Early last year, Facebook promised that it would create a unified backend for all of its messaging platforms. Messenger, Instagram direct messages, and WhatsApp are all supposed to be interoperable, so you wouldn't have to worry about which Facebook app to use with which of your contacts. It looks like the company is getting ready to make these cross-platform chats a reality, as it has started distributing a popup on Instagram that advertises a Messenger integration.
Messaging apps are becoming ever more versatile, and above all, Facebook Messenger and Telegram are known to have long supported bots and other third-party plug-ins. Any.do sees potential in WhatsApp in this regard and has just announced a partnership with it. A new integration will allow you to create tasks and get reminders right inside the messaging app.
Ever since Google bought Waze, we've feared that the company might kill off the app and roll a worse version of it into Google Maps, as is sometimes the case with other services it owns (looking at Nest right now). But Waze is alive and well, and Google keeps adding useful new features to it, such as the Google Assistant and a carpool service. Today, Waze is also gaining support for the podcast app Castbox.
Google completely abandoned its standalone Tasks service for a long time and built reminder functionality into Inbox (RIP), Keep, and the Assistant instead. Last year, however, a Google Tasks redesign surfaced out of nowhere, complete with Gmail integration on the web. Now, the latest Gmail app update brings this functionality to Android.
Text translation seems like an obvious feature for a phone keyboard. It eliminates the hassle of having to swap between apps, copying and pasting when you want to say something in a language you don't speak (however infrequent that need may be). SwiftKey seems to agree, as the latest update of the keyboard's Beta version comes with Microsoft Translator integration.
If 1950's science fiction has taught me anything, it's that video calling is supposed to be the future. Today Google announced in a blog post that we're one step closer to that vision of reality. Integrated video calling (via Duo or ViLTE) is rolling out to first-generation Pixel, Android One, and Nexus devices, via the Phone, Contacts, and Android Messages apps. No schedule yet for ray-gun or jetpack integration.
Google might be planning on having your Duo calls appear in your phone's call history. A new prompt is appearing in Duo that asks if you'd like to merge its call history with your phone's. We found data to support this last month in a teardown of the Duo app, so it isn't too surprising. Either the switch flipped early for the prompt, or the feature might be coming soon.
Today Google is launching a new version of Allo that will allow you to start calls in Duo straight from the app. Both Nick Fox, VP of Communications Products, and Amit Fulay, head of product for Allo and Duo, have made tweetstoday about the new update. Integration between the two services has been a long-time coming.
Google showed off Netflix integration with Google Home at the company's October 4 event. The feature would allow users to play Netflix content on Chromecasts, or Chromecast-compatible devices, with simple voice commands. Now the long-awaited feature appears to be going live for some users, along with Google Photos integration as well.