Thursday, August 17, 2017

Google launched Allo for desktop today and it's not perfect.

Some tech companies just don't get the concept of what a desktop app is and how with the Cloud, apps on mobile, the web, desktop can all work together. At least Facebook's WhatsApp and Google still don't get it. The latter just brought its Allo messaging app to the desktop via the Chrome browser. Don't try with Microsoft Edge, it won't work and Google will invite you to download Chrome - no surprises here. If you've used WhatsApp desktop before, the concept is the same and just head to Allo website and scan the QR code to get started. Otherwise keep reading on.

After you've updated and started Google Allo on your Android device, launch Chrome on your computer and go to g.co/alloforweb. The site will display a QR code. Open Allo on your phone and tap the three horizontal bars - also known as hamburger menu - at the top left hand of the app and tap "Allo for web" > Scan QR Code. From there just point your phone to the QR code on your computer screen and Chrome will load all your Allo messages. Put your phone away and start messaging your contacts. A little hiccup though: Your phone must remain online for Allo Desktop to work. Otherwise you get a message in your browser that your phone is unreachable. 

That's it. Google Allo now works on your desktop. It's not perfect and I can't believe it took Google so long to come up with this.

Download Google Allo in the Play Store.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Comment threads are coming to Instagram soon.

Today Instagram announced a new feature that is not yet readily available but will be deployed in the coming weeks on Android and iOS. The new feature is something that should have been into the app since its inception, but no. So today, Instagram has announced that they will soon bring threads to conversations; real threads like the ones that will group together a conversation by slightly increasing the indent to the right. Instagram says comment threads "help you keep track of conversations and make it easy to respond to a specific thread. This update will make your feed an even better place to share interests, get inspired and connect with others.

It's about time.

Instagram made the announcement on the company blog and you can read the full post here. Download Instagram in Google Play Store.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Google Calendar lets you easily reschedule events with drag and drop.

Google Calendar got a little bit better today with a new feature that will let users quickly and easily reschedule events, reminders and goals directly from Day, 3 day and week views by dragging and dropping. Simply press and hold on an entry in the calendar to move it around. 

That’s certainly a quick way to get things done in the calendar. However, I did not get it to work with any of my events and reminders – I do not have any goals. On the other hand, it worked perfectly with the English Premier League reminders from ecal.

How do like the new drag and drop feature? Let me know in the comments.

Update or download Google Calendar in Google Play Store.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Learn to code with SoloLearn on Android with your friends.

Learning to code takes time and a lot of practice, but that shouldn't deter you from trying. It's similar to learning any spoken language, the more practice you have, the better. And I believe any kid and adult today should learn coding. Now, if you're asking yourself where to start, I have an easy answer for you. Android has a lot of learning apps in store and there's two that I can recommend and SoloLearn is one of them.

SoloLearn gives you a wide choice for you to pick from as a beginner. You can easily pick among various coding languages such as C++, C#, Java, SQL, HTML5 etc. With SoloLearn on your device, you can learn wherever you are and compare your progress with other members of the community and exchange ideas them, making the learning experience fun and engaging.

The community is what's going to get you going and SoloLearn is well aware of that. In the last update to their Android app, they added the search functionality for you to quickly search your followers and following list.

This update also includes a fix about a wrong round bug in the Play section. I'm not sure what that means, but it's been fixed. So that's a good thing. The update also includes the usual bug fixes and improvements.

So, whether you're a kid or not and want to start coding, SoloLearn is your starting point. The app will track your progress and even deliver a certificate at the end of the course that you can print out and add to your CV.

To get started, download the app free in Google Play Store and enjoy coding.

Friday, August 4, 2017

How to add emojis to Telegram messages on Android with keywords?

Version 4.2.2 of Telegram on Android lets you search or add emojis by typing the ':' keyword followed by the type of emoji you want. For example, if you're feeling relieved, type ':relieved; feeling satisfied, type ':satisfied'. I don't know about you, but I find this tedious. I'd rather browse for the emoji, which, to me, is way faster and easier

This update also lets you find messages from a particular user in any group. According to the changelog, to achieve this, tap '...' in the top right corner when in a group. Tap 'Search' and the new 'Search by member'. Then select a user to browse through all of their messages.

