Facebook Messenger gains read receipts, fresh holiday content and a huge speed boost

By Christian Zibreg on Dec 19, 2014

Facebook-owned WhatsApp quietly introduced blue-ticked read confirmations in its mobile iPhone app a month and a half ago and now the social networking behemoth has refreshed its backend to bring read receipts to Messenger for iOS and Android.

And with Christmas around the corner, the company is helping us celebrate the upcoming festivities by adding holiday-themed content to Messenger like fresh sticker packs, a new festive frame and more.

As if that wasn’t enough, Facebook’s engineers have done a lot of work under the hood to make the app more fluid and responsive than ever before. Read More

 

Facebook launches Stickered, a Messenger companion app

By Christian Zibreg on Dec 19, 2014

There’s a brand new app from Facebook in town and it’s hitting iOS real soon. Having launched on Android today, Stickered is a companion app for Messenger which allows you to add some fun stickers to a photo before sending it to a friend on Messenger.

The first companion app for Messenger, the lightweight Stickered app should make it easy and fun to pick a photo and then resize and slap a sticker on top. Read More

 

Slingshot adds swiping between selfie and frontie and more

By Christian Zibreg on Dec 17, 2014

Slingshot, Facebook’s weird ephemeral messaging app, is actually getting better and more useful with each update.

After releasing a major 2.0 version rebuilt from the ground up and enriched with such new features as private reactions, photo filters, drawings, emojis and notifications on a per-contact basis.

Today’s update keeps smoothing out the remaining few rough edges.

For instance, you can now switch smoothly between your iPhone’s front-facing FaceTime camera for ‘selfies’ and the iSight camera out the back for ‘fronties’ by swiping left and right. Read More

 

Skype’s Qik gets optimized for iPhone 6, adds new video menu and holiday surprise

By Christian Zibreg on Dec 17, 2014

Qik, an ephemeral video messaging app for the iPhone by Microsoft-owned Skype, has received a refresh Wednesday. For starters, it takes full advantage of 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus screens while adding a new video menu.

It also improves how invitations by SMS are handled and includes a special holiday surprise in the form of a cool Easter egg which lets you shake your iPhone to enable snowflakes that fall down the screen. Read More

 

BBM gains iOS 8 and iPhone 6 support, stickers in group chats and more

By Christian Zibreg on Dec 15, 2014

BlackBerry is rolling out a new version of BBM for iOS with support for Apple’s latest iOS 8 mobile operating system, native display support for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus screen sizes, the ability to send stickers in a group chat and more.

“You can’t help but notice the sleek and modern design updates like a flat UI and attractive transparencies,“ boasted Canada’s embattled company. The overhaul makes the app look sharp across supported Apple devices. Read More

 

Viber introduces support for Viber Games, adds Sticker Menu

By Christian Zibreg on Dec 15, 2014

Viber, the popular messaging platform second only to WhatsApp, today refreshed its iOS application with support for downloadable mobile games while introducing a new Sticker Menu to make finding sticker packs easier.

Viber Games, the headline new feature in Viber 5.2 for iOS and Android, allows users to play select mobile games with Viber characters Violet and Legcat and see how many coins they can earn. Read More

 

Snapchat opens up Geofilters feature to everyone

By Christian Zibreg on Dec 2, 2014

Back this summer, Snapchat introduced Geofilters, a set of custom image filters that only work on photos taken in specific geographic locations. Up until now, only Snapchat devs have been able to create these. Tuesday, the company has opened up Geofilters to the community at large.

Now everyone can create interesting images and share them with friends who will be able to see them when they’re in a specific location.

Once shared, your little pieces of art will be also available through the newly set up Community Geofilter website. Read More

 

Viber rolls out Public Chats with the ability to ‘like’ messages, photos, videos, links and more

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 25, 2014

After receiving an iOS 8 focused update earlier this month bringing a nice Share menu extension, Interactive Notifications and other improvements, Viber on Tuesday pushed a small update adding the Public Chats feature.

With Public Chats, Viber users can finally follow group conversations for specific topics that they’re into. Once you start following a group chat, you can then like any piece of content in the group chat, including messages, photos, videos, links and more. Read More

 

You can now privately share tweets in DMs

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 20, 2014

After previewing future platform enhancements and features during its Analyst’s Day event, the popular social service Twitter on Thursday began rolling out one of the mentioned new features: the ability to private share a tweet through Twitter’s direct messaging function.

Think about sharing tweets privately with any of your followers in terms of discussing public content in private conversations, the micro-blogging platform suggested.

To do this from Twitter’s main iPhone client, long-press the tweet in your timeline and choose the new “Share via Direct Message” option. The person you share a tweet with will get a push notification, said the company.

Moreover, the tweet will display directly in the conversation. Read More

 

You can now adjust focus and lighting of photos in Facebook Messenger

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 20, 2014

Facebook on Thursday issued a small update to its Messenger app for the iPhone and iPad, bringing out additional features to touch up the photos you take within the software using the built-in camera feature.

Now available in the App Store at no cost, Facebook Messenger 16.0 fixed an issue with sending messages while introducing a pair of new controls to adjust the focus and lighting of photos you take in the app. Read More

 

WhatsApp starts encrypting instant messages on Android, iOS and other platforms coming soon

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 19, 2014

WhatsApp, the most popular instant-messaging platform with more than 600 million users which Facebook snapped up for $16 billions earlier this year, has started to protect data with end-to-end encryption, The Wall Street Journal reports.

For the time being, text messages exchanged between Android users of WhatsApp are being encrypted by default.

