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WhatsApp sails past 600 million monthly active users

WhatsApp growth doesn't seem to be slowing down, with its CEO Jan Koum tweeting that the mobile messaging app has over 600 million monthly active users. The tweet from Koum wasn't just to brag about the growth of WhatsApp, but that its 600 million users are actually active, compared to its competitors.

 

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Services such as Kik and Line only report on their registered numbers, so we don't know how popular they are at any given time. When Facebook acquired WhatsApp back in February for $19 billion, the company was edging on 500 million users. A couple of months later, in April, WhatsApp hit the 500 million mark, so it has only taken the company another four months to take in another 100 million users.

 

Right now, WhatsApp is free to use for the first year, and just $0.99 per year after. With 600 million monthly active users, the company isn't making much of its half-billion user base, but I'm sure we'll see that change soon when the Facebook acquisition closes later in the year.

Snapchat rumoured to be planning a news service

Absorbing your daily dose of hard-hitting news isn't exactly the first thing Snapchat will conjure up in most people's minds, but that's exactly what the ultra-temporary messaging app is rumoured to be proposing.

 

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12 top media companies are thought to have already been in discussion with the platform about content, and it's thought that video and TV clips could be embedded as well. Details are a little thin on the ground at the moment, but considering Snapchat's absolutely enormous userbase, it's not too much of a surprise the company and potential media partners will want to take advantage.

 

If the rumours are true, it's possible the platform - dubbed Snapchat Discovery for now - could either launch in a standalone app or be integrated into the existing service.

Microsoft launches WindUp app for time-limited messaging

Microsoft has rolled out a new application that is aimed directly at the users out there who have Windows Phone 8 or 8.1 and want to be able to send time-limited messages. The app is called WindUp and is aimed at competing with Snapchat, which has had some privacy issues this year.

 

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The big issue for SnapChat was when a court ruled that the app was deceiving users, but despite that ruling, the app is still popular. WindUp does need several permissions on the smartphone to operate. The good news is that location services aren't one of the things WindUp needs.

 

That means the app can't track your location. The app will allow users to share photos, record audio, capture video, or send text. WindUp is available to download right now.

Facebook kills iOS app bug, reduced crash rate significantly

I would bet that all iOS fans that use the Facebook app has had the app randomly crash on them. Facebook has known about a bug in the iOS version of its app for a long time, but the bug proved difficult to squash. The bug was in the Apple Core Data system and finally engineers have fixed the issue.

 

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With the bug addressed, they say that the iOS version of the Facebook app has reduced its crash rate by more than 50%. The team needed months to create the correct approach for the crash issue and it involved multiple steps.

 

After coming to the correct path to fix the error, the engineering team worked with the networking team and had the issue repaired in a few hours. Facebook engineers Slobodan Predolac and Nicholas Spiegelberg said, "Dealing with a large, rapidly evolving codebase can seem overwhelming at times. Everyday tasks like analyzing crashes and understanding code can turn into their own programming challenges. At these moments, it's important to work together, brainstorm, and rely on computer programming fundamentals."

iPhone trick claims to let you skip Facebook Messenger and still chat

Facebook users have been upset a bit of late with the social network trying to remove chat services from its normal app and get users to download a second app to chat called Facebook Messenger. Some have been upset over privacy concerns with Messenger and don't want to use it. If you are one of these people, you can use a trick that has surfaced that claims to allow you to skip Facebook Messenger and still chat.

 

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The trick seems rather simple. Reports indicate that all the iPhone user has to do is hit the install Messenger button when the normal Facebook app prompts them. While the Messenger app is being installed, switch to the App Store and stop the installation or delete the app.

 

Once you reopen the normal Facebook app, you should still have your chat capability and no more annoying prompts. This could all change if Facebook finds this trick and updates the app to look harder for Messenger. Let us know if this works for you.

Microsoft launches Snipp3t iOS app for celebrity news

Microsoft has launched a new iOS app that aims at people who are into knowing what is going on with their favorite celebrities at any time. The app is called Snipp3t and it launched recently. The app lets users follow celebrities to get news in a timeline style format.

 

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It sounds sort of like Facebook for celebs, only communications are a one-way street it seems. The news from the people followed via the app is offered in a timeline-style format with news specifically from those you follow mixed with more general trending posts.

 

Each of the events that are trending will have multiple media reports, images, tweets, and related videos. The app does connect via Facebook so users can sign in and share stories to the social network. The app is available now in the US and only on iOS with no word on more countries or Android/Windows Phone support.

The Windows Phone Store is now home to over 300,000 apps

Microsoft has announced through its by the Numbers webpage that its Windows Phone Store is now home to over 300,000 apps. This doesn't begin to compare with Apple and Google, but it's a big milestone for Windows Phone, and Microsoft.

 

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A Microsoft spokesperson spoke with The Next Web, where they said: "We have more than 300,000 Windows Phone apps today and the Windows Phone Store continues to grow. In the past year alone the Windows and Windows Phone app catalog has grown 94%, while the number of active developers has grown by 50%".

 

The company was asked when it reached the 300,000 app milestone, where TNW was told the data: "is as of end of June 2014". If we rewind to December 2013, Microsoft had 200,000 apps and rewinding further to June 2012, it had just 100,000 apps. So we're seeing many more apps uploaded to the Windows Phone Store as time goes on, with over 100,000 apps uploaded within the last six months alone.

NFL Now app rushes onto Apple TV this month

Apple TV owners who also like NFL football games and content will get a new channel to enjoy this month. The NFL Now app is heading to the Apple TV according to an image that was leaked by a NFL employee during testing for the app. The app will offer personalized NFL content along with other content.

 

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That other content includes on-demand highlights, extensive archives, and news broadcasts. The channel will also feature content produced by NFL teams with locker room interviews and player features. NFL Films content will also be included on the channel.

 

Live events and press conferences will be featured as well. The NFL Now app will hit Apple TV in time for fans to enjoy it during the 2014-2015 NFL season. NFL Now app will also be landing on other platforms includes iOS devices, Xbox, and Roku set top boxes.

Android users outraged at Bomb Gaza game listed on Google Play Store

A game called "Bomb Gaza" has been found on the Google Play Store for Android, prompting outrage as war rages in the Middle East.

 

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Although the app since seems to have been removed, it encouraged players to drop bombs on Gaza from Israeli aircraft and "avoid killing citizens" as they target caricatures of Hamas members. According to Britain's Independent, it was first uploaded on 29 July and was installed as many as 1,000 times. 1,800 Palestinians have so far lost their lives since the most recent assault began, while Israel has said 64 of its soldiers are now dead.

 

One user slammed the app as "utterly shameful" while another branded it "inhumane" and another still as a "violation of human rights." Users flocked to Twitter to express their disgust at the game, with some urging as many as possible to flag the content, made by developers PLAYFTW, as inappropriate. Other games from the developer include two benign looking titles, called Piano and Space War.

Hulu Plus app updated for Android users with more free shows

If you are a fan of the Hulu Plus app on your Android smartphone or tablet, you will have some new content to check out thanks to an update. Hulu has announced that Android users out there can now get new content free when using the updated app.

 

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The app already offered a free selection of current content and past episodes of some shows. The update brings free access to Hulu Originals, Anime, Kids, Movies, and Latino libraries of content.

 

With the update, the Android version of the Hulu Plus app is now on par with the content available on the free ad-supported version of Hulu on the web. The fee for Hulu Plus to unlock all content is $8 monthly.

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