Google says hello to Allo, goodbye to Hangouts

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"'Allo, guvna!" Google's new messaging app is obviously British.
Photo: Google

Watch out Facebook Messenger, Google is taking another stab at messaging with its newly revealed app called Allo.

Does the world really need another messaging app? Probably not. But Google is hoping that it has finally created the perfect mix of features that will make you ditch Snapchat and Facebook.

Microsoft’s one-handed iOS keyboard goes beta

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Microsoft's keyboard comes with a one-handed mode.
Microsoft's keyboard comes with a one-handed mode.
Photo: Microsoft

Typing on your iPhone with one hand is about to get a whole lot easier thanks to good samaritans at Microsoft that have invented a custom keyboard for iOS.

Microsoft revealed today that its latest iOS app, Word Flow, just entered the beta testing phase. The new keyboard (which is different than the Hub keyboard introduced last week) brings some of Windows 10’s best typing to iOS users like the ability to swipe out words, and intelligent word prediction to go with its dead simple one-handed mode.

Take a look:

University adds dedicated texting lane for students on the move

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Don't stray into the wrong lane.
Don't stray into the wrong lane.
Photo: Inside Higher Ed

You know mobile devices have hit a certain critical mass when universities start adding walking lanes designed to stop texters from accidentally colliding with non-texters.

That’s exactly what happened to a staircase at Utah Valley University’s Student Life and Wellness Centre, with one staircase being home to dividing lines splitting students into “walking,” “running” and “texting” lanes.

Cloe is Siri with a human touch — and a life

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Cloe, a concierge service that  provides recommendations and answers to texted requests, is currently working her magic in two major cities. Photo: Meet Cloe
Cloe, a concierge service that provides recommendations and answers to texted requests, is currently working her magic in two major cities. Photo: Meet Cloe

New app Cloe is a dutiful concierge service you can text to request a good jazz club or microbrewery and get an informed, cheery response in a minute or less. Think of the mad research skills of Siri with the personality of Samantha, the AI operating system from the movie Her.

Need a tailor? Cloe may ask if you need a custom shirt made or just a button sewn on a jacket before she sends you a recommendation based on where you are standing at that very moment.

Bindle takes the suck out of group messaging

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New group-messaging app Bindle feels your pain. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
New group-messaging app Bindle tries to un-suck the group messaging experience. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Chris Toy was an Everquest geek in the early days, playing the addictive open-world video game somewhat obsessively.

It wasn’t slaying the monsters or leveling up that really motivated Toy, but the social aspects of the game.

“I was honestly pretty isolated,” the Hong Kong native told Cult of Mac by phone, “and talking to people via Everquest or World of Warcraft felt better than talking to real people.”

That’s when he realized that being able to text chat with other people wherever they were was the future of messaging, and perhaps even communication itself. Fast-forward to now, and Toy and a high-tech team living in San Francisco have created Bindle, a new group-messaging app designed to create this very same future.