Facebook Adds ‘Instant Video’ Option To Texts In Messenger


Facebook adds an “instant video” feature to text messages within its Messenger app. This means users can send each other videos while they are texting in the app, in case words are not quite enough.

This is different from video calls, which have been accessible in Messenger since 2015. The latest feature is for those times when you don’t essentially want to make a full-fledged video call, but find that a photo or text won’t do. Maybe you’re walking by a prolific street performer and want to share a video with a friend you’re texting, or share a baby giggle with your partner.

To send instant video, both you and the recipient have to have Messenger open. Tap on the video icon to start sharing real-time video. Earlier in July, Facebook Messenger had revealed to have crossed the one-billion-active-user mark. The app joined the likes of WhatsApp and Facebook, both owned by Facebook. Facebook had thanked their billion users in a blog post, and commemorated the milestone with a special emoji and a video.

Withings Launches Heart Rate Monitoring Watch


Nokia-owned electronics company Withings has launched its first watch that comprises a heart rate monitor. The smart watch titled Steel HR features an analog two-hand display combined with a digital sub-dial to relay health data and basic smartphone notifications. The watch, which offers a 25-day battery life with additional 20 days on power saving mode, is priced starting at $179.95.

Apple Introduces Siri-Integrated Apps in iOS 10


Apple introduced the first Siri-integrated apps which will arrive in the upcoming release of iOS 10. The company made this possible through a new toolkit, SiriKit, which will help developers build extensions to allow their apps communicate with Siri. Siri will be able to handle voice and text inputs to process users’ requests like booking cabs through Uber.

Google Officially Announces Native Cast Integration Into Chrome


Starting from the Chrome build 51, the Google Cast functionality is baked into the browser itself, with no need for the plug-in to be installed. Those using the functionality in the browser have noticed the feature which began to be accessible to users from early last month. Google has now formally announced that the Google Cast feature is built into Chrome. Google Cast is a way of mirroring the browser window on another screen, typically a television, to show slideshows, videos or other content.

Google Cast has dedicated hardware, called Chromecast and Chromecast Audio. Google has sold over 30 million of these dedicated Google Cast hardware devices till date. The casting function is integrated into third party devices as well, including smart televisions and smartphones. For websites that support Google Cast, a cast icon now seems automatically if the site is being browsed on a device connected to the same network as a cast ready device. This can range from viewing videos on a television using a mobile phone, or listening to web streaming services through speakers, while navigating the service through a browser window on a laptop.

HTC to Launch Another iPhone Clone


Taiwanese consumer electronics company HTC is planning to reveal a new version of iPhone-inspired One A9 smartphones at this year’s IFA’s consumer electronics and home appliances trade show in Berlin in September. The device is probable to retain a similar design to the original One A9, with a few changes to the rear and front camera placements, tech website The Verge reported.

The company might also name the smartphone as One A9s, which is similar naming convention that Apple uses for its ‘S’ year variants of its iPhones. It is still unclear as to what kind of processor will be equipped with One A9 and what improvements are coming to the camera department.

Twitter To Share Ad Revenue Generated By Uploaded Videos


Twitter Inc stepped up its battle to entice video talent to its platform, saying it will permit U.S. users who upload a video to share in any advertising revenue it generates. Twitter, Facebook Inc, Snapchat and YouTube are all competing to keep or recruit top video talent as they seek to cash in on the wave of television-style advertising that has been moving to the internet.

Twitter already offers revenue sharing to media and entertainment companies such as CBS Corp and the National Football League which post videos through its Amplify Publisher Program. That choice will now be open to any Twitter user, Twitter said in a blog post. YouTube has long offered its video stars a cut of revenue. Facebook, for its part, has ramped up its live video product in recent months and paid a comparatively small number of media companies and celebrities to generate video.

PayPal to Shift Its Business to Google Cloud Services


Alphabet Inc’s Google is close to winning PayPal Holdings Inc as a client for its cloud business, potentially beating out Amazon.com Inc and Microsoft Corp. While Google is the front-runner, the online payments processor is assessing the other providers and hasn’t made any decision yet, CNBC reported, citing people familiar with the matter. However, PayPal may not move its technology infrastructure in the fourth quarter, the peak period for online commerce, CNBC said.

PayPal has some existing business with Amazon Web Services, according to the CNBC report. Google has been trying to beef up its presence in cloud computing, a market conquered by Amazon and Microsoft. Google landed Home Depot Inc as a client in March, highlighting the momentum its cloud business has gained under the leadership of Diane Greene, a co-founder of VMWare Inc. Greene joined Google late last year.

Microsoft Releases Surface Pro 3 Update


Microsoft has released an update for the Surface Pro 3 that’s supposed to fix concerns preventing some units from holding a full battery charge.

The problem began exploding up over the past few months, with Surface Pro 3 owners reporting that their machines couldn’t stay charged for more than an hour. Microsoft has now identified the problem, saying that certain units have been failing to properly measure their full battery capacity, preventing them from receiving a full charge.

Microsoft equates the issue to a broken fuel gauge in a car. “If the fuel gauge isn’t working right, the car would also not be able to fill the tank — even though the tank is fine,” Microsoft writes. Keeping the metaphor going, Microsoft says the actual batteries inside these Surface units are perfectly fine and should begin to function correctly after the update is installed.

Microsoft Teases A New Surface Book Hinge On Instagram


Microsoft can be credited with slightly shaking up the tech world when they introduced the Surface Book. Suddenly, here was a device that could physically switch between integrated graphics and discrete graphics at the press of a button.

