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Facebook, US Helping to Stimulate November 15 Protests, Cuba Says


Cuba’s foreign minister on Wednesday said the United States was behind protests over human and civil rights planned for November 15 in the communist-run country, and alleged US-based social media platform Facebook was helping to promote them.

Dissidents on the island, organized under a Facebook group called Archipielago, in September requested permission to conduct the rallies. Cuban authorities denied their request, alleging protesters were working with the United States to overthrow the government.

Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez reiterated those allegations before a meeting of foreign diplomats in Havana, saying the United States had helped to underwrite and organize the protests in a bid to destabilize the government.

“US policy…is doomed to failure. It is unfeasible. It hasn’t worked for 60 years. It does not work now (…) and it will not work in the future,” he said.

Rodriguez specifically called out the role of Facebook, saying dissidents organized in groups on the platform had violated the social media platform’s own policies, “altering logarithms, altering the geolocation mechanism to simulate the massive presence in Cuba of people with accounts that are known to reside outside our country, primarily in Florida and in the US territory.”

Rodriguez said these practices violated both US and international law.

“As has already happened, Facebook could perfectly be, with strict adherence to the laws, sued for these practices against Cuba.”

Neither the US State Department nor Facebook, which recently changed its company name to Meta, immediately responded to a Reuters request for comment.

The recent expansion of web access in Cuba has given new ways for people to share criticisms and mobilize online.

The Facebook group behind the protests, Archipielago, says it has 31,501 members, more than half of which it says reside in Cuba.

Cuban dissident leader Yunior Garcia, of Archipielago, could not be immediately reached for comment.

Cuba’s government has a monopoly on telecommunications, and regularly blames trolls and foreign agents on social media for stirring unrest.

The island nation suffered disruptions in access to internet and social media following large anti-government rallies in July, in an apparent bid to dampen further calls to protest .

Rodriguez also told diplomats that the United States last week had offered Cuba one million doses of vaccine against coronavirus. He criticized the offer as “opportunistic” and irrelevant, given that Cuba has already vaccinated nearly its entire population with home-grown drugs.

Instead, he made a counter-offer, suggesting that Cuba and the United States each offer a donation of their respective vaccines to a country more in need of them.

© Thomson Reuters 2021


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Spotify Makes Blocking Other Users Easier, Releases Charts for 16 Cities


Spotify has rolled out a slew of updates globally, and some of them are also available in India. The Swedish audio streaming and media services provider has now made the process of blocking other users much easier. Additionally, it has made Autoplay enabled by default on Spotify Connect devices but a few users have shown their displeasure towards it. The third major feature is Spotify Charts that offer city-wise music recommendations. The feature is available across 16 cities in India.

As spotted by The Verge, Spotify users can now easily block a user by going on their Spotify profile, clicking the three-dots menu above their public playlists, and tapping Block (or Block User on mobile). The blocked person will not be able to access your activity or any of your public playlists. Previously, users had to contact the customer support to block other users. A user can also be unblocked in the same fashion. The feature hasn’t started rolling out in India yet.

Spotify updated its Autoplay feature, making it enabled by default when a user is playing music on Spotify Connect devices, such as connected speakers. After users raised the issue on Spotify Community forum thinking it was a bug, a Spotify Community moderator confirmed that it was indeed a feature.

“This means that whenever you play music from Spotify on a device different than natively on your phone or PC/ Mac (installable apps, not our Web Player) Autoplay will be enabled and tracks will be added to continue playback. This will happen regardless of the current active Autoplay setting. This setting affects only the playback directly on your phone or PC/ Mac (apps) and does not work universally,” the moderator said.

The third feature is an update in Charts. Spotify will now offer city-wise Charts in over 200 cities, including 16 cities in India. The aim is to allow users to see any artist or song that is trending in their area. The Charts in all the 16 cities will vary based on the listenership in that region. “Each week on Friday, Spotify will update the charts for Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Chennai, Delhi, Ernakulam, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Imphal, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Ludhiana, Mumbai, Patna, and Pune based on activity from listeners in that city,” the company said in a communication sent to Gadgets 360.

