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Google Messages may finally be adding end-to-end encryption for RCS

Erin Fox

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Google Messages may finally be adding end-to-end encryption for RCS

An analysis of the latest update to Google Messages suggests it may be moving closer to having end-to-end encryption for RCS, according to 9to5 Google (via APKMirror). Rich communication services, or RCS, is the successor to SMS messaging and does what most other texting services do, but without the end-to-end encryption that apps like Signal and iMessage have. Its widespread adoption has been a bit of a mess, but the major US cellular carriers announced late last year that they would offer RCS in 2020.

Google first unveiled RCS chat as Android’s primary texting platform in 2018, and in November, announced it was actually rolling it out to users in the US.

An internal build of Google Messages v. 6.2 has several lines of code that offer clues to possible future features for the app, including 12 new strings that refer to encryption, according to 9to5 Google’s analysis. There isn’t enough information available to determine whether the sender and recipient of texts in Messages would need to be using the app for the end-to-end encryption to be in effect. The code updates do suggest a setting that might allow users to decide whether to grant permission to other Android apps that have access to messages to see encrypted messages as well.

There’s no way to know if or when Google will ever ship the end-to-end encryption feature. But the company has said previously that it was working on it, so it seems likely to happen.

From television to the internet platform, Erin switched her journey in digital media with News Brig. She served as a journalist for popular news channels and currently contributes his experience for News Brig by writing about the tech domain.

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GM Cruise tries to poach Zoox engineers as company for sale

Erin Fox

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GM Cruise tries to poach Zoox engineers as company for sale

(Reuters) – Self-driving technology company Cruise, a unit of General Motors Co’s (GM.N), is trying to poach engineers from struggling rival Zoox Inc, according to an email sent to Zoox engineers by the founder of Cruise this week.

FILE PHOTO: Kyle Vogt, chief technology officer, president & co-founder of Cruise, a Honda and General Motors self-driving car partnership, stretches from a Cruise Origin autonomous vehicle during its unveiling in San Francisco, California, U.S. January 21, 2020. REUTERS/Stephen Lam/File Photo

The move comes as the Wall Street Journal reported last week that e-commerce giant Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) is in advanced talks to buy Zoox, a company founded six years ago and based in Silicon Valley.

“Cruise is willing to recognize the full value of the rewards you’ve earned at Zoox – something that is very unlikely to occur via an acquisition in this environment,” said the email from Cruise founder Kyle Vogt sent in the past two days, according to a person who has seen the email. Reuters has not seen a copy of it.

Cruise on Thursday confirmed the email was sent. “We’re going after the best talent in the world, wherever they may be working and whatever else they might be working on,” said Cruise Chief Communications Officer Kristine Boyden by email.

The person who has seen the email said there was no mention of Amazon in the letter, but that it kicked off by saying: “Writing because your company is potentially about to go through a major transition.”

Zoox didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment about the Cruise letter to its employees. As of May 12, Zoox had around 1,100 employees, according to data company PitchBook.

California Employment Development Department records show Zoox laid off 87 employees in April.

The source said Cruise has been doubling down on recruiting talent for its core technology and that layoffs in May that impacted over 140 employees was a move to “right size” the organization. The layoffs included staff at an engineering team in Pasadena, California, that worked on lidar, a sensor technology that uses pulsed laser light to sense objects.

Still, Cruise in April acquired a German radar company Astyx that has about 60 employees, the company confirmed on Thursday.

Cruise has also hired many engineers this year from self-driving truck firm Starsky Robotics which shut down in March, according to two former Starsky engineers and information posted by engineers on LinkedIn.

Reporting By Jane Lanhee Lee; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore

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Australia fines Sony $2.4 million for refusing refunds on faulty PlayStation games

Erin Fox

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Australia fines Sony $2.4 million for refusing refunds on faulty PlayStation games

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Sony PlayStation is displayed in Chiba, east of Tokyo, Japan, September 12, 2019. REUTERS/Issei Kato/File Photo

(Reuters) – A court has ruled that a unit of Japan’s Sony Corp broke the consumer law by denying customers refunds for faulty PlayStation games and ordered the company to pay a A$3.5 million ($2.4 million) fine, Australia’s consumer watchdog said.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) had filed a lawsuit against Sony Interactive Entertainment Network Europe Ltd in May last year for telling four customers it did not have to provide refunds for faulty games after they had been downloaded, or more than 14 days since purchase.

The court also rapped the global video game company for offering only store credits rather than cash to refund another customer.

“What Sony told these consumers was false and does not reflect the consumer guarantee rights afforded to Australian consumers under the Australian Consumer Law,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said in a statement here on Friday.

Sony Europe had admitted liability and would contribute to the regulator’s legal costs for the case, according to the ACCC.

Sony did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for a comment.

($1 = 1.4343 Australian dollars)

Reporting by Shashwat Awasthi, additional reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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Apple is testing a better way to change iPad keyboard brightness

Erin Fox

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Apple is testing a better way to change iPad keyboard brightness

Apple is working on a way to make it easier to change iPad keyboard brightness, according to new code analyzed by 9to5Mac. A beta version of iPadOS 13.5.5 reportedly contains references to keyboard shortcuts that could change the brightness of the keyboard backlighting as well as the iPad’s screen.

Apple’s new iPad Pro Magic Keyboard is in many ways a great solution for iPad power users, but the company’s continued refusal to include a function row on its iPad keyboards comes with some big tradeoffs. In order to change keyboard backlighting brightness, for example, you currently have to delve down multiple levels in the Settings app.

9to5Mac hasn’t been able to actually make use of the keyboard shortcuts in this beta software, so it’s possible that they won’t ship until a later version of iPadOS 13 or even 14. At least Apple appears to have clocked that the present situation is less than ideal.

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