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You Can Now Back Up WhatsApp Messages, Photos And Videos To Google Drive


The only thing that I really worry about when I drop my phone into a tub of water is if I’ve backed everything up. More specifically, did I back my messages up. There is so much important information that flows through my text messages, it’s scary.

Today, Google Drive announced adoption of a feature that’ll be rolling out over the next couple of months that will let you back up your WhatsApp messages, and their contents, regularly on Android, if that’s your chat app and mobile platform of choice:


…you don’t want your memories stuck on your phone. (What if something happens?!) So starting today, WhatsApp for Android lets you create a private backup of your chat history, voice messages, photos, and videos in Google Drive. And once you do, you can restore everything on a new device with just a couple taps.

The new backup feature is rolling out over the next few months, so keep an eye on your WhatsApp settings to see if it’s available. In the meantime, please visit our Help Center if you have questions about today’s update. And check out our developer site if you’d like to integrate your app with Google Drive.


It would be nice to see more apps integrate with Drive in this way, because who knows where I have important clips of video, photos, addresses and numbers stored. I’d venture to guess in about 10-12 apps.

It sucks that this is Anrdoid-only and that your photos and videos aren’t routed to Google Photos automatically. Maybe the functionality will get smarter over time, or the developer will be able to control what goes where. Regarding not being able to do this on iOS, the quick fix would be to grab an old Android device from a friend, log in and handle your business.

The team shared specifics on how developers can best integrate Google Drive back up into their apps in a separate post.

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Google Lets You Translate Text In 90 Languages Within Android Apps Like LinkedIn And WhatsApp



With the release of Android’s latest operating system, Marshmallow, tons of new functionality is going to be introduced over the next few weeks.

One of the more interesting new features rolling out now is the ability to translate text within popular Android apps like WhatsApp. That’s pretty huge if you only speak English and your friend only speaks Russian, for example.

Google announced the new feature today, which lets developers bake Google Translate right into their apps with a text-selection behavior.

It’s pretty sweet and I’m sure that we’ll see more apps rolling out with the functionality. Google mentions TripAdvisor, WhatsApp and LinkedIn to start. Travel, chat and business. Makes sense.

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Android Auto Has Very Limited Access To Data In GM And Ford Vehicles


GM and Ford released statements to TechCrunch indicating that in their vehicles, Android Auto has very limited access to vehicle information. This comes after claims published by Motor Trend magazine that stated Porsche opted to not include Android Auto over the data collected by Google’s in-car infotainment system.

Google later denied this claim stating Android Auto does not collect data such as throttle position, oil temp and coolant temp — at least in its current version.

Both Ford and GM echoed Google’s statement that in their vehicles Android Auto (and CarPlay, for that matter) only has access to GPS data and simple vehicle information, such as the time of day and whether the car is parked or in drive. GM stated emphatically that it does not provide any data that isn’t necessary for the use of Android Auto.

TechCrunch learned that when Google initially approached automakers concerning Android Auto, it requested a deeper data set than what is currently required. Porsche could have made the decision at that time to stop working with Google and instead focus on CarPlay. It’s unclear when this early conversation happened. Google publicly announced Android Auto at Google I/O in June of 2014.

Both Google and Apple are carefully testing the automotive waters with Android Auto and CarPlay. If implemented correctly, both of these automotive systems have the potential to open a large market for both Android and iOS.

Both platforms have been widely adopted by a large swath of automakers including GM, VW and Fiat Chrysler. Ford has yet to announce when Android Auto or CarPlay will become available for its Sync 3 system.

Ford’s Statement:

For both Carplay and Android Auto, we only provide access to vehicle data that is required for navigation (such as GPS) and to align interface background colors for day and night modes. And consumers are given the opportunity to opt in to the feature with clarification that vehicle data may be accessed to deliver the experience.

GM’s Statement:

We take the privacy of our customers very seriously and our services – including Android Auto – operate with strong privacy protections and practices. Customers need to give Google consent to share their data before any information is actually shared with Google. We don’t know what Porsche was required to provide Google, but we provide a very limited set of vehicle data that helps us ensure that the Android Auto customer experience is optimal and safe for the user. For example, the system needs to know if the vehicle is in park or drive in order to apply the necessary lock-outs to certain keyboard functions. We don’t provide any data that isn’t necessary for the use of Android Auto.

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Google Denies Motor Trend’s Claim That Android Auto Collects Key Automotive Data


Android Auto does not phone key automotive data back home, Google says. This comes after Motor Trend stated Porsche opted to not include Android Auto in the new 991/2 as Google’s system collects and transmits back to Google information such as vehicle speed, throttle position, coolant and oil temp, engine revs.

