Tag - Hangouts
Google's largely-failed social media experiment, Google+, is reportedly approaching a transformation, with a renewed focus on Photos and Hangouts. The two popular features appear to be splitting apart from the central service, marking the first step in an apparent rebranding effort that is likely aimed at revitalizing -- or quietly killing -- the stagnate social network.
Hangouts, Google's messaging app, has received an update for iOS devices. Hangouts allows users to send and receive messages, photos and more, and make video and voice calls with a group or one-on-one. Hangouts v2.5.0 features new sticker packs, and improved video call experience alongside miscellaneous bug fixes.
Google is bringing Hangouts more in line with competing messaging services, such as Skype or AIM, by releasing a dedicated desktop app for Hangouts. The Hangouts Chrome App, available on Chrome OS and Windows, will provide a similar experience to the Android version, including calls and messaging, but through a desktop interface.
Google Voice is being integrated into Google Hangouts on Android, in what appears to be an an attempt by the search company to streamline its messaging services. Previously only available in the iOS version of Hangouts, the Android app now gives the option of making or receiving voice calls, text messages, and the ability to access voicemails on Google Voice.
Last week, Google announced that it has released a new extension that allows Microsoft Outlook users to participate in a Google Hangout. The plug-in will allow users who don't use Google's apps for their primary communications outlet the ability to participate in video chat without the need to pay for a Google Apps for Business account.
Sony has announced an update for its Android-based Smartwatch 2, adding a customizable watch face editor. Various widgets can be selected that include date, weather, calendar, Bluetooth, notifications, and more, with third-party developers welcomed to create new content. The Smartwatch 2 now has a built-in calculator app featured in the new update, as well as improved Gmail and Facebook apps. Featuring six new wallpaper options, the watch offers a new low-light double tap function that increases the display's brightness by thirty percent when touched. According to Sony's blog post, new options and further developments are on the horizon.
Messaging app Google+ Hangouts has received an update for iOS devices. Google+ Hangouts features free group audio calling with up to 10 people, and phone calls can be made through the app for free to numbers in the US and Canada. Now optimized for use on iPad, users of v2.0 can access picture-in-picture video calling as well as record and send video messages up to 10 seconds long. The app has been updated to reflect iOS 7, and has the addition of shareable animated stickers for expressing feelings and sending a map of one's current location. Google+ Hangouts is free to download, and is available on iTunes.
Google on Thursday released new versions of both its Hangouts communications suite and the Google Keyboard, bringing both of those apps to par with the versions shown off as part of Android 4.4 KitKat. The Hangouts app, in particular, saw the largest update, with Google bringing SMS and MMS messaging functionality to that app. Users can now receive text and picture messages sent to their regular phone numbers in the Hangouts app.
Google has opened up its Hangouts-based video support service to the general public. Google Helpouts, a service that was accepting applications by experts to offer their advice to others in late August, is now allowing users to search for and pay for a video conference with an expert to help them with a specific task or for general advice.
Google has introduced a new initiative, Connected Classrooms, that aims to enable "virtual field trips" via Google+ Hangouts. Upcoming events include sessions from the Seattle Aquarium and the Minnesota Zoo, along with a program "from the cockpit of a solar plane."
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Apple brings iTunes Movie Trailers app to Canada
After five years, Apple has expanded its iTunes Movie Trailers app for iOS to Canada. As of Saturday, the free app allows movie buffs to see HD movie trailers for new studio and independent features, and explore some other movie-related extras such as photos, behind-the-scenes footage, or clips from upcoming films. Users can save trailers for quick access, read reviews from RottenTomatoes.com within the app, use AirPlay to send them to an Apple TV, share trailers, and peruse the top movie charts. http://apple.co/1UUKtwr
Apple expands CloudKit API, provides web interface
On Friday, Apple notified developers that it was expanding a feature of CloudKit to allow for server-to-server web service requests. "In addition to providing a web interface for users to access the same data as your app, you can now easily read and write to the CloudKit public database from a server-side process or script with a server-to-server key," Apple said in its announcement. Previously, interaction with the CloudKit public database was limited to apps and web only. http://apple.co/20h1RwP
Remote S for Tesla Apple Watch app drives car out
Developer Allen Wong has created the Remote S for Tesla app, which can be used to remotely activate the Model S electric car via an Apple Watch, and drive it a short distance. Aside from providing data about the car and some basic function controls, the unofficial app uses the manufacturer's Summon command to allow the car to turn on, exit the garage, and park near to the user's location. The app is available to purchase from the App Store for $10. http://apple.co/1PprF4t
Seagate 3TB unreliability suit expands
The Seagate 3TB class-action hard drive lawsuit has been expanded to more devices. The expanded suit, filed today, now includes Seagate's Barracuda 3TB Hard Disk Drive, Desktop HDD 3TB, Backup Plus 3TB External Hard Disk Drive, GoFlex 3TB External Hard Disk Drive, or any other Seagate hard drive with model number ST3000DM001. The law firm, Hagens Berman, is seeking information from consumers such as time in service, purchase price, and the nature of any drive received in return from Seagate as a replacement for a failed unit. http://bit.ly/1Pc34Cq
BlackBerry Canada, Florida hit with layoffs
The BlackBerry campus has reportedly been wracked with layoffs. Sources familiar with the company's Waterloo office staffing claim that close to 35 percent of the local workforce has been laid off, with the deepest cuts being made in the BlackBerry 10 OS and hardware teams. Additionally, the state of Florida has been officially notified that the company's Sunrise facility will see 75 people fired. Enthusiast site Mobilesyrup puts the layoffs at around 1000 total. http://bit.ly/1Pc1Rep
Instagram tests multiple account support for iOS
Instagram is trialling support for multiple accounts in its iPhone app with a small number of users. The Facebook-owned photo sharing service confirmed the reports of the tests to TechCrunch, which will allow a single user to manage more than a single account within the app, transferring between two or three accounts with a few taps. It is unclear when the feature will roll out to the public, but it has previously tested it with the Android version of the app since November. http://tcrn.ch/1SPKEKh
Foxconn CEO declares Sharp deal near done
The Foxconn bid for Sharp is allegedly only waiting on specific details of the deal. Foxconn CEO Terry Gou has declared that his company has privileged negotiation rights for the Apple iPhone screen supplier, saying that "we have a consensus, the rest is a process ... I don't see a problem completing this process." Gou hopes the deal, worth up to $5.6 billion, will be formalized by the end of February. http://reut.rs/1SPEQjN