Facebook insists you use Messenger, a demonstration of Android apps on a Chromebook, Cortana arrives on the Xbox One, Netflix makes its first Indian Original, and the fictional app everyone should own.
Facebook Wants Us All to Use Messenger
— Stuart 'Ginge' Parry (@GingerGathering) June 6, 2016
Facebook is determined to get you all using Facebook Messenger, and is willing to force you to take the plunge. How? By making it impossible to access Facebook messages on your phone on anything but Messenger.
Facebook started this process in 2014, removing messages from the Facebook app on Android and iOS. Users unwilling to install Messenger simply started using the mobile site instead. But Facebook is now removing that option too, telling users, “Your conversations are moving to Messenger”, and warning that, “Soon, you’ll only be able to view your messages from Messenger”.
The social network is officially claiming this is for your own good, telling The Guardian:
“Since , we’ve worked hard to make Messenger the best way to connect with the people you care about by adding video calling, conversations with businesses, gifs and much more. [Messenger] helps messages load about 20% faster and enables richer interactions.”
That may all be true, but Facebook should still be giving people a choice to either install Messenger to get the best user experience, or carry on using the mobile site to get a not-quite-as-good user experience. Removing that choice altogether is inexcusably dictatorial.
Google Previews Android on Chrome OS
After years of rumors and expectation, Google is finally bringing Android apps to Chrome OS. In a nutshell, this means you’ll be able to use any one of the 1 million Android apps currently available on your Chromebook. And we have already recommended 12 you should install at your earliest convenience.
However, while it’s easy for Google to talk up this brave new world, which is exactly what the company did at Google I/O 2016, how nicely are Chrome OS and Android going to play together in the real world? We now know thanks to a video demonstration of Android apps running on a Chromebook, as posted to the Google Developers’ YouTube channel.
Suffice to say, everything works seamlessly. It’s easy to share files between apps, games run extremely smoothly, and offline support means your Chromebook is about to get a lot more useful. It should be noted that Google will have used a high-end Chromebook for this demo, so performance should be taken with a liberal pinch of salt. But still, everything is looking good.
Microsoft Previews Xbox Update
Microsoft is offering Xbox Preview members the chance to try out a major new update for the Xbox One. The update, which will be released to all Xbox One users later this summer, brings Cortana to the Xbox One for the first time, as well as a host of other interesting improvements.
Xbox One gamers will soon be able to use Cortana to find new games to play, to see what their friends are doing, start a party, and more besides. Other improvements include a new Game Collection user interface, a Facebook Friend Finder, and improved sharing capabilities.
Only Xbox One users who have opted into the Xbox Preview will get the update this week, and Cortana will initially only be available in the U.S., UK, France, Italy, Germany, and Spain. You can find out all of the juicy details on Xbox Wire.
Netflix Is Making an Indian Original
Soon to be a Netflix original from India pic.twitter.com/Xt8FdF8jgr
— Brendan Gregg (@brendangregg) June 6, 2016
Netflix is making a new original series based in India, with an adaptation of Sacred Games by Vikram Chandra. Sacred Games will be produced by Netflix and Phantom Films, shot on location in India, and be available to view worldwide upon release. In the press release announcing the new series, Netflix explains the plot of Sacred Games thusly:
“Set in Mumbai, Sacred Games delves into the city’s intricate web of organized crime, corruption, politics and espionage that lie beneath India’s economic renaissance. It is an epic masterwork of exceptional richness and power that interweaves the lives of the privileged, the famous, the wretched and the bloodthirsty.”
Netflix has already produced some amazing original series well worth watching, and this should be no exception. However, unlike most of the shows produced so far, Sacred Games suggests Netflix is intentionally seeking to expand its content to appeal directly to people in the countries that have only recently acquired the ability to subscribe (legally). India being one of them.
Beeps – The Best Fictional App Ever
And finally, a lot of the apps we use on a daily basis are actually kind of useless. If you strip these apps down to their bare essentials they don’t really add anything to your life, they just keep you staring down at your phone like a hypnotized halfwit. And many of us embrace this way of life.
Which leads us onto Beeps, a new app which does nothing but occasionally beep to prompt you to look at your phone. When you do, the app will display, “Good Job” on the screen to remind you you’re doing a good job.
As you may have already guessed, Beeps isn’t real, instead being the imaginings of The Upright Citizens Brigade, but the scary thing is this could actually exist, and no one would bat an eyelid. [H/T Slate]
Your Views on Today’s Tech News
Will you be installing Messenger to appease the Facebook gods? Will you be installing Android apps on your Chromebook? Are you looking forward to the Xbox Update? Should Netflix make more local shows for specific regions? Would you install Beeps if it actually existed?
Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.
Tech News Digest is a daily column paring the technology news of the day down into bite-sized chunks that are easy to read and perfect for sharing.