Station combines all your messy web apps into a single app

Meet Station, a startup that was created by startup studio eFounders. Station has been working on the only work app you need. It combines all the services you need into a single window and handles notifications and documents better than a normal browser.

If you don’t spend your life in Word, Excel, PowerPoint or Outlook, chances are you spend most of your days in a web browser, navigating between countless of tabs. When you are working with five different Google Spreadsheets, a couple of Trello dashboards and a handful of other services, it gets harder to find what you’re looking for.

With Station, you can find the document you’re looking for more easily. Station is a Mac and Windows app. You then need to add all your accounts one by one. Station supports dozens of services, but the most popular ones are Gmail, Google Drive, Slack and Trello.

“We have 300 app integrations. We have a good user base with 2,500 people who use Station at least 4 days per week,” co-founder and CTO Alexandre Lacheze told me.

Each service has its own icon in the bar on the left. You can switch from one service to another just like you’d switch from one account to another in Slack. This app metaphor works quite well for document-based apps, such as Google Drive. When you click on the icon, Station shows you your most recent documents and you don’t get lost between multiple tabs.

By centralizing everything in one app, Station adds a couple of nifty features. For instance, there’s a universal search bar that lets you search for content across all your apps. Think about it as a sort of Spotlight for web apps.

Notifications also get their own tab. You can scan recent emails, Trello notifications and Slack messages in the same interface. And there’s also a focus mode that lets you silence notifications for a 15 minutes or an hour.

“We noticed high retention rates among marketing and sales teams,” co-founder and CEO Julien Berthomier told me. “It works well for operational, support and marketing profiles. The usual marketing person is going to use more than 20 different apps.”

While Station is free for now, the startup is working on a paid offering for teams. Companies will be able to subscribe to Station to build pre-configured profiles. If a company recruits new marketing persons, the marketing team will be able to share a Station template so that new employees have everything they need from day one.

Station is also a good way to get insights about who is using what. For instance, if a company pays for a service but nobody is using it, chances are you can cancel your corporate subscription. Let’s see if this will be enough to make companies pay for Station.


Google Combines YouTube Music, Google Play Music Teams; Unified App Likely to Launch Soon

Google Combines YouTube Music, Google Play Music Teams; Unified App Likely to Launch Soon
Google Play Music and YouTube Music teams combined
Google likely to launch unified music app
YouTube Music offered music with and without video
Google has confirmed that it has merged the teams behind YouTube Music and Google Play Music. The move is said to be a way Google wants to pave the way for a unified Music app though it may be in initial stages.

A Google spokesperson confirmed the move to The Verge without offering any major details about the future product. In a statement, spokesperson said, “Music is very important to Google and we’re evaluating how to bring together our music offerings to deliver the best possible product for our users, music partners and artists. Nothing will change for users today and we’ll provide plenty of notice before any changes are made.”

The merger isn’t likely to affect users of both the Google Play Music and YouTube Music apps as of now. The Verge claims that both the apps “will continue to exist independently for the moment.”
It adds that the business development teams of Google Play Music and YouTube Music were combined last year. The move to combine business development teams was said to make negotiating deals with labels and artists easier. Notably, YouTube Red, a premium service that allows advertisement-free access to subscribers, already offers access to both YouTube Music and Google Play Music services.

To recall, YouTube Music app was launched in 2015 and was expected to bring Google in the helm against the likes of other music streaming services. YouTube Music offered songs both with and without video with an option for users to choose audio-only mode. In its initial impressions, YouTube Music was touted as far less cluttered than competing services like Apple Music, which had more lists and tabs.

Google last year gave its Play Music app a total overhaul with smart features which was powered by Google’s machine learning and contextual tools.

Tags: Apps, Google, Google Play Music, YouTube Music, YouTube Red, YouTube


Twitter’s Explore Tab Combines Trends, Moments, Search, and Live Video

Twitter's Explore Tab Combines Trends, Moments, Search, and Live Video


  • The feature combines trends, Moments, search and live video highlight
  • The intent was to make Twitter more inviting
  • Twitter has been striving to boost its ranks of users and revenue

Twitter on Thursday added an “explore” tab aimed at making it easier to find interesting content, the latest move to boost engagement at the one-to-many messaging service.

The feature, which was being added first to Twitter on Apple mobile devices and was promised for Android-powered smartphones in coming weeks, combines trends, Moments, search and live video highlights in a single spot, according to project designer Angela Lam.

“Until today, you had to go to a few different places to find each of these experiences,” Lam said in a blog post.

“As part of our continued efforts to make it easier to see what’s happening, we’re bringing all these together.”

The intent was to make Twitter more inviting by making it simple to find news, trending topics, and popular tweets, according to Lam.

San Francisco-based Twitter has been striving to boost its ranks of users and revenue.

Twitter is to announced the earnings from the final quarter of last year on February 9.

Twitter reported a net loss for the third quarter ended September 30 of $103 million, compared with a $132 million loss a year earlier. Revenues meanwhile grew eight percent year-over-year to $616 million, most of that from advertising.

The key metric of monthly active users rose only modestly to 317 million from 313 million in the prior quarter – a growth pace that has prompted concerns over Twitter’s ability to keep up in the fast-moving world of social media.

Analysts have been skeptical about Twitter’s outlook for expansion, expressing concerns about its ability to entice users beyond its core base.

