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.
Microsoft is officially retiring its Messenger service and will redirect users, and their contacts, to Skype.
According to The Next Web, users will retain access to Microsoft Messenger until March 15th, at which point they will then be prompted to join Skype. The migration will be made with your contacts in tow, so that alleviates some of the stress involved in the changing of hands. Mobile users of Skype will be glad to know that Microsoft account support is already mixed in with the iOS, Android, and Windows Phone 8 to make the transfer as swift as possible.
How do you feel about the death of Messenger? Let us know in the comments.
Read More | The Next Web
Microsoft, the parent company of Skype, has patched a password recovery tool bug that Russian hackers utilized to exploit and gain access to user's accounts with nothing more than their account name and email. According to The Next of Web, they independently verified the five step process and confirmed that it works. Skype made this announcement on its website blog:
Early this morning we were notified of user concerns surrounding the security of the password reset feature on our website. This issue affected some users where multiple Skype accounts were registered to the same email address. We suspended the password reset feature temporarily this morning as a precaution and have made updates to the password reset process today so that it is now working properly. We are reaching out to a small number of users who may have been impacted to assist as necessary. Skype is committed to providing a safe and secure communications experience to our users and we apologize for the inconvenience.
Read More | Skype
"Skype for iPad is beautifully designed and optimized for the iPad. It offers the best of both worlds for users who want a larger Skype experience, on-the-go," Skype said in a blog post. "The large iPad screen is perfect for bringing Skype video calls to life, in either landscape or portrait view, and because it is on the iPad, Skype video calls can be made at the beach, in a car or even lying on a couch."
Skype promised several iPad-optimized features, including two-way video calling for those with an iPad 2. Connect with other Skype users on PCs, Macs, or iPhones and Android phones with front-facing cameras.
Facebook is right in the middle of announcing three new changes that are happening today. The first is multi-person group chat, which has been one of the most requested features. Second, a redesign of chat that makes it easier to get to the people you chat with most, better see the avatars of yours friends, etc. Lastly, and this is the big one, instant video chat through a partnership with Skype. Just choose a friend and initiate a video call, and if they don't have the plugin installed, it takes 10 seconds to download, and you are chatting. No need for a Skype username, or Skype software, it all happens through Facebook. Hit the link below now to see the announcement happening live, with demos.
Read More | Facebook Live
Skype update it's Android application today with version 1.0.1.
The first thing addressed is the support for screen resolutions common to more Android phones. Skype also announced that the hardware back key will now send the application to the background, while still allowing calls and IMs. Skype stated that this fix should also lesson battery consumption. Other fixes include:
- Signing out from Skype now exits Skype.
- Improved login stability and behavior.
- Improved performance with large contact lists.
- Reduced application size.
Problems having to do with the Galaxy S line of phones remain and Skype simply states that they "do not recommend installing Skype 1.0.1 for Android on this device with Android 2.1 and below."
Read More | Skype Blog
Our favorite instant messaging app for the iPhone and iPod touch, Beejive (pronounced bee-hive,) just got updated to version 3.0. While there are a few nice additions, the biggest is that Beejive now supports push notifications on the iPhone. If you are unfamiliar, this means you can tell Beejive to stay persistently connected to Apple’s push servers, even when you close that app. So you can keep a conversation going, while you also check your email, surf the Internet, and more. If you get a new IM, you will get a text notification telling you so, which you can simply close, or use to launch Beejive and take you directly back to the conversation.
Seriously, if you want a downright amazing IM app on your iPhone, consider BeejiveIM.
Read More | BeejiveIM
Those of you who have been waiting for the Xbox 360 Chatpad, we finally have more news on the impending release of the device. Over on the Xbox website, the Chatpad Messenger Kit has been given it’s own product page, which indicates that the package, which includes the Chatpad along with headset, will retail for $29.99 USD. You’ll have to wait a couple more months for the pleasure though, as the Chatpad Messenger Kit isn’t scheduled to hit stores until September 4, 2007. While you’re waiting, check out our Chatpad image gallery.
Read More | Chatpad Messenger Kit Product Page
The long-awaited Spring Update is finally set for launch tomorrow (Wednesday), with the headline feature being all-new Xbox Live integration with MSN/Windows Live Messenger. This is the third such major dashboard update in the life of the Xbox 360, and contains a long list of new features – but it’s ultimately the weakest of those three releases.
Being able to instant message while gaming, watching movies or doing whatever else on the 360 is certainly a nifty feature, but isn’t going to be worth taking advantage of for the average user – at least not until the mini-QWERTY keyboard is released. USB keyboard support is being added, but unless you’re sitting fairly close (or wireless keyboards are supported), you’ll be stuck typing with the virtual keyboard. And from having sent hundreds over messages over Live, let me say that using that is nothing short of an exercise in patience.
In addition to the IMing capabilities included in the update, the following features have been added:
- On-screen pop-ups that immediately display the name and gamerscore value of a just accomplished Achievement, allowing gamers to see their progress without leaving or pausing the game.
- An even safer way to communicate through Xbox LIVE with enhanced family settings that enable different default settings for video chat and voice chat.
- A new, standalone Xbox LIVE Marketplace blade houses all Xbox LIVE Marketplace content in one easy to navigate space.
- Xbox LIVE Arcade enhancements that showcase what games friends are playing directly from the friends list. Boasting about high scores, comparing progress and checking out leaderboards are all easier now as well.
- Faster access to free, trial version of Xbox LIVE Arcade games through an improved Auto Downloads feature.
- The ability to fast-forward, pause and rewind video as it is being downloaded on Xbox LIVE Marketplace.
- Owners can now set their consoles to turn off after downloading content from Xbox LIVE Marketplace to help save energy, and download speeds have been increased.
The Marketplace blade will certainly be useful, but what Microsoft is really trying to do is simply make it as easy as possible for you to hand over those Microsoft Points. But the new Achievement notification will be sure to go over well, especially with me, as I’m the type of person who always checks out what achievement I just unlocked - even if I’m in a multiplayer game.
For more details on the free download and a full list of features, check out this page on Xbox.com.
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