Facebook Home may not be doing so well on Android, but that isn't stopping the talks of the app arriving on the iPhone. According to Adam Mosseri, director of product at Facebook, talks are happening, but nothing is concrete right now. He says: "We've shown them what we've built and we're just in an ongoing conversation".
During the Q&A session after Facebook Home was unveiled, Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg expressed interest in bringing Home to iOS, but said that an iOS version would be harder to create as the social networking site would have to work with Apple. Mosseri said that Facebook Home would be altered in order to suit Apple's preferences:
It may or may not be Home. We could also just bring some of the design values to the iOS app. That might be how it ends up. Or we could build just the lock screen. Maybe then it's not called Home, it's called something else.
Google have updated their Google Voice app with just a single change, where they've "improved the reliability of SMS delivery". Google Voice has, up until now at least, hasn't been perfect when sending and receiving text in low or slow signal areas.
This new update should help push through that, so the future of Google Voice is now looking up. The latest Google Voice app can be downloaded from the Google Play Store.
Spotify continues to expand its availability to other countries. Although an official announcement has yet to be made, Spotify is either doing a soft launch or slipped up as the list of countries now includes previously unavailable countries, including Mexico, Malaysia, and Singapore.
Other newly added countries include Iceland, Hong Kong, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Reports have said that users are already able to access Spotify in Malaysia and Singapore. Spotify's service is pretty awesome. Unlimited free streaming with ads, or $5 per month to remove ads.
I'm yet to try Facebook Home out on my Nexus 4, but it seems I might be getting excited over nothing if the Google Play reviews are anything to go by. Just 24 hours after the launch of Facebook's latest Home app, 44% of users who reviewed the app on Google Play have given it just 1 star.
19.4% of users gave Home a 5-star rating, which gives us an average of a 2.4-star rating on Google Play. What did people not like about Facebook Home, well, we have a snapshot of a few of the reviews - and there are plenty more to take a look at.
Facebook Messenger update gives Chat Heads feature to most Android smartphones, even without Facebook Home
Those of us with older Android smartphones were pretty bummed out to hear that our devices will not be able to run Facebook Home. Things are not as bleak as they appear, though. Facebook has just released an update to Messenger that will bring Chat Heads to most Android phones.
The new update will install Chat Heads to Facebook Messenger on Android devices running Android 2.2 or later, which means that unless you own a bottom of the barrel 3+ year old phone, the update should work on your phone.
I checked out the available updates for my phone and tablet, and both had a Facebook and Facebook Messenger update available, but after installing the update and testing, I have yet to see any Chat Head functionality. I only update about once a month, so chances are that both updates were old and the new one has not yet been pushed to my devices.
Google released Chrome Beta version 27 today, which includes a bunch of updates. The biggest feature is the ability to go into full-screen mode, which allows users to scrolls down and see the toolbar scroll up with the rest of the page so that it doesn't take up the top of the browser - this gives users more room for reading, without the toolbar getting in the way.
There's some client-side certificate support, with the tablet version of Chrome Beta for Android getting updated and now having the ability to long press on the back button to check out the tab history. There are a bunch of bug fixes in this release too. You can grab Chrome Beta for Android right here.
According to a leaked roadmap acquired by ZDNet, Office for iOS and Android won't be coming until fall 2014. The roadmap details various different Office products, including "Gemini wave 1.0" that will launch the Metro-style of core Office products. They will be designed with touch in mind and run on Windows 8 and Windows RT. These will be coming by October 2013.
Gemini 1.5 will come in April 2014 and consist of an update to Mac Office, updates for Office for Windows Phone, and support for LSX hardware. Finally, fall 2014 is listed as the time period for when Office for iOS and Android will be released. Previous rumors had suggested iOS and Android versions would be released in early- to mid-2013.
Foursquare have given their iOS app an update, pushing it up to version 6.0. The latest release sees the Explore part of the check-in app stretch its legs, where it now has the Explore search box on top of the navigation bar - completely replacing the Foursquare logo.
