Two and a half years-old messaging app Telegram has hit the big time, at least in some parts of the world. As of today, the service boasts over 100 million active monthly users with more than 350,000 new ones signing up daily. As well, 15 billion messages are delivered through it each day. Not too shabby.
Telegram hasn't gained traction in the west, but word is it's huge in Iran (pop. 78 million), where popular messaging apps are typically blocked by the government. With few options available to Iranians, and even fewer good ones, its domination makes perfect sense. Naturally, users in the country are waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Uber is still fighting an uphill battle in many places around the world as the Taxi industry strongly fights the rise of this new ridesharing application. The latest news comes from an Australian outback region called the Northern Territory, announcing that its Government refuses to allow Uber to operate legally.
Coming after a cabinet meeting in which discussed the Commercial Passenger Vehicle Industry Review Report, Gizmodo explained that attempted negotiations between Uber HQ and this local Government did not amount to much. Local Transport Minister Peter Chandler stated that "This was a Cabinet decision where we would stop Uber at the moment from coming to the NT," with Brad Kitschke from Uber replying "I think the Territory does risk being left behind."
While numerous other Australian states have accepted Uber with open arms, it seems that the Northern Territory will not follow the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales or Western Australia just yet.
One of the issues with texting today is a lack of interoperability, meaning you can't text with anyone from any device. Fortunately, Google has partnered with mobile industry leaders to push Rich Communications Services (RCS), the open standard replacement for SMS texting that, in combination with an Android RCS client, will solve this issue. If you're an iPhone user, this is effectively the Android equivalent of iMessage.
Apart from being able to text from anywhere, other benefits of the new standard and client include group chat, high-res photo sharing, read notices, and eventually, advanced calling features. Happily, an open source version of the client will be published at some point, so you can likely expect forks tailored to your preferences down the line.
Mention has been made of a "global rollout" of RCS, though it's not clear yet when exactly that will happen. As ever, we'll keep you posted.
Screen dimming software f.lux isn't having much luck with iOS lately, but Android progress seems to be coming along. Recently, a beta became available to interested users, likely indicating it's not too far off from a public release.
Requiring a rooted phone no doubt will alienate many users, so hopefully that gets nixed prior to the public launch. Should we hear anything to that end, we'll be sure to report it.
A document leaked to TechCrunch reveales Facebook will be integrating advertising into its Messenger app starting in the second quarter of 2016. It's not the advertising you'd expect, though. Rather, advertising messages will be sent to users who have previously initiated chats with the company.
"Our aim with Messenger is to create a high quality, engaging experience for 800 million people around the world, and that includes ensuring people do not experience unwanted messages of any type," a Facebook spokesperson commented, neglecting to confirm or deny the news.
Google has been letting Yahoo, Hotmail, and Outlook email users plug their accounts into Gmail for about a year now, but it's been without the benefit of arguably the service's most appealing feature: superb spam protection. That changes today with Gmailify, which again lets you link your account to Gmail (without changing the actual address), but this time includes the spam protection as well as Gmail's inbox organization scheme and Google Now cards.
To get started, simply open the Gmail app, sign in to your non-Gmail account, and enable Gmailify. Should you change your mind, you can unlink you account whenever you like.
If you have an email account that isn't with Yahoo, Hotmail, or Outlook but want to take advantage of this service, Google says it will be adding other providers at some point in the future.
The latest Instagram update is here, with celebrities now being able to feel more secure in their accounts after large profile hacks - including Taylor Swift and Kris Jenner - recently finding their accounts inaccessible.
Before now, all you'd need to access an Instagram account was the username and password - but the Facebook-owned image sharing service is now rolling out a new two-factor authentication feature. Instagram now lets you verify your account through a phone number, so if you log into your account online - you'll need the text message Instagram will send you with its authentication code. This code is required before you can log into your Instagram account.
Instagram has been slow to update its app with two-factor authentication, and considering Facebook owns the company and has had two-factor authentication for five years now, this is really behind the times.
Windows 10 has had a great Netflix app for quite some time, and now Hulu has followed suit with an app of their own. Available starting today in the US across PC, tablet, and mobile devices, the release coincides with the Hulu Original "11.22.63" launch, created by Stephen King and J.J. Abrams and starring James Franco.
The app features universal voice search and controls through Cortana (say Hey Cortana, Hulu play 'Empire' and it will immediately begin playing the show from where you left off), as well as Live Tiles support (pin the app to your start menu and see featured shows at a glance).
Head here to download the app.
Anonymous sources have informed UberGizmo that SMS support within Facebook Messenger on the horizon, meaning at some point you'll be able to text to phone numbers within the app in addition to your Facebook contacts.
It's said SMS support will be available for Android only at first; iOS support should come at a later date. It's also rumored the settings pane will feature a separate colour scheme from the normal messaging window so as to differentiate between the two: SMS messages will be displayed as purple while Messenger messages will be displayed in the usual blue scheme.
We'll have more as it comes.
Faced with the issue of redundancy after launching Google Photos last year, Google has decided to retire its Picasa photo service on March 15. You will continue to be able to use it, but there will be no official download available, and no updates. The Web Albums service will go offline May 1.
"After much thought and consideration, we've decided to retire Picasa over the coming months in order to focus entirely on a single photo service in Google Photos," Anil Sabharwal, Head of Google Photos writes in a new blog post. "We believe we can create a much better experience by focusing on one service that provides more functionality and works across mobile and desktop, rather than divide our efforts across two different products."