App stores are crowded places these days, and because storage space on your phone is often at a premium, you’ll want to find and fill it with not only the best, but also the most helpful apps out there. Because they come and go quicker than the latest fashion trends, and digging through Google Play, the iTunes App Store, or any of the others is such a mission; a little nudge in the right direction is often very welcome. Here are the apps we think you need to check out this week.
Now that we do more of our conversing through text, we end up trusting our most intimate secrets and private information to messaging services. The problem, if one should arise, is if it turns out they don’t have our best intentions in mind. You may have someone eavesdrop on you in person, but your text messages could be intercepted by all sorts of different people, none of whom do their listening just to keep your secrets safe.
Call it paranoia, but there’s no reason not to take an extra precautionary step. That’s what Bleep, the super-secure messaging service from BitTorrent provides. Messages sent through the app are encrypted on the device, making them harder to crack and intercept. Whisper mode, which takes its inspiration from Snapchat, makes messages self-destruct after being viewed so you never have to worry about a text hanging around for too long. To prevent against screenshots, BitTorrent has applied an ingenious blur over the sender’s name that has to be revealed separate the text. If you need to chat in a secure fashion for any reason, Bleep is the app you want to use.
Connected devices and the gradual adoption of the Internet of Things has made home security easier and more affordable than it used to be—no mess of wires and thousands of dollars to invest in equipment required. Alfred simplifies the process even further. All you need is a pair of smartphones or tablets and a Google account. Alfred turns your old, unused smart devices into cameras that keep an eye on your house. Log into the app and you can access the live video feed to check in while on the go.
When you’re looking for a restaurant or cafe, there are three important things you want to know beforehand: What are their hours, what’s on the menu, and do they have Wi-Fi? WiFiMapper makes it easy to find an open network to which you can connect. It crowdsources the information, provided through OpenSignal, to map out where you can find an unrestricted network. With over 500 million hotspots located already, you’ll have plenty of choice.
One of the benefits of online news outlets is they can fill niches that are otherwise underserved. This causes an issue though: there’s just too much information out there to parse on your own. Spotter realizes the internet newspaper is far denser than your Sunday paper, so it helps out by bringing just the news that is of interest to you. The app, created by two former Google executives, analyzes hundreds of news sites and finds the news you care about by utilizing artificial intelligence. The more news you read, the more it’ll learn about you and improve its suggestions.
One of the problems of doing most of your dealings online are other people. When you want to sell or buy something or go on a date, you have to trust the person your connecting with is on the level. If you’re not so trusting, Shuffle is a nice layer of protection to add. Instead of giving out your phone number or email address, Shuffle lets you craft temporary “burner” accounts that you can use to connect with people. Once you’re done with that interaction, just erase the information and it’s gone for good.