Category: Apps

Waze Will Now Warn Drivers Of Traffic Jams Or Detours Before They Set Off

Image via Waze

Waze, one of the most popular GPS apps, is now extending its help to drivers even before they’ve backed out of the driveway.

The Google-owned firm has revamped its pre-drive screen on both Android and iOS to provide users with more information before they set off.

Now, users will be able to peruse alternate routes, traffic levels, real-time incident reports, and even toll information before leaving the home. Plus, if the app chooses to go by a different route, it’ll give you an explanation for its selection, though users can still switch back to their preferred choice if necessary.

According to Engadget, this new update is already rolling out to users worldwide, and is one of Waze’s biggest upgrades in recent history.

While the app will still automatically plan out routes to different destinations, its new pre-drive features allow drivers to have more control over their preferences and allows them to better understand why Waze chooses certain routes.

[via Engadget, cover image via Waze]

Citizen App Is Supposedly Paying New Yorkers To Livestream Crime Scenes

Image via Citizen

Previously, the Citizen app made headlines when it was found to have caused more problems than solved crime. Now, the controversial app is once again in the spotlight after reports that it would allegedly pay New Yorkers US$25 per hour to livestream crime scenes and public emergencies.

According to a story from the New York Post, the app aims to encourage more users to contribute such footage. However, given its history of mistakenly reported incidents, not many are too excited about the app’s new program.

In May, a Citizen livestream with over a million views “helped” to identify the wrong suspect, after founder Andrew Frame offered US$30,000 in reward money. Last month, the app alerted a neighborhood to “30 men armed with guns,” which turned out to be a regular family party.

While it’s unclear if there will be any measures taken to verify incidents before users can livestream them, a spokesperson for Citizen told the Post that it “has teams in place in some of the cities where the app is available to demonstrate how the platform works, and to model responsible broadcasting practices in situations where events are unfolding in real time.”

Will this incentive lead people to place themselves in dangerous situations just so they’ll get paid? Hopefully not.

[via New York Post, cover image via Citizen]

Discord Is Bringing ‘Threads’ To Quell Your Chaotic Communications

Image via Discord

After a user spike induced by the pandemic, Discord has been focused on developing and evolving its user experience to widen its demographic. Now, the platform is planning rolling out its newest feature: threads.

“Threads allow multiple topics in a channel to exist and grow with their own dedicated space temporarily without having to commit to a new channel for the server. They make it easier to follow along with an unexpected topic that gains popularity and eliminates confusion when multiple, big topics are happening within a single channel,” the support website explains concisely. “With Threads, you can belong to any conversation important to you and follow at your own pace.”

As per Discord’s developer portal, the threads will consist of public and private, active and archived. They’ll act as a sub-channel nested inside of regular channels, aimed to organize conversation in busier channels. Although the replies feature was rolled out in November 2020, replacing ‘quote’, conversations were still hard to follow at times, especially when there’d be multiple going on at the same time, or it moved more quickly than one can keep up with.

A report made by TechRadar shows the functions being tested out as well as the proposed layout: everything remains largely the same, except for the new thread segment to the right of the main server conversation. Underneath the main channel sits a directory of all its threads, allowing for easeful navigation.

Still in early testing, the feature is largely only available to bot developers to ensure compatibility. There hasn’t been an official announcement or release date yet, but this could very well change the game for the community-based platform as it continues to evolve.

Image via Discord

[via TechRadar, image via Discord]

See Your Favorite Social Media Apps Reimagined As 90s Websites

Image courtesy of Zyro, featured with permission

Remember the internet in the good old days of the 90s and the 2000s? Before Facebook, there was MySpace. And lots of eight-bit single-player games on Miniclip.

One popular trend back then was certainly repeating background images – headaches anyone? And if you were to download your favorite images, they’d have to be saved onto a floppy disk. Scratch that; you may need one floppy disk for every image you upload onto Instagram.

The team at website builder Zyro has reimagined current social media platforms and streaming sites as 90s websites, and it’s incredibly nostalgic. Take a look at your favorite apps in the bygone era below.


Image courtesy of Zyro, featured with permission


Image courtesy of Zyro, featured with permission


Image courtesy of Zyro, featured with permission


Image courtesy of Zyro, featured with permission


Image courtesy of Zyro, featured with permission


Image courtesy of Zyro, featured with permission


Image courtesy of Zyro, featured with permission


Image courtesy of Zyro, featured with permission

[via Zyro]

This Vigilante App Has Apparently Caused More Problems Than Helped Solve Crime

Image via Citizen

You may have heard of an app named Citizen. With more than seven million users in over 30 cities across the US, the top-ranked news app of 2020 hopes to make communities safer.

To give you a better idea of how the app works, it was previously named ‘Vigilante’ before being rebranded to Citizen. Not just that, it’s been kicked off Apple’s App Store too.

The app, created by Soon Inc, says it is “a personal safety network that empowers you to protect yourself and the people and places you care about.”

