Snapchat makes biggest move yet in becoming the new TV

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Snapchat is gunning for television. More news, comedy, sports and lifestyle shows will be popping up on the app in the coming months, thanks to a new deal with Turner. 

The partnership, announced Tuesday, is expected to introduce several new brands into the messaging app. Turner and Snap, together, will be developing original shows from Turner-owned TBS, Adult Swim, truTV, Great Big Story and Super Deluxe. 

Bleacher Report, which has had an international edition on Snapchat Discover since the platform’s launch in January 2015, will create a channel in the U.S. version of the app on Jan. 4, 2017. CNN is committing to offer more daily content on its own channel (Mashable is a Discover partner, and Turner is an investor.) Read more…

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Amazon Go is coming, so it’s time to learn how to bag your own damn groceries

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Amazon Go is coming, and that means you’re finally going to have to bag your own groceries.

*gasp*

On Monday, Amazon released its new app that aims to revolutionize in-store shopping by allowing users to swipe their phones upon entering a store, scan items along the way and then, well, to put it simply… leave.

Sounds convenient, right? Well, not if you’re a stranger to the self-checkout line and have relied on cashiers to bag your groceries all these years.

With the new Amazon Go app, shopping (like so many other things in life) is about to become totally centered around your smartphone. With Amazon Go’s new “Just Walk Out” technology, customers won’t have to wait in those pesky checkout lines, which means there will no longer be a need for cashiers. Read more…

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Apple just revealed the most-downloaded app of 2016

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Apple just revealed the most downloaded apps of 2016 and the top spot should come as little surprise to those who have been paying attention: Snapchat.

As if we needed more proof that Evan Spiegel’s app was having its best year ever,  Snapchat beat out Facebook, Instagram and Pokémon Go to be the most-downloaded free app in the App Store in 2016, according to Apple.

Though much of the list will come as little surprise as Facebook, Instagram, Google Maps and YouTube regularly land the top spots in the App Store, the order may be less expected. Facebook’s much-maligned app, Messenger (which currently has an average App Store rating of just three stars) landed the second spot, while the summer’s massive hit Pokémon Go came in at number three. Read more…

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The line between Instagram and Facebook is getting very, very thin—and here’s why you should care

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An algorithmic feed. Live video. A seemingly unquenchable thirst to copy Snapchat. Sound like an app you know? You’d be forgiven for thinking the answer was Facebook, though, it’s not. 

Instagram’s the app you’re looking for, and it’s been steadily moving closer to Facebook (which owns Instagram) in recent months. 

And on Tuesday, the company took the next step in that direction, and announced it was adding the ability to “like” comments within posts. 

While Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom billed it as a way to “encourage positivity” on the platform, for many, the move’s just the latest in a series of ways Instagram is more and more often resembling Facebook. Read more…

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Instagram is changing comments in a big way

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Instagram comments are getting more like Facebook.

The company is updating its comments so users can like each other’s comments on posts, the Facebook-owned company announced on Tuesday. The app is also adding the ability to turn off commenting on specific posts and remove followers from private accounts without using the block button.

All of the changes are starting to roll out as of Tuesday, but Instagram says it should take a couple weeks to show up to everyone. 

In a blog post Tuesday, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom said the ability to like comments helps Instagram users “show support and encourages positivity throughout the community.”  Read more…

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Plenty of GIF and emoji fun with Android’s latest update

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Google’s latest Android update has arrived and it comes with a new set of emoji.

The company is now starting to roll out the Android 7.1 update, which includes its new gender-diverse emoji. It also includes new home screen shortcuts for apps and support for GIF keyboards.

The new emoji include 11 new characters portraying professional women — as doctors, welders, scientists, chefs, coders and more — as well as the dozens of new male and female versions of existing emoji. All of the new characters are available in different skin tones. Read more…

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Microsoft has a new AI chatbot and it doesn’t want to talk about Tay

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Microsoft is experimenting with a new, tamer chatbot. 

Months after the company’s first chatbot Tay went viral for all the wrong reasons, Microsoft quietly rolled out a new bot that looks to be far less controversial than its predecessor.

Named Zo, the latest chatbot appeared on chat app Kik and is still “early access,” according to Microsoft, though anyone with Kik can start messaging the bot now. In our limited testing, much of what the bot says is similar to the bland and sometimes nonsensical musings spouted by other bots. 

Of course, after the public relations nightmare that was Tay, it’s understandable that Microsoft would be careful with its next chatbot.  Read more…

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Google’s new app will help loved ones find you in an emergency

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When something goes wrong, one of the first things you think about is getting in touch with the people you care about. But if there’s been a natural disaster, an accident or some other emergency, that may be a lot easier said than done. 

Google’s latest app, called Trusted Contacts, aims to fix that. The app allows friends and family members to remotely share their location with just one touch. 

When you sign up for the app, you designate specific people in your address book as “trusted contacts.” This allows you to share your location at any given time and allows them to request your location.  Read more…

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7 can’t-miss apps: Hardbound, Sundial, Super Cat Tales and more

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The shopping madness from Black Friday and Cyber Monday has subsided, but you may have missed some of this week’s best new apps. 

Each weekend, we round up a few of our favorite new and updated apps. This week’s list includes an app that delivers you original, interactive news, and a music throwback app that tells you what you were listening to exactly a year ago.

Check out the gallery below to see our top picks. If you’re looking for even more downloads, take a look a our last roundup of can’t-miss apps.

Read more…

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Distracted driving kills, so why don’t more apps have driver warnings?

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Fatalities on American roadways are on the rise and smartphones may be at least partially to blame, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Deaths on American roadways increased 7.2 percent percent in 2015, according to the group, representing the biggest single-year increase since 1966.

Exactly what role smartphones may have played in these 35,092 deaths is difficult to determine. The primary culprit behind this increase in fatalities, according to their report, is actually the improving economy (people drive more when they have more money). Consistently rising speed limits on the nation’s highways may also bear a large part of the blame. Read more…

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