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By Usman Khan Lodhi
Clubhouse's latest feature lets users invite friends into private audio chats
by Usman Khan Lodhi
The audio-based social app Clubhouse unveiled a new feature today. It's called Wave and is supposed to make inviting people to audio chats easier. The feature is presently available for all users on iOS and Android.
The firm revealed that around 700,000 rooms are created on the app each day; however, it stressed that "it's quite often the smaller private moments among friends that put smiles on faces." The feature is being introduced to assist users in creating small and private gatherings, according to the firm.
To start a conversation with friends appearing in Hallways on Clubhouse, users would just need to Wave at them. This can be done by either swiping right on the Hallway or pressing the dots icon at the bottom left of the screen and tapping the wave button next to the person that you'd like to talk to.
The invited users would receive a notification and if they're open to chatting, they can join. The created rooms will be initially private, but they can be later opened up.
LG unveils omnidirectional LG XBOOM 360 premium speaker
by Paul Hill
LG has unveiled its new LG XBOOM 360 speaker (model RP4) today which uses a conical-cylindrical design to throw out sound in all directions. LG says the device is pleasing to look at so it should be a nice addition to any small social gatherings you host. It’s available in burgundy, peacock green, beige, or charcoal black so you should be able to get one that blends into your environment.
The cylindrical design was chosen not only for aesthetic purposes but to accommodate a distortion-free reflector so that your audio is rich and brings ‘a sense of three-dimensional vitality to every genre of music.’
Aside from being able to put out audio, the XBOOM 360 also takes care of mood lighting which is available in three options; ambient, nature, or party. The wireless nature of the speaker means you can control it with a companion app and set up custom lighting options and sound effects. Further boosting its wireless credentials, the speaker doesn’t need to be plugged in; a single charge lets you play music for 10 hours before needing to recharge. A built-in metal handle allows you to pick up the speaker and put it down wherever the gathering is.
LG did not state the pricing for its LG XBOOM 360 speaker, however, it said it will launch the product in key markets starting sometime this month.
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.
NASA unveils Perseverance landing footage and Mars audio
by Paul Hill
Just days after the successful landing of its Perseverance rover, NASA has released extraordinary footage of the landing sequence as well as audio from the surface of the planet where you can make out the sound of the wind blowing. High definition cameras that give a view above and below the rover, as well as the one looking from the vantage point of the sky crane, caught all the action beginning 11 kilometres from the surface to the rover’s landing.
Some of the highlights of the three-and-a-half-minute clip include seeing the Martian surface from a high altitude, seeing the dust on the surface come to life as the rover was close to landing, seeing the sky crane fly off after the rover had touched down and seeing the parachute unfurl. According to NASA, the parachute is also the most massive ever to be sent to another planet.
Commenting on the content, NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk said:
To watch the descent, check out the embedded video below. To hear the audio from the rover, skip to 40:48 in this NASA event.
Since landing, NASA has been busy checking equipment on the rover to ensure there are no problems. Some of the instruments being checked this week include the Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer to look at the weather in the area and the Mastcam-Z which can take panoramic shots of the Jezero crater. The crater used to be a lakebed and contains rocks and sediment which the rover plans to collect up so that it can be examined to find out whether life ever existed on Mars.
Aside from searching for evidence of ancient life, the rover is also carrying the Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment (MOXIE) which will try to produce oxygen. This part of the mission is key for future human-led missions to Mars where resources will be scarce and the ability to generate oxygen essential.
By Usama Jawad96
Clubhouse confirms security breach, deploys new safeguards
by Usama Jawad
Private social app Clubhouse allows users to engage in informal conversations. The invite-only iOS application is used by Elon Musk with Facebook also looking to clone the chat service. However, concerns were raised around Clubhouse a couple of weeks ago with the Stanford Internet Observatory (SIO) citing numerous potential security weaknesses in the service. Today, Clubhouse has confirmed a security breach and placed new safeguards to prevent similar incidents in the future.
This situation feeds into the security concerns raised by the SIO a few days ago. One of these was Clubhouse user and chatroom IDs were being transmitted over the internet in plaintext instead of being encrypted.
Furthermore, SIO also revealed that the backend of the platform is handled by a Shanghai-based startup called Agora Inc. The Chinese company states that it "temporarily" stores raw audio data for processing in its servers but it is currently unknown how long this time period is and where the servers are situated. In a statement to The Verge, the firm confirmed that it does not route traffic produced by non-Chinese users through China. However, Agora declined to go into details about the security mechanisms and protocols in place to prevent security breaches, such as the one that took place over the weekend.
Source: Bloomberg | Image via Walk the Chat