Items tagged with messaging

People have turned to a wide variety of social media and messaging apps to stay connected with friends and loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic. One messaging system that has grown rather quickly is Telegram. The Telegram developers recently announced that they have reached 400 million users and that 1.5 million new users sign up everyday. Telegram is an instant messaging service that allows users to send messages, stickers, photos, videos and various kinds of files. Users can interact with each other one-on-one or form chat groups. Telegram was originally started in 2013, but it has grown by 100 million users since 2019. The service is not particularly popular in North America where apps... Read more...
WhatsApp bills itself as a free and secure messaging application with end-to-end encryption and cross platform support, all of which have made it a popular option. However, it may not be as secure as advertised. Vulnerabilities that were disclosed last year have still not been addressed, and if abused, could allow an attacker to spoof messages. Researchers at Checkpoint disclosed the a trio of attack vectors last year, explaining that they could enable a hacker to change a user's messages, change a sender's identity, and make private messages viewable to the public. One of those has been addressed, but two of the attack vectors still remain, as researchers recently demonstrated at the Black Hat... Read more...
Google continues to make its comparatively low-cost Google Fi wireless service a more intriguing option. It already has the advantage of friendly billing versus what the four major wireless carriers in the US charge, those being AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon. Now on the usability side, Google Fi is enabling RCS messaging by default on eligible phones. RCS (Rich Communication Services) messaging is a communications protocol with more bells and whistles than regular SMS text messaging. Similar to iMessages that is used on iOS devices, RCS offers things like read receipts, video calls, encryption, and more. "With RCS in Messages, you can do and share more when you message friends, family... Read more...
Earlier this year, Facebook came under fire when it was discovered that the company let a ton of user information fall into the hands of marketing companies. It's hard to say how that incident will affect Facebook in the long-run, but what we do know is that the aftermath has already led to the creation of a new feature. Around the time the Facebook security debacle went down earlier this year, users who were previously sent messages by company founder Mark Zuckerberg discovered that those messages were suddenly missing. As it happens, someone in charge decided to unsend those messages, which is a clear misuse of power, especially as users themselves don't have access to such functionality. After... Read more...
If you own one of Samsung's Galaxy S9 or Galaxy S9 Plus smartphones a wild bug making the rounds is leaving customers on edge. Reports indicate that some users have seen the default messaging app randomly send photos from their gallery to contacts without their knowledge. One impacted user claims that the Samsung device sent the entire photo gallery to their girlfriend. Another user from reddit reported that the device had sent photos to his wife. The photos are being sent out over the stock Samsung messaging app. The particularly odd thing about this bug is that there is no record that the photos are being sent out left on the phone according to the Reddit user. There is a record, however, in... Read more...
Google has announced a new way that it is connecting people and businesses using RCS (Rich Communication Services) with the goal of bringing enhanced features to standard messaging services on mobile devices with various carriers. Google is working with 43 carriers and device manufacturers to enhance native messaging for all Android users. One of the tricks Google is working on is RCS business messaging and that service has taken off well for Google with the search giant stating that companies across the food, travel, retail, and delivery services in the U.S. and Mexico are having better conversations with customers thanks to this service. The brands are all participating in RCS business messaging... Read more...
It wasn't just you, WhatsApp was down for about an hour this morning. The outage impacted global usage of the app, which boasts over 1.2 billion active users. The app is a primary means of messaging between friends and family, and those people were not happy with the outage. The outage was first noticed when the term "whatsappdown" was trending in countries like India. The app has a particularly large user base in developing nations like India, which is also its biggest market with 200 million users. India isn’t the only country where the downtime for the app was trending, it was also trending on social media in Pakistan, Britain, Germany, Brazil, Russia, Vietnam, and Myanmar according... Read more...
A popular messaging startup used in business settings is starting to see some interest among major technology players about a possible acquisition. That messaging startup is Slack, and one of the interested parties is Amazon. To make the deal happen, Amazon—or any other technology outfit—would have to come at Slack hard with a 10-digit offer, as the messaging service is said to command $9 billion (or more) from interested parties.Should Amazon make a play for Slack, it would likely qualify as the online retailer's largest acquisition ever. It is also one that Amazon could afford, though even so, a $9 billion investment is not something to be taken lightly. As it stands right now, no agreement... Read more...
