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.
Yahoo has released another Android app and - hey, come back here, this is actually cool - it's an attractive take on providing the news. Yahoo News Digest gathers bits of news from around the Internet (various reports, video, Wikipedia entries, Google maps, etc.) and puts them together to form a single story. The formula isn't quite the same as Circa's, but it should seem familiar to anyone accustomed to that bite-sized news app. Presentation is half the appeal here, and you may be pleased to know that Yahoo has done a good job creating an app that doesn't offensively ignore all of Android's taste in design.
Full-length content is all around us. Netflix will give it out, though subscribers have to commit to a monthly fee. Hulu's willing to give at least some of its offering away for free, and Crackle's even easier. But what if all you're after are good new-fashioned clips, something that doesn't need much time or attention to digest, and something short enough to toss up onto a social network. Yahoo hears you, so they've brought Yahoo Screen to Android.
The Flickr app is getting a makeover today as it hits version 3.0. The company is concentrating on improving the experience with easier searching and a better overall interface, but there's a big new feature too – video capture. There's even this snazzy video showing off the new app.
Late last year, Gmail started showing images by default in a way that Google says doesn't compromise general security. Now Yahoo has released an update for its Android mail app that does precisely the opposite. Now those pesky images are blocked by default (or is the story here... that they weren't already?).
The option to toggle this is tucked away in the app settings, so there's nothing stopping users from going back to living wild and free.
For Aviate users, 2014 has made for an uncertain year thus far. Yahoo announced its acquisition of the home screen replacement at this year's CES, and we haven't heard a peep since. Well, today the launcher has just received its first major update of the year, and this one includes a new space that activates whenever you plug in a pair of earphones.
Do you use your smartphone while watching TV? Yeah, put your hands down. We're all guilty here. Yahoo hoped to take advantage of this habit of ours with IntoNow, an app that could identify whatever show was on and provide extra information about it (think SoundHound for TV). Yeah, the end result was still distracting, but it could be less disruptive than performing a Google search. Regardless, it doesn't matter anymore.
The Play Store is brimming with alternative home screens, but Aviate was far and away one of the most impressive we saw last year. This beautifully designed launcher takes a completely different approach to organizing your apps and data. Apparently Yahoo was just as impressed as we were because the company just announced at CES that it has acquired Aviate.
In case you missed it, Aviate tracks your usage patterns and groups apps into categories that are presented to you based on the time of day and your location.
Earlier today, we published a first look at what we believed to be a Yahoo!-made competitor to voice assistants like Google Now and Siri. The video, sent to us by an anonymous tipster along with screenshots showed what looked to be a very impressive app with an implementation similar to Facebook's Chat Heads, whereby a Y! icon would constantly float on the home screen waiting to be activated.
This evening, TechCrunch learned through a source "familiar with Yahoo's internal projects" that the app wasn't real, implying the video was nothing more than a really nice concept demo.
Update 2: According to TechCrunch, and Co-Founder/CEO of natural language processing startup Robin Labs, the app is a real, functional product built on the startup's "white-label" voice assistant platform. While it was not commissioned by Yahoo!, it was created during ongoing discussions with the company. Read the full story here.
Update: According to TechCrunch, who has a source "familiar with Yahoo's internal projects," the video doesn't depict a real Yahoo!