According to a report by Granate Kim for Fast Company, the platform currently offers COVID-19 contact tracing, real-time 911 alerts, instant access to crisis responders, and “safety tracking” for loved ones.

Mass surveillance has understandably been a hotly debated topic over the years, though Citizen believes “transparency is the single most powerful tool against crime and injustice.”

However, the truth isn’t as pretty. Citizen has a track record of lending itself to racial profiling, harassment, and increased surveillance.

In May this year, a Citizen livestream with over a million viewers started a manhunt in California, after founder Andrew Frame offered a US$30,000 reward for information leading to an arrest of a suspected arsonist. Instead of nabbing the actual criminal, Citizen misidentified a homeless man. A Los Angeles police spokesperson even called the app “disastrous.”

“The [Citizen] app gives people the power to say who is and who isn’t suspicious, and who belongs in their community. These apps are a digital superhighway for racial profiling,” Matthew Guariglia, a policy analyst a nonprofit privacy watchdog Electronic Frontier Foundation, told CBS.

Just last month, journalist David D tweeted about a false reported submitted via Citizen alerting to “30 men armed with guns” in his neighborhood, which turned out to be nothing of the sort. It was just a small gathering of family and friends.

Even more alarming, Citizen has recently tested an on-demand private police force that could be summoned with a push of a button. Thankfully, the app abandoned the new feature after just a month-long trial. Chances are, if the feature went live, neighborhoods would see hordes of policemen attend to “emergencies” that didn’t exist.

With the conversation surrounding police brutality and racial profiling, mass surveillance apps like Citizen could be doing more harm than good. Who is to say who should fit into their neighborhood, or which person comes across as suspicious?

While it’s definitely great to keep an eye out for possible crime, being the community snitch may not be the best course of action.

Last night @CitizenAppSFO allowed a blatant false report about 30 men armed with guns guns fighting over at Lake Merrit..Because there was an unfortunate shooting at the Lake last week, many freaked out when they this alert … cc @CatsCommentary

— Davey D (@mrdaveyd) June 28, 2021

[via Fast Company, cover image via Citizen]

Warby Parker Rolls Out Free Virtual Vision Test To Get Your Eyes Checked At Home

[Click here to view the video in this article]

Image via Warby Parker

With businesses adapting to the digital scape, makeup swatching and clothes and underwear fittings have all gone online. Next up is this free ‘Virtual Vision Test’ by eyewear retailer Warby Parker, a timely addition as the company prepares to go public.

An update to its existing Prescription Check tool, the app-based Warby Parker Virtual Vision Test app relies on Apple’s profound AI Vision Framework to read distances and bring eye charts to your living space. Warby Parker stresses that the feature is in no way a substitute for a visit to the optometrist, but if your eyesight hasn’t changed drastically, you wouldn’t need a full-length exam just to renew your glasses or contact lens prescriptions. You could do that at home, without booking an appointment.

The Virtual Vision Test takes about 15 minutes to complete, including an eligibility test and one that simulates eye charts at the doctor’s. Here, your iPhone will serve as the chart, while you’ll be asked to stand 10 feet away to read the characters.

But you won’t get an instant analysis. After your home test is done, a qualified eye doctor will look at your results and either optionally renew your prescription for US$15 or recommend a more thorough check.

The test also isn’t for everyone; it’s designed for users aged 18 to 65 years old who see fine with their existing glasses or contact lenses. Those who aren’t eligible, or face eye health concerns, are urged to book an appointment for an eye exam instead.

Due to its framework, the Virtual Vision Test is currently available for iOS users on iPhone 6s and newer. No word on whether there’ll be an Android version yet.

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[via Uncrate and Engadget, cover image via Warby Parker]

Venmo Revamps App Design, Possibly Nudged By Biden’s Account Appearing Publicly

Image via PayPal

Venmo has cashed in on an iOS and Android app redesign hat seemingly brings privacy to the forefront in a more intuitive interface. Most evidently, the global feed revealing random payments from strangers has been wiped out, keeping transactions between close circles.

The PayPal-owned mobile platform has grappled with introducing a social appeal that’s comfortable and generally confidential. The culminating point was when the Venmo accounts of President Joe Biden and his family members were discovered to be publicly viewable. As an immediate fix, the app added an option that lets users set their friends list to “public, friends-only, or private,” it told BuzzFeed News at the time.

Now, Venmo has zeroed in on this friends-only aspect. With the global feed gone, “the friends feed is now the only social feed that will appear in the app,” it explained in a new press release.

Venmo justified that, with over 70 million customers now on its app, “this change allows customers to connect and share meaningful moments and experiences with the people who matter most.”

Another notable change is the new navigation section at the bottom, which will allow users to move between their social feeds, profiles, and Venmo products seamlessly. A ‘Cards’ button gives quick access to manage credit and debit cards, and a ‘Crypto’ button introduces users to the world of crypto trading.

Further, users now have an all-in-one view of their wallet, activity and settings from their personal feed, including the ability to track balances and spending.

Users should be able to view the redesigned app over the coming weeks.

