MESSAGING & CHATBOT WAR

By Hoan Do | Cyber-war of Messaging Apps and Bots

Twitter just isn't enough. President Trump takes to Snapchat.

It's official. Donald Trump has taken on some very crucial responsibilities.<p>On Friday, he snapped.<p>Trump, the new president of the United States, took to Snapchat to share two videos of his drive from the White House to the inauguration ceremony.<p>While his opponents were busy snapping away during …

Snapchat

LinkedIn debuts new desktop version with ‘chatbots’, new search and more

After a short preview in September last year, and the small matter of getting acquired for $26.2 billion by Microsoft, today LinkedIn — the social network for the professional world with close to 470 million users — is finally unveiling its redesign of its desktop site, complete with a simpler, …

LinkedIn

Slack launches threaded messaging to take conversations off to the side

Slack has spent most of its life as a dead-simple workplace communications tool, with small changes happening here or there. But to keep things dead simple means that you have to be very careful when you decide to make any big changes — even if it’s something users have wanted for a long …

Collaboration

Telegram CEO says messaging app will add voice calling

Telegram Messenger will be able to make audio calls and change themes in the future, CEO Pavel Durov recently said on Twitter.<p>Customizable themes were made for Telegram on desktop last week.<p>VentureBeat reached out to the messaging app on Monday to ask when audio calls will be available, but a …

Collaboration

Encrypted messaging platform WhatsApp denies “backdoor” claim

A security issue has been flagged in the hugely popular mobile messaging app WhatsApp that could allow for messages sent via the encrypted platform to be intercepted and read.<p>The Guardian report, which describes the vulnerability as a “backdoor”, notes that independent security researcher Tobias …

Encryption

Google's biggest Android problem is also ruining emoji

Want to use that new selfie emoji? How about the facepalm or avocado? If you're on Android, or texting someone who is, there's a good chance those new characters aren't working.<p>That's because Google, like Apple, ties emoji updates to its new software releases: update to the latest version of …

Google

3 ways to make people love your chatbot

Virtual assistants and chatbots are here to make our lives easier. Want help finding gifts? Retailers ranging from Nordstrom to DSW and Sephora offer chatbots to find presents for your friends and family through Facebook Messenger. Need advice on making a dessert that’s gluten free? Whole Foods’ …

Chatbots

WhatsApp is finally getting GIF search

WhatsApp is addressing the needs of its users one feature at a time.<p>The Facebook-owned messenger has added the ability to search for GIF files right into the app. Users can now look up the animation files and quickly send them to their friends.<p>WhatsApp has also upped the media sharing limit from 10 …

Google

Google Voice is getting an upgrade

Google’s somewhat aging VoIP calling service, Google Voice, is preparing to roll out a significant update, the company has confirmed. Several Google Voice users this week reported seeing an upgrade link touting “the new Google Voice” on the web version of the service, along with a link that would …

Google

China’s Tencent takes on the App Store with launch of ‘mini programs’ for WeChat

Today marks the tenth anniversary of the iPhone, a device that practically invented the smartphone genre in itself, but, over in China, a modern bellwether of the mobile industry rolled out its own vision of the future.<p>Tencent, the $240 billion Chinese internet giant, introduced its take on mobile …

Apps

Bot Check-In: A Year of Disappointment

In January, I wrote about how 2016 had been declared the year of bots by many. At year’s end, the bots narrative has been very loud but mostly …

Startups

Google Hangouts API gets hung out to dry

Draw with your face? Conference call ping pong? Not any more. Google today quietly revealed that it will shut down the Hangouts API, preventing new apps from being built and shutting off existing apps on April 25th. There was no blog post about this, just an updated FAQ and email notification to …

APIs

Slack invests in 11 bot startups to seed its platform

Slack announced today that it has invested in nearly a dozen new bot startups to bolster its Slack App Directory.<p>The team collaboration chat app has invested in 25 startups thus far with money from the Slack Fund, an $80 million investment fund backed by venture capital firms like Index Ventures …

Startups

Messaging app Telegram adds unsend feature

Disappearing messages don’t impress security professionals, given how flimsy a privacy protection they offer, but despite an inherently fickle form the feature keeps recurring on comms platforms.<p>The latest to add what it calls an “unsend” feature is mobile messaging platform Telegram — which is now …

Messaging

Fired Snap Employee Sues, Saying Company Inflated Growth Stats - Bloomberg

Snap Inc. was sued by a former employee who says the company, parent of the Snapchat social-media app, was inflating growth metrics ahead of a …

