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Programs & Apps

  • 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...

  • Google’s killing its Inbox app in 2019

    Google's graveyard is about to get bigger by one more service. Following in the vein of Reader, Wave and Picasa, Google's Inbox email app will be killed off from March 2019, the company announced on Wednesday. Inbox, which debuted in 2014, is a radical redesign of Google's more tradition email management app Gmail. In an article covering its launch, we called it "a cross-breed between Facebook’s News Feed and Google Now, with highlights of your travel itineraries, pictures and the works; all looking colourful."Goo But from 2019, users will either have to find a new email management app, or use Gmail. This Google...

  • Facebook Lite now comes with Community Help feature

    Last year, Facebook launched Community Help, a feature that allows people to communicate with, and help each other during times of crisis. Now the feature is coming to Facebook Lite, a lower data usage version of the Facebook app on Android. “In many areas around the world, networks can be slow and unreliable. This can be even more challenging after a crisis, when communication is critical,” the social network explains. The addition of Community Help to Facebook Lite now opens the service to countries with slower internet connection speeds and lower-specification smartphones. According to the social network, over 100 countries use its...

  • WhatsApp may soon be coming to your KaiOS feature phone

    WhatsApp has announced a new version of its app will be available on the JioPhone, a phone that runs on KaiOS. KaiOS, based on what was known as FirefoxOS at one point in time, runs on low-powered feature phones. A few of said phones are available in South Africa too, like the Nokia 8110. The chat application will soon terminate support for older Android smartphones, iOS and Windows devices. Notably, it's the first indication that the social messenger now supports the operating system, even though it does allow for some apps and internet connectivity. This too is an indication that the app may...

  • Google’s ‘Art Selfie’ is now available in South Africa

    Good news, everyone. You can now find your art doppelganger online thanks to Google's Arts & Culture app's latest update. The update activates the Art Selfie feature globally, which allows users to find their art lookalike from Google's wealth of cached historical and contemporary artwork. Art Selfie first launched in January in the US, and for a moment became one of the internet's strangest memes... largely because it wasn't very good. Google thought some users' dogs we're similar to paintings of men, while one user in particular was likened to a caricature of Mark Wahlberg. Seriously bro, ouch. Beyond the Art Selfie feature though,...