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By Namerah S
Uber partners up with Marriott to introduce in-app reward collecting system
by Namerah Saud Fatmi
American e-hailing platform Uber has joined hands with Marriott, a popular luxury hotel chain. The duo has partnered up to deliver a new in-app reward system to customers of both companies. From now on, Marriott Bonvoy members will be able to claim certain bonus points when using some of the services offered by the Uber app.
Before qualifying for the reward points, Marriott Bonvoy account holders will have to link their Uber account with their Bonvoy account. This can be done via the settings option in the ride-hailing mobile app. Once their accounts are linked, the following bonus points can be claimed:
6 points per dollar spent on Uber Eats orders delivered to Marriott properties (minimum $25 basket) 3 points per dollar spent on Uber XL, Uber Comfort, Uber Black and Premium rides 2 points per dollar spent on all other Uber Eats orders (minimum $25 basket) Points collected on the Uber platform will be redeemable through the Marriott loyalty program. This means Bonvoy members will be able to claim travel rewards by collecting points on Uber. David Flueck, Senior Vice President of Global Loyalty at Marriott International, commented on the partnership:
As a launch promotion, any Bonvoy account holder who links his or her account with Uber will get 2,000 points. To qualify for this offer, however, the user must have a minimum of one eligible transaction via Uber. More details about the Uber-Marriott Bonvoy collaboration can be found here.
By Namerah S
Microsoft kills support for Cortana app on Android and iOS
by Namerah Saud Fatmi
In July last year, Microsoft confirmed that it would be scrapping its Cortana mobile application. Support for the Android and iOS AI-powered assistant ended on January 31, 2021, everywhere except the U.S. The reason for the decision to end Cortana was to remodel the app as a “productivity-focused” product.
Today Microsoft pulled the final trigger in Cortana's end-of-life process. Spotted by MacRumors, the support page for the virtual assistant's mobile app was updated today. According to the page, from today onwards, the Cortana app will not be supported on iOS and Android in the U.S. anymore. All content created with the AI assistant will no longer be accessible through the mobile app. Users will need to access notes, lists, reminders and other content through their Windows PCs or through the content synced to the Microsoft To Do app for phones.
Prior to today's developments, Cortana was already pretty much dead on Android and iOS devices in other parts of the world. The AI-powered voice assistant was also removed from devices such as Harman Kardon's Invoke smart speaker and the Surface Headphones.
UK politicians face legal challenge over self-destructing messages
by Paul Hill
The law firm Foxglove and the non-profit The Citizens have teamed up to challenge the government over disappearing messages on platforms like WhatsApp and Signal that are in widespread use by politicians, according to a report in The Guardian. The two groups say self-destructing messages are a threat to transparency and the archival of messages that are required in UK law.
Commenting on the legal challenge, Cori Crider, a director at Foxglove, said:
In 1958, legislation was passed in the UK that required documents to be archived. According to The Guardian, the law also applies to digital formats such as emails. The introduction of easy-to-use self-destructing messages means that politician can more easily sidestep this legislation and campaigners say this mustn’t be allowed to happen.
Clarity over whether digital communications were covered by the 1958 legislation came ten years ago when the Information Commissioner’s Office has to tell Michael Gove MP and his office to stop using private email accounts to conduct government work due to concerns that messages sent through these channels wouldn’t be archived as required by the law.
Speaking to the BBC, the Cabinet Office has said that processes are in place to record official communications and that there are periodic reviews to ensure that collection methods are sufficient.
Clubhouse for Android is a couple of months away
by Paul Hill
According to Clubhouse co-founder Paul Davison, his popular but exclusive app is set to arrive on Android in a “couple of months”, according to a report in TechCrunch. Davison initially announced the Android time frame during a Clubhouse Townhall meeting that was subsequently made public when a recording was uploaded to YouTube.
This is not the first time we’ve heard mentions of Clubhouse arriving on Android. In a January blog post, the firm said that it was planning to bring its product to Android “soon” but never gave any concrete details. Last month, CNBC reported that the firm had now hired Android software developer Mopewa Ogundipe to begin work on the Android app.
Clubhouse’s appeal has not gone unnoticed by the larger tech firms who want to stomp on any competition before it becomes a threat. In February, there were reports that Facebook was working on an alternative to Clubhouse and at the end of last week, the messaging app Telegram got a new update which brought similar functionality to Telegram channels.
With its rivals working on similar products, it’s not clear right now whether Clubhouse will keep its invite-only model or make access open for everyone. On the one hand, exclusivity may boost its appeal – something Apple does with its high prices, on the other hand, rivals that make their competing product open may grow to become more popular than Clubhouse.
WhatsApp's desktop app finally gets audio and video call support, here's how to use it
by Anmol Mehrotra
WhatsApp has finally introduced audio and video calling support for its desktop app allowing users to call others directly from PC. The feature has been in the works for quite some time and is finally rolling out to WhatsApp Desktop users.
WhatsApp announced the new feature in a blog post and noted that the company has "seen significant increases in people calling one another on WhatsApp, often for long conversations." Last New Year's Eve, WhatsApp handled 1.4 billion voice and video calls setting a record for most calls made in a single day. The company further noted that the calling experience works "seamlessly for both portrait and landscape orientation, appears in a resizable standalone window on your computer screen, and is set to be always on top so you never lose your video chats in a browser tab or stack of open windows." WhatsApp is rolling out support for calling right now and you can try it out yourself by following the steps below:
Launch WhatsApp Desktop app and select an individual contact Click on the 'Call' or 'Video call' icons on the top right corner to make the call. If you don't see the call option then you will need to head to WhatsApp's website and download the latest version of the WhatsApp app. During the call, you can click on the camera icon to switch from audio to video call. Once the other party accepts your request, the call will switch to video.
WhatsApp's desktop app will also support receiving calls so you will get an option to either accept or reject the call or you can click on 'Ignore' or 'x' to ignore the call.
Like calls on the phone, the Desktop app supports end-to-end encryption for all the calls. WhatsApp calling on the desktop is currently supported on Windows 10 64-bit version 1903 and newer, and macOS 10.13 and newer. Unfortunately, WhatsApp does not support group calls at the moment but the company plans to add it in the future.