Welcome back to the Android Apps Weekly show! Let’s jump right into the headlines for this week:
- Microsoft is now letting people download Cortana as part of a public beta which is the first time it’s been officially available to the public. There is only one problem and that is that you cannot participate in the public beta unless you live in the United States. We don’t think that’ll change which kinda sucks.
- A new app called Vysor was leaked recently and it prompted developer Koushik Dutta to just release the application. It’s a Chrome app that lets you easily control your Android device from your computer. It’s a nifty tool even if it’s in beta and keep an eye out for pricing because there will be some pricing options eventually.
- Facebook M has been officially announced and much like the leaks said, it’ll be a personal assistant that lives inside of Facebook Messenger that helps you buy things along with a suite of other functions for productivity. It’s currently in testing and we have no clue when it’ll be available to the public.
- Earlier this week, Rovio announced that they’ll be laying off 1/3 of their work force. The speculation is that the Angry Birds franchise is finally starting to falter as the company just released Angry Birds 2 not long ago. The company maintains that it made these layoffs to be leaner and more agile.
- Earlier this week, Amazon killed off the free app of the day and replaced it with a new application called Amazon Underground. The new app is meant to offer a lot more apps that the company is calling “actually free”. You can download and install Amazon Underground just like any other Amazon app.
For even more Android apps headlines, updates, and new releases, don’t forget to check out this week’s newsletter. There we have a whole lot more apps and games news that we didn’t have time for here. If you’re so inclined, you can even sign up using your email address and we’ll send it to you every Friday!
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While you’re at it, why not check out the Android Authority Twitch channel? Yes, we’ll be doing YouTube Gaming very soon as well but we still plan on hanging out on Twitch! Right now our streaming schedule is Sunday and Monday at 4PM EST. Come hang out, chit chat, and play some video games!
Late last week, AMC released its own official application to the Google Play Store. It comes with a lineup of AMC programming including The Walking Dead, Better Call Saul, Hell on WHeels, and a lot more. You do need a cable subscription to have access most of the content but some stuff you’ll be able to access for free. It’s missing some features here and there and the app is suffering from release day bugs, but it’s worth keeping an eye on.
Get it now on Google Play!
Earlier this week, Samsung released the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and S6 Edge+ experience apps. The point of these apps is to show people what kind of experience they can get with these devices and Samsung has released similar apps in the past for their flagships. They’re fairly easy to use and it’s a nice experience to have if you plan on buying either of these devices or just want to see what they’re all about.
Get it now on Google Play!
YouTube Gaming is finally official and Google has released the official app to prove it. Google’s competitor to Twitch is in full swing and the application will give you access to everyone who is streaming games. You’ll also be able to engage with past broadcasts, plenty of channel and page browsing options, and the app will offer live streams from large events like E3, PAX, and Gamescon. It’s definitely worth checking out and hey, you’ll see us there very soon!
Get it now on Google Play!
Framed is an award-winning puzzle game with a unique premise. You are given a set of video clips which you must arrange to create a certain story scene. If you do it incorrectly, you lose and if you do it right, you can proceed. It’s backed by a pretty decent jazz soundtrack and there is a lot of game here to play. It’s definitely something a bit different and actually very fun to play. It’s only $0.99 and it’s worth every penny.
Get it now on Google Play!
Last and certainly not least this week is Lara Croft GO. This highly anticipated game has finally made its way to Google Play to extremely positive reviews so far. This title features 75 puzzles over five chapters as you guide Lara through obstacles and fights with various creatures. It holds true to the series as you’ll be exploring ancient ruins with mythical puzzles. It looks good, it plays great, and $4.99 isn’t an unfair price at all.
Get it now on Google Play!
If we missed any great Android apps and games news, tell us more about it in the comments! Thanks for reading, watching, and subscribing and we’ll see you next week!
From user-made clips to content from big media properties, video is all over Facebook (and more people than ever are using the social network). Along with that trend comes the problem of piracy: plenty of video publishers are seeing their work distributed on Facebook without their permission, and now Facebook says its going to do something about it. In a blog post today, the company says it is building a new video matching system for a “subset” of video publishers. Facebook says that its tool will “evaluate millions of video uploads quickly and accurately, and when matches are surfaced, publishers will be able to report them to us for removal.” For starters, this tool will launch in beta with selected partners, but Facebook intends to roll it out more broadly as it gets more effective.
Currently, Facebook uses the Audible Magic content tracking system; it uses audio fingerprinting technology to identify uploaded videos that shouldn’t be allowed on the platform. That system will stay in place, and Facebook says its working with Audible Magic to improve it. Specifically, it sounds like the system will start identifying infringing videos as they’re added to Facebook rather than after the fact, but the company didn’t offer much in the way of specifics. Facebook also says it is looking at ways to make it easier and faster to report pirated content and also at ways to ban repeat offenders.
