Before every episode of The Vergecast I sit down, read through a bunch of news, and take a bunch of notes. It’s one of the most enjoyable parts of my week, and I started thinking it might be fun to do every day on the site. So, every day this week I’m sitting down and writing some notes on the news as though I’ll be talking about it later. Are you into this? Am I into this? I don’t know. But it’s fun to do! Give me some feedback and we’ll keep mutating this into something good.
- Hilariously, the reason Show Notes was so late yesterday was because we were recording the actual Vergecast. Listen:
- What exactly is Google’s plan around messaging? Yesterday the company teased a desktop web version of Allo, but today the company unveiled a new default messaging app for Android called Messages. Dieter has the scoop: it’s how Google is going to roll out RCS messaging, which is the next-gen version of standard SMS carrier messaging.
- But uh, the list of carriers and handset makers that will be installing Android Messages by default is... not great? LG, Moto, Sony, HTC are in, as is Sprint. That’s it in terms of US relevance. No Verizon, no AT&T, no T-Mobile, no Samsung.
- Oh, but Google says its own Pixel and Android One devices will have Messages as the default app, which is interesting, because the headline feature on the Pixel was Google Assistant, which is in... Allo.
- So just to wrap up: Google just released another new messaging client, but this time it’s universal, except not really, and it’s going to be installed by default, except when it’s not, and it’s going to be the default on the Pixel where Google Assistant is the main feature but Allo which exists solely to put Assistant in messaging isn’t the default messaging app. Got all that? Please send me a message on another platform if you do.
TODAY IN THIS IDEA IS GOING TO WORK SOMEDAY
- Tom Warren reviewed the HP Elite X3 phone / laptop hybrid (I told you this idea was heating up again) and found that Microsoft’s Continuum is a great demo but not exactly a great product yet. App support is pretty limited, so HP built a super weird paid app streaming service that charges $579 a year for 40 hours of access a month to things like Chrome and Office. Just... what? That is some 1995 AOL shit right there. Also it’s slow.
- But... if Microsoft can make Windows on ARM actually happen, this idea feels incredibly powerful. And like the beginning of a good reason to get a Windows Phone. I cannot believe I just typed that. Let’s just stop there.
AJIT NEVER SLEEPS
- Unregulated wild man Ajit Pai is rushing to roll back the FCC’s new rules prohibiting ISPs from sharing your browsing history, location, and other data. Yeah, that seems like a super consumer-friendly move.
- Pai and other Republicans don’t think we should regulate the access market because competition will serve to push these companies towards the consumer interest. But, yo, Verizon is spending billions on companies like AOL and Yahoo to build a better content-and-ads business. AT&T is buying Time Warner to serve you more video (and thus, more ads). Does anyone think these two are going to compete on fucking privacy? Has that worked for Apple trying to sell cloud services against Google in a vastly more competitive environment with lower switching costs? Has that pushed Google or Facebook to care about consumer privacy more? Come on.
- Man, it would be great to ask Chairman Pai these questions and get his straight answers. Maybe he should come on The Vergecast sometime.
MWC IS HERE
- MWC is upon us, and Chris Welch has the preview you need.
- And Chaim Gartenberg has the 5G explainer we’ve all desperately needed. Gaze upon the motion-blurred Gs of that image and despair. I mean, hope. Whatever works for you.
- We’ve got a crew on the ground in Barcelona all next week — my assumption is that 5G news will actually be more interesting long-term than any devices, but I’m always hoping to be wrong about that, because who doesn’t love new devices? Check back early and often for show coverage.
- Loren Grush profiled World View Enterprises, a company that’s working on a high-altitude balloon system that can carry people and cargo 100,000 feet up. Tickets: $75,000. If I’m spending that amount of cash I think I probably want a rocket trip to be part of the deal, but maybe you just want to see the curve of the earth at a distance where no political news can possibly reach your brain. Float away, people.
- It’s Oscars weekend, and our coverage has already started. One of my favorite story formats is when a bunch of our reporters open a shared doc and argue with each other, and that’s what the culture team did to debate improving the Oscars. It’s a fun way to get prepped before the show on Sunday.
- Twitter is rolling out new abuse protection features that inevitably raise free speech issues — like today’s, which basically shadowbans people who swear at other users. Russell Brandom and Casey Newton pull it apart; these platforms are all going to start walking a much finer line than they have in the past.
- Meanwhile, TC Sottek thinks that if Twitter wants to really make a stand, it’ll just ban Trump. A few of our staffers strongly disagree with this, but it’s an interesting argument. We’ll try to publish the counter on Monday.
- And finally, Kaitlyn Tiffany and Lizzie Plaugic picked the new Migos video for their One Video of the week. Kaitlyn: “Watch until you get to the part with the diamond masks and then you’ve seen the best part.”