Archive for September, 2014

Google has finally updated its Hangouts app to include voice calling. You’ll have to download the Hangouts Dialer app first if you have an Android phone.This app will allow you to call people in the US/Canada for FREE! If you have a Google Voice account, you can add funds and also make very cheap international calls as well. Once you download the app, just open it and click on the dialpad icon and place your call.

Hangouts is Google’s chat app. Hangouts users can chat, voice call or video call each other. You can choose to integrate your phone’s SMS with it, and Google uses it as the standard messaging app in it’s latest version of Android (KitKat). 

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Some people are concerned about Facebook’s Messenger app, and how it is now required that people use it to view their messages. Rather than having the capability to read messages in the Facebook app, the company has now  made a standalone app for sending and receiving messages . Many are concerned over the apps permissions, which allow the app to utilize certain parts of the phone. Many are concerned that permissions like recording audio and taking pictures means that the app is spying on them. However, many are misinformed about how app permissions work.

Now for myself, I have only had the experience on an Android device, but the permissions are set up by Android. When an app wants to have access to certain parts of the phone, it must declare the permissions it needs to run. These are the same permissions you see when you download the app. The problem comes from the wording of the permissions. It’s a default wording set by the makers of the Android system. They seem very general, such as “take pictures” and “record audio.”

Now once someone starts using the app, they will begin to see why these permissions are necessary. The Messenger app can be used to record audio clips, pictures, and videos, and send them to a friend. Rather than having to open a separate app to take a photo, or record audio, you can do it right from within the Facebook app.

Other’s are concerned with Facebook’s permission to read text messages. Facebook uses this as an auto verify service when you are verifying your phone number. Usually, when a service wants to verify your phone number, they’ll send you a text with a verification code for you to type in. Facebook uses this permission to read your that one text message automatically, so you don’t have to type in the verification code. Again, Facebook isn’t able to make the wording say “read text messages from Facebook.” The only way in is to request permission to your whole contacts list,  because that’s the way that Android currently works.

Overall, people need not be concerned. Facebook is not secretly recording your conversations or anything like that. The permissions are just vague, and need to be explained.For future details, you can visit Facebook’s help site here.