With iOS 12, Apple allows developers to build apps that report spam calls and texts

Apple didn’t mention this when unveiling iOS 12 at WWDC, but on its Developer website the company has announced a new feature that allows users to report spam calls and texts or block their phone numbers through a third party app. Developers of such apps will be able to build an app extension that adds an option called “Unwanted Communications” in the Settings app. This option would have to be enabled by the user in order to report an unwanted call or text.
With “Unwanted Communications” enabled, users will be able to report a specific call in the Recents tab by swiping …


WhatsApp group audio and video calls features go live for some Android users

Facebook announced in early May during the annual F8 developer conference that it will bring new features to WhatsApp in the not so distant future. Audio and video calls, as well as stickers, were among the new improvements Facebook promised to WhatsApp users, but the social network company didn’t provide a time frame.

Well, it looks like it didn’t need to since at least two of the previously announced features are now making their way to Android users. AndroidPolice reports that many WhatsApp users are now seeing the group calls option on their Android devices.

It’s worth mentioning …

Microsoft's AI bot Xiaoice is a celebrity in China and also makes phone calls

Now that it appears as though the Google Duplex demo last week was legitimate (necessary edits were made to protect the businesses involved), it turns out that Microsoft has its own AI bot that makes calls. Today in London, the software giant introduced Xiaoice (pronounced “SHAO-ICE”), which has been undergoing testing in China. In that country, Xiaoice (Chinese for ‘Little Bing’) is a quite popular, uh, personality with 500 million friends that communicate with it through 16 channels on Chinese messaging services including WeChat.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said at …

Was the Google Duplex demo at Google I/O faked? (UPDATE: Restaurant tracked down, calls edited)

UPDATE: It appears that the restaurant in the Duplex demo was tracked down, and is believed to be Hongs Gourmet in Saratoga, California. An employee at the restaurant said that the call was made by Google Assistant and Google did not inform them ahead of time about the call. Apparently, the decorations inside the eatery match a photo Google posted on its blog showing Yaniv Leviathan, Google Duplex lead, and Matan Kalman, engineering manager on the project, taking advantage of the reservation made by Duplex. Additionally, Bloomberg reports that the calls were edited to hide …

WhatsApp will get stickers and group video calls option soon

Facebook announced earlier today that major changes are coming to WhatsApp soon. Among the most important, group video calls will arrive “in the coming months,” WhatsApp’s director Mubarik Imam confirmed during F8 conference.

While she didn’t offer any additional details on the upcoming feature, she did reveal screenshots that show four people simultaneously participating in a video call, although it’s unclear if that’s the maximum number supported or one that’s been randomly chosen by WhatsApp to demo the feature.

Furthermore, Imam said WhatsApp will get stickers, in the same vein …

Do you agree that apps can be the future of emergency 911 calls?

“It is unbelievable that emergency apps can still only be used in one location.” @CrLumbreras

Let’s make sure citizens can use any emergency app, anywhere in Europe. Find out more here: https://t.co/rmzMENcPKk#PublicSafety #tech4good pic.twitter.com/4ApoP2mVwL— EENA112 (@112_sos) 26 април 2018 г.
The equivalent of the 911 emergency number in the US is 112 on the other side of the pond, and the European Emergency Number Association (EENA), which created the pan-EU number, now argues that there can be an app for that.

At a recent conference, it touted the …

Samsung patent reveals AR emoji video calls?

A recently uncovered patent filed by Samsung reveals that the company has at least considered utilizing its new AR-emoji tech for a FaceTime-esque video call program. The patent shows a user being able to use the technology recently released on the Galaxy S9 to create an emoji with the caller’s likeness and facial expressions, then transmitting that live with audio to another user. It seems to operate under the premise that this would be beneficial for lower-bandwidth situations. The designs revealed in the patent show that work on this technology goes back as far as 2013, with the patent …

T-Mobile fined $40 million for using false ring tones on calls to rural areas

The FCC announced today that T-Mobile has been fined $40 million for not improving the delivery of calls made to those living in rural areas. In the FCC Consent Decree order announcing the fine, the agency accused the nation’s third largest carrier with inserting phony ring tones, giving a caller the impression that his/her call was going through. In reality, the connection was never made, and the phone owned by the recipient of the call never rang at all.

Besides making the caller hang up thinking that no one was available to answer the phone, using the false ring tones also shielded T-Mobile …

Spam calls will go right to voicemail with the Pixel/Nexus dialer and the Google Phone app

Isn’t it a bitch when you’re in the middle of something important and all of a sudden your smartphone’s ringtone plays? And to make matters worse, you don’t recognize the phone number being displayed on your phone’s screen. Quickly your mind races; did something bad happen to Uncle Jaime or Aunt Erin? Did I forget to pay one of the credit cards? So you answer the phone and hear a recording of a salesperson trying to sell you an extended warranty for your car, which you’ve already donated last year to 1-800-Kars4Kids.

If you’re sick of spam calls, Google has the answer, but only if your daily …

Facebook kept track of calls and texts sent by users with an Android phone

Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has a lot of explaining to do. The social networking site has been lambasted in the media for possibly violating a 2011 consent decree with the FTC that prevented it from giving out information about subscribers without their permission. But the latest bomb to strike might be the most damaging. A man living in New Zealand was looking through the data that Facebook had collected about his contacts when he discovered something rather shocking. Facebook had tracked two-years worth of phone calls that were made from his Android phone.

The data included …