Yobongo, if you haven’t heard, is a new iPhone app that meshes location-aware messaging with a chatroom-like environment, and it’s kind of amazing. By using a custom algorhytm and different variables including your location, people you have chatted with previously, or even people you know, Yobongo connects you with up to around 10 people in a single “room” and well, from there it’s one big conversation. I’ve been using Yobongo for around a week, and while the beta test didn’t use our location to work (there was most likely no one nearby since the service hasn’t launched yet), it’s a pretty incredible experience. For starters, the UI is beautiful, well thought out and extremely polished, and it’s minimalistic enough without being bare. Using the app is very straight forward — you just open it and you’re instantly placed into a room using the aforementioned data points. Messaging is very fast, almost real-time, and that’s something co-founder Caleb Eston aimed to achieve; Yobongo’s big vision is that it’s a communication system that leverages location in such a way that hasn’t been done before, we don’t believe. The iPhone app launches for free in early March in the App Store, though you can sign up now to be put on the wait list on Yobongo’s website. Hit the break for a video of the app in action. More →
Palo Alto, California-based start-up SayNow announced on Tuesday that it has been acquired by Google for an undisclosed sum. SayNow’s platform facilitates voice messaging between individuals or groups, and the company provides access to its services through Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Android and iPhone applications. The start-up claims to have over 15 million people currently using SayNow apps and services, which include SayNow Phone, SayNow Broadcast, Big Call and Chit Chat. While details surrounding Google’s intentions for the platform are unclear at this time, the company’s services will ultimately be folded into Google Voice according to SayNow founders Ujjwal Singh and Nikhyl Singhal. Hit the break for SayNow’s full press announcement. More →
After last month’s little service snafu, internet communications giant Skype is back up, fully operational, and setting company records. Just yesterday, Skype saw a record 27 million users simultaneously logged on to its network. Typically, during peak hours, the company sees close to 25 million Skypers logged on to its network. The surge in users coincides with the conclusion of the holiday season, where, presumably, more users were gifted computers and mobile devices that can run Skype’s popular chat software. The numbers should continue to rise in the coming months, especially with the company’s push to be on more smartphones and internet connected TVs — thanks to its SkypeKit APIs. Anyone recently discover, or rediscover, a use for Skype? More →
Skype announced Thursday that it will acquire mobile video software and service provider Qik. Unconfirmed rumors suggest the deal will be worth approximately $100 million. Qik specializes in mobile video broadcasting and video calling services, the latter being an area that Skype has been particularly interested in lately. Qik emerged among a group of similar services but broke out in 2010 thanks to carrier and manufacturer deals that helped net the service 4.4 million new subscribers over the course of the year. Qik’s bread and butter is currently the Android OS, though it also offers clients for other platforms including iOS and Symbian. “The Qik team has delivered exceptional video experiences for its mobile partners and millions of end users across a range of devices,” said Skype CEO Tony Bates in a statement. “Qik’s deep engineering capabilities and strong mobile relationships will be an impressive complementary fit with Skype.” Hit the break for Skype’s full press release. More →
Via a quick blog post, Skype announced a partnership with Sony and VIZIO that would bring its video-chat software to BRAVIA and VIA TVs later this year. “Last year at the Consumer Electronics Show, we ushered in a new era of face-to-face communications with the introduction of Skype-enabled TVs,” reads the article. “This year at CES, we’re making further strides in the living room by making it even easier to get Skype on your TV.” Skype reaffirms its commitment to allow you to “make calls wherever you choose” and notes that it is working with additional vendors to bring its software to more mediums. More →
Today, VoIP chat and calling provider Skype announced a new version of its iOS client simply titled Skype 3.0. The new code brings several, small improvements and, most notably, adds the ability to make and receive video-calls from your supported iOS device over both 3G and Wi-Fi networks. As the press release reads:
Skype video calling is supported over WiFi and 3G* data connections. You can enjoy video calls with users on all Skype desktop versions and with other Skype for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad users.
