Facebook removing messaging feature from iOS app in favor of Messenger

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 10, 2014

Feeling chatty? Love Facebook? Good, get ready to embrace Facebook’s polished Messenger app if you haven’t already.

That’s because the social networking giant is reportedly gearing up to kill chatting in its main iPhone and iPad application (available free in the App Store) and force users to download the nicely done Messenger software, also a free download.

The writing has been on the wall ever since Facebook revamped the Messenger app and rechristened the full-featured messaging tab in its mobile client as ‘Messenger’. Instead of showing your messages, tapping that tab yanks you out of the Facebook app to launch Messenger… Read More


Facebook rolling out free VoiP calling in Messenger to everyone

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 3, 2014

Ever since launching its totally redesigned Messenger app last November, the social networking giant Facebook’s been dragging its feet in terms of enabling VoIP calling for everyone.

For users in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, this useful feature has been part of the old Messenger app for quite some time now.

Today, Facebook issued a minor update to Messenger for iOS that seemingly enables free voice calling over Wi-Fi and low-cost calls over cellular for everyone.

The update is available in the App Store so grab it now and check out free calling in Facebook Messenger… Read More


BBM updated with stickers, large file transfers and image sharing in multi-person chats

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 1, 2014

The Canadian smartphone maker BlackBerry is launching a new version of its BBM instant messaging software for iOS, Android and BlackBerry.

As previously reported, this BBM edition enables popular stickers and includes a couple feature additions, such as the ability to share images with multiple parties in multi-person chats and send larger files to others.

Various sticker packs can be purchased from the new BBM Shop, with some stickers like the legacy BBM emoticons offered free of charge. It’s interesting that BlackBerry partnered with brands on themed sticker packs like CosCat, Gilbert’s Tales, Bubble Bot and many more.

The new BBM 2.1 will be launching in the App Store later today… Read More


FireChat for iPhone lets you chat off-the-grid, without cellular or Wi-Fi signal

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 27, 2014

FireChat, a new instant messaging application for the iPhone, is kinda of a big deal. You wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between it and other messaging apps on the App Store if it weren’t for its particularly unique feature.

FireChat supports off-the-grid communication, a codeword for the ability to exchange instant messages without a cellular or Wi-Fi connection.

What kind of dark magic is this?

FireChat, the brainchild of the crowdsourced firm Open Garden and available free in the App Store, uses the same principles as AirDrop, Apple’s feature that takes advantage of a new iOS 7 technology called Multipeer Connectivity Framework (MCF).

Read on for the full reveal… Read More


WhatsApp picks up new wallpapers and introduces new privacy controls

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 17, 2014

Facebook-owned WhatsApp, the world’s most popular mobile messaging service, has received a nice little update Monday bringing some much-needed privacy controls.

For starters, you can now tell the app who you want to share your profile photo and status with, quite in handy if you’re a private person who only wants to share this type of information with your phone contacts rather than with anyone using the service.

The same privacy settings are available for your Last Seen status as well – useful when you don’t want others to tell you haven’t opened their messages yet. Oh, and this edition of WhatsApp also includes some nice new wallpapers.

The update is live in the App Store so grab it nowRead More


How to send group text messages on iPhone

By Sébastien Page on Mar 12, 2014

We all know how to send an SMS or iMessage to a group of friends: open up the Messages application and type in the name of the contacts you want to include in this group message. This is fine if you want to send a text message to just a handful of contacts, but what if you want to send a message to 25 contacts for example? Adding each of them could be a time consuming process.

As always, the App Store can provide a solution to this problem. Today, we will show you how to text message a group of contacts on iPhone, in a quick and efficient manner. To  do so, we’ll be using an application called Connect, a free download in the App Store. There are other applications that can streamline your group messaging, which we will list at the bottom of this post, but we’ll be using Connect as it is a free alternative that works really well for what we want to accomplish… Read More


Massive Verbs IM update brings iOS 7 UI, Dropbox integration, iCloud sync and lots more

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 12, 2014

Despite the undeniable usefulness of Apple’s iMessage and the massive popularity of WhatsApp, many people still rely a variety of other messaging services, from the Facebook chat to Gtalk to AIM (who still uses AIM?) to Yahoo Messenger and a variety of emerging and lesser-known services with cryptic names.

