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.
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.
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.
[irp posts=”10832″ name=”WhatsApp copies Snapchat”]
Microsoft is ditching Edge for new Chromium-based browser for Windows
It’s time to let things go
Are you one of the few users of the Edge browser? Since its debut on Windows 10 in 2015, the replacement for the once-popular Internet Explorer wasn’t able to become the go-to browser it was expected to be.
The Edge browser was built from the ground up with a new rendering engine called EdgeHTML. It was designed to be lightweight, fast, and secure. The browser had a rocky start and was not favored by both users and web developers. That’s why Microsoft is pulling the plug soon.
According to Windows Central‘s insider, the Redmond company is putting all these efforts aside and will create a new web browser powered by Chromium codenamed “Anaheim.” It’ll be similar to Google’s Chrome browser and will take advantage of the popular rendering engine Blink.
After all the pushy and in-your-face prompts to make Edge more popular among Windows 10 devices, this new browser will replace Edge as the default browser. It’s still unknown if Anaheim will use the Edge brand and user interface, but the inside report confirms EdgeHTML’s demise.
What’s in store for users when Microsoft goes full blast with Chromium? Websites will behave how they should, especially those that work best on Google Chrome.
It’s worth noting that the Edge browser app on iOS and Android are already using rendering engines native to their platforms, so the shift to Chromium will be more beneficial to Windows 10 users. We could see Anaheim come to life by 2019.
These are Apple’s top apps and games for 2018
Did your favorite app make the list?
Apple likes to keep track of the apps you download and games you play on their devices. They like it so much that they now have a list of the top apps and games for 2018. The list features all categories in the App Store globally and locally.
From a global perspective, self-care apps became a revelation in the App Store. Apps such as Fabulous, Headspace, and 10% Happier made self-care and wellness more accessible to anyone. For gaming apps, battle royale-style games like PUBG Mobile and Fortnite took over. Both games feature fast-paced, last-man-standing action, with Fortnite even adding bases to the mix.
However, editorial picks reflect something different. Across the iPhone and iPad, editors picked education and creativity apps like Procreate Pocket and Froggipedia as their top choices. Procreate Pocket is a creativity app for artists to draw, sketch, and paint on the go. Froggipedia, on the other hand, is an interactive education app for children to teach them about frogs and their life cycles.
For gaming, the same theme follows as the editors picked Donut County and Gorogoa. Donut County is an education game that mixes puzzles with concepts in physics, while Gorogoa introduces hand-drawn stories to the puzzle genre. The selection goes against the findings of dominance across battle royale games globally.
Within Southeast Asia, particularly Singapore, photography and video streaming apps became the talk of the town. For iPhones, photography apps like kirakira+ and TouchRetouch topped the list, as users can play around with filters for their pictures and videos. Streaming apps like TikTok and Viu opened the door for people to share their videos on a global platform.
Battle royale and multiplayer games, such as PUBG Mobile and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, dominated the App Store in Singapore. Despite the success of these games, people also took notice of locally produced games. Cat Quest, an action role-playing game, became part of the top paid games for the iPhone for 2018.
To know more about the lists, you can check them out in the App Store through the Today tab.
Gift ideas for the important people in your life
Make a list and check it twice
Making Christmas lists can be daunting. One minute you think you already thought of the perfect gift for the people on your nice list, but next thing you know, they already have it or you doubt they’ll ever use it. So, you drop the idea and go back to square one. Other times, you come up with the most generic lists just so you have something to give: belt for dad, purse for mom, a pair of socks for the brother, a scarf for the best friend.
Sometimes, all you need are fresh ideas. Here are some to jump-start your holiday shopping this year!
1. For the one who travels for work
Productivity and portability rarely go hand in hand, but there are devices and accessories that help maximize remote work for anyone whose jobs allow it. Creatives could use a stylus, while writers and entrepreneurs could use a keyboard case. You can even get a nice backpack or sleeve to house it all in!
2. For the one who embraces a minimalist lifestyle
There are those who dream of having a walk-in closet, and those who try to keep their belongings to a minimum. That said, minimalist people are probably the toughest to buy material things for, but that doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate a thoughtful gift. If you know that they have something that needs replacing, help them find out if they can have it recycled or traded in for a new one. Apps for mindfulness and meditation, learning a new language, or even an Audible subscription would also be great!
3. For the one who works out a lot
Gym rats almost always have everything they already need for their workouts, yet some of them haven’t invested in a smartwatch or a fitness band. If they have, you can give them new straps or cases so they can sport their wearables outside the gym and continue tracking their activities. Subscriptions to coaching, music streaming, or meal planning apps are also something they’d appreciate.
4. For the one who needs a pop of color
We all have that one person in our lives who wears neutral colors all the time or have had a pretty lackluster year — at least I know I do. Whether a guy or girl, everyone could use something bold once in a while: a pair of shoes in red, a wool coat in yellow, or even a phone in coral. More than making a statement, colors have the power to change moods and brighten up one’s day.
5. For the one who dresses to kill
She’s all about making an impression and takes dressing up seriously. She’s the woman in your life who takes a little bit longer to get ready in the morning putting an outfit together. A daring red lipstick, a pair of sexy pumps, jewelry, or a designer watch are all great options. Even better: a smartwatch in a bold color that is a statement on its own.
While they don’t always have to be material things, there’s something to be said for getting gifts for family and friends, no matter how small or cheap. Gift giving during the holidays is a way to give back to the important people who made your year merrier. The more thought and effort you put into it, the more meaningful and fitting it is for the person you’re getting it for. There’s no better feeling than knowing you made a difference in someone’s life through a gift — whether that’s in making them more efficient with their work, in their road to fitness, or in simply making them feel good about themselves.
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