A hacker has discovered a way to permanently disable the built-in Messages app on any Apple device running iOS 8 through iOS 10. That pretty much covers every iPhone handset and iPad tablet out there, including the recently released iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, save for models that are woefully outdated for whatever reason. Just as frightening, the sinister exploit is rather simple to pull off. The exploit involves sending a bloated vCard, or virtual business card, which are used to share contacts on mobile phones. A hacker who goes by the name Vincedes3 found that sending a vCard laced with thousands of lines of code can overwhelm the Messages app to the point where it ends up in a crash loop.... Read more...
Are you having trouble keeping track of all of the different messaging apps that Google offers? Don't feel bad; a lot of us do. In fact, it feels like Google has a number of redundancies in this space, and with its latest move, we get the feeling that the consolidation has begun. Take Allo, for example, which is set to take the place of Hangouts in the official "Google Mobile Services" package going forward. That means that vendors won't need to bundle Hangouts with their devices, although they still have the option to should they want to offer a more complete package. Even if they don't, however, you would still be able to download it from the Play Store, which isn't a grand inconvenience.... Read more...
If you're looking for yet another way to communicate with your friends and family from your mobile device, you now have Allo, a new and "smarter" messaging app from Google. It's available right off the bat for both Android and iOS devices (sorry, Windows Phone users!) and integrates a preview edition of of the Google Assistant, which you can use to have a conversation with Google. "Ask it questions and let it help you get things done directly in your chats. You no longer need to leave a conversation with friends just to grab an address, share your favorite YouTube video, or pick a dinner spot," Google explains. "Just type @google to bring your Assistant into any group chat. And of course, you... Read more...
It doesn't matter if you're chatting with a co-worker about a sensitive business proposal you're putting together or bantering about basketball playoffs with a group of buddies, the idea that a third-party could be intercepting and reading your communication is creepy. Messaging providers are taking a privacy stand against such things, including Viber, which is adding end-to-end encryption to its popular platform. Over 700 million people use Viber, more than enough to make it a target for spying from hackers and even government organizations. But just as WhatsApp has done for its more than 1 billion users, Viber's roll out of end-to-end encryption will help keep prying eyes from seeing private... Read more...
Former NSA contractor turned whistle blower Edward Snowden is a fan of Signal, a secure messaging app developed by Frederic Jacobs (iOS version). Snowden revealed on Twitter last November that he uses signal every day, which is a pretty strong endorsement considering his current situation. That's good news for Apple because Jacobs is joining the Cupertino outfit later this summer."I'm delighted to announce that I accepted an offer to be working with the CoreOS security team at Apple this summer," Jacobs posted to Twitter on Thursday. His move to Apple comes two and half years spent working for Whisper Systems, the company that owns Signal. This is a big hire for Apple, to say the least.It's not... Read more...
WhatsApp is eliminating its $0.99 subscription fee in favor of a new business model, one that won't bother you with advertising. Well, not for now, anyway. Instead of replacing the nominal yearly subscription fee with ads, WhatsApp will experiment with bringing businesses on board. "Naturally, people might wonder how we plan to keep WhatsApp running without subscription fees and if today's announcement means we're introducing third-party ads. The answer is no. Starting this year, we will test tools that allow you to use WhatsApp to communicate with businesses and organizations that you want to hear from," WhatsApp explained in a blog post. "That could mean communicating with your bank about whether... Read more...
We're constantly being reminded that our government has a great interest in our private lives, whether it's flying specially equipped planes over densely populated areas to trick tens of thousands of phones into forking over sensitive data, or snooping on Internet traffic, big brother's watching us. One of the few ways to maintain a little bit of privacy these days is through encryption, and in collaboration with Open Whisper Systems, WhatsApp is now providing end-to-end encryption for its users by default. The most recent WhatsApp for Android client includes support for the TextSecure encryption protocol that's being used for billions of messages that are being exchanged daily. At present, it... Read more...
