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Google's Chrome for Android browser is very popular, with those rocking Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and above getting access to the great app. News has now hit that the Chrome for Android has been updated and is now completely compatible with x86-based devices.
This might not mean much to most people, as the chips inside most smart devices aren't x86-based, but for Intel chips on Android devices, this is huge news. It also shows that Google is willing to work on the compatibility of their apps, not just for their own benefit, but for the benefit of other devices on the Intel platform.
We should see more support for the Intel platform as it grows, but it's really jus tin its infancy now. Chrome for Android is a pretty big deal, especially with its abilities of syncing up with your desktop- or notebook-based Chrome, syncing all of your settings, passwords, and more.
Google updates YouTube for Android - provides preloading to Froyo, Gingerbread, as well as YouTube TV queuing
If you're still rocking the older Froyo- or Gingerbread-based Android devices, and an avid YouTube user, then you will be delighted to hear that Google have just pushed out a new version of their YouTube for Android app that gives these older versions of Android some features that Ice Cream Sandwich and above versions of Android devices have enjoyed since June.
These features include the preloading feature that was baked into the ICS and above devices' YouTube apps, which will let you preload videos from your subscriptions or watch later list, where they'll precache while you're on Wi-Fi and plugged in so you don't need to wait for buffering - which can be annoying.
The initial Watch page has changed a little, the Channel Store features more channels, and you can now queue up videos to player later on any YouTube-powered TV once you've paired it with your mobile device.
Facebook has gone ahead and updated Instagram to be compatible with the larger screen on the iPhone 5 and to make the app more compatible with iOS6. The new update brings with it several changes, most notably the removal of live filters for the iPhone 5. Older iPhones, such as the 4S seem to have retained the feature.
Along with no more live filters for the iPhone 5, Instagram has a new registration page that allows users to pull in their information from Facebook--go figure. However, the option to log-in with Facebook is curiously absent from the app. One would think that this would be a feature that Facebook would want to implement.
Moving back to the live filters, it appears that they will soon be removed from older devices. Their absence has been acknowledged on Instagram's "known issues" page and the acknowledgement seems to indicate that they will be removed from the older phones soon:
As of the current release (v3.1), Instagram does not support live filters on the iPhone 5. Going forward, live filters will be phased out as we work to improve the Instagram experience for all users.
It's not clear why they feel that live filters create a bad user experience. It could be that live filters led to many of the app freezes and crashes or something similar. One thing is clear: for now, Instagram is planning on getting rid of them, with no plans to bring them back in the future.
The first big update to Opera Mini since it launched a few months ago is here, bringing it up to version 7.5. Opera Mini 7.5 is available right now on Android, from the Google play store. What does Opera Mini 7.5 offer this time around?
Smart Page. Smart Page will give users an overview of what is happening on the Internet, including separate tabs for social, news and suggested links. Opera Mini sports the ability to compress your web viewing so that you experience the Internet faster, kind of like if it were processing the page locally.
Opera has been using this method for quite some time, and have become quite good at it. Other features include Link - which syncs up history, bookmarks and notes from your browsing on the desktop. This would obviously only apply if you're using Opera on your desktop, too.
Right now, Dropbox and Google+ apps sport the ability to automatically upload your photos to their respective cloud-based storage spaces after you've snapped your latest picture, with Facebook looking like they're playing around with the same feature.
Facebook are soon to rollout the feature to a few select users that will let them take pictures, and get uploaded automatically to a private photo album on their account. The social networking site has said that the feature will roll out to a very select few, which is how Facebook operates when testing out new features.
I'm a huge Facebook user, and I like the idea of this happening - but it does chew through your mobile data if you're not connected to WiFi. I'd love to see some features built-in where you can choose options of times when it can upload the photos. I'd love to be able to select a time like "upload between 1AM-6AM", when I'm sleeping. This way, my phone is next to me when I'm in bed, secondly it's connected to my home WiFi and not using my mobile data, thirdly it doesn't impact the speed of my Internet use on the device if its thrashing itself uploading pictures to Facebook.
Google have pushed out an update for their Google Maps for Android app, which now includes some cool new abilities. The update brings across more of a persistant set of search results, as the app has access to your desktop and mobile search history.
Google Maps for Android has access to your desktop and mobile search history through My Places, meaning that if you run any searches when signed into your Google account with web history enabled, it will now pop-up with auto-completed entries that has been searched for previously.
This is a nice feature if you're someone like myself who would run a Maps search through Chrome, when signed into the browser, and then go to your Android-based phone and run a search through Maps or Navigation. What's funnier, is that Google decide to release their updated, better-featured Maps app on the day of Apple's iPhone 5 release, where the company removed Google's Map app in favor of their own, not-so-good app.
It looks like iMessage is experiencing some issues at the moment, reports The Next Web. They're also seeing reports on Twitter with many, many angry customers posting messages every few minutes. The issues look like they're hitting all sorts of iOS users.
But, iMessages coming from Apple IDs and on Wi-Fi are experiencing less issues than those on cellular networks, but there are still hiccups. The past 24 hours have seen problems with iMessage, with complaints mounting up since 10:30 AM PST.
It shouldn't affect iPhone users too much, as they can fall back on text messages, but iPad and iPod users are left in the dark without iMessage. Right now there seems like there's nothing you can do, and there should hopefully be a fix soon from Apple.
We're mere weeks away from the launch of Windows Phone 8, but PayPal has arrived on the current form of Windows Phone, surprisingly. iOS and Android have both long enjoyed having the payment system application on their respective operating systems, and now it's Microsoft's turn.
The PayPal for Windows Phone app lets users check their balances, withdraw funds from their PayPal accounts, and look at previous transactions. There's also the ability to pay for items, as long as the store you're using has a PayPal Here service set up.
I'm really surprised we saw the release of PayPal on Windows Phone so close to Windows Phone 8, if it were up to me, I would've just waited and debuted it with the launch of Windows Phone 8. If you're a Windows Phone user, and want to get in on the PayPal action, you can grab it here.
Google's last update to their NFC-powered application on Android, Google Wallet, saw the Mountain View-based company open it up to let users add any credit card they wanted.
Since the company has done this, they've noticed the usage of Google Wallet has doubled. Google have slowly been pushing credit card companies to optimize their own section for the Google Wallet app, too.
The only thing Google need to do now is spread the tentacles on Google Wallet, as the US isn't the only market in the world that needs something like this. I'm based in Australia, and I'd love to be able to use Google Wallet, hopefully we'll see more use of NFC-powered payment systems in the near future around the world.
Instagram have just pushed through some changes to its mobile photo pages affecting both design and function. Design-wise, we're looking at a more consistant look and feel with its Web-based counterpart. In the function department, the developer has made it easier for users to interact with their photos, as well as friends' photos when viewing them outside of the Instagram app itself, but still on a mobile device.
Instagram updated their Web presence which paved the way for comments and likes on a few months ago, something they call "the new Photo Page". The latest update to the photo-taking and sharing application looks to move the old mobile site's design to the recently-launched desktop site.
The mobile version now lets Instagram users like and comment on photos from their chosen mobile web browser, and it now lets you go directly from the mobile photo page into the Instagram app by tapping the "Open in App" button. Tapping the Open in App button will launch the Instagram app, with the photo you were on previously, loaded into the main view.