Spotify also launched ‘Local Pulse’ charts which rank the most uniquely popular songs each week in every city, compared to its popularity around the world.


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Subaru Launches Solterra, Its First All-Electric Car


Japan’s Subaru on Thursday unveiled it first all-electric vehicle (EV), the Solterra, the result of a two-year joint development project with its biggest shareholder Toyota.

The sports utility vehicle (SUV) launch comes amid accelerating demand for EVs as nations around the world tighten environmental regulation to cut carbon emissions. Toyota last month announced its version of a battery electric vehicle (BEV), the bZ4X.

The technological shift away from internal combustion engines poses a challenge for smaller carmakers, such as Subaru, that are less able to fund expensive development of EVs. At the same time, its an opportunity for top-tier automakers, such as Toyota, to draw smaller rivals closer.

Toyota, a pioneer of hybrid electric cars but a late comer to the full EV market, plans to have a line up of 15 BEV models by 2025. It is also spending $13.5 billion (roughly Rs. 1,00,657 crore) over the next decade to expand auto battery production capacity.

Subaru’s vehicle sales are less than a tenth of those at Toyota, the world’s biggest automaker by production volume.

The front-wheel drive Solterra has a cruising range of 530 km (329 miles), while the all-wheel drive version can drive 460 km on a single charge, Subaru said in a press release.

Toyota owns a fifth of Subaru, and has a 5 percent stake in Mazda, which plans to launch 13 electrified vehicles by 2025, including hybrids and BEVs that will incorporate Toyota technology.

© Thomson Reuters 2021

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Coinbase, Hit by Declining Cryptocurrency Prices, Falls Short on Revenue as Trading Volumes Slump 30 Percent

How to Set a Custom Ringtone on Android and iPhone: Steps to Follow


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Zimbabwe Is Not Legalising Any Cryptocurrency, IT Ministry Reveals


This week, a Zimbabwean government official hinted that the country is considering the lagalisation of cryptocurrency as a legal tender. Addressing the media reports around this, the IT ministry of Zimbabwe has clarified that their government is not considering the introduction of another currency in the economy. The clarification has been issued after due diligence with Monica Mutsvangwa, Zimbabwe’s minister of information. The alert has been tweeted by the nation’s IT ministry in order to curb the rumours and misinformation around crypto-payment facilitation.

In a tweet posted by Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Information, Publicity, and Broadcasting, the government has stated that the Zimbabwean Dollar (ZW$) remains the official and only legal currency of the country.

Mutsvangwa, has however revealed that the government is in the process of analysing the concept of Central Banking Digital Currency (CBDC). Also called the “digital fiat currency”, CBDCs are valuable digital tokens that can be regulated and issued by the central bank of a country.

“Like most countries in the world, the Government of Zimbabwe, through its Financial Technology Group, is studying Central Banking Digital Currency as opposed to cryptocurrencies, Bitcoins or any form of derivatives,” media reports quoted Mutsvangwa as saying.

Whether or not Zimbabwe adopts cryptocurrency is something that remains under question as of now.

Earlier this week, Charles Wekwete, the head of the e-Government technology in the South African country had said that discussions on legalising Bitcoin payments are underway with the private sector players about legalising cryptocurrencies.

The official had also said that the crypto-space is brings about several fears about cross border movement of funds, money laundering, externalisation of funds, especially to fuel illicit activities, as per a report by Zimbabwean news portal Bulawayo24.

The crypto culture is seemingly rallying in the African region, statistics reveal.

Between July 2020 and June 2021, Africa’s cryptocurrency market grew by 1,200 percent – making up for a whopping $105.6 billion (Rs. 775 crores), a recent report by Chainalysis revealed.

“Cross-region transfers also make up a bigger share of Africa’s cryptocurrency market than any other region at 96 percent of all transaction volume, versus 78 percent for all regions combined,” the report said.

In September this year, El Salvador became the first country in the world to legalise Bitcoin as a legal tender. The country has also given $30 (roughly Rs. 2,221) worth of Bitcoin to all its citizens who downloaded and registered on the Chivo e-wallet.

