So, if you haven't heard, Google announced some stuff today. Some of it was Nexus stuff. Some of it was Pixel stuff. Some of it was Android stuff. And some of it was Chromecast stuff.
Alongside the two new Chromecasts — a second-gen HDMI dongle and audio-only dongle — the company also offered up a ton of new features for the Chromecast app, making it infinitely more useful than ever before. No longer just for setting up your new little dongle or changing the backdrop options, this new updated app brings all sorts of additional functionality like finding new content, more backdrop options, and a lot more. Read More
Facebook launched Internet.org as a way to get important services and information to people in developing countries even if they lack a data plan on their mobile device. And if they should decide to check Facebook using this free access, all the better. Now, the Internet.org service is being rebranded as Free Basics by Facebook. Read More
If you haven't watched a 360 degree video before, take a moment to go check one out on YouTube. They're pretty cool. Thanks to cameras that are capable of recording 360 degrees around them, we now get an even better idea of what it's like to relive another person's experience. It's this last aspect that perhaps makes the content a natural fit for your Facebook News Feed. So now that's where the social network is placing them. Read More
WhatsApp has come a long way since its origins as an instant messaging client in 2009. By this time 2013, over 300 million people were running the app, and that was before Facebook decided to pay $19 billion for the service. By the beginning of this year, it had reached 700 million. Read More
Facebook is getting in on the digital assistant game currently occupied by the likes of Google Now, Apple's Siri, and Microsoft's Cortana. But the social network is taking a different approach with M, the name of its virtual pal. This little helper waits around inside Messenger to answer your questions, and in those instances when its algorithms can't come up with a solution, there are real people working behind the scenes who can.
That's right, Facebook says that M's artificial intelligence is trained and supervised by real people. This partially confirms the Moneypenny rumor circulating last month that the company was developing a digital assistant of its own. Read More
According to an anonymously-sourced report from The Information, Facebook is working on their own entry into the virtual assistant market. Unlike Google Now, Siri, and Cortana, however, early indications are that Moneypenny—the current name used internally to refer to Facebook's offering—could be more service-oriented than the machine-driven, contextually-aware competition.
It is expected to be integrated with Messenger, but it would likely be a waste if it were not a part of Facebook's web and mobile interface as well.
At this point, details are very sparse. The Information speculates that Moneypenny may resemble startups like Magic and GoButler, which use humans to fulfill user requests for a fee. Read More
If you're not an absolute Facebook junkie, chances are you might be missing out on posts from the people you most care about. The change from most recent to "top stories" was designed with this in mind, but it isn't foolproof. After all, Facebook's algorithms can only guess who you think is important. With newly-announced additions to the news feed preferences, users can now designate pages and profiles that will appear at the top of the feed by default.
I can think of several members of my family who will value this option a lot. The user-set top posts will have a star on their top right corner to signal why they are there. Read More
Facebook is free because it makes its money off ads, otherwise known as the attempts to sell you things based off all the personal information you and your friends pump into the social network. Well, those ads don't just pop up out of the nothingness of the web. Someone creates and pays for them. Now with Facebook's latest app, said someones can do that from their mobile devices.
The Facebook Ad Manager is aimed at small and medium business owners who want to reach out to the people in their areas. It provides the tools to see how many people an ad reaches and whether anyone clicked. Read More
Last night, we received a tip that the Play Store listing for AirDroid, a popular app that allows users to see notifications, respond to messages, and manage content from their Android devices on a desktop, had been removed from the Play Store. The listing was directing to Google's infamous "Not Found" page.
We reached out to the AirDroid team who, at the time, were still trying to figure out what had happened. As it turns out, Google had removed the listing after a mass-complaint from Facebook. The sweeping set of complaints picked up tons of apps with "WhatsApp" in their names, but also apps - like AirDroid - that simply mentioned WhatsApp in the description. Read More