Facebook, YouTube and Messenger the Top Apps for 2015

Facebook was the top app this year based on the average number of unique users, according to Nielsen. Facebook has more than 126 million unique users each month. Video powerhouse YouTube followed with 97 million unique users. Meanwhile, Facebook Messenger is the fastest growing app with a 31 percent increase in users since last year. More than 96 million unique users are using the Facebook Messenger app to chat each month; it is the third most popular app of the year. Continue reading Facebook, YouTube and Messenger the Top Apps for 2015

Quip Launches New Desktop Version of its Productivity Software

Quip, a company founded by Google vets Bret Taylor and Kevin Gibbs, recently released its mobile creation and collaboration tool for desktop computers. The toolset enables users to connect desktops and mobile devices to the cloud for a version of distributed computing, usually the purview of large data centers. Part of an emerging trend to use as much computing as possible, Quip’s solution has similarities to Amazon’s Silk browser in the Kindle, which has features of local and cloud computing. Continue reading Quip Launches New Desktop Version of its Productivity Software

GOG Galaxy: New DRM-Free Online Gaming Service Goes Live

After a yearlong wait, game publisher Good Old Games (GOG) has finally launched online gaming platform GOG Galaxy, that much like Steam, updates games automatically. However, with GOG Galaxy the games can be downloaded without DRM restrictions for offline gameplay as well. Galaxy’s online social features and automatic updates are said to be optional and can be turned on and off as desired. A beta version of GOG Galaxy is now available for Mac and Windows users. Continue reading GOG Galaxy: New DRM-Free Online Gaming Service Goes Live

NAB 2015: Five Startups Win Best of SPROCKIT Awards in Vegas

The winners of the inaugural Best of SPROCKIT Awards have been announced at the NAB Show in Las Vegas. Five out of 30 startups showcased by SPROCKIT were chosen through voting by the trade show’s attendees. The winning companies were Fluendo (video analysis and multimedia), Psychability (big data and analytics for TV), Yottio (real-time video streaming and trafficking), ScoreStream (crowd-sourced sports information and chat), and Unruly (video ad distribution in native formats across the Open Web). Continue reading NAB 2015: Five Startups Win Best of SPROCKIT Awards in Vegas

Facebook Wants Developers to Integrate Apps with Messenger

At this week’s F8 developer conference in San Francisco, Facebook announced that it is opening up its Messenger app with a platform for creating apps. This will allow developers to build apps that can integrate with the social network’s instant-messaging service, which presently touts 600 million users. Nearly 50 integrated apps have been created under the program, including those from Bad Robot, ESPN and The Weather Channel. The service also supports 360-degree video with Facebook’s Oculus VR format. Continue reading Facebook Wants Developers to Integrate Apps with Messenger

Facebook Messenger Will Roll Out Voice-to-Text Capabilities

Facebook will continue to improve its Messenger app this year. The standalone app already has more than 500 million monthly users, but the company is hoping to get to a billion users by the end of the year. One attractive new feature will be the voice-to-text transcription. A release date has yet to be announced, but the company is already testing it. Also, Facebook will experiment with ways to generate revenue and give people a way to communicate with businesses on the Messenger app. Continue reading Facebook Messenger Will Roll Out Voice-to-Text Capabilities

Tumblr Takes Lead as World’s Fastest Growing Social Platform

While Facebook is by far the world’s leading social platform (with 1.35 billion active monthly users), new research from the Global Web Index points to Tumblr as the fastest growing platform. Tumblr’s active user base grew 120 percent over the last six months, while Facebook only experienced a 2 percent bump. And in terms of overall member growth, Pinterest had 57 percent growth, compared to Facebook’s base growth of 6 percent. In mobile apps, Snapchat saw the most growth, up 56 percent this year. Continue reading Tumblr Takes Lead as World’s Fastest Growing Social Platform

