Week 4, 2022

Friday weekly News Wrap up

Google introduces ‘Plus Codes’ for India, social media networks like Instagram and Twitter are in news for new features, NFTs continue to make exciting news, Elon Musk once again displays his love for Dogecoin on Twitter – these and more tech news in this weekly wrap-up.

Google introduces Plus Codes for India

Google on Thursday announced the launch of an India-first feature on Google Maps where users can access their current location to find the ‘plus codes’ address for their home.

Plus codes are free, open-sourced, digital addresses that provide accurate addresses for locations, including for places that don’t have accurate formal addresses. They work whether you’re online or offline—you don’t need an internet connection. With a Plus Code, it becomes easier to receive deliveries, access emergency, and social services, or just help other people find them. 

Amanda Bishop, Product Manager, Google Maps, wrote in a blog:

Since its launch in 2018, we have seen Plus Codes being adopted at scale by NGOs in India and beyond (including Addressing the UnaddressedShelter Associates, and Rural Utah Project) and governments (such as Sub-Saharan Africa) as it serves the addressing needs of millions of people. Plus Codes also ease the discovery of and navigation to businesses.

In India, the Plus Codes have been used by a non-profit called ‘Addressing the Unaddressed (ATU)’. This organization provides unique addresses to people who live in slums and urban villages. With the help of Plus Codes, ATU delivered addresses to hundreds of thousands of residents across Kolkata. The details of the project can be read here.

Twitter follows back Instagram

Media reports suggest that Twitter continues to work on a feature called ‘close friends’ that will share tweets with up to 150 select users. It is quite similar to Instagram’s ‘close friends’ feature.

The Verge reported:

If you’re in someone’s Flock and they send out a tweet, Paluzzi noticed a label that may appear beneath that tweet, reading: “You can see this Tweet because the author has added you to their Flock.” This should make it easy to distinguish between close friends versus everyone you follow on Twitter. To send a tweet to your Flock, it looks like Twitter will display an audience option before you send it out, letting you choose between all of Twitter and your selected users.

On Instagram, the Close Friends feature is a customizable list of people one would like to share stories with the most. It helps you instantly share those more intimate stories with just the users you consider closest to you (whether you follow them or not).

The Verge further reported that Twitter first gave us a glimpse of the feature last July, which was called “Trusted Friends” at the time. Since then, mobile developer Alessandro Paluzzi has been keeping track of Twitter’s progress, and it’s starting to take shape.


Instagram introduces two more features

This week Instagram introduced two features – the first one being a new profile banner that will display a user’s upcoming livestreams. In a video posted by Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram, on January 26 on Twitter, he talked about the new feature that will help a user with a badge on their profile to inform that they have a Livestream coming up. The subscribers will also get a reminder about the Livestream.

This feature will undoubtedly help the users to get more audience.
The second feature is quite fun – remixing of videos. Previously it allowed only mixing of reels.


IMF urges El Salvador to drop Bitcoin as legal tender

In September 2021, El Salvador made Bitcoin legal tender, the first country to do so. This move had led to large-scale protests over fears the cryptocurrency would bring instability and inflation to the impoverished Latin American country. On January 25, the International Monetary Fund released a statement pushing El Salvador to ditch bitcoin as legal tender. The report was published after bilateral talks with El Salvador.

The statement “stressed that there are large risks associated with the use of bitcoin on financial stability, financial integrity, and consumer protection, as well as the associated fiscal contingent liabilities.”

Recently, the government has made a series of announcements making El Salvador one of the most cryptocurrencies friendly countries. Earlier, a digital wallet app was introduced, giving away $30 (£22) in Bitcoin to every citizen. More than 200 new cash machines were also installed across the country.


Elon Musk endorses Dogecoin again, price goes up by 9%

Elon Musk’s love for Dogecoin is known. Time and again, his tweets reflect it. This Tuesday, he again tweeted he would eat a Happy Meal if McDonald’s accepts Dogecoin as a form of payment. The coin climbed over 9 percent compared to last day.

In September 2021, Elon Musk tweeted that he supports Dogecoin because he felt it was people’s crypto.

Ozzy’s NFTs land his fans in trouble

A week back, pop-cultural icon Ozzy Osbourne announced an NFT collection named “CryptoBatz” comprising a series of 9,666 digital bats. But just two days after the tokens were minted, supporters were targeted by a phishing scam draining cryptocurrency from their wallets.

The Verge reported:

Like the majority of NFT projects, CryptoBatz uses Discord as a place to organize its community. The official CryptoBatz Discord is now accessed through the short link discord.gg/cryptobatz. But previously, the project used a slightly different vanity URL at discord.gg/cryptobatznft.

The discarded Discord vanity URL for CryptoBatz was hijacked by cybercriminals to drain cryptocurrency wallets.

New NFTs that made headlines

The Indian media house Hindustan Times has launched NFTs that celebrate India’s Republic Day on January 26, 2022, which are available on beyondlife.club, an NFT marketplace, and platform that facilitates the creation, sale, and purchase of ownership rights to digital works of art via NFTs.

FanCraze, a platform for cricket-related NFTs, has partnered with the International Cricket Council to release 75 videos of important and famous cricketing moments as licensed NFTs.

As per the media reports, FanCraze is putting up three different kinds of packs for auction:

  1. A base pack with 1 NFT for $9 with a 90% probability of receiving a common NFT and a 10% probability of receiving a rare NFT 
  2. A booster pack with 3 NFTs for $49 with one rare NFT, one common one and another one with the same probability as the NFT in the previous pack
  3. A hotshots pack with 10 NFTs for $249 with six common NFTs, three common ones, and a guaranteed ‘epic’ NFT.
Sevashree Mohapatra
A strategic Corporate Communication leader and technology enthusiast, I have more than 20 years of experience in content, corporate communication, and Strategy. Having worked in major media houses and MNCs like Hindustan Times, Ogilvy, ArcelorMittal, and Suez, I have helped brands to create value for their customers.