messaging Stories May 18, 2016

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Following the announcement of Allo this morning, many assumed that Hangouts would be replaced. However, Google has confirmed to numerous publications that Hangouts will remain a separate product and continue to live — for now at least.

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Allo

Update: Allo’s Play Store listing offers the ability to preregister to get notified when the app is available for download.

Next up at I/O this year are two new communication apps that integration Google’s services and AI. The first is called Allo and has the Google Assistant built-in right into the app. In addition to integrating Google’s services, it also secure and private…

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messaging Stories May 11, 2016

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Starting today, YouTube is rolling out (via Wired) a new native sharing and messaging feature in its Android and iOS apps. While the video network is already a popular destination, YouTube wants to keep people in the app by having conversations about popular videos start and remain there.

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messaging Stories January 18, 2016

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WhatsApp’s founder Jan Koum has announced today that the widely-used messaging service is now free to customers. The Facebook-owned company is dropping its subscription service immediately. While it’s only 99 cents per year to use WhatsApp‘s multi-platform messenger app, Koum states that the annual subscription was still a barrier to some users…

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messaging Stories January 13, 2016

Pushbullet service adds photo messaging (MMS) from PC, increased texting reliability

Pushbullet can finally send picture messages (MMS) from your computer. The long awaited feature was just introduced in the first big update of the year along with increased SMS readability.

messaging Stories October 12, 2015

symphony

Reports surfaced last week suggesting that Google was in talks to invest in secure messaging startup Symphony, and a new report out Monday morning (via Re/code) suggests that the company is about to announce $100 million in funding raised in a recent round from several investors including — as was reported — the Mountain View company… expand full story

messaging Stories September 18, 2015

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Since the rise of science fiction movies, we’ve dreamed of being able to communicate to people through our wrists. In almost every case of wrist-worn gadgetry, fictional or real, that dream is met by voice dictation, or video calling. We don’t get excited by the prospect of typing in long messages to people using a tiny onscreen keyboard. Despite several attempts by tech companies in the past, it just hasn’t caught on. So it’s a little baffling when a company decides to release an app for smartwatches with the keyboard as its primary input method. I went hands on with Messages for Android Wear to find out if it was any good…

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messaging Stories September 3, 2015

Skype 6 Android 16-9

It was only a month ago that Skype for Android was hit with a slight visual refresh, and today Microsoft is pushing out a much bigger redesign to the messaging app that it says was inspired by Google’s Material design. Skype 6.0 for Android replaces the custom action bar along the bottom of the app with a new floating action button that should be familiar to other modern Android apps. The action button ties in shortcuts to video messages, video calls, voice calls, and conversation chats. expand full story

messaging Stories August 11, 2015

The popular messaging app Snapchat has received a new update for Android which includes both some fun changes in the form of a new emoji button, as well as some more utilitarian changes that will help save cellular data if you’re capped or traveling internationally…

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messaging Stories July 29, 2015

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Update: As expected, the app has just gone live in the Google Play Store for the United States, Canada, France, Germany, and UK. You can download it here, and Livetext should also be rolling to to U.K., Canada, Germany and France as we speak.

After testing the waters by releasing the app to the iOS App Store in certain regions a few weeks back, Yahoo has come out publicly to unveil Yahoo Livetext, a new (unabashedly Snapchat-like) messaging app from the company with some unique twists to it… expand full story

messaging Stories July 28, 2015

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Google announced today that it’s now allowing Android users to send messages via third-party services like WhatsApp and Viber using its “OK Google” voice control feature: expand full story

messaging Stories July 22, 2015

Happy Holidays from T-Mobile CEO John Legere - YouTube 2014-12-22 15-08-26

T-Mobile today has announced a new communication platform called Advanced Messaging. The service is based on the Rich Communications Services standard and is first supported on the previously announced Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime and will rollout out to nearly a dozen more devices as 2015 progresses…

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messaging Stories June 25, 2015

Hangouts hits the 1 billion install milestone on the Play Store

Hangouts, Google’s messaging platform in long need of an overhaul, has today passed 1 billion installs on the Google Play Store. The app is the 11th app to hit this milestone, followed most recently by Facebook Messenger and Google Play Books. Other than Hangouts, there are 7 apps from Google that have 1 billion, and 3 apps owned by Facebook.

Passing 1 billion installs isn’t very exciting considering the app comes pre-installed as the default messaging client on most Android phones, but it’s worth noting that not all of Google’s stock apps have come anywhere close to this milestone. Google Docs, for example, which comes shipped on all Nexus devices and others, is only in the 50-100 million range.

Meanwhile, we’re waiting patiently for the long-anticipated overhaul of Hangouts and, just as importantly, its upcoming Android Wear counterpart.

(via Android Police)

messaging Stories January 12, 2015

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For several months we’ve followed the U.S. government’s attempts to work around encryption in chat apps, even taking the hyperbole to an illogical extreme at one point, but we haven’t yet seen similar threats from other nations… or at least, we hadn’t until today.

