Apps

Chrome update will automatically stop video ads from playing

Finally, some peace and quiet

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With our busy lives today, having 50 tabs open on Chrome seems like a perfectly normal way to spend your Saturday afternoon. Of course, it’s all fun and games until one of those tabs starts playing the loudest ad in existence.

Sadly, several websites today haven’t learned the art of quiet privacy. Despite your best intentions of blocking them out, an inconspicuous video finds its way to last through your speakers. Automatic videos are a curse on our Chromes.

Thankfully, Google is releasing an update to automatically prevent videos from playing by themselves.

Previously, the browser only offered the option to mute these websites manually. With the new update (which will roll out next month), the feature is already on by default.

According to Google, videos will play only if the media’s sound is muted by default or if you clicked on it yourself. Curiously, Chrome will still play media if you “have previously shown interest in media on the site.” Obviously, the last condition satisfies for websites you already trust. However, it’s a burden if you’re still absolutely selective with the media you consume.

Google’s fight against intrusive videos has evolved throughout Chrome’s iterations. Before their necessary updates today, Chrome only had a noticeable speaker icon that told users which tab was playing media. As users fought back against ads, Chrome caved and gave users more freedom with how they consume content.

SEE ALSO: Google Chrome on Android will soon support HDR playback

Apps

Facebook officially launches new and simplified Messenger

There’s still no Dark Mode, yet

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The wait is over! A lot of users have been requesting a simpler Messenger app for Facebook for a long time now, and it’s finally official. The redesigned messaging app, which is officially called Messenger 4, is now being rolled out globally.

First demoed months ago, the new Facebook Messenger is now available to all compatible devices running Android and iOS. The new Messenger promises a more simplified experience that focuses on the most important features that people actually use.

Gone are the multiple tabs that crowd the interface of the old Messenger. Only three of the nine tabs remain in the new version: Chats, People, and Discover. If you love the existing features of Messenger like connecting with businesses, instant games, and the like, they’re still there hiding in the Discover tab.

Aside from the refreshing interface, Messenger 4 also introduces new personalization options. There are now color gradients for your customized chat bubbles. These colors can be changed at any time you wish.

This is how the new Facebook Messenger looks like on iPhones running iOS:

And, this is how it’ll work on Android phones:

The rollout has already started and it’ll be done in phases. The update should be available in the coming weeks. Also, Facebook will soon introduce new features including the much-awaited Dark Mode.

Source: Facebook Messenger

SEE ALSO: Facebook Lite comes to iPhones at less than 5MB

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Google asks smartphone makers to pay for Play Store

In response to EU’s ruling

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Google Play

Months ago, Google landed in a scalding pool of Europe’s hot water. The European Competition Commission accused the company of anti-competition practices. Among other things, Google forced smartphone makers to bundle Chrome and Google Search as a requirement. According to the commission, the stipulation gives the company an unfair advantage over its rivals.

Eventually, the Commission hammered down a guilty verdict. From this, Google paid a record-breaking fine to the European Union. Besides this, the company had to stop the indicted practice.

Now, Google is finally implementing a resolution for the guilty verdict. Starting this month, the company will change its offered bundles for smartphone makers in the EU.

As opposed to enforcing the bundle, Google will offer Android’s apps for a price. Instead of a strong-arm strategy, Google’s new strategy aims for the best of both worlds. Smartphone companies can opt out of the program. Historically, some companies have already opted out of Android’s app ecosystem. For example, Chinese smartphones often implement their own variants because of China’s prohibitions.

Additionally, Google will loosen its regulations against forked versions of its Android operating system. Some smartphone makers alter Android’s inner workings for their own uses. Most notoriously, Xiaomi uses its own MIUI software. Previously, the bundling scheme swayed the deal towards Google’s favor, despite any proprietary changes. With looser regulations, companies can fork all they want.

Now, companies can sell smartphones running forked Androids. That is, if they also sell a separate smartphone with Google’s untouched software.

Amid all these changes, Android remains as free software for smartphones. Android can maintain its status as the world’s most ubiquitous operating system. However, if this issue elicits any questions, it’s this: How will Google’s new schema affect the casual consumer? Right now, we’ll have to wait and see.

SEE ALSO: You might need to pay Google for Android soon

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Apps

6 iPhone apps for your well-being

Mental health is important!

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World Mental Health Day may have come and gone but that shouldn’t mean that your well-being should be pushed aside. In fact, a healthy disposition should always be practiced. How does one do that in today’s fast-paced world?

We’ve got apps for you!

Omvana 

Omvana is a meditation app that measures stress levels and even your state of mind; it’s your personal mindfulness coach! The app also automatically connects to HealthKit.

Download here. 

Calm

With guided meditations, breathing exercises, sleep stories, and relaxing music, this app will help make sure you’re always in a relaxed mood.

Download here. 

Insight Timer

Don’t know how to meditate? This app allows for guided meditations from the industry’s best practitioners!

Download here. 

Headspace: Guided Meditation

Another guided meditation app which allows you to manage stress and even apply meditative practice to your every day. There’s also a sleep experience feature which promises better rest and calmness.

Download here.

Aura: Calm Anxiety & Sleep

Aura’s three-minute meditations will bring more positivity to your life. The app also does life coaching, relaxing music, and even personalized meditations.

Download here. 

AutoSleep Tracker for Watch

Better sleep means a better disposition! This app tracks sleep automatically with Advanced Heuristics AutoSleep so you’ll always have the info at hand.

Download here. 

What are you waiting for? Get to downloading and happy meditating!

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