Rooms: Facebook Embraces Anonymity with New Chat App

Facebook’s new “Rooms” app is reminiscent of the Internet bulletin boards and chatrooms of old. The iOS mobile app allows users to create discussion boards on almost any topic and chat with people they may or may not know. Participants can use any username they want and they can change usernames in different rooms. Unlike traditional text-heavy, desktop-based chatrooms, the Rooms app is designed for users to post videos and images and have online discussions on-the-go. Continue reading Rooms: Facebook Embraces Anonymity with New Chat App

Encrypted Communication Tools Seeking Mainstream Users

Apps and other products that enable encrypted communication are on the rise. Even tech giants like Google and Yahoo have promised to give encrypted sites a higher ranking in search results and to start encrypting emails. However, the creators of encryption apps, such as ProtonMail or Bleep, are still looking for mainstream users, not just gadget enthusiasts or security-conscious professionals. These companies are targeting mainstream users concerned about their privacy. Continue reading Encrypted Communication Tools Seeking Mainstream Users

Bleep: BitTorrent Develops Secure Calling and Messaging App

San Francisco’s BitTorrent is leveraging its expertise in online file sharing tech to develop Bleep, an encrypted snoop-proof chat app. None of the texts or calls are stored, and only the two computers are involved in the communication. While the NSA could potentially monitor the interactions, the job becomes much more difficult with the new app. Not only does Bleep encrypt its traffic and encourage users to keep their identities secret, but it also uses no central server. Continue reading Bleep: BitTorrent Develops Secure Calling and Messaging App

Facebook Reportedly Developing a Version for the Workplace

Facebook is currently building FB@Work, a version of its social media platform specifically designed for use during work hours. The effort, based in London, is a version of the site optimized for professional use, although sources did not specify whether FB@Work would focus on a chat system for communication within the office, or if it would be a professional social tool along the lines of LinkedIn. The general idea, however, is to create a version of Facebook that is less distracting in a work environment. Continue reading Facebook Reportedly Developing a Version for the Workplace

Intel Enters the Mobile App Business with Avatar Messages

Last week, chipmaker Intel introduced its own mobile app called “Pocket Avatars.” Unlike most of Intel’s functional software, Pocket Avatars is purely recreational. The app uses a smartphone’s camera and microphone to record the user’s voice and facial movements. Then the app translates those signals into a talking, animated avatar message that users can send to their friends. The free app is available for iPhones and Android smartphones. Continue reading Intel Enters the Mobile App Business with Avatar Messages

Facebook Splitting Instant Messaging Feature to Separate App

Facebook is beginning to split some of its features into separate apps, starting with extracting instant messaging from its mobile app. If users want to chat with each other through Facebook, they will have to download Facebook’s separate Messenger app. Facebook recently notified users of the change, and will be rolling it out over the next few weeks. This signals a change for the social giant, and critics suggest this sacrifice in user engagement could make Facebook lose users. Continue reading Facebook Splitting Instant Messaging Feature to Separate App

Microsoft Announces Studio-Grade Skype TX for Broadcasters

Microsoft’s latest messaging tech, Skype TX, integrates high-quality Skype calls into broadcasting. The new product, which bypasses ads and notifications, is studio-grade software that offers improved video and audio quality. It features HD-SDI video output and input, balanced audio output and input, auto aspect ratio conversion, support for multiple calls and API integration. Microsoft envisions TV shows, news programs and live events using Skype TX to connect with people outside of the studio. Continue reading Microsoft Announces Studio-Grade Skype TX for Broadcasters

New Software Lets Chat Apps Connect Phones Without Internet

The recently released FireChat mobile app stands out from competitors as the only messaging app that can be used without cell phone reception. FireChat makes use of Apple’s multipeer connectivity introduced in iOS 7, which enables phones to connect with each other directly via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. FireChat users within 100 feet of one another can exchange messages without sending data through a cellular provider. A future of similar apps not reliant upon the Internet could open new possibilities and address privacy concerns. Continue reading New Software Lets Chat Apps Connect Phones Without Internet

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