It's been scarcely two weeks since Pushbullet had its last big update, and here we are again. A new version is rolling out in the Play Store that fully integrates SMS into the website, browser extension, and desktop apps. You could reply to SMS before, but this update syncs all your conversations to the computer.
Not many Android apps can say they've been installed a billion times. In fact, before today there were only ten - and out of those ten, only three of them were non-Google apps (and all owned by Facebook). Today Google's first party messaging client, Hangouts, joins this elite group of billion-device apps... notably behind its competitors, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.
A billion installations doesn't mean a billion users, it means one billion different Android devices have downloaded the app once.
joaomgcd's apps are usually about pushing your phone to do more with just your voice and some Google Now command integration, and Touchless Chat is no exception. The app takes the idea of interacting with your phone via voice commands and applies it to one area where I personally wished Google Now and Wear were better: sending messages to your contacts (ie initiating a conversation instead of just replying).
There are many layers to Touchless Chat and many ways of initiating a chat with a contact, but before we get into that, you'll need to give the app some permissions, mainly for accessibility, notification access, and device administrator. That's a lot of leeway, but it's the only way the app can work, so just be thankful that it doesn't require root as well.
Telegram is a secure messaging app that a lot of people like more than WhatsApp, not that it really matters what's objectively better than the other. Messaging apps are only useful if other people are using them. Telegram does okay, though, and maybe today's update will drive adoption even more. It has stickers! Stickers!
BitTorrent brought an alpha version of its Bleep private messaging client to Android last year, and today it's officially launching on all major platforms including Android. Bleep doesn't require an account to sign up and all your messages are encrypted with local keys so no one else can access your data.
Just because we often mention WhatsApp here on the site, it doesn't mean that we don't keep an eye on its fan-favorite competitor Telegram. Rising from its modest start, the service has been commendably quick to add new features, design guidelines, and always improve security. This latest update brings two new options that privacy advocates will appreciate and one that will make your chats even more enjoyable.
First on the security front, Telegram now lets you set up two-step verification so that you're asked about a password before signing in to your account from a new device.
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. They want their new device to have exactly what their old one had: their contacts, chat history, photos, music, and so on.
Whatsapp gets all the attention, but Telegram has a lot going for it too. This messaging app features full end-to-end encryption and a modern material theme. As of v2.5 it also has a photo editor and optional passcodes for improved privacy.
One of Pushbullet's coolest tricks is the SMS reply functionality accessible on your computer. Just hit the reply button on your PC or Mac when a synced notification pops up, and you can type a reply. There's a new update today that extends this feature to the top messaging apps on Android, but there are a few small caveats.