Two pretty major updates today to two popular applications. Both Dropbox and Skype have been refreshed with some interesting new features. Firstly, Dropbox for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch has been given a new lease of life with the ability to enable push notifications for shared folders. Essentially, you’ll get a pop-up message telling you when the folder has been shared with you. Version 2.1 also has better PDF viewing support, giving you the ability to view multiple pages on a single screen, and the ability to sort files by the date they were modified.
Skype has seen a brand new service. The iOS app now adds the ability to send video messages for the first time. Once updated, you simply select a specific contact, and you should see the option for “Video Message” with its own specific icon. You then get three minutes to record your message, add title and description, delete or re-record it then send it. As far as I can see, it’s not an app update per se, instead it’s a service update. So, for now, only a small group of users have access to it. Be that as it may, it will be getting rolled out on a wider scale shortly.
If you use Facebook’s dedicated Messenger application on your iOS device, you should know that the social networking giant has released an update with a few very interesting new features. Version 2.1 now lets users record and send voice memos in any conversation. The only restriction is that the memos have to be less than a minute but, honestly, who’s going to listen to a voice memo for more than a minute anyway? All you have to do is click the red record button in the application, press send, and your voice memo will appear as a playable file in the thread!
The other big new feature in the app is free VoIP calls. Currently it looks like this capability is limited to Canadian users, but if you happen to reside in Canada, you can now make free voice calls to your friends via the Facebook Messenger application. Interestingly, as Engadget points out, although Facebook and Skype are official partners, this latest VoIP venture is based off open source tech, not Skype. It is kind of a bummer that it’s Canada-only as of now, but I’m sure that won’t last for long.
If this sounds intriguing, you can head over to the App Store now to download the official Facebook Messenger application for free or update your current version. Once you’ve done so, come back here and let us know what you think of the new features!
Many people like to us Skype nowadays, whether it be as a phone replacement service or just to video chat with friends. However what if you could get free calls for a month completely free? Here’s how to access a Premium account free for one month. If you use Skype, this is worth it.
Step 1: Click on the following link: beta.skype.com/en/offers/skype-with-love/
Step 2: Hit the “Get Started” button, and enter your Skype credentials.
Step 3: You will then need to enter your billing name and address. Skype will pre-authorize £1.00 to chosen payment method, but that amount won’t actually be debited.
Step 4: On the next screen, click on your desired payment method, agree to the ToS.
Step 5: The pre-authorization process will proceed, and once that has completed, you’ll be able to enjoy one month of free Skype Premium.
It’s definitely a nice way to save money, specifically $9.99. However for that you’ll need to provide credit card/payment details, and you’ll also want to cancel 27 days from activation or you’ll have to pay the $9.99 for the next month.
A major security hole was discovered in Skype today, allowing accounts to easily be hijacked using the password recovery tool. The scariest part? Your email address is all that’s required to take full control over your account!
To exploit this flaw, all you need to know is your victim’s email address tied to their Skype account. To protect yourself, you would have to change your email address to one that nobody knows or could easily guess, but most likely Microsoft will get around to fixing the problem before that becomes necessary.
We reproduced the attack, step-by-step, and managed to access the Skype accounts of TNW writer (with permission) Josh Ong (as well as editor Matt Brian to verify again) with only their email addresses. Essentially, that email address is used to create a new account with your own email address tied to it. Then, minus a couple of key steps, you can use a password reset token to gain access to your target’s account.
Fortunately, Microsoft acted quickly be temporarily disabling password resets, and has now fixed the issue – but this should still be a wakeup call for users. Those who use Skype would be well advised to secure their accounts by changing their password.
Microsoft released an official statement clarifying that they have addressed the problem:
We have had reports of a new security vulnerability issue. As a precautionary step we have temporarily disabled password reset as we continue to investigate the issue further. We apologise for the inconvenience but user experience and safety is our first priority
What this means is that the updated app takes full advantage of the 16:9 widescreen screen display. You can now use the extra space for video conversations with your Skype friends, as well as chatting in the app and managing your contacts.
Compared to other apps, Skype is very late to the game when it comes to adding iPhone 5 support. The latest and greatest phone from Apple was released over two months ago now, and tons of apps have already received support, including: Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram,Foursquare, Pocket, Flipboard, Spotify, and of course many others.
While this is a minor update for iOS, it is a must for iPhone 5 users. For an app like Skype, every pixel matters, and it honestly surprises me it took so long for Microsoft to get this new version out. Still, better late than never, right?
Given how many app makers operate, however, it would not surprise me if an Android app update was next. A preview of Skype for Windows Phone 8arrived yesterday, Skype for iOS was updated today, does that mean Skype for Android will get a new version tomorrow? We’ll see soon enough.
Microsoft has released Skype v.6.0, adding a few improvements and bug fixes. The update adds Retina display support for Apple’s latest MacBook Pro laptops and also brings richer integration with Facebook, allowing you to sign in to Skype using your Facebook account information. Microsoft also has added chat protocols that give you the choice to chat with friends using their own Windows Live messenger.
At the Skype Garage Blog, Microsoft further explains the updates:
Microsoft and Facebook Account Integration
Sign up and sign-in is easier than ever. You can now sign into Skype using your Microsoft or Facebook account – there’s no need to create a new Skype account. This makes it even easier to connect with friends on Skype without having to set up another account.
IM friends on Messenger
Now you can instant message your Windows Live Messenger, Hotmail and Outlook.com contacts via Skype all in one place. If you use a Microsoft account today, merging your accounts is easy – just sign in to Skype with your Microsoft account.
Open Chats in Multiple Windows
We hear your feedback! With this release we’ve added support to open chats in multiple windows.
Retina Display Support
We also added another feature you’ve asked for – support Retina display. Now you can take full advantage of improved usability and of higher resolution screens.
The Skype for OS X update is available now at Skype Garage, and requires OS X v10.5.8 or later.
Skype has updated its official iOS app today, finally introducing the ability to send and receive photographs on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. The update also brings visual improvements across the app, fixes bugs affecting Bluetooth, and more.
Version 4.1 of Skype for iOS has one headline feature: the ability to send images of any size to friends and family members “without reaching email size limits or paying expensive MMS charges.” I’ve always wondered why this feature wasn’t there from day one, but it’s better late than never.
Skype details other improvements in the update’s release notes:
Send and receive photos
Updated privacy setting
Fixed bug related to Bluetooth and calls
Minor visual improvements across the app
Other minor bug fixes
In addition to these things, Skype reports on its blog that the update also improves the overall performance of the app, making it less battery hungry when it’s running in the background, and making your contact list load even faster.