Software & Apps News - Page 1
While the world continues to discuss whether Apple should open iMessage to make it work with other platforms like WhatsApp, the meta-owned messaging service is pushing on with new features of its own. The app has had new features added over the last few months and now a new one is on the way after it appeared in the latest WhatsApp beta that's now available to testers.
The new feature adds support for filtering chat threads to make it easier to find the one that you're looking for. The WhatsApp beta watchers at WABetaInfo have reported on the change that is now available to users of the latest build that is now in the hands of those running the latest TestFlight beta.
The new WhatsApp feature adds a filter row to give users the chance to filter out chats that they don't want to see. One example is being able to filter unread messages so that they are easier to find in a sea of chat threads. Other options include the ability to filter group chats and more.
The instant messaging platform WhatsApp has announced a new feature that could well help keep voice messages more private after they have been sent. Normally, sending a voice message to someone means that the message is there forever and that the recipient can listen to it whenever they want to. However, a new change allows people to now send the same voice messages but have them automatically disappear immediately after they have been listened to.
Such listen-once voice messages can be used for sending messages that are only valid for a short period of time. WhatsApp's announcement blog post includes the example of reading out your credit card details to a friend, although we're not sure that's something you should be doing all that much anyway. Another example is when planning a surprise, too.
Voice messages of the listen-once variety are clearly marked as such so those who receive them will immediately know what the situation is before they listen to that message. The new voice messages work in much the same way as the existing view once photos and videos that are already supported by WhatsApp.
Meta, the company that makes Facebook Messenger and owns the similar instant-messaging platform WhatsApp, has announced that it finally supports end-to-end encryption as standard with that being the default for all new chats. The move comes after Meta promised to make this change some time ago. Messenger has been around since 2016 and launched against a very different instant messaging backdrop.
By adding end-to-end encryption Facebook Messenger ensures that all messages and calls are protected from snooping eyes before they leave the sending device. They are then unencrypted when they are received at the other end, with nobody between those two points able to decipher what was going on. That also goes for Meta, although that will change should the message be reported for violation of the Facebook Messenger terms.
Meta does say that it might take a little while for all chats to be updated with the new default, but there will be no limitation on the functionality that is available to the people using those chats once end-to-end encryption has been enabled.
In 2020, Meta, which at the time was called Facebook, announced it was going to merge direct-messaging between Instagram and Messenger, in a bid to unify the instant messaging experience. Now, three years later, the company is moving to disconnect it.
The severing of chatting across Instagram and Messenger comes from a new support page update that states cross-app chatting between the two aforementioned apps will no longer be available as of "mid-December 2023".
The support page details what the end of support (EOS) means for users that were taking advantage of the feature; users won't be able to start new conversations or calls with Facebook accounts from Instagram, existing chats will become read-only, Facebook accounts won't be able to view your Activity Status or "seen" in messages, and any existing chats with Facebook accounts will move to your inbox on Facebook or Messenger.
Microsoft has taken to its website to announce that Windows 10 has reached its end of support (EOS) phase, meaning Microsoft will sever support with the operating system.
It was only early last month that data from StatCounter revealed that Windows users are currently migrating to Windows 11 from Windows 10, with earlier operating systems such as Windows 7 and Windows 8 taking up a small percentage of total Windows users. Notably, Windows 10 remains the dominant Operating System with a massive 71.64% market share. More interestingly, Windows 10 market share hasn't changed for the past year, as figures from September 2023 are identical to September 2022.
Microsoft announcing its ending support for Windows 10 on October 14, 2025, is clearly a move to get users off of old operating systems onto new versions, and with this recent announcement, the move is likely going to work as users will want to be running the latest security updates. Microsoft writes, "Ensure that your organization isn't left running unsupported software that is no longer receiving security updates. Organizations running legacy software are vulnerable to significant security risk and potential compliance violations."
Twitch CEO Dan Clancy has announced that Twitch will be shutting down its Korean division over unsustainable operating costs.
The CEO of the world's largest livestreaming company took to a blog post to publish an update on Twitch in Korea, where he explained that the cost for Twitch to operate in Korea is "prohibitively expensive", and despite efforts to reduce operating costs, the company has made little headway on reaching its goal. Clancy gave examples, such as trialing peer-to-peer streaming and restricting video quality to 720p, as attempts at reducing operational costs, and while they did reduce running costs, it simply wasn't enough.
"Twitch has been operating in Korea at a significant loss, and unfortunately there is no pathway forward for our business to run more sustainably in that country," writes Clancy.
Taiwan publication The Commercial Times reports that Microsoft's Windows 12 will launch in June 2024, and the operating system will feature several AI technologies. With that, Microsoft's next Windows will launch alongside a wave of new AI PCs from companies like Acer, MSI, GIGABYTE, and Quanta.
According to the report, 2024 is shaping up to be "the first year of AI PCs," with dedicated hardware built for generative AI. This means Microsoft is positioning Windows 12 as the first version of the operating system built for the age of AI - so it will be interesting to see what it brings to the table compared to Windows 11.
The publication doesn't say where it got the June 2024 launch info for Windows 11. However, the article does feature quotes from Acer CEO Jason Chen and Quanta's Barry Lam from the recent Taiwan Medical Technology Exhibition.
Meta, the owner of Facebook and Instagram, has announced it removed nearly 5,000 fake accounts that were attempting to influence US politics, and these accounts can be linked back to China.
The parent company of Facebook and Instagram announced that it deleted 4,800 fake accounts that it says were part of a China-based influence campaign whose goal was to post polarizing content ahead of the 2024 presidential election. Meta writes that the influence operation was one of two campaigns detected by Meta during the third quarter of 2023 and that these accounts actively posted in English about US politics and US-China relations, criticizing both sides of the US political spectrum.
Meta explained that these accounts used what appears to be "copy-pasted partisan content from people on X" and that these accounts acquired their information from both liberal and conservative sources. Additionally, these accounts mixed in resharing into their posts by resharing genuine content from politicians and news outlets.
Discord is one of the most popular voice, video, and text communication platforms today, especially among gamers. Thanks to the new Discord Store, the latest feature to arrive is all about customizing your profile and avatar/icon. Available through the desktop client and the web app, users can now make their profile more unique and animated with Avatar Decorations and Profile Effects.
Discord is popular with PC and console gamers, so one way to describe the addition is to say it's like a cosmetic microtransaction storefront for your profile. Granted, this is not inherently bad as most features on Discord are free to use - and there's a definite market for sprucing up your Discord Avatar with festive lights in time for the holiday season.
And for those who currently shell out for the premium Discord Nitro service, there's special member pricing and an exclusive set of cosmetic items "only available for Nitro members to use with an active membership."
Microsoft has rolled out the November Update for the Xbox app on Windows PCs, and it's a big one for fans of portable PC gaming devices like the ROG Ally from ASUS, Legion GO from Lenovo, or any of the various Windows-based handhelds from AYANEO. Although Valve's Steam Deck isn't a Windows device, the rise in popularity of these sorts of devices has led to the new Compact mode for the Xbox app.
As the naming suggests, it offers a more intuitive interface and streamlined version of the UI optimized for handhelds - with the side bar collapsing into icons to provide more space for browsing through your library and all of the latest PC Game Pass additions.
Accessing the new mode is simple: select your profile and then toggle between 'Compact Mode' on and off. As part of the update, Microsoft is partnering with companies like ASUS to ensure that Compact mode is enabled by default when firing up the Xbox app on PC gaming handhelds running Windows.