Interested in cryptocurrency? We discuss all things crypto with WazirX CEO Nischal Shetty and WeekendInvesting founder Alok Jain on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

Cryptocurrency is an unregulated digital currency, not a legal tender and subject to market risks. The information provided in the article is not intended to be and does not constitute financial advice, trading advice or any other advice or recommendation of any sort offered or endorsed by NDTV. NDTV shall not be responsible for any loss arising from any investment based on any perceived recommendation, forecast or any other information contained in the article. 


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How to Set a Custom Ringtone on Android and iPhone


Looking for a way to use a custom ringtone on your Android phone or iPhone? Although Android and iOS both come with a list of ringtones that you can set by default for all your contacts or a specific contact, you may wish to use a different tune on your phone. Custom ringtones are also worth considering if you want your favourite song or melody to play when someone calls you. Moreover, setting a custom ringtone adds a personal touch to your phone that helps you make it different from others and easily recognisable when you are in a large gathering of people.

In this article, we are detailing the steps you can follow to use a custom ringtone on your Android phone or iPhone.

How to use a custom ringtone on Android

The process of using a custom ringtone on Android is relatively easier when compared to iPhone. But before getting into the details, it is important to note that there are slight differences in the steps depending on which Android device you have — considering the fact that there are various different custom interfaces available in the market. We are here considering the stock Android experience as a reference to detail how you can use a custom ringtone. You will more or less need to follow the same steps on your device.

  1. Select the audio file .MP3 format that you want to set as a custom ringtone and put it in the ‘Ringtones’ folder of your Android phone. You can do this via a PC or through a file manager app on your device.

  2. Once the audio is in the correct folder, go to Settings > Sound and vibration > Phone ringtone.

  3. Tap the My Sounds option and then select the audio file you want to set as your custom ringtone.

  4. Hit the plus (+) button and then tap Save.

Ringtones are typically played for 30–45 seconds. You may, therefore, need to trim your audio file. There are some dedicated apps available through Google Play that let you cut your favourite song or melody into a ringtone. You can alternatively use any audio editor such as Audacity on your PC to trim the audio.

How to add a custom ringtone on iPhone using iTunes

Apple’s iTunes also provides a way to users to create custom ringtones for the iPhone. Here are the steps you need to follow when you are using iTunes on a Windows PC or Mac.

  1. Open iTunes and add the song to your music library that you want to use as a ringtone.
  2. Connect your iPhone to your computer and click on the iPhone button next to the drop-down menu on the top bar.
  3. Scroll down to the Options section on the Summary page and click on the option that reads, ‘Manually manage music and videos.’ Hit the Done button and then Apply.
  4. Go back to your music library on iTunes and then select the song you want to convert as a ringtone.
  5. Right-click on the song title and select Song Info and then go to the Options tab. Click the start and stop checkboxes and select the start and stop points of your audio. Make sure that the audio length you have selected is 30 seconds in total as you will not hear your song as a ringtone beyond that. Now, select Okay.
  6. Select the song and then go to File > Convert > Create AAC Version.
  7. Right-click the song and select Show in Windows Explorer.
  8. Now, rename the file extension of your converted audio to .m4r from its existing m4a. You can only rename the extension if the file name extensions are visible on your PC. You can enable them by clicking on View > File name extensions option from Windows Explorer.
  9. Copy the .m4r audio file and come back to iTunes again. Go to Devices and then your iPhone from the left-hand side bar. Now, right-click the Tones option and then paste. Your custom ringtone will now be available on your iPhone.

These steps will only work with Windows PCs and Mac machines running on macOS Mojave and earlier. On newer macOS versions, Finder serves as an alternative to iTunes for syncing music and other media content.

How to use a custom ringtone on iPhone

If you don’t have access to a desktop or want to create a custom ringtone directly through your iPhone without any third-party apps, or connecting your iPhone to PC or Mac, here are steps for you.

