12 Google Messaging Apps: A Grand Tour

12 Google Messaging Apps: A Grand Tour

Get this, Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) has not one, not two, not three but 12 messaging apps. You would think that a tech giant like Google would be interested in developing a single app that does everything for everyone, but that’s not the case. In fact, the tech giant seems focused on improving each app to be the best at what it does, so that users can choose the service that best suits their needs.

Here’s a quick look at how each app works.

Google Messaging Apps

Google Voice

Launched by Google on March 11, 2009, Google Voice is the tech giant’s oldest VoIP product. The app includes a free phone number for U.S. users and you can instruct it to ring your cell phone, work or home phone, or all three, whenever someone calls your Voice number. You can also instruct the app to send SMS texts and voicemails to Hangouts.

Google Hangouts

This is a unified communications service that allows you to initiate and participate in video, voice and text chats, either one-on-one or in a group. Hangouts is built into Gmail and Google+. The mobile app is available for both Android and iOS devices.

Project Fi

This is a phone carrier from Google that works by giving you mobile data service on three mobile networks that your phone will intelligently switch between. It uses WiFi to send texts and to make calls. Unlike traditional carriers that bill you after you use their service, Project Fi is a “prepaid” carrier, which means that you pay upfront for your service in the trailing month. Fi is currently available only to U.S. users who own either Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus 6 or Pixel smartphones.

Google Duo 

Google Duo is a simple video-calling service that allows you to connect with your customers on both Android and iOS. It is one of the two communication apps launched by Google at the 2016 I/O conference. Its standout feature is Knock Knock, which gives you a preview of who is calling by firing up the camera on the other end of the line. 

Inbox by Gmail

Inbox by Gmail is an email service that was developed and launched by Google in limited edition on October 2014 and later released to the public in May 2015.

Inbox intelligently bundles similar messages together, allowing you to dismiss all of them with a single click. It also highlights important events such as trips and clusters together hotel and flight information.

Gmail

One of the most familiar of Google’s messaging options, this is a free, advert supported email service that’s available on the web and also through mobile apps for iOS and Android. Unlike the newbie Inbox, Gmail has an All mail folder, experimental “Labs” add-ons and extensive options in settings that include Blocked Addresses and Filters.

Google Chat 

Before the standalone Hangouts app came, you could still place VoIP calls and instant messages from Google+ and Gmail using Chat. The instant messaging service is colloquially known as gchat, gtalk or gmessage, but they are not Google endorsed. Chat remains embedded on Gmail.

Google Allo

Launched in May 2016, Google Allo is a Smart messaging app for iPhone and Android. Allo works for group chats, allows you to send pictures, share fun stickers and so on. Allo is great for talking to the Google Assistant.

Google Groups

Launched in February 2001, Google Groups is 16 years old! The service provides discussion groups for people sharing common interests.  A good number of people still use Groups because they at some point joined a group and that’s where the conversations still takes place.

Google+

During its first years, Google+ allowed users to send texts, emails, edit and share photos as well as make video calls. A few years ago, Google changed its all-in-one approach, becoming more like a cross between Facebook and Reddit. The platform’s content is organized by “Collections” that make it easy for you to find relevant content.

Google Spaces

This social service by Google is less than a year old. Spaces makes it easier to find and share images, articles and videos without leaving the app as Google Search, Chrome and YouTube come built in. 

Google Messenger

Messenger from Google is a communications app that helps you to send and receive MMS and SMS messages to any phone. The app has a great interface and supports text, pictures, emoji and GIFs. You can make it your default texting app that people can always text you on. Messenger is only available to Android users.

[“Source-smallbiztrends”]

Super Mario Run Controls, Gameplay, Coins, World Tour, Toad Rally, and Kingdom Builder Modes Explained

Super Mario Run Controls, Gameplay, Coins, World Tour, Toad Rally, and Kingdom Builder Modes Explained
HIGHLIGHTS
Super Mario Run has three modes
World Tour plays out like classic Mario games
Toad Rally is the game’s multiplayer mode
Super Mario Run is now available to download on the iPhone, iPad, and even the iPod touch so as long as you have iOS 8.0. Android gamers will have to wait it out until next year, when Nintendo will finally release Super Mario Run on that platform. For the rest of us, here’s what you need to know to get the best out of Super Mario Run on iOS.

