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Programs & Apps

  • If there’s something strange in your neighbourhood, it’s Google Maps’ new game

    Earlier this year Google made it possible for game developers to design games that can be played in the real world using Google Maps. Today the company has revealed one of those games, and in true October style, it's Ghostbusters. “With Ghostbusters World, the newest game built with Google Maps, you can grab your virtual proton pack and bust ghosts—all as you explore a game world built on the Google Maps you know and love,” said Google in the announcement. This means Google Maps will not only help you get to your destination, but also aid you in the battle against ghosts...

  • You can now ‘follow’ your favourite places on Google Maps

    Forget following people and hashtags, Google Maps will let you follow your favourite locations. When you select a place or business, a follow button will be available below its star rating, journey time, and business type. Simply tap the button to follow the place of interest. When following businesses, the app will keep you updated on the latest news at your regular hang out spots and frequented shops.. “Once you’ve followed places, news from them -- like events, offers and other updates -- will appear in the For You tab,” said Google in the announcement. Google Maps will also list businesses for up...

  • Messenger 4 is a simpler, more colourful version of Facebook’s chat app

    Facebook has announced a simpler version of Facebook Messenger, called Messenger 4, will begin rolling out globally. “We believe Messenger 4 delivers the closeness and authenticity that you’ve been asking for — through simplicity of design and powerful features,” the company said on its website. Messenger 4 will feature a simplified UI with just three tabs to navigate through, as opposed to the current nine. Chats, People and Discover In the Chats tab, you'll find private and group messages along with the app’s camera feature. In the People tab, you can find your contacts and view their Facebook Stories. The Discover tab is “where you can...

  • Google brings 4K upgrades to Google Play Movies & TV

    Google has revealed upgrades for Google Play Movies & TV that will allow users in the US and Canada to watch content in 4K. According to the announcement, all movies you have already bought will now be streamed in 4K -- that is four times the resolution of Full HD -- while you can buy new titles in 4K at lower prices. “We think watching in 4K should be a no brainer, so we’re continuously...

  • Mozilla is testing its own VPN service in Firefox

    Mozilla has announced that it will be providing a VPN service for its Firefox browser to a select number of its users. Said users will now be able to buy a virtual private network (VPN) from Firefox itself to provide online privacy. “Across numerous studies we’ve consistently heard from our users that they want Firefox to protect their privacy on public networks,” the company explained in a blog post. A VPN, as described by Mozilla, is “an online service and a piece of software that work together to secure your internet connection against monitoring and eavesdropping”. The service will run as an experiment...

  • You can now share your Google Maps ETA on iOS

    Those who use iOS devices, like the iPad and iPhone, can now enjoy the ETA feature of Google Maps. The feature, which hit Android devices earlier this year, allows you to share your route with others while you’re travelling, keeping them abreast of where you are and your expected time of arrival. “After you’ve started navigating to a destination, tap on the ˄ button and then on ‘Share trip progress.’ From here you’ll be able to share your live location, route, and ETA with all your favourite contacts,” Google explained in the announcement. The update also includes improvements to the feature as...

  • Spotify’s first Wear OS app is coming to your smartwatch

    Spotify is finally launching a standalone app for Wear OS, Google's smartwatch operating system. Announced by the Scandanavian firm on Wednesday, it confirmed that the app will feature most of the bells and whistles of the Android app. This concludes scrolling playlists, the ability to cast via Spotify Connect, and the like button. "We’re excited to bring improved on-the-go-access to your favorite music and podcasts to millions of Spotify users on Wear OS by Google smartwatches," said Mikael Ericsson, the firm's senior product director. "Being able to easily access, control, and connect music directly from your wrist opens up a world of new...

  • Winamp revival to challenge the streaming music elite in 2019

    It's a tough time to be a traditional desktop media player. While video spinners like VLC can still live in harmony alongside Netflix and co, audio players like Winamp have faded into obscurity thanks to streaming music services like Spotify. But that's seemingly about to change. Winamp's owner Radionomy is set to totally overhaul the program in 2019, transforming it from a single-use audio player into a podcasting, streaming and radio platform, etcetera. "There will be a completely new version next year, with the legacy of Winamp but a more complete listening experience," Alexandre Saboundijian, Radionomy CEO, told TechCrunch. "People want one...