That's it for this update, which you can download in Google Play Store.

Switch between light and dark theme in Skype for Android.

I hope you made peace with the new skype. The new Snapchat-inspired design of Skype has provoked a kind-of over-reaction from users. At least, this is what I think because I like it for the simple reason that I grew tired of the Skype design of old. Sure Microsoft made mistakes, but well, at least they are listening. Take the new ‘activity indicators’ for example. Microsoft omitted this feature in the new release. Now, with this update, users will be able to see who’s currently active in chat list again. And there’s more.

When Microsoft redesigned Skype, it was all white. Not a wise choice knowing that a totally white screen puts pressure on the battery and on the eyes. So Microsoft added new themes where users will be able to switch between light and dark theme. This feature is available in the settings. To get to it, tap your profile picture, then the settings icon at the top right of the screen. Scroll down to theme and tap the Light or Dark buttons according to the preference. I always switch to a dark theme in apps when I can and Skype is no exception. I’m not sure that saves battery, but it does make it easy on my eyes. In case you’re wondering, I have no problems with my eyes. 

So, make sure you download Skype on your Android device via the Google Play Store to take advantage of these new features. I nearly forgot, Skype will also let you reorder your chats by recent, unread or active.

SMS in Android Messages can now be marked as read in notifications.

I still use SMS sometimes, but I've long transitioned to messaging apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. And for the rare times that I use it, it's good to see Google keeps adding new features to Android Messages.

The latest update allows users to mark a message as read right in the notification area. A feature that I find particularly useful. Before this update, 'Reply' was the only option available in the notification area and swiping the message away after reading did not remove the unread badge on the Android Messages icon. The 'Mark as read' option fixes that problem. So thanks for that Google, but there's another feature I think you could add up there: A delete button.

Many online services still sends out SMS messages with code for authentication and since messages can be read without opening the app, a delete button in the notification area would make perfect sense. 

Do you think a 'Delete' button in the messages notifications will be useful?

Grab the update in Google Play Store.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Dailymotion on Android finally gets Chromecast support.

Compared to YouTube’s 1 billion downloads, Dailymotion’s 10 million downloads is measly in comparison. Just so you know, there’s other apps in the store for video lovers and Dailymotion is one of those.

The app has been updated today which finally adds support for Chromecast. Yes, you read that right. It’s been one of the most awaited features and Dailymotion users will finally get to watch their favorite videos on a big screen. I’m not sure that will help increase the number of subscribers though.

Download Dailymotion in Google Play Store

Version 3.8 of Microsoft Arrow Launcher for Android is now rolling out to the beta channel.

Hey folks, version 3.8 of Microsoft Arrow Launcher is out through the beta channel and while there is nothing much to it in terms of new features, Microsoft is introducing the “Me avatar”, a sort of Me tile which former or current Windows Phone users will remember. 

Users will need to sign in with their Microsoft account to have their profile picture displayed at the top of what Microsoft calls the -1 page – you swipe from the right to the left on the home screen page to access it. Tapping the profile picture takes you to a Microsoft page where users can manage their accounts and services they’re subscribed to and obviously change their profile picture.

Here’s the rest of the change log:
1. News: the redesigned News card.
2. People: See your Outlook contacts in People card and let Arrow help you merge duplicate contacts.
3. Calendar: Redesigned Calendar card shows your upcoming appointments.
4. Setting: Reset Arrow settings to default settings.
5. Folder spacing/layout improvements.
6. Additional bug fixes.

Again, this update is available to those who are in the beta program. Check the Google Play Store page of the Arrow Launcher to join the beta program to get the latest features before they go public. Just bear in mind that these updates may contain bugs.  

Saturday, July 22, 2017

WhatsApp on Android lets you quickly search for emojis.

WhatsApp published another update today for users to search for emojis while in a conversation. Users simply have to tap the emoji icon which will reveal the emoji search icon. From there, type anything you want and WhatsApp will retrieve it for you. For example, the screenshot above brought up rabbit emojis after I typed rabbit. Just type anything you can think of and WhatsApp will show all the emojis related to your query.

For heavy emoji users out there, make sure you check out the update in Google Play Store.