Arguably, BlackBerry should've opened up its BBM platform to everyone years ago, as it could've leapfrogged Hangouts, iMessage, Snapchat, and some of the other chat tools ahead of where we are now. At this point, the BBM userbase is so small, that it arriving on iOS and Android a while back has had little impact on the company's overall stake in mindshare. That said, BBM is still probably the company's strongest software play at the moment, which is why it's bringing BBM to Windows Phone users. BBM will operate on WP8 or newer, enabling further cross-platform messaging with BBM Chats, BBM Groups, Find Friends, BBM Feeds, and 'Pin' to Start menu functionality. BlackBerry says that further features... Read more...
T-Mobile may not have the widest coverage net of the major U.S. carriers, but boy, are they gaining mind share. And as it turns out, market share as well. After adding nearly 4.4 million subscribers in the most recent quarter, rivals such as AT&T are having to pay attention. They're also having to modify their offerings in order to remain competitive. Just weeks after AT&T introduced newer, more generous data plans for Mobile Share customers, the carrier is now making it cheaper and easier for those very customers to text overseas. Starting on Friday (2/28), all AT&T Mobile Share and Mobile Share Value plans will now include unlimited international messaging from the U.S. to the world.... Read more...
One has to wonder if Facebook is feeling any buyer’s remorse, as the messaging service the company just dropped $19 billion to acquire experienced an outage on Saturday, according to reports. WhatsApp didn’t provide much in the way of details beyond a pair of tweets that acknowledged the outage and then stated that service had been restored. “Sorry we currently experiencing server issues. we hope to be back up and recovered shortly,” reads the first. The second tweet, posted two and a half hours later, reads “WhatsApp service has been restored. We are so sorry for the downtime…” The outage wasn’t a terribly long one, but the timing of it was quite... Read more...
WhatsApp is a popular cross-platform mobile messaging app, and it now belongs to Mark Zuckerberg and Co., although the acquisition is leaving Facebook quite a bit lighter in the wallet; the WhatsApp deal is for $19 billion. That’s $4 billion in cash, $12 billion in Facebook shares, and another $3 billion in restricted stock units that will go to WhatsApp personnel. WhatsApp has some 450 million users each month with 70% of those individuals active at any given time while another million join the ranks daily. A press release claims that the volume of messages WhatsApp processes is “approaching the entire global telecom SMS volume”. "WhatsApp is on a path to connect 1 billion... Read more...
Snapchat's founders evidently have some big things planned for their startup, and it doesn't involve selling to Facebook for $1 billion. It takes some mighty big you-know-what to scoff at that kind of cash, especially when you're in your early twenties as co-founders Evan Spiegal (23 years old) and Bobby Murphy (25 years old), but these guys believe in their product. So much, in fact, that they reportedly turned down another offer from Facebook, one that's said to have been around $3 billion. Take a moment to clean the coffee off your monitor, we'll wait. Got it all wiped up? Okay, let's continue. According to The Wall Street Journal and people it spoke with that have been briefed on the matter,... Read more...
WhatsApp, iMessage, Kik, Facebook -- the world is overrun with messaging apps and platforms, and we've stumbled upon a near infinite amount of ways to send short snippets of text and images to friends and colleagues around the world. But here's one you may have forgotten about: ChatON. That's Samsung's own chat app, and the company announced today that it now boasts a staggering 100 million users. Of course, Samsung isn't clarifying that these are active users; they're just saying the install base is now up to 100 million. The service was launched in October 2011, hitting the 50 million subscriber mark in May 2013 and doubling that number to 100 million only four months later. That said, ChatON... Read more...
On one hand, this is huge news for BlackBerry. But on the other, it would've been far, far more monumental if this had happened five years ago. During BlackBerry's annual developer event in Florida today, the company announced that BBM (its proprietary messaging service, similar to iMessage for Apple devices) would finally be available outside of the BlackBerry family. This summer, BBM will be available for Android and iOS, allowing BlackBerry users to now message their friends who refuse to switch platforms. Initially, the BBM App will support iOS 6 and Android 4.0+. Upon release, BBM customers would be able to broaden their connections to include friends, family and colleagues on other mobile... Read more...
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