There's an updated auto-complete engine that helps provide users results faster than previous versions, and the friends list is no longer a list of friends, but is a very hefty chunk of recommendations mixed with trending places, and people that you know that are nearby. Less-used features of Foursquare that resided in the "Me" tab are now in a drawer that slides out from the app's left side.
Foursquare 6.0 for iPhone also cuts down the functionality of the main screen, giving the cut parts to providing space for trending places and recommendations instead. When you open Foursquare 6.0 on the iPhone, it will respond to the date, time and location in a very different way. If you were to visit a particular restaurant, Foursquare will tell you where people usually go after visiting that restaurant, such as a local bar.
Google has announced that there are now seven new countries that Google Play Music has extended into: Austria, Australia, Belgium, Ireland, Luxembourg, New Zealand and Portugal. This now allows users to buy music through the Google Play Store on both the web or their Android device, as well as the cloud associated with their Google account which will hold 20,000 songs for a user.
The streaming service is made available to 10 devices at a time, with the settings allowing a user to tune the authorization and deauthorization of devices. You can check it out by downloading Google Play Music from the Google Play Store.
This morning Google announced that it has redesigned the Play Store in an effort to improve application discovery and simplify purchasing. The new Play Store has a very minimalist look that is sleek and refined.
The new look will begin rolling out to Android phones and tablets that are running Froyo or higher. If your device does not upgrade today, Google ask that you be patient, as the roll out is expected to take several weeks before it is fully complete.
Google says that the new Play Store "focuses on bigger images that jump off the page." Similarly themed content is grouped together, and as you move down the page, new recommendations continue to appear, so there is always more to see and explore.
Despite a recent decision to put a cap on how much time free users get, Pandora has grown to over 200 million users with 1.5 billion hours of music listened to every month.
Those numbers cover the total number of US users to date, and more than half of them were added in the last two years. That equates to over 100 million new users since 2011. The service sees about 67 million active users per month, which in itself is a staggering number. Pandora streams 200 million songs before 10AM every day, features more than 100,000 unique artist, and more than one million songs in its library. Roughly 140 million Pandora subscribers use the service on their mobile devices.
In an interview with TheNextWeb, Pandora Founder Tim Westergren, had the following to say:
"We started this company to help people discover and enjoy music they love, and to help artists reach and grow their audiences. Only in our wildest dreams did we imagine what it would become.
It is now clear that radio is changing, and that's great news for music fans and for the tens of thousands of working artists who now have a home on the air."
Over the weekend rumors began to surface about the popular messaging platform WhatsApp considering a buyout from Google for $1 billion. This morning WhatsApp is speaking out about those rumors.
In an interview with AllThingsD, WhatsApp's head of business development Neeraj Arora dismissed all the rumors saying that the company is not entertaining any offers from Google, or anyone else.
This news makes me quite happy as I use WhatsApp almost more than my standard text messaging app to keep in contact with friends and family who are overseas.
If you're a Tumblr fan, and an Android user, you'll be glad to know there's an updated app available on the Google Play Store. The latest app overhauls the user interface, with the scrolling lists and static squares now a thing of the past.
The user interface is now gorgeous, and deserves your eyeballs' attention. Not only has Tumblr for Android received a fresh dab of paint, but there are some very slick animations, too. Pull to refresh is here, as well as tap a button to post and you'll see things bouncing and popping around, making the Tumblr for Android experience a better looking experience.
Grab Tumblr for Android from the Google Play Store, here.
The free app per day app, AppGratis, was pulled from the App Store yesterday. Many assumed that AppGratis was pulled from the App Store because of Apple's new 2.25 clause regarding apps that promote other apps in a similar manner to Apple's own store.
2.25 Apps that display Apps other than your own for purchase or promotion in a manner similar to or confusing with the App Store will be rejected.
Apple has confirmed that AppGratis was pushed out of the App Store because it violates clause 2.25. Apple added that it also violates clause 5.6 that prevents using Push Notifications for advertising and promotions:
5.6 Apps cannot use Push Notifications to send advertising, promotions, or direct marketing of any kind.
Facebook Home, the new launcher for Android by the social networking giant, releases this Friday, and will officially be available for the HTC One, HTC One X/X+, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Samsung Galaxy S4, Samsung Galaxy Note II and the new HTC First.