Verbs by #include tech was released on the iPhone back in January 2011 and instantly won me over with its gorgeous interface that looks like it was designed by Apple itself.

It supports tons of instant messaging services, has a native iPad UI, delivers notifications for incoming messages and lots more. In todays Verbs 3.0 update, now available in the App Store free to existing users, the app is now iOS 7-ready and improved in ways more than one.

For starters, it now uses iCloud to sync your chat archives across devices in real-time – something Apple’s iMessage still can’t do. Verbs 3.0 integrates with Dropbox for sharing files and photos in chat, supports the Jabber protocol (useful for Hipchat and other Jabber-compliant IM services), while introducing a slew of new notification options.

The full breakdown is right after the break… Read More


Encrypted chat app ‘Cryptocat’ now available on iOS

By Cody Lee on Mar 5, 2014

Popular encrypted chat app Cryptocat has launched this week for iOS. Originally available as a desktop app and a browser plugin, the app offers strong encryption and secrecy for text conversations, as well as protection from government intrusion thanks to its Swedish nuclear bunker headquarters.

This week’s iOS launch comes after an initial rejection by Apple’s app review team in December. Cryptocat’s founder Nadim Kobeissi called Apple’s reason for rejection ‘illegitimate,’ but it’s obvious someone or something had to give because the app is now available for download in the App Store… Read More


Stickers coming to BBM via upcoming BBM Shop

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 24, 2014

The embattled Canadian smartphone maker, BlackBerry, has confirmed plans to bring popular virtual stickers to its cross-platform messaging app, BBM. The stickers will be available for purchase through a new BBM Shop section that will be made part of a forthcoming BBM app update. BBM, a free download from the App Store, has recently been updated with voice calling, BBM Channels, location sharing and other features… Read More


Viber acquired by e-commerce giant Rakuten for $900 million

By Cody Lee on Feb 14, 2014

This is kind of interesting. The Wall Street Journal is reporting this morning that the popular voice call app Viber has agreed to a deal to be acquired by Rakuten for $900 million. For those unfamiliar with the e-commerce giant, it’s essentially Japan’s version of Amazon.

Viber is available on all major mobile and desktop platforms, and is one of Skype’s biggest competitors with over 300 million users worldwide. It was one of the first apps to allow 3G VoIP on the iPhone and it now supports land-line calls, messages and even push-to-talk… Read More


BlackBerry rolling out Find Friends feature to BBM for iOS

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 5, 2014

Troubled handset vendor BlackBerry today issued an update for its cross-platform messaging software, BBM, bringing out a new Find Friends feature.

Whereas previously you had to punch in a person’s BlackBerry ID or email address to add him or her to your list of BBM contacts, today’s update simplifies the process by detecting which contacts in your iPhone’s Contacts are already using BBM, so you can quickly send them an invite to join your BBM contact list.

The free update is going live in the App Store later today so make sure to grab it (if you’re still using BBM, that is)… Read More


Confide brings off-the-record messaging to iPhone

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 9, 2014

With the recent Snapchat data breach (and the company’s subsequently poor handling of the situation) and given the ongoing NSA snooping scare, little wonder some folks would think twice before downloading a messaging app to their iPhone, iPod touch and iPad devices.

Storing your chat transcripts in the cloud introduces an attack vector so that’s a big no-no, right?

And you definitely at all cost want to avoid the contents of your communication kept on the device itself, no? So how about a 100 percent off-the-record messaging software, one that would bypass the cloud while allowing for Snapchat-like disappearing text messages?

That’s Confide for you… Read More


Snapchat updated with photo filters, message replays and more

By Cody Lee on Dec 20, 2013

In an odd late-Friday release, Snapchat has posted a new version of its popular iOS messaging client this evening. The update, which brings the app to version 6.1, is fairly significant as it adds camera filters, message replays and other new features.