Image via PayPal

Image via PayPal

[via Engadget and TechCrunch, images via PayPal]

WhatsApp Can Soon Be Used On Other Devices Even When Your Phone Is Dead

Image via Facebook Engineering

It’s been a long time coming, but WhatsApp has just announced its plans to roll out seamless multi-device support, allowing users to send text messages without the need to sync up their smartphones.

The new function keeps WhatsApp running on up to four other devices at the same time as your phone, but unlike before, the messaging app still works if the main phone is disconnected, or dead. And, the now-standard end-to-end encryption, which will be the default for phones, has been extended to the other platforms, too.

This is no easy feat, considering all data—including information like contacts, archives, and starred messages—have to be synced across all devices, too. Since end-to-end encryption works to ensure that not a single message can be intercepted between sender and receiver, syncing doesn’t operate as easily as it might seem. It doesn’t come as a surprise that this feature is considered incredible rare in today’s messenger market.

The catch, although existent, is minor. As TechCrunch reports, the range of devices users log into just can’t have another phone in it.

“Each message is individually encrypted using the established pairwise encryption session with each device. Messages are not stored on the server after they are delivered,” WhatsApp parent company Facebook wrote in its press release.

“Prior to our introducing multi-device, everyone on WhatsApp was identified by a single identity key from which all encrypted communication keys were derived. With multi-device, each device now has its own identity key.”

Image via Facebook Engineering

Elements like group calls, live location, statuses, and media attachments are also encrypted, as detailed in the whitepaper.

This feature is part of WhatsApp’s beta program, and is being tested with a small select group. It will reach the public and become more widely distributed, however. More information can be found on the WhatsApp help center.

We believe people have a right to a private conversation because when privacy is guaranteed it’s easier to be yourself and connect safely. That's why end-to-end encryption is at the core of what we do. 🧵1/

— WhatsApp (@WhatsApp) July 13, 2021

[via Forbes, images via Facebook Engineering]

Cornell Creates Free ‘Shazam For Bird Songs’ To Help Identify That Winged Singer

Image via Shutterstock

Ever hear the melodious tune of birdsong and wonder which bird it came from? Well, now with Cornell’s free birding app, you’ll be able to “Shazam” the exact type of bird it is.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has recently updated its Merlin smartphone app, which aims to help both amateur and experienced birdwatchers. It now comes with an artificial intelligence (AI) ‘Sound ID’ feature that works much like the Shazam app does for music. A user can record birdsong, with the app combing through a crowdsourced database to figure out which bird it emitted from.

Aside from just identifying birds by their songs, the app also allows birdwatchers to recognize species in photos or real life. By answering several simple questions, such as the primary colors on the bird spotted, its size, and where it was located, the app has helped to identify over a million birds to date, as per Fast Company.

“Users are finally putting a name to birds they have seen or heard before, but could never identify, and are really really excited by it,” said Drew Weber, the app’s project coordinator.

Upon recording a bird’s sounds, the app transforms the noise into visual graph known as a spectrogram. Then, it analyzes the spectrogram and compares it with known bird calls, which are found in the Cornell Lab’s eBird citizen science database.

However, as with most animals, certain birds are easier to identify by their song than others.

“Some just don’t have much variation,” said project research engineer Grant Van Horn.

“Other birds are much more challenging, either they have a much broader repertoire which might change dynamically, or they’re actually mimics.”

Some birds, such as bluejays and mockingbirds, tend to imitate the sounds of other birds around them, making them more difficult to identify accurately. However, the app is working on improving its recognition of “tricky birds.”

For songs that the app is unable to tell apart at first, the researchers often look for additional samples of that bird’s song, before asking an expert to confirm that it is correctly classified. It is then added back into the database so future users can identify that particular creature more easily.

For more information on the Merlin app and to download it, head over here.

Image via Merlin App

Image via Merlin App

Image via Merlin App

Image via Merlin App

[via Fast Company, images via various sources]

Photography App Has Been Turning Users Into US Spies Without Their Knowledge

Image via Shutterstock

With the way spies are being portrayed in blockbusters, it would naturally be a dream of many to become one—but that’s only if you know what you are doing. As it turns out, though, there are far more James Bonds out there than you might have ever imagined, and the even more surprising bit is that they are unwitting ones.

According to a Wall Street Journal investigation cited by PetaPixel, a San Francisco-based app named Premise has been hosting assignments to take photos and fill out surveys meant to aid US military or government work, while users are under the simple belief that they can “make money by taking photos.”

The micro gig platform has reportedly amassed about 600,000 users from 43 countries, most especially from countries in the Middle East, as of 2019. Members are given five missions a day—including snapping pictures of ATMs, supermarkets, money-exchange shops, hospitals, and places of worship in their areas—for US$0.05 to US$0.10, with more time-consuming tasks offering higher payouts.

As reported by the WSJ, Premise previously described itself as a channel to gather global development data for governments and NGOs, but it has since begun serving as a surveillance tool and a middleman for US government security services. The news outlet has also obtained federal records detailing that Premise has earned at least US$5 million from military contracts “with the Air Force and the Army and as a subcontractor to other defense entities” since 2017.

