Instagram Direct Debuts As The Private Messaging Sector Of The App

instagram-directInstagram Direct is the newest feature to grace the retro filter-based photo social network. Implementing private text, image, and video messaging for a select user, from 1 to 15.

Apparently, CEO Kevin Systrom believes that this is a just a supplementary feature of Instagram, not designed to compete with competitors like WhatsApp or Snapchat: “Sometimes you want to be able to share not with everyone, but just with a specific group” — this can be true.

To make the feature viable and non-intrusive, a simple inbox has been added to the Android and iOS versions of the app, which would allow you to receive and send the private information.

Via: Instagram Blog

Valve Will Release SteamOS For All Of Us To Try — If You Have Skills

collageOn December 13th, Valve will begin shipping prototype Steam Machines to 300 gamers for beta testing. The rest of us get SteamOS as a free download the same day, but with a catch. As Steam’s parent company, Valve put it: “Unless you’re an intrepid Linux hacker already, we’re going to recommend that you wait until later in 2014 to try it out”.

Sounds like a challenge to be accepted by a few thousand individuals. Valve will speak more about the Steam Machines during CES, in January. Till then, the 300 lucky testers will be alerted of their good fortune by 5PM, on the 12th.

Via: Steam

The Nexus 7 Gets A White Paint job For Christmas


Added to the Google Play Store rather quietly, the white version of the fantastic Nexus 7 tablet launched during the summer, in WiFi first then LTE later, is available for purchase during the holidays.

However, it is restricted to a 32GB WiFi-only model for $270, and considering how Google stocks their devices along with the demand on the Google Play Store, it might not last long.

Via: Google Play Store

Spotify Adds Free Tablet Streaming And Led Zeppelin To Its Arsenal


Thanks to a New York City press event at company headquarters, the Spotify music streaming service has added two great things for the world is enjoy: Led Zeppelin and free music streaming on tablets on both Android and iOS.

Spotify’s CEO, Daniel Ek, also revealed some new statistics about the service: 1.5 billion playlists created (with one and a half million made each day) with a solid 4.5 billion hours of music streamed last year.

Also, don’t forget: Led Zeppelin and American Hustle make a great mix.

Via: Spotify

The Xbox One Receives Its First Post-Launch Update, Tweaking Multiplayer And The Start Screen

xbox-oneThere have been few console-breaking issues with the Xbox One’s multiplayer and Start screen since its launch, but that doesn’t mean there’s a kink (or two) that don’t need fixing. Enter, the first Xbox One update, which becomes mandatory for all Xbox one users starting tomorrow.

Aimed towards SmartGlass, multiplayer matches, notifications, network compatibility, dashboard performance and the TV guide features, these first few fixes are just the beginning in Microsoft’s quest to making sure the Xbox One is in good form, going into the holidays.

Via: Major Nelson

Another Play(ful) Addition For Google: The Sony Z Ultra

HERO_IMAGE_Sony_ExperiaDropping the “Xperia” brand name from Sony and slapping a clean-slate version of Android on top, the Sony Z Ultra is the next unlocked smartphone from a top-tier manufacturer to the get the cleansing treatment from Google.

By taking a great device that was cluttered with software additions, then converting it to something pure, Google has quite a great operation on its hands.

The Z Ultra retains all of its existing specs from beforehand, but is instead $649 off-contract and is fully-unlocked on LTE, HSPA+, and GSM/EDGE bands, so you can use it with a micro-SIM card, worldwide.

Via: Google

LG’s G Pad 8.3 Google Play Edition Is Quite A Statement

Available exclusively at the Google play Store for $349.99, the LG G Pad 8.3 is the South Korean company’s answer to the ASUS Nexus 7, the Android tablet that reigns supreme in sales, arguably.

An 8.3-inch full HD display, quad-core Snapdragon 1.7GHz processor, expandable microSD storage up to 64GB, and a big 4,600 mAh battery, and of course, a fresh vanilla version of Android 4.4 KitKat.

Imaging-wise, there are 5MP back and 1.3MP front facing cameras adorning the 8.3mm-thin tablet, which for all that Google and LG are talking about it, is a decent package in comparison to the tried-and-true Nexus 7.

Via: Google Play Store