For the new filters, you can pick between black and white, sepia and vintage, and you can also add data points like time, weather, and how fast you were going when you took the photo. And as for the new Replay feature, it lets you take a second look… Read More


WSJ: Snapchat turned down $3 billion buyout offer from Facebook

By Cody Lee on Nov 13, 2013

It was the summer of 2006. Facebook was just two years old, and strictly a college site, with some 8 or 9 million users. And the company’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, met with board members Jim Breyer and Peter Thiel to discuss Yahoo’s $1 billion buyout offer.

As we all know, Zuckerberg ended up turning down the money, in what has become one of the most infamous moves in the last 10 years of tech. But the wunderkind recently found himself on the other side of the negotiating table, with even more money at stake… Read More


Facebook launches redesigned Messenger app

By Cody Lee on Nov 13, 2013

In line with reports from early October, Facebook has launched a redesigned Messenger app for iPhone users this afternoon. The new design matches the aesthetics of iOS 7, and looks very similar to the updated Messenger app launched for Android a few weeks ago.

In addition to the makeover, today’s update also brings about some new features. In the new app, users will be able to see which friends are using Messenger, as well as have the ability to message non-Facebook friends from within the app as long as they have their number… Read More


Facebook previews new-look Messenger with phone number integration

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 29, 2013

We were told last month Facebook had been working on a new version of its iPhone client with Graph Search and testing a major rethinking to the standalone instant messaging software, Facebook Messenger (a free download from the App Store).

Today, the social networking behemoth announced a new Messenger experience is now available for limited testing on Android and coming soon to iOS. Representing a major refresh, Messenger has undergone a substantial facelift and now lets folks instant-message each other using only their phone numbers, putting Messenger on a collision course with WhatsApp… Read More


BBM sees 5 million downloads in first 8 hours of availability

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 22, 2013

Less than eight hours after officially hitting Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play store, the BlackBerry Messenger app (free download) has seen more than five million active downloads on iOS and Android combined, BlackBerry announced in a tweet.

The messaging application is a staggered rollout which employs a reservation system to prevent the kind of a server strain seen after the Android build had leaked out prematurely. According to some repots, there’s a workaround that could let you use the app without waiting… Read More


BlackBerry Messenger for iPhone is here, get downloading

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 21, 2013

After months-long back and forth, the horribly embattled Canadian smartphone maker BlackBerry, formerly Research In Motion, has announced that its BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) software has finally rolled out to iOS and Android devices today.

Announced as a staggered roll-out for Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play store, the secure instant messaging software employs a reservation system.

That’s bad news for those who haven’t signed up early at BBM.com as they will be forced to wait in line before they can use the app. On September 22, BlackBerry was forced to halt the planned roll-out of BBM for iOS after a leaked Android build had caused its servers to fold… Read More


Twitter mulling standalone Direct Messaging app

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 17, 2013

Twitter, of all companies, could enter the crowded instant messaging space dominated by WhatsApp, Viber, Apple, Google, Microsoft and Facebook with a standalone direct-messaging app. According to a new report Thursday, the company plans to “significantly update its direct-messaging product”.

One of the options being considered is making Twitter’s Direct Messages the focus of the rumored standalone app. It wasn’t immediately clear how exactly such an app would compete with Viber and WhatsApp, the two leading services in the instant messaging space that tie to your cell phone number… Read More


SnapHack for iPhone lets anyone save your incriminating Snapchats permanently

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 15, 2013

Your online privacy is an elastic concept. No, I’m not referring to the NSA eavesdropping on your online communications or breaking into your iPhone or harvesting your online address books. Let’s talk about Snapchat for a minute.

A quick backgrounder for the uninitiated: developed by Stanford University students, Snapchat is a handy photo messaging application that exploded in popularity soon after people realized they can send their photos to a controlled list of recipients and set a time limit for how long they can view them.

After the cut-off time, the snaps are automatically deleted from both the recipient’s device and Snapchat’s servers. As a bonus, Snapchat features a built-in mechanism that informs the other side when you screenshot their snaps. Now, you can imagine why Snapchat blew up in no time as some folks predominantly use the application to expose their body parts and share their candid shots.

A new iPhone app called SnapHack changes all that by bypassing Snapchat’s screenshot notifications and pulling unopened content from Snapchat’s servers. Plus, the company behind Snapchat yesterday detailed law enforcement requests. Jump past the fold for the full breakdown… Read More

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