Facebook is reportedly testing a standalone app for phone calls

Facebook-call

Facebook may be trying to take over your phone app.

The social network is testing a voice-calling app that can screen your calls and show you information about who is calling, according to an image obtained by Android Police.

The app, called “Phone,” will display information about those who call you —presumably based on their Facebook profiles — and automatically block calls that come from numbers that have been previously identified as spam, according to the description in the screenshot. Facebook is known to test new features with small groups of users first, but the leaked image suggests the testing for this app may be limited to internal tests at the moment as it has an “FB-Only” note.

A Facebook spokesperson told Mashable “we are always testing things,” but declined to comment specifically on the Phone app.

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This isn’t the first time Facebook has experimented with voice calling. The company introduced voice calls to Messenger a few years ago and has been testing the feature on the Android version of WhatsApp, both of which rely on either a Wi-Fi or a data connection.

It’s not clear whether the Phone app would be an expansion of these existing voice-calling features or a standalone service, but the description suggests it would work for all voice calls, not just those made over a Wi-Fi or data connection.

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Reddit now lets you embed comments on other websites

Reddit stickers

Reddit can be a goldmine of memes and grassroots news, so the platform is today making it easier to share comments on on other sites with embeddable comments.

Rather than copy, pasting and formatting text, you can now embed a small window into your blog or website to link towards comments.

To generate the necessary code simply click on a comment’s permalink page, then select ‘embed’ to generate the code you need to copy. You also have the option to include parent comments.

Reddit says the embeds will display any edits to the original posts however, so if you want to share something potentially time sensitive or that’s likely to be deleted, you’re still better off copying the text or just capturing a screengrab.

Still, it’s a nifty feature that’s sure to come in handy next time you need to link to cute animals or a clever comment.

[Image credit: Eva Blue, Flickr]

St. Patrick’s Day – Free App Giveaway! (Limited Time)

It’s St. Patrick’s Day, which means you need to find more ways to get in the spirit of the holiday. Instead of simply just going to a bar and drinking green beer, maybe you could also play and enjoy Lep’s World 3.

Lep’s World 3: The platformer sequel that’s like Super Mario with leprechauns

Lep’s World 3
(4.5 stars with 2040 Ratings)
Universal App
$0.99 Free for a limited time

Lep’s World 3 is a platform game that is sort of like Super Mario, but with leprechauns and Irish details. You’ll run, jump, smash, and blow your way through and over a number of obstacles and enemy types, all while on your mission to retrieve your gold and rescue your friends from the evil trolls. The game comes with 120 levels of nonstop action, all filled with gorgeous elements designed to create an engaging environment that keeps you finding new things around every corner.

There are 18 items and abilities you can acquire, each one focused on helping you in specific situations. Even further, there are 4 different playable characters, rankings to see which of you and your friends is the best, and intuitive controls. Download Lep’s World 3, get your friends to do the same, and party on St. Patrick’s Day a little differently.

[ Gone Free ] Lep’s World 3: The platformer sequel that’s like Super Mario with leprechauns

lepsworld3

Lep’s World 3
(4.5 stars with 2040 Ratings)
Universal App
$0.99 Free for a limited time

Lep’s World 3 is a platform game that is sort of like Super Mario, but with leprechauns and Irish details. You’ll run, jump, smash, and blow your way through and over a number of obstacles and enemy types, all while on your mission to retrieve your gold and rescue your friends from the evil trolls. The game comes with 120 levels of nonstop action, all filled with gorgeous elements designed to create an engaging environment that keeps you finding new things around every corner.

There are 18 items and abilities you can acquire, each one focused on helping you in specific situations. Even further, there are 4 different playable characters, rankings to see which of you and your friends is the best, and intuitive controls. Download Lep’s World 3, get your friends to do the same, and party on St. Patrick’s Day a little differently.

App Screenshots

Amazon Is Giving You 25,000 Reasons to Try Out Its Appstore

Amazon Is Giving You 25,000 Reasons to Try Out Its Appstore

Amazon really wants you to try out its curated Appstore.

Starting today (March 10), the e-tailer is offering the chance to win a $25,000 shopping spree on Amazon.com. The catch: you have to download the Amazon App and then download a a free or paid app.

The winner of the $25,000 in Amazon Gift Cards will be selected on April 15. To be eligible you’ll need an Android device. The entry form is at www.amazon.com/appstoresweeps. You can only enter one time per email address.

While no where near the 1 million or so apps available from Google Play or the Apple App Store, the Amazon Appstore offers an impressive 4000,000 apps. At its most basic, the Amazon store is merely a curated list of the apps already found on the Google Play store. Among the most popular include The Walking Dead: Episode 2, WeatherBug, Evernote, Runkeeper and Spotify. But it doesn’t have everything. For instance, you won’t find Seamless or Google Drive.

Amazon’s Appstore comes preloaded on the Fire Phone and tablets, as well as on all BlackBerry 10 devices. Or it can be a second app store on any Android device.

