apple’s users who have stuck with their seven-year-old devices, it’s nevertheless a reminder that planned obsolescence is very much an issue that will come for all our devices eventually. 

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Spotify users’ lives will get a lot simpler with Google’s new Play Store update

Spotify and Google are teaming up to give users on Android smartphones more choice on how they pay for a Premium subscription to the music platform.

From later this year, you'll be able to choose for the payment to either go through Spotify's own system or Google Play Billing instead, according to the latest Spotify Blog Post. The change is expected to come to other big-name apps as well, though we’ve yet to hear specifics.

The initiative is being called ‘User Choice Billing’, and it will give you the option to choose between giving more to the creators of the apps you use or continuing to contribute to Google’s Play Store infrastructure. 

But, which payment system is likely to be best for you?


Analysis: Which payment system will be better? 

Giving people more choice is rarely a bad thing, but here it definitely feels like you’re being asked to weigh up two nearly identical options.

When Epic Games tried to circumvent Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store payments in Fortnite mobile, it attracted customers by charging less for in-game goodies than if they bought via the third-party. Unfortunately, we don’t expect this will be the case here, as it’s a Google-led initiative.

If Spotify Premium costs less through Spotify than through Google’s Play Store (or vice versa), then you’d have no reason to opt for the pricier option.

So, assuming both systems are equally expensive for the customer which is better? If you want to maximize the portion of your money going to Spotify, then most likely its own private system will be best. 

But, for convenience, Google’s billing is likely to be your best option. As all of your subscription payment data is stored in one place, the next time that you get a new debit or credit card you won’t have to remember everywhere that it’s used – you just have to update your details once, and your subscriptions will all continue.

Additionally, it’ll be easier to keep an eye on the subscriptions that you have. It’s not hard to forget that you have recurring billing set up for an app you rarely use, so by storing all of your subscriptions in one location within Google Play, you’d be able to quickly scroll through and find out what you’re paying without having to decode your bank statements.

If the service spreads to other apps and services, it might also give you the option to pay for digital goods without having to give your card details to a platform that you aren’t familiar with.

However, as with all upcoming features, we’ll have to wait and see just how much of a time or money saver 'User Choice Billing' ends up being when it launches.

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Gmail on Android notifications are getting a whole new look that might divide users

Android users will soon be able to quickly see whether they have a notification from Google Chat or Spaces right from the status bar as a new update is now rolling out to Gmail.

As Hangouts will soon be replaced by Google Chat for Google Workspace users, the search giant has added new status bar icons that make it easier to differentiate between Google Chat and Spaces notifications.

Up until now, Google's messaging app Chat and its Slack and Microsoft Teams competitor Spaces have both used a filled-in message bubble with another one behind it as their status bar icon. This made it difficult for users to determine whether they had a message from a single co-worker or if someone had said something in a group chat.

Thankfully, this will no longer be the case once Google's latest update for Gmail becomes widely available.

New status bar icons

As spotted by 9to5Google, Gmail for Android is currently in the process of rolling out separate icons for both Chat and Spaces notifications.

The new Chat icon is a single message bubble that's outlined and has an empty interior while the new Spaces icon depicts three people next to each other. If either of these new icons look familiar, that is because they're currently being used on Google's email client for desktop.

While the new Google Chat icon makes sense, some users might be confused by the new Spaces icon at first since it looks more like a social networking app than a workplace chat app.

According to 9to5Google, the publication has only seen these new status bar icons appear on a single Android smartphone running Gmail version 2022.02.20. However, Google will likely roll them out to more Android devices soon.

Via 9to5Google

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Gmail on Android notifications are getting a whole new look that might divide users

Android users will soon be able to quickly see whether they have a notification from Google Chat or Spaces right from the status bar as a new update is now rolling out to Gmail.

As Hangouts will soon be replaced by Google Chat for Google Workspace users, the search giant has added new status bar icons that make it easier to differentiate between Google Chat and Spaces notifications.

Up until now, Google's messaging app Chat and its Slack and Microsoft Teams competitor Spaces have both used a filled-in message bubble with another one behind it as their status bar icon. This made it difficult for users to determine whether they had a message from a single co-worker or if someone had said something in a group chat.

Thankfully, this will no longer be the case once Google's latest update for Gmail becomes widely available.

New status bar icons

As spotted by 9to5Google, Gmail for Android is currently in the process of rolling out separate icons for both Chat and Spaces notifications.

The new Chat icon is a single message bubble that's outlined and has an empty interior while the new Spaces icon depicts three people next to each other. If either of these new icons look familiar, that is because they're currently being used on Google's email client for desktop.

While the new Google Chat icon makes sense, some users might be confused by the new Spaces icon at first since it looks more like a social networking app than a workplace chat app.

