Friday, March 31, 2017

[Updated]Telegram introduces secure voice calls.

Update: Telegram is making the voice call feature available in Africa, North and South America. Initially the feature was available in Europe only.

Today Telegram for Android has been updated with calls. For now, users of the popular messaging app in  Western Europe will be able to make "secure, crystal-clear" call within the app. Calls will be encrypted end-to-end and will require verification by both parties before being initiated. The caller and the callee need to compare four emojis for the conversation to begin. And that is not all.

Telegram voice call is AI powered. The neural network will learn from device's feedback to optimize the call. No user's data will be recorded, only information such as network speed, ping times. These data will help improve future calls. Telegram even goes to the extent of giving users compete control on "who can and who can't call you with granular precision". The app will even let you enable the Use less Data option in Data and Storage settings.

The update is available for all to download in Google Play Store.

Source: Telegram blog

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Box will now sync Your "Recent List" across devices and preview DICOM files.

Cloud storage service has been updated with two useful features today. The first one is the Recent list within the app will now show files accessed on other devices as well as the browser. A feature that makes sense when your data lives in the Cloud and, nowadays, we use more than one device to access those data. So it's logical to have every piece of information possible sync across them.

The second feature Box added to its Android app is support for previewing DICOM files. I had to do a search to figure that one out. According to Wikipedia Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM), "is a standard for handling, storing, printing and transmitting information in medical imaging." There you have it, Box is now able to safely handle your medical imaging.

Get Box in Google Play Store.

Google Sheets now supports alternating row colors.

Google Sheets was updated with a new feature that makes reading data on a sheet legible with the introduction of alternating row colors. The change log states that users will be able to "apply and edit alternating row colors from the Formatting menu", thus make it easier to read the data stored in the rows and columns. Hopefully, this addition will open the path apply alternating row colors through Conditional Formatting. Let's wait and see.

Download or update Google Sheets from the Play Store. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

IFTTT now works better with Android services.

Technology is about automating stuff for us humans and make our lives easier. IFTTT follows the same principle. Once installed on your Android device, you can use it to create "conditional statements" called applets to perform some tasks for you. For example, after I publish this post, IFTTT will kick in and post a tweet on my behalf so I do not have to manually do it. I can ask it to do the same to other social networks too. IFTTT lets you also control devices like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant; change your home thermostat when you arrive. There are plenty of possibilities.

IFTTT was updated today and makes applets that use Android services work better. The company made some changes to make the applets more stable. They also made some "minor improvements to the graphic design of Applets". The app is now 1MB smaller, thus using less space on your device.

IFTTT means If This Then That and is free in Google Play Store.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Opera Mini browser beta adds a Facebook notification bar to Android's notification tray for easy access.

Opera is testing a new feature in its Opera Mini browser beta on Android with the addition of a Facebook notification bar which will give users quick access to the social network. The bar will appear in the notification tray and as can been in the screen capture will allow users directly access Facebook notifications, timeline or messenger without launching the Facebook app. Opera Mini main selling point is the builtin data saving feature while browsing the web and knowing that Facebook puts a lot of pressure on mobile data usage, the Opera's Facebook notification bar maybe a boon for serious Facebook users.

Facebook notification bar is not activated by default after installation. To enable it, tap the Opera icon in the bottom right corner and tap the gear icon to open Settings. Scroll to notifications and toggle the Notification bar for easy access to Facebook. If it's not already the case, Opera will ask for your Facebook credentials. 

Opera also added a media control panel  and a new one-hand friendly video player in this update, which you can download in the Google Play Store. No signup is required, just download the app from the store to test new features before they reach the public channel. 

Pocket Casts on Android celebrates 6.2.3rd birthday with some fixes.

Sometimes I wish I could listen to podcasts throughout the day, but I'm too busy at work to do that and my boss wouldn't be too happy about it either. With Pocket Casts being the best podcast app out there, the listening experience is made enjoyable and fun, and add to that the fact that you can control your podcasts from your wrist thanks to support for Android Wear.

