messaging

Hangouts update brings stickers, location awareness

Hangouts update brings stickers, location awareness

Last night, at least one member of the Google Hangouts team posted to their Google+ social feed that sleep was going to be tough, and that we’d see an update for Hangouts today. The Android world buzzed about what that meant; were we finally getting full Google Voice integration? Was Hangouts about to be less power consumptive? Nope, we got stickers — and last-seen timestamps along with location sharing. There are also filters for video chat, where you can mask yourself in sepia, black and white, or vignette, among other filters.

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Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul releases YB messaging app based on catchphrase

Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul releases YB messaging app based on catchphrase

Let me start by saying that if you've haven't watched the amazing TV series Breaking Bad, you're probably not going to get what makes this new app so funny. Also, you should go and watch the show right away, it's really good. If you have seen the show, then get ready to download "YB," an app from Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul, based on his character Jesse Pinkman's catchphrase: "Yo, b****!"

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BitTorrent Bleep gets basic offline messaging

BitTorrent Bleep gets basic offline messaging

BitTorrent's secure work-in-progress messaging service Bleep has taken its first step toward offline messaging, the company has announced. Formerly known as BitTorrent Chat, Bleep is a peer-to-peer messaging app that promises to keep one's messages safe from prying eyes, something that in itself made offering offline messaging problematic. Though that issue hasn't been fully resolved, BitTorrent has taken a "basic" step toward offering it by allowing users to send offline messages...with one catch.

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Facebook rolls out Groups, brings another app to your screen

Facebook rolls out Groups, brings another app to your screen

In their continued effort to take over your smartphone screen, Facebook has released Groups. The app’s purpose is simple enough; it’s for group messaging. Yeah, that’s really it. Facebook has taken an aspect of their messaging platform and splintered it off into a standalone app. The new Groups app is complimentary, though; there won’t be the divide we saw with Messenger months ago. You can still access Groups via the Facebook app, or via Messenger. Or, now, via a standalone app.

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WhatsApp just gave 500,000 Android users encrypted messaging

WhatsApp just gave 500,000 Android users encrypted messaging

In a odd and surprising move, WhatsApp has just offered end-to-end encryption for all Android users. Relying on the Open Whisper System, and using open source code, WhatsApp just gave 500 million users totally encrypted messaging. The encrypted messages are accessed via the user’s device, using a key that only the account owner can access on the device. That means WhatsApp can’t access the messages, and neither can law enforcement. It’s not clear when an iOS version may be available.

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Beam app shows your texts being typed in real-time

Beam app shows your texts being typed in real-time

If you're no longer satisfied with only being able to see little ellipses as your chat partner types a message, the text messaging app Beam will likely strike your fancy. It leaves no room for edits -- at least, no room for private edits. Rather, everything you type is shown in real time to the person on the receiving end, for better or for worse, meaning you'd better think carefully about what you want to say before taking to the keyboard.

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Snapchat is asking users to stop using third-party apps

Snapchat is asking users to stop using third-party apps

The knock on Snapchat of late is that it’s not secure. That’s a largely fair complaint about the service, which has given up plenty of data to hackers, even though it’s meant as a ephemeral service that keeps nothing. Snapchat blamed third-party apps for the vulnerability, and today have taken the first steps toward securing their platform. Or at least educating users on the difference between Snapchat and a third-party app. In a bold move, Snapchat is actively asking users to stop using those off-brand apps.

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Twitter may copy Facebook, make features into apps

Twitter may copy Facebook, make features into apps

Some like to poke fun at Facebook for making several impressions on our devices. We’ve got Messenger, Instagram, Facebook, Paper (for iPhone users, at least), WhatsApp — it’s a lot. At their “Analyst Day” soiree, Twitter is teasing that they may do just the same. Executives at Twitter told analysts they were working on improving their direct messaging service, and were very high “applications that can live outside of Twitter”. The microblogging platform may also get a “best of” feature to show you what cool things you might have missed, and will get some interesting video features.

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Google Search now looks in your apps; Messenger hits Play Store

Google Search now looks in your apps; Messenger hits Play Store

It’s update Wednesday, and you know what that means, Android fans: more Google for your Android! On top of the Nexus 6 rollout Google is doing each Wednesday, we also get our hands on some new app features, and sometimes new apps altogether. Today, we’re seeing both, as a really nice update to Google Search is rolling out, and Google’s newest messaging app is also being introduced to the Play Store. For the majority of Android users, both will be available, too.

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Google Voice, Hangouts get SMS/MMS, Verizon support

Google Voice, Hangouts get SMS/MMS, Verizon support

Still using google Voice? There’s good news today, especially if you are on Verizon, or regularly chat with someone who is. An update to Voice adds native MMS support on Verizon, bringing MMS to all four major carriers in the US. Additionally, Voice is also getting native MMS support for photo messaging, so you can send and receive messages from anywhere, via any carrier. Though we’re not out of the multiple-platform woods yet, an update to Voice does have some cross-app functionality.

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