The new Google Hangouts has arrived, bringing together Google's Talk, Hangouts, Voice, and Google+ Messenger under one app and umbrella. Google Hangouts offers unified, synchronized chat that retains history across all devices, allowing you to dig into your history wherever you are, delete messages, and check out files, photos, etc. Hangouts naturally includes the previous Google Hangouts video chat features, which allows multiple people to video chat with each other, again, from a smartphone, tablet, or computer.
Hangouts it now available on iOS, Android, Chrome, and within the Gmail web client. Get a look at the video promo after the break.
Facebook Home is now available for download on Google Play, as promised last week at the Facebook Home announcement event. If you're the owner of an HTC One X, HTC One X+, Samsung Galaxy S III, or Samsung Galaxy Note II, you are good to go and can download and apply Facebook's launcher right away. You can also pick up the HTC First, which ships with Facebook Home built right in. The HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S 4 will also be capable of running Facebook Home.
As a reminder, Facebook Home is a replacement lock screen, home screen, and chat experience for compatible Android smartphones, bringing pictures feeds to the forefront, and the new Chat Heads feature that will allow you to stay manage Facebook messages in a much more efficient way.
Read More | Facebook Home
The Google Play Store is getting a fresh coat of paint beginning today with the release of the official 4.0 update. What's so great about Google Play 4.0? Well, for starters, the images are larger, making it easier to see what exactly your about to download. Content grouping has also been improved, providing better recommendations of other items you might be interested in, and the checkout process also sees a slight overhaul as well. Google Play 4.0 starts worldwide rollout today, and may take a couple of weeks before hitting your particular device. It'll run on any smartphone or tablet running Android 2.2 or later.
Read More | Android Blog
If you love listening to Pandora when you're on the go, you may have to start paying up. Pandora has announced that it will now be capping mobile users to 40 hours of listening per month. If you reach that cap, the music will stop, and you'll need to pay a fee of $.99 if you'd like to continue listening for the remainder of the month. The reason behind this is the rising costs of the per-track royalty rates that Pandora has to pay.
"Pandora’s per-track royalty rates have increased more than 25% over the last 3 years, including 9% in 2013 alone and are scheduled to increase an additional 16% over the next two years. After a close look at our overall listening, a 40-hour-per-month mobile listening limit allows us to manage these escalating costs with minimal listener disruption."
Pandora says this should only affect about 4% of its users, so it shouldn't be a huge deal. Subscribers to the Pandora One service, which eliminated the ads altogether for $36 per year, are not affected.
Read More | Pandora
Spotify for iOS has just received a massive overhaul, bringing the UI in line with the look that Android's been sporting for a while. iOS users now get access to features like the swiping method for accessing different areas of the Spotify app (similar to what you can do in the Facebook iOS app.) The "Now Playing" area shows you the artist and track name no matter where you are navigating in the app, right above the play controls. You can swipe here to go to the next or previous track with ease. You also get bug fixes and overall improvements to stability, as well as the Ford SYNC AppLink Spotify feature that we mentioned yesterday. You can grab the update now from the App Store, and peep the full changelog after the break.
Read More | Spotify
Twitter has finally (finally!) released a substantial update to Twitter for Windows Phone. The new version brings the design of the app in line with what you'd find in the iOS and Android variants, with the Home, Connect, Discover, and Me tabs included in the app. Additionally, Twitter for Windows Phone includes Live Tile support, so you can pin specific Twitter accounts, lists, and searches right to your Start Screen. You can grab the update right now.
Read More | Twitter
Facebook 5.5 for iOS has just been released, and with it comes free voice calling for North American users over Wi-Fi and cellular networks. The feature came to Facebook's separate messaging app a couple of weeks ago, and is now baked in to the full-fledged Facebook iOS experience for users across the US and Canada. After updating, simply open your chat pane by tapping the icon on the upper-right, select a friend, and then select "Free Call." As you'd expect, the person on the other end also needs to be located in North America, and also needs to have the latest Facebook app installed. It's a nice way to make voice calls without tapping into your voice minutes--just make sure to keep an eye on your data plan when you're away from Wi-Fi, no need to try to save on voice minutes, only to rack up massive data usage fees, you feel me?
TiVo has announced that the Flingo suite of streaming apps is now available on TiVo Premiere boxes. If you're unfamiliar with what this means, Flingo basically provides multiple channels of streaming video content, including programming from A&E, History Channel, TMZ, Showtime, and about 200 other content sources, alongside 70 apps. Flingo will also be creating exclusive content apps specifically for the TiVo Premiere through "Launchpad for TiVo." "People are demanding access to online streaming content from the comfort of their own living room, and TiVo’s offerings has evolved to support that demand," Tara Maitra, SVP and general manager of content and media sales at TiVo Inc., said in a statement.
In a way, this is like turning your TiVo into a Roku set top box. We'll be checking it out later today.
Read More | MarketWire
We've often wondered by a site like Kickstarter lacked an official iOS app, but that ends today with the release of Kickstarter for iPhone. The crowdsourcing site's new app allows you to view campaigns, watch the pitch videos that go along with them, and pledge your cash towards one of the reward levels offered. If you've created a campaign, you can track your progress in the app as well. The app is not yet iPad-native, but it does support iPhone 3GS and later, including support for the iPhone 5 4-inch display. Grab Kickstarter for iPhone for free.
Read More | Kickstarter for iPhone
iTunes has been one of the last first-party Apple software holdouts stuck at 32-bit over the past few years. Many wondered when Apple would rewrite iTunes to the point where it would be 64-bit like just about all of Apple's other OS X apps, and that day has arrived with the release of iTunes 11. A quick check of Activity Monitor confirms it--iTunes is now a 64-bit Mac app.
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