Apps

Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter announce major updates

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It’s a big day for smartphone users as Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter roll out major updates to their iOS and Android apps.

60-second videos on Instagram will be available on iOS starting today, the photo-sharing app said in its blog post. This comes more than a month after it announced the expansion of video ads from 30 seconds to a full minute, giving advertisers more flexibility in time for Super Bowl 50.

Instagram first introduced videos in June 2013, which have only been limited to 15 seconds until today. The amount of time people spend watching videos on the app increased by more than 40% in the last 6 months, says the announcement.

Roll out for Android will be available in the coming months.

Snapchat expands Chat with features that best emulate face-to-face conversations like video and audio calls.

Previously, users can only video chat when both parties have each other’s Chat page open. With Chat 2.0, you can start a video chat with any of your friends, whether they are online or offline. Your friend can choose to ignore your video chat, watch, or join you the same way a video call works. You can also now send messages simultaneously during video chats.

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If video calling is not for you, audio calls are also now available and will work the same way as video chatting. Chat 2.0 also added GIF-like video notes that appear as round thumbnails and audio notes, much like voice messages, that you can leave for your friend to see or listen to when he comes online.

Or maybe stickers can say it best for you? Snapchat also introduces virtual stickers to its chat just like the ones offered by messaging apps LINE, Viber, and Messenger. Typing keywords like ‘love’ will search the Snapchat trove for matching stickers you can use. While searching is more convenient, switching from one sticker pack to another needs more effort – you’ll have to scroll down endlessly to find the sticker you’re looking for.

Snapchat also introduces Auto-Advance Stories. Watching your friends stories is now made easier, with each one loading automatically right after the other. This eliminates having to swipe down to exit and selecting another story to watch.

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Twitter makes images more accessible for the visually impaired by adding alternative text or alt text.

An add description button will appear on each photo you add to a tweet, allowing for up to 420 characters that should help describe and convey the same information as the image.

Adding alt text for images is the first principle of web accessibility according to WebAIM. It essentially replaces images for people with visual disabilities, so they can have access to them through screen readers or braille displays.

To enable this feature, go to your iOS or Android app’s accessibility settings.

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Apps

J.Lo dishes out online dating advice

If you had my love…

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Online dating is hard. Though online dating apps like Tinder make it easier to put yourself out there and meet people, it doesn’t guarantee a happy ending for all the Tinderellas in the world.

This being the case, Tinder decided to help out some of their app users. They brought in none other than timeless dazzling diva singer and dancer Jennifer Lopez to give out tips to a single girl named Brooke.

Watch J.Lo’s amusing advice as they swipe away to find Brooke true love.

Of course, J.Lo’s dating advice came with a little shade aimed at her past experiences. But all in all, it was a successful swiping session.

Do you agree with J.Lo’s tips? What are your Tinder tips? Let us know in the comments below.

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Apps

ZOZOSUIT scans your exact body measurements with a smartphone

Have all your clothes custom-made for your size!

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Online shopping is technology’s gift to the modern shopping woman. These days, you can buy anything online! The big problem? You can’t really fit outfits from the internet, and as every girl knows, the fit is everything.

Japanese online fashion retailer ZOZOTOWN is trying to combat this problem with a new clothing brand, ZOZO. How are they different? They offer custom-made fast fashion pieces, and you won’t even need to leave your house to get them. How is it all doable online? It starts with the ZOZOSUIT.

This polka-dotted ensemble allows you to scan your precise measurements with just your smartphone. All you need to do is order the free suit from ZOZO, put it on, position your smartphone on a stable area, and twirl. No really, you just need to turn around slowly as the phone scans your whole body with the free ZOZO app. It then calculates everything and gives you your measurements. Easy peasy!

From this data, you can order clothes from their website that’s custom-fitted to your specific body type. You won’t ever end up with ill-fitting pieces again! It’ll only take around two weeks for them to make and each piece won’t cost you more than US$ 100.

As of now, ZOZO, which is widely popular in Japan, carries basics like crew neck shirts and denim pants, but there are plans to expand this lineup. According to the retailer, business shirts and suits are also coming soon.

ZOZO aims to bring this tech and better-fitting clothes to the world. They’ve just announced that it’s coming to 72 new countries including Australia, Brazil, China, US, and UK.

“The time where people adapt to clothing is over,” according to ZOZO’s chief executive Yusaku Maezawa. “This is a new era where clothes adapt to people.” With the ZOZOSUIT, that definitely sounds like a plan.

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App developers have been reading your emails on Gmail

A common but unnoticed practice

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Image credit: Jay Wennington on Unsplash

When using an app or browsing the internet, privacy is always a concern. After the Facebook Cambridge Analytica fiasco, people have been wary about their private information freely being available online. If you use Gmail, you might want to double check the permissions you give to third-party apps connected to your account.

A report from The Wall Street Journal stated that third-party app developers are able to read the contents of the emails of millions of Gmail users. It’s not a bug though, and you have to give your consent to it.

Gmail’s access settings allow data companies and app developers to view people’s emails and other private details like recipient addresses and timestamps. Don’t blame yourself if you have allowed this because the consent form isn’t exactly clear that it would allow humans — not just computers — to read your supposedly private emails.

Google reached out to The Verge and clarified that it only gives data to selected third-party developers and with users’ explicit content. The verification process of Google checks if a developer’s company is well-represented by its own app. The app’s privacy policy should clearly state that it’ll monitor emails and the requested data should also be used for proper matters.

Image credit: Google

Take third-party email apps as examples. They need access to Gmail to properly work, or else they won’t show any content inside the app. Google said not all requests from developers are granted, but they didn’t specify how many were rejected during the application process. Google themselves may also read your emails in very specific cases.

So before you grant an app access to your Gmail account, think twice. There’s no evidence of any misused data from third-party Gmail add-on developers yet, but you should know that they can read your emails and you’ve permitted them.

SEE ALSO: How to activate the redesigned desktop Gmail

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