In an effort to bring their venerable instant messaging service back into popularity, Yahoo has revealed a new version of their Yahoo Messenger app. This revamp brings a bevy of new features of the service, most notably introducing the ability for users to access up to a year’s worth of instant messaging conversations and delete any message they sent from the inbox of both users.
The ability to unsend instant messages is made possible with Yahoo’s shift to storing IM conversations in the cloud. This both allows new functionality such as the unsend, but also saves storage space on client devices, as embedded images and attachments will be links to private web resources instead of on device. In contrast to the delete ability, also included is the social-media-esque ‘like’ function, where in both 1:1 and group chats, it is possible to ‘like’ another user’s message or image.
The changes also take advantage of Tumblr’s image handling power (which is owned by Yahoo) in order to shift away from the emoji and towards the more traditional animated gif image, which could be experiencing a revival in recent times. As well as this, Messenger also integrates a smart contacts feature, similar to the one in Yahoo Mail, powered by Xobni’s platform which is able to understand the relationship between your contacts for ease of creation for groups. They even found time to add offline features, where any messages you send while offline or suffering poor connection will be sent once connectivity is resumed.
With all of these new features added to the classic messenger, will they see you going back to the service? Or do you already find all of your IM needs elsewhere now? Let is know in the comments which IM platforms you prefer and if you’re willing to go back to Yahoo now.
The Brno University researchers were able to reverse-engineer WhatsApp’s security protocol, which could give them access to supposedly encrypted messages sent via the app. How did it manage this if end-to-end encryption is really being implemented? While WhatsApp is using what is known as Public Key Encryption, it is using the same public key for every person, meaning that anyone who can decipher the key can access messages sent by any user, and that WhatsApp itself can access sent messages, something it claimed its end-to-end encryption would prevent.
An oversight like using the same public key for every user appears too specific to be accidental. Was WhatsApp presenting the illusion of end-to-end encryption to hide a secret backdoor from its customers? It’s a move that would certainly have the approval of the UK Government.
Mozilla has officially unveiled the latest version of Firefox which incorporates an intriguing messaging service called, ‘Hello Beta’. According to Mozilla, this is the world’s first communication tool embedded into a browser which allows users to send and receive messages during a video call. The company said about this latest venture:
“Firefox Hello Beta, developed with our partner Telefónica, is the global communications system built directly into a browser and it will now let you send and receive instant messages when you’re in a video call in Firefox for Windows, Mac and Linux.”
While this might be true, I’m fairly certain other browsers have implemented something similar a long time ago. Also, many users might feel that this could make Firefox take up more system resources and become rather bloated. It’s certainly an interesting addition, but I highly doubt many people are going to use it for an extended period. There has been some confusion regarding this announcement and to clarify, this only works during video calls.
Ideally, I’d love to see Firefox adopt a simple layout without unnecessary features and optimizing RAM usage to make for the most efficient browser out there.
Chat application Google Talk for Windows is to permanently close tomorrow, to be usurped indefinitely by Google Hangouts, Google’s more advanced instant messaging and video chat service.
Any user planning to move from Google Talk for Windows, a standalone app, to Google Hangouts now needs to use the Chrome browser. However, there are plenty of holdouts still using Google Talk, preferring the old software to Hangouts due to advantages with file-sharing and appearing invisible. Those people will still be able to use Google Talk functionality, but through third-party applications, such as Trillian and Pidgin, though Google says it cannot guarantee users’ privacy or security.
Wickr, the instant messaging equivalent of Snapchat, is now available for home computers. The desktop version operates in the same way as the smartphone app, allowing users to send text, image, and audio recordings that “self-destruct” when viewed by the recipient.
The messaging app has been available for Android and iOS for two years, during which time it gained a reputation as ‘Snapchat for adults’, and saw a 50% surge in accounts after 4.6 million Snapchat users’ data was hacked back in January this year. Wickr has end-to-end encryption, protecting data transmission privacy while being sent.
Nico Sell, co-founder of Wickr, told Mashable, “Eventually I see email and messaging merging. This is our first attempt to take over email.” Sell acknowledges that her app does not use e-mail’s SMTP protocol, but that the issue is only superficial, saying, “Technically, it’s not email, but it will look like email to my mother.”
The desktop app is available for download from the Wickr website now, on Windows, OS X, and Linux.
A new upstart has entered the instant messaging arena, positioning itself as more than just a chat service. Wire, pitched as a thoroughly modern messaging app, is supported by Skype co-founder Janus Friis and developed by former Skype employees.
