WhatsApp has reigned as the undisputed messaging app champion across dozens of countries over the past two years. However, huge download volumes in all these countries doesn’t necessarily translate to high consumer engagement. A research firm called Mobidia has provided BGR with a fascinating comparison chart providing a direct engagement level comparison between WhatsApp and its major rivals in some of the biggest mobile markets. Mobidia chose a cut-off-point of 2 MB per month to make sure it is counting only consumers who truly use a messaging app actively. More →
The bad news for BlackBerry (BBRY) fans: The BlackBerry 10 Skype app is an Android port and not a native app. The good news: Skype has told CrackBerry that it is “closely collaborating with BlackBerry” to make sure that the ported app runs smoothly on the new platform. Among other things, Skype says it plans to “open up some of the integration points available to native apps in the OS so that they can also be used by the Skype application” and thus “allow Skype users to see notifications, to start the app from the Hub, and to see their Skype contacts in the native phone book.” Although BlackBerry’s first BlackBerry 10 device is reportedly off to a hot start so far in terms of sales, the company is still finding it hard to get some key apps natively onto its platform. CrackBerry’s Bla1ze, for one, comments that he’d “just rather see Skype go native” since “Skype isn’t hurting for any development money and creating a native BlackBerry 10 app isn’t hard.”
Microsoft (MSFT) isn’t taking any chances when it comes to reports that Skype users are having their accounts hijacked. Ars Technica reports that Microsoft has “temporarily suspended password-resetting capabilities for its Skype service” while it investigates reports that its users’ accounts are “vulnerable to account-takeover attacks that are trivial to carry out.” Microsoft’s Skype blog says that users who have multiple accounts linked to the same email address are vulnerable to hacking and that it is “reaching out to a small number of users who may have been impacted to assist as necessary.”
It’s not surprising that Microsoft (MSFT) plans to sunset Windows Live Messenger, especially now that it has the more superior Skype under its wing. According to The Verge, “Windows Live Messenger service will be retired in the coming months and integrated into Skype.” The tech blog believes an announcement could be made as early as this week. When BGR got a chance to go hands-on with the Skype for Windows 8 app and Windows Phone 8 app, we were told that ultimately Skype is the future. Even so, Microsoft reps said there’s still a huge market, particularly in Russia and Asia, where the MSN/Live brand is virtually synonymous with instant messaging. While Windows Live Messenger might be missed by those still clinging on to it, shifting to Skype will make the platform seamless on more products — smartphones, tablets and likely even future Xbox consoles. More →
Microsoft (MSFT) on Monday during its Windows Phone 8 press event in San Francisco announced a new version of Skype for its mobile operating system. The program is always running in the background to ensure that users will never miss an incoming call or message from a friend ever again. The application also allows users to message and video chat with contacts directly through the Windows Phone 8 Peoples hub. Joe Belfiore, the head of Microsoft’s Windows Phone team, revealed that unlike other apps that run in the background, Skype will not drain the smartphone’s battery. “We’ve built Skype so it integrates naturally into the phone experience… it’s always on, so it can receive a call and message at any time… without draining your battery,” said Belfiore. The Skype app is available now for Windows Phone 8 devices.
Microsoft (MSFT) shocked everyone when it announced it was buying Skype for $8.5 billion last year. Slowly but surely, we were expecting Skype to replace Microsoft’s own Live Messenger client as the default messenger and to be slapped it into every Windows Phone device and Xbox 360. While Microsoft’s stance is that Skype will remain in development for multiple platforms, it’s slowly becoming the company’s communication backbone. A Microsoft representative told BGR that about 80% of all instant messages sent over Skype are now sent over the company’s Messenger backend.
Numerous Skype users have posted complaints on the company’s Support Network about a bug that is sending messages to random users on their contact list. In some instances it was only a few messages, though others noted that whole conversations were being sent to the wrong person. “Thanks for your reports and sorry for the inconvenience caused by this,” a Skype employee responded. “We are currently investigating and hope to provide a solution for this soon.” A company spokesperson, speaking to Engadget, acknowledging that “in rare circumstances IM’s between two contacts could be sent to an unintended third contact.” The Microsoft-owned company revealed that a fix is in the works and will be available in the next few days.
New legislation has been passed in Ethiopia that could imprison an individual for up to 15 years for making a 30-second call over Skype or Google Talk. The legislation has made it illegal to use any Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services from within the country, Al Jazeera reported. Not only does the law prohibit the use of VoIP services, but it also enables the state-owned Ethio Teleco to prohibit the use of video chatting, social media, email and any other data transfer service capable of communicating information. The legislation has been labeled as necessary for the country’s national security and will reportedly close a loophole that was allowing some citizens to communicate without being monitored by authorities. More →
Less than week before Microsoft’s Windows Phone Summit in San Francisco, various leaked screenshots highlighting key Windows Phone 8 features have found their way onto the Web. The alleged images, which were posted on Nokia Innovation, show off Skype integration that allows users to make calls with or without video and initiate Skype chats, and a redesigned camera app that is rumored to be called “Lenses.” The screenshots also highlight a new data monitoring system, similar to what is found in the latest version of Android, and a redesigned user-interface for the Nokia Drive 3.0 GPS app. An image of the redesigned camera app follows below. More →
A new security vulnerability in Skype has been discovered that allows a third-party script to reveal users’ remote and local IP addresses, according to GHacks. The script, which was uploaded to Github, allows users to lookup the IP addresses of any online Skype accounts. The code then initiates the contact addition process, but does not complete it. The log file will instead display the local and remote IP of the requested Skype user, even if the user is not added to the list of contacts. An IP address can be used to determine the location and Internet service provider of the user, and the only method of protecting against this vulnerability would be to use a virtual private network or proxy to hide the IP address. More →
Flying home for the holidays and navigating through crowded airports — or facing flight delays, as is often the case — may be a hair less dreadful this year. Skype announced recently that it is sponsoring free Wi-Fi in more than 60 U.S. airports from December 21st until December 27th. To activate the service, simply follow these directions:
- Sign in to Skype.
- Go to Tools > Options… > Skype WiFi Access.
- Tick Enable Skype WiFi Access.
- Connect to a WiFi public hotspot.
- In the Skype menu bar, click Tools > Skype WiFi Access.
- Follow the instructions on the screen to select and join a compatible public WiFi network.
Skype’s full press release, which includes a list of every airport where free Wi-Fi will be available, follows after the break. More →
New York University’s Polytechnic Institute has discovered a Skype security flaw that leaves Skype users’ locations and P2P sharing activity accessible to hackers. The security hole was discovered while NYU scientists monitored 10,000 Skype users and 20 volunteers during a two-week period. “A hacker anywhere in the world could easily track the whereabouts and file-sharing habits of a Skype user – from private citizens to celebrities and politicians – and use the information for purposes of stalking, blackmail or fraud,” professor Keith Ross from computer science NYU-Poly’s computer science program said. Hackers can also keep track of a Skype user’s movements as he or she places calls from various locations. The scientists were able to follow a Skype user during a vacation from New York to Chicago and then all the way home to France, Financial Post explained. “A fairly straightforward and inexpensive fix would prevent hackers from taking the critical first step in this security breach – that of obtaining users’ IP addresses through inconspicuous calling,” the scientists said. Skype chief information officer Adrian Asher said his company will work to improve the security of Skype’s software. More →