Today, Shifty Jelly, the company behind Pocket Casts, is celebrating the "6.2.3rd" birthday of their popular app with a small update that brings along some fixes. The parents are very proud of their offspring as the change log shows. This change log will make you giggle. See for yourself below:


I mean just how fast do kids grow up these days? Our apps 6.2.3rd birthday is already here! It seems like just last week this little bundle of joy turned 6.2.2! As proud parents we'd like to announce:
- Fixed OnePlus 2 widget issues
- Fixed lock screen skip buttons on Android 4.4 phones
- Artwork flashing (no nudity allowed, sorry kids)
- Double Chromecasting notifications. You might still see the default one from Google, but you can turn that off in your phone settings.

Pocket Casts is available for purchase on Google Play Store for $3.99.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Microsoft releases new Arrow Launcher beta with new features and PDF support.

After recently making its Arrow Launcher for Android tablet-friendly, Microsoft has published another for those in the beta community to try. Version 3.2 of Arrow introduces a bunch of new features which I assume apply to both phones and tablets.

I used to be a fan of Google Now Launcher on my Android devices. But since Microsoft launched Arrow Launcher, I've started using it and haven't looked back.

Here's what's new for beta testers:

- Apps page: Hide icon title; lock App & Widget position; moveable app draw icon (as shortcut widget); add blank apps page
- DateTime widget: show next alarm time; support multiple cities weather
- Setting: Introduce new features with video snippet
- Document: support PDF format
- Swipe right to BACK for all pages

if you wish to try the new features before they make their way out to the general public, join the community on Google + and post your feedback, then proceed to download the beta version on Google Play Store.

Google rolling out new video attachments preview feature to Gmail desktop.

Google has started rolling a nifty new feature for Gmail desktop that will allow users to preview video attachments without having to download and viewing them in a media player. The rollout started yesterday, March 16, and is expected to take up to 15 days before users start seeing the new feature in their Gmail Inbox. Google said in a blog post that "this feature uses the same Google infrastructure that powers YouTube, Google Drive, and other video streaming apps, so video is delivered at optimal quality and availability."

Obviously, there is no download link, but do check Gmail on your desktop and the video preview feature will eventually show up, provided you have emails with videos attached.

Source: Google

Thursday, March 16, 2017

WhatsApp quickly restores text-based status after user feedback.

Recently WhatsApp introduced a new "feature" called WhatsApp Status that allowed users to use photos, videos, GIFs that disappear after 24 hours as their status in place of the much simpler text based status. WhatsApp was probably thinking that the new status would be a hit with its one billion plus users. The latter proved them wrong and today WhatsApp is restoring the good old text-based status after user backlash "feedback". Given that WhatsApp status is now a completely different thing within the app, the restored text-based status in Settings is now called About. Tap your profile name to edit it.

When you have over a billion users, it is a wise to take action swiftly when they complain. Download the update in Google Play Store

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

U.S. only: Send and request money right in the Gmail app on Android.

Why in the world would you use the Gmail app on your phone to send or request money? Because now your can. That's what the Gmail app on Android lets you do thanks to an update that is rolling out to U.S. based users only. According to Google, "sending money in Gmail is as easy as sending any other attachment. Just tap on the attachment icon and choose whether you want to send or request money". 

The recipients do not need to install a payment app on their devices and handle the transaction right in the email itself. This whole activity of sending or requesting money is free for all parties involved.

If you live in the U.S. check out the update in Google Play Store and use Gmail to send and receive money.

Viber added support for Western Union to send money from the U.S. to anyone in 200 countries.

