Google Bard content should be fact-checked, recommends current Google VP

If you need any more reason to be skeptical of generative AI, look no further than a recent BBC interview with Debbie Weinstein, Vice President of Google UK. She recommends people use Google Search to fact-check content generated by the Bard AI.

Weinstein says in the interview that Bard should be considered more of an “experiment” better suited for “collaboration around problem solving” and “creating new ideas”. It seems like Google didn’t really intend for the AI to be used as a resource for “specific information”. Besides fact-checking any information offered by Bard, she suggests using the thumbs up and thumbs down buttons at the bottom of generated content to give feedback to improve the chatbot. As the BBC points out, Bard’s homepage states “it has limitations and won’t always get it right, but doesn’t repeat Ms. Weinstein’s advice” to double-check results via Google Search.

On one hand, Debbie Weinstein is giving some sound advice. Generative AIs have a massive problem when it comes to getting things right. They hallucinate, meaning that a chatbot may come up with totally false information when generating text that fits a prompt. This issue has even gotten two lawyers from New York in trouble as they used ChatGPT in a case and presenting “fictitious legal research” that the AI cited.

So it's certainly not a bad idea to double-check whatever Bard says. However, considering these comments are coming from a vice president of the company, it's a little concerning.

Analysis: So, what's the point?

The thing is Bard is essentially a fancy search engine. One of its main function is be “a launchpad for curiosity”; a resource for factual information. The main difference between Bard and Google Search is the former is relatively easier to use. It's a lot more conversational, plus the AI offers important context. Whether Google likes it or not, people are going to be using Bard for looking up stuff. 

What’s particularly strange about Weinstein’s comments is it contradicts with the company's plans for Bard. During I/O 2023, we saw all the different ways the AI model could enhance Google Search from providing in-depth results on a topic to even creating a fitness plan. Both of these use cases and more require factual information to work. Is Weinstein saying this update is all for naught since it uses Google's AI tech?

While it's just one person from Google asserting this on the record (so far), she is a vice president at Google. If you’re not supposed to use the chatbot for important information, then why is  it being added to the search engine as way to further enhance? Why implement something that's apparently untrustworthy?

It’s a strange statement; one that we hope is not echoed throughout the company. Generative AI is here to stay after all, and it’s important that we trust it to output accurate information. We reached out to the tech giant for comment. This story will be updated at a later time.

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Windows 11 should soon get a lot more Android apps (but there’s no sign of Threads yet)

Windows 11 is about to get a lot more Android apps, or at least a fair few, as Microsoft and Amazon have opened up the floodgates to all developers who wish to get their mobile applications onto the desktop operating system.

As you’re likely aware, the way Android apps are run on Windows 11 is through WSA (Windows Subsystem for Android), and the app themselves are downloaded from the Amazon Appstore.

And Amazon has just announced to developers that the Appstore on Windows 11 is “now generally available”, meaning that anyone can now get on board and get their apps out there for Windows 11 users to download.

Amazon enthused: “We look forward to many more Android apps and games launching on Amazon Appstore for Windows 11.”

Don’t expect an immediate flood of additional apps for Windows 11, mind you, as bolstering the Appstore library is very much a process that’ll take time.

Analysis: A positive step forward, but manage those expectations

The Appstore is now available across 30 regions worldwide, too, so is becoming a pretty expansive market.

That said, far from all of the best Android apps (or the worst ones, for that matter) are downloadable via the Appstore, so it remains a considerably limited ecosystem in comparison to the Play Store. But it’s still definitely way better than having no Android apps on your Windows 11 desktop at all.

Perhaps a good example right now is the new Android (and iOS) app making big waves as folks flee Twitter for a new home, namely Threads. Zuckerberg’s Threads is not available on the Amazon Appstore yet, mind you, although to be fair, it has only just come out (you can read up more about it here).

We’re expecting it soon enough, but for now, those who want to use Threads on their Windows 11 desktop can circumvent the Windows Subsystem for Android by side-loading the app (not an officially sanctioned method, and not something for those who aren’t tech-savvy to attempt either, as you need to go into developer mode).

