Apps

Facebook lets you add color to status updates now

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Noticed something different on Facebook lately? Yeah, more and more people have been discovering this feature which lets you add color to status updates. But why can’t everyone use it yet?

That’s because it’s limited to Android users for now, even though iOS and desktop users can also see the colorful posts. There hasn’t been any confirmation yet when non-Android platforms will get the feature.

This is a welcome change in a sea of exclusively blue-and-white content all over Facebook, and it’s really easy to apply.

Assuming you have the latest Facebook app update and an Android device, all you have to do is create a status update from your news feed or timeline, and then choose from a selection of eight colors (including white) to turn into a background before uploading.

Sadly, it’ll only work for plain text posts for the time being; links and multimedia uploads aren’t part of the club.

We see this as a move designed to beat Twitter at what it does best. Meanwhile, Facebook-owned Instagram and Messenger are turning into Snapchat clones, to the dismay of many. As Michael Josh puts it:

Apps

Android Messages web client goes live and gets new features

Text, images, and stickers are all supported

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Android Messages‘ much-awaited feature is finally available and it’s not the only new thing to try out. Google has five new features for users of Messages, from web support to smart replies.

The web version of Android Messages is now rolling out to users, allowing them to send and view messages on their desktop or laptop’s browsers.

Users may visit messages.android.com to access the Android Messages for web. They must also have the updated app on their phone to pair their browser with their phone. People can send stickers, emoji, and attach images aside from sending simple text messages.

The other new features of Android Messages include nifty smart replies for quick responses, instant preview of a link to an article in the conversation, built-in GIF search capabilities, and a useful shortcut for copying one-time passwords such as verification codes when logging into certain apps.

The new features, according to Google, are slowly becoming available to Android users and the rollout will continue throughout the week.

Source: Google

SEE ALSO: The future of Android messaging gets support from carriers worldwide

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YouTube Music and YouTube Premium launch in more countries

YouTube continues to expand its services

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YouTube has come a long way since it was launched 13 years ago. Google is making sure their video-sharing service continues to evolve with the introduction of YouTube Music and YouTube Premium to more countries.

YouTube Music was already launched last month in very few countries including the US, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, and South Korea. Today, it’s also making its way to the UK, Austria, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Russia, Spain, and Sweden. It offers music videos, albums, singles, remixes, live performances, and covers. It’s basically a dedicated music service like Spotify or Apple Music.

The new app that’s available on both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store features Smart Search that finds songs intelligently by lyrics or by song name. It can still look for what you are searching even with bizarre phrases like “That space-themed Spice Girls song in the desert.” YouTube Music is ad-supported, but there’s also a premium version for US$ 9.99 per month, or US$ 14.99 for a Family Plan.

YouTube Red is now YouTube Premium, and it’s available in more countries just like YouTube Music. The Premium service of YouTube is ad-free, has background playback, and it includes all the benefits of Music Premium. Premium members also get access to all YouTube Originals, including the hit Cobra Kai. Individual subscription is priced at US$ 11.99 per month or US$ 17.99 for a Family Plan

Source: YouTube

SEE ALSO: Incognito Mode becomes available to YouTube’s Android app

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Toyota makes $1 billion investment in Grab

The ride-sharing company hopes to expand operations through the partnership

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Japanese car company Toyota Motor Corporation announced its US$ 1 billion investment plan for the ride-sharing app Grab last Wednesday. Toyota’s investment aims to improve Grab’s operations in Southeast Asia, particularly towards the app’s new features in GrabFood, GrabExpress, and GrabPay.

Grab officials stated that the investment improves their relationship with Toyota and provides better business solutions, as well. Both companies will look into new strategies towards vehicular mobility in Southeast Asia and better “online-to-offline services.” The investment also ensures that an executive from Toyota will be appointed in Grab’s board of directors, and a team member will be an executive officer in Grab.

The investment will also allow Toyota to integrate its services for driver insurance and maintenance. This means that Grab will provide incentives for its drivers to drive safely and to know when to have their vehicles checked. The two companies are also looking into the possibility of autonomous driving, although no plans have been made yet.

This is not the first time Toyota has provided financial support for the Singapore-based ride-sharing company. A year ago, Toyota funded Grab through its Next Technology Fund — an investment fund for artificial intelligence-based startups. The fund gave Toyota an opportunity to optimize the use of their cars for Grab’s services.

Source: TechCrunch

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