Google Chat’s latest visual update hides an important tab

Summary

  • Google Chat has added Starred messages to its mobile apps, allowing users to prioritize important messages.
  • The redesign includes moving the Mentions tab into a three-dot menu within the navigation bar, which may cause some confusion initially.
  • The changes will be available to all Google Chat app users on iOS and Android, but it could take a couple of weeks to become widely available.


Google Chat has undergone a couple of design changes since late last year, starting with the introduction of a bottom navigation bar on its mobile apps. This was followed up by a logo redesign in line with a few other Google Workspace apps. Google Chat is now picking up another visual upgrade with the addition of Starred messages on iOS and Android.

The web version of Google Chat added support for Starred messages back in November, as noted by the Workspace blog. This feature is now ready to make it to the mobile apps, involving a rearrangement of the bottom navigation bar. To accommodate this, Mentions has been moved inside a three-dot menu within the pill-shaped container, joining the new Starred option, as shown below. In its previous form, Mentions was the fourth option in the navigation bar after Home, Direct Messages, and Spaces.

Google Chat Starred Mobile

Google says this change “helps you stay on top of your most important messages,” but it can be quite confusing at first glance, especially with the Mentions option disappearing. As 9to5Google notes, the existing arrangement of the pill-shaped container is still present within the Gmail app’s Chat experience, pictured below.

Google Chat Mentions Gmail-1

The navigation bar of the Google Chat app inside Gmail

When the feature is available, users will be able to star messages by long-pressing the chat and tapping the star. You can unstar a message by going to the

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Meta introduces Community Chats, blending Messenger with Facebook Groups

What you need to know

  • Meta announces Community Chats coming to Messenger and Facebook Groups.
  • The new feature will allow admins to create large community chats for like-minded people with multiple channels in their own tabs for organization.
  • Testing for this new feature begins on Messenger first with Meta looking to expand it to Facebook Groups in the weeks after.

Meta announced on Tuesday that it’s begun testing its new Community Chats feature coming to Messenger and Facebook.

Facebook wants to help its users better connect with one another and reach more like-minded people with this new Community Chats feature. According to Meta’s post, the company will begin allowing people to test Community Chats within Messenger. This will give users the ability to create a community, start chatting, create audio channels, and invite people to join their group.

Meta says it wants to help users engage “in real-time with larger communities over shared interests.” With that, Community Chats is designed to be a feature that helps people “connect more deeply” on topics they share an interest in. Community Chats will allow users to engage through text chat, audio, and video. In addition, Meta states that this new chat function will seamlessly combine Messenger and Facebook Groups.

The admin (creator) of a Community Chat will have tools to create an easy-to-navigate experience by placing certain topics in their own categories. This allows users to find and tap on what conversation they’d like to engage in, much like WhatsApp’s recent addition of Communities. It also seems as though admins can customize the look of any given chat within their community, such as the background.

Administrators will have a few options to choose from when creating

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Google Messages will soon pick up animated emoji to liven up your chats

But with some limitations

As the default messaging app on some of the best Android phones, Google Messages is crucial for everyday communication. It can handle both conventional SMS/MMS and the more refined RCS standard, making it suitable to connect with practically anyone with a phone number. In its bid to improve user experience, Messages has received advanced AI features like Magic Compose in beta, helping users jot down quick replies. The chat app is now picking up animated emoji, albeit with some restrictions.


Sending standard emoji is already possible in Messages. But the inclusion of animated emoji spices things up a little. However, it seems like animations only work when you send one emoji. So using more than one emoji or even a combination of text and emoji doesn’t appear to trigger the animation.

But on the bright side, it does apply to a whole lot of emoji currently available on your keyboard, making texts livelier. The inclusion of emoji animations within Messages was first discovered by Reddit user BruthaBeige and subsequently posted on the Google Messages subreddit.

google-messages-animated-emoji-anim

Separately, Android expert Mishaal Rahman also appears to have received a tip on the new visual addition, with a user in the replies later confirming its existence. However, the feature doesn’t seem to be live for everyone, so it’s likely a region-restricted rollout at the moment.

There are still some unknowns right now, including the ones we pointed out above. But we expect Google to provide all the relevant information on animated emoji when it’s available for all Messages users. Among the recent additions to the app is a new badge for RCS chats while Google also expanded direct replies for users of the web version of Messages.

Thanks: Hamzah


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WhatsApp users must delete two rogue Android apps NOW before they steal your private chats

ANDROID owners are being urged to check their phones for two rogue apps which can steal your WhatsApp conversations.

A recent investigation by internet security firm ESET revealed that a new version of spyware known as GravityRAT was being distributed on Android phones – using two messaging apps as a cyber-trojan-horse.

GravityRAT is a remote access tool which essentially grants hackers full control over a device from a remote location

1

GravityRAT is a remote access tool which essentially grants hackers full control over a device from a remote locationCredit: Getty – Contributor

The malicious messaging apps are called BingeChat and Chatico, and have been available to download online – but not via the official Google Play Store.

The pair present as a free messaging and file sharing service.

But their real purpose is much more sinister.

These apps have been injected with malware that can delete and steal vast amounts of data, including WhatsApp backup files, SMS messages, contact lists, device location, as well as photos and documents files.

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GravityRAT is a remote access tool, which had previously been used in targeted cyber attacks in India, but essentially grants hackers full control over a device from a remote location.

The malware strain has been active since at least 2015, Bleeping Computer points out, but has only grown popular among Android-targeting hacking groups since 2020.

In a statement, ESET researcher Lukáš Štefanko, who investigated the malicious apps, said: “We found a website that should provide the malicious app after tapping the DOWNLOAD APP button; however, it requires visitors to log in.

“We didn’t have credentials, and registrations were closed.

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“It is most probable that the operators only open registration when they expect a specific victim to visit, possibly with a particular IP address, geolocation, custom URL, or within a specific timeframe

“Although we couldn’t download the BingeChat app via the website, we

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WhatsApp Communities are finally rolling out to beta users, ready to supercharge group chats

Select WhatsApp beta for Android users are gaining access to the Community feature


In April this year, Mark Zuckerberg officially announced WhatsApp Communities, letting you create sub-groups within groups. He called the feature a “major evolution of WhatsApp” and revealed that it had entered the testing phase. Since Communities would be a significant addition to the messaging, the company planned to roll it out slowly. It has been a few months since Facebook’s announcement, but Communities has not made its way to any WhatsApp user. That’s seemingly changing as select WhatsApp beta users have gained access to the feature.

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WABetaInfo reports that the Communities tab is showing up for certain users who updated to WhatsApp beta for Android v2.22.19.3. You can try force closing the app and relaunching it to see if that enables Communities for your account if you are already running the latest beta. In case you are among the lucky users to have access to the feature, you should see the Communities tab instead of the Camera tab on the main WhatsApp screen. You can head over to the tab and start by creating a Community where you can add up to 10 groups with support for up to 512 participants.

WhatsApp-Communities
Source: WABetaInfo

A community member can decide which sub-group to join based on their interest. They can also exit the sub-group whenever they want without leaving the community itself. The messaging service is also working on hiding the numbers of sub-group members from other participants for privacy reasons. However, this feature is not active in the current Communities version. WhatsApp will automatically create a new announcement group when you create a community. Admins can use this group to make announcements and send messages visible to all community and sub-group members. Additionally,

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