Viber is rolling out a pretty big update today for Android and some of those new features are more like playing catch-up with competing messaging platform. The new version introduces a backup and restore mechanism should users have to either factory reset their devices or simply, for some reason, uninstall and reinstall Viber on their phones. However, Viber will only backup your text messages to Google Drive. Should your messages contain, pictures, GIFs etc, you're out of luck as they will be ignored. One more thing, data saved to Google Drive is no longer protected by Viber encryption; Your messages will be plain visible to anyone with access to your Google Drive. Another thing, there is no way to automate or schedule regular backups of your data in Viber. It has to be done manually, but hopefully, Viber will improve on that in a future update.

What's a messaging app without support for animated GIFs? Again, with all popular competing platforms already offering this feature, it's great for Viber users to finally be able to add animated GIFs to their messages.

Viber also added support for Western Union to allow users to send money from the U.S. to anyone "in more than 200 countries and territories." Cash can even be sent to bank accounts directly, but this service is available "in nearly 50 countries" only.

These are some great features with some that Viber needs to do some work to improve. In the mean time, download the update in Google Play Store.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Adobe Photoshop Express gets social and improves performance with an updated core imaging engine.

Recently, Google added photo enhancement capabilities to Google Photos. A welcome addition but features like auto white balance and cropping, while useful, is pretty much limited if you want something more powerful to edit your photos for applying effects and filters. Adobe Photoshop Express may be the app you need for on-the-go photo editing.

With Adobe Photoshop Express, you will be able to do basics things like crop, straighten, rotate, flip your photos, as well has remove pet eye, get rid of blemishes and much much more.

Adobe Photoshop Express has been updated with new features that enables opening additional RAW files types. Once you're done polishing your chef-d'oeuvre, Adobe Photoshop Express will let you share it directly to popular social networks like Facebook, Line, Instagram, WeChat, and WhatsApp. 

Here's the full change log. Check out it out before heading to Google Play Store to download or update Adobe Photoshop Express.

• Updated the core imaging engine, improves performance and enables opening additional RAW files types.
• Automatically straighten your images.
• Remove noise from low light images using the new Color Reduce Noise correction.
• Save your images now directly into Lightroom.
• Share directly to popular social networks like Facebook, Line, Instagram, WeChat and WhatsApp.
• Custom control for size and quality of saved images.
• Reduced the app size, now it’ll take less space on your device.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Make searches, translations and more right in your Google's keyboard without switching apps.

Ever since my first smartphone back in the days when smartphones were not yet a thing, I have always used the default keyboards, never venturing out to try third party keyboards available on the market. It's not out of laziness or lack of curiosity, I'm simply happy with the default keyboards and never needed all the bells and whistles that come with third party keyboards. Enter Gboard, Google keyboard offering for Android and iOS. Google has updated its keyboard with a lot of features that brings the typing experience up to a new level, the kind of level where the keyboard is not restricted to being just a typing tool.

With today's numerous messaging apps available, Google is making the keyboard experience an exciting one. While some of the added features are not really new, Google did use its fire power to make its offering quite enticing. Typing a message in supported messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, Hangouts, Google Allo etc, Gboard will now suggest emojis and GIFS.

Google also built translation right into its Gboard. Tap the new Translate icon, select the languages and it will immediately translate text in the language you chose. No more launching the standalone Translate app and copy paste the translated text between apps anymore.

Gboard also supports themes. Before that update, it was possible to change the keyboard color from a color palette or add a picture to the keyboard's background. Google has added some scenic views and said they will keep adding more from now on. Support for right-to-left languages is also included in this update. Users can now make searches in Arabic, Farsi and Hebrew.

Gboard is definitely a keyboard you should look into if you haven't done so yet, specially with the integration of Google tools like Search and Translate. Gboard is available free in Google Play Store for download or update.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

WhatsApp Beta for Android gets separate phone & video icons; Attachment​ icon moved to message box.

WhatsApp Beta on Android got a nice little update with placements of some icon made more logical. The Attachment icon which used to be at the top of the app has moved to the bottom, inside the text box alongside the camera icon, thus making it easily accessible to attach documents, photos etc. 

