Facebook brings data plan-saving in Messenger Lite.

Facebook’s data-conserving version of Messenger is no longer just for developing nations with slow networks. Now the Messenger Lite Android app is expanding to the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Ireland after previously being available in more than 100 mostly developing countries. Messenger Lite packs most of the critical features of the app, but skips things like Messenger Day and selfie lenses that can drain data. There’s still no plan for an iOS version, though.

Previously, Messenger Lite was primarily for users in areas with weak bandwidth so the app would run faster. But now its expansion into Facebook’s top developed world markets makes it a tool for penny-pinching users like teenagers who want to avoid burning away their pricey megabytes but still stay in touch.


“We’re excited to bring Messenger Lite to Android users in four new markets, including Canada, Ireland, the U.K. and the U.S.,” a Facebook spokesperson told TechCrunch. “Messenger Lite is a slimmed-down version of Messenger that offers the core features of the app, while giving everyone the opportunity to stay connected to their friends and family, regardless of device or quality of internet connectivity.”

Facebook first launched Messenger Lite in October 2016 in five countries before its near global expansion in April. Now Sensor Tower estimates Messenger Lite has been download 47 million times since launch, led by India and Brazil.

The new rollout could help Facebook attract more teens to Messenger, both traditional and Lite. That’s because if downloading Lite makes them respond to more messages more quickly, it thereby encourages friends to stick with Messenger instead of defaulting back to SMS or iMessage, or straying to Snapchat.

The developing world has proven a challenge for Snapchat. Its video-heavy app doesn’t perform well in low-bandwidth conditions. And where there are friends who can’t use an app, people end up switching to one they can access. For Messenger to keep expanding beyond its existing 1.3 billion users, it needs to do everything it can to be maximally accessible.

Though it may be harder to monetize Messenger Lite users, it’s worth it for Facebook as chat is the center of the mobile use case. If it can keep people on Messenger, it’s more likely to retain them in the rest of its family of apps.



Google to stop Google drive by the end of the year.

The new Backup and Sync app expands Google’s approach to file storage spanning your PC and phone. Your choices: update now or update later.

If you’re among the hundreds of millions of people using Google Driveto synchronize files across your PCs and phones, be warned: you’ve now got three months to install its replacement.

Google announced in July that it’s replacing Google Drive with Backup and Sync, which does the same thing as Google Drive but slurps in more files. On Thursday, Google detailed its transition plan, saying it’ll stop supporting Drive on Dec. 11 and shut it down completely on March 12, 2018.

The new approach lets Google’s software synchronize files you’ve stored on your desktop or your documents folders and make all your photos part of Google Photos, too.

And it reflects the growing importance of cloud-based services. In bygone days your files were anchored to a single computing device, but with services like Google Backup and Sync, Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive and Apple iCloud, your PC or phone is becoming just the tool you happen to be using to edit a photo or write a letter or share a tweet. That’s handy — especially if you lose your laptop or break your phone.

Google announced the date of Drive’s demise in a blog post for IT administrators who offer Google’s G Suite productivity tools to employees. If you’re one of those employees, you may see another Google option coming your way: File Stream. This software lets organizations store files solely in the cloud, “streaming” them to laptops when you’re working on them and otherwise keeping your storage space unencumbered. If you’re not one of those employees, don’t worry about it.

Image result for google drive

You can install Backup and Sync right now if you want to get the transition out of the way. After all, you’re not going to be able to postpone it forever. Transfer your files as early as possible to avoid loss of your data.


4 of the Most Anticipated Games Right Now.

2017 is a great year for game releases. We’ve seen many great titles until now, and at the E3 we got to know many more games that are yet to be released.

Destiny 2

Gamers played Destiny for a real long time actively. After being introduced to what Destiny 2 was going to be, there were mixed feelings. Would they get what they love with new content or will there be an entirely different game? The trailers and marketing material promise great features and better graphics, but if you want to get a first hand feeling for how it’s going to be, you can still join the open beta test phase until the end of August. The release date will be the 6th of September, 2017.