However, the WSJ noted that about half of Premise’s clients are private businesses gathering market information, such as crowdsourced intel about their competitors and potential work locations. Aside from gathering crowdsourced intelligence, the app collects metadata from users, such as their location and phone model, and sells it to clients.

Defending its services, Premise’s CEO Maury Blackman said the app has “helped inform government policy makers on how to best deal with vaccine hesitancy, susceptibility to foreign interference and misinformation in elections, as well as the location and nature of gang activity in Honduras,” touting the data as an asset for the greater good which “[protects] our citizens.”

In addition, Blackman told the WSJ that since the data obtained is public and readily accessible “to anyone who has a cellphone,” the information is “not unique or secret.”

The underlying nature of such platforms suggests that terms and conditions could be retooled and displayed in a way that brings more clarity and transparency to the public. One experiment demonstrated by Space10, IKEA’s design and research lab, proposes a charming ‘Digital Buddy’ to humanize jargon and react to complicated policies using body language so users know what they are signing up for.

NEW from me: Meet Premise — a TaskRabbit-like app with hundreds of thousands of users in the developing world. One of their clients is the U.S. military, which is tapping unwitting app users for intelligence, surveillance and passive data collection.

— Byron Tau (@ByronTau) June 24, 2021

[via Wall Street Journal and PetaPixel, cover image via Shutterstock]

Google Pay & Apple Pay Now Accept Crypto Transactions—More Dogecoins For You?

Image via Koshiro K /

Both Google and Apple have teamed up with cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, enabling users to make cryptocurrency transactions on the brands’ payment apps.

Users of Google and Apple Pay can now add the Coinbase Card to their mobile payment apps, allowing them to purchase goods and services using cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Dogecoin via their smartphones.

However, if you’ve yet to sign up for the Coinbase Card, you’ll have to join the waitlist on its site. The digital wallet has also announced it’ll be giving up to 4% of cryptocurrency rewards to those who add the card to Google or Apple Pay.

As per the Entrepreneur, Coinbase works by converting cryptocurrencies into legal tender, such as US dollars.

Depending on the type of transaction, users are also liable for a fee or commission, which is given in more detail here. While users will pay in cryptocurrencies, merchants will still receive the payment in legal tender.

As of now, this new feature is only available to select Google and Apple users in the US. After the trial phase, it’s possible that the tech giants will roll out this function to users globally.

[via Entrepreneur, cover image via Koshiro K /]

Norton Antivirus Adds A Viral, Unexpected Tool: Safe Cryptocurrency Mining

Image via rafapress /

NortonLifeLock, the parent company best known for Norton 360 Antivirus, has now launched a cryptocurrency mining setup for users of its antivirus platform.

Most of the time, when users mine for cryptocurrency, they have to disable security precautions in order to run coin-mining programs. This poses a risk to their computers, as “unvetted code” could skim their earnings or plant ransomware in their machines.

According to ZDNet, miners won’t have to forgo their safety precautions—including Norton 360 Antivirus—as Norton Crypto will allow users to “safely and easily mine cryptocurrency.”

Plus, the software will store mined coins in a cloud-based wallet for extra safekeeping, rather than directly on the miners’ hard drives.

It’s certainly a boon that cryptocurrency miners now have a safer way of mining their coins, without compromising the security of their setups.

The Norton Crypto platform will soon be rolled out to all users of the Norton 360 early adopter program in the coming weeks, with Ethereum (ETH) being the only compatible cryptocurrency first.

Image via NortonLifeLock / Businesswire

[via ZDNet, images via various sources]

Twitter Confirms Weather Service That Lets You Ask Meteorologists For Updates

Image via BigTunaOnline /

Many people turn to Twitter for the latest news, even for weather-related emergencies such as an incoming storm or hurricane alert.

Now, the social media platform has told Axios it will be launching Tomorrow, a new weather service.

Tomorrow will first be rolled out in 15 North American cities and the Dominican Republic, providing the latest news on local weather reports. According to Engadget, climate journalists and meteorologists will be behind the feature’s content, helping users stay informed of noteworthy weather events in their area.

Twitter is also attaching a US$10 per month paid subscription option to Tomorrow, which will allow you to have an unlimited Q&A session with the meteorologists.

The subscription will also come with a weekly newsletter as well as early access to related podcasts and long-form writeups.

While it’s true that many people use social media platforms like Twitter as their source of news, even the weather, it’s still unclear if a paid subscription is worth the money for casual users.

It still remains to be seen what special insight or functions Tomorrow comes up with to back up this premium fee.

[via Engadget and Axios, cover image via BigTunaOnline /]

TikTok Gets Dethroned As The Top App On Apple App Store

Image via Apple

For over a year, TikTok had been seated at the top of Apple’s iOS App Store, with another 59 million downloads just a month ago.

