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[Update: It's working!] WhatsApp payments now showing for beta testers in India

We've known for a while that WhatsApp has been prepping a built-in payment service for its users in India, and the beta version of the app is now showing the new payments interface. The feature plugs into the UPI (Unified Payments Interface) program that includes many of the country's most popular banking institutions.

Although not officially announced by the company yet, beta testers have noticed a payment option in the attachment menu between Document and Gallery. According to TechCrunch, iOS users have been able to make payments with the service already. Gizmo Times has tried this out on Android, but it shows a "Couldn't add bank account" error message (below right).

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Amazon Alexa can now send SMS from your Android phone

As the battle of the smart personal assistants continues to simmer, Amazon has just fired another shot, adding support for SMS messages to Alexa's feature list. You can now command your Amazon Echo device to send a text message to one of your contacts, provided you have an Android phone.

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Google is investigating Pixel 2 XL voice messaging bug affecting WhatsApp, Allo, and Telegram

The Pixel 2 XL has suffered from several issues since its launch, both hardware and software-related, just like pretty much any other consumer product of its kind. The latest bug to come to light is a curious one that affects the sound output level of a voice clip sent via a messaging app. According to a number of users on this Pixel User Community thread, this issue is limiting the volume level when recording voice messages on the Pixel 2 XL.

When you send a voice clip recorded on a phone suffering from the bug, the recipient gets a message with very low volume, even when their phone is turned up all the way.

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Telegram 4.7 adds support for multiple accounts and quick replies [APK Download]

Telegram is ending the year by giving its users yet another update. Version 4.7 for Android brings support for multiple accounts using different phone numbers and a quick-reply action within chats. This is the second Telegram update this month.

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Snapchat is rebuilding its Android app from the ground up, and it's about time

Anyone who's used Snapchat's Android app in recent years will be well aware that it's turned into a laggy, buggy mess. My friends and I used to use it regularly to send silly videos to each other, but we've all turned our backs on it by now. For those of you still muddling along with it, you'll be pleased to know that a complete rebuild is in the works. It's unlikely to make me rush back, but it's good to hear that the devs aren't completely oblivious to the issues.

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Telegram v4.4 adds live locations, a new media player, and more

There are two things we've come to expect in each Telegram update. First, the developers will add some useful features that improve your chat experience. Second, there will be a cool cartoon illustration of the update with a hipster monopoly man. The latter is obviously present (you'll have to forgive the iPhone), but what about the features? You can share live locations, listen to tunes more easily, and more. That sounds pretty useful.

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You can now make Alexa-to-phone number calls in the US, Canada, Mexico, and Alexa-to-Alexa calls in the UK, Germany, and Austria

Amazon introduced calling and messaging to its Echo speakers back in May then implemented the same feature inside the Alexa app so you could start a call or receive one from your phone, without having to be near your Echo. However, the feature had one main limitation: the person you were calling had to have an Echo or at least Alexa calling set up. Calls to phone numbers weren't possible, but now they are.

Amazon secretly enabled the option a couple of days ago and has now officially added it to the Alexa app changelog. After setting up Alexa calling and messaging in the app's Conversations tab, you can say something like, "Call dad's phone," or, "Call dad's mobile phone number," and it will perform a call to the phone number.

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WhatsApp now has picture-in-picture video calling and text status updates in the stable channel

In the last couple of months, WhatsApp added a couple of new features to its beta channel for some final user testing, and now those features are deemed ready for the prime time. There's a picture-in-picture mode for video calls and the ability to set text only, self-destructing status updates.

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Verified WhatsApp business accounts are now official

To US readers, WhatsApp may not seem like much of a big deal. Things are different elsewhere, however, and with more than 1 billion daily active users it's easy to understand why Facebook paid so much money to acquire the messaging service. After a number of rumors and clues, business accounts similar to what you can already find in the Facebook Messenger app are now coming to WhatsApp.

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Some Google Voice users aren't receiving SMS messages, Google is investigating

Bugwatch season is in full swing here at AP and Google Voice is the latest culprit. It was only in June when we last heard of issues with the service, which was to do with broken notifications. This time people are reporting that they aren't receiving text messages to their Google Voice accounts.

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