It’s a bad week for simple messages capable of bringing down entire apps. Following on from Apple’s Messages-crashing “Unicode of death” code, a nasty bug has been discovered in Skype, which promises to crash the software every time you attempt to sign in.
Thankfully, the bug doesn’t appear to have any effect on Skype for Mac, although it does work on the iOS version, as well as the Windows and Android versions.
The infamous brains behind MegaUpload, Kim Dotcom, has just launched the beta version of his latest product: a browser-based encrypted video calling and file-sharing service he hopes will take on the Microsoft-owned Skype.
Called MegaChat, the service uses what is called User Controlled Encryption (UCE), meaning that you get a decryption key provided, and are then free to send it to people so that they you can trade files with them. Like the Web-based MegaUpload, no software installation is required, although there are Chrome and Firefox extensions which aid with improved performance and security.
Star Trek Captains Picard and Kirk could talk to any alien, no matter how different it was from humanity, thanks to the universal translator, a magical sci-fi device that explained away why strange civilizations in far-away solar systems all spoke English.
That future just got a little less far-fetched, thanks to Skype Translator, a new preview service that uses technology from Microsoft Research to translate two different languages back and forth in real time.
This is heady stuff, as school kids in Seattle and Mexico City seem to instantly recognize when they chat back and forth in English and Spanish via the Skype service in the video below.
WhatsApp, one of the most popular messaging services on mobile, has long had plans to step up its assault against the likes of Skype and Viber with a free voice calling feature that was initially promised for the second quarter of 2014. Now the company’s CEO has confirmed that the launch is planned for early 2015 instead.