According to 9to5Google, the publication has only seen these new status bar icons appear on a single Android smartphone running Gmail version 2022.02.20. However, Google will likely roll them out to more Android devices soon.

Via 9to5Google

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Are Apple Services down? Users unable to access iCloud, send files through AirDrop

We're getting reports that Apple's online services such as the App Store, iCloud and others are seeing outages across the globe.

Reports of issues with Apple began to surface around 16.55 GMT, with hundreds of users signaled problems on the outage tracker site DownDetector.

The company has yet to confirm that there are problems for now, but it's best to keep track of Apple Status for now.

We're following the story live, so stay tuned and read all our latest updates below…

App Store, iCloud, and Music all look to be down for now, with our writer Rhys Wood reporting that AirDrop isn't working either for him.

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Are Apple Services down? Users unable to access iCloud, send files through AirDrop

We're getting reports that Apple's online services such as the App Store, iCloud and others are seeing outages across the globe.

Reports of issues with Apple began to surface around 16.55 GMT, with hundreds of users signaled problems on the outage tracker site DownDetector.

The company has yet to confirm that there are problems for now, but it's best to keep track of Apple Status for now.

We're following the story live, so stay tuned and read all our latest updates below…

App Store, iCloud, and Music all look to be down for now, with our writer Rhys Wood reporting that AirDrop isn't working either for him.

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Meta wants to make Instagram users suffer with NFT features soon – but why?

It's been confirmed that Instagram will be featuring the ability to buy and mine an NFT soon, in Meta's further attempt to stifle innovation and force crypto-currency to unsuspecting users.

According to Engadget, the head of Meta, Mark Zuckerburg, confirmed during a talk at SXSW that the company was looking into features that would enable you to mine NFTs on Instagram, completely missing the point of what the social platform is for.

While I could fill this article with nothing but the word 'Why' repeated across four paragraphs, I wanted to express my distaste of NFTs (Non-Fungible Token) and how they have no place on social media platforms.

We've already seen bizarre decisions from Twitter in previous weeks, and it looks as though Meta is also drinking the same water if it thinks that NFTs are a good idea for Instagram. We're so early in this technology, here's why I think that it shouldn't be considered as a feature for at least five years, giving tokens the time to mature to a point that they can help, rather than hinder.

Non-fungible sense

If you've seen the term NFT be bandied around, they are non-fungible tokens that take an image that will have a unique code of numbers attached to it. This code will be exclusive to you, and this means that you'll be able to sell or trade that unique code as you wish.

This is what Meta is planning for Instagram, as a way of extending the shopping experience that you can already do on the app. But already it feels lazy.

At the event, Zuckerberg spoke of Instagram and NFTs but wasn't prepared to give a date of when the feature would land. “I'm not ready to kind of announce exactly what that's going to be today,” Zuckerberg clarified. “But over the next several months, the ability to bring some of your NFTs in, hopefully over time be able to mint things within that environment.”

The environment is an ironic word to use here, due to the fact that mining NFTs have already proven to be a detriment to the electrical grid that we use every day.

According to Investopedia, minting one NFT is the equivalent of using the same amount of electricity as an average American household for around nine days. We've already seen the pushback from so many users to companies that have been advertising NFTs for their brands and products, only to quickly roll back their commitment. Team17 was an unfortunate example of this in the gaming industry, and already we're seeing a dip in NFT popularity amongst mainstream users.

But deciding to attach NFT to Instagram feels half-baked already. Just because it's a social platform that deals in photos, automatically means that NFTs are a natural fit for Instagram.

Banjo Kazooie

(Image credit: Rare / Nintendo)

But these tokens are already expanding to other avenues. Seeing the term 'play to earn' with NFT has been making me uncomfortable. I've started to see it on ads in between YouTube videos I'd watch at the weekend, and instantly go to the 'report ad' button.

Looking beyond the behemoth that the gaming industry has become, games are there to be enjoyed, to be used as a form of escape. It's spawned careers and dreams for so many people, but not once have you played a level of Banjo Kazooie and thought, 'Maybe Gruntilda can pay for my phone bill this month through an NFT?'

The same applies to social media apps. During the early days of MSN Messenger, MySpace and Bebo, you would keep in touch with friends and family, perhaps even carrying on any conversations you've had with them from earlier that day.

Having NFTs in social media apps is a distraction and gets away from why you use these platforms in the first place. Let's also consider the users who only reach for Instagram and other apps occasionally, and who wouldn't be interested in NFTs at all. It feels pointless and unnecessary in the long term, not just for users, but for Meta as well.

But for me, NFTs are bad for everyone in 2022. There may be a time where the fourth or fifth generation of this technology will be a benefit. Perhaps these next- next-next-generation of NFTs toward the end of the decade will also help the environment instead of damage it.

