Zoom Reportedly Working On Email App Called Zmail To Compete With Gmail

Zoom may be getting ready for its biggest expansion yet: the company is preparing to launch email and calendar apps, The Information reported, and could do so before the end of this year. That would turn Zoom, which has already evolved from a video chat platform to a competitor to Slack and whiteboard apps and even your office phone, into a full-fledged competitor to Google Workspace and Microsoft Office.

Getting into other work apps would seem like a departure for Zoom, but it makes sense the company would go after them. Zoom CEO Eric Yuan has long said he prefers to be a partner to other work tools rather than replace them, but as Zoom’s own platform ambitions have grown, so has the company’s desire to own more of the work ecosystem.

Calendar and email are both heavily used as scheduling tools, too, which means Zoom could integrate more deeply with companies that already use it. And on the flip side, both Google and Microsoft are trying to edge Zoom out: the Meet button in Google Calendar seems to get a little bigger every day, and those companies are betting their default status will ultimately win.

Source: The Verge

Adobe Acquires Figma For $20 Billion, Taking Out One Of Its Biggest Rivals In Digital Design

Over the past several years, Figma has built its name as a forward-thinking and collaborative design platform and a formidable competitor to Adobe, the giant in the creative apps market. That rivalry ended on Thursday when Adobe announced that it has struck a $20 billion deal to acquire Figma.

The acquisition will allow Adobe to incorporate Figma’s popular design tools into its widely-used portfolio of creative apps. But the acquisition also means that Adobe will once again be taking a major competitor off the market and bringing it under its own umbrella, to the dismay of many designers who rely on the tool and are wary of another critical platform joining the company’s Creative Cloud service. And they have a point: with Figma off the market, the list of companies capable of challenging Adobe’s empire just got meaningfully smaller.

Adobe has a history of buying up some of the biggest tools in the creative space, acquiring companies like Frame.io, a video production collaboration tool, and Behance, which lets people showcase their creative work. (Belsky first joined Adobe through this acquisition.) The company has bought a lot of companies — even Photoshop was an acquisition. That makes the Figma purchase all the more concerning for designers; one of the few notable challengers to Adobe has been swept up, meaning Adobe will continue to consolidate creative app power in one location.

Source: The Verge

Donald Trump’s ‘Truth Social’ Platform Finally Works On The Web — Yes, It’s Terrible

The more Forbes journalist John Brandon uses Truth Social, the more he realizes it’s a terrible Twitter clone.

Case in point — just try using the new web version.

Recently, the service finally launched as more than a mere landing page to register for an account. Like you could with Twitter.com more than a decade ago, it is now possible to send your “truths” out to the masses — all 500,000 of them — from a browser tab.

On the web, TruthSocial.com now lets you search for “truths” and participate in the online discourse without a phone, even if it’s all quite basic. Other than calling tweets “truths” instead, there’s nothing particularly novel or interesting about the platform.

You can also configure alerts, view your profile, and adjust a few settings. For example, you can change whether GIFs play automatically in your feed and hide sensitive material. The web interface allows you to mute and block other users, or tag them easily when you post. The web version doesn’t appear to offer a way to see direct messages, though.

Overall, it’s clean enough and simple to use, but also not at all innovative. John mentioned this before, but Truth Social looks exactly like something a developer would make if they were asked to build an app that does only the Twitter basics and nothing more.

Let’s be clear about something when it comes to Truth Social: John Brandon is not analyzing it as a political venture alone. It is definitely part of an elaborate re-election campaign. He has issues with that, not in terms of his own political views but due to the sketchy nature of having a dedicated social media platform meant only for one candidate. If it’s a campaign app, then great. If it isn’t, why does it exist?

Apart from using the word “truths” the real issue is that this is a clone, and that means there’s no real reason to switch from Twitter to this app.

Now that it works on the web, it makes it a bit easier to check your feed, but with 500.000 users, it makes me wonder why anyone would bother. With that smaller group of users, it’s less likely your post will catch on and reach a wider audience, unless you are related by blood to Donald Trump or you’re a celebrity.

Curiously, the only reason John discovered to use Truth Social is because you can see posts from The Babylon Bee, a satire site that was banned from Twitter.

At least Trump himself is posting now, typically with the same outrageous flare he used when he was active on Twitter. Many of his posts are about Hillary Clinton for some reason.

Another surprise is that there isn’t an Android version yet. John knows from personal experience that getting an app launched on Android can be troublesome. One report suggests Truth Social has not even submitted an Android version yet to the Google Play store. Trump claims the reason the app is not approved has something to do with Google being out to get him.

What could really attract attention?

John Brandon would suggest offering some unique features, perhaps a few that are not available on Twitter.

Source: Forbes

Google Domains Is Finally Out Of Beta After Seven Years And Is Offering A 20% Registration Discount

Google’s domain registration service entered public beta in January of 2015. It’s now exiting beta into general availability in 26 countries, and Google Domains is marking the occasion with a discount.  

Google Domains, which has a nifty icon consisting of a dot and slash, says it has millions of active registrations and aims to be the “easiest place to find, buy and manage a domain.” Long beta periods are a hallmark of Google services, with Gmail’s lasting five years.

It offers over 300 domain endings and touts integration with other Google services, especially for business owners. For example, you don’t have to verify TXT records when integrating a website with Search Console, Google App Engine, or Cloud Run. There’s also the ability to add Workspace to a domain and use Google Sites or Blogger, as well as third-party services like Shopify, Squarespace, WIX, Bluehost, and Weebly.