The Surface Book itself was remarkable for its design and features, some going so far as to call it a hybrid that actually replaces your laptop. Other than the price, the only real criticism the Surface Book faced was concerning its hinge.

Apple iPhone 7 Launch Date Revealed


Finally, it’s official! As expected, Apple has sent out invites for the next high-profile event that will take place on 7 September. It is likely to announce the iPhone 7 or iPhone 6SE or whatever the company plans to call it. Besides, one can also think an Apple Watch 2 along with a host of other announcements. Apple will be live streaming the event that can be watched here at 10:30PM IST.

WhatsApp Makes Changes In Its Privacy Stance


Popular messaging service WhatsApp said it would start sharing users’ phone numbers with parent Facebook Inc, marking a prominent shift in its stance on privacy. When Facebook bought WhatsApp in 2014, founder Jan Koum vowed to protect data of its users, saying the deal would not affect its privacy policy. The change in policy, WhatsApp’s first since the deal, will permit for more relevant advertisements and friend recommendations on Facebook, according to a WhatsApp blog post.

WhatsApp, however, sought to assure users by saying that it would not sell, share, or give users’ phone numbers to advertisers. The company also maintained that messages on the service were encrypted by default and that it would not permit banner advertisements from third parties. “Our belief in the value of private communications is unshakeable,” WhatsApp said in the post. Koum had outlined his approach to privacy in a blog post after the deal with Facebook, drawing on his own experiences of growing up in Ukraine during the Soviet era.

YouTube and Daily Motion May Seek Deals with Music Industry


Web sites such as Google’s YouTube, DailyMotion and Pinterest could be required to seek licences or revenue-sharing deals with artists for content that is uploaded by their users as part of the European Union’s planned copyright overhaul. The music industry has long complained services such as YouTube do not pay artists enough for their music and has urged regulators to close what it calls the “value gap”.

They say Alphabet Inc’s Google makes a vast amount of money from ad-supported services such as YouTube, but only a small share of it goes to the music industry. The European Commission, the EU executive, is looking at impressive an obligation on platforms hosting user-uploaded content such as YouTube, Vimeo and DailyMotion to seek agreements with rightsholders “reflecting the economic value of the use made of the protected content”, according to a draft paper, seen by Reuters, listing the preferred options for the copyright reform.

Apple May Launch Snapchat-Like App


According to numerous reports, Apple is developing a video sharing and editing application that will be similar in functionality to Snapchat. The app will permit its users to create and edit videos in less than a minute, reports added. However, it is not clear whether the software will launch as part of iOS or as a standalone app.

Check Out Facebook Live’s Latest Feature


Facebook Live video has gradually but surely been making waves in the online world and is now available for all Android and iOS users in India. Now one of the features that was announced by CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the VidCon 2016 conference in June has gone live to verified users in the US. The Facebook Live feature in question is two-person live broadcasts.

The two-person live broadcast feature will be accessible to iOS users, in the US, who have a verified page and have the Facebook Mentions iOS app as well. The two-person broadcast requires that both the people have verified pages or accounts for this feature to work.

Android 7.0 Nougat First Look


Google has started seeding the new Android 7.0 Nougat update, but if you are reading this you already know that. The update is presently only available for the more recent Nexus devices including the Nexus 6, 5X, 6P, Nexus 9 tablet and the Pixel C. It is a gradual process so in case you haven’t got the update, don’t panic, ultimately you will get it.

We haven’t seen the OTA (Over the Air) update notification popping up on Nexus devices here in India, but we did manage to get a flashable version of the new update. Google has been pushing beta builds since March, but this is the real deal.

Microsoft Apps To Come Pre-Installed on Lenovo Smartphones


Select Microsoft apps such as Office, OneDrive and Skype will now come pre-installed on Lenovo smartphones that use the Android operating system, the two companies. Lenovo believes to ship millions of these Android-based devices worldwide over the next several years. This expanded collaboration between Microsoft and Lenovo also comprises a patent cross-licensing agreement that covers Lenovo and Motorola devices.

“Microsoft’s thrilled that our productivity apps will be pre-installed on Lenovo’s premium devices,” said Nick Parker, corporate vice president OEM Division, Microsoft, in a statement. “The marriage of Microsoft’s apps and Lenovo’s Android-based devices will permit customers around the world to be more productive, more connected and achieve even more,” he added.

Opera Launches VPN Service For Android


Browser developer Opera has launched a free VPN service for Android, letting users to run apps and visit sites anonymously. It doesn’t need users to create an account, doesn’t have limits on data consumption, and features a Wi-Fi test tool that runs safety checks on available networks. Users can choose from five server locations including the US, Canada and Germany.

Microsoft Launches Xbox Onesie Jumpsuit


Microsoft has launched the Xbox Onesie jumpsuit, a one-piece zip-up casual garment accessible in white or black, for its gamer community in Australia. It features enlarged pockets to fit an Xbox Controller and Media Remotes, an arm pouch for a mobile phone, forearm grips to prevent slipping, and an extra-large hood to accommodate headsets.

Microsoft To Reward Users In The US

Microsoft to reward users in the US for using its Edge browser

In an effort to make people switch to Microsoft Edge, the company will now pay you to use the browser, which the company claims can last longer than its Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Opera counterparts.

Edge can deliver 36-53 per cent more battery life while doing daily tasks, including watching videos on YouTube, browsing internet or checking in with friends on social networks.

Microsoft Rewards, announced previous this week, is a rebranding of Bing Rewards and so far only obtainable in the US, offers points for using Edge and Bing, as well as shopping at the Microsoft store.