Review: Gmail for iPhone is a near-perfect mail app for iOS

Gmail for iPhone offers a self-contained alternative to the Mail app built into every iOS device, and for those with Gmail accounts, it is a very good experience, all but eliminating connection issues and delays. While the core functionality is roughly the same between Gmail and Mail, the added features that have been part of Gmail for the better part of a decade are on full display here and they make Gmail for iPhone one of the best all-around mail apps on the App Store.

Gmail for iPhone is a self-contained app that doesn't require integration with any of … Read more

Pirate Bay founder creating surveillance-free messaging app

In the wake of people learning about the National Security Agency's massive surveillance program, it's become clear that phone records and text messages are not entirely private.

The Pirate Bay co-founder Peter Sunde and a couple of app developers have decided to do something about it. They are working on creating a messaging app that is spy-proof, according to GigaOM.

"All communication on today's networks is being monitored by government agencies and private companies. The politicians are not going to stop it, they're actually asking for more," Sunde said in a video about the … Read more

Apple's iMessage goes dark, affecting 30 percent of users

Those users looking to get on Apple's iMessage earlier this afternoon were out of luck.

According to the tech giant's system status page, the instant-messaging service for iOS and Mac OS experienced an outage for 40 minutes, between 12:35 p.m. and 1:11 p.m. PT.

A quick glance at Twitter, however, shows that some users are claiming to still be affected by the outage -- nearly two hours after Apple posted the service being restored.

According to 9to5Mac, 30 percent of iMessage users weren't able to use the service during today's outage. Apparently, … Read more

Review: InstaMessage adds much-needed messaging to Instagram

It's not very exciting, but InstaMessage perfectly adds a much-needed chat feature to Instagram. It looks like the people behind Instagram designed it, and it actually has an active membership base. It even lets you control parts of your Instagram profile, but its marquee feature is the real draw.

To make this app work, you have to log in with your Instagram account. Once you do, it feeds in all of your Instagram friends, but you can only message them if they use the app, too. You'll probably have to invite most of your friends before you get … Read more

Facebook affixes stickers to messages on Web

In an effort to boost messaging, Facebook announced Tuesday that members can now send stickers to each other in private messages from the Web.

The social network introduced stickers in April, adding them first to its Facebook and Facebook Messenger apps for iOS and Android. Stickers are essentially more elaborate, character-driven emoticons, and they give members a more lightweight means to communicate through kooky animations.

Facebook's stickers are accessible from the smiley icon inside messages. Members can download the digital messaging additives from Facebook's sticker store, which currently includes 16 free packs. Last week, Facebook added a "… Read more

Voxer Walkie-Talkie lets you talk, text, and send photos with ease

Voxer Walkie-Talkie is a communications app that lets you use push-to-talk walkie-talkie features, send text messages and images, and share your location. But it's important to note that the default is to share your location, and not everyone will be comfortable sending that information.

What makes Voxer useful (for those who don't have unlimited voice plans) is that it doesn't use up minutes from your carrier; it only uses your data allowance. And even with a lot of voice messages, photos, and texts, it uses only a small amount of your data pool. Sprint, which was known … Read more

How to access your 'other' inbox on Facebook for Android

You know you have a hidden inbox on Facebook, right? The "other" message folder is reserved for those people who message you and aren't one of your Facebook friends.

There's a chance some messages from nonfriends will go to your main inbox (depending on your settings), but most of the time these messages make their way to your other messages, without you ever being notified of a waiting message. Unless the sender decides to pay $1 to guarantee the message ends up in your main folder.

Up until recently, the only way to access your other … Read more

100M installs later, Skype retools Android app for modern messaging

Facing stiff competition in mobile messaging, Microsoft-owned Skype updated its Android application Monday with a crisper design meant to emphasize conversations. The application has been installed on more than 100 million Android devices, Skype said.

Skype for Android 4.0 arrives with a contemporary look where messaging -- chats, voice calls, and video calls -- takes center stage.

The application now features a person's most recent conversations on the home screen and comes with call and chat buttons at the bottom of the screen for quick access. Messaging dominates in the Favorites and Contacts tabs as well, as the … Read more

Skype refreshes its iPhone app

Skype has updated its iPhone app with a couple of new features and a few fixes in tow.

Skype for iPhone version 4.9 now offers the free and unlimited video messaging that Skype rolled out last week.

Skype users can record a video message for fellow users who are offline. Those videos then appear when your receipient logs into the service.

The updated app also has patched up a few items here and there, according to Skype.

Photo sharing is now a more reliable process. Audio and video calls should be more stable. And there are the usual unspecified … Read more

WhatsApp is in the big leagues with 250M active users

WhatsApp's active user base could be a cause for worry among some tech companies and wireless carriers.

The messaging service announced Thursday that it has more than 250 million active users -- making it on par with Skype, Facebook Messenger, and Twitter, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Twitter's most recent numbers show more than 200 million monthly active users, while Skype's are 280 million and Facebook Messenger's aren't reported but its app is ranked sixth in free apps in Google Play, according to the Journal.

In the U.S., WhatsApp is ranked first in … Read more