However, a new app has dethroned TikTok as the top free app, and it’s an unexpected contender.

According to Mashable, on May 30, a new app called Paste Keyboard took over the number-one spot on the App Store. And if you’ve not heard of it before, don’t worry, many others haven’t either.

Upon looking through data from analytics platform App Annie, Mashable found that the app had ranked #910 in the Utilities category on May 27, before climbing to #1 in Utilities and #5 overall in just a day.

Two days later, on May 30, it shot up to #1 overall, and has since remained in first place.

It seems that Paste Keyboard is a super-simple app that allows users to add it as a third-party keyboard, similar to keyboards of other languages. Now, you can type out a message beforehand, and paste it into your messaging apps when you need to use it.

This app could prove to be helpful for people who find themselves replying with the same sentences over and over, or want to proofread a long text before hitting send.

Though it’s unclear why Paste Keyboard’s popularity has soared so suddenly, it sure sounds like a nifty productivity tool everyone can add to their arsenal of apps.

These are interesting times, as Amazon has also been unseated as the most-installed shopping app across app stores.

Image via Paste Keyboard

Image via Paste Keyboard

[via Mashable, images via various sources]

Dynamic ‘WellPapers’ To Clear Your Digital Clutter Are Free For Android Users

Image via OnePlus

OnePlus has launched a series of dynamic wallpapers, aptly named ‘WellPaper’, for all Android phones.

The wallpapers focus on digital wellbeing, showing you how much time you’ve spent on your phone in a non-intrusive way.

The WellPaper series is available in three designs: ‘Composition’, which is inspired by Mondrian-like tiles; ‘Glow’, a punk adaption inspired by video games; and ‘Radial’, a soft, pastel-colored version that’s more zen.

The dynamic wallpapers work by breaking down your daily phone usage into six different categories: games, information/business, entertainment, social, communication, and tools.

Throughout the day, the color assigned to the categories you use most will begin to shift and expand, showing you where you have spent most of your screen time.

As the wallpapers only update when you unlock your phone and don’t run in the background, it’s not battery-intensive. All information is also calculated locally, so your data isn’t used to run it either.

To download WellPaper, head to the Google Play Store here.

Image via OnePlus

Image via OnePlus

Image via OnePlus

[via 9to5Google, images via various sources]

These Image Editing Apps Are Found To Be The Most ‘Data-Hungry’

Image via Maor_Winetrob /

With WhatsApp proclaiming that it would send user data to Facebook, mobile users are on heightened alert about their privacy being invaded. In spite of this, it’s still easy to forget that social media and messaging apps aren’t the only ones collecting and tracking data.

A deep dive by VPN provider Surfshark into Apple’s privacy labels brings to light that dating, streaming, and even period-tracking apps do it too—not to mention, some of your favorite photo editing apps.

VSCO and Adobe Lightroom are apparently the most “hungry” for your data—which includes contact info, your location, user content, and search history—while TouchRetouch and Pixelmator don’t collect anything at all. VSCO previously conducted an internal audit and attributed most of its data usage to quality assurance.

Thankfully, image editors are a lot more innocuous than social networks. To be specific, browsers and image editing apps generally collect the least data across 18 app categories.

The greatest culprits of data collection, supposedly, are social media and food delivery apps, with Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger being the most “data-hungry” of the lot.

As for how data-free apps can turn a profit without selling users’ information, Surfshark cited that there are some programs—like Pixelmator—that ask for a small fee upfront. Others resolve this by offering free and premium options.

You can discover more of Surfshark’s findings, along with accompanying visuals, over at its full report.

Click to view enlarged version

Click to view enlarged version. Image via Surfshark (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Click to view enlarged version

Click to view enlarged version. Image via Surfshark (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Click to view enlarged version

Click to view enlarged version. Image via Surfshark (CC BY-SA 4.0)

[via DIY Photography, cover images via Maor_Winetrob /, subsequent images via Surfshark (CC BY-SA 4.0)]

WhatsApp Now Says It Won’t Limit Your Experience If You Refuse Its New Policy

Image via DenPhotos /

Earlier this month, WhatsApp reversed its decision to delete the accounts of users who refused to agree to its new privacy policy, which stated that users’ account data would be shared with Facebook.

The Facebook-owned messaging app had said that it would be severely limiting the functionality of accounts that refused to subscribe to this policy. Users were warned that they would not be able to access their chat lists, receiving incoming calls or notifications, with the app eventually ceasing to allow any messages and calls completely. The app added that it would also up the frequency of notifications asking users to agree to the update, to the point of them being persistent.

Now, it’s walking back on its decision yet again, with the tech firm saying it won’t be restricting functionality for users who don’t accept the policy.

“Given recent discussions with various authorities and privacy experts, we want to make clear that we currently have no plans to limit the functionality of how WhatsApp works for those who have not yet accepted the update,” WhatsApp said in a statement.

With some governments moving to ban the app from acquiring user data and feeding it back to parent company Facebook, it still remains to be seen if WhatsApp will further reverse its new policy update.

