Google shuttering Talk, removing SMS support from Hangouts in new messaging shakeup

Messaging has never been Google’s strong suit. Aside from the various messaging apps from Android phone makers, it also has its own problems, with numerous overlapping apps that all have similar functions: Allo, Android Messages, Hangouts, Duo, Google Voice, and Google Talk. Now, Google is taking some much-needed steps to consolidate its efforts.

On June 26, Google will finally be closing Google Talk for good. The instant messaging service affectionately known as Gchat is one of Google’s oldest messaging apps, having been in existence since 2005. Way back in 2013, Google began encouraging Talk users to switch to Hangouts, and on June 26 the transition will be complete and its doors will be closed for good. On that day, any straggling Talk users will be automatically transitioned to Hangouts for good, where they can continue chatting with their friends. (And for anyone who was hanging on just for the interface, Google notes that the Dense Roster setting in Hangouts will provide a similar experience.)

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Apple: Macs and iPhones are safe from newly revealed CIA exploits

The Mac and iPhone exploits described in new documents attributed to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency were patched years ago, according to Apple.

WikiLeaks released a new set of files Thursday that supposedly came from the CIA. They contain details about the agency’s alleged malware and attack capabilities against iPhones and Mac computers.

The documents, dated 2012 and earlier, describe several “implants” that the CIA can install in the low-level extensible firmware interface (EFI) of Mac laptop and desktop computers. These EFI rootkits allow the agency’s macOS spying malware to persist even after the OS is reinstalled.

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The next hot trend in wearable devices? ‘Hearables,” IDC says

Wearable devices that double as clothing or get worn on the ear will grow the fastest of all wearables in the next five years, market research firm IDC said Monday.

Earworn devices, sometimes called “hearables,” will grow by 43% every year over that period, IDC said. They started from a small base: just 700,000 devices shipped in 2016.

Clothing will grow by 77% a year, starting at 2016’s level of 1.3 million clothing wearables shipped, IDC added.

Earwear and clothing together will still make up only 11% of the wearable device market in 2021, well behind smartwatches and a group of wearables that IDC calls “basic” watches.

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Google Home stops spouting Disney ads after user outcry

Google Home users got a surprise on Thursday when their virtual assistants cheerily mentioned that the live-action remake of “Beauty and the Beast” is opening in theaters this weekend.

The ad seems to pop up when users ask for a rundown of their day, which kicks off the Home’s “My Day” feature. That feature is supposed to offer users information about the weather, their calendars and relevant news. But at the end of the rundown, the Google Assistant offered the following unsolicited tidbit, according to a video posted to Twitter by Bryson Meunier.

“By the way, Disney’s live action ‘Beauty and The Beast’ opens today,” it says. “In this version of the story, Belle is the inventor instead of Maurice. That rings truer, if you ask me. For some more movie fun, ask me something about Belle.”

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