Quick App Updates of the Week: Google Maps, Messenger & More

Messenger now warns you about scams

Messaging apps can be hunting grounds of scammers. Facebook wants to safeguard Messenger users against potential scammers. It has launched a new feature, an in-app popup, that warns Messenger users against scammers who are either trying to retrieve personal information or sending inappropriate messages. The app will read all the messages from unknown people and will flag impersonators, potential scams and adults targeting users under 18. Facebook especially wants to protect minors. Money-related potential scams will carry the following flag - “be wary of claims about money”. Facebook is also going hard on impersonators with a flag, “This person may seem like your friend X but he/she isn’t.”

Download the latest Messenger app here.

Healthcare workers can find hotels on Google Maps

Healthcare workers are at the forefront of our battle against the novel virus. Due to the nature of their work, many of them cannot go home. Some hotels have opened their doors to such first responders. Google Maps acts as the bridge between the two. A search query like ‘hotels for essential workers in London’ shows hotels that are accommodating first responders. There is also a new “COVID-19 responder rooms” filter which can be applied to more generic search results such as ‘hotels in London’. Google has partnered with hotel chains and trade groups to display the options. This feature is currently available in the US and UK. Google plans to roll it out to other countries soon.

Download the latest Google Maps app here.

Set gaming limits for kids using Xbox Family Settings app

Kids could use “stay-home” for endless hours of gaming. It is annoying to keep telling them to stop. Enter Xbox Family Settings app. Use the app to easily set daily limits which can vary based on the days of the week. Select content filters, monitor/limit communication and review past activity as well. Kids can request more game time and their request can be (dis)/approved using the app. Some new features are also planned so stay tuned.

Download the latest Xbox Family Settings app here.

A brand new news & events channel rolled out on Twitch

Twitch started as a game streaming service before expanding into other genres. Now, it is going back to its roots with a dedicated news and events channel. This channel, present on the home screen, will contain game reveals, developer interviews and Twitch drops. Valorant tournament will also be aired on this channel. The channel will also play host to the ongoing Summer Game Fest. A game jam is bound to start on June 26th. Twitch users will be able to co-stream the live coverage of aired programs.

Download the latest Twitch app here.

Badges & Ads coming to IGTV

Instagram wants to give monetisation options to IGTV creators. It will soon debut 15-second ads that will appear between videos in the main feed. Creators will get at least 55 percent of the ad revenue. Users will be able to skip ads. Creators can also sell ‘badges’ to followers. These badges will be displayed next to the followers’ handles during the creators’ live streams. Badges are essentially live shoutouts to followers who paid for them. For now, creators will get 100% of the money raised by selling badges.

Download the latest IGTV app here.

Jim has a bachelor in Philosophy of Science from the University of Leeds. When he is not writing tech articles he enjoys photography 📷 and traveling 🚂.