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Apple Has Created 'Detailed Mockups' of iMessage For Android (macrumors.com) 143

One of the biggest features on iOS that isn't available on Android is iMessage, an instant messaging service that allows users to send information over Wi-Fi, 4G LTE, and other forms of internet access to other iOS or OS X users. Earlier this year, there were been rumors swirling around the possibility of the service coming to Android due to Apple's increased focus on services, "which means opening up certain avenues beyond its own iOS and OS X platforms." Today, Daring Fireball's John Gruber has added fuel to the fire by mentioning that he's "heard from little birdies" that a handful of "detailed mockups" of iMessage for Android have been shared around Apple. MacRumors reports: The user interface of the Android app is said to have gone through numerous designs, from one that looks identical to the version on iOS, to another that has a "pure Material Design," using Google's design language it developed a few years ago. Gruber still thinks iMessage on Android "might happen sooner or later," mainly because of iMessage's new monetized Messages App Store, which could net Apple increased income in its already profitable services category if it translated the app to Android. Apple undoubtedly created mockups for all types of products and services, the vast majority of which never make it to release, and it's unclear exactly how far along the iMessage for Android preliminary designs were at the time of their circulation through Apple, or when exactly that occurred. Still, Gruber notes that while an Android version of iMessage "may never see the light of day," even the existence of such mockups "strongly suggests that there's no 'of course not' to it."
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Apple Has Created 'Detailed Mockups' of iMessage For Android

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  • by jrumney ( 197329 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2016 @07:07PM (#53150809)

    One of the biggest features on iOS that isn't available on Android is iMessage, an instant messaging service that allows users to send information over Wi-Fi, 4G LTE, and other forms of internet access to other iOS or OS X users.

    How is such a thing possible? As an Android user, that just blows my mind.

    • my kid wanted an iPhone. It's their biggest source of vendor lock in. And what would they get out of Android users installing the app? Best case scenario $1.99. Even porting iTunes would be a waste. Apple's a hardware company, not a music company. The only possible benefit to Apple is to draw people into the fold, and they just don't need to do that.
      • "mainly because of iMessage's new monetized Messages App Store, which could net Apple increased income in its already profitable services category if it translated the app to Android"
      • +1. It really annoyed me having to buy my daughters IPhones just because their social group all use iMessage. No IPhone, not connected. And the social group cannot be changed.

        EMail is, of course, dying. The youngsters all use various types of vendor locked in technologies.

        • Is the market rate of iPhones really that high in the US?

          Apple holds about 30% of the smart phone new sales in Aus but that is falling rapidly year on year.

          • Is the market rate of iPhones really that high in the US?

            Apple holds about 30% of the smart phone new sales in Aus but that is falling rapidly year on year.

            Not after the S7 debacle they aren't...

            • Doubt it will make any difference.

              The pixel has arrived at just the right time to pick up all those note owners.

              • by Yvan256 ( 722131 )

                Pixel can also replace Uber? Wow, I'm getting one!

              • Doubt it will make any difference.

                The pixel has arrived at just the right time to pick up all those note owners.

                That's a laugh; and it still doesn't help Samsung...

                • by Maritz ( 1829006 )

                  That's a laugh; and it still doesn't help Samsung...

                  It's a laugh because... everybody should pick Apple because Apple are the best? Is that why it's really funny? It must be straight-up bizarre to be so incredibly one-eyed.

            • Is only like under 10 percent of the market. for messaging app standpoint, those phones DO NOT MATTER AT ALL.

              what matters is that majority of the people are buying non-iphones and using messaging apps available on android - this _forces_ iphone users to use another messaging platform as there really isn't a choice. if they don't want their messaging platform to die next year they have to port it over to android. there is no question about it. it's that they either port it over or users will gradually move t

          • It's around 42% or so [statista.com], although Android still holds the lead. Apple benefits from massive lock-in, and that means less attrition of users.

            But with falling sales (see the other /. story), the complete stagnation of the US market (the only place to sell to new customers is in SE Asia, China, and India - which cannot afford iPhones), and the move to support Android, it's clear that Apple reads the future about Android's growth (80% worldwide and rising) and will pivot to a services company to try to stay al

        • by hackel ( 10452 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2016 @07:44PM (#53151009) Journal

          I don't get it. Doesn't iMessage transparently switch to SMS? How would using it make one bit of difference?

