Google has finally updated Hangouts for Android, bringing its own Android version of Hangouts up to the same level of Hangouts for iOS - you know, Google's main competitor's mobile operating system.
Hangouts for iOS has supported video messaging since its February 2014 update, and now Hangouts for Android will allow users to record or upload up to 60 seconds of footage to their friends and family through Hangouts. Hangouts for Android supports 1080p videos, while Hangouts for iOS is limited to 360p.
While Android users win with 1080p video support, the iOS version of Hangouts supports up to two minutes of video, up from the one minute allowed on Hangouts for Android. Google has also ditched the SMS/Hangouts merged conversations, with Google explaining that low usage and confusion being the main driver behind dropping the merged SMS/conversations.
Hangouts for Android should be on the Google Play Store soon.
We have been pushing into Facebook Live streams quite a bit lately, but now YouTube is looking like it could be a good alternative - with the mobile YouTube app to soon support live streaming.
YouTube has supported live broadcasts on the desktop for a while now, but it has been behind the livestreaming game when it comes to doing it from your smartphone. YouTube is rolling out mobile livestreaming support to a small handful of its creators today, while the rest of us will have to wait a little while longer.
Spotify's last user count was 75 million; this week it confirms it's hit the 100 million mark.
What's more, 30 million of those are paid subscribers, meaning the service is bringing in $300 million each month even before advertising revenue. It's not all roses, though: the Swedish company spends over 80 percent of its revenue on rights and is yet to show a profit. Last year it reported an operating loss of $209 million, up from $165 million the previous year.
Meanwhile, Apple Music claims 13 million paid users.
Amazon is planning to launch a standalone music streaming subscription service late this summer or early autumn, according to two sources familiar with the matter. The service will cost $9.99 per month and will offer a competitive catalogue.
The online shopping giant already offers a limited streaming music service to its Prime customers, and recently offered a monthly fee Prime option, so a full catalogue standalone service based on the subscription model would be a natural leap. With the success of Spotify and Apple Music (which collectively serve about 43 million subscribers and many more non-subscribers), it makes even more sense.
Although Amazon would enter the game a bit late, it has the clout and financial power to significantly alleviate that disadvantage.
Tinder has been available to 13 year-olds and up since the app launched four years ago, offering minors the opportunity to date and/or hook up with other minors. That's going to change next week though when it goes 18+ only.
"On a platform that has facilitated over 11 billion connections, we have the responsibility of constantly assessing our different user experiences," reads the company's statement. "Consistent with this responsibility, we have decided to discontinue service for under 18 users. We believe this is the best policy moving forward."
Tinder's underage users currently represent three percent of its userbase.
Facebook, Twitter, and Tinder, among other services have enabled GIF support in recent times, and now WhatsApp is joining the party too.
The changelog for the latest iOS 220.127.116.11 beta, as interpreted by @WABetaInfo, indicates GIF support is indeed on the way. Unfortunately direct importing of GIFs doesn't appear to be apart of the deal (at least not yet), but you can link to GIFs and they'll show up as intended. Other GIF-related features include GIF saving to your camera roll, autoplay, static image conversion, direct reply, encryption, and peek and pop actions.
Look out for the new goods when the beta hits. Or if you're not the beta type, sit tight and wait for the public release, which shouldn't take long.
Apple Music has been growing thanks in part to its $14.99/mo family plan, and Spotify has taken notice. As of today, the Swedish streaming service offers the same plan except it does Apple one better and supports up to six people instead of five.
Google has yet another messaging client in the works. Called Allo, it effectively replaces traditional SMS texting with a Facebook-like interface and features while still using phone numbers as the contact method. So, you can benefit from read message notifications, typing notifications, emojis, stickers, group chats, and improved picture display among other things.
In addition to that, there are some cool Google-specific features such as Ink (handwriting and drawing as seen in MSN Messenger many moons ago), Whisper Shout (increase text size for a given message to 'shout' at people -- great for arguments!), and smart reply (quick reply options that learn from your chat history).
And then there's Google assistant, which lets you do things like check sports scores, book dinner, play games, search Google, use Maps, share YouTube videos, look at photos from your Gallery, and so on, all without leaving Allo. Voice interaction is supported here, too.
Multiple users have reported the recent WhatsApp Android beta included an option to initiate a video call. Although it's said most users couldn't actually activate it and it was later removed in an update, its very presence indicates a release is likely not far off.
Signs have been pointing to video calling coming to the popular chat app since at least December thanks to leaks and translation requests for "Video Call."
Audio calling came to WhatsApp last year. As with that feature launch, it's probable that video calling will be available only to a small number of users at first. To increase your chances, sign up for the beta program.
Google is aiming to make texting much easier and more interactive with Gboard. Essentially, you hit a button inside a text conversation and can then search for things on the web and link them, all without leaving the conversation. Whether it's flight plans, restaurant locations, GIFs, emojis, or whatever else, you're covered.
Gboard actually works in any app, including email and YouTube, but the most popular application of it will likely be messaging.