One of the first finance apps to be built on top of Venmo, Ledge helps your crowd-source small loans from the people you know. You can lend or borrow up to $5,000 through Venmo and get repaid automatically with preset interest rates.
How it works: If you need cash, set up a campaign and your terms for a loan, like the length of time and an interest rate, and people you know can use Venmo to loan you the cash. When it’s time for repayment, the app automatically repays those you borrowed from, with whatever interest you defied.
Pro tip: The app restricts interest rates based on local usury laws (the regulations that govern maximum interest rates for personal loans) which should keep interest rates in check. Right now, loans made within the app don’t affect your credit but the app’s creators say they may add features in the future that could allow you to use Ledge to help build a credit history. Free: iOS and Android
Like most bad habits, using poor passwords can be a difficult habit to kick. If you’re not already in the habit of using a password manager to secure your accounts, Password Chef takes a clever approach to helping you create strong unique passwords you’ll actually be able to remember when you need them.
How it works: The premise of the app is to create a unique “recipe” for each password (e.g. the first three vowels of a site name combined with other easy to remember prompts). Rather than saving the password itself, the app simply stores your recipe so you can easily refer to it when you need to access your credentials.
Pro tip: For extra security, you can add a “secret code” to your recipes so even if someone gets ahold of the recipe, they won’t be able to crack your password. You can also secure the app with a passcode.$2.99: iOS
A strange but oddly addicting puzzle game from the makers of Device 6 and Year Walk, SPL-T is part puzzle, part strategy game (and might just have a bigger story behind it as well.) But the central part of the game tasks players with dividing the black screen into steadily smaller sections while racking up points and clearing the board of of point blocks.
How it works: Hold down on the screen to divide it into alternating horizontal and vertical sections. If cells get too small they can no longer be divided while four or more of the same-sized cells form “point blocks” that can’t be moved until their timers reach 0 on a countdown.
Pro tip: If you forget whether you’re on a vertical or horizontal move, the little character at the top of the screen changes the position of his arms to correspond to the current move. There is a lot more to the game than meets the eye so be prepared for a few surprises as you play.$2.99: iOS
Though technically a keyboard app, Slash Keyboard is more of an extremely clever multi-tasking tool than a keyboard. The app connects Foursquare, Google, Google Maps, Spotify, YouTube,Giphy and more and makes all of those services searchable and shareable right from your keyboard.
Keep an eye on: As you type, the app will provide suggestions based on the services it’s connected to (e.g typing “let’s get drinks,” may prompt you to search for nearby bars in Foursquare.) But you don’t have to wait for the app’s proactive suggestions: tap the slash key on the keyboard to instantly search and share links directly to the note or message you are typing.
Pro tip: The app learns from your typing habits to provide better recommendations so the more you use it the more useful the recommendations become. Free: iOS
Spherify is a fun photo app that turns your 360-photos and panoramas into into mini planet-like images. Choose an image, highlight the areas you want to call attention to and the app generates the whimsical spherical photos.
Keep an eye on: You can also flip images vertically for a slightly different effect
Ever sign into apps like Airbnb or Candy Crush via the blue “Log in with Facebook” button? It’s an easy alternative to the tedium of creating an account by typing in a userID and password, and since you’re likely already signed into Facebook’s app, you’ll have quick access to other apps in just a couple of taps.
The caveat for the convenience has always been agreeing to hand over a collection of your personal information to those apps when you log in through Facebook, such as your birthday and email address. In fact, you had to agree to share whatever the app asked for, or else you wouldn’t be granted access.
But a few months ago Facebook quietly redesigned its app login experience so users could edit which type of personal information they want to share with third-party apps (i.e. you may be okay with sharing your Facebook Likes, but not your email address).
This is a subtle yet big change that puts more control back into the hands of users, and it’s something not everyone knows about. Considering 80% of both iOS and Android apps offer a “Log in with Facebook” option, with varying degrees of access to personal information, it’s worth understanding how the feature works.
After an app asks if you want to log in via Facebook, you’ll see a screen that reveals what personal information will be shared. Before the change, the permissions screen gave you only one choice: approve or cancel. But now there’s a prominent option to edit your info; you can see the change in the picture below.
Image: Mashable composite
By tapping “edit,” you’ll see a screen that breaks down the shared info in bullet points. In this example, it includes your friends list, birthday, email address, Facebook Likes and phone number. From here, you can de-select specific items.
