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Apple has made an interesting change to the App Store and how developers can gift things to players of their games. Developers can now offer gamers promo codes for free in-app purchases. Promo codes have been accepted for game purchases for a while, but allowing them for in-app purchases is a new feature.
One of the first mobile game developers to take advantage of in-app promo codes was EA. It offered a promo code to players of Real Racing 3 if they visited the EA website. The code gave the players some free gold.
Mobli is a company from Israel that makes an app for smartphone users that allows them to take and share video and photos. The company has announced that it has updated that app to allow users to do something interesting, live broadcast video. Users of the smartphone application can watch that video in real-time.
The apps are available for iOS and Android users right now. The app only just gained the ability to live broadcast video with an update that went live this week. To be able to watch the live broadcasts, users do need to have the app installed on their devices.
Flappy Bird is coming back, with developer Dong Nguyen revealing the news to CNBC during an interview. When the game makes its comeback, it will be include new features, multiplayer support and "less addictive" gameplay.
During his interview with CNBC, Nguyen said that Flappy Bird had been downloaded over 50 million times before he took the game down. Flappy Bird was generating $50,000 per day in ads alone when it was at its peak. Once Flappy Bird was taken down, clones began to surface, as well as people trying to capitlize on its success by selling devices with Flappy Bird installed for thousands on eBay.
A growing trend in the tech world seems to be building a product designed to get you noticed by the big tech companies in hopes that they will acquire you for your talent and IP, and that seems to be exactly what has just happened to SnapChat rival Blink. Blink is an app that allows users to send self destructing instant messages, and functions similarly to how SnapChat works, and today the company announced that Yahoo has swooped in and picked it up.
"I can confirm that the entire team behind Blink will be joining our mobile team in Sunnyvale where they will focus on smart communication products," a Yahoo rep confirmed in a statement. Unfortunately, Yahoo plans to shut Blink down and will use the development team and founders to work on other Yahoo products. Details of the acquisition were not very clear, and at the moment, no word on how much the deal was worth has been released.
Facebook's Whatsapp may have some contending to do in the coming months for its top spot in the world of mobile instant messaging. Today Whatsapp rival, WeChat, announced its earnings report for the first quarter of its fiscal 2014 year. While this would not usually be major news, the fact that WeChat grew by almost 50 million active monthly users caught our eye.
At the end of 2013, WeChat had about 355 million active monthly users, and now the company is reporting that during the first quarter of 2014, it managed to grow its user base to 396 million active monthly users. This number covers both WeChat and Weixin, the Chinese version of the app. With user numbers rising this fast, we could see WeChat top 500 million by the end of the year.
Google Maps has issued an update for the app that adds in public transportation details for people traveling in Great Britain. The update adds in train and bus details across England, Scotland, and Wales. Users can now access public transportation info for London and the South East using the iOS and Android apps.
Desktop users of Google Maps will also be able to search National Express and Traveline data along with data on other local and national operators. Those operators include Centro and Merseyside. Data in the updated apps include info on almost 17,000 routes and 34,000 stopping points, ferry points, and stations.
Yahoo has announced that it has purchased a Snapchat-like mobile messaging app called Blink. Blink allowed people to send messages that would self-destruct and allowed them to control who sees their messages and how long those people could see them. Fans of Blink won't be thrilled to hear that Yahoo plans to shut the company down.
Blink apps on the iOS and Android platforms will be shutting down in the coming weeks. What Yahoo will do with the tech and talent that it acquired with the purchase is unknown. Presumably, Yahoo will rebrand the tech as its own and re-launch it at some point in the future.
Gmail has been the most widely used e-mail service in the world for close to two years, but Google has just reached another important milestone: Gmail for Android has become the first app in the Google Play Store to reach 1 billion downloads.
The 1 billion number might not represent 1 billion active Gmail users, but the Mountain View-based search giant did report that it had over 425 million active monthly users back in 2012. This is a number that is sure to have exponentially grown, along with its mobile OS, Android.
I am one of those people who give feedback to many of the restaurants, retailers, and places I do business in, and today, Square made giving that feedback much easier for those merchants who utilize square. The new Feedback feature unveiled by Square is a $10 per month service that lets consumers rate and comment on how their experience went with a square merchant.
Additionally, the Feedback service lets those merchants reply to customer comments, and could be an excellent way to let a business owner know about bad or good service their staff may be providing. Square is offering the new Feedback service as a 30-Day free trial and then charging a per month fee per square account after that trial is up. Square Feedback is free for consumers.
Studio executives and MPAA lawyers have to be in a frenzy today after Popcorn Time announced the launch of its new app for Android devices. The new Popcorn Time for Android feels and functions just like the desktop app and boast the same access to all of the same pirated TV shows and Movies. The new app was released by the Time4Popcorn development group that oversees the Popcorn Time project and ensures that it stays open and alive.
While I have not tried out the app myself, it appears to work as described based on the many comments and post around the net. For those of you who might be unfamiliar with Popcorn Time, think of it as a pseudo Netflix for torrents. Instead of looking up a torrented TV show or movie on the Pirate Bay, you simply browse and search like you would Netflix for the content you wish to watch. The content will play as it is being downloaded, so there is virtually no delay in choosing what you want to watch and watching it.