(Also see: Super Mario Run Android Early 2017 Release Date Is Bad for Nintendo and Gamers)
Super Mario Run controls
In Super Mario Run, Mario runs from left to right automatically. Tapping the screen makes him do a small jump. Hold the screen longer, and he jumps higher. That’s all there is to it – you’ve just got to get into the flow and get the timing right.

(Also see: Super Mario Run Release Date Is December 15, Download Size, Price, and More )
Super Mario Run World Tour mode gameplay shows it’s not an endless runner
Like every classic Mario game, your objective is to make it to the flagpole at the end of the level before the timer runs out. This is how the game plays in the World Tour mode — similar to classic Mario games.

Endless runners don’t have a definite end point, while Super Mario Run does, making it more of an auto runner than an endless runner. It might sound like semantics, but the difference exists and it’s an important one. Also, just because there are levels doesn’t mean there’s no replayability.
Super Mario Run coins are plentiful, and colour-coded
If you like collecting every single coin in Mario games, you’re in for a treat. Aside from the usual gold coins, each level has three sets of special coins to collect — pink, purple, and black. Collecting one full set unlocks another version of the level, with the coins hidden in places that are more difficult to reach. Since Mario runs automatically, timing is crucial to collect them all. Otherwise you’ll have to replay the level from the very beginning.

(Also see: You Will Need an Internet Connection to Play Super Mario Run)

super mario run modes super_mario_run

Super Mario Run bubble system explained
Much like New Super Mario Bros on Nintendo consoles, Super Mario Run uses bubbles. These let you rewind your progress in a level as far as you’d like, allowing you to collect a coin you missed. Keep in mind that the timer does not reset. This means that if you use too many bubbles or go back too far, you might not finish a level. As for finding these bubbles? Hit the blocks with a question mark to get these power-ups.

Super Mario Run Toad Rally is Super Mario Run’s multiplayer mode
In Super Mario Run Toad Rally, your goal is to beat your opponent — which is essentially the performance data of another player – with style. What this means is, you won’t be competing in real time but against someone’s high score that’s visually represented as a character running across the screen.

This is known as asynchronous multiplayer. You won’t just be tasked with outrunning them though, there’s an audience to impress. Pull off stunts like fancy jumps and flips and toads — citizens of the Mushroom Kingdom – will join you. You can’t access this Super Mario Run mode without Rally Tickets, which can be earned by performing in-game feats such as clearing a level in World Tour mode.

(Also see: Super Mario Run Development Was Not ‘Simpler’: Nintendo)
Super Mario Run Kingdom Builder
Remember the coins and toads we mentioned? You can use them in Super Mario Run Kingdom Builder mode. This mode lets you make your own Mushroom Kingdom. It resembles a world map in other Mario games. You’re limited in what you can buy, by the number of Toads that you’ve impressed. Hit the requisite number of Toads, and you can use your coins to buy different items. There’s little in way of gameplay, but more by way of bragging rights, with cosmetic items such as green pipes, flags, and question mark boxes among others, to decorate your kingdom with.

Super Mario Run’s three modes don’t appear to be that disparate, unified by a common currency system and interlocking elements that could ensure you don’t stick to one specific mode alone. It will be interesting to see how Nintendo doles out Rally Tickets or modifies mechanics to earn more Toads in the weeks to come.

Are you playing Super Mario Run on iOS? Or are you waiting for it on Android? Let us know via the comments.

