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Google to simplify messaging strategy, will support only five messaging apps – Ars Technica

When one Hangouts dies, two more shall take its place — Quintuple-app strategy offers “a simpler and more unified communications experience.” Ron Amadeo – Dec 6, 2018 3:35 pm UTC Enlarge / Allo and Hangouts are going away, but Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet are opening up to consumers. In a post on its official blog,…

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Google to simplify messaging strategy, will support only five messaging apps – Ars Technica

When one Hangouts dies, two more shall take its place —

Quintuple-app strategy offers “a simpler and more unified communications experience.”


Allo and Hangouts are going away, but Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet are opening up to consumers.
Enlarge /

Allo and Hangouts are going away, but Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet are opening up to consumers.

In a post on its official blog, Google laid out a simplified messaging strategy for the future. In order to offer customers “a simpler and more unified communications experience,” Google promised to support only five messaging apps going forward, down from its current suite of seven. To cut down to five apps, Google will eventually shut down Hangouts and Google Allo, while Messages, Hangouts Chat, Hangouts Meet, Duo, and Google Voice would continue to be supported.

Google’s announcement of its quintuple-app strategy comes on the heels of a report

from 9to5Google

, which claimed that Google Hangouts would shut down sometime in 2020. Google’s Scott Johnston—a product lead for three of Google’s seven messaging apps—responded to the report on Twitter, calling it “

shoddy reporting

” and saying it “is only half the story.” While Google does plan to shut down Hangouts eventually, Johnston said that Google is also opening up two of its enterprise-only messaging apps—

Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet

—to its consumer user base, and users of Hangouts would be transitioned to these two apps.

The blog post reiterated that “Classic” Hangouts would eventually shut down while Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet would be opening up, but Google won’t shut down Hangouts until it can ensure a smooth transition between apps. The post also announced that Allo, which had its development “paused” earlier this year in favor of Messages, will be shut down in March 2019.

When they are shut down, Allo and Hangouts will join Google Talk, Google Spaces, Google Wave, Google+ Messenger, and Google Buzz in the graveyard of former Google messaging apps.

Hangouts is Google’s longest-running messaging service, and it has over a billion installs on Android alone. It’s the only Google messaging service that supports instant messaging, SMS, video calls, and voice calls, with clients on Android, iOS, the Web, inside gmail.com, and on desktop via a Chrome extension. With such a wide and comprehensive feature set, Hangouts leaves little room for Google’s other messaging products. When Hangouts is shut down, Google can better diversify its messaging user base across its five remaining apps, I guess.

“We’re excited by the progress we’ve made with our communications experience over the past few years,” the company said. “And by refocusing on Messages and Duo for consumers and Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet for team collaboration, we’re focused on delivering a simpler and more unified communications experience for all of you.”

The company neglected to mention Google Voice in its blog post, but understandably, the full Google messaging stack can be hard to keep track of.

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X-4 Stormwing Plane to receive significant nerf in Fortnite v7.10 – FortniteINTEL

Sean Hamilton (MrPopoTFS), Community Coordinator at Epic Games, has announced that the X-4 Stormwing Plane will be receiving a significant nerf in Fortnite patch v7.10.Sean responded to a feedback Tweet on Twitter asking for more damage to be applied to the pilot upon the plane being destroyed. To the player’s relief, that’s exactly what the team…

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X-4 Stormwing Plane to receive significant nerf in Fortnite v7.10 – FortniteINTEL

Sean Hamilton (MrPopoTFS), Community Coordinator at Epic Games, has announced that the X-4 Stormwing Plane will be receiving a significant nerf in Fortnite patch v7.10.

Sean responded to a feedback Tweet on Twitter asking for more damage to be applied to the pilot upon the plane being destroyed. To the player’s relief, that’s exactly what the team at Epic Games had in mind.

While initially saying that pilot damage would be increased from 25 to 35, he then corrected himself stating that it will be raised to 50.

Update: Turns out it just got changed to 50 in v7.10. 😇

— Sean Hamilton (@MrPopoTFS) December 13, 2018

Upon the plane being destroyed, whether that is crashing or being shot down, the pilot will take 50 damage after patch v7.10. This should significantly impact a pilot’s aggressive playstyle and give those on the ground more of a chance.

Many players have given their feedback on the X-4 Stormwing’s effectiveness, it seems that the loud majority feel the plane is too powerful in its current state. It will be interesting to see if this change fixes that issue.

An official release for Fortnite patch v7.10 has yet to be announced. It is expected to drop Tuesday, December 18th, 2018 – but that is purely speculation at the time of writing.

Stay tuned to FortniteINTEL for the full v7.10 patch notes as well as any other changes that may be announced before official release. New cosmetics are also expected to be added in the v7.10 patch.

