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

 

Facebook Messenger passes 900 million users, unveils profile codes and other new features

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 7, 2016

Facebook today announced its Messenger mobile application is now being used by more than 900 million people globally every month, up from 800 million active monthly users announced in January.

Celebrating the milestone, the social network firm unveiled Snapchat-like scannable profile codes.

In addition, it announced some interesting new ways for people to find businesses and friends to start a conversation, including vanity profile URLs on Messenger. More than a billion messages are now being sent every month between people on Messenger and businesses, wrote David Marcus, Facebook’s Vice President of Messaging. Read More

 

How to delete your Skype account the right way

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 5, 2016

Microsoft has made closing Skype accounts more convoluted than it needs to be. It’s understandable that no online provider would advertise the account deletion option front and center. With that in mind, permanently deleting a Skype account is a multi-step process so you’ll typically need to remove payment methods, cancel any subscriptions you may have, unlink your Microsoft account from your Skype account and more.

But don’t your worry, iDownloadBlog’s account-deletion series is here to help. This tutorial will guide you through the steps needed to successfully close your account on Skype the right way. As a bonus, we’ll show you how you can request a refund for your unused credits and unlink your accounts. Read More

 

How to use bold, italics and strikethrough styling in your WhatsApp conversations

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 31, 2016

With more than one billion people turning to Facebook-owned WhatsApp on any given day to exchange instant messages with their friends and family, you may be interested in some new formatting options that the app has quietly introduced recently.

Of course, you’ve always been able to spice up your messaging in WhatsApp and make your chats more expressive with emoticons.

That being said, WhatsApp for iPhone now permits folks to format their chats with a trio of new styling options—bold, italics and strikethrough. Rather than introduce new buttons to access the new stylings, WhatsApp requires you to enclose parts of text inside special formatting codes.

In this brief tutorial, you’ll learn how to make and word, phrase or passage of text in your WhatsApp conversations bold, italics or strikethrough. Read More

 

Snapchat unveils stickers, video notes, Auto-Advance Stories & other chat improvements

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 29, 2016

Snapchat is rolling out a bunch of new capabilities destined for its second-generation chat feature, in addition to other improvements like stickers, all-new Auto-Advance Stories capability and updated privacy terms.

The Venice Beach-headquartered maker of the popular ephemeral messaging software has confirmed that more than 200 stickers are now available within the app, based on its $100 million purchase of Bitstrips. Read More

 

WhatsApp for iPhone gains enhanced in-app alerts

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 18, 2016

WhatsApp for iPhone was updated in the App Store earlier this morning, bringing out a few noteworthy improvements to in-app notifications.

In addition, you can now choose to save incoming media for specific chats in contact or group info while the ability to share PDF documents from other apps into WhatsApp has expanded to everyone.

WhatsApp no longer charges an annual subscription fee. The Facebook-owned firm’s been hard at work testing a feature for exporting chats in a ZIP archive and is also prepping to finally roll out video calling in WhatsApp. Read More

 

Skype for Web adds support for making phone calls and other new features

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 14, 2016

You can now call mobile phones and landlines using Skype in a desktop browser, without needing a plug-in. Support for marking phone calls through a browser has been added to Skype Web, a web-based counterpart of the native Skype app, along with several other new features.

For instance, you can now add new people to a conversation, even if they’re not on Skype, enjoy watching YouTube videos without leaving Skype and more. Read More

 

WhatsApp now lets you share media from other apps like Dropbox and Google Drive

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 29, 2016

The popular mobile messaging service WhatsApp today received a pretty cool update in the App Store which adds the ability to share photos or videos from other apps installed on your iPhone via a new option exposed after tapping the Photo/Video Library button.

In addition, WhatsApp has gained a pair of new shortcuts in the 3D Touch menu on the Home screen and now supports solid colors as chat backgrounds.

Oh, and you can now zoom in on videos while they’re playing. Read More

 

Viber gains more 3D Touch goodies, Split View and Slide Over multitasking on iPad Pro and other perks

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 23, 2016

Viber, the popular instant messaging application, has received an update in the App Store. Bumped to version 5.8, the app now works side-by-side with other apps in iOS 9’s new Split View and Slide Over multitasking on the iPad Pro.

On the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, your most recent chats are now available right from the app’s 3D Touch shortcut menu on the Home screen.

This edition of Viber also packs in some other improvements related to ‘read’ and ‘liked’ icons in group chats and an all-new media browser for chats. Read More

 

Facebook will reportedly allow brands to send ads as messages within Messenger

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 19, 2016

According to a document Facebook has sent to some of its biggest advertisers, a copy of which was obtained by TechCrunch, the social network may start injecting ads into people’s conversations on Messenger in the second quarter of 2016. Specifically, Facebook currently plans to allow businesses to send ads as messages to users who previously interacted with that company using the Messenger service.

The leaked document advises that businesses “get consumers to start message threads with them now so they’ll be able to send them ads when the feature launches,” as per TechCrunch. Read More

 

Skype group video calling starts rolling out with support for up to 25 participants

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 18, 2016

As promised, Microsoft has begun rolling out free group video calling in Skype’s mobile apps for iOS and Android devices, Engadget reported this morning.

According to Microsoft, this feature will allow Skype users to video chat with up to 24 other people at once in crisp 1080p resolution, and each participant can flip between the front and back camera mid-call.

Group video calling in mobile Skype apps is going to be available to users in North America and Western Europe. “We plan to be fully available worldwide in March,” said Skype. Read More

 
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