Up to now, the most annoying part of using Uber is when a passenger and driver can't find each other and need to get in touch. Or maybe you want to let your driver know a specific detail about your location ahead of their arrival. There exists the option to use each other's phone numbers for a text or call, but this will come up as an unknown number for either recipient and could go unanswered. The obvious solution to this problem has finally arrived, as Uber has developed an in-app messaging service.
There's another version of the Google app floating around in the wild, and as we've probably become accustomed, it doesn't appear to make any notable changes upon installation. However, there are some interesting elements floating around in the apk. In this update, we can see the first signs of support for making calls with Google Home and a new action that allows users to manually reroute voice commands to the device in their hand. There's also a new feature that looks at your notifications in an effort to give easier access and suggests about your contacts and messages.
With services like Skype, Hangouts, and even Duo, people can easily communicate with each other all across the world without the expensive fees that internationally calling can easily incur. Still, if you have the need to contact people with plain old phones, Verizon is making it slightly easier to do so.
Most people have been tethered to a single phone number across the span of years and multiple carriers. Maybe you don't want to give that number out to both friends and business acquaintances, though. Flyp is a new app that lets you use multiple numbers on your phone, each of which can be assigned a different purpose.
You know the WhatsApp calling feature that has been rumored for almost a year and supposed to roll out by the end of 2014? Well, it seems to be here, a few months late, and with a major caveat for now.
Reddit user pradnesh07 has come across the feature by receiving a WhatsApp call from a friend. That's how the option is presumably activated for each user, in an invite-like system where you have to get called by someone who already has it enabled. Here is the app's updated UI and how the calling interface is supposed to look.
Pradnesh07 went on to call a few users too, trying to trigger a cascade of invites from his device.
Ever since Google integrated Voice with Hangouts, listening to voicemail has been a highly-focused affair. Unlike traditional voicemail, which we're conditioned to hold up to our ear like a phone call, voicemail in Hangouts comes with a play button that encourages us to treat it more like the audio file that it is. This is the same way Google Voice has treated it on the web for forever.
The downside is that turning off the screen or backing out of Hangouts has, until recently, caused the message to immediately stop playing. With the release of version 2.5, that apparently changed. You can now listen to voicemail with the screen dark or while using another app entirely, leaving the message to play in the background.
Google Voice is a great service for replacing your carrier's voicemail and texting options. If you need something that's a bit more robust, however, SendHub has launched on Android and allows business-class users to set up a phone number (or set of numbers) and get texting and calling for free or cheap, depending on what class of service you need.
Free users can get 60 voice minutes, 500 messages, and 3 groups of 50 contacts for their first line. That probably won't be enough to convince the average user to ditch their current phone number, but for a new business line (or a throwaway), it can be great.
Well, it's a start. While the Skype app for Android still has a bizarre and uncomfortable habit of forcing landscape mode, today's update at least allows users to use the portrait orientation if they're making a call. That's nice. Especially since the positioning of front-facing cameras on devices like the Nexus 7 make landscape video chats extremely awkward. Now if only we could get this for the rest of the interface, that would be great.
This isn't just for phones anymore!
Additionally, today's update brings a few bug fixes and support for Portuguese, Norwegian and English of the UK variety. Not a bad update.
Alright, Google. It's time to stop leaving your VoIP service to languish on the vine. Facebook has released a double-whammy of big news bits. For starters, today the social network is rolling out an update to its Messenger app that will allow users to send each other short, recorded audio clips. It's voicemail for the 21st century, if such a thing can even exist without being horrible. And, really, this sounds like it's not.
Perhaps more interestingly, though, is that Facebook is also testing free VoIP calling in Canada right now. This is a huge deal, as it competes directly with Google Talk.