With the Attachment icon made more accessible, WhatsApp has filled the void at the top with a video call icon. Remember, not so long ago, WhatsApp introduced video calls which required tapping the Phone icon first before choosing between Phone and Video calls. From now on, a single tap is needed to quickly initiate whichever call method you choose. This makes more sense. 

This update is available in the beta version of WhatsApp, but it will make its way to the official version of the app soon. If you can't wait to get these update and are not afraid to get your hands dirty with unstable software, join the WhatsApp beta.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Official F1 App for Android gets new design and content updates for 2017 season.

In 18 days, in Melbourne, about 24 professional F1 drivers will revved up their powerful engines and to claim the F1 teams and drivers championship. Sadly, last years champion, Nico Rosberg, won't be in the starting blocks after he surprisingly retired shortly after winning last year's title. Valtteri Bottas is joining Mercedes in replacement of Rosberg and will team up with Lewis Hamilton. So much for the short story.

To help fans prepare for the upcoming season, The F1 app for Android has been updated with a new design that makes navigating the app and finding information about races, drivers and other F1-related info easier, thanks to the addition of tabs and the fitting of more data on the screen. The app main screen obviously provides exclusive F1 news and has also been updated with contents pertaining to the 2017 season.

The Official F1 App for Android is available free for download in Google Play Store.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Google Photos for Android now has the tools built-in to correct and enhance your photos.

If, like me, you suffer from a severe lack of artistic talent, then this update that Google has started rolling out to Google Photos will be most welcome. From now on, Google Photos will come bundled with tools to correct exposure and saturation and at the same time automatically fix the White Balance of the selected photo(s). For me, this is amazing, even if my Samsung Galaxy Edge already does a great job handling my photos. I'm also a heavy user of Google Photos on my devices. Google adds that "if you want to tweak it even more, just go into Color and adjust the Warmth and Tint". You bet I'm going to do that. But in case your DNA has the right artistic gene, you will be able to enhance your photos with these tools built right into Google Photos.

Check the Google Play Store for the update as it may not be available right way, but Google has announced that the roll out will start this week.

Source: Google

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Periscope introduces closed groups and adds support for external video production tools.

Twitter-owned Periscope, the live video streaming app for Android, will now let users create closed groups and only the group creator will be able to add or remove members as well as change the group's title. The group creator basically becomes the group administrator and is the only user with the power to manage the group.

Periscope has also added a new toggle in the settings of the app for users to stop themselves from being added automatically to groups. On turning off the "Auto-accept Group Invites", users will receive an invitation which they can accept or reject. 

This update also introduces Periscope Producer. This new feature is available to anyone who wants to use external video production tools. More information about Periscope Producer can be found in the Settings of the Periscope app.

The update is already available for download in Google Play Store.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

OneNote for Android now lets users open, insert and edit links in their notes.

Popular note-taking app OneNote from Microsoft got a small but useful update today. The app will now let users open links in their notes and also insert and edit these links, making it easier to work with them. This update also has the usual bug fixes and performance improvements.

Not much in terms of new features, but an update that Microsoft says will "take your productivity up a notch." Update OneNote in Google Play Store.

Microsoft makes its Android Arrow Launcher tablet-friendly.

Microsoft has finally brought Arrow, its launcher for Android, to tablets with support for both portrait and landscape mode. Before this update, Arrow Launcher was available on Android phones only and in portrait mode. I'm looking forward to try it on my Google Nexus 7 later today. That's the only Android tablet I own and will stick to it until it dies.

In addition to making Arrow Launcher tablet-friendly, Microsoft also added the ability to choose what to backup and restore; added support for more IM apps in Recent Pages. The latter feature lets you quickly access your most recent messages and interact with them without opening the messaging app.

Give the new Arrow Launcher - version 3.1 - a try in Google Play Store.