Google Hangouts scores poorly in EFF’s study of most secure messaging services

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The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) today released a report examining three dozen messaging services and ranking them based on what it deemed are seven “security best practices.” While Apple scored the best among what the EFF called “mass-market options”, it along with Google and others didn’t do as well when compared to all 36 messaging services included in the report. Specifically, EFF noted Google’s services “lack the end-to-end encryption that is necessary to protect against disclosure by the service provider.” Read more

Skype says free group video calling coming in the future to more platforms

Earlier this month, Microsoft-owned Skype rolled out a group video calling feature to Windows tablets. The free video calling allows for calls with up to ten people, and integrates with Skype on the desktop, which has supported group video calling since April.

Today, Skype tells us that the group video calling feature will be coming to all of its mobile platforms in the future:

We’re excited about Skype group video calling and are working to bring it to more of our platforms. In the future, we’ll be enabling group video calling for all our users across more platforms – at no cost

Unfortunately, the company could not yet provide a more specific rollout timeframe. Skype has been rapidly releasing new products over the past several months, with a major redesign of the Skype iPhone app arriving a couple of months ago.

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Facebook to disable messaging in its main Android app this week, require Messenger for all users

Facebook has announced today that it will no longer allow messaging in its main mobile application later this week. Instead, any users who wish to take advantage of the company’s messaging platform will have to do so through the standalone Facebook Messenger app.

Earlier this year the comapany started informing some European users of the upcoming move to the separate app, but this is the first time a solid timetable has been set for the transition. For users who already have the Messenger app installed, nothing will change. Once the change goes into effect, the “Messages” tab in the Facebook client will simply link to the Messenger app rather than an inbox view.

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Upcoming Twitter for Android update will allow you to browse your entire DM history

Twitter has announced that an upcoming update to its mobile clients will allow users to go back and review their entire direct message history. Currently the app only provides a limited look back, but that restriction will be removed in a new version that will also make deleting messages more reliable across its web and mobile platforms.

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New leaked shots show redesigned Android 4.4 KitKat phone & messaging apps?

Update: Two more shots after the break.

The images above might be our first look at redesigned stock apps in Google’s upcoming Android 4.4 “KitKat” update. We’ve been reporting on a lot of Nexus 5 and Android 4.4 leaks since we first discovered an unannounced Nexus device in Google’s promotional video for the upcoming OS update. While images of the Nexus 5 have leaked several times– we posted exclusive photos and video of the device earlier this week– we have yet to get a good look at Android 4.4 KitKat. Today another reader reached out with the photos above claiming to show redesigns of the phone dialer and messaging apps on KitKat.

The images show new lighter color, grey icons on the status bar, which lines up with our leaked video of the Nexus 5 and a screenshot for a Google Keyboard update spotted by AndroidPolice yesterday.

The images also appear to show a colored status bar that changes depending on the color scheme of the app.

We can’t see any new functionality, but the shots do show extremely streamlined redesigns for the phone app and messaging app on Android 4.4. Controls in the messaging app get bumped up to the top right hand corner, and the phone dialer gets a much cleaner, and flatter look with a new light blue color scheme. Read more

Google+ Stream redesigned with three column view, intelligent hashtags, responsive design

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Google+ will receive a card-based interface redesign featuring a new three column view. The new interface is responsive to the user’s display size. The new multi-column view is customizable meaning you can toggle back to the previous single column view if you prefer.

Google+ will also begin rolling out intelligent hashtags for photos, meaning if you post a photo of the Eiffel Tower, Google+ can automatically recognize the subject and appropriately tag it for you.

Users will now be able to view related photos by clicking on the current photo and seeing related hashtags on the flip side of the photo. A video below highlighting the related hashtag feature is below.

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Google announces Hangouts messaging service coming to iOS, Android, and desktop today

Update: The apps are now live on Google Play and the App Store.

Google today launched its much rumored messaging service live on stage at its I/O keynote and announced the service would be coming to multiple platforms today. While some thought the service would be dubbed “Babel,” Google instead rolled out a standalone app called simply “Hangouts” that will be coming to iOS, Android and desktop later today.

Google execs provided a demo of the app running on Android today, but also gave us a glimpse of the iOS version as pictured above. The demo mostly focused on showing a list of conversations (not contacts) as well as one-on-one and group messaging, photo albums stored in the cloud, and the ability to start text conversations and video calls with contacts in one tap.

As for Gmail:

What does this mean for your Gmail? You now have the option to switch from the current version of chat to Hangouts. Simply click “Try it out” next to your chat list to switch to Hangouts and give your chat an instant facelift (literally!). You’ll now see the profile photos in the order of your most recent conversations. With Hangouts, you’ll also be able to quickly send messages, have video calls with up to ten people at once, and share photos. You can start a conversation with just one friend or even a whole group.

Google made a point of noting that conversations are stored and saved in the cloud, allowing users to have long-lasting conversations and browse a full history that dates back months or years. The app will unify and replace the Google Talk, Google+ Messenger, and the Google+ Hangout apps that currently make up Google’s messaging services.

The service will be launching as a new standalone app called Hangouts for iOS devices, Android, and on the desktop some time today.

Google announces Google Play for Education launching this fall

Google today announced a new service called Google Play for Education that allows schools to easier find and distribute Google Play content to Android devices in schools.

The Google Play Education store will allow schools to search for content by subject matter and grade level and provide content that has been recommended by other educators. Google is teaming up with partners such as NASA and PBS for content but it will also begin accepting app submissions from developers this summer before the education store launches this fall.

Rather than using credit cards in an education environment, teachers will be able to purchase bulk quantities of apps and charge licenses against a balance from the school’s purchase order. The Google Play for Education service will also allow school’s that use Google Apps to instantly distribute an app to multiple devices in a school by setting up a Google Group

Google Play for Education will be launching this fall. You can learn more at https://developers.google.com/edu/.

Google announces Google Play Music ‘All Access’ streaming service, launching today for $9.99/month

Google just announced its much rumored new music service that it is calling Google Play Music “All Access” live on stage at its Google I/O event keynote presentation.

Google execs focused on showing off curated playlists but also made a note of pointing out a “radio” feature that will automatically create an endless radio station based on the song you’re currently listening to. The service will also allow users to search for a particular song or view the “playlist” of a radio station to remove unwanted songs.

The service also includes a feature called “Listen Now” that will provide quick access to recently listened to songs, customized radio stations based on your preferences, and recommendations for new releases from artists you like.

The service will be available on the web, tablets, and phones and cost users $9.99 per month with a 30 day free trial in the US. Those that sign up before the end of June will be able to get the subscription for just $7.99/month and Google said the service will land in other countries soon.

Screenshots claim to show Gmail integration for Google’s rumored Babel service

Rumors of an upcoming messaging service from Google dubbed “Babel” have been steadily popping up in recent months. We first heard back in March that the service would unify Google’s chat services such as Google Talk, Chat for Drive, Google+ Hangouts, etc, and since got a look at two different sets of screenshots showing variations of what tipsters both alleged were an Android app for the rumored service.

After a small hint at Gmail integration for Babel this morning, we now get yet another set of photos, this time reportedly showing what the service will look like inside of Gmail. TechRadar posted the images above that apparently come from an anonymous Google employee currently testing Babel.

From the screenshots we see a slightly tweaked text layout, new emoticons and the expected Google+ integration, but not much else.  Read more