There’s also a choice to prevent an app from posting information to Facebook without asking permission first — we assume most people will want to select this option — but if you’re cool with an app posting things for you (like your high score on Candy Crush), you can select who sees those updates (public, friends, only me and so on).
While Facebook aims to make its platform a bit more transparent about where your information is going, it’s a good reminder to routinely check and see which apps are connected to your Facebook account. If you haven’t played a certain game or accessed an app in awhile, you should probably disconnect it to better protect both your security and your privacy.
Luckily, every weekend, we round up our favorite new and updated apps. This week’s list includes a social news app, a relaxing game centered around a tree and Google’s immersive Spotlight Stories app making its iOS debut.
Check out the gallery, below, to see our top picks. If you’re looking for more, take a look at last week’s roundup of can’t-miss apps.
Google is finally bringing its immersive Spotlight Stories app to iOS. The app allows you to get a full 360-degree video experience with just the display of your device. Rather than watching a video with your phone directly in front of you, the display acts as a sort of viewfinder for the spherical videos: as you move the device around, you can see new areas of the frame.Keep an eye on: Google has managed to tap quite a few notable names to create videos for the app over the years, including Justin Line, who debuted a new story called “Help” for the app earlier this year.
Pro-tip: It’s easiest to get a full sense of the videos while standing up, that way you can hold the device over your head, behind you and move around quickly as the story unfolds.
Prune ($3.99: iOS)
This tree-themed game is much more than meets the eye. The premise of Prune is simple: Plant a tree so that it will grow toward the sun and flourish while avoiding harmful obstacles. Keep an eye on: The angle at which you plant the seed at the start of each level plays a big role in the trajectory the branches take.Pro-tip: Use two fingers to zoom in on the trees to trim the exact branches you want. If you get stuck on a challenging level, the game lets you skip ahead to the next one.
Storyline (Free: iOS)
This Twitter app from celebrity investor Mark Cuban takes a different approach to sorting tweets in your timeline. Rather than reverse chronological order, the app sorts tweets by account so you can find the accounts you’re most interested in seeing updates from, and see all their most recent tweets at once. Keep an eye on: After you view a tweet, it disappears from your feed forever to help keep you from seeing repeat content.
Pro-tip: Use the app’s search if there’s a particular account you want to view. While you can’t compose new tweets from the app, you can retweet, favorite and reply. The app is a beta right now so there are likely more features on the way.
Vervid (Free: iOS)
A video platform completely dedicated to vertical videos, Vervid allows users to share and edit vertically-shot video clips. Part Vine, part Snapchat and part YouTube, its creators say they are trying to create the “YouTube of vertical videos.
Keep an eye on: The app’s social features, which make it easy for users to follow one another and comment on each other’s videos. The app also has quite a few editing tools so you can shoot or edit existing clips right inside the app.
Pro-tip: Don’t forget to record a burst — 8-second video clips anyone can view from your profile. The app’s users tend to be very creative with the feature so it’s worth checking out.
Vizo takes a highly visual approach to the daily news digest format. The app curates the biggest news stories of the day and breaks each one down into a bite-sized summary of the most important facts using a number of sources.Keep an eye on: If you want to dig into a particular story more, tap the book icon in the bottom right corner to see a list of all the summary’s sources, with links back to the original articles.
Pro-tip: The app will also read the news to you; hit the play button at the top an article to begin the audio.
You know Google is tracking your every move, right?
If you own a mobile device, and have opted into location tracking in one or more of Google’s many services, such as Google Photos or Google Now, the company is keeping a record of your past movements.
You can check the places you visited through a new feature in Google Maps, the aptly named Your Timeline. It lets you check where you were at any given time — like that pretzel shop that gave you refuge on a cold, wet December day a few years ago.
Google’s location history — now replaced with Timeline — already offered all this data, daily and monthly, but in a less visually appealing and less curated format.
Browsing through your past experiences can be fascinating, if time-consuming. Randomly clicking on a day in March 2014 showed me I went to a lot of places around Zagreb, Croatia. I have no idea what I was doing at all those places, but now I’m suddenly eager to take a trip down memory lane.
Both the location history and Your Timeline features are private and visible only to you. You can delete your entire history by clicking on the settings icon in the lower-right hand portion of Timeline and selecting “delete all location history.”
To stop Google from storing your location history moving forward, go to My Account, click on “account history” and turn off the “places you go” option. Note that your phone or tablet isn’t tracking your location when in airplane mode, but in most scenarios, your mobile devices know where you are.
You can also edit places in Your Timeline, remove a certain location or rename it at will, making it visible in Google Maps the next time you log in.
