Messaging War

By Hoan Do | Cyber-war of Messaging Apps

Censorship of WeChat users extends beyond mainland China

(Reuters) – Censorship on China’s top social messaging app WeChat goes beyond the country’s borders, according to a report released on Thursday, with messages containing sensitive terms that are sent from overseas to mainland-linked accounts being blocked.<p>China has stepped up efforts to remove …

China

Instant Games Now Available on Facebook News Feed and Messenger

<i>Cross posted from the Facebook developer blog</i><p>We are launching Instant Games, a new HTML5 cross-platform gaming experience, on Messenger and Facebook …

Facebook

Gay dating app Hornet raises $8 million, its first institutional funding

Hornet, a dating app that touts itself as “the world’s second largest gay social network,” announced that it has raised $8 million in its first round of institutional financing. The Series A round was led by Shanghai-based VC firm Ventech China, and adds to the $500,000 angel round Hornet raised …

LGBT

Fresh from raising $175M, Indian chat app Hike clones Snapchat

In its first act since raising $175 million from Chinese internet giant Tencent in August, India-based messaging app Hike has become the latest to clone Snapchat.<p>The Tencent deal, which valued Hike at more than $1 billion, may have raised eyebrows, but this week’s update is less surprising. Hike is …

India

Facebook bows to EU pressure and pauses WhatsApp data sharing

Facebook’s plan to glean more data from WhatsApp users has hit an obstacle in Europe. The social network is “pausing” some data-sharing activities after regulators across the continent called on the companies to clarify WhatsApp’s messaging around permissions and provide more details on how the …

Facebook

Google Allo can now guess what emoji you want to use

Google has treated Allo to a rather unexpected update on Android and iOS. The upgrade brings a couple of new features to the recently-launched messaging application, including a refreshed Smart Smiley button and interchangeable background themes for chats.<p>Building on Allo’s prediction algorithm, …

Google

Facebook’s new inbox for businesses manages messages on Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger

Facebook is making it easier for businesses to use three of its most popular services by consolidating the messages they receive into a single repository. Between managing their presence across their Facebook Page and their Instagram, and corresponding to customers through Facebook Messenger, the …

Facebook

Facebook Messenger now works in Android Auto

On the heels of Google’s announcement that its in-car infotainment platform Android Auto can now function as a standalone mobile app, Facebook today announced that it’s now rolling out Android Auto integration on Messenger. That means Android Auto users will be able to listen to and reply to texts …

Facebook

Line abandons U.S. (for now), says AI and chatbots are the secret to winning 4 Asian markets

EXCLUSIVE:<p>Focusing on what you know best often makes the most sense. In a nutshell, that’s the current business strategy of Line, the popular Japanese messaging platform. In an interview with VentureBeat’s editor in chief, Blaise Zerega, Line CEO Takeshi Idezawa explained his decision to focus on …

Japan

WhatsApp is rolling out two-factor authentication

WhatsApp users are beginning to see an option for two-factor authentication their account settings folder. According to <i>Android Police</i>, the feature is live in the most recent betas of the app (2.16.341 and above), and has also been spotted in the Windows Phone beta. Once activated, the app will …

WhatsApp

Messaging giant Viber becomes more like Facebook with the launch of Public Accounts for businesses and brands

Viber has announced a new suite of tools designed to connect businesses and marketers with the mobile messaging app’s 800 million users.<p>With Public Accounts, Viber is pushing to become a platform through which companies can both broadcast messages en masse and communicate one-to-one with customers. …

Facebook

Facebook opens sponsored messages to all developers in newest version of Messenger

As Messenger continues its steady growth as a communications channel distinct from its social network parent Facebook, the company today is taking the wraps off a new version of the platform that will give developers some new tools for how they present content in it, but it also opens the door …

Facebook

Facebook-WhatsApp data sharing now on pause in UK at regulator’s request

A controversial decision this summer by Facebook-owned messaging giant WhatsApp to share data on its users with its parent company — including for advertising purposes — continues to attract the ire of European regulators.<p>Now Facebook has agree to pause data sharing in the UK, following an …

WhatsApp

Facebook Messenger is testing “Instant Games” like this one from King

Facebook Messenger is preparing to launch a new “Instant Games” platform that will let people play lightweight games against friends. Candy Crush maker King.com is already testing one of these Instant Games called “Shuffle Cats Mini” in New Zealand, TechCrunch has discovered. And other studios …

