The latest app to join the rather exclusive 1 billion club on Google Play is... drumroll please... Instagram. This is quite surprising when estimates only put the number of accounts at 500 million, but I guess the downloads counter doesn't differentiate between unique installs or not. Either way, it scares me that Facebook owns the two biggest social networks in the world.
After the Facebook app, then WhatsApp, then Messenger, Instagram is the fourth of Facebook's apps to get 1 billion installs. Again, scary. Getting 1 billion installs is no easy feat - especially since at the last count Android only had 1.4 billion users. Read More
One thing has always annoyed me about Hangouts: there's no search option. How can you have a messaging service and not allow people to search through their conversations inside the service?! That's beyond comprehension. Of course there's a way to circumvent it by searching through chats in Gmail. But that neither was intuitive nor made sense unless you were familiar with the feature.
According to screenshots we've received from a test preview version of Allo, Google's new messaging app doesn't suffer from that silly limitation. Search is well implemented and it's universal throughout the app. There's a search icon on the top right of the main screen that lets you look for a contact/group's name (in case you have lots of chats and need to quickly find a specific person/group) or any word(s) inside a chat. Read More
When Allo and Duo were announced at Google I/O, one of their pillar features was their requirement for a phone number to activate. And as most of you have noticed, this has been very controversial among users: some like the simplicity of the approach, others loathe its limitations: no multi-device support, no web/desktop clients, and a requirement for workarounds to install on tablets, especially WiFi-only ones.
With Duo's release this week, these limitations were put under the spotlight, and while some users like me were convinced by the no-fuss approach of a phone number as a means of identification, others are still moaning the lack of a tie to a Google account. Read More
When talking to a contact on Google's upcoming Allo messaging application, there are a few different types of attachments you can send. We've already discussed voice messages and stickers, but you can also share your current location, a photo or video taken instantly with your camera, and also media files taken from your camera roll. Unfortunately, sending other types of files like music or documents doesn't seem to be possible - at least not with the test preview version of the app that we're basing this information on. Read More
Google Now has a tendency to add voice commands without most people noticing. Besides the few listed in-app, Google hides most of its commands, perhaps the most useful ones. For example, Google's voice actions have been integrated and implemented within YouTube, so you can control video playback with your mi... wait, no that's the next update.
To get started, just start playing any video in the YouTube app. Then you can use any of these voice commands, triggered by the "OK Google" keyword, provided you have enabled its detection from any screen:
- "Pause" - Pauses the video.
- "Play" - Resumes the video.
The weekend is upon us, and I'm sure you have all sorts of plans out in the real world with people. You would never just loaf around on the couch and play games on your phone all weekend. Hypothetically, if you were to do that, you'd be interested in the sales we've rounded up here. Maybe you should look... in case all those big plans fall through. Read More
Google Chrome has been undergoing a massive amount of changes recently. From massive optimizations, to the Android New Tab page showing Google Now cards, to Progressive Web Apps blurring the line between native and web apps.
But in another change, although not entirely shocking, Google will be phasing out Chrome apps on the Chrome Web Store. If you've never used the Chrome Web Store, most of the items listed are branded as applications, but are in fact simply links to websites or web applications.
These are called 'hosted apps', which are allowed in the Chrome Web Store alongside 'packaged apps.' Packaged apps are based on web apps, but are hosted locally and have more control over their windows and the host computer. Read More