None of this is all that dissimilar to what YouTube had to put in place years ago; its Content ID system scans uploaded videos against a vast database of videos submitted by copyright holders. Similarly, Twitch recently went through some challenges trying to sort out a Contend ID-like system to prevent unauthorized music from being distributed.
On Facebook’s end, this sounds like a much-needed solution, but the company admits that it’ll be a while before it’s all in place. “This is just the beginning,” the Facebook blog says. “This will take time, but we’re working on it, and we’re committed.”
[Image credit: Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images]
Tags: facebook, facebookvideo, onlinevideo, piracy, streamingvideo, video, videopiracy
What were you doing Monday? According to Mark Zuckerberg, it probably included using Facebook. He just posted that for the first time, the social network notched one billion individual users in a single day, calling it “just the beginning of connecting the whole world.” With that kind of scale, it’s no wonder the exec is focused on drones, lasers and other technology to connect the rest of the world to the internet ASAP, because he’s got an idea what they will log on to first.
[Image credit: AFP/Getty Images]
Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook)
Tags: activeusers, billion, facebook, MarkZuckerberg
Ask any photographer: good composition is essential to capturing a great image. Ask that same photographer the most frustrating thing about Instagram, and they’ll probably say “aspect ratio.” Since its launch, every image or video uploaded to the service has been restricted to a limited square format, but today that changes. As of right now, you can upload landscape and portrait videos and photos to Instagram.
“Square format has been and always will be part of who we are,” the company wrote on its official blog. “That said, the visual story you’re trying to tell should always come first.” Until today, it hasn’t — users who wanted to share their work in its landscape or portrait formats have had to use third party programs to add white space to the edge of their photos or videos, lowering the overall resolution of the image. Now Instagram has added a “format” button to its uploader, giving users the option to choose what kind of image they want to share without finding a work-around.
It’s a simple change, but it means big things. In addition to giving Instagram users more creative freedom, it also makes the social network a better advertising platform. Want to watch the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer? Now you can — right on Instagram. The update should be hitting Google Play and the Apple App store later today.
Tags: facebook, images, instagram, mobilepostcross, photography, photos, socialmedia, socialnetworking, widescreen
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With Google Now, Siri and Cortana leading the way for virtual personal assistants, it looks like Facebook wants to join in on the fun as well. Announced earlier today, Facebook M is a “personal digital assistant” which is wholly contained within the Facebook Messenger app. From the looks of it, you talk to M like you would a normal person in Messenger and it responds depending on what your request is. The neat feature in Facebook M is that it not only answers questions, but completes tasks on your behalf as well. In the words of Facebook VP of messaging products, David Marcus:
“Unlike other AI-based services in the market, M can actually complete tasks on your behalf. It can purchase items, get gifts delivered to your loved ones, book restaurants, travel arrangements, appointments and way more.”
Facebook M is apparently being tested by a handful of people in San Francisco at the moment, though the intention is for it to be rolled out to everyone – whether everyone is just the US or globally remains to be seen. Facebook M is definitely an interesting concept, and we hope we get to see more of it over the next few months.
What do you think about Facebook M? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
The post Facebook is working on a Messenger-based personal assistant called ‘Facebook M’ appeared first on AndroidSPIN.
Today, Facebook launched its own virtual personal assistant called “M” accessible through the Facebook Messenger app. The virtual assistant is powered by both artificial-inteligence and real humans which allows it to answer questions and complete complex tasks that current personal assistants cannot. Just like Siri, Cortana and Google Now, you can ask M for advice on places to go and answer general questions. One of the differences however is that M only works in the Facebook Messenger app. In addition, M will be less likely to make mistakes as it will be checked upon by humans responsible for training and supervising the artificial intelligence. According to David Marcus, vice president of messaging products at Facebook, this will make a great difference compared to other personal assistants in the competition
“We start capturing all of your intent for the things you want to do”
“Facebook employees have been using M for several weeks to do everything from organizing dinner parties to tracking down an unusual beverage in New Orleans”
The combination of artificial-intelligence and real human support is what will allow users to do more with the M personal assistant. M is able to purchase items, get gifts delivered to people, book restaurants, travel arrangements, appointments and other complex tasks that current personal assistants cannot handle. The human element in the assistant will let the software to gradually learn from human behaviors and eventually will allow it to not needing human input, according to David Marcus. The transactions made by using M’s services is what will provide revenue to Facebook so it can employ more “M trainers”.
M is only available to a few hundred people in the San Francisco Bay Area today. It is still a work in progress and so, it is not expected to be released to all messenger users any time soon.