This morning MoDoCo.com has published a set of three APK files that appear to be the components that make up a pre-release beta of Facebook Home. The only requirements for installing the beta is that the device has a maximum resolution of 1280x768, as well as the ability to completely remove or uninstall the existing Facebook app.
I was able to install all three apps to my aging Motorola Photon 4G, but all I got upon launch was a black screen. Home does not appear to actually reconfigure the home screen, but it remaps the home button to the Facebook Home wall. Pressing the back button allowed me to return to my normal Android home screen, and I was then able to delete the APKs through the normal app removal method.
Last month I reported that digital comic book startup comiXology would be offering the entire Marvel first edition catalog for free to users of its app. Unfortunately that is where the good news began and ended.
Just minutes after going live, the site was inundated with overwhelming traffic and their servers began to melt down. The site was unreachable for several days even after the download links were taken down. This lead to the CEO sending a mass email to members stating that they would get their free downloads, but for the time being, the company had to upgrade the network.
I was one of those subscribers, I tried to download several comics and failed to do so every time. This morning I received an email from comiXology that said they will begin delivering on their promise of free first editions beginning this Thursday. It appears that the process will be rolled out to members in phases and will only be accessible via a custom link that will be emailed to you.
Netflix has released an update for its Windows Phone 8 app to add support for Windows Phone 8 devices running 720x1280 resolution screens. Devices with this resolution previously had a black bar across the top of the screen. Not all phones needed to be updated. For instance, the Nokia Lumia 920 retained the aspect ratio of previous Windows Phone 7 devices. This update adds full support for the aspect ratio supported by Windows Phone 8.
If you're one of the unlucky ones that wasn't supported, you can download the updated app from the Windows store.
BlackBerry has shut the doors on it music streaming service. BBM was BlackBerry's version of a streaming service similar to Rdio or Spotify and this morning the company has announced that after April, the service will close for good on the grounds of a lack of popularity.
For those not familiar with the service, BBM let users download up to 50 tracks a month to listen to offline, but you could also connect to your friends and gain even more music to listen to. The idea was to have a more social interaction with the music and not just a vanilla "build a playlist" style app.
BlackBerry is advising users to begin transitioning to another service ASAP as everything halts at the beginning of May, but says that the shutdown date could change without notice. BlackBerry is not leaving users totally in the dark though as they are offering a free 30 day trial to Rdio premium.
Apple has tweaked the App Store UI in an effort to make age ratings on apps more visible. The new change is a small and stubble, but easy to notice notification box that is placed beside an apps developer information.
The change comes as consumer groups put pressure on the company to curb content that parents may consider too graphic or obscene for children. This new "Age Rating Box" will do little to prevent such exposure to kids though because as of this posting, the age rating does not show up in App Store charts or search results.
The company is also hoping that the new update will help put out some fires that has arisen over apps like Vine and 500px displaying pornographic material. Personally, I feel that kids will be kids, and they will find a way into things that they are not supposed to get into. A pretty new box of pixels is going to do little to stop that problem.
Zynga have launched their online poker and casino games in the UK this week, their first move away from social gaming and a very serious push into real-money gambling.
The company now offer online poker, slot machines, blackjack and other games. They've partnered up with bwin.party, who are the world's largest publicly traded online gambling company, who saw a profit of $32 million in 2012. Barry Cottle, Zynga's chief revenue officer, took to the company blog, where he said:
Launching the download and web versions of Zynga's real money games for play in the UK is an exciting move to bring players the real money games they have been asking us for. We look forward to launching our social versions of real money games for players on Facebook and mobile in the UK throughout 2013.
Zynga shares rose considerably with the real-money gambling launch, seeing a nice 15% rise on the day.
Skype has reached quite the milestone this week, where they're seeing more than two billion minutes of users connecting with each other. Skype has celebrated this milestone with an awesome infographic, below.
Breaking two billion minutes into hours provides us with a very crazy 33 million hours per day. This is the same as 1.38 million days, or 3805 years all crammed into a single day of Skype use. This is enough time to walk around the world more than 845 times, fly around 700,000 times, or travel to Mars 5400 times.