WhatsApp's voice calling doesn't seem like it has changed a lot since it was first tested as an invite-only feature then released to everyone in March of 2015. But the service, from my personal experience, has become more reliable, less spotty, with fewer delays and disconnections. Around me, everyone uses WhatsApp calls, because everyone is on WhatsApp to begin with, but also because local calls still aren't unlimited or cheap on any plan, not to mention the exorbitant prices of international calls. WhatsApp calls have almost completely replaced regular calls for us, and it's not hard to imagine that it must be the same in other countries where WhatsApp is popular too. Read More
Virtual Network Computing, better known as VNC, remains one of the most popular ways around to access remote computers. VNC Viewer, the official remote access app for Android from the developers of Real VNC, gets a substantial update today. The biggest improvement is the addition of support for Bluetooth mice and trackpads. Of course you could use them with the app before, but now the Viewer app will specifically interpret them to directly control the cursor of the remote machine instead of simply emulating local touches. It should also work with other connected peripherals, whether wireless or wired. Read More
Google Maps is my go-to tool for finding local businesses, but it isn't always the most transparent way to see them at a glance. For example, I'll search for a café in a major retail hub, but half the results will be from the Starbucks inside Target or the little deli inside a grocery store - not exactly what I'm looking for in a quiet meal. Things might soon get a little easier on that account: the Google Asia Pacific blog says that upcoming versions of Google Maps will list business types right in the map view... but only in Japan for now. Read More
The latest Snapseed update brings a couple of things that the development team says have been oft-requested by users. For those tweaking RAW images, you get two new handy ways to get the white balance. For all image types, an additional color filter has been added to the existing choices in the black and white editor.
You already could adjust the color temperature for RAW images with Snapseed, but this isn't a foolproof method since it requires you to be able to eyeball the photo to figure out when you have correctly set the temperature. This update lets you do what the pros do, which is use a color picker to tell Snapseed what to use as a reference for a neutral color. Read More
Instagram's filters may have set the bar low for "photography" but, by doing so, they democratized something that many users were either too afraid to attempt or deemed too complicated and demanding. The app has gone from being known for crappy photos of daily meals to becoming the place where audiences can find and follow brands, popular or esoteric interests, and niche hobbies.
Now, it's celebrating more than 500 Million registered users. But even if that isn't as impressive as Facebook or WhatsApp or other popular social networks' numbers, retention and loyalty are super high. More than 300 Million users visit Instagram daily, which means that of every 5 users that have signed up to the site, Instagram was able to convince about 3 of them to come back and check it out each day. Read More
If the presentations at Google I/O last month were any indication, Android Pay is growing quite quickly. Several new features were announced, but most were still only demos, not available to the public. A fresh update to the Android Pay app came out yesterday and a teardown reveals a few of those key features are either ready to launch or getting closer. There's also work being done on a map that will show merchants in close proximity that accept Android Pay, and a shortcut already showing up that will direct users to apps with Android Pay integration. Read More
A few small tweaks to the YouTube player UI for Android have caused a few issues of late - digital issues. And by digital, I mean digits, as in fingers. In summary: it's hard to touch stuff right.
You see, the YouTube app for Android has been experimenting with this new player UI for some time now, but as it rolls out to more and more users, some issues are cropping up. Specifically? Well, for one, the progress bar is now a little too responsive given the placement of the "full-screen" button in the portrait UI. The newer YouTube UI places the "full-screen" button directly above the progress bar for the video, whereas previously this button sat to the right of the bar, as below. Read More