It’s been a busy month for some of the most well-known apps out there: Google Maps, Snapchat, Evernote, and Slack have all had notable updates in the New Year.
And there are some cool new apps that are making it easy to do things like create GIFs, find delicious recipes, and manage your money.
Here are some exciting new apps – plus updates to old favorites – you may have missed this month.
Slack now has threaded messaging
Everyone’s favorite work chat app just got an intriguing new feature: the ability to start a threaded message. Threads are designed to help you organize your thoughts and get work done – or, more likely, to stop irritating your coworkers with side conversations.
Threaded messages have their opponents so far – it’s not the most elegant interface yet, so it takes a few clicks to actually read new messages in a thread – but hopefully with time, they’ll help cut down on distractions.
Google Voice finally got a big update
After five years of neglect, Google released a new interface and several new features for its Voice apps. The app – which lets users make calls, send texts, and leave voicemails across every device with one phone number – now has a cleaner, minimalist layout, group messaging, better call quality, and threaded conversations.
You can now book Uber or Lyft rides in Google Maps
In March of last year, Google added a new “ride services mode” within Maps – the ability to get price estimates and wait times for Uber or Lyft without leaving the app. Now, you can also order a ride without having to click out of Maps. Rather than a list of options that take your out of map view, you’ll now see a pop-up menu at the bottom of the screen that shows all your options, how much they cost, how long you’ll wait, and a “request” button.
Momento automatically creates beautiful GIFs using your own photos
Momento is a beautiful new free app with a simple purpose: to create GIFs out of the photos in your camera roll. By giving the app access to your photos, it will automatically create GIFs that you can then edit and share.
Momento says it uses a “smart detection algorithm” to create the GIFs, and it works: the app turned my still photos of waves crashing over rocks into quick, beautiful video snippets with no effort on my part.
The only downside: Momento is currently only available for iOS.
Squeeze wants to be your “ultimate money manager”
Squeeze is yet another finance app intended to help you save money, but it has a few features that make it stand out from the others.
The app has three uses: financial advice, comparison shopping, and tracking your money. Squeeze combs through your bank account, identifying ways to help you find ways to save money, like breaking down the cost of switching to TV streaming apps instead of paying for cable. But the compare feature is perhaps the most interesting: By inputting your location and service provider, the app pulls up rates for different services like internet and phone. There, you’ll be able to see if you’re getting the best deal.
Evernote’s iOS app is new and improved
Evernote rolled out version 8.0 of its iOS app in January, overhauling the interface and streamlining the features. The new app makes it faster and easier to find your notes – a common complaint about Evernote in the past. You can also now start a new note with the tap of a button, the app is more colorful and better designed, and its features are pared-down.
Snapchat now has a search function
Snapchat added a feature designed to make using the app a little less confusing: search.
The new search bar – which is present at the top of the screen throughout the app – lets you quickly jump into conversations with friends. You can use the search bar to look up one of themedia partners who create content in for Snapchat Discover. By searching for “CNN,” for instance, you’ll be able to pull up the daily package of stories from CNN’s Discover section.
Each profile can also now be represented with that person’s Bitmoji, a customizable emoji (Snapchat bought the Bitmoji app in July 2016).
Vine is dead, but Vine Camera lives on
- Vine Camera
After shutting down the original Vine video app in late 2016, Twitter decided to bring it back as Vine Camera, a nearly identical app – minus the Vine community. If you already had Vine on your phone, it was automatically replaced with Vine Camera.
Vine Camera lets you import videos or create your own within the app, offers more “advanced” camera tools, and lets you edit video within the app. After you’re finished with a video, you can either save it to your camera roll or post it directly to Twitter.
Vine Camera is available for both iOS and Android.
You can now keep track of your New Year’s fitness resolutions in Google Calendar
Google’s new Calendar update aims to makes it easier to stay on top of your fitness goals. The app now syncs with Google Fit and Apple Health to import all your goals into your calendar. Not only will your activity be recorded, but the app will automatically mark your goals as “done” once you complete them. A performance tracker will show you how you’re doing, plus the app will learn when you typically exercise and help you find the time in your schedule to work out.
Gif Recipes is a recipe app for millennial foodies
- Gif Recipes
Fans of BuzzFeed’s “Tasty” food videos, rejoice: there’s now an app the provides easy-to-follow recipes in the form of delicious-looking videos.
Gif Recipes is a simple, visual way to find something to make for dinner. Not only are the GIFs mouthwatering, they also provide all the necessary instructions like ingredients and cook time. And if you’re not a visual learner, that information is provided in text form underneath each video. Swiping left or right will take you to a new recipe.
Some downsides: The app’s interface is almost too simplistic, plus the free version has ads at the bottom of the page. But it’s off to a good start.
Gif Recipes is available for Android.
DVD Netflix is a high-tech app for a low-tech movie lover
For those who still prefer to watch movies on DVD, Netflix hasn’t forgotten about you. On New Year’s Day, Netflix launched an app to make it easier to rent movies (In case you’ve forgotten, Netflix got its start as a DVD rental service, so this new app stays true to its roots).
DVD Netflix allows you to set up a DVD queue of shows and movies which you can easily rearrange and swap around. Netflix will then send you the DVDs, which you can watch and keep for as long as you like. One you ship it back for free, Netflix will send you a new video.
Right now, DVD Netflix is only available for iOS.