[via TNW, cover image via DenPhotos /]

5 Apps to Help You Work From Home

As we strive to stay connected, positive, and productive during these challenging times, remote work can feel like a double-edged sword. We may not have to commute or dress as formally, but it can be harder to focus on the actual work at hand. Not to mention, the isolation can be a downer.

To help keep your new WFH regimen balanced — we’re rounding out a list of five apps you should have on your radar to get the most out of your day but also remain in touch with friends and family

Keeping the Spontaneity and Joy of Conversations

Video chat apps are seeing a substantial spike in downloads while stay-at-home orders remain in place for the majority of the country. When working from home, it can be easy to feel pressured to constantly “be on.” Now more than ever, it is important to take the time for yourself and relax and connect with others and app developers are taking this into consideration.

Acquired by Fortnite maker Epic Games in 2019, Houseparty, for example, has seen massive growth throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Per TechCrunch, the social networking app has seen 50 million downloads in a single month, a figure 70X above compared to pre-COVID levels in some markets. It’s currently the top-ranked social app in 80+ countries including the U.S., and #1 overall in 16 countries.

At a glance, Houseparty, billed the “face-to-face social network” is popular for its functionality that allows eight users group video chat via smartphone or desktop app. Tapping into other social networks including Facebook and Snapchat, it makes finding friends and family a seamless experience. The app alerts you when your friends are “in the house” and ready to chat and from there you can jump into a call or join another “party” and play games with quarantine friends like trivia and Ellen’s “Heads Up!”

The Makeshift Office

One of the largest changes introduced by COVID-19 is the global work from home movement. If you’ve been thrust into a remote work setup, there are a number of tools you can utilize to help make your new professional routine easier and fun.

There may not be that ideal replacement for those spontaneous conversations at one another’s desks or the office water cooler, but these apps deliver an element of spontaneity amidst the pre-mandated Zoom meetings, Slack threads and email chains we all need.


Launched in 2016, Loom is an enterprise collaboration video messaging service that allows for face-to-face time when you’re away from the office. Quickly record a video when you have a question or need to review a document or presentation as a group. Watch videos you receive from teammates when you’re in between tasks or meetings or taking a lunch break. To date, Loom is used by 2M+ users across more than 50k companies who record over 15 million minutes of video every month.


Hitting the scene just last month, Around is the new video chat software targeted towards multitaskers.
Designed for laptop users, the app crops video call participants down to circles that float on your screen freeing up space for your other work in the background. It taps into auto-zoom functionality and noise-canceling features to ensure your face and voice remain in focus.

“People want to make eye contact. They want to connect. But they also want to get stuff done. Around treats video as the means to an end, not the end in itself,” explained Around CEO Domink Zane in a recent statement. Put simply, Around acknowledges the need for presence and connection today but designed so we have the proper space to remain in flow.


Screen is an interactive screen sharing app where everyone gets a cursor to control the window and collaborate across code, design, and writing.

A few concrete use cases of the app including chatting over audio or video calling in an overlaid window, overlay drawing on the screen to annotate items when working together in a document, and posting ephemeral text comments when someone else is speaking and you and other colleagues don’t want to interrupt. With Screen you can also launch meetings from Slack and schedule them with Google calendar integration.


Think of Pragli as the Bitmoji for professionals.

Serving as an avatar-based virtual office, Pragli helps you know whether someone’s in a meeting, heads down on a deliverable, stepping out for a break, or unplugged for the day. Unlike Slack which can sometimes cause ambiguity as to whether someone is actually available or not, Pragli seeks to translate the real-world presence we’re unable to have today to the remote workspace.

In turn, you can make more informed decisions as to whether you do a quick audio call, reschedule a meeting for another day or time, send a chat message they can come back to later if the matter isn’t urgent, or schedule a longer video meeting.

“What Slack did for email, we want to do for video conferencing,” Pragli co-founder Doug Safreno explains. “Traditional video conferencing is exclusive by design, whereas Pragli is inclusive. Just like in an office, you can see who is talking to who.”

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The post 5 Apps to Help You Work From Home appeared first on Social Media Week.

Apple News Prioritizes Human Over Machine, and That’s What Makes the App Unique

When it comes to deciding on what content users see on a daily basis, Apple News is one of a kind — as Facebook, Twitter and Google are increasingly under fire for using non-transparent algorithms to select content, Apple News comes to the limelight with a fully human-powered team.

In a rare insider look into Apple News’ headquarters by The New York Times, the three-year-old news app’s approach was revealed to the public, as the team shows details on how it picks the top five stories that users see when they open the app, and who are the minds behind these decisions.

The team lead, Lauren Kern, former executive editor of New York Magazine, heads a group of about 30 former journalists from Sydney, London, New York, and Silicon Valley. They read through hundreds of pitches daily and decide on which stories to be featured on the top spots of the app. Kern told the Times that, what sets them different is that they strive to bring in content from both sides of the political debate, and prioritize accuracy over speed.

It’s reported that the app is now used by 90 million people.

