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Programs & Apps

  • Netflix’s Smart Downloads features heads to iOS

    Netflix's Smart Downloads feature is now available on iOS, the company announced on Thursday. Smart Downloads was first released to Android in July 2018. The feature allows users to download new episodes immediately after the previous one is complete. It will also delete the older episode automatically. To use the feature, users will be required to connect to WiFi. Smart Downloads are also entirely opt-in, and can be switched on or off from the app's Downloads section. Feature image: Netflix

  • Google debuts Live Transcribe, Sound Amplifier apps for Android Pie

    Google has revealed two new accessibility apps for Android 9.0 Pie meant to help those with hearing difficulties. In a blog post, the company's head of product for accessibility Brian Kemler revealed Live Transcribe and Sound Amplifier, and both are fairly self explanatory. Live Transcribe This is a tool that translates audio into text in real time. When the app is enabled, it uses your microphone to transcribe the speech around you so that you may read it on your phone as it happens. "Live Transcribe has the potential to give people who are deaf or hard of hearing greater independence in their everyday...

  • Mozilla Firefox 66 will mute autoplay videos by default

    Developer Mozilla announced on Monday that Firefox 66 will mute automatically playing video content on web pages by default. This means that when you're browsing the web through Mozilla Firefox, videos that play automatically will be silenced. "We know that unsolicited volume can be a great source of distraction and frustration for users of the web," the company's Chris Pearce said in a blog post. "Any playback that happens before the user has interacted with a page via a mouse click, printable key press, or touch event, is deemed to be autoplay and will be blocked if it is potentially audible." The company...

  • You can now lock WhatsApp with your face, fingerprint on iPhone

    WhatsApp doesn't want anyone who isn't you reading your messages. On Tuesday the company announced that iPhone users can now enable Touch ID and Face ID on the messaging service. This means that, as an iPhone user, you can now lock and unlock your WhatsApp and only gain access with your fingerprint or face. "At WhatsApp, we care deeply about private messaging, and today we're excited to introduce Touch ID and Face ID on iPhone to help prevent someone from taking your phone and reading your messages," the company announced on its blog. You can access the new feature under the...

  • Google Arts & Culture app hides its cool features in new ‘camera’ tab

    Google's Arts & Culture app has moved a number of features into its new "camera tab", including its new "Art Projector" and "Art Selfie". According to a release on its blog, Google noted that the former allows you to "place your favourite masterpieces in your kitchen, office or backyard". It's joined by Art Selfie, which lets users find their art doppelgangers (albeit, not very effectively) and two additional features: Colour Palette and Pocket Gallery. "Color Palette finds multiple artworks from around the world that exactly match the color in the photo you just snapped," explained Google, while Pocket Gallery creates...

  • Gmail’s mobile app is getting a big Material Design UI refresh

    Google is finally refreshing Gmail's dated appearance on mobile, bringing its aesthetic in line with the service's web version, and other Material Design-themed G Suite apps. The new look includes more rounded labels and icons, lack of solid lines between each email, and the red header at the top of the screen which makes for a cleaner appearance. Additional tweaks under the hood are also present. "As part of the new design, you can quickly view attachments -- like photo -- without opening or scrolling through the conversation, " the company further noted. The app will also send users alerts for suspicious looking...

  • Uber Lite should be the only Uber app you need

    There are many lite versions of popular apps today, all aiming to make our lives easier when we're struggling with data costs, low storage and terrible internet service providers. Now Uber has brought a lite version of its app to South Africa. I recently came across the Uber Lite via an email from the company, saying that it would help me "even with limited connectivity, mobile data or battery life". With my smartphone struggling with storage issues, the app being just 5MB, and data being considerably expensive, I decided to give it a try. It was almost (almost) better than the...

  • Facebook is shutting down Moments in February

    Facebook is shutting down Moments, its photo sharing app. In an interview with CNET, the company revealed Moments will be shut down at the end of February. Moments allowed Facebook users to share photos with contacts privately, without uploading them. "We know the photos people share are important to them so we will continue offering ways to save memories within the Facebook app," said Rushabh Doshi, Moments' director of product management. The company has set up a website that will allow users to export their images before the platform is discontinued. "You can start your export from any device. If you create private...