Via Windows Latest

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Google Lens and Bard are an AI tag team that ChatGPT should fear

Google Lens has long been a powerful party trick for anyone who needs to identify a flower or translate their restaurant menu, but it's about to jump to the next level with some Bard integration that's rolling out “in the coming weeks”.

Google teased its tag-team pairing of Lens and Bard at Google IO 2023, but it's now given us an update on how the combo will work and when it's coming. In a new blog post, Google says that within weeks you'll be able to “include images in your Bard prompts and Lens will work behind the scenes to help Bard make sense of what’s being shown”.

The example that Google has shared is a shopping-based one. If you have a photo of a new pair of shoes that you've been eyeing up for a vacation, you can ask Bard what they're called and, unlike standard Lens, start grilling Bard for ideas on how you should style the new shoes.

Naturally, the Lens-Bard combo will be able to do more than just offer shopping advice, with huge potential for travel advice, education, and more. For example, imagine being able to ask a Lens-powered Bard to not only name a holiday landmark but build you a good day trip itinerary around it.

This isn't the end of Google Lens' new tricks, either. It's also tentatively jumping into the health space with a new feature that helps you identify any skin conditions that have been nagging you (below). To use the new feature, Google says you can “just take a picture or upload a photo through Lens, and you’ll find visual matches to inform your search”. 

It can apparently also help identify other nagging issues like “a bump on your lip, a line on your nails, or hair loss on your head”. Naturally, these won't be proper diagnoses of conditions, but they could be a start of a conversation with your doctor. 

If you aren't familiar with Google Lens, it's pretty easy to find on Android – it'll either be built into your camera app or you can just download the standalone Lens app from the App Store. On iPhone, you'll find Lens within the official Google app instead.

Next-gen Lens

A phone screen on an orange background showing a Google Lens search for a skin condition

(Image credit: Google)

The budding Google Lens and Bard partnership could be a match made in search heaven, given that Lens is the most powerful visual search tool around and Bard is improving by the week. And that combo could be a powerful alternative to ChatGPT.

ChatGPT itself has basic image recognition powers and Microsoft did recently bring AI-powered image recognition to its Bing search engine. But the integration of the two isn't quite as powerful as the incoming Lens-Bard integration, at least from what we've seen from Google's demos.

Unfortunately, Google's extreme tentativeness around Bard (which is still labeled an 'experiment') means we might not see its full potential for a while. For example, the huge potential power of this Lens and Bard combination will be limited by the fact that there's still no Google Bard mobile app.

Google could change its stance in the future, but right now we're limited to using Bard in our web browsers – and that's far less convenient for visual search than scanning the world with a smartphone and its built-in camera.

So while the integration of powerful Google apps like Lens with Bard has massive potential for how we search the world for info, ChatGPT will rest a little safer in the knowledge that Google is taking a glacial approach to unleashing its full AI-powered potential.

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Windows 11 lost users this month – should Microsoft be worried?

Windows 11 has slipped with its market share over the last month, at least going by a report from one analytics firm.

According to Statcounter’s figures for May, Windows 11 fell to a market share of 22.95% (across all Windows versions). That’s only a touch lower than April, during which Windows 11 stood at 23.11% – but it’s a real surprise to see Windows 11 effectively stall at this point (we’ll discuss why shortly).

Windows 10 rose very slightly to hit 71.9%, and it remains by far the most dominant version of Windows, even though Windows 11 has been around for a year and a half now.

Microsoft’s newest operating system has made slow progress, and particularly with this latest small stumble, that must be something of a concern for the company.

Elsewhere in the stats, Windows 7 remains fairly static on 3.6%, and Windows 8 versions amount to 1.09%.

Windows XP, believe it or not, still has users out there, holding a 0.32% niche market share. (There are reasons some might be forced to use Windows XP, as we chewed over recently – that said, though, if you are running the ancient OS, you really should be keeping it fully offline for obvious reasons).

Analysis: Trouble ahead for Microsoft?

The reason why Windows 11 slipping slightly for adoption is so surprising is because recently the operating system has been taking some sizeable strides forward (with Statcounter’s figures for earlier this year).

