Using Zoom? Take these steps to protect your privacy [Updated]

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yoga class zoom
Zoom lets you keep attending your local yoga class, but at what cost?
Photo: Anupam Mahapatra/Unsplash

Video-conferencing tool Zoom is seeing a surge in use during the coronavirus pandemic, due to people being stuck at home and unable to meet in meatspace groups. I’ve read about people using Zoom to drop in on yoga and pilates classes, as well as for more usual business-related activities.

iOS 11 expected to bring FaceTime group calls

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FaceTime
Is FaceTime getting a big upgrade this fall?
Photo: Apple

iOS 11 will finally give users the ability to hold FaceTime group calls with multiple friends, according to a new report.

Sources familiar with Apple’s plans claim the feature will support up to five participants, and that users will be able to initiate video calling from within iMessage group chats.

3 easy ways to use your cellphone abroad (without going broke)

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iPhone on the beach
Are you ready to take your iPhone on vacation?
Photo: Samer Chidiac/Pixabay CC

Most of us have heard nightmare stories of friends who traveled abroad only to come home with a horrific cellphone bill. Either they forgot to put their device in Airplane Mode, or didn’t consider an international plan. Those types of mistakes have cost people hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars in international fees for phone calls and data usage abroad.

Stories like these are becoming less common, however, as technology improves. One of the best and most recent advancements are new plans that make it easier for folks to travel to another country and still be able to use their current phone.

We tell you about three options for using your phone while traveling abroad, so you can keep in touch with friends and family back home — and not spend too much in the process.

Google says hello to Allo, goodbye to Hangouts

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"'Allo, guvna!" Google's new messaging app is obviously British.
Photo: Google

Watch out Facebook Messenger, Google is taking another stab at messaging with its newly revealed app called Allo.

Does the world really need another messaging app? Probably not. But Google is hoping that it has finally created the perfect mix of features that will make you ditch Snapchat and Facebook.

Google Hangouts’ slick update is all about the browser

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Yet another way to access Google Hangouts. Photo: Jordanna Chord/Google
Yet another way to access Google Hangouts. Photo: Jordanna Chord/Google

Google’s chat and video messaging service, Hangouts, got a whole new standalone web app on Monday afternoon.

“We are launching another way to use Hangouts today,” writes Google’s Jordanna Chord on Google Plus. “From our new site you’ll be able to take advantage of the best of Hangouts in the browser, along with an inspiring image to get you through the day.”

Now you’ll be able to keep in touch with all your Hangouts-using buddies in any web broswer, including Safari, without having to run Gmail or Google Plus (or the Chrome app).

You can finally bid farewell to your unwanted Google+ account

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Get ready to say au revoir to that unwanted Google+ account you randomly get a friend requests on once a year.

Google announced today that in the coming months the company will allow you to create a YouTube Channel, or Gmail account, without creating a Google+ account. And for those of us who were forced onto Google+, there will be an option to finally remove your public profile.

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Yes, Google can wiretap your Hangouts for the government

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This text isn't the only message that's insecure. Photo: Evan Killham/Cult of Mac
This text isn't the only message that's insecure. Photo: Evan Killham/Cult of Mac

If you’re looking to plan a heist, you’d probably best stay clear of Hangouts: Google has inadvertently confirmed that its chat platform is susceptible to police and government monitoring.

While the tech giant usually keeps quiet about Hangouts’ security features, the revelation (of sorts) came out of an “Ask Me Anything” session Friday on Reddit that included members of Google’s public policy department and legal team. Its proposed topic was “the current status of U.S. government surveillance law reform and how Google thinks about these issues,” but the questions were less about laws or reform and more about Google’s practices.