          • You can get iMessages on all your i-devices. It is seamless. One of the things Apple did right.
            • So it's like Google Hangouts, then. Right? Except all of my devices, not just i-Devices.
              • Yes, but the crucial difference is that iMessage is supported by Apple while Google seems to be doing everything it can to destroy Hangouts short of just pulling the plug.

                They seriously expect people to use Allo, Duo, and Messenger because... well who the fuck knows? Google does everything half-assed and stupid.

            • by dougmc ( 70836 )

              Nope, it's not done right.

              For example, suppose you have an iPad and an iPhone. Somebody sends you a message -- and it goes to your iPad, but not your iPhone. But your iPad is at home, so you don't get it for hours. Or maybe your iPad has been dead for a week, but it was still logged into iMessage when it died, so it's still getting the messages rather than your phone.

              Yes, there are ways to make it work, but you've got to be aware of the problem and stay on top of it, being careful of what you let into iM

          • Don't underestimate the effect of being seen as the green bubble in a sea of blue.
          • It's the group messaging features.

            Also, iMessage looks really really wimpy and basic (or it did before they ruined it in IOS 10 by adding too much bling) but it really is very full featured. If you're used to using both iMessage and Hangouts, they're basically the same tool, but Hangouts looks and feels like something a guy in a crop top and parachute pants carrying a boom box from the 80's would use where iMessage has a little bit less of the brain shattering clash of design paradigms, clutters and color.
          • by unami ( 1042872 )
            if you're a teenager and send a few thousand messages, lots of them containing pictures, every month, it does make a difference if you haven't got unlimited texts and data.
          • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

            SMS doesn't support sending photos and other images like custom emoji. These days, being able to hold an entire conversation in selfies and emoji is a pretty important. Also, some countries aren't keen on SMS - Japan went pretty much directly to email because with Japanese text you only get about 70 characters in an SMS and it's liable to corrupt them anyway.

            Recommend Signal to your friends. It's properly end-to-end encrypted, unlike all the other options.

        • +1. It really annoyed me having to buy my daughters IPhones just because their social group all use iMessage. No IPhone, not connected. And the social group cannot be changed.

          EMail is, of course, dying. The youngsters all use various types of vendor locked in technologies.

          That's just ridiculous.

          At the root of it, iMessage is basically just an SMS/MMS client. I use iMessage to communicate with several of my friends and coworkers. Some have iPhones. Some don't. The biggest difference is that the iMessage-to-iMessage conversations consist of Blue bubbles, and the regular SMS conversations have Green bubbles.

          • The biggest difference is that the iMessage-to-iMessage conversations consist of Blue bubbles, and the regular SMS conversations have Green bubbles.

            Those Blue bubbles don't show up on the phone bill :-)

            • I assume you can get unlimited texts in any plan for next to nothing, however I imagine it's the pic messages that would cost, rather than text.

              • Even if unlimited does the number of texts appear, that could cause annoying conversations with parents.
            • The biggest difference is that the iMessage-to-iMessage conversations consist of Blue bubbles, and the regular SMS conversations have Green bubbles.

              Those Blue bubbles don't show up on the phone bill :-)

              Good point. But with unlimited Texts like I have (didn't specifically seek it out; it as just a nice feature), the Green bubbles don't cost me any more than the Blue ones.

            • by fnj ( 64210 )

              Only a chump would even think of PAYING for SMS. I certainly get unlimited SMS for my measly $35/month Virgin no-contract "plan".

              • Only a chump would even think of PAYING for SMS. I certainly get unlimited SMS for my measly $35/month Virgin no-contract "plan".

                Or someone who is not a teenager. If sending a hundred or less a month it could be a win depending on the plan, i.e. $0.05 per text vs $5.00 for unlimited. Now consider that the one hundred only applies to people not on iMessage and its even more plausible to be less expensive to pay per text.

                Even if on unlimited the number of texts may still appear on the bill and cause annoying conversations with parents.

