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End-to-end encryption is coming to Android group chats

Google has announced the beta version in May. For participating Android users, chats within encrypted Messages will display lock icons next to the chat bubble. End-to-end encryption has been enabled in Google’s Messages app for messages between individual users, but once this beta test is complete, full end-to-end encryption will be extended to group chats as well.

Google started test end-to-end encryption in Messages in 2020, bringing more security to users of Android’s default messaging app. This latest step is a win for Android, but it’s also part of the company’s ongoing effort to drive adoption of RCS communication standard for text messages on all devices. For months, Google has been on the warpath against Apple’s use of SMS and MMS messaging standards for cross-platform communications. Google encryption only works on RCS and not for messages sent via SMS.

Here’s more news from the world of consumer technology.

Apple’s headphone technology has a new name

According to leaks reported by Bloomberg, Apple has rebranded its software platform for running augmented and virtual reality applications. It’s a small move that could indicate that Apple is getting ever closer to announcing its much-anticipated mixed reality headset. The new name, xrOS, replaces the previous working moniker of RealityOS.

Headphone leaks they dripped steadily for months. As with Apple, no details or features have been officially confirmed. However, the new name would imply that the headset and the application running on it will have both AR and VR capabilities, a combination known in the industry as extended reality or mixed reality. There are also no clues about a release date, although it seems increasingly likely that Apple will announce the device next year.

Apple’s offer, whatever it is, will likely go head-to-head (get it) with the recently announced Meta’s Meta Quest Pro AR-VR headset. The Sony one is also expected to hit the market next year Playstation VR2 system. VR is about to get really crowded, consumer or otherwise actually want to fully immerse yourself in the technology.

New Gorilla Glass

Good news for chronic phone breakers: A new, more powerful version of Gorilla Glass may be coming to a screen near you soon. Corning, the company that makes Gorilla Glass, showed off its new Diet 2 material this week in product videos where he ran tests that they simulated breaking the glass against the concrete. The company says the new formulation withstood a three-foot drop on the notoriously unforgiving surface. (That’s 3.28 feet in American.) That might not sound like a lot, but it will hopefully ease some of that dread you feel when you accidentally throw your phone while fumbling to get it out of your pants pocket.

The company says the Victus 2 material can withstand an extra meter if dropped on asphalt or a surface softer than concrete. Glass hasn’t made its way into any new phone models; look for it in next year’s crop of phones.

Shopping time

While shopping online recently, you’ve probably noticed them buy now, pay later options at checkout. As the name implies, these services allow you to buy what you want and pay it back over time, in installments. Do this in a short enough time and you can avoid the interest that comes with credit cards. It’s an enticing option for cash-strapped shoppers looking to make a big purchase. The thing is, people don’t use BNPL services just to buy expensive items. They are also increasingly used for basic necessities such as gas and groceries.

This week on WIRED’s Podcast Workshop of gadgetslet’s talk about the buy now, pay later business model and what it means for your wallet.