Google brings RCS, the next-gen upgrade to SMS, to Android phones on Sprint

As promised earlier this year, Google is bringing RCS – Rich Communications Service, an upgrade to the SMS standard – to Android devices. Its first carrier partner on the initiative is Sprint, which is rolling out RCS messaging to its customers with Android devices, starting today. Once enabled, …

Twitter announces Bot Platform

Today, Twitter essentially announced what you could call their entrance into the Chatbot space, without ever mentioning the word …

Windows 10 gets more social with “My People,” a taskbar feature focused on sharing, communication

Microsoft’s next version of its Windows 10 operating system, the Creator’s Update announced this morning, is about to get a lot more social. The company demonstrated a new feature called “My People,” which puts your most important contacts directly in the bottom toolbar on your desktop, so you can …

Apple has seriously considered iMessage for Android

Apple has created "mockups" of its iMessage app for Android, suggesting that the company has seriously considered at some point porting the service to non-Apple products.<p>"I’ve heard from little birdies that mockups of iMessage for Android have circulated within the company, with varying UI styles …

Mobile

PayPal payments and notifications are coming to Facebook Messenger

PayPal has announced that it’s rolling out as an additional payment option within Facebook Messenger, which currently supports payments via debit cards.<p>PayPal has been pushing to expand its reach into the consumer realm, having struck partnerships with MasterCard, Visa, Vodafone, and Alibaba, among …

Why Skype App Is Not Downloadable On Many Windows Mobile Phones, Some Android Handsets Anymore

It’s official! Skype is going to be available only on Windows-running handsets that received the Windows 10 Anniversary Update. Hence, Windows phones …

Mobile

Behind Facebook’s Messenger Missteps

Facebook employees buzzed about Messenger’s personal assistant, known as M, when it launched inside the company and to a test group of thousands of …

Facebook

Microsoft’s Skype Translator now speaks Russian

Microsoft is announcing today that its Skype Translator feature of the Skype messaging, voice, and video-calling app is now capable of translating speech into and out of Russian. Now Skype Translator can be said to speak a total of nine languages. This comes after Arabic speech translation support …

Google Duo is taking Hangouts’ place on Android

Hangouts will remain an optional app for install<p>In its ongoing effort to push new chat software, Google won't require Android phone makers to preload the Hangouts app as part of its core mobile app suite starting December 1st, according to <i>Android Police</i>. In its place, the company will instead …

Google

WhatsApp is targeting Snapchat's potential market with its latest update

<i>This story was delivered to BI Intelligence Apps and Platforms Briefing subscribers. To learn more and subscribe, please click here.</i><p>On Monday, WhatsApp, the most popular messaging app globally, introduced a number of new photo- and video-editing features reminiscent of those offered by rival chat …

Snapchat

Shopify now lets stores sell directly in Facebook Messenger

Shopify was early to bring its merchants the ability to converse directly with customers via Facebook Messenger, and now it’s launching the ability to actually sell directly within messages between stores and customers.<p>The integration works by giving customers a “Shop Now” option when they start a …

WhatsApp's camera update 'borrows' heavily from Snapchat

Facebook properties copying Snapchat features is nothing new. Instagram and Messenger copied Snapchat’s ‘Stories’ feature, so it only seems appropriate that Facebook-owned WhatsApp would completely snag its photo interface.<p>The new features allow users to add emoji, drawn on images and video, or add …

Empowering the world to stay connected: Introducing Messenger Lite

<i>By Tom Mulcahy, Engineering Manager for Messenger Lite</i><p>Furthering our goal to empower people all over the world to stay connected, today we’re …

Sri Lanka

Facebook “Messenger Day” is the chat app’s new Snapchat Stories clone

Facebook is stealing the Stories format and invading countries where Snapchat isn’t popular yet. Today in Poland it launched “Messenger Day”, which lets people share illustrated filter-enhanced photos and videos that disappear in 24 hours, just like on Snapchat.<p>By using the international popularity …

Facebook is testing its own version of Snapchat in the Messenger app

Facebook is testing Snapchat-like photo and video messages that disappear after 24 hours in its Messenger app.<p>After TechCrunch first spotted the changes, a Facebook spokesperson confirmed the feature test, which is called "Messenger Day," to Business Insider.<p>The company spokesperson said that …

Facebook