            • by Maritz ( 1829006 )
              Seems to me that any modern contract that charges for SMS is pretty antiquated, but then in the US you can be charged merely for receiving an SMS, which still strikes me as batshit-crazy.
              • Seems to me that any modern contract that charges for SMS is pretty antiquated, but then in the US you can be charged merely for receiving an SMS, which still strikes me as batshit-crazy.

                Believe it or not some people can live with only a few texts a day which actually can make pay as you go cheaper depending on your plan. Especially so when considering that texts sent via iMessage doesn't count towards those few.

          • The biggest difference is that the iMessage-to-iMessage conversations consist of Blue bubbles

            And are free (microscopic data usage charges notwithstanding), and you can play games through them, and send all manner of pointless images, animations, drawings and make the bubbles bounce up and down. Et-Effing-Cetera. AND:

            The youngsters all use various types of vendor locked in technologies.

            Is basically true.

            • The biggest difference is that the iMessage-to-iMessage conversations consist of Blue bubbles

              And are free (microscopic data usage charges notwithstanding), and you can play games through them, and send all manner of pointless images, animations, drawings and make the bubbles bounce up and down. Et-Effing-Cetera. AND:

              The youngsters all use various types of vendor locked in technologies.

              Is basically true.

              Well, with the release of iOS 10, I must admit that there is getting to be more of a difference between what you can do with iMessage to iMessage "texts" vs. what is possible with plain ol' SMS/MMS. But I'm not sure that mist, if not all, of those "tricks" are still happening within the standard protocol, with just clever stuff happening at the "iMessage Editor" App-level.

          • Do you use the iMessage features? Do you use the emojis? Do you do the meme thing? Do you insert sounds and music? Do you and your friends and coworkers sit in a circle learning new iPhone tricks that look really cool? Do you do the group thing?

            Or do you send an occasional text and maybe when you're playing it dangerous, a picture?

            Are you assessing how children and teenagers use a technology based on how a adult uses it?

            I'm not about to say "iPhone is the only way and they can't change". But, it has absolut
            • Do you use the iMessage features? Do you use the emojis? Do you do the meme thing? Do you insert sounds and music? Do you and your friends and coworkers sit in a circle learning new iPhone tricks that look really cool? Do you do the group thing? Or do you send an occasional text and maybe when you're playing it dangerous, a picture? Are you assessing how children and teenagers use a technology based on how a adult uses it? I'm not about to say "iPhone is the only way and they can't change". But, it has absolutely nothing to do with what I have to say. I'm a 41 year old man with thinning hair. I have to remember to trim my nose hair and ear hair which I often forget to do. What matters is what the cool people say... and let's be honest, you're here commenting on Slashdot... you're definitely excluded from that category. If the cool people use iPhone, then the kids use iPhone. The question is... which cool people do your kids want to copy?

              You're right, and I get your point.

              I am a 60 year old that tries to "keep up"; but certainly is much more likely to send all-text Texts than to have an entire Text composed only of Emojis. Although it has been known to happen occasionally. I'm not dead yet, LOL!

        • Right there with you.

      • they all use whatsapp, facebook messenger, line, snapchat or something else.

        what would Apple get out of it? well for one, it would make imessaging a relevant messaging platform.

        you see, if Apple users cannot message with non Apple users then the Apple users will also use line, whatsapp, fb messenger or whatever else - and if you're an apple user in a market where most users cannot afford apple products then you either message with nobody or you adapt and use some other app(it's really of no bother to them a

        • by fnj ( 64210 )

          All right, I'll bite. Why in the Christ don't they use plain SMS, for God's sake? Things that make you go "WTF".

      • They were Apple Rumors that OS X always had an Intel CPU port ready for deployment. Also rumors of iTunes for windows.
        And when hearing the rumors people dismissed it as why would Apple want to do that it would kill their market.
        Having iMessage for android could be a smart move.
        1. It encourages a larger wifi network so there is more texting and less expensive coverage.
        2. It gets Android users hooked on Apple products
        3. Gets ready for a backup plan in case a catastrophic problem with iOS

        Apple is a huge compan

      • > Even porting iTunes would be a waste.