Now, granted, some of that was due to Windows 7 finishing its extended support period, meaning a bunch of users were then forced to migrate – initially more to Windows 10 than 11, but both platforms saw a boost.

However, even after Windows 7’s userbase settled at its new lower level (just under 4%), where it’s been for a few months now, Windows 11 has been up by a significant market share over the last two months – about 2% for both March and April in fact.

This led us to believe that the OS was having something of a surge, and would finally start making serious headway towards that 30% mark – but now, in May’s figures, we see Windows 11 having stalled.

Why might that be? The irony is that Microsoft announced the end of feature updates for Windows 10 at the close of April, a move that was clearly designed to persuade folks to migrate to Windows 11 (if they want any new features at all – except for minor tweaks). And yet during May, Windows 11 has suddenly floundered compared to the rest of 2023.

Is that an element of pushback, people digging their heels in – rather like our reaction to the end of feature updates for Windows 10? Perhaps there’s a touch of that here.

Windows 11

(Image credit: Unsplash)

More likely, though, this could be bound up in faltering laptop sales, with fewer new pieces of hardware being sold – cost of living crisis, and all – resulting in less progress for Windows 11, maybe? That’s certainly a compelling possibility, as the current PC slump is being seen to hit some laptop makers hard (in the consumer and business arenas).

It’s possible, too, that we could be starting to hit a wall in terms of the number of PCs that are actually capable of being upgraded to Windows 11 (at least without changes to meet the more stringent hardware requirements, like adding a TPM module – and folks may not want to be bothered with that kind of hassle). Combined with lower sales of new PCs, this could be a recipe for a poor outlook, at least in the shorter-term, for Microsoft.

That said, all this theorizing aside, we shouldn’t get carried away with one month, and a single set of figures, from one analyst firm. Let’s keep an eye on Statcounter next month, and if Windows 11 once again flails around, then it’ll be time for Microsoft to be concerned about how its new OS is being received. After all, with the recent announcement of the Copilot AI – and killing off Cortana in Windows 10 (where it won’t have Copilot as a replacement) – Microsoft will doubtless be expecting to generate more footfall of users heading towards Windows 11.

If not, then Windows 11 is likely to have a tough time of things until we get closer to the end for Windows 10 starting to come into view (2025). Either that, or the current PC sales slump starts to ease off…

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ChatGPT lands on the Apple Watch and Siri should be worried

Just a few months after its integration into Bing, ChatGPT has made the leap to iOS as a third-party app exclusively for the Apple Watch.

It’s called Petey – AI Assistant and it was created by developer Hidde van de Ploeg (listed as Modum B.V. on the App Store). Originally, it was known as watchGPT, but due to trademarking issues with the acronym “GPT”, the name had to be changed. Looking at a demo video posted by the developer on Twitter, Petey functions similarly to Siri. You open the app, ask it a question and it answers in just a few seconds via Text to Speech. To continue an inquiry, you swipe down on the watch face, then tap Reply. Unlike Apple’s own Siri, Petey as an assistant can provide fairly complex answers like giving steps on how to catch a fish.

One of the problems with voice assistants like Siri is that they are fairly rigid in what they can do. You have to ask those AIs specific questions in a certain manner to get a response. ChatGPT, on the other hand, is more flexible in what it can do, from writing business letters to even drafting Christmas stories. It’s hard to say exactly how capable Petey is, but at the very least, it appears you won’t have to struggle with it as much.

A work in progress

Petey is a work in progress as new features are constantly being added. Right now you have a handful to work with. For starters, you can share the responses with other people “via text, email, or social media” although the App Store listing doesn’t specify which ones.

The app can be set as a complication on the Apple Watch’s face for quick access. Support for multiple languages is growing as well, bringing the total to 14.  Petey now supports German, Italian, and Japanese, just to name a few. Also if you prefer, Petey comes with a tiny, on-screen keyboard so you can type in your questions. You’re probably better off using your voice.

As for future updates, there are several things in the works. From what is known, van der Ploeg is working on adding a History tool so you can go back to a previous question, making vocal inputs the default setting, and improving the app’s overall performance so you can ask it multiple questions.