The new timeline feature is being gradually rolled out to users on both desktop and Android devices.
A key component of being professional is organisation, yet many business practices seem outdated and cumbersome in today’s technology-driven world. From holding onto receipts for expense reporting to filing business cards away for networking opportunities, there’s a lot to keep track of. It’s time to simplify.
Travel can be stressful, and travel for business even more so. TripIt alleviates this stress by compiling all of your travel documents in one place to create a business trip itinerary. Simply forward all of your confirmation emails, including flights, restaurant reservations and car rentals, to the TripIt address and the app automatically organises your schedule — putting your entire trip in one, easily accessible place.
The app removes the need to flip through various inboxes, remember passwords or add travel dates and details to your calendar. This master itinerary includes time, date and confirmation numbers as well as weather predictions, driving directions and maps. Synced throughout your devices, your travel plans are also available offline, so you can reference your outlined journey while on the go or in the air.
When you’re driving somewhere unfamiliar you may not know the shortcuts, and when it come to business, being professional and on time go hand in hand. If traffic gets in your way, Waze helps you get around it, showing you alternative routes vetted by other drives on the road with you. Warnings from fellow drivers let you avoid accidents, road debris and even speed traps, making your daily commute or business trip more efficient and timely. These shorter routes can even save you money on gas.
The voice command navigation calculates the fastest route based on community-sourced information that updates in real-time. When you pass a reported obstacle or accident, the app asks you to vet the information and in-turn help those en route behind you. Talk about paying it forward.
Streamline your expense reports with Expensify by citing, photographing and curating your expenses on the go. No more receipts to keep filed away for the end of the month, simply take a picture and throw them away thus keeping your expenses up-to-date. Forward any electronic receipts or confirmations to the designated address for easy additions to the pre-existing records.
Working from home or remotely? The app also reports hours worked with associated pay rate and tracks your miles driven, flight itinerary and travel arrangements. Easily submit your expenses at the end of the month without hassle.
Time for a career change? Maybe you’re moving to a new city or just looking for new opportunities. Find job openings based on location using Job Compass. Simply enter your desired zip code and search terms and you’re on your way to a new job.
With millions of listings in over 55 countries, Job Compass streamlines your job search by narrowing the scope and helping you find your next move. Sourced from non-location focused job boards like Indeed.com, the listings on Job Compass are organized visually to help you see your professional future on a map.
Figure out where you spend your time using Track My Life. The app runs automatically in the background of your phone and determines your travel, what locations you are at most frequently, and from this, creates data that you can use to maximize your time and daily efficiency. This app doesn’t only help you streamline your professional life, but also helps you find any imbalances in your daily schedule and make simple changes.
It quantifies your daily routine in a way that provides concrete room for alterations. Maybe you travel too much, or haven’t taken a vacation day in the last year. If working in an hourly or travel-heavy position, use Track My Life to ensure you are earning maximum compensation for your daily work. Overtime, you can track gradual lifestyle changes, or find where they may be needed.
Make professional networking easier with digital business card storage on CamCard. Exchange e-business cards with QR code scanning, save paper cards by taking photos and store all of your contacts in one place that syncs to the cloud, making it easily accessible from any device.
Rather than enter contact information into your phone manually from a business card, simply snap a photo and watch as the information is generated into a CamCard contact listing where you can make notes, tag, search and share cards. CamCard and electronic business cards save money, time and paper while simplifying the social side of your professional life.
Another major car electronics maker has joined the race to expand Apple’s CarPlay software beyond the limited built-in selections and into a larger aftermarket option: Kenwood.
The company joins Pioneer and Alpine, companies that began offering the CarPlay software option last year.
What makes Kenwood’s new receivers different from the aforementioned competition is that the units allow you to switch between Apple’s CarPlay and Android Auto without needing to change the unit’s settings or reset the device. So if you’re a multi-smartphone platform family, using iOS and Android devices, Kenwood looks like the best aftermarket option to serve all needs.
“Smartphone users have heard about Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in the media, and how as many as 40 models of 2016 and 2017 vehicles will come equipped with one or the other,” said Tony Mercado, marketing manager for Kenwood’s car electronics division, in a statement. “Today we are delivering both in a single chassis, well before most automakers.”
The two Kenwood units, the DDX9702S ($900) and the DDX9902S ($950), both come with a 6.95-inch resistive touch panel display, giving you easy access to all the CarPlay and Android Auto goodies, including Apple Maps and Google Now cards.
