The three apps for this fortnight are Google's Hangouts, Highlight (to let you discover more interesting people around you), and two apps together to help you relax at the end of a long day.


Google launched a standalone Hangout app a little more than a week ago. It seeks to replace their GTalk app, and features better integration with users' Google+ profiles. It is available for iOS and Android devices.

Unlike as would have been on GTalk, users can exchange textual messages, photos, audio, and can also engage together in a video chat. Even more, every Hangout is like a thread in a forum: chats are remembered for weeks, months, even years for as long as its users want to continue it even if they have signed out and in. This allows you to get access to the entire conversation later.


Highlight is a free app available for iOS devices that, according to its makers, “gives you a sixth sense about the world around you, showing your hidden connections.” Simply, the app helps you know when friends and interesting people are nearby.

At the moment, you can login to the app only with Facebook. Once in, you get notifications every time someone matching your interests is nearby, get to see your mutual friends, exchange messages from within the app itself, and access a detailed history of your interactions.

Privacy controls are also available to minimise how much you're 'exposed' to those around you. Last week, Highlight also received upgrades that, among other things, lets users look for those who've highlighted them.

Sleep Time / Deep Sleep

If you're tired of all the interacting and socialising, here are two interesting apps that let you relax, even drift off, at the end of a long day effortlessly. Sleep Time and Deep Sleep are available for iOS devices only, and are both free.

Sleep Time analyses your sleep cycle and wakes you up at the right time so you're not awakened when you're sleeping deep. Like Deep Sleep, it also features some soothing sounds to help you fall asleep in the first place, and set or reset the alarm with a single gesture. Sleep Time also provides weekly graphs of your sleeping patterns.

Deep Sleep goes one step further and also assists with meditation.