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Programs & Apps

  • WhatsApp now lets you set descriptions for chat groups

    Have too many WhatsApp groups with arbitrary names? Well now you can add a "group description" to differentiate the one from the other. The feature was first spotted in WhatsApp's beta versions in late February, but is now rolling out to the app's stable channel. As the name of the feature suggests, it allows users to set a brief description for any group made within the chat app. The description will appear below the group's name on the group info page. While this is nice for differentiating the millions of hiking groups I've involuntarily been enrolled in, you may want to guard against...

  • Airbnb adds 21 new accessibility filters for guests

    On the same day Google announced a Maps feature buff for wheelchair users, accommodation service Airbnb updated its app to include new accessibility filters. These 21 new filters will "make it easier for guests with disabilities to find accessible travel accommodation worldwide," the company writes in an update. While users could search for Airbnb listings that were labeled as "wheelchair accessible", this didn't allow users to filter results for more granular needs. "The new filters allow Airbnb guests to search for listings with specific features, including step-free entry to rooms, entryways that are wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair, and more," the...

  • Google Maps now highlights ‘wheelchair accessible’ transit routes (but not in SA just yet)

    If you've been wondering why Google Maps asks you about places and their wheelchair access, you finally have an answer. The company this week announced that it will highlight wheelchair accessible routes within the Google Maps app's transit navigation screen. "To access the 'wheelchair accessible' routes, type your desired destination into Google Maps," explains Rio Akasaka, Google Maps' project manager. "Tap 'Directions' then select the public transportation icon. Then tap 'Options' and under the Routes section, you'll find 'wheelchair accessible' as a new route type." And notably, the data Google asks from you adds to its public transit knowledge base. The company is...

  • Google Lens is now available on iOS via Google Photos

    Last week, Google slapped its AI-powered camera feature Google Lens onto all Android phones running its Photos app. Now, the company is peeking over the fence towards Cupertino, and giving its rival platform some of the augmented reality love. Google Lens is now available to "preview" on the Apple iOS version of Google Photos, the company announced in a tweet. "Starting today and rolling out over the next week, those of you on iOS can try the preview of Google Lens to quickly take action from a photo or discover more about the world around you," it wrote. Starting today and rolling...

  • Facebook adds video chat to Messenger Lite

    Facebook's Messenger Lite app -- a stripped down, bloat-free version of the eponymous chat app -- now has video calling. Messenger Lite is the social network's attempt to penetrate the low-network speed, budget smartphone bracket by stripping the Messenger experience to its core. Features like Facebook Stories (formerly Messenger Day) is not available in the app, but it also lacked other useful features like video calling when it launched last year. However, that's set to change. "In 2017, there were 17-billion video chats in Messenger, twice as many video chats compared to 2016," Facebook explains in an update, suggesting that video is one...

  • Google Lens now live on all Android phones through Photos

    Google's funky new camera party trick, Google Lens, is now available on all Android phones with the Google Photos app installed. Google Lens, which uses AI smarts to recognise features within photographs, was previously exclusive to Google's own Pixel devices. "Rolling out today, Android users can try Google Lens to do things like create a contact from a business card or get more info about a famous landmark," Google Photos tweeted. Rolling out today, Android users can try Google Lens to do things like create a contact from a business card or get more info about a famous landmark. To start, make...

  • Google Search now available on Apple’s iMessage

    Even the fiercest of rivals can become the best of friends. Take Google and Apple for instance. The internet giant this week announced that Google Search can be used from within Apple's iMessage. "The Google app for iOS now supports an iMessage extension to help you search and share GIFs, restaurants and videos, whenever you’re messaging a friend," explains Khanh Le, Google's product manager. "You can tap on the icon for 'Food' or 'Nearby' to share your favorite locations, or perform a search and share a card directly into the conversation." There is a catch though. You'll need to download the Google app for...

  • WhatsApp buffs its message deletion time to 4096 seconds

    That awkward moment when you hit send and realise that sultry message you just drafted for your significant other is heading to your granny's WhatsApp instead. If you noticed your error within seven minutes, you were able to delete it, and avoid an even more awkward conversation at the upcoming family reunion. But WhatsApp is about to make your errant messages a little less permanent and family reunions a lot less avoidable. According to an update sniffed out by WABetaInfo, the latest Android beta (version 2.18.69) allows users to delete messages up to 4096 seconds after you've sent it -- that's...