        Actually, they've ported Apple Music to Android. I bought a android phone with an SD card for the express purpose of having that as my jukebox in my car; beats paying whatever it costs for the 128 GB iPhone.

        https://play.google.com/store/... [google.com]

        (The app is mostly geared toward getting you to buy media from Apple, or become a subscriber to their streaming service, but also lets you download the contents your iTunes playlists to play locally from the phone)

      • IMO, porting things like iMessages to Android, or conversely, Hangouts to iOS is a waste. Why would someone download an extra app that does the same thing as an existing app on the phone (that may or may not be removable)? Same thing w/ Google Duo - why offer that on iOS when FaceTime is there?

        Better idea would be making the 2 apps more interoperable b/w platforms. Like if I use FaceTime to call someone w/ an Android phone, it should invoke his Duo app. If I use Hangouts to converse w/ a Lumia user, i

    • Unexpected Finger In the Android

  • WTF would I want this? If I am an android user why would I want to install iMessage?

    Put it this way, prior to this story I didn't even know it existed....

    • You're obviously not a teenage girl that needs to communicate with her peers, that only use iMessage.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ColaMan ( 37550 )

      Do you have friends and/or family with Apple products? If so, then this is a window into their little world of seamless messaging, something that is a complete shitshow on Android. Basically, once you've got a person's Apple ID, you can send them a message and it will appear:

      On their iPad
      On their iPhone - and the backend will switch to SMS if necessary to deliver it, if you're without data.
      On their iMac, or whatever their desktop/laptop line is called now.

      And they can reply to and follow the complete conver

      • Hangouts does data/SMS seamlessly across desktop and phone. Unfortunately it acts and looks like it is was designed by engineers.
      • by Harlequin80 ( 1671040 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2016 @07:49PM (#53151029)

        Hangouts does everything you describe. It's what I use all the time. It is seamless across my phone and table and my PC. And it is seamless across windows, linux and apple.

        It is seamless between SMS and the internal delivery system, and the conversations are synced to my gmail account allowing me to search them.

        • Hangouts does everything you describe. It's what I use all the time. It is seamless across my phone and table and my PC. And it is seamless across windows, linux and apple.

          It is seamless between SMS and the internal delivery system, and the conversations are synced to my gmail account allowing me to search them.

          I like Hangouts and use it constantly, both personally and for work (I work for Google, where it is arguably the primary means of communication), but it isn't quite as seamless as iMessage in one respect: SMS integration. In iMessage there is no distinction between SMS and iMessage messages; they're all just messages. If they can be delivered via Apple's infrastructure, they are, if not they're routed via SMS. With Hangouts, SMS and Hangouts chat messages are distinct. They look similar, but they're differe

          • Hangouts used to have seamless SMS/Hangouts. However Google, in their infinite wisdom, removed this feature. It boggles the mind, the blatant mismanagement of products at Google. They're nearly as bad as Microsoft at this point.

            The Allo/Duo team is probably politically connected to higher ups at Google and persuaded them to hamstring Hangouts because it would help Allo/Duo. In-fighting, turf wars, and political bullshit are to blame for the death of Hangouts. Google is retarded.

            • Hangouts used to have seamless SMS/Hangouts.

              No, it was never seamless in the sense that iMessage is. The seams were harder to see, and that was exactly the problem that motivated the clear separation; the failure modes of the combined messaging were subtle, hard to understand and opaque to users. The upshot is that the combination made Hangouts messaging appear to be unreliable.

              Actually, iMessage isn't really seamless either. It breaks badly if iMessage thinks the destination device is an iPhone but it isn't. It's very good in a pure-Apple world, t

      • Android guy here,....

        Mod this guy right up, the messaging on Android is atrocious, Google have CONSISTENTLY fucked this up for years.
        The apple options are sadly VASTLY superior

        • Don't forget the UI... the UI on Hangouts is blatantly offensive unless you have access to certain types of mushrooms.
      • by jrumney ( 197329 )
        So, like WhatsApp, except it doesn't work with Android mobiles or anything with a web browser, and you need some obscure third party login ID for your contact, instead of just their phone number.
      • Because Skype doesn't exist on all platforms, does group chats/videos, and supports file sharing and the like? Oh, Skype's too old-skool? I guess WhatsApp having PC, web, and iOS/Android versions doesn't count either...
      • I'm obviously missing something major here, because except for the SMS gateway, this sounds like Jabber/XMPP 15 years ago. You can talk that protocol on anything (or everything at once), except have dozens of compatible implementations to choose from instead of just one proprietary one.