There are a couple of caveats, however. One: the app isn’t free as you’ll have to purchase it for $ 4.99 (about £4, over $ 7 AUD, and almost €5) on the App Store. To use Petey, you must have an Apple Watch running on watchOS 9 or up. So make sure you update your device if you haven't already. We should mention the software does not collect user data so rest assured, your privacy is safe.

Users with an Android smartwatch will be out of luck, unfortunately. When asked about a potential Android version, van der Ploeg said there won't be one as his “skillset wouldn't allow [for] that”.

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9 hidden iOS tricks that every iPhone user should know

Apple’s iOS has come a long way from its iPhoneOS starting point, and all of the best iPhones have built on the operating system’s initial promise. Steve Jobs demonstrated the power of the iPhone in 2007 with a huge on-stage Starbucks order, and the platform has grown year after year with each update adding new features.

Multitasking, the notification and Control Center, and even the App Store, were all added to the iPhone after its first iteration, and that rapid pace of innovation can make it hard to keep up with new features.

With that in mind, we’ve put together this list of useful features you may have missed. Some are accessibility options, some need to be enabled, and others are just waiting to be used. All of them, though, will make your iPhone experience better.

1. Use a cursor to select text

iOS tips and tricks

(Image credit: Apple / TechRadar)

Texting is a way of life, but it’s still surprisingly cumbersome even at the best of times. If you’ve ever had an errant word added by autocorrect but not spotted it until you’ve written a few dozen words more, this tip is for you.

Sure, you can hold your finger to the text to jump to it, but this can occasionally lead to highlighting an entire word or sentence. For more granular control, we’d recommend the following:

  • Hold your finger or thumb at the bottom of your screen, underneath the keyboard.
  • This will grey out the keyboard, and turn it into a trackpad until you raise your finger or thumb.

Hey presto, easy text selection!

2. Create text snippets

iOS tips and tricks

(Image credit: Apple / TechRadar)

Text snippets are popular for macOS power users, but you can achieve the same result with your iPhone. Better yet, it doesn’t require any third-party software.

Text snippets are ideal shortcuts for copying in certain phrases you’ve pre-registered. If you’re dealing with a client via iMessage, for example, you may want to send a standardized response. With text replacement, you can create a block of text to be posted whenever you type a phrase.

  • Open Settings, then head to General, then Keyboard.
  • Pick Text Replacement and you’ll be able to create new replacements, and the words required to trigger them.

In our example, you can see that typing 'omw' brings up 'On my way!', but there are plenty of places where this would be useful. You can also set emoji to appear when you type, which feels pleasantly nostalgic in a way you just don’t get from the emoji picker.

3. Enable the scientific calculator

iOS tips and tricks

(Image credit: Apple / TechRadar)

The iPad may not feature a calculator, but the iPhone does. The trouble is, it can feel a tad limiting outside of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division – at least until you find a new perspective.

Turning your iPhone to the side with the calculator app open will enable the scientific calculator. This adds brackets, square roots, cos/sin/tan options, and the ever-handy π command, among plenty of others.

4. Enable an additional ‘button’

iOS tips and tricks

(Image credit: Apple / TechRadar)

While intended as an accessibility feature, the iPhone’s ‘back tap’ button is handy for power users looking for additional input for their device.

  • Go to Settings, then Accessibility, then Touch.
  • Select Back Tap and you’ll be presented with plenty of options.

You can use this in a number of ways, such as triggering the App Switcher, snapping a quick screenshot, or opening Spotlight search from anywhere on your device. There are also double and triple tap options, meaning you can set multiple functions for it.

5. Use your camera’s 'Burst Mode'

iOS tips and tricks

(Image credit: Apple / TechRadar)

Your iPhone’s camera is plenty powerful enough, but there’s one trick you may have missed: Burst Mode. Burst mode, as the name suggests, takes a series of rapid-fire images in one press which means your iPhone can capture a series of action shots.

It’s ideal for pets and excitable toddlers, letting you go back and look at your pictures after the event and pick out the best ones. It’s easy to access, too. Just slide the Shutter button (the one you use to take photos) to the left when you’re in the Camera app.

