Today Facebook launches a new standalone website for its Messenger service. The separate interface means that it is now possible to chat with your Facebook contacts without having to visit the main Facebook website where you might run the risk of whiling away too much time reading through your timeline as well.
On mobile devices, Facebook has moved users to a dedicated Messenger app rather than allowing them to chat within the main app. By bringing the web-based version of the social network's chat tool in line with the iOS, Windows Phone and Android versions, Facebook has made chatting a distinct feature that can now be conducted completely separately in its own tab.
A number of consumer groups have filed a complaint with the FTC suggesting that Google is targeting children with "unfair and deceptive" ads in YouTube Kids for Android and iOS. A letter signed by Children Now, Consumer Watchdog, Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood, and others says that ads are displayed in a way that would not be permitted on broadcast or cable television.
The letter makes three main complaints about the app. The first suggests that Google mixes programming and ads, while another says that the relationship between Google and the manufacturers of advertised products is not clear. The groups ask for the FTC to take action to stop the advertisements.
Facebook is about more than being social; it's about presenting a version of yourself to other people. When you share a photo of your meal, you're making a statement: "look at this delicious expensive meal I can afford", "look at the fancy restaurant we're visiting", or "gosh, aren't I healthy for making this salad?". But of course Facebook is not just filled with photos of food -- there are also photos of kids, presenting an image of family life.
Starting today, Facebook is rolling out a new scrapbooking feature designed specifically for pulling together photos of your child. The idea is to make it easier to collect together photos into one place so you can view all of your memories without having to jump from place to place.
Microsoft has announced that mobile device management is now available in Office 365 for commercial customers. The feature is built into the office suite and allows administrators to control access to Office 365 data by Android, iOS and Windows Phone tablets and phones.
Security is very much at the heart of Office 365's mobile device management, and it includes a remote wipe feature. For businesses who have embraced the BYOD philosophy, this will bring peace of mind as it allows for the remote removal of Office and associated files even on personal devices.
You've probably heard that size matters, and Microsoft agrees. If you're carrying about a mobile device that measures 10.1 inches or less, the chances are you're not using a "professional" device -- at least this is what Microsoft believes.
10.1 inches, 256.54 millimetres, 25.654 centimetres; this is the new dividing line between what is classed as a personal device, and which is professional. This is interesting to know, but what does it actually mean? For starters, if you fall into the "personal" category, you're entitled to a free copy of Office.
Foursquare (remember that app?) is joining forces with Twitter to make tweets more relevant to specific locations. At the moment it is possible to tag your location in a tweet, but you're limited to mentioning the town or city you find yourself in.
With the new partnership, you'll be able to tag individual locations such as the Starbucks you're sitting in with your iPhone or Android handset. It's a feature that takes advantage of the huge cache of data Foursquare has built up over the years and something that provides yet another way for users to search for data and, importantly, for Twitter to monetize data.
When I first pondered leaving Windows Phone behind, I imagined it would be for an Android flagship. It made sense. Android is, after all, much more permissive, has way more apps, and is available in a larger variety of smartphone flavors. And Google is committed to improving the operating system, launching at least one major update a year. Also, I use a Google Nexus 7 as my every day tablet; an Android smartphone would be a perfect fit. But things change.
Apple finally came up with bigger iPhones last year, and the prospect of ditching Windows Phone for a new iPhone suddenly became irresistible. It didn't hurt that iOS 8 dropped some of the annoying restrictions of its predecessors. Ultimately, I ended up with an iPhone 6 Plus. And, after two years of Windows Phones, using Apple's phablet as my daily driver can only be described as liberating.
Google has released Google Maps for iOS 4.4, a new version of its map app for iPhone and iPad users.
The new build promises one-tap access to a full-screen map, the ability to view transit colors when viewing public transport directions and the ability to filter search results for Zagat-rated restaurants.
I'm not going to open the 'which mobile operating system is best' can of worms -- let's get that clear from the offset. This is not me trying to push my preferred operating system on you, or trying to convince you that you're wrong about the OS you've opted for. This time it's over to you. What you do want?
Do you want things handed to you on a plate, or would you prefer to be granted more control over the operating system on your phone and tablet? Is there mobile platform that meets your needs at the moment, or would you like to combine elements from Android, iOS, Windows Phone and even BlackBerry OS? Just what is it that makes the perfect operating system for your phone or tablet?
Microsoft regularly pits its personal assistant Cortana against Apple’s Siri in a series of adverts, with predictable results. Cortana is always much smarter, funnier and more helpful. She’s certainly one of the high points of Windows Phone, and is set to make her debut on the desktop when she arrives as part of Windows 10 later this year.
However, it seems Cortana isn’t just going to be confined to working on Windows devices. According to Reuters, Microsoft is also working on bringing the personal assistant to iOS and Android in the form of a standalone app.
With Microsoft we've become used to the idea of publicly available preview builds of Windows 10 for desktop and phone. Now Apple is following suit and making iOS 8.3 available as a public beta. This is the first time a public beta of iOS has been released, although Apple has tried the same tactic with betas of OS X.
The beta is in the process of rolling out at the moment, so you may not be able to grab yourself the bits just yet, but you can get yourself in line. What is there to look forward to? Not much at the moment, apart from wireless CarPlay and new emoji. Here's how to grab the beta.
When Nokia announced the availability of HERE on Google Play, it also announced that an iOS version will follow in early 2015. And today's the day when HERE is finally available on Apple's App Store.
Apple's iOS becomes the last of the major mobile platforms to get HERE, following Microsoft's Windows Phone and Google's Android. I've been waiting for this moment since I switched to iPhone 6 Plus from Windows Phone. Sure, there's always Google Maps, but its inability to work as well as HERE without an Internet connection is a major downside for me.
The Apple Watch was announced just a couple of days ago, and the focus has been very much on the hardware so far. But battery life and the amount of storage aside, this is an Apple product, and that means apps are central to its success. Just like the iPhone and iPad, the Apple Watch is a platform on which developers can work their magic.
One such developer is Christoph Burgdorfer, the man behind -- amongst other things -- WhereAreYou App (Locate a friend), a free app that does very much what it says on the tin. It started life as an iPhone and Android app, but the emergence of Apple Watch opens up another possibility. I caught up with Christoph to chat about what it was like to develop for an unreleased product, and whether Apple got it right with the Apple Watch.
We've had a little time to digest the announcement about the Apple Watch. Many people will be disappointed to learn about the battery life of Apple's first smartwatch, but there's still room for a little more dissatisfaction. Turn your attention, if you will, to storage.
At the Apple Watch launch event, Apple said nothing about the device's storage. Perhaps with good reason. iPhone owners have already complained that their devices do not have enough storage space, and this is a complaint that could be levelled at the Apple Watch as well. There's just 8GB of storage. If this sounds like it makes the device somewhat inflexible, there's worse news. Apple also places restrictions on how you can use this space.
For many people, Apple has long been seen as a company that pumps out expensive products. Today this view was crystallized with the release of the Apple Watch. The Apple Watch Edition, crafted from 18 karat gold has a starting price of $10,000. But if this is a little beyond your reach, there are other options to choose from.
Starting at the more reasonable $349 for a 38mm model, or $399 for the 42mm model, the aluminum Apple Watch Sport is the entry-level version and the one which is likely to sell in the greatest numbers. There's also the eponymous stainless steel Apple Watch which starts at $549 for the 38mm model and $599 for the larger version. Was it worth the wait? Tim Cook would certainly like you to think so.