Tag Archives: Apps

Facebook gets like Snapchat now somehow…

Facebook’s quest to mimic Snapchat is undeniable at this point. In just the last few months, Instagram, Whatsapp and Messenger have all integrated some form of Stories — a disappearing slideshow format that Snapchat is famous for — while Facebook Live dabbled in Snapchat-esque selfie filters. Now, after months of experiments and tests, it’s time for the main Facebook app to get in on the action too. Today, the company is officially rolling out three new Snapchat-inspired features to its core app: a brand new in-app camera that’s chockful of filters, effects and masks; Facebook’s very own Stories; and Direct, which lets you share photos and videos with specific people for a set period of time.

As soon as you launch the updated Facebook app, you’ll see the new Stories navigation bar prominently featured at the top. On the far left is a shortcut for Direct sharing, the second bubble is for Your Story (you can tap it to add to it), while the rest are Stories of your closest friends. Each Story interface is almost identical to that of Instagram’s version — you can move back and forth through the slideshow by tapping left or right, and if it’s your own Story, you’ll be able to see the number of views as well as the names of the people who saw it. Additionally, you’ll be able to leave direct replies on other people’s Stories, which then appear on top of the content. The replies only live as long as the content, however, so once the photo is gone, the comment’s gone too.

 

“We’ve been very text-centric in the past,” says Connor Hayes, a Facebook product manager. “But what we’ve been seeing is that the way people create content is changing, from text to photos and videos. […] We’re trying to upgrade the app to be more centered around the way people are behaving and creating the content in social apps. And that starts with the camera.”

Which explains why the new camera is much easier to access. Before, the fastest way to launch the camera in the Facebook app was to tap “Photos” and then select the camera icon. Now, that camera icon is located to the left of the search field, and is visible the moment you launch the app. Alternately, you can swipe right from the home screen, and that’ll bring up the camera function as well.

The camera interface is completely different from before too. On the left side of the screen are little navigation dots, which correspond to different filters that the app has pre-selected for you. Simply swipe up or down to scroll through them, and you’ll see the filter take effect on the main screen. These pre-selected filters are chosen based on an algorithm that susses out whether you’ll like them, and also on your location. So if you’re in London, you probably won’t see a San Francisco themed filter, for example.

But if none of those filters strike your fancy, no worries, because you can tap an option that will reveal as many as 70 other options (that number will change depending on your region). You can choose anything from selfie masks to Prisma-esque style effects to simple frames. In a brief demo, I saw filters that showed animated pizza slices flying out of my mouth, round glasses superimposed on my face and a “I Miss You” message scrawled in front of me. Other options include a mirroring effect, one that shows a lazy sloth on top of your head, a mustache, a pride rainbow, a glitter beard and even an effect that makes you look like a minion from Despicable Me.

Indeed, Facebook not only partnered with different film studios for licensed content, it also commissioned two artists — Hattie Stewart from the UK and Doug Coupland from Canada — to come up with special artistic filter effects. One of Coupland’s filters, for example, shows concentric colors radiating from your head. Open your mouth, and the circles now form in your mouth and on your forehead.

Kristen Spilman, the director for Art and Animation in charge of the camera effects, says that she hopes these filters help people express themselves. “Our new camera puts visual content at the heart of the Facebook experience,” she says. “While we want our effects to be fun to use, it’s more important that they’re thoughtful and relevant in enhancing relationships.”

 

After you’ve chosen your filter, you can write text on top of it or doodle on it with your choice of brush. Then, you can save it to your camera roll and do nothing with your creation, or you can choose to share it. You can post it to Newsfeed if you want your photo to live on forever, or you can post it to Your Story if you just want it up for the next 24 hours, or you can share it directly with your friends via the new Direct feature. If you do send your photo or video directly, note that your friends will only be able to view it once and replay it once. Once it’s over, it’s gone.