        And the SMS gateway, while that would have been super-cool back in 2003 before everyone had smartphones, sounds like an archaic requirement in 2016 when everyone has a smartphone that they use to access the Internet.

        SMS is

    • WTF would I want this? If I am an android user why would I want to install iMessage?

      You don't need to want it.

      If you're a Mac user, iMessage is forced on you. I am an android phone user. I never had an iPhone, nor an iPad. And yet, when I signed up for two-factor authentication with my Apple/iCloud account (for my Mac) and confirmed my cell phone number, all the texts that were sent to me from iPhone users would get intercepted by Apple and sent to iMessage instead (effectively depriving me from the messages on my phone until I could figure out what was going on and change the settings wit

      • How would they intercept them? Aren't SMS delivered to your device and then handled from there?

        • Once he's confirmed his phone number and activated iMessage, any iPhone user that sends a message to that number will send it as an iMessage, not an SMS.
    • I would have totally agreed with you before iOS 10 came out. There would have been zero reason for an Android user to use iMessage before then. But Apple's added a lot of features to iMessage. Nothing particularly new in the world of IM, but they still greatly expand its utility, and if Apple did port iMessage to Android it'd undoubtedly make sure the apps and features would go along with it.

      As XXer pointed out in another post here, Apple would benefit from porting iMessage to Android- more people using

    • iMessage is like a suped-up version of SMS. Like Whatsapp and then some.
      Allows free messaging (text, pictures, video, gifs, your own drawings, etc) to other iMessage users. Shows when messages have been delivered, if people are replying, etc.
      Now also allows 3rd party apps. Potential here. This will give you an idea, skip past the "sticker pack" crap: http://www.digitaltrends.com/m... [digitaltrends.com]
      Thing is, it's done rather well. Things are seamless, e.g. will even send standard SMS messages if data isn't available or rec

      • Funny this is. My family and friends we have all tried to use things like kix, hangouts, and skype to sent messages on our phones to each other. We always go back to the built in SMS app on our phones. Some of us install a 3rd party sms app like chomp, but basically its just good old SMS at its heart.

        I don't want messages popping up on all my devices. If I'm using my tablet to read I don't a message getting shoved in my face. My phone dings and I get around to it in my own time. If it's really impo

    • by unami ( 1042872 )
      if you're an android user and installed that ugly-looking imessage clone called whatsapp: for the same reason, plus aesthetics.
  • GM and Dodge 8 lug rims are the same, but they won't work on Ford octolugs. An electric water heater takes the same replacement element, except for the State brand, which has different threads.

    There is a propensity, almost cocksure, that a leading manufacturer can afford to make a non-universal part, greatly aggravating its target market. In the end, we hate that assumption and begin to vote with our wallets.

  • Smart people usually spend slack-ish time examining things they *might* want to do. It doesn't mean they *do* want to do those things, but one thing most of us know by now is whenever you're asked to do something, "in a hurry" is the default pace, and yet "slapdash" is not acceptable. So you don't want to be in a position where you use time figuring out how to use Material Design that you need for coding or testing.

    And even if you don't use those little hypothetical forays, they're still valuable in under

    • by jrumney ( 197329 )

      Smart people usually spend slack-ish time examining things they *might* want to do. It doesn't mean they *do* want to do those things

      No, actually, it does mean they want to do those things, otherwise they would not spend their slack time doing it. What it doesn't mean though is that their marketing dept is going to let them release it into the wild.

  • How about iTunes for Android TV, Android, and Chromecast? You know, so that people can enjoy the movies they paid for?

  • by XXeR ( 447912 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2016 @07:34PM (#53150959)

    The competing product from Google and Facebook are both available on iOS and Android. Add to that the fact that Android owns so much more of the smart phone market than Apple.

    Given both of those facts, Apple probably realizes that in order to keep their customers using this product instead jumping ship to something that is supported on both their platform and the most popular platform in the world, they have to offer their product(s) on that platform as well.

