Chat and e-mail

Google+ Hangouts now calling any phone

Video chatting in Hangouts is busting out of Google+.

Video calls among two or more Google+ users was the big draw when Hangouts launched, but now Google has flipped the switch the allow Google+ users to make phone calls to almost any phone number, not just within the Google+ ecosystem. That means that users will be able, for example, place a voice call from their computers and reach friends or family on their land line or cell phone.… Read more

Google Voice puts voice mail in your ICS call log (hands-on)

If you use Google Voice, and you have Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich on your phone, life is going to get a little bit more practical.

Starting now, you'll be able to view and play visual voice mails that you receive from Google Voice right in the phone's native call log. The feature only works on Android smartphones running the latest version of the operating system, and only if you head over to the Google Voice app settings and turn on "Voicemail display."… Read more

Gmail: That's spam, and here's why

Wondering why a certain e-mail was dumped into your Gmail spam folder? Google will now clue you in.

As of yesterday, Gmail users can select any message banished to the spam folder and see a "Why is this message in Spam?" notice near the top. The notice will display a brief explanation accompanied by a "Learn more" link to a page describing the many reasons certain messages are considered spam.

A look at the e-mail in my own Gmail spam folder revealed a variety of explanations.

For one e-mail that claimed to be from YouTube but … Read more

Google Voice adds Google+ Circles functionality

If you like the Google+ Circles feature and you're a Google Voice user, you'll be happy to hear the search giant's latest news.

Google announced yesterday that Circles is now available in Google Voice. In order to access the feature, you will need to head to the "Groups & Circles" tab in the Google Voice settings. From there, you can determine how to handle the Circles that Google offers: Acquaintances, Friends, Family, and Following.

"Circles give you more control over how you manage your callers; for example, calls from your 'Creepers' circle can be … Read more

How to ignore texts on Android

You may have recently learned how to block annoying callers on Android by adjusting settings in the caller's contact information. Now, you can handle the next step of ignoring someone--not seeing texts from them--by using NetQin's Mobile Manager for Android. Here's how to get started:

Important note: This app will ignore alerts for people on your blacklist, not prevent them from incurring charges for texts on your monthly bill. If you need a more permanent solution for blocking texts from your phone completely, you will need to contact your wireless provider.

Step 1: Install Mobile Manager&… Read more

Check out those pores: Skype goes high-def

If you don't take care of your skin, it could come up in your next Skype conversation, as Skype for Windows (download) updated today with support for high-def resolution.

The new version of the VoIP software also gets Facebook audio and video chat, the power to share screens with more than one person, a push-to-talk option, Bing Bar integration, and a new software updating service for automatic updates.

The high-def isn't available to just anybody, of course. You'll have to have a Logitech C920 Webcam and an upload/download speed of at least 2 Mbps. Skype explained … Read more

WotWentWrong on that date? App gets the dumper's explanation

There may be a million reasons why your hot date didn't call to go out again. It could be your Celine Dion shirt, your collection of "Star Wars" Pez dispensers, or the Steve Wozniak tattoo on your butt.

WotWentWrong is a Web app that takes the mystery out of the dating dumps. It gives the dumper an opportunity to tell you what went wrong so you can try to avoid the same hiccups with your next prospect.

Using WotWentWrong is a lot faster and easier than Facebook stalking or dropping desperate hints to friends-of-friends. You simply customize a form letter chosen from a variety of styles, provide some feedback about your date, and let the app take care of the rest.… Read more

Make your contact lists smarter on iPhone

How many contact lists do you have? A new iPhone app from Xobni unifies your contact lists into one app (already available for Android), helping you quickly find contact information from a number of sources.

Smartr Contacts for iPhone (Free) unifies your contacts by scanning your iPhone contact list and e-mail contacts, then grabbing information from social sites like Facebook and Twitter, to merge all the available data into a searchable supercharged contact list.

You start by adding your Gmail account, then social sites like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Once connected, Smartr Contacts goes to work tying your contact data … Read more

Gmail-helper Kwaga raises $1.5 million, plans expansion

Kwaga, a French startup that fixes shortcomings of today's e-mail, has raised $1.55 million in first-round funding.

The company's flagship service today is called It reads your e-mail and automatically enters contact information into your address book, creating new entries and updating existing ones.

It works today only with Google Apps and Gmail, but the funding will help the company bring it to Microsoft Outlook, too. That service is in beta testing right now.

The funds also will help the company integrate with major customer-relations management (CRM) products.

The funding came from private investors and … Read more

Best apps for Mac

Were you lucky enough to receive a new Mac laptop or desktop this holiday season?

Once you've booted up that shiny new Mac for the first time and have had a chance to look around, check out our Best apps for Mac to get the lowdown on great apps you can download. We feature both free and paid software in our collection and there's something from just about every category.

Whether you want a different browser than Safari, want to discover and listen to new music, or just need a multiservice chat client, this collection has got you … Read more