Since people started to favor getting news of the day through social media like Facebook, these tech giants are increasingly under scrutiny for their position as middlemen between publishers and news consumers.

As a social media platform that aims to profit, Facebook’s and Google’s algorithms were designed to gain as many clicks as possible, which means that the quality and accuracy of the content is normally not the priority — this throughout the years has led to the spread of fake information and divisive content, which can easily go viral.

In response, Facebook, for example, has taken some steps in attempting to comfort the worried public — also with human help. In September this year, Facebook announced that it has built a “war room” — a team hired specifically to prepare for the U.S. midterm election. Facebook’s head of civic engagement Samidh Chakrabarti told NBC News that its staff focuses on combating foreign interference, blocking and removing fake accounts, slowing the spread of misinformation and bring transparency to political ads on the platform.

In a disturbed world where there’s either technology or human approach, Apple News decides that they can co-exist. Kern told the Times that this is her way of saving journalism. “There is this deep understanding that a thriving free press is critical for an informed public, and an informed public is critical for a functioning democracy, and that Apple News can play a part in that,” Kern said.

However, would publishers be keen on the idea of partnering with Apple News for its civic approach? Hard to say. According to the Times, some are concerned that because Apple News takes 30 percent of subscription revenues, much higher than Facebook and Google, and also because Apple News users typically read within its own app, Apple will take away more revenues and data from customers. In response, Apple says that what it’s most interested in helping publishers sell more subscriptions.

So now it’s up to publishers and customers to decide on whether Apple News’ effort is appreciated. For publishers, will this more authentic, less machine disturbed, human-led new content app help them generate more revenues? And for customers, will content hand-picked by 30 seasoned journalists be less biased than the algorithms they’ve long felt disappointed at? We will see.

Learn the latest trends, insights and best practices from the brightest minds in media and technology. Sign up for SMW Insider to watch full-length sessions from official Social Media Week conferences live and on-demand.

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New Introbiz members benefit app from Bizbox Tech Ltd…

For reasons to join the Introbizbox members benefit platform for Introbiz members, please see the Launch Promo Video…

[vimeo 248640457 w=640 h=360]

IntroBizBox Promo Video from Behind The Lens Media on Vimeo.

For more about the Introbizbox members benefit platform including deals on how you can join the system and add your own deals, or to set up your free profile, please see and/or download the Introbizbox App in the Google play store for Android Devices, or the App Store for Apple Devices and proceed to join the system.

Membership to the Advertising part of the platform start from just £250 per annum and you can see all of the available packages below.



Business Services from trusted & reliable providers offering great value for money…


 As well as providing many business Services Online and Offline themselves, MA Consultancy also works with many trusted & reliable business service providers, who offer a wide range of business to business products or services.

If you would like to have a meeting with a professional to request a quote or for a free consultation, with some advice and knowledge about the business products or services that you require, please complete the contact form on the relevant business services page you are interested in, by clicking the link and seeing what service providers we work with.

Business Services included are:

  • A wide range of Marketing Services
  • Networking Opportunities
  • Business Exhibition Opportunities
  • Business Apps or Web Development
  • Graphic Fesign and/or Printing
  • Car Sales, Fleet provision or Car Leasing
  • Business Financial & Professional Services (Accountancy, Cost Reduction, Auto Enrolment, Legal Services, Debt Collection, Business Lasting Powers of Attorney)
  • Business Training
  • Office Cleaning etc.

Want your Business Service added to our offering?


Business Services page posted “By Mike Armstrong”

In need of Business App Ideas?

If you are looking for Business App Ideas in Wales or in the South West of England then take a look at the White Label Business Apps from Mynt Apps.

Mynt Apps provide lots of different Business App Ideas including Business App Design, Business App Functions and Business App Features. You can also have a Business App that is freshly Developed or even integrated in with existing Business Software via a unique API.

If you are looking for Business App Ideas for specific industries then look no further. Mynt Apps offer;
Business Apps for Hairdressers
Business Apps for Solicitors
Business Apps for Restaurants
Business Apps for Dentists
Business Apps for Garages
Business Apps for Beauty Salons
Business Apps for Hotels
Business Apps for Coffee Shops
Business Apps for Spa’s
Business Apps for all Businesses

Business Apps with great features:

All of these business apps include great business app ideas for great customer interaction features including;
Paperless Business Loyalty Schemes
Social Media Referral Schemes”
Client Appointment Booking Systems
& Free Push Notification Customer Marketing Schemes

All of these features are run directly through the business app.


To book a free consultation with a Business App expert today contact: or call: 07517 024979.

If you contact Mynt Apps directly via their website then please mention code MAC15 when getting in touch.



The In need of Business App Ideas page was written “By Mike Armstrong”

Low Cost Customer Marketing & Contact App for small and medium sized businesses!

Hi SME Business Owners,

If you are a Small Business owner, or SME Business owner with a regular customer base, and you want to regularly update your customers with information and offers about your business as well as manage appointments, then why not consider one of our new industry leading, feature packed but easy to use Low cost Business apps for SME’s?