Tags: Twitter, Twitter Explore, Apps, Social, Android, Apple

Reigns is a Game That Combines Innovative Storytelling With Tinder

Reigns is a Game That Combines Innovative Storytelling With TinderReigns is a Game That Combines Innovative Storytelling With Tinder
Reigns in a choose-your-adventure game with a touch of Tinder
It’s available for iOS, Android, and PC via Steam
The game is great for mobiles thanks to the swiping mechanic
Reigns is a new mobile game where you play as a king who has to make decisions that will determine the fate of your kingdom. It’s brilliantly suited to mobile gaming because the interface is like Tinder – you’re presented with cards that have different advisors’ faces on then, and you typically have to swipe right to say yes, and accept what they are saying, or swipe to the left to say no. There’s a little more going on, but that really is at the core of Reigns, and despite the simplicity, this game is addictive.

Though Tinder is an obvious point of reference – after all, it’s a game about swiping left or right and then living with your choices – another way of looking at it is that the developer Nerial has stripped away all extraneous layers and drilled down to the core of what a game is – there is no disjoint between the story and the gameplay because the narrative choices you make are (almost) all there is to the gameplay.

The events of the game are taking place thanks to an ill-conceived deal with the Devil, and when you start your reign, the game will hold your hand for a little while, and lay out the bare details of the plot. The rest of it is something that you will discover as you play, and there are a lot of different possible ways for things to play out, including what feel like dozens of ways to die.

Death isn’t final in Reigns though – it’s merely the end of one chapter, and the start of another, as your successor takes the throne and must go through the same kind of choices that you face. Actually seeing the game all the way through is going to take multiple playthroughs, and the “good” ending is incredibly hard to reach.
In the game, the Devil makes three appearances – once in the year 666, then again after 666 years in 1332, and 1998. After that, he’s gone and he’s not coming back – you can keep playing, to try and achieve some of the other goals of the game, or you can just reset the game and start over to try and beat the Devil in 1998.
The interesting thing about Reigns though is that the journey definitely matters as much as the destination. Although the swipes are usually simple yes/ no decisions, some of the requests can have more nuanced answers, so you want to read the text carefully to make your decisions. Some of these can be quite tricky – for example, when monks start biting people, do you have the Church look into it, or do you call for the army? Should you send spies to foster unrest in neighbouring kingdoms? And when is it a good idea to charge money from the people to allow them to watch you use the bathroom?
To help guide you in these decisions, the game has four different factions (Church, People, Army, Merchants) you must balance in order to stay on as king – the leaderboard just shows how many years you ruled – and whenever you are about to make a decision, you’ll see a little symbol above the icons of the factions letting you know that it’s going to be affected. The symbol doesn’t tell you if the effect is going to be positive or negative until you’ve made the decision, though it’s generally (though not always) easy to figure out.

But it’s not enough to make everyone happy all the time. Make them too happy and your people are going to turn on you, the church will martyr you, the army will stage a coup, or the merchants will choke you to death on cake. Make anyone too unhappy and you’ll meet a sad end soon enough as well. Each of these endings comes with a hilarious card that shows your fate, before the next king takes the throne, and seeking out the different cast of characters who will present you with questions, and finding all the different ways to die, are strong motivators to keep playing.

The gorgeous art of the various cards, with the highly stylised yet instantly recognisable figures on them, is another reason to play, as is the backing audio. There is no voice recording – no doubt as a cost saving measure, since there is a lot of dialogue – but this works in the game’s favour. The different characters all have some nonsense noises that they make when their cards are presented, and this makes them fairly universal, without getting in the way of swiping through quickly when you feel like it.

The catch is that with a finite number of cards at hand, at some point, things start to get repetitive. Luckily, the developers thought of this too, and there are a couple of unique twists that they bring into the game that keep it feeling fresh. For one thing, there are a lot of mysteries to solve and these can only be understood after exploring the written dialogue many times – this encourages replay without things getting boring. There are also special events – eating different mushrooms you find can have special effects, while old age can make it really hard to progress, and taking a lover can restrict your choices in some ways.
Beyond that, there are special events, such as setting up colonies, or starting a crusade. While typically the amount of time you take to make a choice doesn’t matter in the game, these types of special events cause second by second changes in your popularity with different factions, and too much or too little support from any one of them can lead to your death, so you suddenly have to start swiping at breakneck speed, while trying to avoid outcomes that will lead to you losing your neck. Dying doesn’t fix things either, as your heirs will inherit your crusades or colonies. It’s a great decision by the developers that keeps you on your toes even after you’ve played the game a few times.

Overall though, the real strength of the game is the crisp and enjoyable writing that’s full of sly jokes, which play on your expectations and tell a novel story in a completely new way. Reigns might be a choose-your-own-adventure novel by way of Tinder, but it’s a great match, and it feels incredibly comfortable on a mobile device. You can also get the game on Steam to play on your computer, and it will not lose much in the process, but there is no denying that this game feels at home on your phone or tablet.

We played Reigns on an iPad Pro. It is available for Android (Rs. 200), iOS (Rs. 190), and PC via Steam (Rs. 169).

Great story and narrative style.
Gameplay is well suited to mobile.
Stylish art and music make a complete package.
Can get a little repetitive.
Randomness can make completing objectives difficult.
Limited gameplay might not appeal to some.
Rating (out of 10): 10
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Tags: Devolver Digital, Game review, Mobile games, Nerial, Reigns