A new version of Allo hit this morning, but that's not nearly as important as the features that were remotely activated by Google in the last day or two. Two features we've been expecting have gone live: Web Stickers and @mentions in group chats. But just as those teardown topics make the transition into live features, the latest update does bring some new things to look out for in the future, including group management and permanent bans, plus a new way to record selfies. Read More
Earlier this year Google's VP of Communications, Nick Fox, declared Hangouts would be refocused on the enterprise market where it had found much more adoption. Ironically, the couple of updates since that statement haven't exactly screamed professionalism, or even added much of anything particularly relevant to the workplace. That changes with v14, which cleans up and improves various aspects of group chats. This version also enables app shortcuts (formerly Launcher Shortcuts) for use on Android 7.1 and makes a few other tweaks, as well. Read More
Facebook's been making some big improvements to Messenger recently, and the latest is no different: group calling is coming, with the global rollout having started yesterday on both iOS and Android. As is now usual with Messenger, the web app (on both facebook.com and messenger.com) will probably get the update at some point in the future.
Group calling works as you'd expect: tap on a group chat and, if the feature has rolled out to you yet, there will be a phone icon in the app bar. Tap this and it will bring up a dialogue asking who you'd like to include in the group call. Read More
My largest WhatsApp group has 6 members (as seen in the image above) and we can barely manage it when we're all being active at the same time. So forgive me for not being overwhelmingly excited by this new update to WhatsApp's beta channel that enables groups up to 256 members. The previous limit was 100, so if you ever wished you could grow your 100-member group larger, there are now a lot more people you can invite in on the conversation.
The change seems to be triggered by WhatsApp's version 2.12.437, though some users on this exact release aren't seeing it yet. Read More