Three years after Facebook acquired Beluga and turned it into Messenger for smartphones, its dedicated chat app today got a version specially designed for iPad rather than just running as an enlarged iPhone app. Messenger for iPad features a multi-window interface showing a list of threads and your current conversation at the same time. Messenger had over 200 million users as of April across devices, but now Apple fans can mobile message on a larger screen.
App Links, Facebook’s initiative to make it easier for developers to link to specific content within an app, is about to become a lot more useful for developers who rely on Facebook to direct users to their apps. In a blog post, Facebook announced that developers will now be able to utilize App Links to send people straight from ads in the Facebook mobile app to specific points within their apps. There’s a catch though: for now, they’ll only be able to deploy these ads if they’re working with one of Facebook’s Preferred Marketing Developers.
Google has acquired music streaming service Songza after weeks of speculation around a potential buyout. Songza uses information about the user and context to determine the best playlists for you at any given time, all of which are curated by music experts (DJs, Rolling Stone writers, etc.). Very few services look to human curation to enhance the music experience — Pandora, Spotify, and other big players rely heavily on algorithms — making this one of the key selling points of the service.
Apple wants to make it easier to manage your home automation devices, so that you can lock doors, dim lights, and adjust your thermostat from your iPhone or iPad. On Monday, the company announced at its Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco that it has added functionality in its upcoming release of iOS 8, through the HomeKit software platform, to integrate control for door locking, light dimming, and other home automation gadgets and features to iOS devices.
Apple officially announced iOS 8 on Monday at its annual WWDC conference in San Francisco, following an annual tradition of showcasing the evolution of its software for the iPhone and iPad. Big-ticket announcements include "widgets," Touch ID for third-party apps, a brand-new keyboard that learns as you go, and software for home automation. Conference-goers get the iOS 8 beta today, while everyone else can get their fingers on the new software in the fall.
Microsoft is giving consumers another 30 days beyond its originally stated deadline to install Windows 8.1 Update. Instead of requiring Windows 8.1 users to install the update by May 13, which is this month's Patch Tuesday, Microsoft is now allowing them a longer grace period -- until June 10 -- to move to the Update in order to continue to receive patches and fixes from the company. Microsoft announced the Windows 8.1 Update deadline extension on May 12.
Twitter users can now mute others, meaning that their tweets will not show up in a timeline. The new feature, which Twitter announced in a blog post Monday, allows you to avoid seeing tweets from people you'd rather avoid. However, they will still be able to see your tweets and retweets. The new tool appears to be what Twitter was aiming for when it briefly changed its blocking policy in December, igniting a firestorm of controversy.
Mozilla is updating a plan to put ads on the windows that show when Firefox users launch a new browser tab, reassuring users that they won't lose control or be overwhelmed with ads. Mozilla announced the Firefox new-tab page advertisements idea in February, saying it wanted to feature "directory tiles" that would be useful to users. The plan has caused some worries, though.
Street View, Google's eye-level images showing more and more of the real world, is now available for Android software to use. That ability comes with the new Google Play Services 4.4, an update to the company's multipurpose software resource that lets Android app developers tap into a range of Google features. With the change, announced Wednesday night, a restaurant-review app could show street-level views of the restaurants