“Stories has become the format for people to create photos and videos and share them with one another immersively across social apps,” says Hayes. “This is something that Snapchat’s really pioneered. Our take is that Stories has become a format for people to share and consume photos and videos across all social apps.” When asked why someone would use Facebook Stories over Instagram Stories or vice versa, Hayes says that different people use the apps differently. “It depends on how they use each app, and who their network is on each app,” he says, pointing out that oftentimes the two have different audiences.

“Over the coming months, we plan to introduce new ways for the Facebook community to create their own frames and effects that can be used on any photo or video created with the new Facebook camera,” said Facebook in a statement. “Our goal is for the camera to be a home to hundreds of dynamic and fun effects that give you new ways to connect with friends, family, and your community.”

Facebook’s new camera, Stories and Direct sharing will be rolling out to all users on both Android and iOS throughout this week.

Source: Facebook

Google Play now gives you a paid app every week for free!

Android has millions of free titles, but some paid titles need to be shared. There are millions of free apps available on the Play Store, and many of them are pretty great. But there are also millions of paid apps that don’t always get the attention they deserve.

Now, Google wants to highlight a few of those paid titles by offering a free app or game of the week. The first one is Card Wars — Adventure Time, a lighthearted card trading and battle game that usually runs for $2.99, but this week is going gratis.

Like Apple’s version of the same, it appears Google will highlight a single title each week, and chances are it will be a paid game that also has in-app purchases. That benefits both Google and the developer, since it gets a chance to add millions of new users and ramp up revenue.

This isn’t the first time Google has given away paid apps for free. It started the practice in its then-nascent Family section back in 2015, but that particular enterprise seems to have faded away for this more broad version.

Source: Android Central

WhatsApp adds Snapchat-style tool: Lets you write, draw, and add emojis to photos and videos

WhatsApp on Tuesday has introduced new ways to customise and enhance the photos and videos you share with friends and family around the world.

With WhatsApp’s new camera features, people can now write or draw on photos and videos as well as add emojis to express themselves.

“Now, when you capture a new photo or video or share one which is already on your phone, you will automatically see the new editing tools,” WhatsApp said in a post.

WhatsApp has also added a convenient zooming feature for recording videos. Just slide your finger up and down to zoom in and out and supports the front-facing flash.

The new camera features will roll out on Android phones starting Tuesday and on Apple iPhones soon. If you are a WhatsApp Beta User you can already use it.

How to use the new WhatsApp Tool:

To use the new features, you can take a new photo or video within WhatsApp, or choose one already on your phone.

Instead of just seeing the option to send the message, new editing tools will be displayed over the photo.

These new functions are rolling out on Android phones from today, but it is unclear when they will become available for iPhone users.

Source: WhatsApp Blog

Reviewed: Google Allo

Say hello to the new Google Assistant in this new chat app

Google Allo is the new chat app to have for Android and iPhone users alike. It has the Google Assistant built in and it’s rolling out since a couple of days across the world. Germany for example got it yesterday available. I have been using it a couple of days so far and must say that as for now it is absolutely fine.  Surely It does the things you would expect from a proper messaging app: it sends pictures, it lets you share stickers, it works with group chats either.

But that is nothing new, so why would you switch away from another messaging platform? Well, the one thing Allo has over the competition is itself, Google. Well, better that it packs the new  Google Assistant direclty in it. Google Assistant is quiet funny put also partially annoying for me so far. Fortunately, talking to the Assistant in Allo is not complicated at all. You type your query, it answers, you type follow-up questions, and it answers those. It’s very, very good at web search; it also knows your upcoming flights from Gmail and your calendar and various other things you’ve told Google. It can tell you what restaurants are nearby and help your narrow down your preferences. If Google Search or Google Now is good at it, you can basically trust that the Google Assistant is good at it, too.

 

But is this ability to have conversations with what might be the smartest smart bot aout there right now realy enough to get you and your friends to switch away from whatever you are currently using to Allo ? Well, it is not for me, majorly because most friends don´t use it.

