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Facebook's Whatsapp may have some contending to do in the coming months for its top spot in the world of mobile instant messaging. Today Whatsapp rival, WeChat, announced its earnings report for the first quarter of its fiscal 2014 year. While this would not usually be major news, the fact that WeChat grew by almost 50 million active monthly users caught our eye.
At the end of 2013, WeChat had about 355 million active monthly users, and now the company is reporting that during the first quarter of 2014, it managed to grow its user base to 396 million active monthly users. This number covers both WeChat and Weixin, the Chinese version of the app. With user numbers rising this fast, we could see WeChat top 500 million by the end of the year.
Google Maps has issued an update for the app that adds in public transportation details for people traveling in Great Britain. The update adds in train and bus details across England, Scotland, and Wales. Users can now access public transportation info for London and the South East using the iOS and Android apps.
Desktop users of Google Maps will also be able to search National Express and Traveline data along with data on other local and national operators. Those operators include Centro and Merseyside. Data in the updated apps include info on almost 17,000 routes and 34,000 stopping points, ferry points, and stations.
Yahoo has announced that it has purchased a Snapchat-like mobile messaging app called Blink. Blink allowed people to send messages that would self-destruct and allowed them to control who sees their messages and how long those people could see them. Fans of Blink won't be thrilled to hear that Yahoo plans to shut the company down.
Blink apps on the iOS and Android platforms will be shutting down in the coming weeks. What Yahoo will do with the tech and talent that it acquired with the purchase is unknown. Presumably, Yahoo will rebrand the tech as its own and re-launch it at some point in the future.
Gmail has been the most widely used e-mail service in the world for close to two years, but Google has just reached another important milestone: Gmail for Android has become the first app in the Google Play Store to reach 1 billion downloads.
The 1 billion number might not represent 1 billion active Gmail users, but the Mountain View-based search giant did report that it had over 425 million active monthly users back in 2012. This is a number that is sure to have exponentially grown, along with its mobile OS, Android.
I am one of those people who give feedback to many of the restaurants, retailers, and places I do business in, and today, Square made giving that feedback much easier for those merchants who utilize square. The new Feedback feature unveiled by Square is a $10 per month service that lets consumers rate and comment on how their experience went with a square merchant.
Additionally, the Feedback service lets those merchants reply to customer comments, and could be an excellent way to let a business owner know about bad or good service their staff may be providing. Square is offering the new Feedback service as a 30-Day free trial and then charging a per month fee per square account after that trial is up. Square Feedback is free for consumers.
Studio executives and MPAA lawyers have to be in a frenzy today after Popcorn Time announced the launch of its new app for Android devices. The new Popcorn Time for Android feels and functions just like the desktop app and boast the same access to all of the same pirated TV shows and Movies. The new app was released by the Time4Popcorn development group that oversees the Popcorn Time project and ensures that it stays open and alive.
While I have not tried out the app myself, it appears to work as described based on the many comments and post around the net. For those of you who might be unfamiliar with Popcorn Time, think of it as a pseudo Netflix for torrents. Instead of looking up a torrented TV show or movie on the Pirate Bay, you simply browse and search like you would Netflix for the content you wish to watch. The content will play as it is being downloaded, so there is virtually no delay in choosing what you want to watch and watching it.
Hoards of iPad users have been clamoring for versions of Microsoft's popular Office apps for the iPad tablet since the very first iPad rolled out years ago. It took Microsoft a long time to decide to produce Office for iPad and now that it has, the apps are insanely popular.
So far, statistics show that Office for iPad apps have been downloaded a whopping 27 million times. That number comes only 46 days after the apps launched. Microsoft held off offering Office for iPad apps for so long in part out of fear that putting the apps on the iPad would hurt sales of its own Surface tablets.
Adobe has launched a new app that is aimed directly at the iPad user looking for an easy to use video creation tool. The app is called Adobe Voice and it is downloadable at no cost via the App Store. For now, the app only works with the iPad, iPhone users are left out.
The app allows the user to speak into the microphone of the tablet and overlay their own voice with one of the "beautiful iconic images" that the app includes in its database. There should be an image for any video idea since it has 25,000 images built-in.
Everyone has a stack of business cards just laying around somewhere, and for those of us in the professional world, we have entire drawers dedicated to the tiny rectangles of paper. I for one have about 1000 business cards I have collected from the past year alone, and unfortunately that is just too many for me to organize and keep track of. LinkedIn and Evernote are both very aware of this issue and each have separate business card digitization apps to help alleviate the stress of keeping up with your contacts.
Today the two companies announced that they have teamed up to create the perfect business card. LinkedIn is leveraging its 300 million professional user base along with Evernote's excellent business card scanning feature to enhance the way business cards are captured, sorted and stored. "Benefitting from LinkedIn's network of more than 300 million professionals, Evernote can now automatically build a content-rich note around every business card you scan," the company said in a blog post. "With full contact information, a link to their current LinkedIn profile, and a photo, plus a section for notes, business cards become searchable contacts in Evernote."
Google Maps has received an update that will be most welcome by those who use the app to get around. The app for iOS and Android devices now offers lane assistance so the driver knows what lane they need to be in to make their upcoming turn.
The app also gets the ability to save a map to use offline so you won't need a connection to a data network to use the Google Maps app. All you need to do is select the "Save map to use offline" option and use a name for your map. To get to your saved maps login, tap the profile icon, and then find the name you saved the map as.