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Facebook is changing how it counts Likes

Fb-likes

Facebook is changing the way it counts Likes, the company announced on Thursday.

Don’t panic, though; the changes only apply to celebrity and business pages. Facebook will no longer factor in Likes from users who have voluntarily deactivated their accounts or users who have passed away, according to a blog post. Facebook said the changes will offer businesses a clearer, more accurate idea of their Facebook audience, since neither of those groups are Facebook users.

“Over the coming weeks, Page admins should expect to see a small dip in their number of Page likes as a result of this update,” the blog post reads. “It’s important to remember, though, that these removed likes represent people who were already inactive on Facebook.”

Facebook also notes that if a user reactivates an account and Liked a particular Page, that action will be tallied back into the total like count.

The changes may prove beneficial for businesses with Facebook Pages. Many already pay attention to how many Likes they get as an indicator of popularity with users and a glimpse into the kind of Facebook audience they have.

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

Image: AP Photo/Paul Sakuma/Associated Press

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Samsung’s Galaxy S6 hard to build and extremely expensive, report says

Six Appeal

Earlier this week, an image leaked from T-Mobile of the upcoming Galaxy S6 with a curved screen. As shown above, the leaked “Six Appeal” shows a modestly curved screen and a device that looks broadly similar to previous Samsung Galaxy products. A new leak suggests that the Galaxy S6’s edged screen is difficult to manufacture — and that the device will be far more expensive than previous models.

According to Ars Technica, an unnamed contact at a European mobile partner has told them that the Galaxy S6 will launch in both curved and normal variants, with the curved variant carrying a premium. European prices can’t be easily compared to US ones (Ars has the full details on specific pricing), but the entry level prices will reportedly be €749 and €849 for the non-curved and curved products. Compare that to the S5’s launch price of $650, and the gain is significant.

samsung-galaxy-note-edge-photo-story-blade-1

Samsung is reportedly putting its technical push behind the curved display version of the phone despite having trouble stocking it, and early rumors have suggested that the S6 doesn’t fix most of the design features that Android users tend to dislike about Samsung devices. The new phone is expected to pack Samsung’s 14nm SoC Exynos 7420 as opposed to the 20nm version of that chip that’s already shipping in devices like the Galaxy Note 4.

If these pricing rumors carry over to the US, they could kick a hole in the device’s uptake. It’s a puzzling move for Samsung — the Galaxy S5 might be the company’s premium handset, but it looks and feels like a cheap plastic device. Consumers have been calling for the company to create upmarket versions of its products for years, but the Korean manufacturer has resisted doing so. After the Samsung Galaxy S5 sold 40% fewer units than anticipated, many predicted that company would respond by retooling the S6 to meet more of its customers’ demands. Apparently that hasn’t happened — unless, of course, consumers were secretly demanding higher prices.

With Apple now tying it in terms of total phones shipped and low-cost manufacturers surging in China and India, this is the wrong time to lead with the launch of a luxury platform built around an edged screen gimmick. While we do expect good things from Samsung’s 14nm hardware, the company’s bog-standard Cortex-A57 design will have to offer extraordinary performance to justify such a large premium over other Android handsets or the Apple iPhone 6. That’s to say nothing of the disaster that’ll ensue if the customers opt for a curved version that isn’t widely available.

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Google Ups Free Music Storage to 50,000 Songs

Whether you stream, download, rip or only listen to podcasts, there’s a good chance you have anywhere from a handful to tens of thousands of MP3s and other songs cluttering a hard drive somewhere. If you’re looking for a good way to back them up without spending a dime, Google Music just got a big boost to its free storage limit. It’s allowing anyone to upload up to 50,000 songs for free, then stream or download them again later. The original limit was 20,000; either that was too little or not enough people signed up, and consequently Google has a bit of extra space on its servers. The price is right and there’s little reason not to take advantage of the upgraded service, especially if you already have a Google account.

Google

All you need to do is head to the Google Music page and sign up, then install the small program that uploads your songs to Google’s servers. You don’t have to pay a dime, though if you want to stream songs you don’t own, you can try out the $10 monthly subscription, which also gives you ad-free access to music videos on YouTube. All your music will still be available on your hard drive, but now you’ll be able to stream it to your phone or laptop, or download it all again if disaster strikes.

—Devin Coldewey

Microsoft will soon help you find friends with Windows phones

It’s fairly easy to locate friends and family if you have an Android or iOS device, but finding your pals with a Windows phone? Not so much, unless you come across the right third-party apps. That may not be a big challenge for much longer. Spanish site Microsoft Place has detailed an as yet unreleased service, People Sense, that will let you share and track locations with other Windows phone owners. The basic concept is familiar if you’ve seen Apple’s Find My Friends, but there’s a stronger emphasis on reaching out — you can call or message contacts in-app, and even get directions if you’d like to meet face to face. People Sense is still in private beta testing (it’s listed as “Buddy Aware” at the moment) and has no clear release date, but it won’t be surprising if the software plays a role in Windows 10.

Microsoft Buddy Aware (People Sense)

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