 

 

Allo is tied to your main phone number which you enter on setup, but you can switch your SIM card out while traveling and continue to use the service without any problems. As long as you don’t active Allo on another device with the same number at least you will be able to access the service.

What I think where Google has missed out on something is the integration of Duo into Allo.  In my opinion Video calling is the one feature that is not available on WhatsApp or Messenger as of yet, and if Google had managed to bake it into Allo, it would have gotten a decent advantage over its rivals.  But that is just my 2 cents…

And while Google hopefully works on that integration, I have the very hard task of convincing my friends and family to switch to Allo. I will report back later on how that worked out.

Conclusion

A nice messaging app with hopefully a bigger future then Hangouts. If you get enough of your friends on baord of this messanger you will enjoy it.
Get it on Google Play

Google Maps’ new shining blue beam guides Android users travels from now…

Google has replaced the tiny Maps arrow on Android OS with a beam that actually can way better represent the way you are facing. When you fire up the updated app, you’ll now see a blue beam that shines towards your destination like a flashlight.

compass_blogpost_screenshot

The beam also tells you how accurate your phone’s direction is at any given time. The narrower the beam, the more accurate the direction. The wider the beam, the more likely it is that your your phone’s compass is temporarily uncalibrated, which means that its sensors aren’t working as they should be. This can happen by doing something as simple as charging your phone or walking by a metal pole, which most of us do everyday. Thankfully, there’s a really easy fix. Any time you want to get back on track – not just when you see a prompt or notification – simply move your phone in a figure 8 motion a few times. This should immediately result in a more accurate direction.

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Once you master the curving motion, you’re one step closer to having a more accurate compass when you use Google Maps on your Android phone.

Win 4 25$ Google Play Store Gift Cards with The Acme Blog

After having been giving away a Gift Card for Apple iTunes recently now it is time to give away a Gift Card for the Android folks. With over 500,000 apps, millions of songs and books, and thousands of movies, Google Play has surely something for everyone in it.

This Gift Cards are for the American Play Store only. So if you are using the UK one this Gift Card won’t work!

To win you only have to participate below:
Win 25$ Google Gift Cards

The Winner will be announced on evening of October 31. Competition is open only for UAE Residents.

App Review: Google Duo

Without any major announcement Google has released its app Duo. The app competes against Facebook Messenger or Microsoft’s Skype as well as against WhatsApp, Apple has also the service FaceTime, but runs it only on its own devices. From Google itself, there was already the Hangouts service, but Duo is supposed to be easier to use and to offer better quality.

The user interface of Duo is incredibly simple. You start Duo and see a preview of your selfie cam. Shift the white surface up and you can see the contacts that have you ever called. The video call button takes you to the contact list, where you can see your contacts with their phone number. At the top, Duo-users, including those who can invite you. During a video chat you can switch to the main camera or mute the microphone.

Google promises a particularly good image quality at Duo chats. And indeed, the quality of the transmission is well. The great revolution remains out though. With weak Internet connection, the image is pixelated or the video stream stops completely. The pity is that Google Duo does not indicate how good the connection is. That leaves it to guessing on which side of the line the data bottleneck is.

Of course, your phone should also have a good selfie cam – otherwise the best technology helps nothing at all.

Whether duo will have long-term success or not remains open. Thanks to the simple user interface, the odds are not bad at first sight. In the near future a pure audio chat is planned to be integrated. Text messages however are not planned.

This begs a question: Why has Google developed Duo and did not integrate its functionality into Hangouts? Why place a messenger, when with Google Allo  there is still another messenger coming in the future? For the answer, we have to rely on a little speculation, but there are some good reasons why Google’s approach makes sense.