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New Street Fighter 5 Character Revealed – GameSpot

It appears one of the Street Fighter V announcements coming at the Capcom Cup event today has leaked ahead of time. An image of a brand-new character named Kage has appeared online; you can check out the image below from Twitter user @DaFeetLee.EventHubs reports that Kage started appearing in Street Fighter V’s character-select menu when…

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New Street Fighter 5 Character Revealed – GameSpot

It appears one of the Street Fighter V announcements coming at the Capcom Cup event today has leaked ahead of time. An image of a brand-new character named Kage has appeared online; you can check out the image below from Twitter user @DaFeetLee.

EventHubs reports that Kage started appearing in Street Fighter V’s character-select menu when you apply a new update that some people are getting already. An image of a darkened character appears in the character-select menu, and hovering over it reveals his name. Kage looks quite evil, with spiky black hair, red eyes, fangs, and horns.

The Capcom Cup 2018 professional gaming event is taking place right now, and you can follow along with the action here on Twitch.

It is rumoured that there may be multiple new character announcements pegged for the end of the event, so keep checking back with GameSpot for the latest.

In other Street Fighter V news, the game recently introduced advertisements on loading screens and other places that are toggled on by default. You can turn them off, but some people are still unhappy about it.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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Apple Masses the Biggest Heart Study Ever – Motley Fool

The number of enrollees is staggering and led to much more than bragging rights. When Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) released the Apple Watch Series 3 late last year, the company telegraphed its growing interest in health with the groundbreaking abilities of the device’s heart-rate monitor and optical sensor. The device’s ability to take heart measurements during workouts,…

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Apple Masses the Biggest Heart Study Ever – Motley Fool

The number of enrollees is staggering and led to much more than bragging rights.

Danny Vena

When Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) released the Apple Watch Series 3 late last year, the company telegraphed its growing interest in health with the groundbreaking abilities of the device’s heart-rate monitor and optical sensor. The device’s ability to take heart measurements during workouts, in recovery, and at rest was simple enough. The icing on the cake is its ability to detect a spike in heart rate that typically accompanies atrial fibrillation, also known as AFib. Many patients don’t know they have the condition, since it rarely produces symptoms.

Apple took this a step further, partnering with Stanford University to launch the Apple Heart Study, an investigation to determine how accurately the Apple Watch could detect these irregular heartbeats, which can be a warning sign of an oncoming stroke. The company sent recruitment emails to Apple Watch users and made signing up for the study easy — simply download an app and wear the Watch. No one could have foreseen the staggering response.

A man touching the crown on an Apple Watch.

Image source: Apple.

Biggest. Ever.

A recent issue of the American Heart Journal illustrates the power of Apple’s brand and the simplicity of its approach. Based on the Journal’s reporting, the Apple Heart Study enrolled a massive 419,093 participants, making it the largest investigation of its kind ever fielded. To put this into perspective, a large-scale Swedish study also investigating arrhythmia screening fielded just 25,000 participants.   

The sheer mass of the study was important to researchers, as bigger is generally better when it comes to investigations of this type — the larger the sample size, the narrower the margin of error for the study. Stanford Medicine researchers say that the study is in the final stages of data collection. Results should be available early next year.

The fruits of Apple’s labor

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration used data from the study as an important catalyst for Apple. The agency announced in September that it had cleared two mobile medical apps designed for use with the Apple Watch.

One app “analyzes pulse rate data to identify irregular heart rhythms suggestive of atrial fibrillation and notify the user,” and will be available on all versions of the Apple Watch. The second app creates an electrocardiogram (ECG) to monitor the heart “to detect the presence of atrial fibrillation and regular heart rhythm,” and will work with the Apple Watch Series 4.

It’s important to note that neither of these apps is intended to replace a visit to the doctor, but merely to provide a notification that will act as a starting point for a discussion with a physician. 

With the blessing of the FDA, the company activated the Watch’s heart monitoring and notification features through the release of WatchOS version 5.1.2. 

An Apple Watch with a notification of an irregular heart rhythm.

Image source: Apple.

A massive opportunity

Apple has made a number of moves that show its growing interest in the healthcare field. Apple was one of nine companies the FDA selected as part of a pilot program to pre-certify companies wanting to create software-based medical apps — like its heart monitoring and ECG apps — which recently led to the clearance of those apps.

Other features in the Apple Watch 4 attest to Apple’s ambitions. The addition of a gyroscope and accelerometer gives the device the ability to detect when the wearer has slipped, tripped, or fallen. Reports from earlier this year also indicate that Apple is looking to develop a custom processor to collect and analyze data from its health, wellness, and fitness sensors.

As investors focus on slowing iPhone sales and look to other products and services to generate growth, Apple’s growing interest in healthcare could provide a massive and lucrative opportunity.


Danny Vena owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Apple. The Motley Fool has the following options: long January 2020 $150 calls on Apple and short January 2020 $155 calls on Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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