Pricewise, Kenwood’s new offerings are fairly competitive with the other aftermarket options: Alpine’s CarPlay device, the iLX-007, is $800 and Pioneer’s wide range of CarPlay-friendly models range from $700 to $1,400.
But Kenwood’s ability to offer more seamless transitions between Android and CarPlay could, at least in the coming months, make it the overall winner.
Ramadan starts on Thursday for most Muslims around the world. This means a month of fasting, prayer, and piety, all in an effort to deepen one’s faith. The holy month is also looked upon as an opportunity to increase community ties, bring people closer together, and share blessings with those less fortunate. For some it may also mean a short pilgrimage to Mecca, as it is believed reward for good deeds is multiplied manifold during this time. All in all, the month is revered and eagerly awaited by adherents of Islam worldwide.
There are also a bunch of apps out there to help Muslims with observing their duties during the month. In no particular order, here are 5 Ramadan apps that caught our eye:
Ramadan Legacy was only launched earlier this month but claims to be the world’s first “fully-featured” app for Ramadan. The app includes a step-by-step interactive action plan, which allows you to monitor a checklist of things to do during fasting. These include prayers, taraweeh, and reading the Quran.
The app also notifies you of a new Quranic verse and prayer to learn each day. Other features include a knowledge library with tips and guides on Ramadan topics and a live social stream which allows you to share your Ramadan experience with others around the world. There’s also an iOS version.
AlQuran is an iOS app that allows you to read the entire text of the Holy Quran, along with translations and commentary. It claims to support over 30 languages, with more in the pipeline. Users can bookmark verses and search through the holy text for topics of relevance. There’s also a similar app for Android devices.
Al-Muslim is a free iOS-only app, which is available in both Arabic and English.
The app allows you to schedule daily acts of kindness as well as compulsory activities such as prayers. The embedded checklist is a good reminder of how Muslims can help the community during Ramadan and the app also provides a summary of all what you have done. Additionally, there are options to add preferences for certain types of acts of kindness and to read verses of the Quran.
Instadeen is a photo sharing and editing app which allows users to put religious quotes and sayings on their images. These can then be shared on social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. The developer claims his inspiration to be from a saying of the Holy Prophet, “It is also charity to utter a good word.”
Prayer Times: Qibla and Azan is a free Android app which provides accurate prayer timing and direction to Mecca in 251 countries worldwide. Useful for frequent travelers and those constantly on the go, the app will also notify you when it is time for each daily prayer and uses a compass to determine which direction to pray.
Your future #instafood pics could tell you just how many calories are on your perfectly-filtered plate of french fries. At least, if Google has anything to say about it.
Google confirmed that its artificial intelligence researchers are working on an experimental project that can detect your meal’s calorie information by analyzing a photo of the food. The project, called Im2Calories, was introduced last week at Boston’s Rework Deep Learning Summit, according to a report in Popular Science.
The experiment “marries visual analysis — in this case, determining the depth of each pixel in an image — with pattern recognition,” the Popular Science report states. But even though Im2Calories is analyzing pixels, the tech can apparently work with lower quality photos, like Instagram posts, Google research scientist Kevin Murphy said during the event.
The algorithms will become more accurate over time, Murphy said, and could benefit both consumers who are worried about portion control as well as doctors and researchers who could potentially use the data in aggregate for research.
“To me, it’s obvious that people really want this and this is really useful,” Murphy said, according to the report. “OK, fine. Maybe we get the calories off by 20%. It doesn’t matter. We’re going to average over a week or a month or a year. And now we can start to potentially join information from multiple people and start to do population level statistics.”
Google is hardly the first company to work on automated calorie-counting. SmartPlate, an app-enabled plate equipped with scales and sensors that also claims to help measure food intake, debuted on Kickstarter last month. Similarly, San Francisco startup Vessyl successfully crowdfunded a “smart cup” that can track the calories you drink. But Google’s approach stands out as it doesn’t rely on extra hardware to complete its analysis, which could make automated calorie tracking much more accessible and easier to use.
Though Im2Calories is still an experiment, Murphy said the company had filed patents on the technology, so it seems possible the tech could make its way into one or more of Google’s products eventually, once the algorithms have been fine tuned more.
Planning a trip with bus and train travel can get complicated, quickly, but booking startups are trying to make it as simple as possible.
Wanderu, which offers a comprehensive resource for bus and train travel, launched a new Android app Thursday after launching an iOS app in February.
CEO Polina Raygorodskaya says that the company, which she founded in 2011, is focused on millennial travelers and sees about half of its traffic from mobile devices.