You can also head into Settings, then Camera, and toggle Use Volume Up for Burst to allow your volume rocker to trigger Burst mode – just hold it when you’re taking an image.

6. Scan documents using the camera

Your iPhone’s camera can double as a very respectable document scanner, and while Live Text means you can extract text from images, it’s entirely possible to digitize an entire document. Because it’s buried in the Notes app, though, you may not have spotted how to do it.

  • Open Notes, then tap the camera icon, then Scan Documents.
  • Highlight your document and it should automatically save. You can also manually take a scan with the shutter button.

Once the scan is saved, you can sign it, too, or just share it via any email or messaging app. It’s not got the same level of quality as a bespoke scanner, but it’s not far off, and will certainly do in a pinch.

Not convinced? Be sure to check our list of the best document scanning apps.

7. Use your camera flash as a notification

iOS tips and tricks

(Image credit: Apple / TechRadar)

One final camera trick, which is a little different. As an accessibility feature, you can trigger your iPhone’s camera flash to go off when you receive a notification, providing a more visual way of knowing someone is calling or messaging.

  • Head into Settings, then Accessibility.
  • In the Audio/Visual section there’s an option for ‘LED Flash for Alerts’.

You can also trigger it to only work when your phone is on silent, which is ideal if you’d prefer your phone not to vibrate on a desk.

8. Master Control Center

iOS tips and tricks

(Image credit: Apple / TechRadar)

Introduced as part of iOS 7 all the way back in 2013, Control Center has moved from the bottom of the screen to the top as the years have gone by, and it has a lot more utility than you may be aware of.

While Apple doesn’t offer Force Touch these days, you can long-press on Control Center icons to get additional options.

Through this, you can enable Spatial Audio with compatible earphones, pick a Focus mode, get a better look at what’s playing on your audio app, or even go two layers deep – the quadrant with Airplane Mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and mobile signal can be expanded to allow you to easily select a Wi-Fi access point, for example.

9. Recognize any song with Shazam in the Control Center

iOS tips and tricks

(Image credit: Apple / TechRadar)

Remember Shazam? The music recognition service was purchased by Apple in 2018 and remains a great way to identify whatever song is playing – whether you’re in a store, at a party, or just missed the name on the radio.

While Shazam has an app, you can also add it to your iPhone’s Control Center for easy access.

  • Open Settings, then enter Control Center and tap the Plus button next to Music Recognition to add it.

Now, whenever you hear a great song playing, you can pull down from Control Center and hit the Shazam icon to find out what’s playing. If you’re on Apple Music, it’ll even give you the option to add the track to your library.

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This Google Sheets update should stop you messing up formulas at last

Google Sheets is looking to help spreadsheet users everywhere with the launch of a new tool that will let you write formulas faster and better.

The company has launched “intelligent corrections” for formulas in Google Sheets, context-aware fixes that it says help you improve and troubleshoot many different kinds of formulas.

“Now, you can write formulas faster and with higher confidence with formula corrections,” the company wrote in a Google Workspace blog post announcing the news.

Google Sheets formulas

Going forward, when writing a formula into Sheets, the new feature will analyze it and see if any improvements could be made. If so, a suggestion box will appear with details on a new version that can replace the current formula, including the ability to accept or reject it.

Google says the new addition can help with a number of common formula issues, including VLOOKUP errors, missing cells in range input, and locking ranges when applying formulas across cells.

The new feature is rolling out now, and will be enabled by default for all Google Workspace customers, as well as legacy G Suite Basic and Business customers, and users with personal Google Accounts. It can be disabled if it proves too much of a hindrance, by going to Tools > Enable formula corrections or from the three-dot menu of the suggestion dialog box.

The announcement follows a similar update in August 2021 which saw Google Sheets introduce intelligent formula suggestions, with the program able to offer ideas based on the data in question and the user’s initial input.

Google said that the new formula suggestions will make it easier to write new formulas accurately and help make data analysis quicker and easier.

The company also recently revealed that it was increasing the cell limit in Google Sheets from up to five million cells to up to ten million cells.

The new limit isn't just for newly-created files either, but also existing and imported files, meaning you can expand to your heart's content. 

