Apps

Google Assistant is now on iPhones, but it’s worse than Siri

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Google Duplex

Good news: You can now access Google’s powerful Assistant service on your iPhone. Bad news: It’s not nearly as powerful as the Siri software you already have.

Announced at Google I/O earlier today, Google Assistant can be downloaded as an app on Apple’s App Store. As you’d expect, since this is going to be within the iPhone’s closed ecosystem, there will be restrictions.

For one, you can’t replace the physical Home button’s quick access to Siri with Assistant. On top of that, it’s not possible to voice-activate it using the usual “Okay, Google” command. Sounds highly restrictive and essentially defeats the purpose of having a handy AI at your disposal, but we might get more functionality in the future.

For now, just enjoy the fact that there’s an alternative to Siri for the first time since its introduction on iOS. Anyone switching from Android to an iPhone will probably have a more seamless transition, as well.

Would you make the switch?

SEE ALSO: 8 iPhone hacks you’ve probably never heard of

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Apps

Facebook, Instagram will lose cross-platform messaging this month

For an unknown reason

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Over the past few years, Meta started integrating its various platforms into one ecosystem. Right now, Facebook and Instagram users can chat with each other on their respective apps. Unfortunately for fans of the cross-communication between the two platforms, Meta is taking the feature away this month.

Through a new support page, Instagram has announced that chatting between the two platforms will no longer be available starting in mid-December. The exact date of the removal is currently unknown, though.

When the undisclosed date arrives, Instagram users cannot start new conversations with Facebook users anymore. Additionally, all existing chats between the two platforms will become read-only, meaning users can’t add new messages to the conversation anymore.

On the flipside, Facebook users will stop seeing the Activity Status of Instagram users from their platform. Cross-platform conversations will not appear on Messenger, either.

Though the support page is conclusive against the feature, Meta has not explicitly explained why Meta changed its current cross-platform plans. It’s still possible that the company will implement a better solution in the future. As it stands, the European Union’s GDPR regulations require large companies to main interoperability between different platforms. Meta is an undeniable example of such a large company.

SEE ALSO: Meta now offers ad-free subscription for Facebook, Instagram

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Strava is getting a much-requested chatting feature

Individual and group chats

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What is your fitness app of choice? Though there are a lot of options available now for enthusiasts, it’s undeniable that Strava is making one hell of an impact lately. If you’re a fan of the social fitness app, you’re getting a new feature to boost the social part of Strava.

Today, Strava is getting a substantial messaging feature for users. In the new update, users can start chats with other users in single or group conversations.

It’s a comprehensive feature, too. Chats will include likes and GIF reactions. Additionally, users can configure their options to accept messages only from mutuals or only after they messaged the other person first. Additionally, group chat creators can manage the participants included in the chat.

When compared to other fitness apps today, Strava is arguably leaning more towards the social aspect of the experience. The app allows users to run and hike together as a community. Now, despite how social the core of the app is, it never really allowed users to communicate directly with one another. Users had to rely on external messaging apps just to coordinate with one another.

As of late, Strava continues to pile on more features and integrations with other apps. Earlier this year, the app started allowing users to integrate with Spotify.

SEE ALSO: Spotify can now integrate with Strava

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2023 Apple App Store Award winners unveiled

The best apps and games for 2023

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Apple Store Awards 2023

Apple has announced the winners of the 2023 App Store Awards. It recognized 14 apps and games that empowered users to unleash their creativity and discovery a new world of adventures throughout the year.

The winners were chosen by the App Store’s Editorial team from a list of nearly 40 finalists based on technical innovation, user experience, and design.

2023 App Store Award winners — Apps

AllTrails, a fitness and travel app designed for outdoor recreational activities, bagged the iPhone App of the Year citation.

Prêt-à-Makeup took home the iPad App of the Year award with its offering of a true-to-life makeup sketchpad on iPad for both professionals and casual users.

Photomator and its machine learning-powered tools that make editing tasks seamless earned it the Mac App of the Year.

Meanwhile, MUBI, an app highlighting exceptional indie films and international documentaries, shone as the Apple TV App of the Year.

Rounding out the list for apps is SmartGym, an app that offers users a comprehensive list of exercises, routines, and fitness reports, as the Apple Watch App of the Year.

2023 App Store Award winners — Games

In the gaming category, miHoYo’s hit role-playing game Honkai: Star Rail has officially won iPhone Game of the Year.

On the other hand, Lost in Play, a point-and-click adventure game launched in 2022 that features unique puzzles and mini-games, took home the iPad Game of the Year plum.

For PC, Lies of P won the Mac Game of the Year award. The single-player action-RPG puts a darker spin on the classic tale Pinocchio. The game is challenging and is considered a “S0uls-like” comparing its difficulty level to FromSoftware games.

Lastly, Hello Kitty Island Adventure is the Apple Arcade Game of the Year, thanks to its quirky gameplay that sees players embark on an adventure to restore an abandoned island to its former glory.

Cultural Impact Winners 

In addition to the best apps and games, the App Store selected five Cultural Impact winners. These were recognized for their ability to drive positive change through apps and games:

  • Pok Pok (Pok Pok)
  • Proloquo (AssistiveWare)
  • Too Good To Go (Too Good To Go)
  • Unpacking (Humble Bundle)
  • Finding Hannah (Fein Games GmbH)
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