messaging

Instagram Direct upgrades to corner messaging market

Instagram Direct upgrades to corner messaging market

Instagram has revamped its Direct feature, aiming to turn the photo messaging system into a real alternative to Twitter DMs and even dedicated IM apps. The new Instagram Direct - available in v7.5 of the app for both iOS and Android - supports threaded messages, a much-requested feature for common conversations, in addition to renaming support for group chat.

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Direct Messenger lets you use Twitter DMs and nothing else

Direct Messenger lets you use Twitter DMs and nothing else

While Twitter has been revamping its Direct Messages feature recently, including the elimination of the 140-character limit, letting users message people not following them, and supporting pictures & URLs, its official apps still heavily focus on the rest of the social network's uses. For those who've been wanting to just use Twitter's Direct Messages as a stand-alone chat app, now there's the unofficial app Direct Messenger for iOS.

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Facebook M assistant helps shopping in Messenger

Facebook M assistant helps shopping in Messenger

Facebook is launching its own personal digital assistant, M, with a beta of the chat-based artificial intelligence rolling out today for select Messenger users. Unlike Apple's Siri, M delivers its assistance via text discussion rather than spoken interactions; it's also more focused on shopping, with Facebook positioning it as a way to buy products, have gifts ordered and delivered, and arrange travel.

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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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Google Hangouts now has its own hangout on the Web

Google Hangouts now has its own hangout on the Web

Google has been steadily simplifying the Google+ brand, primarily by separating the rather amorphous service from more stable and more independent products. The latest to get that treatment is Google's all-embracing Hangouts messaging platform. To emphasize the point that it is a distinct product separate from Google+, the tech giant has given it not only a facelift on mobile, but now also a home on the World Wide Web. Yes, Hangouts now has a website of its own and you can use it on a browser, no plugin required.

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Hangouts 4.0 for Android is finally here

Hangouts 4.0 for Android is finally here

Drop the pitchforks, Android users, because Google has finally released Hangouts 4.0 for your favorite Nexus, Galaxy, or other Android device. Following on more than a month from the Hangouts 4.0 for iPhone launch, the version for Google's own OS gets the fancy new Material Design UI to please the eyes, as well as a promised improvement in performance for those who were losing patience with the messaging client.

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Facebook adds new messaging options to Pages

Facebook adds new messaging options to Pages

Facebook Pages have become a common way for businesses to stay in contact with their customers, allowing them to post statuses with relevant information and allowing customers to reply to the statuses. In addition, customers are able to communicate with the businesses through private messaging on Pages. Today the social network updated its Pages' communication features, including new messaging options for users who want to talk with a company. This includes sending messages to companies through a dedicated message button on their Facebook advertisements.

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Viber updated with redesign, better quality and more

Viber updated with redesign, better quality and more

WhatsApp competitor Viber has updated both its Android and iOS apps with a bunch of improvements and new features, the most notable of which is the improved voice and video quality that, despite being better than ever, keeps data usage to a minimum. As with Facebook's Messenger and other similar apps, Viber allows users to make calls among themselves, eschewing using up minutes and, if you're on Wi-Fi, precious data. With this update, calls over 2G snap up only 84KBs of data per minute.

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You can now LINE all you want on your PC

You can now LINE all you want on your PC

Almost ironically, the instant messaging services that burst in popularity on mobile devices are now trying to stake a claim on desktops as well. Viber has long had a desktop version of its app. WhatsApp now has a web version that supports different browsers. Now LINE is adding to that list, but in a sort of different way. Yes, it's still somewhat web-based but it is going for something even more specific. LINE is now making available a new PC version, this time as a Google Chrome extension.

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Facebook reduces ‘Happy Birthday’ to a mindless button press

Facebook reduces ‘Happy Birthday’ to a mindless button press

Facebook has allowed you to forget when most birthdays are, and it has reduced birthday wishes from phone calls and cards to posts on timelines. Now it has taken that distant and simplified well wishing to an even lower level, reducing it to — if the well-wisher wants — a single button press. That single button press will result in the most generic birthday wish one could give: a stock “Happy Birthday!” post and nothing more. It will take hardly two seconds of your time; you’ll probably forget you did it moments after pressing send.

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Yahoo officially outs Livetext, a messaging app with silent videos

Yahoo officially outs Livetext, a messaging app with silent videos

In New York today, Yahoo officially announced a new messaging app for iOS and Android called Livetext. While the app was quietly released in Hong Kong and Taiwan earlier this month for testing, this launch marks its debut in the US, Canada, France, Germany, and the UK. At first glance, Livetext seems to be Yahoo's take on rebuilding its old Messenger service with the Tumblr and Snapchat generation in mind, as the app focuses on a mix text messages and videos with no sound, much like ever-present GIFs.

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T-Mobile overhauls texting with ‘Advanced Messaging’

T-Mobile overhauls texting with ‘Advanced Messaging’

Text messaging pales in comparison to messaging apps, so much so that you likely reserve texting for those acquaintances you don’t have a connection with on Messenger or elsewhere. T-Mobile wants to change that — or maybe just add another bragging right to its list — and as such has announced that it is the first wireless carrier in the United States to offer texting built on Rich Communications Services, RCS, and it is calling the feature “Advanced Messaging”.

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