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If you're running a smartphone with Windows Phone 8 and use WhatsApp, you might want to make sure it's updated as there's a new version available for WP8 users.
The latest version now promises to fix the notification issues, as well as adding support for Windows Phone background agents as well as in-app dialing. There are over 100 million WhatsApp users, but not many of them are using it on Windows Phone 8 right now. This new update just might help that number increase a little.
Lately, it appears that Google is shutting down more of its services than it is creating. Today, we learned that the local recommendations application known as Alfred will cease to exist after July 19. Alfred came to Google back in December 2011 when Google purchased Clever Sense, but development seemed to progress at a snail's pace as Google was focused on making its Google+ Local service better.
Alfred was a sort of a digital concierge that would inform you of the best places to eat, drink, and party based on your taste. At one point it was even being pitched as a Pandora for the real-world. Google did not issue an official blog post about the shutdown like it has for previous service shutdowns such as Reader or Latitude. The announcement came, however, in the form of a notification when users loaded the Alfred app on their mobile device.
If there is one thing Google does right, it has to be web page translation. Since the inception of Google Translate, the Internet has become a much more fun and open place. Those of us who use Google's Chrome browser have had the luxury of on-the-fly automatic web page translation for a while now.
Unfortunately, those who use Chrome on their Android devices have had to use third-party apps or navigate to the Google Translate page for web page translation. This morning, Google has updated its Chrome app for Android to now include built-in translation that works much in the same way the desktop version of the browser does.
Also included in the Chrome 28 update for Android is full screen support on tablets which lets web apps such as video games and streaming video take over the entire screen. Google has also optimize the user interface for right to left languages including Arabic, Farsi, and Hebrew. Support has been added for Google's experimental data compression service that lets fast Google servers read a Web page, optimize it for mobile devices, then transmit it faster to a mobile device using Google's SPDY network technology.
If the new stickers for Facebook chat have annoyed you, then you're really going to begin to hate your Path account. Today, the company updated its mobile app for iOS and Android and has moved the cartoony stickers out of private messaging and now allows users to post them in the comments section of your feed.
Additionally, Path now generates a QR code that will let you easily find and add new friends. Path has recognized that this addition of QR codes could possibly generate a flood of new contacts and has improved the friends list in the update as well.
The company says it has also taken the opportunity to update Path for iPad by improving navigation in both landscape and profile views so you never miss a moment or message. The landscape view now has a fully functional composer button and feed so you can share in the moments however you prefer.
Today, Google released a complete refresh of its Google Maps for Android app. The company says that the new app brings forth an entirely new mapping experience that makes exploring the world and getting to the places that matter to you a lot faster and easier.
Google says that the new Google maps for mobile builds on the design that was released last year for iPhone and improves on it with new search and navigation features. Additionally, this is the very first dedicated Google Maps for Android tablets and iPads.
The new app brings forth an explore feature that the company says is a fast and easy way to visually browse and discover new places without even typing. Users must simply tap the search box and you'll see cards that show great places to eat, drink, sleep, and shop.
Pandora has just pushed out a new update to their iOS app that brings it more inline with other streaming services. The update brings forth an AutoPause feature that will pause the service if headphones come unplugged and also improves buffering to make things more efficient.
This update is not just for user comfort; Pandora pays out over half of its revenue to music labels due to an antiquated licensing system that was enacted by congress. The new AutoPause feature is expected to help reduce the number of songs that are played when nobody is around to hear them, thus reducing royalty fees.
Facebook Home appears to be nothing more than a novelty for most Android users, with many reverting back to their stock Android skins just after a few hours after installing the service. One of the biggest gripes I have heard is the lack of folders for the home screen.
Today, Facebook has answered the cries echoed by so many in an update that was pushed out to the Google Play Store. The new update brings folder support which allows smartphone owners to drag one app on top of another to start a folder. Folders can be named, moved, and added to a person's application drawer for even faster access.
"An improved launcher is the most requested item Facebook has received since the launch of Home, and the team continues to make updates to Home in order to provide consumers with the best experience," a Facebook spokesperson told CNET. "For example, last month, Facebook added a dock to the Home launcher and the team is currently working on widget support that will put Home's launcher on par with stock Android launchers."
Twitter updated their iOS app this morning and added a syncing feature for Direct Messages. This is a feature that has long been asked for from users who heavily rely on Twitter's direct message system to stay in contact with other Tweeters. The update is live and can be downloaded from Apple's App Store now.
Twitter says that from now on when you read a direct message on one of it's clients such as Tweetdeck, Twitter for Mac, Twitter for Android, or the Twitter website, it will be marked as read across all devices. In the past, this became an issue for heavy users who viewed DMs on different application as it would still appear as unread on iOS devices.
Spotify for Windows Phone 8 gets refreshed, drops beta, adds track scrubbing, and installs more languages
This morning, Spotify released an updated version of its app for Windows Phone 8 which removes the service from beta testing and moves it into full production. This latest update not only includes the removal of the beta version, but it improves offline playlist and builds in more support for different languages.
The announcement comes from Windows Phone Product Design Manager Joe Belifore via Twitter. In an attempt to go heads up with Xbox Music and Nokia's free streaming service, Nokia Music, Spotify has added in track scrubbing which was missing from the first version of the Windows Phone 8 app. The update is around 2MB and users can push it through their phone, or head to Source # 2 below for the full download.
Kim Dotcom's secure cloud storage MEGA, has been available for a while, but not on mobile. Today, it has launched on Android, and is available for download from the Google Play Store. We can expect MEGA for Android to include the following features:
- Browse your MEGA cloud storage account
- Fast upload and downloads on the move
- Camera sync: automatically upload photos and videos to the MEGA cloud
- Export and send file and folder links
- Image thumbnails
- Create, delete, rename and move files and folders
MEGA for Android works on all Android devices, so you're not just limited to your Android-powered smartphone. You can grab MEGA for Android from the Google Play Store right here.