Death Stranding

After things between Konami and Kojima Productions went down a bad way, the future of the Metal Gearseries is unclear. The new project of Kojima Productions is Death Stranding, set in a seemingly dark future with a widely mysterious environment. The production involves top actors like Norman Reedus and Mads Mikkelsen, contains action elements as well as multiplayer elements and will take place in an open world. The game is planned to be shipped before 2019 but there is no confirmed release date as of now.

Red Dead Redemption 2

Console gamers have waited for this title a long time. PC gamers even longer, and again there is no indication of a PC release. Red Dead Redemption 2 is GTA in a Wild West setting and is also developed by Rockstar Games. Next to the open world experience the fans love, the GTA 5 tested multiplayer mode will also be introduced in this series with this title. The official website claims that this title will be released in Spring 2018, Wikipedia states it will be in the second quarter of the year.

Assassin’s Creed Origins

Set in the ancient Egypt, the latest game in the Assassin’s Creed franchise goes back in time and allows the players to witness events that were crucial to the shaping of the Assasin Brotherhood. Unlike previous installments of the series, this game embraces RPG elements like leveling up, looting, shape and customizing your own Assasin. At the moment the planned release date for Assassin’s Creed Origins is later this year on the 27th of October.

Alphabet Finishes Reorganization With New XXVI Company

  • Google business to be legally separated from car, health units
  • Holding company name plays on Page’s dream of Other Bets

Alphabet Inc. is forming a new holding company designed to finalize its evolution from Google, the web search giant, into a corporate parent with distinct arms that protects individual businesses in far-flung fields like health care and self-driving cars.

The new entity, called XXVI Holdings Inc., will own the equity of each Alphabet company, including Google. The new structure legally separates Google from other units such as Waymo, its self-driving car business, and Verily, a medical device and health data firm.

Google co-founder Larry Page announced Alphabet two years ago to foster new businesses that operate independently from Google. Technically, however, those units, called the “Other Bets,” were still subsidiaries of Google. The new structure, unveiled Friday, lets the Other Bets become subsidiaries of Alphabet on the same legal footing as Google.

Google is also changing from a corporation to a limited liability company, or LLC. This won’t alter the way the business pays taxes, said Gina Weakley Johnson, an Alphabet spokeswoman. The switch is partly related to Google’s transformation from a listed public company into a business owned by a holding company. The change helps keep potential challenges in one business from spreading to another, according to Dana Hobart, a litigator with the Buchalter law firm in Los Angeles.

“By separating them, it allows the parent company to limit the exposure of the various obligations of the LLCs,” Hobart said. “For example, if one of the LLCs has its own debt, only that LLC will end up being responsible for payment of that debt.”

Corporations are often formed to raise money from public investors who expect disclosures on financial performance, and Google did that in a 2004 initial public offering. Now, it’s owned by Alphabet, so it effectively has only one investor and no public disclosure obligations. An LLC structure is better suited to this situation. Waymo is also an LLC.

“We’re updating our corporate structure to implement the changes we announced with the creation of Alphabet in 2015,” Johnson said. She called the process a legal formality that won’t affect ultimate shareholder control, operations, management or personnel at the 75,606-person company.

XXVI, the name of the new holding entity, is the number of letters in the alphabet expressed in Roman numerals. The sums of the company’s two most recent share buybacks were both derived from math equations involving the number 26.

“I still see amazing opportunities that just aren’t quite fully developed yet — and helping making them real is what I get excited about,” Page wrote in a letter last year about Alphabet. Google accounted for 99 percent of Alphabet revenue last quarter.

The new structures were disclosed in a filing on Friday with the Federal Communications Commission. Businesses that hold FCC licenses, like Waymo and the Fiber internet service, are required to make such filings.

