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Today, Google rolled out a major update to its Google+ application for Android. Some of the updated features include the ability to easily switch between multiple Google+ accounts with just a couple of taps from your fingers. This is similar to how account switching works in Gmail for Android. Google has also built in Google Apps for Business, which will allow users to share content if their apps administrator has enable Google+.
Google Drive photos and videos are now also accessible from within the Google+ app and will allow users the option to view and/or share them straight from Google+. The company says that Drive photos in particular will get enhanced and Awesome'd automatically now. Additionally, Google has improved location sharing by adding even more controls that allow you to share your pinpoint or city-level location with others on a circle-by-circle basis.
Finally, Google announced that Messenger is going away for good and that Hangouts will now become the de facto Google messaging service. At first, you will see messenger disappear on Android, with iOS soon following. Beginning later today, Google will allow all users to download the entirety of their messenger conversations--including text and photos--from Google Takeout. The refresh also includes other updates like pull-to-refresh and several other UI and backend enhancements. Google said that they will leave it up to us to figure out what those are.
Ah, Facebook, you just never stop, do you? The social network's latest addition to its mobile platform includes a slew of new features that will help make your life just that much more convenient.
Facebook users will soon be able to reserve a table at their favorite restaurant (of course, this depends on the city/restaurant/country) through Facebook Pages, find a movie showing time through Pages, and enjoy full hashtag support. Facebook has partnered up with real-time reservation service OpenTable, which works in over 20,000 restaurants.
Normally, a would-be restaurant customer would use the OpenTable app or reserve their table through OpenTable's website, but now Facebook users can do it all within the participating restaurants' Facebook page.
SwiftKey has updated its SwiftKey Cloud app, which fixes up a bunch of problems that the first release had. It is now sitting on version 188.8.131.52, which includes some big improvements.
These improvements include the ability to personalize with multiple Gmail accounts, remove Android's own backup service if Cloud is enabled and removing redundant SwiftKey account entries in the Android settings menu. Gmail personlization is said to not crash with the latest beta, Flow predictions are reportedly more responsive, Cloud preferences crashes have been fixed and emoji input Handcent has been fixed.
You can grab the latest beta version of SwiftKey Cloud, here.
While Samsung's Wallet app has been available in the US in beta form for several months now, the company has just launched the full version of the app on the Google Play Store for select Galaxy devices. Unlike Google's Wallet app, Samsung's version allows users to store items such as plane tickets, membership cards, coupons, and other important items.
At the moment, the app is limited to Samsung devices and will only run on the Galaxy S3, Galaxy S4, Note, and Note II. Additionally, the app is only currently supported by Walgreens, Major League Baseball, Expedia.com, Booking.com, Hotels.com, and Lufthansa.
Today, Microsoft announced that has released an update for Skype for Windows Phone 8 that incorporates feedback the company has been receiving from users. Improvements have been made to the way contacts are managed and a new refreshed home screen layout has been added.
The new features include Skype contacts being split out in the Skype people list, which was something Skype users requested Microsoft change. Microsoft added the people list filter so that you can see all your contacts or only available contacts. Home screen changes include the ability to put it through Functions as well as smaller favorite contact tiles that now are able to fit three across the screen instead of the two users were able to fit previously.
This morning, Nokia Asha owners have one more reason to use the phone today. Nokia has announced that the popular professional networking site LinkedIn has just released an app for the full-touch versions of its Asha smartphones, making it even easier to stay in touch with colleagues and coworkers.
"LinkedIn for Nokia Asha essentially brings the most popular features of LinkedIn to an app built specifically for Asha touch devices," said LinkedIn's Giovanni Iachello, responsible for international product management. It's made up of four main features:
- Update Stream: Keep up to date with your network and access information about your industry. You can like, comment and share updates to stay in the loop with what's going on.
- Inbox: Accept connection requests and communicate with your contacts.
- Search: Search through the global network of over 225 million LinkedIn members. There's also a People You May Know feature, which suggests professionals you may know and want to connect with, based on your current contacts.
- Profile: Check out your own profile, and see who's been viewing you. You can reach out to them with a message or an invitation to connect.
Today, Microsoft announced an update to its Bing for Windows Phone 8 app that brings forth several months of refining user experience on mobile. Once updated, users will notice that search filters have been reduced to just three which include web, images, and video, which will help greatly with providing more relevant content on the first screen.
The app will also show more usable results on the main screen with immediate results for searches such as flight schedules, movies, and word definitions. Infinite scrolling has been added to photo searches as well as auto-sized thumbnails. Not everyone will get the update immediately as Microsoft plans to roll it out nationwide over the next few weeks. No information was released on when the worldwide rollout will take place.
Today, Google announced a new app that will soon help Android owners track down there lost or stolen devices. The app is named Android Device Manager and will allow users to track down their device on a map in real-time as well as activate the ringer or even delete the phone's contents before any sensitive information has been stolen.
Google says that the new app will be available on Android devices that run version 2.2 or higher. Given that 98.7 percent of all Android devices out in the wild today run Android 2.2 or better, it is safe to say that almost any phone or tablet has the possibility of being easily located if lost or stolen. Theoretically, parents can even use this feature to track their children, or any other Android phones they may have access to.
Google says that the app will be available in the Google Play Store later this month and will be available free of charge. Apple has had similar functionality for iOS devices for years, and I have always wondered why Google never released anything similar for Android.
Google released Android 4.3 into the wild last week, but the latest iteration in their mobile OS includes some improvements to Photo Sphere. Photo Sphere is used to take 360-degree photos, and is quite a nice ability of Android.
The latest software improvements to Photo Sphere in Android 4.3 make it easier to upload and share pictures on Google Maps. Google have taken the how-to a step further by providing a couple of handy tips:
- Hold the phone close to your body
- Keep the phone in portrait orientation
- Make full rotations holding the phone at each angle until a full 360 is achieved
If you're a Cut the Rope addict, you might want to prepare yourselves for the "Cheese Box" update, which will add 25 more levels to the physics-based puzzle game.
The 25 new levels will feature cheese-filled backgrounds, if you're into that kind of thing. Since Cut the Rope launched in 2010, it has had 15 updates, with the latest Cheese Box update seeing you use mice to catch and carry food. The trailer above should give you a good idea of what to expect.