Come comment on this article: Facebook launches its own virtual assistant named ‘M’
Back in July we reported that Facebook Messenger was set to get its own virtual digital assistant, codenamed Moneypenny. Now it is official, and is formally dubbed Facebook M.
Facebook’s David Marcus calls M a “personal digital assistant inside of Messenger”, and we have to admit the idea of baking a digital assistant into a messaging platform is intriguing. But what exactly does M do? Instead of putting an emphasis on productivity and information retrieval, M doesn’t just have the power to complete tasks and find info — it can also “ purchase items, get gifts delivered to your loved ones, book restaurants, travel arrangements, appointments and way more.” Facebook M is powered by artificial intelligence like any other digital assistant on the market, but differs in the fact that it is also “trained and supervised” by real people.
There’s still a few unknowns about how Facebook M will work, especially the parts where it buys things in your behalf. That said, an article from Wired does shed a bit more light about the assistant. First, interactions will reportedly occur in a similar fashion to a normal conversation in Messenger, and that service will simply respond to commands or make suggestions based on questions it asks you, etc.
While Facebook no doubt has grand plans for its messenger-powered assistant, for now M is being tested out to a small number of people in the San Francisco area. It remains unseen how Facebook fans will react to the service, and we imagine the idea of an assistant that can buy, send gifts, and other more personal tasks might raise a few eyebrows from the security conscientious individuals.
What do you think of the idea of Facebook M? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Remember that talk of Facebook testing its own virtual assistant? Well, it’s real. The social network is trying out M, an artificial intelligence-powered Messenger assistant that can answer questions and complete tasks. You can ask it for advice on places to go, for instance, or have it make travel arrangements. Think of it as a Siri- or Cortana-like helper that exists solely in text chat. It should be less likely to make mistakes, though, as Facebook is quick to note that there are humans training and supervising the AI behind the scenes. And in case you’re wondering, it only bases its conversations around Messenger — it’s not using your regular Facebook data to make decisions.
Don’t expect to give M a spin just yet. It’s only in use by a few hundred people in the San Francisco Bay Area, and it could take a long while to scale up if it proves successful. However, a wider rollout seems like more a question of “when” than “if.” Facebook has been dramatically expanding the role of Messenger as of late, turning it from a basic communication tool into a platform for everything from games to money transfers. It only makes sense that the company would take the next logical step and make Messenger the go-to place to get many tasks done.
David Marcus (Facebook)
Tags: ai, artificialintelligence, assistant, chat, facebook, FacebookMessenger, internet, m, messaging, mobilepostcross, socialnetwork, socialnetworking
Facebook has just released an update to its Moments app, bringing it up to version 2.0. This is the first major revision to the app since its launch back in June. The latest version includes just a small number of new features, but also marks the application’s release outside of the US.
Contained within the update you’ll find a new way to create moments by simply tapping the plus button in the top right. Not listed on the change-log is another new feature, which allows users to create a short video clip from a selection of six or more photographs. The video creation feature also has options for background music and the pictures can be swapped around until you’re happy to upload the creation to your Facebook page.
The application now also supports more than 30 different languages, and version 2.0 has seen its share of bug fixes and performance improvements too. If haven’t tried out Facebook Moments before, it is essentially an app to help you easily share your photos with groups of friends.
Previously, Facebook Moments had been limited to consumers living inside the US, but is now apparently available in many more countries. It hasn’t landed in the UK for me yet, but the app could be gradually rolling out to new regions over the coming days. You can download the app for free from the Google Play Store.
One of the web’s all-time notorious spammers is facing jail time after pleading guilty to sending 27 million unwanted messages to Facebook users. Sanford Wallace, aka “the Spam King,” aka “Spamford Wallace,” admitted that he unlawfully accessed over 500,000 accounts on the network between 2008-9 in violation of a court order. This is far from his first rodeo — Sanford was annoying consumers well before the internet came along, when he sent junk faxes in violation of laws enacted in 1991. Since then, he’s faced lawsuits for email spamming, multiple-window launching (remember that?) spyware scams and MySpace phishing, to name a few.
So far, Wallace has been fined well over $4 million, and Facebook was granted a $711 million in damages in its 2009 lawsuit. Though Zuckerberg & Co. never collected a dime due to Wallace’s bankruptcy, the judge in the case strongly recommended criminal charges. Following a two-year FBI investigation, a grand jury did just that and charged him with electronic mail fraud, damage to protected computers and criminal contempt. With the guilty plea, Sanford now faces up to three years in jail and a $250,000 fine when sentenced on December 7th. His victims likely hope he gets the book thrown at him (preferably a heavy hardcover), but given his past history, we probably haven’t seen the last of the Spam King.
Tags: facebook, fraud, SanfordWallace, spam, SpamKing