Google just gave everyone a great reason to use iMessage apps

iMessage just got even more useful.
Image: lili sams /Mashable

Multi-taskers, rejoice:  Google just made it a lot easier to search while texting with friends.

The company just introduced an update that adds an iMessage extension to Google’s iOS app. This means you can search and share results without ever having to leave your current thread.

Now, so long as you have Google’s iOS app installed, Google searches are only a couple taps away whenever you’re in the Messages app. 

If you haven’t used it before, you’ll need to enable the iMessage extension from app drawer by taping on the App Store icon (you can choose your favorite app shortcuts in the “more” menu.) Once enabled, all you have to do is tap on the Google icon to get a handy search box, along with shortcuts for checking out weather, nearby restaurants, as well as trending YouTube videos and news.

There’s even a GIF search feature because iMessage can never have enough GIFs. 

If you search for restaurant recommendations, the app makes it easy to share results back to the conversation you’re having, though not all of Google’s shortcuts are easily shared via the extension. Even so, it’s a useful feature to have available (and a good way to kill time while you’re waiting for everyone in a group message to chime in).

This isn’t the first time Google has taken advantage of the extra space where your keyboard normall is.

The company’s keyboard app Gboard, also has search built right in. Now though, you don’t even need to have the Gboard app at all — so long as the Google app is installed on your phone, the search extension will show up in the app drawer in iMessage. 

Read more: https://mashable.com/2018/03/05/google-search-imessage/

iMessage and FaceTime goes down for users in Australia

Some Australian users weren't able to use iMessage or Facetime.
Image: lili sams/mashable

Well, this is odd.

Some customers of Australian carrier Telstra were unable to use iMessage and FaceTime on Wednesday morning, as technicians worked to fix the issue with the two Apple services.

The carrier’s outages page confirmed the problem. In a tweet, Telstra said customers could continue to send and receive SMS messages, but later stated those services were coming back to normal.

“Earlier today some customers experienced a disruption to Apple iMessage and FaceTime services. We worked with Apple to resolve this issue. Services are now being progressively being restored. We apologise for any inconvenience caused,” a Telstra spokesperson said via email.

One Twitter user, Nikolai Hampton, reported that Apple’s servers were not reachable by Telstra. 

Hampton suggested updating the phone’s DNS to get access to different servers, while another user Nathan Bujega, said a VPN would get around the problem.

Wednesday’s outage is not helped by the fact the iMessage app bundles SMS and iMessage services together, leading Telstra to instruct users how to force send an SMS message.

Apple’s iMessage has a history of not playing well with carriers. 

As the service gained popularity, those who switched from iOS and forgot to turn off iMessage reported missing messages, something that’s arguably been a headache for carriers.

Read more: https://mashable.com/2018/02/20/telstra-imessage-facetime-outage/