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11th May, 2016

Instagram gets a new monochrome look to focus on your media

By Devindra Hardawar

There’s also a revamped, modern Instagram app icon.

After testing a black and white design with a few users, Instagram officially rolled out the look as part of its major redesign today. The idea is that the monochrome interface will put a greater emphasis on your photos and videos. Judging from the screenshots and videos, media does tend to stand out more now on its iOS and Android apps. Additionally, the company has redesigned its app logo with a simple, multi-colored icon that drops the original’s skeumorphic design — it only vaguely looks like a camera. Instagram also updated logos for its other apps, Hyperlapse, Layout and Boomerang, [...]

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11th May, 2016

Google wants emoji that give working women their due

By Jon Fingas

It’s proposing Unicode changes that would include icons for professional women.

Take a look at your phone’s emoji list. Notice how the only people representing jobs (such as police officers and construction workers) are men, while women are limited to brides and princesses? Some Google developers aren’t happy with that one-sided state of affairs. They’ve proposed a new set of Unicode emoji that better represent women in professional roles. Their 13 new emoji would show both men and women in very well-known industries, ranging from tech (our favorite) to farming to rock stars. They hope that this gives young women a subtle confidence boost [...]

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11th May, 2016

Google Translate now works in apps on any Android phone

By Jon Fingas

Translate also has an offline mode in iOS, and Word Lens translation in Chinese.

If you hate having to paste foreign language text into Google Translate just to understand it, your worries are over. Google has updated Translate for Android to introduce Tap to Translate, an expansion of the translation-anywhere feature it introduced on Marshmallow last fall. Anyone running Android 4.2 or later can now decipher unfamiliar text on the spot simply by copying it — helpful if you frequently run into messages or social posts that aren’t in familiar tongues.

There’s more rolling out over the next few days, including things for the non-Android [...]

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9th May, 2016

Opera’s free VPN for iOS offers more control over your browsing

By Jon Fingas

It’s the first free VPN app for iOS from a big-name tech company.

Opera’s fondness for virtual private networks isn’t limited to the desktop. The browser maker is releasing a free VPN app for iOS that should give you more control over how you surf the internet. It’s helpful for usual VPN tasks like dodging corporate site blocks and regional content restrictions (shh, don’t tell Netflix), but Opera sees it as particularly handy for the privacy-conscious — it gets rid of advertisers’ tracking cookies and makes you that much more anonymous. You can only pick from one of five simulated locations for the VPN (Germany, the [...]

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