Google Messenger 2.0 brings a more compact UI and new circular icon to all devices

Update 11/3: The official changelog for Messenger 2.0 has been posted and it reveals several new features. There is a slightly redesigned photo picker, unread badges for the app icon on supported launchers, and Nougat support. Notably, RCS receives its first official mention for “some carriers”:

Enhanced features that let you send messages over Wi-Fi or your data network, see when friends are typing, and more.


Compared to Hangouts for Android, Google Messenger is quick to add support for the latest system features. Messenger has just been updated to version 2.0 with a new icon and redesign that matches the general look of the Phone app in Android 7.1.

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PieMessage open-source project brings Apple’s iMessage to Android using your Mac as a server

A new open source project called PieMessage enables cross-platform iMessage support, allowing Android users to communicate using Apple’s iPhone messaging platform.

In the video below, we get a short look at the PieMessage app in action with a still unreleased prototype version of the app.

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Waze brings its Carpool service to San Francisco in limited invite-only trial

10 months after launching the service in Israel, Google-owned mapping service Waze is expanding its carpooling service to San Francisco to help solve the city’s traffic problems. The service, which is called RideWith in Israel, is simply called Waze Carpool here in the United States and is open to a select number of employers and their commuters in San Fransisco.

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Google Camera 5.0 adds Motion photos to original Pixel, while 5.1 brings minor UI tweaks

With a Motion photo, a short video that can be used to make clips and other animations is captured before and after every shot. Originally believed to be exclusive to Google Clips and the Pixel 2, a new version of the Google Camera app adds Motion to the original Pixel and Pixel XL.

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Facebook Live update brings ability to go live in Groups, interactive features, more

It was perhaps unimaginable just a few years ago, but live streaming has become particularly popular thanks to apps like Meerkat and, most notoriously, Twitter-acquired Periscope. Not to be left out, Facebook joined the race last summer — albeit initially only for public figures via the dedicated Mentions app — and then pushed beyond earlier this year with the open introduction of “Facebook Live” in the US, a feature within the mobile app that allows anyone to live stream to their friends.

The experiment seems to be working well, and with the app update — which begins its rollout today — Facebook is adding a variety of features to enhance the Facebook Live experience; according to the company, adding a dedicated tab for finding live as well as archived video will “give you more ways to discover, share, and interact with live video, and more ways to personalize your live broadcasts”…

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SwiftKey Stats brings signature emoji, your most-used topics to beta Android app

SwiftKey has updated the beta version of its popular keyboard app to include in-depth, personalized and visualized stats for all its users. Using SwiftKey Stats in the SwiftKey beta app for Android you can now see more than just the usual set of statistics. It looks at your typing habits, and brings you a pretty fun look at your most-used emoji, topics and more.

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  • Topics – 3-5 different subjects you type about the most. We created a bunch of fun, diverse categories to show you some of the topics you love to talk about – from Art & Design to Comics and everything inbetween.
  • Top Emoji – the emoji you use most often. This is a cloud-like visualization of the emoji you use the most – the bigger the emoji in the ‘cloud’, the more you use it.
  • Signature Emoji – the emoji you use more than other people. This emoji is generated by the emoji you overuse compared to the average (this is not the emoji you use most often).
  • Vocabulary Size – how many words has SwiftKey learned from you? This number starts at zero when you install – find out how much your personal SwiftKey vocabulary has grown!

If you’re intrigued and want to try it for yourself, you can download the beta for free from the Play Store. Once installed, go through the set-up process and then sign in to your account. As soon as you start typing, the app starts collecting information and will be able to give you your stats.

AutoVoice for Google Home brings fully custom commands to your home assistant

Google Home is an excellent device, but it’s obvious that Google could be doing a lot more with it. Tying Google Home with Google’s mobile apps and just Android in general could prove ridiculously powerful, but we’ve only seen that on a minor scale so far. With AutoVoice, though, you can unlock what Google Home is really capable of, and it’s pretty awesome.

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