In terms of reliability, it leverages the “same infrastructure used by Google,” including a “high performance DNS” and 24/7 support There’s also one-click DNSSEC to counter DNS spoofing and cache poison attacks. Contact information can also be kept private for free on WHOIS and RDAP. Other features include DNS record export if you want to move in the future.

Plans are available from $7/year, though .com starts at $12. Meanwhile, Google Domains is celebrating the “move out of beta” with a 20% discount (up to $5 off) on one domain registration or transfer-in using the code DOMAINS20. It’s available for new and returning users until April 15. 

Source: 9to5Google

Ticketmaster To Require Negative COVID-19 Test Result Or Vaccination Verification In Order To Attend Concerts

Many details of the plan, which is still in development phase, will rely on three separate components — the Ticketmaster digital ticket app, third party health information companies like CLEAR Health Pass or IBM’s Digital Health Pass and testing and vaccine distribution providers like Labcorp and the CVS Minute Clinic.

Here’s how it would work, if approved: After purchasing a ticket for a concert, fans would need to verify that they have already been vaccinated (which would provide approximately one year of COVID-19 protection) or test negative for coronavirus approximately 24 to 72 hours prior to the concert. The length of coverage a test would provide would be governed by regional health authorities — if attendees of a Friday night concert had to be tested 48 hours in advance, most could start the testing process the day before the event. If it was a 24-hour window,  most people would likely be tested the same day of the event at a lab or a health clinic.

Once the test was complete, the fan would instruct the lab to deliver the results to their health pass company, like CLEAR or IBM. If the tests were negative, or the fan was vaccinated, the health pass company would verify the attendee’s COVID-19 status to Ticketmaster, which would then issue the fan the credentials needed to access the event. If a fan tested positive or didn’t take a test to verify their status, they would not be granted access to the event. There are still many details to work out, but the goal of the program is for fans to take care of vaccines and testing prior to the concert and not show up hoping to be tested onsite.

Source: Billboard

Software Engineer Rashiq Zahid Creates Website That Knows If Your Local McDonald’s Ice Cream Machine Is Broken

There’s a tired joke about McDonald’s chronically broken ice cream machines. You’ve heard it, I’ve heard it, and 24-year-old software engineer Rashiq Zahid has heard it.

Fortunately, one of us—the engineer, of course—found a way to protect McDonald’s fans from the age-old disappointment of heading all the way to a store only to be told the ice cream machine isn’t working. Zahid calls his new masterpiece mcbroken, and it actually appears to work.

In simple terms, because, let’s be real, most of us don’t know what the hell reverse engineering an internal API means, mcbroken acts as a bot that tests the availability of ice cream sundaes at every US location every 30 minutes. It does so by trying to add a sundae to the cart on McDonald’s mobile app.

If the app fails to add a sundae to the cart because ice cream is unavailable at that location, that spot is marked with a red dot on the map. If the app succeeds at adding a sundae to the cart, it means ice cream is available at that location, earning the spot a green dot on the map.

Source: Thrillist

Microsoft will end support for Internet Explorer, and legacy Edge in 2021 – in a bid to encourage enterprise customers to switch to its Edge browser

p2RVXmY5kfZz8tyARTyZzP-1024-80.png

Microsoft has announced that support for Internet Explorer 11 will end August 17, 2021. At that time, all products under the Microsoft umbrella which may currently still use Internet Explorer, such as Outlook, OneDrive or Office 365 will stop supporting the browser.Support for Internet Explorer within the Microsoft Teams web app ends November 30 of this year. Meanwhile, the legacy edition of Microsoft Edge is set to end March 9, 2021.

Source: PC Gamer

Barbr – Mobile App

Last year I prototyped a mobile app that allowed users to get quality haircuts in their home by booking barbers in the area. The concept came from people in big cities who work tight schedules and can’t make it to a barbershop during business hours, or they just don’t feel like driving somewhere and paying for parking. Sure the idea could use some more refining but with all the recent closures and limited gatherings, I don’t think I was too far off with this one💈

Adobe Muse

Screen Shot 2017-02-24 at 12.11.16 AM.png

In the era of web host templates and UX design software, we come closer to the demise of Adobe Muse. Final update in 2018, to be fully discontinued in 2020. It was fun.

Adobe Muse is a type of website builder software that enables you to design your website rather than develop it. It enables users to create gorgeous, responsive websites without ever having to touch a line of code.

Perhaps the single most important consideration for anyone approaching a new type of software is how easy it is to learn. This is where Adobe Muse has a clear advantage over most of the web development software solutions out there.

Because it doesn’t require any code knowledge, you can jump in and start creating a website right away. The software itself has an intuitive interface – especially if you have previous experience using professional design programs such as Affinity Designer, CorelDRAW, and other Adobe apps of course.

Adobe Muse is a great fit for a wide variety of users. It’s a useful tool in the toolbox of advanced web developers that want to quickly assemble a functional website, small businesses that want to expand on their web presence, and individuals looking to create a portfolio or online resume.

Print designers, artists, and other visual professionals can use Adobe Muse to expand their services into the world of online media. Print designers in particular might look to transition into website design so that they can offer clients a more complete range of services. This will be an easy transition for print designers familiar with InDesign (a print app).

Source: Muse-Themes