Here's the news that the thousands of you who have been hovering over every update on our previous WhatsApp Calls post have been waiting for. The service's calling functionality now seems to be open, no questions asked, no invites needed, no hacks required. Read More
If there's one thing I learned from upgrading several family members' Android devices over the past week, it's that people are really attached to their WhatsApp history. While my smartphone days kicked off in 2007 with switching to a new review unit every couple of weeks (followed by flashing a new ROM at least once a week in 2011-2012) and learning to let go of everything I couldn't bother to move around, most users aren't accustomed to losing their data. Read More
Even though Helpouts didn't last, Google is apparently committed to exploring new uses for its Hangouts chat infrastructure. For example, go search for a restaurant. You might see a new item in the info box alongside review snippets and the location. Google is testing live chat with businesses from search results. Read More
In ye olden days of Android, a video-sharing service by the name of Qik attracted millions of users. It grew rapidly enough to catch Skype's eye, and the larger video-based serviced acquired the smaller for a cool $150 million. It eventually shuttered the offering, and now it's bringing it back in the form of a peculiar new video messaging app. Read More
Recently, we took a look at Ultra Violet, a new Hangouts app for Chrome that - at the time - was still in testing. It promised floating chats similar to Facebook's Chatheads feature, but for your desktop. Today, that app is finally a reality and available for download.
The premise is simple - as the video below demonstrates, a Hangouts bubble floats on the side of your desktop, opened from Google's Chrome app launcher, and subsequent conversations float above that. Read More
Google is continuing to shine a brighter light on Hangouts users who are currently online. A few months ago the company brought back the green dot that used to mark online contacts in the days of Google Talk (which was replaced with a subtle green line in Hangouts). Going forward, the messenger in the web version of Gmail will contain a new tab that puts online contacts at the top. Read More
Hey, Minus, are you guys alright? Because you're demonstrating the developer equivalent of multiple personality disorder. Sixteen months after Dropbox-style cloud storage app Minus shifted 180 degrees to take aim at Instagram, it has once again become a completely different service, this time with a new name. Minus is now "Meow," a randomized chat client, sort of like Omegle or Chatroulette without the video. Read More
Now you see it, now you don't. Just like that, Blink is disappearing in the blink of an eye. Okay, not quite. Current users will gradually see the service shut down on both Android and iOS over the next few weeks, following the app's acquisition by Yahoo.
Blink was a product of Meh Labs (no, not Meth Labs), a company built by two ex-Google employees Kevin Stephens and Michelle Norgan. The app functioned similarly to Snapchat, at least in premise, by allowing users to send messages that automatically disappear. Read More
Get this. Before now, Snapchat wasn't good for actually chatting. I know, for an app with chat in the name, you would understandably expect it to foster some form of conversations (the snappy kind, at least). But until now, users have only been able to take photos or short video clips, doodle on them, add captions, set how long the recipient could view them, and share. Read More