As much as these instant messaging services would like it to be the case, not everyone spends all day in front of their smartphones (though some really do). Some do have to spend some time in front of full computers, which sometimes means missing out on important, or not so important, interruptions from family and friends. That is why WhatsApp is now offering a desktop version of its messaging app, available for both Windows PCs and and Mac OS X so you won't have to miss a beat just because you really need to be productive.
We are now living in the age of chat bots. Whether they be tied to apps like Slack or Facebook Messenger, chat bots have eliminated the need for users to take car of annoying, time-consuming tasks, such as translating photos, requesting a ride home, ordering tacos, and even posting offensive tweets. And now we can add calling 911 to the list.
Slack, the messaging/collaboration app, has changed the way the employees of many companies communicate and work, from its goal of eliminating email, to letting people request a ride home with a growing number of bots. But soon you'll be able to use it to order tacos. That's right, fast food giant Taco Bell has announced it's developing a chat AI for Slack that will let users place and customize food orders using natural language conversations.
Nintendo will be making its official smartphone debut next week with the long-awaited released of Miitomo. Well, in Japan at least. The gaming giant has revealed that the free-to-play-but-not-really-a-game app will be released on iOS and Android in Japan on March 17th. Sadly there's no word on release outside the country just yet, but during an investors meeting last fall, Nintendo said Miitomo would be available worldwide by March of this year, so hopefully we'll get access in the following week or two.
Last month's update to Skype allowing up to 25 people to join a single video call is a great option when you need to communicate with a large group of people at once, but what if 25 still isn't enough? Well, that's where Line, the mobile messaging platform that dominates Asia, has you covered. The company has announced that its latest update introduces support for conference calls with up to 200 people. Now you can have everyone you know, literally, on a single call.
As was predicted just yesterday, Slack has revealed that it's bringing native voice calls to its virtual office/messaging/collaboration service. The feature will start rolling out today as a beta in the official Slack desktop apps as well as the Chrome plugin. Once activated, users don't need to rely on any additional apps or services external to Slack to make a voice call, including the recent integration with Skype.
Popular messaging platform WhatsApp has seen almost non-stop growth since its Facebook acquisition a few years ago, even reaching one billion active users earlier this month. The app has been around for seven years now, but with that age and growth the company has decided to discontinue support for WhatsApp on several older mobile operating systems. The good news is that there's a fairly small chance the device you have will be affected, unless of course you're a big BlackBerry or Nokia user. Likewise if you rely on an ancient Android phone.
Despite the prevalence of Internet-based instant messaging, like that used by Facebook, LINE, and iMessage, SMS remains the most basic way people communicate with their smartphones. Some tech pundits believe that it's time for it to give way to the next generation. One of those is Google, who has heavily invested on RCS or Rich Communication Services. Now, however, it isn't alone anymore. The GSM Association or GSMA, along with more than a dozen operators, have agreed to help push RCS. And adopt Google's RCS Android app as well.
While the recent news about advertisements being introduced into Facebook Messenger is a bit disappointing, that's not the only new functionality coming to the chat platform. The Messenger app now officially supports multiple account sign-ins on Android. This comes shortly after Facebook introduced the same feature to Instagram, although that update also made it to iOS.
Now that the outrage over Twitter's potential changes to the timeline has calmed, the social network has been rolling out several new features to its app this week. Yesterday saw the official debut of GIF support, including the ability to see which moving images are trending, as well as search. Now Twitter users are able to capture and then share videos in Direct Messages, bringing the private, one-to-one message type closer to basic texting apps and services.
This morning the updates began to arrive for WhatsApp, bringing on - amongst other bits and pieces - a whole new collection of emoji. this new version 2.12.441 allows users to roll with a tabbed collection of what you'll otherwise have been getting in iOS 9.1, but... you know... here on Android. This update to WhatsApp will only be showing these new emoji to users who also have the same last couple of versions of the app, so you might want to hold back on the delivery just yet.