It shouldn’t be too long until the company adds encryption to the iOS app and other mobile platforms. Encryption protects users’ communications from governments and hackers alike by making the data unreadable as it travels between servers. Read More

 

Microsoft launches Skype for Web beta

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 14, 2014

In a pretty significant move Microsoft on Friday announced Skype for Web, an upcoming web application that lets the popular instant messaging and VoIP service run directly in a desktop browser, no plug-in needed, making Skype readily available across desktop, mobile and on the web.

Supported browsers include Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 10, Google’s Chrome, Mozilla’s Firefox or Apple’s Safari 6.

Unfortunately, Chrome for Windows is the only supported version of Chrome so Mac users on Google’s browser (and Chromebook owners) are left out in the cold for the time being. Chatting and video/voice messaging don’t require a browser plug-in. “With WebRTC, there won’t be any downloads or installs – you can just get straight to your conversation”, the software giant said. Read More

 

Facebook Messenger passes half a billion users

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 10, 2014

Facebook‘s dedicated instant messaging application for iOS, Android and Windows Phone, Facebook Messenger, is now used by more than 500 million people around the world each month, said the social networking giant Monday.

That’s a massive number, but still half of what Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said constitutes a platform in the truest sense.

By comparison, WhatsApp, which Facebook acquired in February 2014 for $19 billion, currently has more than 600 million active users. Instagram, another Facebook property, counts more than 200 million users. Read More

 

WhatsApp now indicates if your message has been read

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 5, 2014

As we patiently await an update to make WhatsApp support native display sizes of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, the tremendously popular Facebook-owned messaging service on Wednesday enabled a new check mark in the chat UI indicating that the recipient has read your message.

Now when you’re chatting with someone, pay attention to read receipts in the form of blue check marks, as discovered by designer, Dutch translator at Twitter and jailbreak developer Timon Olsthoorn (and many others on Twitter).

This is an over-the-air update so those with WhatsApp installed on their iPhone can start using this feature immediately, without the need to update the app manually.

WhatsApp, which has more than 600 million active users, is free in the App Store. Read More

 

Shared AT&T plans get more LTE data, unlimited international messaging for no additional cost

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 31, 2014

The nation’s second-largest carrier, AT&T, said on Friday that it will be increasing monthly data allotments for two of its Mobile Share Value plans.

Beginning Sunday, November 2, Mobile Share Value customers will get three gigabytes of high-speed 4G LTE data for $40 a month instead of two gigabytes.

In addition, customers on a pricer tier will be treated  to six gigabytes for $70 a month instead of four gigabytes like before.

Furthermore, all Mobile Share Value plans now get unlimited international messaging for text, picture and video for no additional cost. Read More

 

Skype for iPhone updated with avatar sync, ability to save and delete photos from chats and more

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 30, 2014

After updating Skype for Mac with Yosemite support earlier this morning, Microsoft on Thursday issued a new Skype for iPhone refresh. Now sitting at version 5.7, the app finally makes it easy to save and delete images from chats.

People who roam between devices and platforms will notice that chat avatars now stay in perfect sync when picking up on one device where they left on another.

You should also notice faster performance, especially when opening chats from a notification, and improvements to Skype’s contact filters such as All Contacts, Skype and Online.

Skype for iPhone is available free in the App Store. Read More

 

You can now preview stickers in Facebook’s latest Messenger update

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 29, 2014

The social networking giant Facebook on Wednesday pushed a small update to its Messenger client for the iPhone and iPad which lets you preview sticker animations.

Facebook Messenger 12.0 (what’s up with version numbers, Facebook?) allows you to press and hold down on a sticker to expand it and view any animations before sending it.

The app is available free in the App Store. Read More

 

Facebook Messenger updated with doodles and captions for your photos

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 16, 2014

Facebook Messenger has received its iPhone 6 compatibility fix nearly a month ago, unlike their main iOS client which only got refreshed with half-baked support for the new iPhone screen sizes yesterday.

Be that as it may, Facebook today issued a small Messenger update adding the ability to adorn your photos with captions and casual scribbles and sketches.

Messenger 14.0 (what’s up with version numbers, Facebook?) is free in the App Store.

Read More

 

Microsoft launches Skype Qik, its own ephemeral video messaging app

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 14, 2014

Tuesday, software giant Microsoft launched a brand new ephemeral messaging app, Skype Qik, in a bid to take on the likes of Snapchat and other applications in the increasingly crowded ephemeral messaging space.

“Imagine if you could reinvent the Skype experience, taking into account how messaging, selfies and app culture have changed the way we communicate,” reads the blurb.

The free of charge iPhone app is based on Microsoft’s $100 million acquisition of the mobile video provider Qik three years ago. Microsoft retired the original Qik app soon after, clearing the way for a re-introduction of the reimagined Qik software for iOS, Android and Windows Phone.

As the name suggests, Skype Qik is being promoted through the Skype brand, itself owned by Microsoft. Matter of fact, Qik runs alongside Skype to provide an ongoing form of video chat allowing you to share laughs, and chat with groups of friends. Read More

 

Skype for Mac 7.0 now available with revamped chat experience

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 9, 2014

Microsoft on Thursday issued a major new update to Skype for Mac alongside a new preview for Windows desktop. Available as a free download, Skype for Mac 7.0 brings out mobile-inspired look with a revamped chat experience, ahead of OS X Yosemite release later this month.

The richer chat experience allows you to chat and call simultaneously with one click and keep the conversation going across devices.

You’ll also appreciate improvements to the free group video calling feature and the fact that the overall appearance of the app fits right in with OS X Yosemite. Read More

 
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