Microsoft has been offering a free, restricted version of Microsoft Teams since 2018, but it never really felt like a tool you'd use to organize your family or personal events — it was mainly targeted at freelancers and small teams. After a year worth of work and an announcement during its big Microsoft 365 reveal, the Redmond company is now ready to unleash a preview version of Microsoft Teams on consumers. As soon as it's rolled out, anyone can sign up for it, but you'll only be able to take full advantage of the service when you're a Microsoft 365 subscriber.
With Chat Heads, Facebook Messenger found a nifty way to let you juggle multiple conversations without having to jump back and forth between apps. Since their introduction in 2013 (yep, those bubbles are that old), Facebook has so far relied on a custom overlay solution. But with the latest beta, Messenger is switching to Android 11’s native Bubbles API, though not a whole lot is going to change for end-users.
Demand for video conferencing tools has skyrocketed in recent months, and Facebook has played a relatively minor role in that space despite owning two leadingmessaging apps. Taking steps to mend that, the social media giant introduced Messenger Rooms last month for a more casual video chat experience with small groups. After expanding the service to a worldwide audience, Facebook is now rolling out its integration in WhatsApp, starting in the newest beta.
Video calls have become an important way to stay in touch with friends and family during this time of isolation. There's already plenty to choose from, but now Facebook is giving us something new to consider as Messenger Rooms rolls out across the globe.
The internet in China is different from the internet in the rest of the world. Services are heavily censored by the state, making it impossible to discuss unsanctioned political topics on the web openly. WeChat, in particular, is known to monitor and censor its platform in China. However, an investigation by The Citizen Lab shows that WeChat doesn't only monitor Chinese citizens, but also extends this activity to people all over the world using the app. It does that to feed its censorship algorithms, which helps filter out certain content proactively. WeChat essentially crowd-sources international users' data.
Amidst the global coronavirus pandemic, Telegram has reached the milestone of 400 million monthly active users, up from 300 million a year ago. To celebrate the occasion, the company has introduced an update to Telegram version 6.1. It comes with a redesigned attachment menu, an improved quiz mode, and a proper sticker directory. Telegram also wants to create a database of educational quizzes and will distribute €400,000 to people who contribute to that goal.
Microsoft Teams is the company's version of Slack or Hangouts Meet: a room-based messaging platform intended for use by large organizations. It has grown rapidly since its introduction in 2017, and now Microsoft wants regular folks to use it, too.
Signal is universally praised as one of the most simple-to-use secure messaging apps and is endorsed by security experts around the world. However, the service's user numbers pale against popular alternatives such as Facebook's WhatsApp or Messenger — even Telegram has a bigger following according to Play Store download numbers. Wired reports that Signal is working hard to change that, as the foundation could raise its number of employees from 3 to 20 following a $50 million infusion from WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton in 2018.
Ah, WhatsApp. It's a Facebook-owned chat client with more than 5 billion installs on Android and has been quite stubbornly behind the curve on bringing on a dark mode of some sort. The first hint of it came in 2018, then came a couple more signalslast year, but it's now 2020 and we've still had no reason to pull out our Simon & Garfunkel jokes. Well, good news at last: the latest beta will finally let you give dark mode a spin.