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

 

Safari to gain support for audio/video chats via WebRTC standard without needing a plugin

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 14, 2016

Apple is hard at work on adding support to its Safari browser for cross-platform audio/video communications capability that won’t require any special plug-in, enterprise computing blog No Jitter learned yesterday.

The Cupertino firm’s reportedly decided to incorporate support for the open-source WebRTC project, a real-time video and audio standard originally created by Google.

Microsoft’s Edge and Mozilla’s Firefox browsers have adopted this technology recently, which lets web developers create messaging applications that run in a browser and offer two-way audio/video communications capability without a plug-in. 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

 

Twitter launches Direct Message button in timeline

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 5, 2016

Twitter is making it a lot easier to send direct messages to anyone right from your timeline with today’s introduction of an inline button that’s present on all tweets. The new Direct Message button is launching later today in Twitter’s mobile applications for iOS and Android.

Conveniently located to the right of the Reply, Retweet and Like buttons below any tweet, tapping it attaches a tweet to a Direct Message, ready to be sent to one or more of your followers. 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

 

WhatsApp testing ZIP chat export feature, Facebook to gain ‘post via WhatsApp’ button

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 1, 2016

Facebook-owned WhatsApp is about to integrate more tightly with the social networking firm’s mobile client, as discovered Monday by German blog Macerkopf.de.

Facebook is testing the forthcoming version 2.12.17.689 update to WhatsApp for iOS which will permit users to export their chat archive as a ZIP file.

Currently, WhatsApp lets you back up and restore chat history via iCloud, so the addition of ZIP chat exporting will make it easier for users to download their instant messages to a computer.

In addition, Facebook is also testing a new WhatsApp integration in its mobile application for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Read More

 

WhatsApp to stop charging annual subscription fee in coming weeks

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 18, 2016

WhatsApp, a Facebook-owned mobile messaging service, announced on Monday that it’s going to stop charging customers a subscription fee of 99 cents per year. The service is currently provided at no cost during its free year, after which customers are being charged 99 cents per year to continue using the service.

Over the course of coming weeks, everyone will be able to download and use WhatsApp on their device totally free of charge and without a subscription fee. Read More

 

Outlook for iOS gains Skype integration, Mac app updated with Split View and full-screen support

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 13, 2016

Microsoft Outlook is an excellent email client, not just for mobile devices but on desktop platforms, too. And now, it’s about to get a lot better. According to Microsoft, Outlook for Mac now now officially supports Full Screen view for OS X Yosemite and up and OS X’s native full-screen view.

On the mobile front, Outlook for iOS has received a nice little update which brings Skype integration for calendar events so users can now make any meeting a Skype call that can be launched from the calendar event in Outlook. Read More

 
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