But as it stands, they're a wasteful use of time and resources. In an era where Meta is trying to save face while enduring a multitude of controversies, from Cambridge Analytica to dealing with hate speech across its platforms of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, perhaps the company should focus on those issues first, rather than trying to chase an innovation that's already looking like a fool's errand.

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Meta wants to make Instagram users suffer with NFT features soon – but why?

It's been confirmed that Instagram will be featuring the ability to buy and mine an NFT soon, in Meta's further attempt to stifle innovation and force crypto-currency to unsuspecting users.

According to Engadget, the head of Meta, Mark Zuckerburg, confirmed during a talk at SXSW that the company was looking into features that would enable you to mine NFTs on Instagram, completely missing the point of what the social platform is for.

While I could fill this article with nothing but the word 'Why' repeated across four paragraphs, I wanted to express my distaste of NFTs (Non-Fungible Token) and how they have no place on social media platforms.

We've already seen bizarre decisions from Twitter in previous weeks, and it looks as though Meta is also drinking the same water if it thinks that NFTs are a good idea for Instagram. We're so early in this technology, here's why I think that it shouldn't be considered as a feature for at least five years, giving tokens the time to mature to a point that they can help, rather than hinder.

Non-fungible sense

If you've seen the term NFT be bandied around, they are non-fungible tokens that take an image that will have a unique code of numbers attached to it. This code will be exclusive to you, and this means that you'll be able to sell or trade that unique code as you wish.

This is what Meta is planning for Instagram, as a way of extending the shopping experience that you can already do on the app. But already it feels lazy.

At the event, Zuckerberg spoke of Instagram and NFTs but wasn't prepared to give a date of when the feature would land. “I'm not ready to kind of announce exactly what that's going to be today,” Zuckerberg clarified. “But over the next several months, the ability to bring some of your NFTs in, hopefully over time be able to mint things within that environment.”

The environment is an ironic word to use here, due to the fact that mining NFTs have already proven to be a detriment to the electrical grid that we use every day.

According to Investopedia, minting one NFT is the equivalent of using the same amount of electricity as an average American household for around nine days. We've already seen the pushback from so many users to companies that have been advertising NFTs for their brands and products, only to quickly roll back their commitment. Team17 was an unfortunate example of this in the gaming industry, and already we're seeing a dip in NFT popularity amongst mainstream users.

But deciding to attach NFT to Instagram feels half-baked already. Just because it's a social platform that deals in photos, automatically means that NFTs are a natural fit for Instagram.

Banjo Kazooie

(Image credit: Rare / Nintendo)

But these tokens are already expanding to other avenues. Seeing the term 'play to earn' with NFT has been making me uncomfortable. I've started to see it on ads in between YouTube videos I'd watch at the weekend, and instantly go to the 'report ad' button.

Looking beyond the behemoth that the gaming industry has become, games are there to be enjoyed, to be used as a form of escape. It's spawned careers and dreams for so many people, but not once have you played a level of Banjo Kazooie and thought, 'Maybe Gruntilda can pay for my phone bill this month through an NFT?'

The same applies to social media apps. During the early days of MSN Messenger, MySpace and Bebo, you would keep in touch with friends and family, perhaps even carrying on any conversations you've had with them from earlier that day.

Having NFTs in social media apps is a distraction and gets away from why you use these platforms in the first place. Let's also consider the users who only reach for Instagram and other apps occasionally, and who wouldn't be interested in NFTs at all. It feels pointless and unnecessary in the long term, not just for users, but for Meta as well.

But for me, NFTs are bad for everyone in 2022. There may be a time where the fourth or fifth generation of this technology will be a benefit. Perhaps these next- next-next-generation of NFTs toward the end of the decade will also help the environment instead of damage it.

But as it stands, they're a wasteful use of time and resources. In an era where Meta is trying to save face while enduring a multitude of controversies, from Cambridge Analytica to dealing with hate speech across its platforms of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, perhaps the company should focus on those issues first, rather than trying to chase an innovation that's already looking like a fool's errand.

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Is Slack down? Messaging platform not working for some users

We're getting reports that online collaboration platform Slack is seeing outages across the UK.

Reports of issues with Slack began to surface around 10.30am GMT, with hundreds of users signalled problems on outage tracker site DownDetector.

We're following the story live, so stay tuned and read all our latest updates below…

As you can see in the below image from DownDetector, there's been a definitely spike in complaints from Slack users across the UK.

DownDetector slack stats

(Image credit: DownDetector)

There has been no official confirmation of any issues from Slack itself, with the company's Slack Status Twitter page remaining silent so far.

Slack's online dashboard is also quiet for now, with green across the page – let's see if that changes any time soon…

Slack status page

(Image credit: Slack)

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