Apps

Facebook acquires face-swapping app MSQRD

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Facebook is taking steps to keep up with Snapchat by buying Masquerade, the Belarus-based startup that built face-swapping app MSQRD. A few months back, Snapchat quietly acquired Looksery, and launched Lenses, a similar product built into Snapchat’s interface, that has since allowed users to add animated effects to their selfies.

While other selfie-enhancing apps like Perfect365 let you alter photos, MSQRD allows users to add live video filters, with effects ranging from a gorilla’s face to Leonardo DiCaprio’s Oscar-winning moment.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the acquisition by posting a MSQRD video of himself using an Iron Man filter.

Taking a break from coding to welcome the MSQRD team to Facebook!

Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday, March 9, 2016

“Now, we’re excited to join forces with Facebook and bring the technology to even more people. Within Facebook, we’re going to be able to reach people at a scale like never before,” Masquerade said in a blog post.

An exact rollout date has yet to be revealed, but expect live filters to appear on the Facebook app soon.

MSQRD will continue to be available as a standalone app on the App Store and the Google Play Store.

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MSQRD lets you add live face-swapping filters to your photos and videos.

This is not Facebook’s first attempt at going head to head with Snapchat. The social networking giant previously tried to acquire Snapchat for $3 billion in cash but was turned down.

It also launched Snapchat clones Poke (in 2012) and Slingshot (2014) that allowed users to share short-lived photos and videos with one another. Both apps have since been deleted on the App Store and Google Play Store.

Is this the beginning of Snapchat’s end? Or is Facebook about to face its greatest fear and become a ghost town?

Apps

Barack and Michelle Obama join forces with Netflix

Are you ready to watch with the Obamas?

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Photo courtesy of Obama White House

Netflix announced that former US President Barack Obama and wife Michelle Obama signed a partnership with the streaming service under an entity named Higher Ground Productions over a press release and a twitter post.

In case you’re wondering why the former White House residents are teaming up with Netflix, the Obamas stated they want to share the experiences of the fascinating people they meet.

The two always believed in the power of storytelling. “We hope to cultivate and curate the talented, inspiring, creative voices who are able to promote greater empathy and understanding between peoples, and help them share their stories with the entire world,” said President Barack Obama.

Michelle added, “Netflix’s unparalleled service is a natural fit for the kinds of stories we want to share, and we look forward to starting this exciting new partnership.”

“Barack and Michelle Obama are among the world’s most respected and highly recognized public figures and are uniquely positioned to discover and highlight stories of people who make a difference in their communities and strive to change the world for the better,” said Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos, who’s proud to have the Obamas on board.

SEE ALSO: Netflix adds HDR support for new Sony and Huawei phones

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Android P: YouTubers React

Android Pineapple or Android Popcorn?

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It’s that time of the year again when we make guesses on what the next version of Android will be called. We saw some clues at the Shoreline Amphitheater and this is what your favorite YouTubers think.

Is it going to be Android Pineapple? Android Popcorn? Android Popsicle? Android Pie? Your guess is as good as ours. Sound off in the comments section what you think it will be called!

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Instagram will tell you how much time you spend on the app soon

Good thing or bad thing?

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Just how much time do you spend stalking on Instagram? You may not know the answer now, but Instagram knows. And pretty soon, you’ll be able to check.

According to TechCrunch, code hidden on the Instagram app showed a “time spent” feature under “Usage Insights.”

It’s still unclear how the function would work. When it was discovered, it was also unclear whether Instagram was testing out the option for eventual rollout, until Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom had this to say:

As of now, there’s still no news on when “time spent” would roll out, but the move is unsurprising. Tech companies are now moving towards features that allow users to monitor usage time and statistics. Earlier this month, Google announced similar functions on digital well-being for Android P that includes a dashboard that will give you information on your phone usage.

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