  • Netflix lets users ‘share’ what they’re watching on Instagram Stories

    A new update to Netflix lets users share what they're watching to Instagram Stories, according to a report by TechCrunch. The update, which is available for iOS users only, can be accessed via the Netflix app's "share" button, where you will find the Instagram Stories option. Other options including WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Line and Twitter are also listed. "We’re always on the lookout for ways to make it easier for members to share the Netflix titles they’re obsessing about and help them discover something new to watch," the company told the publication. Netflix has previously drawn inspiration from Instagram Stories for its...

  • WhatsApp rolls out its message forwarding limit worldwide

    WhatsApp is rolling out its revised forwarding limit worldwide in an effort to curb the spread of false information. The feature was released in India last year, and limits users to five forwarding shares. This means that when you receive one of those "kidnappers are in your area" chain messages, you will only be able to spread the fake news to five other contacts. "Starting today, all users on the latest versions of WhatsApp can now forward to only five chats at once, which will help keep WhatsApp focused on private messaging with close contacts," WhatsApp said in an updated blog post. The...

  • Google Maps is rolling out new speed limit features

    Google Maps will soon display speed limits while navigating maps to help users drive more safely. According to Android Police thanks to tips from its community, some versions of Google's navigation app now feature speed limit notifications along with speed trap and crash alerts for both Android and iOS. This means that Google Maps will now indicate the speed limit along your route, and alert you if you're exceeding it, or if there have been crashes and speed traps set up on your route. These features are similarly available on Waze, a popular navigation app which Google bought in 2013. It's not clear...

  • WhatsApp’s working on a fingerprint security feature for iOS, Android

    A future version of WhatsApp may be secured, locked and unlocked by your fingerprint, according to data mined by WABetaInfo. The WhatsApp enthusiast blog in early January revealed that the Facebook-owned company is looking to use Android's authentication system to better secure the app. Users will enroll their fingerprint to their device, check a box that will activate the feature, and touch the sensor with that same finger to "unlock" the app. Read more: The WhatsApp questions you were too embarrassed to ask, answered According to WABetaInfo, WhatsApp is also working on an authentication method that uses Apple's Face ID and Touch ID...

  • Twitter for Android has a new reverse chronological feed button

    In its neverending quest to stay relevant while pleasing its users at the same time, Twitter on Tuesday announced the addition of a new button to its Android app. Said button, located in the top right hand corner (essentially, the star cluster emoji), switches between the social network's two distinct feed styles: reverse chronological, and algorithmic. https://twitter.com/Twitter/status/1085265146644058112?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw The feature was first added to iOS in mid-December, but has now made its way to Google's platform. As for the community reception of the new feature? In a case of "that's still not good enough for me", some users wanted the company to scrap its algorithmic...

  • Google Chrome will start blocking harmful ads globally from July

    Google Chrome will block harmful ads worldwide from July 2019, following the new standards determined by the Coalition for Better Ads. "Today, the Coalition for Better Ads announced that it is expanding their initial Better Ads Standards beyond North America and Europe to cover all countries, worldwide," explained Google on its blog. This means that Chrome will block all advertisements "on sites in any country that repeatedly display these disruptive ads". In December last year, Google Chrome began blocking abusive content on websites within the US and Europe that "violate industry standards and continue to show intrusive, annoying ads to people that...

  • Google Assistant: flight check-ins, ‘interpreter mode’ and more incoming

    Alongside its announcement of new products that will sport Google Assistant in 2019, the company also announced changes to Assistant itself at CES. "By bringing the best of Google services and AI to the Assistant, we're focused on building the most helpful digital assistant when you’re at home, in your car or on the go," the company said on its website. Google Maps You can now use Assistant from within Google Maps for both Android and iOS, allowing users to share Maps info with others, or control the app using voice commands. "With just your voice, you'll be able to share your ETA...