  • Microsoft teases ‘lighter’ version of Skype for Android, but is it Skype Lite?

    According to a new blog post by The Skype Team (great pre-2000 teen punk band name), Skype for Android will receive a "new optimized version" for use on lower-end or aging devices. "This update -- starting to roll out in the next few days -- is lighter on both disk and memory consumption, allowing for greater speed and better audio and video quality on lower end Android devices, as well as increased performance in challenging network conditions," the post adds. The Team isn't clear if this "lighter" version is divergent from its current Android app, but it will work on devices...

  • Strava’s heatmap inadvertently reveals the world’s military secrets

    If you happen to be a soldier stationed at one of the world's military bases, secret operation centres or covert patrols, you may want to switch off your phone's GPS and consider uninstalling all fitness apps, including Strava. Like, stat. In November 2017, "social network for athletes" Strava published a detailed heatmap of the world's most popular training routes -- be it running, cycling or even kitesurfing -- that its users frequent. The data contained within the map was beyond deep. Some three-trillion GPS points were logged, containing more than 10 terabytes of data in total. This amounted to more than a combined...

  • TapOff is Cape Town’s prettiest water saving gamification app

    Last week, Memeburn rounded up a few notable apps to download before Cape Town faces its imminent Day Zero crisis, but we seemingly neglected one. Dubbed TapOff (appropriately), the Android and iOS app aids users by summarising important water crisis information, as well as gamifying water saving. Making use of bright colours and bold typeface, TapOff was developed by Observatory-based developer Aux Studios. The app is about as simple as they come -- in an even-granny-can-use-it way. Its home screen displays all the water crisis information you should need, including a Day Zero ticker based on current usage and dam storage levels,...

  • 3 apps to download before #DayZero strikes

    Remember when Eskom's load shedding was the worst of our worries? While working electronics were as rare in 2015 as a full dam is in 2018, there was one positive: apps were developed to help keep South Africans informed. Although Cape Town's current water crisis hasn't birthed too many apps in response, there are some examples. And these apps can be used to help bring your water consumption under control, or at least keep abreast of developing news. South African Water Levels (Android) Developed by Rhys Williams, this app does exactly what it says on the tin. It lists all provinces (including...

  • Die With Me: a chat app for people with 5% battery life

    We've seen traditional messaging apps, ephemeral messaging tools (i.e. Snapchat) and even pointless messaging apps (Yo). Now, we can add another messaging app in the form of Die With Me. Spotted on r/Android, Die With Me requires users to have less than five percent battery life remaining on their smartphones. Try using it with 75% juice and you simple can't access the app. "Die together in a chatroom on your way to offline peace," reads the tagline on the Play Store listing. The app reception has been positive too, achieving a 4.5 star user average on Google's platform and 4.6 star average on the...

  • WhatsApp Business app debuts, lets companies chat with users

    There's a brand new official version of WhatsApp, but it won't be replacing the current green-icon messenger you know and love. Instead, the Facebook-owned service has today launched WhatsApp Business -- an app that "will make it easier for companies to connect with customers" and can be installed alongside the default app. The reason for a distinct business app is simple. The messaging service claims in a blog post that the original app -- now harbouring over 1.3-billion users -- "was built for people" and not companies. WhatsApp Business largely addresses these issues, giving companies more room in their profiles to include...

  • 4 apps to monitor Bitcoin, cryptocurrency prices

    The trickiest skill when trading and investing in cryptocurrencies is keeping track of their violent price fluctuations. Bitcoin is a great example of this, rising to beyond US$13 000 early January, only to tank below the US$10 000 mark on Wednesday evening. But how can you keep up to speed with the ever-changing world of digital currencies? Simple. Use an app. Android and iOS users have a choice between a bevy of apps designed to list some of the popular cryptocurrencies around the world. We list four notable examples. CrypTick (Android) CrypTick is a newcomer to the Android app space, but that doesn't...