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Facebook Messenger Kids lets children add their own friends — with parental oversight

Facebook is currently rolling out a new passphrase feature to its Messenger Kids app, allowing children to send and accept friend requests on their own. Before anyone freaks out, it's important to note that both sets of parents still need to approve the connection.

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Hangouts Chat desktop interface gets Material Design refresh

At Google I/O earlier this year, the company officially introduced refreshed Material Design guidelines along with new theming tools. This was consistent with new visual elements that had already been creeping into Google products like the new Gmail, with Chrome soon to be extensively reworked, too. Hangouts Chat is G Suite's answer to Slack, and it's now getting some new Material tweaks as well.

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Yahoo just released a group chat app called Squirrel

Chat apps are all the rage these days. Just ask Google, it can't seem to get enough. And it looks like Yahoo is the latest to jump on the bandwagon with its new organized group chat app named "Squirrel," which mysteriously appeared on the Play Store just earlier today. 

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'Chat' will be Google's new name for RCS, Allo development paused in favor of Android Messages

It's a meme at this point: Every two years, Google announces yet another new messaging platform that will finally give Android its iMessage competitor. Those of you hoping Allo might break this cycle will be disappointed today, as The Verge has revealed that Google is pausing development for Allo and switching focus to the existing Android Messages app, paired with an investment in branding RCS messaging into something called "Chat."

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Android Messages v2.9 prepares to launch Allo-like web interface, Google-enhanced chat features, and payments to businesses [APK Teardown]

There's a new version of Android Messages rolling out to our phones. So far, we haven't seen any significant changes to the UI, but huge things are happening under the surface. A teardown reveals Google is getting ready to launch a web interface that would allow users to pair their phones with a computer for all of their texting needs. Google may also be planning to offer its own enhanced chat features to work with RCS messaging. And finally, it looks like we'll be able to buy things from companies right from within Android Messages. Grab the APK at the bottom of the post if you'd like to get your hands on it before everybody else.

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Messaging app imo passes 500 million downloads

The instant messaging app imo has crossed the threshold of a half-billion Play Store installs, and there's a pretty good chance you've never heard of it.

imo was launched by former Googlers way back in 2010, and its claim to fame was offering an instant messaging platform that gathered all of your other messaging accounts in one place. That included AIM (RIP), Skype, Facebook, Google Talk, and yes, even MySpace.

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You can now message your Uber driver using the new in-app chat feature

Up to now, the most annoying part of using Uber is when a passenger and driver can't find each other and need to get in touch. Or maybe you want to let your driver know a specific detail about your location ahead of their arrival. There exists the option to use each other's phone numbers for a text or call, but this will come up as an unknown number for either recipient and could go unanswered. The obvious solution to this problem has finally arrived, as Uber has developed an in-app messaging service.

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Spotify adds Group Playlist functionality to Facebook Messenger

Spotify has had a Facebook Messenger extension for over a year, but today it's getting a new feature. When you're chatting with friends, you can create a Group Playlist inside Messenger. Then, everyone can collaborate to build it up without leaving the chat. I'm sure that won't result in any arguments.

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[Update: APK Download] Chat backups, link previews, and group incognito are coming to Google Allo today

Allo might not be a true replacement for those that used Hangouts until it has web or desktop clients, but development on Google's latest messaging solution still continues apace. Amit Fulay, the Head of Product at Google for Allo and Duo, tweeted earlier this morning that some new features were rolling out today. The update isn't out at the time of writing, but he claims it will include the ability to back up and restore chats, add incognito mode to group chats, and introduce link previews.

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Google officially splits Hangouts into 'Meet' and 'Chat,' new apps and @meet chat bot coming soon

After the announcement of Duo and Allo, the newest in a long line of Google messaging apps, Google made it clear that Hangouts would be re-positioned for corporate use. Last month, a new 'Meet by Google Hangouts' app appeared on the iOS App Store, revealing that a major reworking for Hangouts was nearing completion. Now, Google has officially announced Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat.

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