Users of Google Voice have long called for the company to pay more attention to the seemingly forgotten service for quite some time. Unfortunately, they may be getting more than they were hoping for. While many people are thrilled to hear Voice will finally support MMS and become a part of Hangouts in early 2014, Google is also planning to close up shop for all 3rd-party apps that relied on the service for free texting and VoIP calling.
Following up on our roundup of May's absolute best games, we're back with the month's greatest apps. As with (almost) every month, May offered plenty in the way of great new apps to try out. If you feel like the supercomputer in your pocket just isn't doing enough, any of these apps are great starting points for added functionality, productivity, or just entertainment.
As with our last roundup, we'll also include a list of honorable mentions – those are the apps that didn't quite make the short list but that you should still take a look at if you find your selection wanting.
There is no arguing that the new Hangouts Android app, which replaces Google Talk and aims to unify several communication methods, has had a rough start. One of the main issues we've run into from the very beginning was wonky tablet support. In fact, most people couldn't install it at all because instead of the Update button, only a lone "Open" button would show up on tablets. Dan Morrill, one of our favorite Android engineers (HOLOYOLO!
Talkray, from the makers of the incredibly popular touch-talk app TiKL, is an ambitious app – it looks to be your one-stop shop for mobile communication on the go, communicating through text, pictures, videos, and voice all for free. Until now, though, the app has had a fatal flaw – its design. While not the worst design we've seen, Talkray had, shall we say, unfortunate looks. Inconsistent styles, gradients mixed with flat elements, and Gingerbread-style tabs abound.
Alright, Google. It's time to stop leaving your VoIP service to languish on the vine. Facebook has released a double-whammy of big news bits. For starters, today the social network is rolling out an update to its Messenger app that will allow users to send each other short, recorded audio clips. It's voicemail for the 21st century, if such a thing can even exist without being horrible. And, really, this sounds like it's not.
If you use Google Voice, or simply make the occasional outgoing call via Gmail, Google's got some great news for you. The service is going to continue to be free throughout 2013 for users in the U.S. and Canada! International callers will still have the same rates applied. In short, nothing is really changing, and that's a good thing.
When Google first introduced the ability to make phone calls in Gmail, it said the service would be free through at least the end of 2010.
For those who missed it, Steve Kondik, the founder and lead developer of CyanogenMod, along with several other members of the CM team gave a compelling talk in San Francisco at the start of Google I/O. Delivered during the SF Android User Group Meetup (hosted at Yelp), Kondik's talk took a look at CyanogenMod's role in the Android world, some of the project's goals, solutions, and the challenges the CM team faces in getting CM to new devices, explaining everything from conflicts with proprietary drivers to locked bootloaders and more.
On Monday we told you that Google may bring video chat to Android 2.3.4, and that we expect an announcement at Google I/O. It looks like we got it half right - Google has officially announced Talk with Video Chat integration in Android 2.3.4, but we didn't have to wait until I/O to find out.
The service looks like it will work almost identical to its desktop counterpart: the status icon displays whether or not the person is available for video chat (or capable of it).