RCS Chat is now available to all Android users [Wiretapped]

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[From the December 16th, 2019 Wiretapped newsletter.]

Over the weekend, I published the first part of my iPad Pro 11-inch (2018) review. I know, I know – my review’s a year late. But I’m not just reviewing it. I’m trying to figure out whether it’s worth buying going into 2020. I’ll have more to say on this when part 2 arrives next Sunday. In the meantime, I linked part 1 below.

Let’s get to some news, shall we?


RCS CHAT NOW AVAILABLE TO ALL ANDROID USERS IN THE UNITED STATES

After the rollout began last month, Google says all Android users in the United States can now use RCS Chat through its Messages app. The tech is meant to replace SMS by giving users a more modern texting experience with higher quality photos and videos, read receipts, typing indicators, and improved group chats. RCS has been a long time coming after Google left it up to carriers to roll it out. But at some point, the company got tired of waiting, essentially said “screw it,” and decided to roll it out themselves. So if you’re an Android phone owner in the U.S., be sure to check your Messages app to see how you can enable RCS.

GOOGLE SAYS 98 PERCENT OF THE INHABITED EARTH HAS BEEN CAPTURED FOR MAPS

We all know Google Earth and Maps covers a giant portion of the Earth, but did you know that the search giant has successfully captured 98 percent of the world where people live (via CNET)? That means almost every part of the world that’s inhabited, Google has professional pictures and scans of it. In total, this means the company has captured 36 million square miles of the Earth. It’s also captured 10 million miles of Street View imagery.

This isn’t a ground-breaking announcement or even something you’ll notice when you use Google Maps or Earth, but it’s still cool to hear about and goes to show you how serious Google is about giving you every glimpse of our world possible.

BILLBOARD WILL SOON INCLUDE VIDEO STREAMS IN ALBUM METRICS

This is a bit of a curveball. After all, I don’t often cover the music industry. But I’ve always been fascinated by it, so I thought I’d include some bonus coverage in today’s newsletter.

In an article, Billboard has announced it plans to start including video streams in album metrics to further boost an artist’s placement on the famous Billboard 200 albums chart. Videos on YouTube, Spotify, Apple, Tidal, and Vevo will all count, but those videos must be officially-licensed content “uploaded by or on behalf of rights holders.” That means you can’t just upload a video with your artist’s favorite song and listen to it thousands of times to help them increase their sales. Billboard has safeguards in place to avoid these tricks, and I’m sure they’re being extra careful around videos since they’re easy to manipulate.

These changes will go into effect beginning with the chart dated January 18th, 2020.


There probably won’t be much news this week. Since last week was slow and this is the last full week before Christmas, I can’t imagine many tech companies will be announcing new stuff between now and Friday. Because of this, on Friday, I’ll send out my last newsletter of the year. Be on the lookout for that!

Talk to you guys tomorrow.

– Your pal, Max


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Apple iPad Pro 11-inch (2018) review: a cautionary tale [Part 1]


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