Although Hangouts has many features it is not overly comfortable to use. A realignment of messaging tools is perhaps the best way to make room for more comfortable concepts. The minimalist approach of Duo could therefore be an interesting experiment, because Google can then explore whether users are ready for a ‘video chat app. And if not? Then Google Duo integrates in Allo. Hangouts could associate as a communication tool more with Google’s Office offers and be the professional or enterprise Messenger. Allo and Duo would then be intended for private users.

Google Duo is even more comfortable than Apple’s FaceTime and certainly was Apple’s video chat the template for Duo. But in order to get past Apple’s FaceTime Google Duo would have to have multi-device capabilities – and this is missing.

Conclusion

Google duo has less functions which Duo handles quite good. With the simple interface many users will get used to it quickly. That you require an additional account for Duo is seems somewhat absurd but works still well.

The great strength of Duo is also the greatest weakness: You can not send text messages as well or talk to several people at once. You cannot use Duo even on multiple smartphones, tablets or PCs. Overall, Google’s Duo offers too little to bring competitors like Skype or WhatsApp into trouble.

 

 

 

Google Maps got a Wi-Fi only mode, with ability to save offline areas to SD card!

Google has rolled out a sizeable update to Google Maps that brings a new Wi-Fi only offline mode. Once enabled, Maps will go offline when there’s no Wi-Fi signal, with navigation limited to your areas you’ve downloaded to your device. As soon as you connect to a Wi-Fi network, the app regains full functionality.

Wi-Fi comes in handy when you’re traveling abroad and don’t want to incur exorbitant data charges, or in situations where you can’t get a reliable cellular signal in your area. Google is also rolling out the ability to download offline areas to an SD card, freeing up the internal storage of your phone.

To enable Wi-Fi only mode, you will need to go into the Settings Menu in Google Maps. As soon as you activate the feature, you’ll see a notification to save areas offline, and that a small amount of data may still be used while in Wi-Fi mode.

For me this is a great option as my data plan is not unlimited and I require the maps pretty often.

WhatsApp for Android will use Google Drive to back up your data

The more we rely on our smartphones for every facet of our lives, the more risk there is of losing important data if your phone gets lost, stolen or destroyed. Android already has some backup services built in, but the massively popular chat client WhatsApp has just announced a partnership with Google to make sure its 900 million users don’t lose anything important to them. Starting today, WhatsApp users on Android will have the option to back up their entire WhatsApp history right to Google Drive. The backup will include chat histories, voice messages, photos and video, and you’ll be able to restore all of that data to a new phone when you set up WhatsApp.

Unfortunately, as with many new Google features, this one will be coming by the ever-popular gradual rollout. This is a particularly long one — Google says the feature will become available over the next few months. Once it’s available, you’ll find the option in WhatsApp’s settings. Why it’ll take so long isn’t clear, so you’ll have to just start checking your app periodically if you want to take advantage of the new feature.

This weeks Roundup on BBM Stickers

Here we go again with another weeks collection of newly released BBM Sticker Packs. This time around we got a total of 8 Sticker Packs which are all housing 20 different stickers and which are all coming in at 7.29AED per pack.

  1. Zoodorable by Hill Hill Design, some funny animalistic Monsters to enrich your conversations
  2. Florida Gators by Florida Gators, If you are a Gators fan this is the right Pack all around Albert their mascot.
  3. Adam the Funny Moslem Boy Part2 by WEsticker is a set all about Adam.
  4. Endless Love by Hi-Art, show your romantic side with this Sticker Pack.
  5. Pororo Summertime Fun by Iconix Co.Ltd. , another Pack containing Pororo and his friends.
  6. Black & White by Teo Tarras, Funny and positive messages with these little monsters which are not only Black and White.
  7. Feel the Love by viamedia, Another sticker set to share your love with a special someone.
  8.  ?? by Nimmble. some Arabic Themed Soccer Stickers where I cannot get the Title of.

Are there any Packs in here that you fancy to get? If so head down to the BBM Shop to get them!

You can check below all new Sticker Packs in detail in the Gallery after the Break! Continue reading This weeks Roundup on BBM Stickers