Category Archives: Apps

Snapchat redesign is here to stay despite 1.2m signature petition against it

Users rebel against social media app’s new features while celebrities including Kylie Jenner dump platform as it tries to appeal to new users

Snapchat has said its redesign is here to stay, in spite of a petition from more than 1.2 million users begging the company to reconsider and celebrities such as Kylie Jenner abandoning the platform.

“We completely understand the new Snapchat has felt uncomfortable for many,” the company said in response to the petition. However, it added, “this new foundation is just the beginning and we will always listen closely to find new ways to make the service better for everyone”.

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Source: gadt

RaceRunner: can an old-school runner learn to love the smartphone app?

The app offers to ‘gamify running’ by pairing runners to race each other wherever they are in the world. A self-confessed sceptic gives it a go

OK, I’m biased, I won’t lie. I really wasn’t expecting to like RaceRunner. It’s everything I’m not keen on: it’s smartphone-centric, it involves teaming up with unknown “buddies” and it treats the notion of solitude (“Never run alone again”) as some kind of malady.

Here’s the two-line pitch: “We have gamified running, and have made it more stimulating and engaging. How? We pair users up against each other, and through the app they run virtual races in real time, anywhere in the world.”

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Source: gad

Citymapper launches bus-taxi hybrid Smart Ride in London

Exclusive: transit app firm says new service has stops like a bus, is bookable like a cab and runs on a network like a tube train

London-based transit app Citymapper is today launching Smart Ride, a hybrid bus and taxi service that will take riders around a fixed network in the capital.

The company is operating the service under a private hire licence from Transport for London, following a pair of trial “smart bus” routes in the capital. The new licence limits the firm to operating vehicles that can carry eight or fewer people, but frees it to run future routes that can change dynamically as demand shifts, rather than being legally mandated to stick to specific timetables and stopping patterns.

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Source: gadt

MP Matt Hancock releases app called Matt Hancock MP

Culture secretary’s social network for his constituents and him faces teething problems

Matt Hancock, the culture secretary, has built a social network called Matt Hancock MP.

The app, available from Thursday on Android and iOS, is intended to allow the West Suffolk MP to communicate with members of his constituency, as well as update national followers with news related to his cabinet post and party-political messages.

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Source: gadt

Have you signed up for a tracking app by mistake?

After users of fitness tracker Strava accidentally revealed the whereabouts of US military bases, we round up five tools and apps that have the ability to log your location

Fitness tracker Strava has come under fire for publishing the heatmaps (paths its users have logged when running or cycling) of military personnel. As well as showing clear outlines of US military bases in countries such as Syria and Iraq, in some instances the locations of people inside bases were also visible, as was the frequency with which certain routes were taken. As the company pointed out, though, none of this breached its privacy policy, since participants had not opted to keep their stats hidden. Here are five more ways in which you may have agreed to be tracked.

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Source: gadt

Strava suggests military users 'opt out' of heatmap as row deepens

Fitness-tracking company suggests secret army base locations were made public by users, while militaries around world weigh up ban

Fitness-tracking company Strava has defended its publication of heatmaps that accidentally reveal sensitive military positions, arguing that the information was already made public by the users who uploaded it.

Following the revelations, militaries around the world are contemplating bans on fitness trackers to prevent future breaches. As well as the location of military bases, the identities of individual service members can also be uncovered, if they are using the service with the default privacy settings.

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Source: gadt

Mobile phone addiction? It’s time to take back control

With more than half of young adults admitting to excessive use of smartphones, we look at the apps designed to break the habit

As a tech writer who has written regularly about apps, I’m well aware of the addictive nature of smartphones. It was during a 2am panic attack after waking up, reaching for my smartphone and reading a tweetstorm about the latest Donald Trump controversy that I realised I may have a problem. That, and the fact that even my 10-year-old son had started telling me to put my phone down when he caught me not paying attention.

I’m not alone. When Deloitte surveyed 4,150 British adults in 2017 about their mobile habits, 38% said they thought they were using their smartphone too much. Among 16- to 24-year-olds, that rose to more than half. Habits such as checking apps in the hour before we go to sleep (79% of us do this, according to the study) or within 15 minutes of waking up (55%) may be taking their toll on our mental health.

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Source: gadt