WhatsApp has announced that it is introducing verified business accounts to the app in order to increase the convenience with which users are able to communicate with businesses. WhatsApp, the chat app that has a massive user base in India, is already being used by small businesses and charitable organisations to reach out to their audience. For the longest time, WhatsApp has been focused on adding features that individuals find useful, with not much going the way of businesses. This move should begin to address that shortcoming.
In an FAQ post regarding the new update, WhatsApp said that some business accounts have already been verified and that if you see a green badge with a white tick mark next to a contact's name, you can be assured that it is a business profile. The company has clarified that WhatsApp business verification is currently limited to a small number of businesses participating in a pilot program. Think about use cases such as an official police number where you can send complaints or ask them to guide you to safe areas in the event of a natural disaster. That is also where verified WhatsApp accounts could be very useful.
WhatsApp has already been planning to introduce UPI payments and that could be another way for businesses to use this Facebook-owned platform. Instead of accepting payments outside the app, small businesses could do it in WhatsApp itself and make the entire transaction much smoother. It remains to be seen how Facebook executes its plans for businesses on WhatsApp but for the moment, today's development appears to be a step in the right direction.
Here's everything else that made news in technology today.
Xiaomi Mi 5X to launch on September 5?
Xiaomi has started sending invites for the launch of the 'flagship dual camera' smartphone in New Delhi on September 5. In the invite image, the company has suggested that one of the sensors in the dual camera setup will come with a larger aperture than the other - indicating the Mi 5X may indeed be the launch.
This smartphone was launched in China earlier and that is why we know some of its specifications. It is a dual-SIM smartphone with a 5.5-inch full HD display and the Xiaomi Mi 5X is powered by an octa-core Snapdragon 625 SoC with 4GB of RAM. It runs MIUI 9 based on Android 7.0 Nougat and ships with 64GB of built-in storage, which is expandable via a microSD card. The smartphone houses a 3080mAh battery and weighs 165 grams.
As far as its camera is concerned, the Xiaomi Mi 5X has a dual rear camera setup with one 12-megapixel wide-angle lens and another 12-megapixel telephoto lens. It has a 5-megapixel front camera. The phone's price is CNY 1,499 (roughly Rs. 14,200) and we expect its India price to be around that mark.
Vodafone offers prepaid recharge cash-backs
The great deals on prepaid mobile phone recharges continue to show up. This time it's Vodafone with some great offers in its Uttar Pradesh East circle. Vodafone is now offering people from that circle a cashback of 5 percent on all its Unlimited Super plans, apart from a full talk-time recharge of Rs. 110. This offer is valid on recharges made using via the MyVodafone app. At this point, incumbent telecom operators such as Vodafone are doing their best to avoid losing customers to Reliance Jio. You can compare the best offers from all telcos right here.
iPhone 8's wireless charging feature revealed?
Now that September is almost here, expect every single thing Apple is planning for its iPhone event to be leaked in full detail. Today's leaks claim that the iPhone 8 will ship with wireless charging support but it will be slower than what its competitors offer. These rumours seem to suggest that Apple might have opted for the 7.5W Qi wireless charging standard, which can be considered slower in comparison to the Qi 1.2 standard being used on other flagship smartphones. In related rumours, the internals of the iPhone 7s may have been revealed. The A11 chip that is likely to be used in that iPhone has been spotted, apart from the purported logic board of the upcoming device.
Paytm renames its Postcard service
Paytm allows its users to send money along with customised virtual postcards. This feature was called Postcard until recently. Paytm has now changed the feature's name to Lifafa, which is the Hindi word for envelope. The company claims that it has seen a surge in transactions since the rebranding and it attributes this to a strong emotional connect and social relevance that the word lifafa has in India.
Disclosure: Paytm's parent company One97 is an investor in Gadgets 360.
Huawei MediaPad T3, MediaPad M3 Lite get new display variants
Huawei added two new tablets to its MediaPad lineup - the MediaPad T3 8-inch and MediaPad M3 Lite 10-inch - in April and June respectively. But the company didn't reveal the prices or availability of these two tablets when it launched them. The tablets are now available on Amazon.com along with two more variants - the MediaPad T3 10-inch and MediaPad M3 Lite 8-inch. The MediaPad T3 8-inch costs $139 (roughly Rs. 8,890), the 10-inch version costs $159 (roughly Rs. 10,200), while the MediaPad M3 Lite 10-inch variant retails at $249 (roughly Rs. 16,000) and the 8-inch display variant is available at $199 (roughly Rs. 12,800).
Uber Brings in-app chat to India
If you've been concerned about sharing your phone number with your Uber driver, then you can now avoid that entirely. The taxi hailing app now allows you to chat with your driver instead of calling them, which allows you to avoid sharing your phone number altogether. When you tap the Contact button to reach out to your driver, the app now shows you two options - Chat and Call. You can tap the first one to initiate a text conversation with your driver. Of course, the feature depends on whether the driver responds to your text, which may not always be possible, especially if the driver is completing a trip near you. The company had rolled out this feature to some users earlier but now it's available to all of its users in India.
Google Assistant for iPhone available in India
Months after launching the Google Assistant (Review) application for iPhone in the United States, Google announced that the app would be rolling out for iPhone devices in UK, Germany and France. The app is now available in India as well. So iPhone users get to use both Siri and Google Assistant. The company says the app is designed to operate on devices running iOS 9.1 and above which is likely to cover the majority of iPhone and iPad users.
Sarahah app secretly uploading your contacts?
The viral 'honesty app' Sarahah, where you can send or receive anonymous messages, may not be as anonymous as it appears. The app has been found uploading users' phone contacts on to the company's servers. A senior security analyst Zachary Julian who works for IT security consulting firm Bishop Fox was the first to discover Sarahah uploading private information, using a monitoring software BURP Suite. However, Sarahah's founder Zain al-Abidin Tawfiq said contact lists were being uploaded "for a planned 'find your friends' feature" that has not yet been released. Giving any app access to your contacts carries this risk, so we'd advise everyone to avoid doing it as much as possible.
Farewell Xbox One
With the launch of the Xbox One X and the Xbox One S, it's time to bid adieu to the Xbox One. Microsoft has stopped selling the original Xbox One console in the US and the UK, with other markets likely to follow soon. The Xbox One's big flaw was a giant power brick, which Microsoft got rid of in the Xbox One S that went on sale in August 2016. The situation is quite different in India at the moment as Xbox One is still in stock and the newer consoles are nowhere near hitting the market. One would hope that the newer consoles make it to India soon.