PayPal Overhauls Its Mobile App

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PayPal’s mobile app is getting a massive overhaul today, representing the first time in the history that the company has rebuilt its app from scratch. With the redesign, PayPal is focused on offering a more extensible framework under the hood that will allow it to add new features in the months to come, while also offering a simplified experience for users who want easier ways to make peer-to-peer payments, pay in stores, order food, manage their account settings, and more.

The company says that it built the new application with customer feedback in mind, as well, having even spent time with its 8,000 customer service representatives to learn what sort of problems come up most often. For example, while the old version of the application put a heavier focus on using PayPal in stores from the first launch, the new app puts the sending and receiving functions front-and-center.

It makes sense that this feature would be better highlighted in the new application, as PayPal says it has seen over 100 percent growth in this area over the past couple of years. In addition, the company reports that now 1 in 4 of its transactions take place on mobile.

The most noticeable thing about the revamped app is the user experience, in fact. The app features a cleaner, more modern color scheme, iconography, fonts, and layout which makes it better resemble something a startup trying to compete with PayPal would build rather than something from an older and established payments company.

In a blue section on the homescreen, users can quickly view their account balance, then jump into their account or view their recent activity with just a tap. In the Activity Hub, you can track all the money you’ve sent out or received, including funding sources when applicable – another feature users had been demanding.

Buttons to actually send or receive money are in green below, then the bottom section focuses on PayPal’s other initiatives including the ability to order food through its app, use PayPal in stores, or access your store loyalty cards.

Other changes to the app are less obvious, but equally important. For example, there’s a heavy emphasis on making the app accessible to a global audience. Specifically, the company’s new, iterative platform allows it to better customize and localize the PayPal app in the 145 markets where it’s now live.

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Skype group video calling arrives on iOS and Android today

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SkypeVideoCall

Microsoft promised Skype group video calling for smartphones last month, and now it’s rolling out to iOS and Android today. The software maker will start enabling the option on Skype accounts in Europe and the US today, and expects to complete the roll out over the next week. Microsoft says the feature will be available worldwide in March.

Microsoft is allowing up to 25 people to participate in a Skype group video call, and the person talking with be displayed in the center. Intel has worked closely with Microsoft to enable its SILK Super Wide Band audio codec to run on Azure cloud servers powered by Intel’s processors, allowing Microsoft to offload some of the processing power required for such large conversations.

Alongside the group video calling roll out, Microsoft is also extending its Skype chat invitation feature to iOS and Android. This lets anyone invite people to a group conversation, and they can even participate in a video call using Skype for Web.

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FACETIME STILL LACKS GROUP VIDEO CALLING
Microsoft isn’t the first to enable group video calling on mobile devices. Google Hangouts has long supported up to 10 people on the same video call, but Skype’s 300 million users means this is a significant addition. Apple has still not enabled a similar feature for iOS, leaving FaceTime as the only major video calling service to lack group video calling on the iPhone.