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33

Google shares some colorful warm-weather wallpapers on Instagram

Google shares some colorful warm-weather wallpapers on Instagram

Weeks after its official end, it feels like winter is finally relenting, and Google seems to be getting into the vernal spirit: the company shared a number of spring-themed wallpapers on its Instagram Story yesterday, featuring its trademark color scheme in a variety of warm-weather scenes with the message "Happy Spring Screening." One of the screens in particular, featuring Google-colored ice pops, looks like it could be a tease for the full name of the upcoming Android P—but it almost certainly isn't.

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11

Instagram adds a portrait mode called 'Focus' in latest update

Instagram adds a portrait mode called 'Focus' in latest update

Portrait mode is increasingly available on smartphones, especially those with two cameras. These pics have blurred backgrounds to make the subject pop like you were using a lens with a shallow depth-of-field. Some phones do this better than others, but I think all of them do it better than Instagram, which just added "Focus" mode in the latest update.

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33

Instagram will improve its terrible feed by showing newer posts at the top

Instagram will improve its terrible feed by showing newer posts at the top

Instagram made the switch to a non-chronological feed a while back, and many users are still unhappy with it. Today, Instagram says it's rolling out some changes to make the feed less terrible. Well, Instagram didn't call the feed "terrible," but that seems to be the consensus outside the company. Soon, you'll see newer posts near the top and have more control over refreshing.

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1

Hashtags and profile links now work in Instagram bios

Hashtags and profile links now work in Instagram bios

Starting today, profile links and hashtags in Instagram bios will work the way they do elsewhere on the platform: as clickable links. Instagram is billing the functionality as "a new way to express yourself and the things you care about."

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36

BlackBerry alleges Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram are infringing on BBM patents

BlackBerry alleges Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram are infringing on BBM patents

BlackBerry Messenger was the iMessage of the late 2000s, especially since it was initially exclusive to the company's own hardware. BBM expanded to iOS and Android in 2013, but it has become mostly irrelevant thanks to competitors like WhatsApp and iMessage. BlackBerry is now suing Facebook and its subsidiaries (including WhatsApp and Instagram), alleging that Facebook is violating numerous BBM patents.

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34

Instagram might be working on voice and video calls

Instagram might be working on voice and video calls

Instagram is trying to become the place you connect with everyone, regardless of the medium you want. You can share images and videos with your followers, post ephemeral stories or keep them in your profile, direct message people for private chats, and go live to share your current activity or whereabouts with friends. But that doesn't seem to be enough as the app might be working on voice and video calls as well.

The news was first spotted by TechCrunch who got tipped about the Instagram APK file containing multiple icons for calls and video calls. I verified it on my end by grabbing the latest Instagram alpha v36 file and digging through it to find many icons for calls in the same vein as Instagram's icon design, plus several layouts that mention calls and video calls.

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57

Instagram, WhatsApp, Snapchat, and other apps now use the Pixel 2's Visual Core

Instagram, WhatsApp, Snapchat, and other apps now use the Pixel 2's Visual Core

There's one particularly exciting feature in the Pixel 2 that most people won't notice - the Visual Core. It's a custom chip (developed by Google) designed to speed up HDR+ image processing. It also enables HDR+ for third-party apps, or at least ones that choose to support it. The chip didn't do anything when the Pixel 2 shipped, but it was finally turned on in Android 8.1.

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6

Instagram adds 'Type' mode to Stories

Instagram adds 'Type' mode to Stories

Instagram Stories are getting a new feature today, and it's called Type mode. From the name, you might guess that it has something to do with text, and you'd be right. It's a way to add stylized text to your Story, and it doesn't require a photo or video.

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8

Instagram introduces GIF stickers that you can add to your stories

Instagram introduces GIF stickers that you can add to your stories

Instagram updates its app pretty often, with new features coming thick and fast. Recently we've seen the addition of an activity status for direct messages and support for Android's direct share menu. Not resting on their laurels, the developers now have another new treat for everyone, in the form of new GIF stickers that can be added to your stories.

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26

Instagram now supports Android's direct share menu

Instagram now supports Android's direct share menu

Android's direct share feature debuted on Marshmallow and makes it easy to share links or media from any app on your phone. You can use it with most popular messaging services, email clients, and even note-taking apps like Keep. To be able to share directly to an app, the maker of that app needs to implement direct share, so there are still some apps it doesn't work with. Instagram was on that list until pretty recently, but not anymore.

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