Messaging

Mozilla Thunderbird review

Mozilla Thunderbird offers a range of options for PC users without access to robust paid software like Microsoft Outlook. Allowing you to integrate multiple mailboxes with SMTP or POP protocols, Thunderbird is a lightweight, responsive piece of software that works well.

Pros

Open source and customizable: Because Thunderbird is developed by Mozilla, the group behind Firefox, it is more customizable than Outlook, a closed tool developed by Microsoft. At the same time, it offers all of the basics you need right out of the box, so you don't have to worry about highly complicated technical setup if you're … Read more

WhatsApp Messenger for iPhone review

WhatsApp Messenger proves to be a speedy and dependable messaging app. It stays continuously on as long as you are connected to the Internet and encrypts all your conversations.

Pros

Well-maintained: WhatsApp Messenger's popularity translates into a stable connection, excellent service maintenance, and good technical support from the developers. It's popular even among non-iOS users, so there should be no reason not to connect with buddies who are using Android or Windows devices.

Great design for iOS: This app's aesthetics blend in seamlessly with iOS. With its great design and intuitive arrangement of buttons and menus, this … Read more

Software week in review for June 20

Yo, have you poked your friends with two letters today? This week saw new releases from Facebook and Intel, health and fitness apps heating up, iOS 8 feature leaks, and more. Read on for our recap, and to get the latest reviews from our editors in your inbox, subscribe to our weekly newsletters.

Getting the message

This is the state of apps: $1 million in funding for an app that sends one word to your contacts. After an April Fools' Day launch, the minimal Yo app burned up the Internet this week, earning both appreciation and derision. It finished the … Read more

Twitter reportedly nixes plan to secure messages from snooping

Twitter has reportedly put the kibosh on a project that would have protected your personal data from hackers and government snoops.

Purportedly dropping the project earlier this year, Twitter had initiated it as a way to secure direct messages, protected accounts, and personal information, The Verge said on Wednesday, citing anonymous sources. The aim was to make it more difficult for the government to gain hold of such information without a court order.

Twitter has been an outspoken critic of the methods used by the National Security Agency to vacuum up user data. Last month, the company revealed that it … Read more

Dropbox gets chatty and buys workplace chat service Zulip

Dropbox has quietly acquired a workplace chat service startup called Zulip, according to TechCrunch.

While the two companies are keeping mum on the buyout, an email that Zulip sent its customers was published on Pastebin Monday. In the email, the company confirmed the acquisition.

"We have some news for you, but you gotta keep it secret. Can you do that? Alright, sweet," the email said. "Here's the deal: Dropbox is acquiring Zulip. We're incredibly excited about working with an awesome group of people on a problem with huge scale, at a company that's as … Read more

The one real problem with Republic Wireless

Republic Wireless has attracted a lot of attention in recent months by offering one of the most attractive smartphone deals ever: a $299 Motorola Moto X and no-contract service for as little as $5 monthly.

I've been using the phone and service for over a month now, and just a couple weeks ago I professed that despite a few little quirks, I had no qualms about recommending both.

I now have a qualm.

Republic doesn't currently support short codes, which is something you've probably never heard of and therefore don't consider a big deal. That was … Read more

Use your browser for cross-platform instant messaging

Instant messaging may not be the communications dynamo it was a few years ago, but it's still and fast and easy way to connect with friends, family members, and coworkers.

Indeed, I've relied on it for ages to chat with busy editors, and I especially love being able to review message histories to recall what was discussed and when. It's also a great way to reach the tech-support guy who handles my Web hosting -- no waiting indefinitely for an email reply (which is especially important when email is not working).

Just one problem: Different people use … Read more

Yahoo, ICQ chats still vulnerable to government snoops

Nine months after Edward Snowden revealed extreme Internet surveillance by US and British intelligence agencies, some major technology companies have yet to take rudimentary steps to shield their users' instant messages from eavesdropping.

A CNET analysis shows that Yahoo and ICQ transmit the content of supposedly private instant messages in unencrypted form, exposing them to both government spies and malicious snoops on the same Wi-Fi network. AOL's AIM service encrypts content -- but leaks metadata about who's talking to whom.

These privacy problems were highlighted by a Guardian article Thursday, which revealed that spy agencies were eavesdropping on … Read more

Manage blocked iMessage, FaceTime contacts using a Mac

iOS users have been able to block phone numbers and e-mail addresses since the release of iOS 7. When a number or address is blocked, Messages, FaceTime calls, and even regular cellular calls won't ever show up on your iOS device.

When Apple released OS X 10.9.2 earlier this week, it not only patched a security issue, but it also added the ability to block contacts on a Mac for the first time.

Managing blocked contacts on OS X Mavericks is somewhat hidden.

To manage the contacts you currently have blocked, launch the Messages app and go … Read more

Say goodbye to Facebook e-mail

Facebook announced Monday that it's getting rid of its @facebook.com e-mail service.

E-mail service, you say? Yes, the social network actually had a service for e-mail addresses that users could get when they signed up -- not to be confused with Facebook Messages, Chat, or Messenger. Very few people actually used the service, according to the social network, hence, its retirement.

A Facebook spokesperson told CNET that the social network has started notifying people who use their @facebook.com e-mail accounts that the "feature is changing."

Now, when someone sends an e-mail to a Facebook address, … Read more