Google’s official statement:

Steering this story straight – we take privacy very seriously and do not collect the data the Motor Trend article claims such as throttle position, oil temp and coolant temp. Users opt in to share information with Android Auto that improves their experience, so the system can be hands-free when in Drive, and provide more accurate navigation through the car’s GPS.

Google clarified with TechCrunch certain aspects of Android Auto. Apparently the in-car system can share information with the Android device such as GPS location as the car’s system is often more accurate than the connected phone. The system also recognizes when the vehicle is in park or drive to display either the on-screen keyboard or activate voice controls.

This is contradictory to a small bit in a large article Motor Trend published earlier today. Buried in an article called “13 Cool Facts About the 2017 Porsche 911” the car mag stated that Porsche decided to not include Android Auto over an ethical decision concerning the information Android Auto collects. “Basically Google wants a complete OBD2 dump whenever someone activates Android Auto,” the report states, which Google is now denying. However, Google has yet to deny or comment on why Porsche did not include Android Auto when other Volkswagen brands are including the system (Porsche is owned by VW).

TechCrunch learned that when Google initially approached automakers concerning Android Auto, it requested a deeper data set than what is currently required. Porsche could have made the decision at that time to stop working with Google and instead focus on CarPlay. It’s unclear when this early conversation happened. Google publicly announced Android Auto at Google I/O in June of 2014.

Porsche declined TechCrunch’s request for more information simply restating that Android Auto is not currently available in that particular vehicle.

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Google Acquires Jibe Mobile To Help Adopt New Standard For Carrier Messaging


Today, Google announced that it will be adopting a new standard for carrier messaging called Rich Communications Services (RCS), thus eventually moving on from SMS. The company also announced the acquisition of Jibe Mobile to help bring RCS to its Android products.

Here’s what Mike Dodd, Android RCS Software Engineer and Minister of Messaging, had to say (and how cool is his title?):

Mobile messaging has never been more central to people’s lives, and there is an incredible amount of innovation happening with chat applications across the mobile ecosystem. SMS carrier messaging is used by billions of people every day and enables people to reach anyone around the world, regardless of their device, carrier, app or location. However, the features available in SMS haven’t kept up with modern messaging apps. Rich Communications Services (RCS) is a new standard for carrier messaging and brings many of the features that people now expect from mobile messaging, such as group chats, high res photos and more.

On acquiring Jibe:

As part of this commitment, we’re also very excited to announce that the Jibe Mobile team is joining Google to help us bring RCS to a global audience. Jibe is a leading provider of RCS services and they’ll continue helping carriers easily deploy RCS to their users. We can’t wait to work with them and build on the great work that they’ve already done.

In a statement from its CEO, Amir Sarhangi, Jibe explained in a very Googly way how it started:

The big opportunity we saw at the start: to change the way people communicate using their mobile phones.

The “small” challenge we focused on: the future of messaging, the super simple mode for communication that’s favored by billions of people, all over the world.

Jibe had raised $9.1 million, describing itself as “the Cloud Communications Company for Mobile Operators, provides an open end-to-end technology platform for IP Communications.”

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Android Now Has 1.4 Billion 30-Day Active Users Globally


Google’s mobile platform now has 1.4 billion 30-day active users globally. Google CEO Sundar Pichai revealed the new Android-related data point at its Nexus event in San Francisco today.

At its developer event in June 2014, Google announced it had hit more than 1 billion monthly active users on the Android platform. Prior to that, Mountain View had released cumulative figures for Android activations — announcing it had hit 900 million activations in June 2013, when it was adding some 1.5 million new devices per month, and passing the 1 billion activated Androids mark by September 2013.

This summer analyst Gartner’s latest smartphone market figures recorded the slowest ever year-over-year growth for Android — suggesting Google’s mobile platform has hit peak penetration, taking around 82 percent of the global smartphone market in Q2 this year.

However Pichai talked up Android’s growth in emerging markets, saying usage has “literally doubled” in certain markets over the last year — name-checking Indonesia and Vietnam.

“We’ve added 400 million active devices and the momentum is happening around the world — especially in emerging economies. In many, many places. In countries like Indonesia and Vietnam Android has literally doubled in the last year. And what’s exciting about this is in most of these cases these are people who are adopting a smartphone for the first time,” said Pichai.

“We are well on the way to bringing the next billion users online,” he added.

He also touched on Android One, Google’s push to drive higher quality smartphones for a lower price point. “We’ve expanded the program to many countries,” he noted. “We’ve recently launched it in Turkey about a month ago and General Mobile’s Android One phone has been the best-selling phone in Turkey since then.”

Pichai also talked up Chromebook momentum in U.S. schools. “We’re beginning to see the same momentum outside the U.S. as well,” he said. “In the U.S. we were looking at data in September, every single day there are 30,000 new Chromebooks which get activated.”


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