Viber for iPhone now lets you share, preview, delete and restore your stickers

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 26, 2016

Just like rival WhatsApp, the popular Rakuten-owned Viber messaging application pushed an update to its App Store app this morning, bumping version number to 6.2 whilst adding a few new features related to handling sticker packages within the app. You can now share sticker packages with others and preview stickers before sending one in a chat. And to preserve storage space on the device, there’s now the option to delete sticker packages you no longer use. Grab Viber for free on the App Store. Read More

 

WhatsApp for iPhone gains 3x bigger emoji, zooming during video capture and more

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 26, 2016

After launching a desktop Mac app in May, Facebook-owned WhatsApp today gave its iPhone application a little love with a new version now available on the App Store. WhatsApp 2.16.7 for iPhone includes three times bigger emoji when sent alone, a feature also found in iOS 10’s Messages app. In this release, you can now zoom when recording videos within the app and select multiple chats to quickly archive, delete or mark as read.

Plus, thanks to under-the-hood tweaks chats now open a lot faster than before. Read More

 

Facebook Messenger hits a major milestone—one billion monthly users

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 21, 2016

Facebook yesterday announced that its Messenger service has hit a major milestone: the software is now being used by more than one billion people every month to message their friends and family. Messenger saw a major surge in popularity after it was decoupled from the main Facebook mobile client, and especially since becoming a software platform in its own right with chat bots, apps, money payments, expanded emojis and other features.

Facebook Messenger is a free download from the App Store. Read More

 

iOS 10 tidbit: auto-playing full-screen effects in Messages for texts like “Happy Birthday”

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 19, 2016

iOS 10’s Messages app offers a number of new features and meaningful improvements, such as bubble effects, smarter emoji, full-screen animations and so forth. Moreover, iOS 10 turns Messages into a software platform of its own with support for third-party iMessage Apps, stickers and other downloadable items via the App Store.

We previously covered various Messages capabilities on iOS 10, like Spotlight Suggestions in chats, using Digital Touch to send animated kisses and broken hearts, managing read-receipts on a per-chat basis, to mention just a few. Today, we take a look at another cool Messages feature: the ability to automatically play appropriate full-screen effects based on certain messages. Read More

 

At long last, Facebook Messenger implements 3D Touch Peek and Pop

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 13, 2016

Better late than never: 3D Touch gestures are now available within the free mobile Messenger app from Facebook. The latest Messenger update on the App Store increases the app’s version number to 79.0, with Peek/Pop support on the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus being the only change mentioned in release notes accompanying the 109-megabyte download. Read More

 

iOS 10 tidbit: Spotlight Suggestions in Messages

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 12, 2016

On iOS 10, Spotlight Suggestions appear in more places than before. We recently told you about Spotlight Suggestions in the Look Up interface (formerly known as the Define feature). We also discussed iOS 10’s expressive Messages app in depth and mentioned its super useful inline previews of URLs.

As it turns out, not only does Messages support inline previews of media URLs, but underlines specific terms in your chats—such as movie and app names—that Spotlight Suggestions can give you more info about. Read More

 

iOS 10 tidbit: sending broken hearts via iMessage

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 12, 2016

iOS 10’s much-enhanced Messages app includes the Digital Touch interface that first appeared on the Apple Watch. With Digital Touch, users can create iMessages that contain doodles, digital taps, video with effects and more.

We recently explained how Digital Touch can be taken advantage of to send nicely animated hearts to your recipients. Here’s another iOS 10 tidbit: Messages on iOS 10 also lets you shoot animated broken hearts to someone for those times you wish to convey more specific feelings. Read More

 

Facebook Messenger starts testing end-to-end encryption with Secret Conversations

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 8, 2016

The Guardian reported more than a month ago that Facebook would be rolling out end-to-end encryption for chats in Messenger. Friday, the social networking firm announced that it’s begun testing the new feature, dubbed Secret Conversations.

An opt-in feature, the new option within the mobile Messenger app for iOS and Android was designed to better support conversations about sensitive topics with end-to-end encryption. Read More

 

iOS 10 tidbit: using Digital Touch in Messages to send kisses instead of hearts

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 4, 2016

Aside from a lot of other advances, iOS 10 turns the Messages app into a platform upon which developers can build downloadable stickers, full-screen animations and chat bubble effects. Messages in iOS 10 also supports Digital Touch, a feature that first debuted on the Apple Watch.

With the new Digital Touch interface in iOS 10 Messages, users can draw and sketch with their finger on photos and video, send hearts and create other digital effects on video. But as it turns out, users also have the option to send animated kisses instead of heart beats using a simple gesture. Read More

 

iOS 10 tidbit: managing read receipts on a per-conversation basis

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 1, 2016

iOS 10 has a new hidden switch, called Emergency Bypass, which permits you to override your global Do Not Disturb setting on a per-contact basis. It’s especially handy for those times when you wanna enable Messages notifications for a contact that isn’t in your Favorites, even if Do Not Disturb is on.