Unique features of the Low Cost Business App:

The Low Cost Business App will allow you to:
Manage appointments,
Send offers and other marketing info to your customers for free via push notifications,
Send offers and other marketing info via low cost SMS messages,
Create & manage Referral Schemes,
Create & manage Loyalty Schemes,
Manage appointments & Customer Contact via your app,
Display Gallery pictures via your app.

All of these functions can be managed by the Business Owner or marketing manager via a very easy to use control panel / back office!

Low cost Business apps for SME’s and there Smart Phone Compatibility

Need a Low cost Business apps for SME’s to be iPhone compatible – we’ll build your app for iPhones,
Need Low cost Business app for SME’s a Low cost Business app for SME’s to be Android compatible – we’ll build your app for Androids,
Or have both!

Additional Design Service for your Low cost Business app for Sme’s

We also offer a Professional Design Service & Expert graphic design service as part of the Low cost Business app for SME’s build process!

What the new innovative Low cost Business apps for SME’s costs!

The Set Up Fee for the Low cost Business apps for SME’s is just £199 + VAT.

The monthly cost of the Low cost Business App for SME’s is £29 per month if billed annually or £39 per month on monthly billing and there is no contract involved with the Low cost Business apps for SME’s.

How to get in touch or for more info about the new Low cost Business apps for SME’s for your New, Small or SME Business:

If you would like a new Low cost Business app for SME’s for your small, new or SME business or you require more info please email: or call: 07517 024979 .

The Low cost customer marketing & contacts Apps for small and medium sized businesses page was posted “By Mike Armstrong”

Low cost Business App Development for SME’s

Hi SME Business Owners,

If you are a Small Business owner, or SME Business owner with a regular customer base, and you want to regularly update your customers with information and offers about your business as well as manage appointments, then why not consider one of our new industry leading, feature packed but easy to use Low cost Business apps for SME’s?

Unique features of the Low Cost Business App:

The Low Cost Business App will allow you to:
Manage appointments,
Send offers and other marketing info to your customers for free via push notifications,
Send offers and other marketing info via low cost SMS messages,
Create & manage Referral Schemes,
Create & manage Loyalty Schemes,
Manage appointments & Customer Contact via your app,
Display Gallery pictures via your app.

All of these functions can be managed by the Business Owner or marketing manager via a very easy to use control panel / back office!

Low cost Business apps for SME’s and there Smart Phone Compatibility

Need a Low cost Business apps for SME’s to be iPhone compatible – we’ll build your app for iPhones,
Need Low cost Business app for SME’s a Low cost Business app for SME’s to be Android compatible – we’ll build your app for Androids,
Or have both!

Additional Design Service for your Low cost Business app for Sme’s

We also offer a Professional Design Service & Expert graphic design service as part of the Low cost Business app for SME’s build process!

What the new innovative Low cost Business apps for SME’s costs!

The Set Up Fee for the Low cost Business apps for SME’s is just £199 + VAT.

The monthly cost of the Low cost Business App for SME’s is £29 per month if billed annually or £39 per month on monthly billing and there is no contract involved with the Low cost Business apps for SME’s.

How to get in touch or for more info about the new Low cost Business apps for SME’s for your New, Small or SME Business:

If you would like a new Low cost Business app for SME’s for your small, new or SME business or you require more info please email: or call: 07517 024979 .

The Low cost Business apps for SME’s page was posted “By Mike Armstrong”

Business Networking in Cardiff for 2015

If you are looking to go Business Networking in Cardiff for 2015 then Introbiz can provide the best business networking solutions for you!

At Introbiz business networking events you can meet up to 250 of Wales’ best businesses in weekly professional businesses networking events throughout Cardiff & South Wales.

The Cardiff business networking events are held at over 50 of the regions finest 4* & 5* venues as well as at some of the regions biggest sports organisations & sports clubs including Cardiff City FC, Cardiff Devils, The FA Wales & The Gwent Dragons.

Wales Biggest Business Exhibition:
Introbiz also offer an exhibitor opportunity for their network members, at their Introbiz Business Expo which is Wales’ Biggest Business Exhibition, as well as additional networking opportunities for members around that Welsh Business Event.

At the Introbiz Business Expo you can exhibit to 5,000 delegates alongside 250 other exhibitors in November 2015.

New International Business Networking Opportunities for 2015:

Also new for 2015 Introbiz can offer their Cardiff Network members an opportunity to go professional business networking internationally at business networking events in Paris, France and the south coast of Spain.

If you would like to join Wales’ leading professional business network, please call 02920 291002 or email: using code MAC15.

For a visual demonstration of some of the many varied business networking events on offer from Introbiz throughout 2015 please see some images below:

Cardiff Business Networking Event venues:








Sports Networking in Cardiff & South Wales:


Wales Biggest Business Exhibition:


New for 2015 – International Business Networking:


The Professional Business Networking in Cardiff for 2015 page was posted “By Mike Armstrong”