Opera Launches a Free Android VPN, Pokemon GO Has Peaked, Tech News Digest


Opera brings its free VPN to Android, Pokemon GO starts losing players, Pinterest acquires Instapaper from Betaworks, Facebook tests autoplaying videos with sound, and the hamster that thinks it’s Super Mario.

Opera’s Free VPN Lands on Android

Opera has brought its free VPN to Android, with Opera VPN now available on Google Play. Opera added a VPN to its web browser for Windows and Mac in April, before bringing it across to iOS in May. Now, Android users have their first chance to try Opera’s own virtual private network.

Opera VPN is a simple-yet-effective VPN which doesn’t require you to log in to an account, is completely free to use, and has no data limits. Instead, it allows you to choose between five different server locations; the U.S.A., Canada, Germany, Singapore, and The Netherlands.

Opera VPN includes a Wi-Fi test tool which, as the name suggests, tests your Wi-Fi connection and gives it a score between A and F. An A means your connection is secure, while an F means it’s insecure. If it’s the latter, Opera will recommend you enable its VPN to let you surf in safety.

The two catches, if that’s the right word, to using Opera VPN are: 1. It will noticeably slow down your web browsing experience, and 2. You will occasionally be shown ads, albeit unintrusive ones. If neither of these things bother you, Opera VPN could become your new favorite app. And if they do bother you, there are other great VPN services available.

People Lose Interest In Pokemon GO

The Pokemon GO phenomenon, which saw a significant portion of the population lose their minds over the last couple of months, seems to be coming to an end. While the augmented reality game, as developed by Niantic, is still massively popular, it does appear to have peaked.

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Two charts from Apptopia, as publicized by Bloomberg, show what’s happening. The first, tracking the number of people using the app on a daily basis, shows Pokemon GO having peaked in the middle of July. At that point around 45 million people were playing daily, but the number is now closer to 35 million. The second shows the level of engagement slowly trending downwards from launch, albeit with the occasional spike when Niantic changes something up.

Pokemon GO is still a very popular thing, but it appears that its incredible rise to the top has given way to an inevitable slow decline. Which leads us to wonder what the next big app will be. Answers on a postcard please!

Pinterest Acquires Instapaper

Pinterest has acquired Instapaper from startup incubator Betaworks, which in turn acquired it from its founder Marco Arment in 2013. For the uninitiated, Instapaper lets you save content to read later, and its closest competition is a similar service called Pocket.

Citing “a lot of overlap between Pinterest and Instapaper,” the Instapaper team claims, “joining Pinterest provides us with the additional resources and experience necessary to achieve that shared mission on a much larger scale.” They also claim that for “the Instapaper end user and customer, nothing changes”.

However, Instapaper is immediately sunsetting its developer product Instaparser, and moving to Pinterest headquarters in San Francisco. So, some things are already changing. How much more will change has yet to be determined, but we all know what usually happens when a small company is absorbed into a bigger company.

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Facebook Tests Autoplaying Videos

Facebook is reportedly testing autoplaying videos with sound, as it seemingly seeks to annoy every single one of its users. Facebook already automatically plays videos as you scroll down your News Feed, but they’re currently muted until you choose to unmute them. However, that may not be the case for much longer.

According to Mashable, the test is currently limited to Australia, but if it proves successful it’s bound to be rolled out across the board. As to what Facebook determines to be success, it will all come down to how many people then watch the autoplaying videos with sound, and (more relevantly) see the ads which accompany them.

Super Mario Hamster Wins the Internet

And finally, while the internet is mostly obsessed with cats, every once in a while a different animal vies for the collective attention of us internauts. On this occasion the animal in question is a hamster. A cute hamster who seems to think it’s Super Mario, no less.

It’s a painfully short video, but it’s still about the cutest thing I have seen on the web for a long time. Super Mario is a gaming legend, and this hamster is merely paying tribute to Nintendo’s famous mascot. Or maybe it’s just doing what hamsters do. [H/T Reddit]

Your Views on Today’s Tech News

Will you be installing Opera VPN for Android? Are you still playing Pokemon GO? Are you nervous about Pinterest acquiring Instapaper? How do you feel about videos which start playing automatically? Have you ever seen a better animal cosplayer than this cloyingly cute hamster?

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Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.

Tech News Digest is a daily column paring the technology news of the day down into bite-sized chunks that are easy to read and perfect for sharing.