  • Bye bye Reply: Google is burying yet another promising app

    When Google isn't launching phones with enormous notches, or leaking internal memos of its struggles with censorship, it's killing promising apps and services that heaps of users love. The latest victim? Reply. A lesser known app in the Google stable, Reply was a smart notification app that could either respond to messages itself, or prompt the user to select from a number of AI-enriched and contextually aware replies. It was particularly useful for travellers, as Reply could sense when its master was in a car, walking or cycling and notify the messager accordingly. It didn't just serve Google messaging apps either. WhatsApp,...

  • Instagram is fighting bullying and spreading happiness with new tools

    Instagram this week introduced new features to help fight online bullying in its community of users. In an announcement yesterday, new man-in-charge Adam Mosseri revealed the anti-bullying tools, saying that “there is no place for bullying on Instagram”. “That’s why today we’re announcing our latest tools to help combat bullying, including a new way to identify and report bullying in photos,” he explained. By using machine learning Instagram will now be able to detect harmful content in pictures and captions so that they can be removed accordingly. “This change will help us identify and remove significantly more bullying — and it’s a crucial next step...

  • Twitter adds data saving feature to its iOS, Android apps

    In a tweet yesterday, Twitter Support announced a new data saver mode for the social media platform on both Android and iOS. “When turned on, images will load in lower quality, and videos won't autoplay,” the tweet explained. Reduce your data usage with data saver mode on Twitter for iOS and Android.📱 When turned on, images will load in lower quality, and videos won't autoplay. When you want to view images in higher quality, tap the more icon and select "Load High Quality". — Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) October 3, 2018 You’ll still be able to see high quality images though, if you choose to. The...

  • Instagram now has scannable name tags to help you connect

    Instagram has added a new nametag feature to help you connect with people around you. The nametag, which you can find in the settings menu of your profile is “uniquely yours and makes it quick and fun to add people and accounts you discover in person”. You can customize your nametag to and extent, as Instagram allows you to choose between colour schemes, emojis or your own selfie. “To scan someone’s nametag, you can either swipe right into the camera, hover over the nametag and hold down on your screen, or enter the camera by tapping ‘Scan a nametag’,” the company explains. Though...

  • 3 Twitter apps for Android that use less data

    Now that the glorious days of MTN's Free Twitter are over, and we're done mourning, you're probably intent on saving all the data you possibly can. Even if you're one of the fortunate few on an unlimited plan, saving data is still good practice. But did you know that there are alternative Twitter apps that you can customise to use much less data? Here are three primed for use on cheaper phones and slower networks for data-deprived users. Twidere Twidere is an open-source and extremely lightweight Twitter app, with additional support for Mastodon. Aesthetically, it's quite fetching, as users can customise colours and themes. It...

  • Google launches new voice control app for Android

    Google has launched a new accessibility app for Android devices called Voice Access. The app “provides a hands-free experience for Android, letting people navigate through apps, compose and edit text, and talk to the Google Assistant,” Google said in the announcement. This means that you will now be able to use your voice to control and command your Android device. This accessibility does not only provide ease-of-access for all, but also helps those with physical disabilities have more autonomy when using their tech devices. In fact, Google’s Accessibility team includes impaired individuals who help test and develop products such as Voice Access. The company...

  • Google Maps’ new updates makes commuting across your city much easier

    Google Maps is this week getting another update, specifically for people who travel across their city. The app will now feature a new "Commute" tab on the lower navigation menu, which "provides one-tap access to live traffic and transit information tailored to your commute". Said tailored info includes the average journey duration along your normal route, route deviations if there are obstructions, and notifications if there are disruptions to your normal commute. Google Maps doesn't just cater for drivers though. The company revealed that public transit modes are now also supported. "You can see helpful information about when to leave, and for each...