This week's Lowdown: Facebook and Messenger to merge

Our roundup of the latest mobile tech news…
This week's Lowdown: Facebook and Messenger to merge

Facebook Messenger might return to the main app

Back in 2011 Facebook split in two – you had your social media feed and Facebook Messenger. This was met with, shall we say, a lukewarm response. We were all a bit confused. But now, Facebook’s Messenger is rumoured to be returning to the main app, letting you access your social media feeds and messages in one place.

So, how will it happen? The Messenger icon won’t just disappear, but instead of launching a standalone app, it’ll open up your Facebook app and take you to a new section originally titled, ‘Chats’. If you cast your mind back that’s how it used to work before the two apps merged (don’t worry, we’re struggling to remember that far back as well).

It’s rumoured that Facebook is making this change to introduce a more integrated messaging system across all of its services before unifying with WhatsApp and Instagram. Facebook is said to have thousands of developers working on the merger, with a plan to launch in late 2019/early 2020.

Twitter is limiting your daily follow count

Twitter limiting following

Tweeters, it’s time to start being more selective with who you choose to follow because Twitter has reduced the number of accounts you’re allowed to follow daily - from 1,000 to 400. This limit was introduced in an attempt to put a stop to spammers following loads of users and then quickly unfollowing as a way of boosting their follower count. Sneaky.

From now on, as soon as users attempt to follow their 401stperson of the day, they’ll receive an error message saying, “you are unable to follow more people at this time”. This comes as no surprise to us as Twitter’s really buckling down on spammers and abuse on its platform recently. Especially since it rolled out a new flagging feature that makes the reporting process more transparent last October.

Skype screensharing is coming to iOS and Android

skype screenshare

Looks like the messaging app Skype is launching a new split-screen feature. This means it can display what’s happening on your side of the call as well as the person you’re chatting to in a 50/50 split.

Screen sharing has grown more and more important to device users recently. For example, it’s a handy way of showing documents without having to send them before a meeting. Plus, you’ll even be able to record the sessions, which is perfect if you want to add an edgy split screen chat to your independent film.

Careful though, as the app will also record any notifications that pop up as well. Make sure you’re not expecting any embarrassing texts before you hit the record button.

Niantic is developing Harry Potter: Wizards Unite

harry potter

Good news for HP fans. After the success of Pokemon GO, Niantic has revealed they’re working on a new AR game called Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. The game will be for mobile devices and is set to take the world by storm much like 2015’s Pokemon GO!

According to an announcement on the Pottermore website, the game will encourage players to step outside with their smartphones and explore local surroundings. But, instead of finding Pokemon, they’ll be exploring to find magical characters and creatures from the Harry Potter universe – all the while taking part in a series of magical adventures.

Warner Bros. and Niantic are remaining tight-lipped on the game’s official release date – but they did reveal it’ll be coming sometime in 2019. We’re so excited, it’s Riddikulus!

What are your thoughts? Join the conversation here…

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