A similar new feature in iOS 10’s Messages app makes it easy to enable or disable read receipts, which tell the other person when you’ve read an incoming text, on a per-conversation basis. Read More

 

Facebook launches new Home tab in Messenger

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 16, 2016

Facebook is trying to “reinvent the inbox” with Home, a new tab in the mobile Messenger app designed to make it easier to start conversations with the service’s more than 900 million unique mostly users. David Marcus, Facebook’s Messenger boss, said on Thursday that with the new Home tab his company is aiming to make Messenger simpler to use by presenting more relevant information. Read More

 

Viber gains iCloud backup, support for sending money, animated GIFs and more

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 6, 2016

Messaging service Viber this morning pushed a new update to its App Store app, adding several new long overdue features. For starters, iPhone users can now back up and restore their chat history through iCloud, making keeping their conversations after an iOS restore possible.

The application now has a brand new native watchOS 2 app for your wrist with canned responses on your Apple Watch. Other new features in this edition of Viber include support for sending and receiving animated GIF images, sending money from within the app and low-rate Viber Out calling plans via a redesigned screen. Read More

 

Google would love to work with Apple on making messaging more interoperable

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 2, 2016

Google CEO Sundar Pichai sat down for an interview with technology columnist Walt Mossberg at Code Conference yesterday. Fresh off Google’s annual developer conference, which was big on artificial intelligence, the executive discussed a range of topics from Android to competition to digital assistants to artificial intelligence and beyond.

Pichai also expressed hope that big technology companies can work together on making their proprietary messaging services more interoperable. Read More

 

Facebook Messenger said to be rolling out opt-in encryption in the coming months

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 1, 2016

After WhatsApp and Viber both introduced end-to-end encryption last month, Facebook Messenger will become the next major messaging app to roll out this essential security feature, reports The Guardian.

Although end-to-end encryption on Messenger will be framed as an optional feature that users will need to manually enable, it will ensure that the contents of communications are hidden from eavesdroppers and that the identities of the participants are concealed. Read More

 

New Google apps at I/O 2016: ‘Allo’ for messaging and ‘Duo’ for video calling

By Christian Zibreg on May 18, 2016

Google’s annual pilgrimage for developers kicked off earlier this morning with a keynote which was streamed live on YouTube in both regular and full 360-degree VR modes.

The keynote presentation saw some interesting announcements from the search giant, including a pair of new apps from Google for iOS and Android. Read More

 

Facebook launching group audio calling on Messenger with support for up to 50 participants

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 21, 2016

A year after it rolled out the ability to place and receive VoIP audio calls on Messenger, Facebook is now introducing a new VoIP calling feature with support for up to fifty people on a single group call. Group calling currently supports standard VoIP audio calls, but Facebook did tell TechCrunch that “group video calling is definitely a use case that a lot of our people might be interested in at some point”. Read More

 

You can now attach Microsoft Office documents to your WhatsApp chats

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 13, 2016

After enabling complete end-to-end encryption for chats and adding support for sending and receiving PDFs and basic text styling, WhatsApp for iPhone in its most recent update brings the ability to attach Microsoft Office documents to your instant exchanges with friends on the service.

Although not mentioned in the official release notes accompanying the 59.1-megabyte app, the change was spotted this morning by the Italian blog iSpazio. This is a useful new feature for users that removes the need to convert Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents to the PDF format before attaching them to their WhatsApp conversations. Read More

 

Chat bots go live in Facebook Messenger, Facebook opens up Live Video APIs

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 12, 2016

Facebook was supposed to announce the addition of customer service chat bots and Live Chat APIs soon, but it seems that the latest app update already includes the plumbing work necessary to support chat bots. As first noted by Engadget, the app now shows a Bots and Businesses section and already third-party chat bots appear in search. Read More

 

Facebook Messenger gains Dropbox integration

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 12, 2016

As Facebook continues advancing its mobile Messenger app, the company just announced in a blog post that users can now take advantage of a brand new integration to share their Dropbox files from within the mobile Messenger app.

The new feature is accessible through the More button in Messenger chats, where Dropbox is now listed as an available source. Simply tap the new icon to open the Dropbox app on your device and select cloud files that you’d like to share in a chat. Read More

 

Facebook planning to add customer service chatbots and live chat to Messenger

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 8, 2016

Facebook is working hard to turn its Messenger app into a platform for doing all sorts of useful things beyond mere message exchange between friends.

According to a report Friday by TechCrunch, the company is planning on enabling developers to add customer service chatbots and live chat functionality to Messenger and has already introduced Live Chat APIs for Messenger.

A presentation give to select Messenger chatbot developers mentions something called “Structure Messages”, which are basically automated responses that may include a title, image, a description, a URL and calls to action such as visiting a website, viewing an e-commerce order or making a restaurant reservation. Read More

 
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