Tags: Super Mario Run, Super Mario Run iOS, Super Mario Run Android, Super Mario Run Download, Super Mario Run World Tour, Super Mario Run Kingdom Builder, Super Mario Run Toad Rally, Super Mario Run Coins, Super Mario Run Release Date, Super Mario Run iPhone, Super Mario Run India, Super Mario Run price

[“source-ndtv”]

The Grand Tour, From Ex-Top Gear hosts, Arrives November on Amazon

The Grand Tour, From Ex-Top Gear hosts, Arrives November on Amazon

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 12 episodes every Friday starting November 18
  • First episode set in California
  • Three series planned for now

The Grand Tour, the new car show from ex-Top Gear hosts Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May, will arrive on Amazon Prime Video come November 18. Unlike other Amazon series that follow the entire series at once format, The Grand Tour will release one episode every Friday for a total of 12 weeks.

A first season order of 12 episodes might seem a bit more than what they used to do in their final years over at Top Gear (mostly 6 episodes or so a series), but then Top Gear has two series in a single year. The Grand Tour is currently on a three-series deal, according to Amazon.

As usual, the three will be traversing the world not just for adventures, but even basing their studio in those locations in front of a live audience. They have already been to South Africa back in July, with shooting about to happen in California later this month, which will also be the first episode. The Grand Tour will also shoot in Germany, the UK, and other parts of the world.

 

The trio were much loved by fans for their goofy antics at Top Gear rather than the factual car programme it’s purported to be – something Amazon doesn’t shy away from in its official description(“Sometimes it’s even a show about cars”). Surprisingly then, the accompanying teaser clip with the launch date announcement focuses on the fun they’re having driving supercars.

Owing to possible legal issues, which arose out of Clarkson punching a Top Gear producer that lead to his exit followed by the other two, Amazon stops short of naming the BBC show in its press release. Meanwhile, the continuation of the Top Gear brand under its new hosts, Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc, hasn’t gone as planned for the British broadcaster, with Evans leaving after just one season.

If you can’t wait for November, Clarkson, Hammond, and May have been providing behind the scenes info and jibes at each other (more of the latter) over on their respective Twitter accounts, with a collection on the official account, as production continues. So go scroll through that to pass the time.

Tags: The Grand Tour, Amazon, Amazon Prime, Amazon Video, car show, Top Gear

 

[“Source-Gadgets”]

Tour Bruce Wayne’s Home and Batcave in Virtual Reality With Google Maps

Tour Bruce Wayne's Home and Batcave in Virtual Reality With Google Maps

Warner Bros.-DC wish to leave no stone unturned in their quest to launch a franchise rivalling the popularity and financial success of Disney-Marvel with the release of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice on Friday, and they have even embedded Bruce Wayne’s fictional place of residence into Google Maps to provide audiences with a 360-degree or virtual reality view of the crime-fighting billionaire’s home.

What is surprising though is that Wayne does not live anywhere near Gotham – a universal moniker for New York City – but smack-dab in the middle of nowhere, in the suburbs of the US city of Detroit. You can’t see the house in aerial view or from the road – because it doesn’t exist, duh – but you can choose to jump into the property directly, without any need for voice print analysis or fingerprints.

Note: minor spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen the movie.

Once inside, you can look around the living room with all the walls made of glass or jump through the black void to uncover the mysteries within. You will then be treated to an under-lit and dingy tunnel that leads straight to the Batcave, with the Batmobile from the film straight in your path.

You can also tour Robin’s suit with Joker’s graffiti that Batman keeps around for motivation, or take a look at the six-screen console used by Alfred to assist the Dark Knight in his missions.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – starring Ben Affleck as the former and Henry Cavill as the latter – might have received middling reviews from critics across the board, but it’s been a hit world over during the weekend, earning more than $420 million (roughly Rs. 2,800 crores).

Download the Gadgets 360 app for Android and iOS to stay up to date with the latest tech news, product reviews, and exclusive deals on the popular mobiles.

Tags: Batcave, Batman, Batman v Superman, Bruce Wayne, Dawn of Justice, Google Maps, VR, Wayne Residence
[“source-Gadgets”]