  1. Download the audio file to your iPhone that you want to set as a custom ringtone. It can be in the commonly available .MP3 format.
  2. Now, download GarageBand from the App Store.
  3. Open GarageBand and scroll from right to left to select the Audio Recorder option.
  4. Tap OK to the audio recording prompt and then select the third icon from the top-right corner.
  5. Now, make sure that the metronome is disabled. It is available just after the record button on the top panel.
  6. Tap the Loops icon from the top-left corner and then switch to the Files tab from the top. You will now be able to browse items from the Files app. You will need to pick the audio app you want to use as a custom ringtone. Alternatively, you can also choose a song that is locally stored on your music library. You can, however, not pick a song or podcast that is available through Apple Music.
  7. Once the song is selected, it will appear on the Loops screen. Drag it and drop it on to your timeline on GarageBand’s Audio Recorder.
  8. Tap the plus (+) icon above the timeline — located on the rightmost side. This will let you change the section length. You need to manually change the section length to 30 bars as ringtones normally play for 30 seconds.
  9. Now, adjust the song by trimming it and moving the clip using your finger. You can also play the final audio from the top panel.
  10. Tap the arrow icon from the top-left corner. You will see your GarageBand project. You can rename the project with a name you want for your custom ringtone.
  11. Now, tap and hold the project and select Share. You will then see a Share Song screen where you need to select Ringtone and then tap Continue to export your final audio as a ringtone. You can also rename the ringtone before exporting it as the ringtone from the app.
  12. Once the audio is created, you can use it as a custom ringtone by tapping the Use sound as… option from a pop-up that appears after the export is successful. You can also do that by going to Settings > Sounds & Haptics > Ringtone.

In case you don’t want to use GarageBand on your iPhone, you can export your songs as a custom ringtone using iTunes through a Windows PC or Mac or sync them via Finder on Mac machines running on recent macOS versions.

For the latest tech news and reviews, follow Gadgets 360 on Twitter, Facebook, and Google News. For the latest videos on gadgets and tech, subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Jagmeet Singh writes about consumer technology for Gadgets 360, out of New Delhi. Jagmeet is a senior reporter for Gadgets 360, and has frequently written about apps, computer security, Internet services, and telecom developments. Jagmeet is available on Twitter at @JagmeetS13 or Email at Please send in your leads and tips.

‘Not Considering’: Zimbabwe Government Clarifies Stance on Legalising Cryptocurrency

E-Amrit Portal Launched in India to Raise Awareness on Electric Vehicle Adoption


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E-Amrit Portal Launched to Raise Awareness on Electric Vehicle Adoption


The Central government launched E-Amrit, a web portal on electric vehicles (EVs), at the ongoing COP26 Summit in United Kingdom’s Glasgow.

According to a statement issued by the NITI Aayog on Wednesday, E-Amrit is a one-stop destination for all information on electric vehicles — busting myths around the adoption of EVs, their purchase, investment opportunities, policies and subsidies.

“The portal has been developed and hosted by NITI Aayog under a collaborative knowledge exchange programme with the UK government and as part of the UK-India Joint Roadmap 2030, signed by the Prime Ministers of the two countries,” the statement said.

E-Amrit intends to complement initiatives of the government on raising awareness on EVs and sensitizing consumers on the benefits of switching to electric vehicles. In the recent past, India has taken many initiatives to accelerate the decarbonisation of transport and the adoption of electric mobility in the country. Schemes such as FAME and PLI are especially important in creating an ecosystem for the early adoption of EVs.

NITI Aayog intends to add more features and introduce innovative tools to make the portal more interactive and user-friendly.

The launch was attended by UK High-Level Climate Action Champion Nigel Topping and NITI Aayog Adviser Sudhendu Jyoti Sinha.

For the latest tech news and reviews, follow Gadgets 360 on Twitter, Facebook, and Google News. For the latest videos on gadgets and tech, subscribe to our YouTube channel.

How to Set a Custom Ringtone on Android and iPhone: Steps to Follow


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GBP 3.2-Billion Class Action Against Google Blocked by UK Supreme Court


The UK Supreme Court has blocked a planned GBP 3.2 billion (roughly Rs. 31,929 crore) British class action against Google over allegations the internet giant unlawfully tracked the personal information of millions of iPhone users. Britain’s top judges unanimously granted a Google appeal against the country’s first such data privacy case on Wednesday, a move that upsets a string of similar claims waiting in the wings against companies such as Facebook and TikTok.

