Zuckerberg explains benefits of WhatsApp, Instagram, Messenger merger

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It won’t happen until 2020 at the earliest.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has confirmed plans to merge WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook Messenger — but says it probably won’t happen until 2020 at the earliest.

In a fourth-quarter earnings call this week, Zuckerberg also explained the reasons behind the plan, such as increased security with end-to-end encryption. Many questions still remain unanswered, however.

Apple ‘in discussions’ over bringing RCS messaging to iOS

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Is Messages due for a big upgrade on iOS?
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple is said to be “in discussions” over adding Rich Communications Services (RCS) to iOS.

The upgrade to traditional text messaging would allow for some iMessage features — like read receipts and typing indicators — when talking to friends who use Android and other platforms.

WhatsApp finally adds support for stickers

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WhatsApp stickers

Photo: WhatsApp

WhatsApp is one of the biggest messaging platforms on the planet, and it has somehow gone without support for stickers — until now!

Some users now have the ability to send and receive stickers, and the rest will be able to enjoy the same functionality on both Android and iOS in the coming weeks. A selection of sticker packs from WhatsApp own designers are available, and third-party packs are coming soon.

Telegram now securely stores your most important documents

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Telegram Passport secure document storage
Telegram Passport wants to be the go-to authorization service.
Photo: Telegram

Secure messaging app Telegram now lets you save copies of your most important documents so that you always have them with you.

Telegram Passport can hold your driving license, passport, other forms of ID, and more — and promises to protect them with end-to-end encryption. You can then use those documents to prove who you are when logging into other services.

Popular messaging app Telegram has been banned in Russia

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Telegram wouldn't have over encryption keys to authorities.
Photo: Telegram/Cult of Mac

A Russian court has ordered that the Telegram messaging app should be blocked in the country. This is due to the company’s refusal to give Russian state security services the encryption keys to access messages sent using the service.

Russia’s FSB Federal Security service argued that it needs to be able to access the messages to safeguard against terrorist attacks. However, Telegram refused to comply with the demands for reasons of user privacy.

Snapchat hopes massive app changes will attract new users

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Snapchat is making the changes after reporting disappointing earnings.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel has revealed that Snapchat’s app will be undergoing a major redesign, after the company fell short of expected growth projections for the quarter.

In a letter to investors, Spiegel blamed the difficulties on the service being too difficult for many users to understand. “One thing we have heard over the years is that Snapchat is difficult to understand or hard to use,” he wrote — adding that, “Our team has been working on responding to this feedback.”