Facebook, like Twitter, is going all in on video. The social network's latest move is to bring video to its second greatest love -- Facebook Messenger. You'd be forgiven for thinking that this is not exactly new, and you'd be right.
Facebook Messenger has included a video calling option, but Facebook is concerned that this is being reserved for 'special occasions'. Instant Video is an extra new feature that is designed to make it easier to show things that can't be properly described in words, or even static pictures.
Google's seemingly relentless expansion into just about every field of business looks set to continue as the company prepares to enter the ride-sharing arena. The likes of Lyft and Uber have already proved that there is a strong demand for such car-pooling services.
Following on from a pilot program in San Francisco, Google is set to make use of its Waze app to put commuters in touch with each other. Come the end of 2016, the program will be opened up to anyone in the Bay Area, with the possibility of a wider expansion later.
Google has announced an update to the search function on Android devices. Helpfully named In Apps, the new search mode makes it possible to not only search online for information, but to scour the apps you have installed.
The update means that it's now easier than ever to find particular messages, files, videos and contacts. There's no need to have a data connection to make use of the new search mode, meaning that Android search now operates far more like searching from the Start menu in Windows 10.
On all mobile platforms -- and, indeed, desktop ones -- there are no end of apps and websites that can be used to earn money and other rewards in return for providing feedback. Google, however, has a different idea.
The company has released a new app for Android called Crowdsource. The idea is to improve the likes of Google Maps and Google Translate with input from the likes of you and I. But rather than paying contributors -- or even offering any kind of incentive -- Google is rather cheekily looking for help completely gratis.
Switching from an iPhone to an Android smartphone can be quite daunting, which is why two years ago Google created an online guide to help users migrate important data, like contacts, photos, and music. And it has left it at that, leaving it to iPhone switchers to find it on their own.
But, as you may know, newer versions of Android have made it easier for users to move their data from another Android device and now, with the introduction of Nougat, those wanting to migrate content from an iPhone or iPad are getting a dedicated import option too, while setting up their new device.
In the ongoing smartphone performance and reliability battle, Apple has lost its leading position to Android for the first time in the second quarter of 2016.
Plagued by crashing apps, WiFi connectivity and other performance issues, the iOS failure rate more than doubled to 58 percent, compared to a 25 percent failure rate in the previous quarter, according to the research by mobile device diagnostics company Blancco Technology Group.
Three months after unveiling Opera VPN for iOS, browser developer Opera Software has launched Opera VPN 1.0 for Android. The Android build offers the same functionality as the iOS version -- secure VPN encryption to the web (with support for spoofing one of five countries), plus the blocking of both ads and tracking cookies. It also offers one extra feature not (yet) present in Open VPN for iOS: a tool for determining the security of the current network.
Virtual Private Networks provide users with a secure network connection over any internet connection, including insecure networks such as public Wi-Fi hotspots. VPNs can also be used to trick websites into believing the user is connecting from a different country to the one they’re in, helping bypass geographic restrictions.
There have been numerous beta versions of Android 7.0 Nougat, and now the official rollout is underway. This is not a full-scale rollout just yet -- it's limited to the Nexus 6P, 5X, 6, 9, and Nexus Player, as well as the Pixel C and General Mobile 4G.
You'll notice that the Nexus 5 is missing from the list, but the remainder of the handsets are in line for an OTA update anytime over the coming weeks starting today. If you're impatient, you can always download the factory images and flash your device manually, but whichever route you go down, what do you have to look forward to?
Windows continues to lose ground to Android and iOS in the smartphone market, according to a new report from Gartner. Driven by the poor performance of the Lumia line, its share dropped to just 0.6 percent in Q2 2016, down from 2.5 percent a year ago.
Microsoft is the largest platform vendor, selling over 90 percent of the smartphones that run Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile, so its performance has a direct impact on Windows' share in this market. And, since in Q2 2016 it only sold 1.2 million Lumia devices, it dealt the platform yet another blow.
As an iPhone user, there is one thing that I am jealous of when it comes to Android -- wireless charging. While plugging in a cable is hardly a chore, a wireless charging pad is not only more convenient, but really cool too -- it feels futuristic. It is not enough to make me leave iOS, but I digress.
If you have a Qi-enabled smartphone, and want to buy a wireless charger, Satechi has a new product that may interest you. The unimaginatively named 'Wireless Charging Pad' looks great and is reasonably priced. Best of all, if your phone is compatible with fast-charging technology, Satechi's offering can charge your device faster than standard wireless chargers.
Yeah, OK... it's only August, but we're going to start talking about Christmas. Well... Google is, anyway. As it has done for a few years now, the company is planning to run its Santa Tracker tool in December and it has a few updates to share.
The web and mobile based versions of the tool are open source, meaning that developers are free to work their Christmassy magic and come up with new and innovative ideas for kids.
If you're working with bleeding edge Chrome for Android, you can experiment with an updated version of the New Tab page. Anyone with Chrome Dev or Beta installed can toggle a settings flag to bring extra content to new tabs.
The updated New Tab page features -- in addition to your most frequently visited sites and a list of recent bookmarks -- a collection of suggested news stories, similar to those found on Google Now cards.
Barnes and Noble's color-screen NOOK tablets are really just repurposed Samsung Android devices. You know what? That is totally fine. Heck, B and N doesn't even try to hide it. While the company could go the route of Amazon and produce its own hardware and operating system, many consumers don't really want that. Without the Google Play Store, an Android tablet is largely a big disappointment.
Today, Barnes and Noble announces the latest such NOOK Android tablet, which is based on the 7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab A. While not a top of the line tablet by any means, it is affordable, and overall, a damn good value. Existing NOOK tablet owners can even get a substantial discount when upgrading.
Android has had something of a rough time of things lately with the discovery of the Quadrooter vulnerability and the revelation that a flaw in version 3.6 of the Linux kernel also affects Google's mobile operating system.
Security firm Lookout estimates that 80 percent of Android devices (around 1.4 billion devices) are affected. While initial reports suggested that devices up to Android 4.4 KitKat are at risk, further testing shows that the problem still exists all the way up to Android 7.0 Nougat.
It could be argued that with Android and Chrome OS, Google already has more than its fair share of operating systems; but there's another one in the pipeline.
Very little is known about it at the moment, but Google has a new operating system project underway called Fuchsia. There's a GitHub page up and running, where you can find out about the Fuchsia kernel -- a kernel that is designed with scalability and multi-device, cross-platform compatibility in mind.