The landmark case led by Richard Lloyd, a consumer rights activist and the former director of Which? magazine, sought to extend Britain’s class action regime to include compensation claims for alleged misuse of data — even if there is no obvious financial loss or distress.

Lloyd, backed by a commercial litigation funder, alleged Google secretly took more than 5 million Apple iPhone users’ personal data between 2011 and 2012 by bypassing default privacy settings on Safari browsers to track internet browsing histories, and used this for commercial purposes.

“We are bitterly disappointed that the Supreme Court has failed to do enough to protect the public from Google and other Big Tech firms who break the law,” he said.

His lawyer, James Oldnall from law firm Milberg, called it a “dark day when corporate greed is valued over our right to privacy”.

Google said it had focused for years on products and infrastructure that respect and protect people’s privacy, and that the claim was related to events that took place a decade ago and had been addressed at the time.

British business also welcomed the ruling. The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said allowing such a case could have put a chill on investment and impacted firms across the economy.

“The Supreme Court has recognised that the ‘loss of control’ of an individual’s personal data is not, in and of itself, sufficient to found a collective action for compensation,” said Kate Scott, a partner at law firm Clifford Chance.

“Data litigation will undoubtedly continue, but with a focus on claims where actual damage has been suffered — which is the right outcome for all businesses, and not just big Tech like Google.”

Under a US-style representative or class action, a group of people affected by the same issue are represented by a single person and are automatically part of a lawsuit, without individually signing up, unless they opt out.

Proponents of such lawsuits say they allow access to justice for those with small individual claims or without sufficient financial resources to take on often large, powerful companies.

Critics say such lawsuits fuel claims without merit, driven by opportunistic commercial litigation funders and law firms.

© Thomson Reuters 2021


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Facebook Whistleblower ‘Extremely Concerned’ by Metaverse


Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen on Wednesday said she was “extremely concerned” about the company’s plans to build a “metaverse” — a virtual reality version of the internet — because of privacy problems.

Faced with a barrage of bad publicity due to Haugen’s revelations, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced plans late last month to create a digital world where people feel as if they are face-to-face using virtual reality technology.

Speaking to the French parliament on Wednesday during a European tour, Haugen said that she was “extremely concerned about the metaverse.”

Meta, formerly Facebook, “wants to fill our environment with sensors, microphones, other kinds of ways of monitoring us” and the adoption of the technology by companies would be “super problematic”.

“Let’s imagine you work from home and your employer decides ‘I want to be a metaverse company’,” she told lawmakers.

“You don’t get to decide if Facebook can spy on you like you can opt out from using Facebook in your personal life,” she added.

The former Facebook engineer leaked a trove of internal documents to the media that have sparked weeks of criticism of the social media giant over its impact on fragile democracies and vulnerable teens.

During her testimony to American and European lawmakers over the last month, she has insisted that Facebook chooses profit over curtailing toxic content and that the company cannot be trusted to change its ways.

Zuckerberg has hit back, saying that “the argument that we deliberately push content that makes people angry for profit is deeply illogical”.

Haugen, a 37-year-old data scientist, also told the French parliament about how she had coped with the scrutiny and public exposure since identifying herself in early October as the main source of a series of explosive reports by the Wall Street Journal.

“Providing psychological support is critical for many whistleblowers,” she said, adding that she had been lucky to move back to live with her mother last year because of Covid-19 lockdowns.

“My mother is a priest and I received countless hours of counselling and therapy,” she said.

“Most whistleblowers don’t have that level of support. Making sure that there is someone that can coach them through the process is vitally important.”

Meta reported profits of $9 billion (roughly Rs. 67,074 crore) in the July-September quarter of the year.


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WhatsApp Rolling Out New UI for Contact, Group Info: Report


WhatsApp is reportedly rolling out “My Contacts Except…” privacy feature, allowing users to control who can see their information on WhatsApp. The instant messaging app is also releasing a new interface for Contact Info and Group Info for specific Android beta testers, as per a separate report. This interface was previously only available when viewing Business Info. Separately, Android beta users are also getting an updated Disappearing Messages feature. This feature allows users to choose among 24 hours, seven days, and 90 days ephemeral durations as default message timer for disappearing chats. Thirdly, WhatsApp has made an improvement to its multi-device feature.

