The "floating notification" style of app seems to be popular with a small but enthusiastic subset of users. Now those users have at least one more alternative, this time encompassing a wide range of texting and chatting apps. Meet Snowball, designed by a team that's being directly funded by a prospective investment from Google Ventures, among others. The idea behind the app is to create a unified messaging inbox that floats above the rest of Android.
Floating Notifications brings the usefulness of Facebook chat heads to every Android app that shoots out a notification. Get an email - receive a floating Gmail icon on the side of the screen begging for attention. Tapping that icon reveals the contents of the message. Double tapping dismisses the notification, but there's a catch - before now, removing the floating notification hasn't also removed it from the status bar. Thanks to the latest update, devices running Android 4.3 will sync these actions due to integration with the new Notification Listener Service.
Facebook must've known what it was doing with the launch of Chat Heads, but that feature has been duplicated in everything from custom ROMs to apps attempting to clone the feature. The newest app to take note of Facebook's chat application is Floating Touch (not, it's not that floating touch), an app that makes basically any toggle, navigation shortcut, or app just a tap away.
The concept behind Floating Touch is simple: a small, customizable floating toggle resides wherever you place it on the screen.
After some teasing, Paranoid Android has unveiled (in a lovely promo image) their plan for multi-window functionality on Android, which they promise to "get right," – Halo.
The premise is simple, yet extremely ambitious in scope – allow apps to give you notifications right on top of your screen, which allow you to pop into that app without leaving the one you're in (no matter what it is), take care of business, and resume your experience uninterrupted.
Facebook has been making numerous changes to its Android apps as of late, thanks to the arrival of Facebook Home. Sometimes, new features also bring "hidden" options – things that may not be quite ready for prime time but can be accessed within the app. Facebook Messenger has one such "feature" tucked away in its emoticon menu: stickers. Big ol' images with goofy faces and cats and other stuff. I'm not entirely sure why this is a thing that anyone wants, but it's there, and you can use these oversized emoticons now.
Today, both of Facebook's current apps have been updated to prepare for the arrival of Facebook Home. The main app merely added an extra permission that Home will eventually use. However, the real fun came to Messenger, which now has the ability to pop out Chat Heads, regardless of if you're using the replacement launcher.
As you may recall from the Facebook Home launch event, chat heads are little bubbles that float over whatever you're doing and allow you to jump straight into a conversation no matter where you are in the OS.
We've managed to score a system dump of the Facebook phone! There's nothing in it that's too earthshattering, and you could probably guess most of the features, but, since we've got it, we might as well take a look at it.
[This is not an April Fool's joke. I promise.]
Now, this being Facebook, nothing really works unless you sign in. The problem is, all of this is pre-release, so it's set up to only work for Facebook employee accounts.