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Cortana for Android beta now available to all in US

Cortana for Android beta now available to all in US

Cortana for Android has gone into public beta, bringing Microsoft's sass-talking personal assistant to smartphones running Google's OS. Promising a mixture of Google Now-style contextual learning with smart speech recognition, Cortana supports voice-controlled calendar control, web searches, and more, along with sifting through news articles and other pertinent data she believes each individual user might be interested in.

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Google Maps to get new food photo feature

Google Maps to get new food photo feature

If you are the type who loves to eat and likes to take photos of whatever it is you are eating, you may recall the Google feature called Tablescape. It is a tool for uploading images of your eats to Google+. Google always said that it was an experiment and after the experiment ended, Tablescape was terminated.

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Comcast’s live-streaming app now available for Xfinity customers

Comcast’s live-streaming app now available for Xfinity customers

Back in May, Comcast began a limited test of a mobile app that let users stream video from their smartphone to not only other phone users, but to TVs at home and the homes other subscribers. Called Xfinity Share, the app proved to be fairly popular, and now Comcast has made it available to all Xfinity customers. The app is free on both iOS and Android, and the only requirement for recipients of the stream is that they have an X1 DVR-ready set-top box.

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Bing Android app’s Snapshot preempts Google Now on Tap

Bing Android app’s Snapshot preempts Google Now on Tap

At I/O 2015 in late May, Google revealed its concept for putting the power of search inside each and every Android app. Called "Google Now on Tap", the still upcoming feature lets users search for information relevant to their current context, like the current song, artist or video, without having to leave the app. It seems, however, the Microsoft is beating Google to the punch in its own territory, updating its Bing Android app with a new "Snapshots" feature that is almost the same yet different from Google Now on Tap.

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Skype for Android update brings custom ringtones

Skype for Android update brings custom ringtones

Skype for Android has received a new update, bringing it to version 5.10. The update is relatively small, at least as far as apps go, but it does bring a couple of welcomed features, the most important for many users likely being personalized ringtones. With this, Skype users are able to set custom ringtones for contacts, making it possible to know who is calling without pulling out your phone or tablet and taking a look.

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WhatsApp’s desktop client now supports iOS

WhatsApp’s desktop client now supports iOS

The desktop web app for WhatsApp now finally supports iOS, roughly seven month after it debuted on Chrome and Android. While the name of the feature is a tad confusing, it's the option to continue using the messaging client on a desktop browser through the web.whatsapp.com portal. But in order to "login," users must already have the mobile app installed on their device, open it, and scan a QR screen that is displayed in the desktop browser.

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Opera Max data saver adds support for YouTube, Netflix

Opera Max data saver adds support for YouTube, Netflix

Opera has pushed out an update for its Opera Max Android app, and with it comes much-awaited support for both Netflix and YouTube. Opera Max is an app that compresses content and manages data usage to maximize how much browsing you can do with your carrier's monthly data allotment. According to Opera, the app will save data across 3G/4G /LTE and Wi-Fi networks by up to 50 percent. One of its big bragging points is that its compression comes with minor quality loss, so much so that users aren’t likely to notice any changes in the content’s quality.

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Dragon Anywhere brings Nuance dictation to iPhone and Android

Dragon Anywhere brings Nuance dictation to iPhone and Android

Nuance may be part of the voice recognition magic behind Siri, but its latest product, Dragon Anywhere, promises to outclass the speech-to-text skills of both iOS and Android. The new app focuses on those who expect uninterrupted dictation from their mobile devices, along with full document editing, formatting, and even distribution done by voice. Ambitious, not least because both Apple and Google have baked some of those technologies straight into their platforms; I caught up with Nuance's Peter Mahoney, CMO, to find out more.

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Microsoft’s testing ‘NewsCast’ app that reads the news to you

Microsoft’s testing ‘NewsCast’ app that reads the news to you

Microsoft is tinkering with an app called NewsCast that will go one step above competing news apps by reading the news to you. Such functionality will be facilitated by text-to-speech technology, one that is hopefully smooth and pleasant to hear. Microsoft isn't the only company working on projects that could serve as a news hub for consumers, but it does seem to be the only one working on delivering news audibly for the daily commute.

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Firefox gets truly private browsing mode

Firefox gets truly private browsing mode

Firefox may become the browser of choice for the tracking-paranoid, with Mozilla testing an experimental stealth feature that supercharges privacy. The new Private Browsing option, released in a pre-beta version of Firefox for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android, takes the existing privacy window and layers on blocking of third-party analytics and tracking systems.

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NASA’s latest contest seeks smartwatch app for astronauts

NASA’s latest contest seeks smartwatch app for astronauts

NASA contests are nothing new -- it has one every so often seeking different things from the public for its various efforts. The space agency has initiated a new one, this time oddly enough through the freelancing website Freelancer, where it is seeking entries related to a smartwatch app for astronauts. According to the contest’s description, NASA has an interest in smartwatch technology, and is planning to use such devices to aid astronauts. Ordinary watch apps won’t do, however, and so it is looking for the creations of the public. The space agency has detailed its requirements, but developers are given freedom around them.

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