The “My Contacts Except…” option is being introduced with WhatsApp beta for Android update, as per WhatsApp features tracker WABetaInfo. This feature allows users to choose who can see their information such as “Last Seen” status, profile photo, and “About” description on WhatsApp. This will be a fourth option along with Everyone, My Contacts, and Nobody on the Last Seen settings menu. Users have to select the contacts who they don’t wish to share information with from the “My Contacts Except…” option. The contacts not selected here will continue to be able to see all information as they did earlier. Additionally, if a user disables their Last Seen for specific contacts, they won’t be able to see their Last Seen status either. This rule for Last Seen does not apply to About and Profile Photo.

As per another report by WABetaInfo, WhatsApp beta for Android update is bringing a host of new features for beta testers. The first is the release of a new interface for Contact Info which was released with WhatsApp beta for Android WhatsApp is said to be rolling out the new UI for more beta testers in the latest update. The report says users may also start seeing the new interface for Group Info.

Additionally, the Disappearing Messages feature which allows users to choose among 24 hours, seven days, and 90 days of ephemeral durations. The change was previously available for beta testers on iOS, and is now available for Android testers. Introduced by the Meta-owned app last year, the feature offered an option to automatically make a particular message disappear after seven days. The update now offers choices in time duration to automatically make messages vanish on WhatsApp.

The latest rollout also brings tweaks in the multi-device update. WABetaInfo tweeted that after the multi-device beta update, WhatsApp will not send notifications about security code changes when the linked device list is changed. Security codes are used to verify that the calls and the messages which a user sends to that chat are end-to-end encrypted. These codes are unique to each chat, WhatsApp says.

For the latest tech news and reviews, follow Gadgets 360 on Twitter, Facebook, and Google News. For the latest videos on gadgets and tech, subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Sourabh Kulesh is a Chief Sub Editor at Gadgets 360. He has worked in a national daily newspaper, a news agency, a magazine and now writing technology news online. He has knowledge on a wide gamut of topics related to cybersecurity, enterprise and consumer technology. Write to or get in touch on Twitter through his handle @KuleshSourabh.

Facebook Whistleblower Frances Haugen ‘Extremely Concerned’ by Metaverse

Netflix Rolling Out AV1 Streaming on Select TVs, PlayStation 4 Pro


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Pixel 6 Users Reportedly Getting Respiratory, Heart Rate Tracking Features


Google is reportedly bringing heart rate tracking and respiratory tracking features on the Pixel 6 via the Google Fit app. These features were available on Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a for a while, and now Pixel 6 owners can reportedly take advantage of them too. It is said to be out of “early access” phase, meaning a broad rollout is underway. Separately, few Pixel 6 users are reporting the removal of the Magic Eraser tool after the latest Google Photos update. Again, this seems to have affected only a few users as the update rollout has been stopped.

9to5Google reports that Google Pixel 6 units are now getting heart rate and respiratory tracking features via the Google Fit app. The app uses the phone’s camera to measure heart rate and respiratory rate. Google reportedly warns that this feature is “not for medical use” and that it is “being fine-tuned and may be removed.” The report adds that while testing the heart rate tracking feature, its results were accurate and matched that of a Fitbit tracker and a Pixel 5 in a “well-lit area.” However, the reading was roughly off by 30 beats per minute in a darker room.

On Google Fit, Pixel 6 users can check if they’ve received the feature by going to Browse > Vitals. The two cards will appear at the bottom of the Home tab.

In addition, Some Pixel 6 users are reporting that the Magic Eraser tool was removed after the latest Google Photos app update. This feature lets users remove unwanted objects from photos. However, according to Android Central, the Google Photos app version 5.67 has removed the useful feature for several Pixel 6 users. The rollout of this update has reportedly been stopped and those who haven’t updated their Google Photos app can still use the Magic Eraser tool on their Pixel 6.

Google spokesperson Alex Moriconi told The Verge that the company has “identified an issue early in the rollout of [its] latest Photos update and are providing a fix shortly.”


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