“As a result of the corporate reorganization, Alphabet and Google will be able to operate in a more efficient, economical, and transparent manner, allowing the companies to concentrate on their revenue generating activities,” the company said in the filing.

Source: Bloomberg Technology

Adobe Plans to Kill the Flash Media Player In 2020

Adobe is finally planning to kill off Flash media player once and for all. 2020 will mark an end of an era for Flash. The news doesn’t come as a surprise to most as the internet has already started shrinking Flash’s reach in favor of HTML5 and other open standards like WebGL and web assembly.

Adobe Plans to Kill the Flash Media Player In 2020.

Various web browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and Safari have all been blocking Flash over the past year, but Adobe is now planning to remove support for it. Adobe has said that the company will stop updating and distributing Flash at the end of 2020.

“We will stop updating and distributing the Flash Player at the end of 2020 and encourage content creators to migrate any existing Flash content to these new open formats,” the company said in a blog post.

A number of gaming, education, and video sites still use Flash, and Adobe says it remains committed to supporting the technology until 2020 by taking help of its partners including Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Mozilla. Also, they would be motivating developers to switch to open web standards as soon as possible.

Google will continue phasing out Flash over the next few years, while Mozilla says Firefox users will be able to choose which websites are able to run Flash next month and allow Firefox ESR (Extended Support Release) users to keep using Flash until the end of 2020. Microsoft says it plans to disable Flash by default in Edge and Internet Explorer in mid to late 2019, with a full removal from all supported versions of Windows by the end of 2020.

HTML5 standards have been implemented across all modern web browsers, and the need for Flash just isn’t there anymore. Today only 17% (this number was 80% around three years ago) desktop Chrome users visit Flash-based websites. And an end to Flash will likely result in more secure experiences, fewer browser crashes and longer battery life.

It’s the beginning of the end for Microsoft Paint.

Windows’ Fall Creators Update will add a pack of new features to the platform, but it could also mark the beginning of the end for MS Paint.

Microsoft has revealed in a list of removed and deprecated features that it will stop actively developing the iconic application. No more future updates or new features for the painting program it launched with its operating system in 1985. That’s usually the first step of killing an app, and a Windows update down the line could remove it altogether. Microsoft denied Paint’s demise in the statement it sent The New York Times, but it also took the chance to remind people that Paint 3D can do most of what the original application can: “MS Paint is not going away. In addition to the new 3D capabilities, many of the MS Paint features people know and love like photo editing and 2D creation are in Paint 3D — the new app for creativity, available for free with the Windows 10 Creators update.”

The tech titan is also tossing unused Outlook Express code in the trash and integrating Reader app and list into MS Edge when the Creators Update drops. In addition, it’s paring down the screensaver feature by disabling it in Themes and stopping its development for Group Policies, Control Panel and Sysprep. Update: Microsoft clarified where Paint is going with a follow-up post: “MS Paint is here to stay, it will just have a new home soon, in the Windows Store where it will be available for free.”

Microsoft partners with BMW to put Skype in cars

Microsoft is expanding its partnership with BMW to enable Skype for Business in cars that use BMW’s iDrive system. BMW was one of the first car makers to enable Office 365 services in its cars, and this latest feature will let owners take Skype meetings in their cars through the built-in entertainment system.

The system will work by triggering notifications for meetings, allowing drivers to dial-in without having to enter the conference number details manually. BMW will also enable tighter integration with calendars, contacts, and to-do lists all from Microsoft’s Exchange service. BMW is planning to enable the Skype for Business feature in France, Germany, and the UK initially before it expanding it to other countries.

BMW also revealed earlier this year that it plans to integrate Microsoft’s Cortana digital assistant into some cars as part of Microsoft’s Connected Vehicle vision. BMW is planning to let drivers access Cortana through a dashboard screen, with the ability to easily access to-do lists, reminders, news, events, and other Cortana features.