Parents are supposed to love all of their children equally, but that isn't always the case. Google+ just turned three a few days ago, and my oh my how that toddler has grown. The site has picked up over half a billion users, and the Android app now looks drastically more appealing than just a few months ago (and let's not forget how it looked back when it took its first steps).
Attention, gamer: your PlayStation playmates can now goad you into multiplayer matches anytime, anywhere. Well, they can if you've got the latest version of the official PlayStation Android app. Last night's update added push notifications for the PSN game-centric social network, according to the official PlayStation blog.
The bad news is that this feature seems to be exclusive to the PlayStation 4 and certain games, at least at the moment.
Email addresses are like phone numbers - who memorizes more than a handful these days? For years, cranking out a new email has begun with typing a few letters and clicking on the relevant contact that pops up (occasionally followed by frantic deleting and carefully selecting the correct contact). Soon Gmail users will have an even broader pool of names to select from, as Google+ connections will start to appear below saved contacts when typing out a recipient.
Once the update has made itself at home on our devices, all we need do is give them a shake while looking at one of your own photos to add snow to the shot - the same Auto Awesome effect Google rolled out just last week.
Like most social networks, Instagram doesn't cost a cent to use, but it costs billions of them to own and run. Facebook paid a pretty penny to acquire the network last year, and the time has come to recoup those costs. Soon Instagram will start dishing out ads in the middle of your feed, and it will do so in a way Facebook users should already be familiar with.
The rollout is expected to take place over the next couple of months to users in the US, at which point they will start seeing the occasional ad pop up in their Instagram feeds.
One of the problems of living in modern times is that it's easy for us to shut ourselves off from our communities, living in a place for years without ever meeting the Smiths down the road or the Patels across the street. If you've wished for a way to resolve this issue that doesn't require the awkwardness of knocking on your neighbor's door, you're in luck, because there's now an app for that.
Not everyone is a big fan of the official Facebook app. Most people probably just tolerate it as a better alternative than accessing the mobile site from a web browser, and judging by the persistently average rating on Google Play, a sizable number of people actively hate it. That's why there's always a steady stream of third-party Facebook clients to choose from, such as the promising Klyph for Facebook. This particular option takes the popular social network and douses it in the same coat of paint as Google+'s Android app.
Just like the web version of Google+, the Android app will now show you at least some of your friends' "+1" activity in the main social stream. The new functionality (which has more than a little in common with the way Facebook does things) should allow Google+ to be even more social - you'll be able to weigh in on more of your friends' activity, or at least the activity that doesn't include full posts.
I wouldn't blame a person for thinking that their Facebook and Tumblr "likes" or Twitter "favorites" are private, but these things can all be viewed by their followers. This is also the case with Google+, only the service will now explicitly start highlighting posts that were +1'd by people in your circles. Naturally, this means that your posts may be shared with your followers as well. These posts will appear with a "+1" header.
Facebook Pages Manager is the odd man out in the social network's Android suite, but it's indispensable if you've got a public image to maintain. The Pages Manager lets companies or individuals manage their separate likeable identities. Yesterday's update (version 1.4) adds a number of features from Facebook on the web, including the ability to add albums to your page, save drafts for editing later, and adding posts to a specific event.