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Microsoft Office update will resolve a problem that never should have existed

Microsoft is preparing to roll out an update for its office software suite that resolves a small but frustrating issue.

As explained in the latest addition to the Microsoft 365 product roadmap, the Read Aloud feature for the Office app will soon allow Android users to listen to their documents while their device screen is locked.

The update is currently under development, but should take effect for all Android users by the end of April. TechRadar Pro has asked for clarification as to whether the iOS app will receive a similar fix.

Microsoft Office accessibility

The Read Aloud text-to-speech service for Microsoft Office is useful on a number of levels. Most importantly, it acts as an accessibility feature for those with sight impairments or conditions such as dyslexia. But separately, it can be used to good effect in multitasking scenarios, when someone is on the move or otherwise engaged.

The inability to utilize the Read Aloud feature when the device screen is locked is a needless source of frustration that Microsoft is looking to remedy with the upcoming update. The fix will allow users to pocket their device without having to worry about accidental interactions with the screen, and should have a positive effect on battery life too.

The text-to-speech tweak is the latest in a number of accessibility-focused updates for the Microsoft Office suite, all of which share a common goal: to level the playing field for all users.

Last week, for example, Microsoft published a separate roadmap entry detailing an update for Outlook that will allow users to ensure their email messages live up to accessibility standards.

“We are expanding the functionality [of the MailTips help service] to automatically prompt you when an accessibility violation is detected while composing an email to large audiences or external users, for example, and help you fix the issue,” the company explained.

And in January, Microsoft announced a new add-on for Word, Excel and PowerPoint that lets users notify colleagues of any additional needs they may have. The idea was to create a non-confrontational way for someone to remind co-workers for their accessibility needs that didn’t involve sending a dedicated email or instant message.

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Why MSN Messenger, Google Wave, and Vesper should return in 2022

There are some apps that are abandoned through no fault of their own. The team responsible could have moved on to other projects, or a new, redesigned app may have appeared to take its place.

If you go trawling through YouTube or even find an old PC in the family office, you can find yourself transported back to a time when the only way you could use the internet was by being sat down in front of a desk, waiting for a dial-up modem to connect.

But we're also heading into an era with the App Store and Google Play Store, where  users are longing for deleted apps to make a comeback, regardless of how they may look or operate in today's world.

There’s a growing nostalgia for the apps we used to use every day. Whether it's to feel like we're back at school, or just because the app was so good that we’d like to use them again for our new Windows 11 and iPhone 13 devices in 2022. Windows Media Player coming back is a great example of this, and it's why there should be more comebacks for depreciated apps.

With this in mind, here are three apps that should see a return and a remake for 2022 to take advantage of the devices we use every day.


Vesper app on macOS

(Image credit: Q Branch)

This is a note-taking app that set itself apart from the rest in the productivity category at the time. 

Created by Q Branch, involving Brent Simmons, Dave Wiskus, and John Gruber, the app was launched in 2013 and then discontinued in 2016. But thanks to the ability to redownload apps that have disappeared from the App Store, Vesper can still be used in 2022.

Vesper’s design is classically inspired by Apple's Notes app from 2013, but in a modern vibe that still looks good in 2022.

The app's purpose is simple – to take notes. But you can also tag these notes, similar to a feature that Apple brought to its own Notes app only in 2021. You can swipe to the left to archive any notes that you don't need, and you can re-arrange them to order the notes in a way that suits your needs.

For some reason, we weren't able to redownload it for iPhone, but on an M1 Mac we could, and it still works great, even with a janky way to resize the window in only two ways.

You can't sync notes to different devices as that was shut down when Vesper shut its doors, but it's a great app to use locally on your device if you're creating one or two projects.

Since its discontinuation, the source code has been available on GitHub for someone else to make their own interpretation of the app. Using this app in 2022, we can't help but wonder if one last hurrah should occur for Vesper. One more version where the band gets back together, much like James Bond in the mid-nineties, to be relevant again but for a new civilized age.

Even in a world where we have note apps that work similarly to WhatsApp, there's still room for a Vesper, especially in an app world where we use to-do lists and collaborative efforts to jot things down for those personal projects.