“We are now able to serve users on nearly every mobile device with our own native apps and help make the ground travel booking experience the best that it can be,” she said.
More than half of U.S. smartphone users had a device with an Android operating system in 2014, according to consumer research company Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.
The app is launching with both English and Spanish language options.
By combining the routes of Amtrak, Greyhound, Megabus, Boltbus and many others into one service, Wanderu is a good option for travelers trying to find the best value without spending a tremendous amount of time comparing prices on different websites.
There isn’t typically much glamour in traveling by bus, but schedule and ticket flexibility in addition to low prices has led to a growing bus travel sector.
Daily bus service in the U.S. grew by 2.1% in 2014, according to a report from DePaul University, while Amtrak service remained constant, and scheduled commercial airline flights decreased 3.5%.
“Bus travel-booking websites, most notably Wanderu and Busbud, are encouraging reluctant bus travelers to try this mode of transportation,” the report states. “These websites offer a convenient means of comparison-shopping, much as Expedia, Orbitz, and Travelocity do for air travel.”
With Meerkat still taking Twitter by storm (despite Twitter’s efforts to limit the app’s reach) and news of Facebook’s big plans for its upcoming F8 Developer Conference heating up, you may have missed some of this week’s best new apps.Luckily, each weekend, we round up our favorite new and updated apps, so you won’t miss out.
This week’s list includes LInkedIn’s job-finding app making its way to Android, a new image-editing app, Atari’s new fitness-themed offering that incorporates classic games and an iOS app-launcher that tuns your notifications menu into one-touch app shortcuts.
Check out the gallery, below, to see all the apps that made our list of top picks. And if you’re looking for more, take a look at our last roundup of can’t-miss apps.
Leave it to the folks at Atari to make a fitness app that uses Pong, Centipede and other retro classics to motivate users to lose weight. The app offers a variety of workout plans based around your fitness goals. Logging exercise earns you coins, which you can use to play Pong, Centipede and Super Breakout.
Keep an eye on: The app’s social features, which allow you to join tams with friends and compete for positions on the leaderboards for the in-app games.
Pro-tip: Connect Apple’s Health app and Atari Fit will pull in stats from your wearables and other fitness-tracking apps like RunKeeper.
The latest image-editing app from the same team behind Facetune, Enlight is, in many ways, an iPhone-photograher’s dream app. The app manages to strike the right balance between traditional Photoshop-like controls and artistic filters and effects. Users can choose from a wide range of preset filters or manually adjust individual elements of their photos, including a sophisticated curves control.
Keep an eye on: The app’s more artistic effects — like the artistic menu, which allow you to make your photos look like pop art — and the text menu allows you to add text, stickers and other additions to your images to instantly turn them into customized means.
Pro-tip: Swiping across your image adjusts the intensity of the filter and other effects. Use the masking feature to apply effects to specific portions of photos.
While iOS doesn’t allow users to customize their home screens the way their Android counterparts can with launcher apps, Launcher comes about as close as any iOS app we’ve seen. The app takes advantage of iOS 8’s notification center widgets, to allow users to place a wide variety of app shortcuts directly in their today menu.
Keep an eye on: Customizable widgets. You can add a Twitter shortcut that opens the app on the “compose new tweet” screen to save time, for example. Upgrading to the $3.99 Pro version makes widgets even more customizable.
Pro-tip: Use the Google Maps shortcut to automatically fill in your home or work address to automatically launch the app and get directions from your current location.
LinkedIn Job Seacrh
LinkedIn finally brought its job-finding app to Google Play this week. The app allows users to search through the network’s many job listings and apply for positions from within the app. When you find a position you’re interested in, you can easily view which of your connections also work at the company.
Keep an eye on: Notification settings — the app will alert you when a new position opens up in a field or company that interests you and will also let you know when a post is about to expire.
Pro-tip: The app’s recommendations improve over time as you search for more positions and view more open listings. It also take into account the experience and skills in your profile so make sure each section of your profile is up to date.
Timing is everything in this surprisingly challenging game. The premise is simple: guide the box-headed Mr. Jump through each level without killing him on a spike or drowning him in the water. But the game is more difficult than it looks and timings is everything as more jumps doesn’t guarantee you a better result.
Keep an eye on:: The stats at the end of each round show you info like how far you made it through the level and hp many attempts you’ve made so far.
Pro-tip: Stuck on a level (and, believe us, you will be): you can skip current level and unlock a new one with an in-app purchase. And turn up your volume for the whimsical soundtrack, which may keep your rage in check.