British prime minister David Cameron said today that unless the government is given backdoor access to encrypted messaging services, he’s just going to outlaw them:

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messaging Stories November 5, 2014

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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.” expand full story

messaging Stories July 29, 2014

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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messaging Stories July 28, 2014

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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messaging Stories July 18, 2014

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.

[tweet https://twitter.com/Support/status/490260546818543618 align=’center’]

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messaging Stories June 17, 2014

 

As we reported last night, Facebook’s new Slingshot app is now available for iPhone. The app briefly appeared on the App Store last week but was quickly removed. Slingshot is Facebook’s attempt at competing with the popular Snapchat messaging service.

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messaging Stories September 30, 2013

Samsung says ChatON now at 100 million users, up 50 million since May

Samsung announced today that ChatON, the company’s chat service that comes preinstalled on many of its mobile devices, has now passed the 100 million subscriber mark. That’s up around 50 million users in fourth months since first hitting 50 million subscribers in May, according to Samsung. The press release notes that ChatON has been experiencing growth in markets such as India and China, but doesn’t say how many active users the service has:

ChatON was designed in-line with Samsung’s drive to deliver products that meet specific local needs in different markets. In India for example, ChatON has seen exponential growth as the service supports 10 regional dialects, with plans to support 13 dialects by the end of 2013. Additional features such as the Ramadan Anicon have helped boost its popularity in the Middle East.

It’s important to note that this certainly doesn’t mean active users, and with ChatON currently preinstalled on Samsung’s most popular devices– the Note II & III, Galaxy S4, etc– there’s no telling how many users signed up and only tried the service once.

ChatON is also available on other Android devices, iOS, Windows Phone, and PCs, as well as in 63 different languages, but Samsung didn’t share details on how many subscribers it has on each platform.

messaging Stories September 21, 2013

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. expand full story

messaging Stories May 15, 2013

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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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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 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: Chrome is the most used browser with 750+ million active users

At its I/O keynote taking place right now, Google is going over improvements it’s made to Chrome and to kick things off the company announced that the browser is now home to over 750 million active users across all platforms. That’s means the company has added over 300 million users since it announced 450 million active users at its I/O event last year.

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It isn’t a Nexus but it might as well be. Google announced a special version of the Samsung Galaxy S4 that will run stock Android, has an open boot loader and get updates straight from Google. You can buy 16GB (with open SD card slot) for AT&T and T-Mobile at the Play Store for $649 starting on June 25th.

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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.

messaging Stories April 10, 2013

Report shares more details on Google’s rumored Babel messaging service

We have been seeing more leaks surrounding Google’s much rumored unified chat service that most are calling “Babel”. On Monday we got a look at some pretty legit looking screenshots of Babel inside of Gmail that apparently came straight from a Google engineer testing the service, and today we get even more details about Babel.

A new report from Droid-life claims to have additional details about the service including a feature list from sources close to the project.

Google Babel as a product is a collaboration of work by the Google+, Android, Chrome and Apps teams. Through their combined efforts, as was previously reported by us, we’ll see this unified service launch in Gmail and as Android, iOS, and Chrome apps. What’s particularly interesting, is that Google is talking about the iOS app as being the first time they have built a “first class iOS experience” when it comes to a messaging service.

On top of a “first class iOS experience,” the report also says that Google Voice will eventually be integrated alongside Talk, Hangouts, and Messenger, but not initially at launch. Other features apparently coming to the yet to launch service include: notification syncing across devices, an updated messaging UI, group conversations, 800+ emoji, and some other expected features. Head below for the full list:

  • Brand new UI. We’ve designed a new UI that’s applied across all clients and promotes conversations.
  • Stay in sync.  With just one conversation list and experience across mobile and desktop, everything is always in sync. Install the Chrome app, the Android app, and iOS app.
  • Desktop app.  Stop laying whack a mole across blinking browser tabs. With the new Chrome app your conversations continue outside of the browser.
  • Keep a group conversation going to coordinate with your team, and start a Hangout with a single tap whenever you need to talk face-to-face.
  • Be notified…just once.  Get notifications on your two phones, tablet, laptop, and desktop. Open it on one and watch the others disappear. If you’re actively using your computer or phone we’ll even intelligently notify you on just one of those endpoints. Magic!
  • Message more than just text.  Add a photo to the conversation and/or send some of the 800+ emoji to your coworkers. Kittens and poop are particularly helpful in explaining complex issues.
  • Get nostalgic.  Scroll back in time and relive any (on-the-record) conversation, on any device.
  • More ways to talk.  For the first time we are building a first class iOS experience. Try out our very early preview on your iPhone or iPod Touch.

messaging Stories April 8, 2013

WhatsApp says it’s not holding sales talks with Google despite earlier rumor

This past weekend, a rumor had claimed that Google is holding talks with WhatsApp to acquire the messaging service for around $1 billion. Tonight, WhatsApp has told AllThingsD that it is not holding sales talks with Google. Meanwhile, Google is rumored to soon be launching its own “Babel” messaging 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.  expand full story

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