    • by cdwiegand ( 2267 )

      Yeah but Allo sucks. Sorry, but I have no compelling reason to use it over Hangouts, iMessage, SMS, Google Chat, or any other chat program (Facebook Messenger comes to mind as well). And Duo - I was let down. I had hoped Google had figured out what secret sauce Apple uses in Facetime to get such effing awesome quality over just LTE or 3G. No one else comes close. I thought, "Hey, Google is made up of engineers, really smart ones too! Surely they can figure it out." I was wrong. I like seeing who's calling m

    • by iONiUM ( 530420 )

      Seriously? Allo has failed, it doesn't even have 200k installs after over a month of being out. Compare this hangouts at 2.7m, which they ABANDONED for no good god damn reason and removed threaded SMS view (which was essential graceful SMS fallback). And do you know why? Because Google can't get their shit together. If you buy a Pixel on Google Project Fi, it comes with Allo, Duo, Hangouts, and Messenger. Do you understand how frustrating it is to a consumer when every product created gets dropped? Even /r/

      • by XXeR ( 447912 )

        I'm not arguing that either product is better than iMessage, but since when has that been a guaranteed victory in the market? My point is that Apple recognizes that they can lose customers unless they start offering their services on Android in addition to iOS. Time will tell if my theory is right..

    • The competing product from Google and Facebook are both available on iOS and Android. Add to that the fact that Android owns so much more of the smart phone market than Apple.

      Yes, however iMessage covers not only the iPhone, but every iPad, every iWatch, and every Mac as well. That's a pretty damn big ecosystem.

      Yaz

      • If by 10% of the entire installed base you mean damn big, then yes - it is. Meanwhile, Skype and Whatsapp both cover 100% of the ecosystem - Apple and non-Apple. 100% > 10%...
  • by hackel ( 10452 )

    What is the point of this? As I understand it, iMessage simply routes your SMS messages over the internet instead of sending a standard SMS, when it detects the recipient phone number is running iMessage. Does it have other features besides that, and all the standard SMS stuff? We can already do that easily with Google Voice, Hangouts, Allo, Facebook, and a plethora of other closed services. What we really need is *standards compliance*.

    I personally despise anything that keeps the ancient SMS standard a

    • by Anonymous Coward

      It is a horrible way of messaging that confuses people and teaches them that SMS is the same as a non-federated and centralized data messenger. Some of us don't have or want unlimited texting plans and we want to communicate with people in other countries and in other scripts. (SMS is some bastardized UTF-16 spinoff, but I get issues more often than not, no matter the message length.)

      iMessage has closed source code.

      iMessage has no way to verify the identity key of the other person.

      iMessage may use ECDSA sig

    • The two I care about are that it supports larger file attachments and it's encrypted.

    • by afgam28 ( 48611 )

      iMessage does more than SMS - it supports things like encryption, photos, group chat, continuity (start a conversation on one device, and continue on another), etc. If an iMessage user talks to a non-iMessage user, then you're right, it does route the message over SMS, but with reduced functionality.

      Now here's where Apple got clever (or evil, if you're an Android user like me). Normally the messages that you receive are drawn inside blue bubbles. But when you're talking to a non-iMessage user, their message

  • I work in a lead shielded nuclear bunker and having my cell radio on all day just eats my battery. Instead, I use iMessage to text to the happy Apple folks and Google Hangouts to text to the people with the exploding phones, flip phones, and even one person with a Windows 10 Phone. It's all good, since I can text over wifi for free. I have wished for a iMessage to non-iMessage gateway but none exist.

    Most people are happy to pay crazy phone bills each month, but I limit mine to $20 or less each month with

  • "There were been rumors" - nice grammar there. NOT.

  • I've switched back and forth from Android and iOS for years. I'm fortunate that my job provides that flexibility. I've used Hangouts stand alone - with Google Voice - and with Google Fi.

    I like the way Hangouts synchronizes conversations between devices - delete a conversation on one - and all devices pick up the change.

    Unfortunately that is the only thing Hangouts does better than Apple Messages. In every other way, Messages is a better user experience.

    It took me years to get all the Apple users around m

    • I tried Hangouts and it was too slow and too big for my uses. I mostly use Whatsapp now, it small and fast. I wouldn't even have looked for a different messaging app is Verizon SMS didn't suck so bad in my area. Messages don't arrive for hours even when the delivery receipt says they've arrived.

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