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Apple hires journalists to manually monitor news feeds in its app

In a move to take part of the news industry as its own, Apple has announced its iOS9 update will feature Apple News - setting out to be the 'staple' of news for Apple users, taking on Facebook, Google and Flipboard alike.

 

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As part of this implementation, Apple has hired journalists to help manage the news that is spread personally, rather than relying on code or user-input as seen with other news feed apps, websites or programs. Judd Slivka from the University of Missouri says that "Apple is eager to have news created by human beings and not algorithms," adding that it makes sense as "it fits in with the brand statement Apple has been making."

 

This move is confirmed by Apple's job board, which is looking for journalists with a quick wit and the ability to sniff out big news from the get-go to sit alongside already-existing code.

Facebook Messenger is now home to over 1 billion users

Facebook Messenger continues to grow, with the social network announcing that there have been over 1 billion downloads of the Facebook Messenger for Android application from the Google Play store.

 

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There are only a few applications with over 1 billion users, with Messenger joining the likes of Facebook, WhatsApp, Gmail, YouTube, Search and Maps. But how did Facebook Messenger get here? With instant messaging slaying SMS, Facebook Messenger slowly added VOIP calling, video calling, stickers, voice clips, peer-to-peer payments, location, the third-party app creation, Messenger is a juggernaut.

 

I'm a daily addict user of Facebook Messenger, what about you?

Lenovo and Microsoft team up with Cortana and REACHit searching

Set for applications across Windows 10 PCs and tablets, Lenono has announced a partnership with Microsoft to extent Cortana's abilities through the Lenovo REACHit functionality.

 

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REACHit will search for content spread "across any connected Lenovo PC or tablet device running Windows 10 and many major cloud services" as pointed out in a recent press release - further assisting the search capabilities of Microsoft's Cortana digital assistant.

 

The release also points out that it will only search through connected Lenovo devices that you own - for example you can ask Cortana to "find the picture I edited last week on my ThinkPad X1 Carbon" and searching will commence. However, some are worried that this may open up a hacking loophole that would enable criminals to gain access to all of your devices by only hacking a single one.

Continue reading 'Lenovo and Microsoft team up with Cortana and REACHit searching' (full post)

Periscope live streaming app is now available on Google Android

Google Android users can now download the official Periscope app from the Google Play Store. The app gives users the chance to record and stream feeds from their smartphones and tablets, and then share them with others.

 

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Periscope on Android supports the same core functionality that has been available to Apple iOS users, including public and private broadcasts, interact with broadcasters, easy streaming, or viewing of live streams, among other features.

 

"I was streaming for about 11 minutes on 4G and I used up in the blink of an eye 250MB [of data]," said Kate Russell, reporter at BBC Click, when speaking of Periscope being a data hog. "If you're watching random streams for about half an hour you're going to chew through about 400MB, so if you're on a low-data plan, be aware of exactly how much data you're consuming."

Continue reading 'Periscope live streaming app is now available on Google Android' (full post)

Google's updated Photos app will provide more creative control

Google is reportedly working on an updated Photos app, something that would provide users with more creative control over their photos, according to Android Police.

 

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The updated Photos app will feature one big star: Assistant, which will end up being a swap for the Auto Awesome feature that already does a good job in the current version of Photos. But, it gives users more creative control, where you can create your own stories instead of waiting for Auto Awesome to do its thing.

 

Not only that, but we should have an updated interface, a better editing interface, new privacy friendly sharing, and pinch-to-zoom gestures for opening pictures. We should expect Google to unveil these new features at Google I/O later this week.

Google updates Hangouts Chrome app for Windows, OS X and Linux

Some of you may have already realized this, but Google has pushed out a refreshed Hangouts Chrome app for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. The new app is actually quite great, so if you're a Hangouts user, you should update.

 

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Google's Mayur Kamat wrote on his Google+ account about the new update, saying: "New version of Hangouts Chrome App is out. Give it a try, especially if use Mac OS X". He also said that it's available for Windows, ChromeOS and Linux, too. If it hasn't already been updated, you can uninstall and reinstall the dedicated Chrome Hangouts app, which should then refresh and delight you with its new look and features.

Spotify's new Running mode, music based on the rhythm of your feet

In an interesting move, streaming music giant Spotify has just announced Spotify Running. Running will detect your running page, rhythm of your feet, and from that information, select songs that are matching the way you run. Spotify Running is exclusive to iOS for the moment, with no ETA on the Android version.

 

 

Spotify will be delivering this new feature to Nike and RunKeeper in the near future, with the company announcing it has formed partnerships with the two fitness-focused companies. Spotify also wants to provide users with 3 key elements: the perfect soundtrack for any part of your day, new types of content, and better experiences with innovative solutions.

 

While there's nothing revolutionary here, it's an evolutionary step for Spotify, soemthing that will help them better compete against the likes of Apple iTunes and Google Play Music.

Continue reading 'Spotify's new Running mode, music based on the rhythm of your feet' (full post)

Confidential CC allows you to send 'self destructing' emails

This application produced and self-titled by Confidential CC is set as a safety net for professionals worldwide, allowing users to send 'self destructing' emails through their normal Gmail or Outlook accounts.

 

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This app adds an extra line to the normal 'TO', 'CC', and 'BCC' options called 'CCC' and ensures the messages sent cannot be printed, forwarded or saved and are deleted immediately after closing - think of it something like SnapChat for email.

 

There are other opportunities opened such as deleting sent emails, attachment options and also settings for what time an email will be sent - which is something very handy for those involved in Press Releases.

 

The app is currently on the Apple store and will become fully functional come May 21. There is no word yet as to a desktop or Android OS version.

Using the Pizza Hut mobile app to... ask for someone to call 911

Cheryl Treadway, 25, reportedly used the Pizza Hut mobile app to alert police when her boyfriend, Ethan Nickerson, 26, allegedly held Treadway and her three young children hostage.

 

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"She told him, 'The kids are hungry. Let's order a pizza. Let's get them some food,'" said Nell Hays, Public Information Officer at the Highlands County Sheriff's Office, as reported by ABC News. In addition to placing an order, she submitted the following message: "Please help. Get 911 to me. 911hostage help!"

 

Once the app order was received by Pizza Hut, employees contacted the Highlands County Sheriff's Office, and police were immediately dispatched to the house. Treadway managed to take one child and flee the residence, and police convinced Nickerson to surrender.

Continue reading 'Using the Pizza Hut mobile app to... ask for someone to call 911' (full post)

Secret founder pulls plug on anonymous mobile communications app

Social chat app Secret is closing, with operations winding down in the next few weeks. The app was used by more than 15 million people and allowed for open communication with a certain level of anonymity that is unavailable on other social networking sites.

 

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"After a lot of thought and consultation with our board, I've decided to shut down Secret," said David Byttow, co-founder of Secret, in a blog post. "This has been the hardest decision of my life and one that saddens me deeply. Unfortunately, Secret does not represent the vision I had when starting the company, so I believe it's the right decision for myself, our investors and our team."

 

Byttow says most of the team has moved on already, and he will help remaining staff find new opportunities elsewhere. The company helped raise $35 million after three successful rounds of venture capitalist funding, with Secret once valued close to $100 million.

Continue reading 'Secret founder pulls plug on anonymous mobile communications app' (full post)

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