To see a new, final Vesper with Widgets, a web version variant, iCloud sync, alongside the proverbial dark mode option, could be a great way for Q Branch to sign off and raise a glass to, and have it work for our modern iPhones again.

MSN Messenger

MSN Messenger in Windows 11

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Between 1999 and 2009, Microsoft's messaging app was everywhere. You'd finish school and go straight to your parents' PC to log on to MSN Messenger, to either continue a conversation from earlier or to arrange something for later that evening.

You would log in and be greeted with a list of the contacts you've added, with many showcasing using waves of emojis and symbols placed on either side to their name for effect.

You could 'nudge' and 'wink' a friend who would be online, and you could exchange images if you wanted.

Eventually, the ability to play games with one another, alongside webcam support would be available to use, taking a strain on the 120Kbps broadband that would have been the average common internet speeds in 2003.

MSN Messenger was also arguably the first dating app before Tinder and Bumble. A small rainbow or heart next to a name would be a not-so-subtle hint on someone's name, yet it could initiate something more in the playground the next day. Messenger had something for everyone during those times, but ironically it didn't move to where apps were going.

Due to the rise of the iPhone and the App Store in 2008, Windows Live Messenger, as it was renamed to, dropped in usage, as everyone was starting to use WhatsApp, Facebook, FaceTime, and iMessage to communicate with one another, and Messenger was discontinued in 2014.

While you can install a version of the app in Windows 11, you can only get as far as the login screen, as the server to connect to the Hotmail server has long been depreciated.

In hindsight, Microsoft didn't know what it had – it rode a wave that the company hasn't had in the messaging category since. Especially when you consider how Zoom soared in use during the pandemic while Skype was left as an afterthought.

But nostalgia is starting to seep through to apps – Windows Media Player has returned to Windows 11, and currently, there are two apps by Microsoft, Teams, and Skype that both do the same function, but not as well as Zoom.

Rebooting MSN Messenger as a service for everyone, but with business features for work, could be a big boon to many.

Imagine MSN Messenger as an app for iOS and Android, alongside Windows 11, macOS, and Chromebooks. With Microsoft's aim of making apps available on as many systems as possible Messenger is the next logical step.

One that can bring back the nudges, the winks, and themes to bring the look of 2022 back, could be appealing to many, while the features are useful to others.

Microsoft is in a bind with Skype and Teams. Making a fresh start with an app that users have nostalgia for, but rebuilt for 2022, could be something that could appeal to everyone, and clear the deck of confusion that the company has carried with the two apps for a number of years now.

Google Wave

This effort by Google in 2009 was a direct precursor to the Slacks and Microsoft Teams of apps that you probably use every day in 2022.  The main theme of Google Wave was collaboration, with an effort to help with projects that involve many users without having to use Skype or a messaging app from back in the day, in order to collaborate in a Google Docs file.

Wave only lasted for three years between 2009 and 2012, but it’s still missed by plenty of users. It was a time when Google would try out different products almost every six months, but if it didn't quite hit the mark there’s a good chance you’re not able to use it anymore.

Google Wave worked differently from other apps, as you would have to be referred in order for your Google account to have access to Wave giving it an exclusive feel. Eventually, in 2010 it was available to everyone, so you could invite someone to a project without having to find a referral link.

This would combine Google Mail, Google Docs, Google Calendar, and your contact list into one app, where you could collaborate on different projects. 

While the user interface in the video department left a lot to be desired due to so much going on, it had a knack for introducing each feature and interface option in steps. After an hour or so, you'd be able to use it with ease.

But Google pulled the plug on Wave in 2011, with its reasons being that too few users were using the service, even though there were signs that it was about to grow, due to the increase in social network usage at the time.

As it is with Google's stance on abandoned projects, there's no way of trying out a remade version of Wave in 2022 – you can only be reminded through screenshots and videos. But in a way, you're already using them through Slack, Teams, and Google Docs collaborations.

But it's a service that should come back, as it could work well alongside Slack integration and app versions on iOS and Android.

But with Google's focus on mobile and content, it's 50/50 as to whether it would consider a return for Wave.

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