You can make video calls in both portrait and landscape mode and use both front and back cameras.
Users on iPhone 4, 3GS and iPod Touch (4th Generation) can enjoy full 2-way video calling. Users with iPod Touch (3rd Generation) and iPads can receive video.
Video calling with Skype requires iOS 4.0 or above to be installed on your device. Skype 3.0 for iPhone will also work on iOs 3.x, but without video support.
The new bits are waiting to be downloaded via iTunes or the App Store on your iOS device. Enjoy! More →
Late yesterday, Facebook released an update for its Android mobile application, bearing the version number 1.5. The new code adds support for Facebook chat — in both the foreground and background — as well as push notifications. Push notifications will only work on devices running Android 2.2 or higher, and the new build does, as always, include “various bug fixes.” The new hotness is in the Android Market, go get em’! More →
Over the past 24-hours, electronic archeologists — of sorts — have been sifting through the Android 2.3 SDK looking for little nuggets of information that could indicate future features destined to drop on Google’s mobile OS. It hasn’t taken the software sleuths very long, as they have found several interesting artifacts under the SDK’s hood: video chat icons and API calls for a PlayStation-like controller.
The presence video chat icons are pretty self explanatory. We don’t have to stretch our imaginations very far to envision Google incorporating Google Talk video-chat — a service that is up and running on the desktop — into Android. At yesterday’s D:Dive Into Mobile talk, Google’s Andy Rubin showed-off a prototype Motorola tablet. When Mr. Rubin powered the tablet on, he noted that we were looking at a version of Google Talk that had video chat icons before quickly clearing it off the screen. Google’s next developer phone, the Nexus S, includes a front-facing video camera, making a video-chat feature both expected and likely in the very near future.
The second bit of information comes in the form of API calls. Android now includes calls for R1, R2, L1, L2, select, and start keys, similar to those found on a PlayStation controller. The fabled PlayStation Phone is anything but a secret and hopefully — if the device ever comes to market — it will be rocking out with Android 2.3.
Oh come on now, who doesn’t miss good ol’ G.W.? The former Commander-in-chief of these United States is, at this very moment, on Facebook live talking about technology and promoting his latest book. If you’re interested in hearing Mr. Bush wax-poetic about a variety of topics, hit the jump… the live-feed is waiting for you. More →
It looks like search giant Google has started to roll out a new feature to its Gmail users that also utilize Google Voice. The new functionality allows Google Voice users, receiving a call from within Gmail, to record the voice conversation. Blog TechCrunch is reporting that some users have begun to see a new “record” button show up in Gmail’s call window. The feature has been available to Google Voice users for quite some time by hitting the number “4” on your phone’s dial-pad after receiving an inbound call. After activating call recording, both parties are notified that the conversation is being recorded with a verbal queue. Google has yet to publish a press release announcing the feature or detailing when it will be rolled out to all users. Anyone have the new feature in Gmail yet? More →
Our friends over at Facebook were nice enough to hook us up with an invite to the initial roll-out of the company’s new messaging service announced this week. We’ve been messing around with the system for a few hours and thought we would put together some initial impressions for those who are interested or curious. Hit the jump and let’s get to it. More →
Today, Skype announced that a beta version of its chat software, Skpe 5.0 beta, is now available for Mac users. The software has several new features, including:
• New call control bar — Hang up, mute and more from a mini Skype toolbar that sits on top of any web pages, documents or photos you’ve got open
• Search chat content to easily navigate past conversations
• Offline IM so that you can send and receive instant messages even if the recipient is offline
• Personalise contacts via user profiles
• Quickly rejoin calls if your Internet connection fails momentarily
• Floating Contacts Monitor to see your online contacts and contact groups
The updated client brings the company’s Mac offering more inline with its Windows counterpart. Hit the read link for all the info. More →