Snapchat

Houseparty now lets you chat without notifying all your friends

Houseparty is a new group video chat app that was built by the founders of ex-livestreaming app Meerkat.<p>The app provides a space to video chat with friends – once you open the app you can just pop in other friends group video chats, or wait for friends to join yours.<p>But currently the app notifies …

Messaging

How Social Cash Made WeChat The App For Everything

A centuries-old tradition gave rise to China's most valuable company and captured the attention of everyone from teens to Silicon Valley.<p>A little over a year ago, my roommate Mike said something strange. He’s a theater director and was working on a production in China. Mike complained that the …

China

Group video-calling services have surged this year, here’s why.

ANALYSIS:<p>From virtual reality (VR) to self-driving cars, a number of notable technology trends have emerged throughout 2016. But over the past week, one feature in particular has really come to the fore: group video calls.<p>On Monday, Facebook announced group video chats for its Messenger app, with …

SMS

Flock launches world’s first chat OS

By: IANS | New Delhi |<p>FlockOS allows developers to build customised apps, bots and integrations on Flock.<p>Flock, a team messenger for businesses, …

Expedia launches Skype bot, with Cortana skill coming soon

Travel site Expedia released a bot for Skype today, and since it was made with the Microsoft Bot Framework, the bot will be converted to work with virtual assistant Cortana.<p>Last week, Microsoft announced the launch of the Cortana Skills Kit and software development kit to put the voice-enabled …

Skype

Facebook Messenger launches 6-screen group video chat with selfie masks

Teen app sensation Houseparty will get some competition as Facebook Messenger is launching its own split-screen group video chat feature. Six users can appear in split-screen at the time and don Snapchat-style selfie masks, while 50 total can listen and talk over voice while sending text, stickers, …

Messaging

Facebook Messenger strikes at Skype with desktop group voice calling

We might finally get to stop asking, “Wait, what’s your Skype name?” thanks to a test of new Facebook group audio calling on desktop. Facebook launched group voice calls on its mobile Messenger app in April, and now it’s working out the kinks to bring the feature to your home and office. It could …

Twitter reportedly developed, then killed off, a messaging app for emerging markets

After years of speculation, it appears that Twitter did actually develop a messaging app of its own. But, two caveats, it was intended for emerging markets and it was killed off before ever being released to the masses.<p>That’s according to a report from BuzzFeed, which claims the app was developed …

Facebook Messenger’s artsy new camera turns any text into filters

What’s better than a few geofilters? A billion algorithmically generated filters. That’s Facebook Messenger’s strategy to steal the visual communication crown from Snapchat, thanks to its new camera feature that rolls out today. Well, actually, “a billion” is selling it short.<p>Messenger’s camera can …

Microsoft's Cortana bot can schedule meetings on your behalf

Add Cortana to emails and it'll find the best time for everyone to meet.<p>Microsoft is trying to turn Cortana into the digital assistant of your dreams with a new AI bot called Calendar.help. The beta service requires an invitation, but once signed up, you link it to your Outlook, Google or Office …

Microsoft Windows

Microsoft officially outs another AI chatbot, called Zo

What are chatbots for? I asked Zo, Microsoft’s officially launched chatbot, currently available on the Kik Messenger app, what she does — and she was remarkably coy in answering this question, initially complaining that our conversation felt like a job interview and then qualifying this hugely with …

Facebook Tests “M Suggestions,” Laying Groundwork For More AI In Messenger

A small test of Facebook’s AI could lead to a bigger role for M, its virtual assistant.<p>Facebook’s “M” virtual assistant hasn’t been rolled out to all that many people, but its interactions with a limited user base have helped train Facebook’s artificial intelligence systems, and now the masses may …

Facebook

Snapchat FINALLY lets you create Groups

Snapchat has finally introduced one of its long-awaited features: Groups.<p>Snapchat users can now create a group chat with up to 16 friends. You can create a Group by starting in the Chat part of the app and clicking the upper left corner button to start a new message thread.<p>After selecting up to 16 …

Snapchat

Skype breaks the language barrier with real-time translation on mobile calls

Skype is making it easier to break the language barrier.<p>In a new blog post, the company announced it’s extending its real-time translation feature to support mobile and landline calls – even if the caller on the other side doesn’t have Skype.<p>The Microsoft-owned video chat service initially …