After last week's performance and quality update to Hangouts, Google has rolled out yet another big change to the video call service. As of this week, a Google account or sign in is no longer required to talk with others, or for them to talk with you.
Google says it wants "simple, easy access to meetings" and so they're breaking down the barriers. Now all that's required is clicking an invitation link, and you're in.
Skype 6.11 is out on Android, and with it comes several neat new features, at least some of them in direct response to user feedback.
Added control over conversations is one. Now you can make use of delete, mark as read, or mute notifications functions for a given conversation by long tapping it. As well, you can search conversations, on top of contacts and group names.
Media gets some enhancements, too: video messages can be saved, and photos can be shared directly from your gallery. There are some other changes, but those are the most notable. If your phone hasn't updated Skype already, head to the Play Store and navigate to My Apps to do it manually.
Project Astoria was announced by Microsoft back in April as a tool with which developers could easily port their Android apps to Windows 10. Unfortunately, it's failed to gain much traction, and now re/code reports Microsoft is "not moving ahead with [it] as planned."
A rep wouldn't confirm the exact status of the project, but said, "The Astoria bridge is not ready yet, but other tools offer great options for developers. We're committed to offering developers many options to bring their apps to the Windows Platform."
Apple is shutting down its Beats Music service as of November 30. If you have a subscription, that will be canceled, but before that, you can move your picks and preferences over to the Apple Music service, which launched back in June.
Apple is essentially saying there's no need to fret, because Apple Music is way better anyway, at least in terms of its recommendations system, and the Beats 1 global radio station.
Screen dimming software f.lux is longer available for iOS, following a move by Apple. As the developer understood it, direct install courtesy of the Xcode 7 toolset was okay by Apple, but after they made it available as such, Apple indicated otherwise.
"f.lux cannot ship an iOS App using the Documented APIs, because the APIs we use are not there," the developer writes. "In the last 5 years, we have had numerous conversations with Apple about our product and what would be required to make it work with iOS. We respect Apple's products enormously, and we urge Apple to allow work like ours to continue through Documented APIs."
While Android users have been enjoying 360-degree videos on Facebook, iPhone users haven't been so happy - until now. The latest Facebook for iOS app now includes support for 360-degree videos on the largest social network in the world.
Starting today, the likes of ABC News, BuzzFeed, FrontLine, Nickelodeon and many more will be adding 360-degree video clips onto Facebook. Facebook has had to throw in some new features into the app to support 360-degree content creators, where the social network has launched a "microsite" designed to offer tips, tricks and more on how to create the 360-degree content.
There's also now an optional video upload setting for those Pages, with Page owners now having the ability to do some post-production additions to their 360-degree videos all within the app. Facebook has also teased that as of today, it will be testing 360-degree commercials from companies like AT&T, Corona, Nescafe, Ritz, Samsung and Walt Disney World.
The Windows 10 November update releasing today includes the "Consumer Preview of Skype Integration". In other words, a new version of Skype with added Windows 10 integration.
The main changes in the preview are what looks like a design overhaul for an aesthetic in line with Windows 10 sensibilities, and the ability to quick reply via notification windows.
The new Skype is available now via Windows Update; mobile users will see it later this year.
Music offers continuous playback, recommended tracks, personalized stations, and support for YouTube Red (for ad-free listening, offline playback, and more). For the first two weeks of using Music, Red will automatically be enabled.
As of today, you can utilize the ever-important Google Maps to get directions offline, courtesy of a new update by Google. Currently it applies only to Android, but it won't be long before it's on iOS (and presumably desktop as well).
After you download a region of the world to your phone, Maps will switch to Offline mode automatically when it detects little or no connection (and switch back when it detects a reliable one). From there, you'll be able to get directions, search for specific places, and find information on various spots including hours of operation and so on. Note traffic conditions will be excluded from this mix.
Twitch has just announced optional two-factor authentication on its user profiles, with the streaming giant offering it as "100 percent voluntary" to its user base.
The new security measure is meant to scale down the need for conventional, easily hackable passwords, all while improving the Twitch experience. The company is partnering with security firm Authy, with Authy running the new two-factor authentication system. While it's similar to Google's two-factor authentication, where Twitch is doing it different is that you'll receive push notifications through its app to confirm it's you that's logged into your Twitch account.
It was only a week ago that Twitch announced a new datacenter in Sydney, so we can't be more happy with the news of Twitch's increased presence and move to look after its users' privacy.