With their experience – helped by former Apple, Nokia, and Microsoft employees – the team know as well as anyone what needed fixing: “Skype was launched more than a decade ago. A lot has changed since then – we are all used to free calls and texting, and we have taken to carrying our computers in our pockets,” Friis said. “It is time to create the best possible communication tools, as beautiful as they are useful. Wire is just that.”
The app features text and voice messaging, live calls, one-on-one or group messaging, and even SoundCloud integration. It utilises Opus, and open source audio codec, to make playback and voice calls crisp and clean. Video is being muted as a future feature.
Open source content filter Adblock Plus announced an appealing new feature on Tuesday: the plugin can now prevent ‘seen’ notifications from appearing below opened Facebook messages.
AdBlock’s blog used the following example to illustrate the feature:
“[W]hat if you don’t want them to know you’ve read their message? Why? Well, to use the example above, let’s just say that Bruce is my boss. And it’s Saturday. Maybe in response to my innocent question he thinks of something I should do, and instead of responding with helpful film hints he asks me to work.
Bummer, right? Well, if I have this feature enabled Bruce never knows if I’ve read his message or not.”
If you would like to implement the “Message ‘seen’ Remover for Facebook” on Adblock Plus, just follow this link and click ‘add’.
A beta version of Skype for Web, a clientless iteration of Microsoft’s messaging service for use as a web application within your internet browser, has been released. Since all video call, voice call, and instant messaging functionality is available in-browser, there is no need to download and install the Skype client, though a plugin is required. A limited number of beta invites have been sent out to existing users, with Microsoft hoping to expand user access over the next few months.
Skype for Web beta is compatible with Internet Explorer 10, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox on PC, and Safari 6 and above on Mac, though Microsoft warns of excessive battery consumption on Apple systems and longer ring times for calls.
One of the best features of an instant messaging application, besides all of your friends using it, is stickers. Just like Viber, it appears that BBM is starting to offer this service to its users.
BBM is planning to take advantage of the oversized emoticons phenomena to attract more people into using its BBM service, deploying stickers for users to send and receive in their conversations. The packs have names such as “CosCat”, “Gilbert’s Tales” and “Bubble Bot” and will be sold directly from the application, containing around 20 to 25 images a pack.
It is also said that some stickers packs may be available for free, including one of that reworks existing BBM emoticons for the larger new medium. BlackBerry stated that the stickers will enter a closed beta today, however no information about when they will be available to everyone or how to join in was given. Also, BBM received a recent update which added a number of features to Android and iOS as well, including voice calls, support for its Channels feature, location sharing, and attachments.
BlackBerry is moving towards providing a great quality application, full of features, and as of recent stickers as well. However, what it really needs now is users.
Non-profit group Innocence en Danger has created a campaign to highlight the dangers of children talking to strangers online by creating emoji’s using real human faces. The emjoi has long been used as a series of cartoony like images to show off emotions in text messages, instant messaging and skype. The goal of the adverting campaign is to draw attention to the issue of sexual predators who roam online chat services looking to meet children and by using emoji’s gain their trust.
The word emoji is a Japanese creation meaning picture (e) and letter (moji). While emoji’s have been around since the birth of texting and mobile phones, it is the terrible use that they are used for that is the driving force behind this campaign. Innocence en Dangeris hoping that by seeing these creepy images parents and children alike will learn that when chatting online to strangers you never know how they are, even if they are using the emoji’s and to be careful because you never know who could be on the other end of the computer/phone.
Hopefully this campaign will take off and get awareness out to the serious issue of online sexual predators preying on children online.
Instant messaging Apps are becoming common place among big companies these days and it seems nearly every company has one. Yahoo has had one for ages, Google is developing “Babel” aka Google Hangouts and now Microsoft is reportedly working on an instant messaging application for its Bing search engine. This new chat service, which is currently called “Bing Live Chat”, is in beta and would allow users to talk to each other within the browser.
The service would allow users searching for the same keywords to chat straight from their browser to others, using their Microsoft accounts. This means that if you want to use the instant messaging feature you will be required to log into your Microsoft account every time, or if you don’t have one then you would be required to make one to use it.
It is not yet known when Microsoft plans to release this new feature, or if they even plan to release it at all. What are your thoughts on “Bing Live chat”? Is there any use for it or is it a feature with a lack of utility?