Apple plans to shutter its failed social network Ping later this year, a recent report claims. Apple unveiled Ping in September 2010, and while many Apple pundits seemed enthusiastic about a music sharing and discovery service that might keep iTunes users browsing through iTunes longer and encourage them to purchase music more often, consumers weren’t quite as impressed. After a few attempts to remind users that Ping still existed, Apple gave up on the service for the most part and it has sat idle for some time. With the next major iTunes release this fall, Apple will finally shutter the service completely, All Things D reports, and the Cupertino-based company will instead rely on Twitter and Facebook integration for the time being to sate users’ social networking needs. More →
Social networks like Twitter and Facebook are among the thousands of sites monitored for suspicious activity by the Department of Homeland Security, and the government agency was recently forced to tip its hand. As part of a freedom of information request made by watchdog group Electronic Privacy Information Center, DOHS recently published a list of hundreds of words and terms it watches for on social media sites. Some are obvious, such as Al Qaeda, terrorism and domestic nuclear detection, while others are potentially a bit more innocent such as Mexico, social media and burst. Innocent or not, the wrong combination of the terms published in this list could result in a user’s online activity being monitored by DOHS — and if they don’t like what they see, users could end up being watched more closely. A spokesperson for the government agency called the list a starting point used to maintain situational awareness of natural and man-made threats, rather than an endgame. More →
Google’s emerging social network Google+ may boast big user numbers, but a new study suggests that social activity and user engagement are anything but impressive. Intended to give Google a stronger grip on the massive amount of data shared by users on social networks, Google’s answer to Facebook opened its doors to the public last September. After using some user acquisition methods that seemed a bit desperate, Google revealed in December that Google+ was then home to 62 million users. Google+ boasted an impressive 100 million users as of early April, but according to eCommerce analytics firm RJ Metrics, the social network is not the waterfall of data Google hoped it would be. More →
Social networking giant Facebook is reportedly set to make its initial public offering on May 18th, a day later than earlier reports had claimed. Company co-founder and chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg, chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg and chief financial officer David Ebersman will take part in a roadshow beginning on Monday that will see the company host a number of meetings to pitch its stock to investors, The Wall Street Journal reports. An offering will then be made on May 18th, the report claims. Facebook’s IPO could raise a much as $10 billion and value the company at as much as $100 billion, making it the largest Internet IPO in history. Google’s 2004 offering currently holds the record at $1.9 billion. Facebook will be listed on the NASDAQ under ticker symbol FB. More →
Google on Thursday reported its results for the first quarter, topping Wall Street’s estimates. The Internet giant managed earnings of $10.08 per share on $10.65 billion in revenue, beating analysts EPS estimates of $9.64 and $8.1 billion in sales. Net revenue came in at $8.14 billion after $2.51 billion in traffic acquisition costs, in line with estimates. In the same quarter a year earlier, Google posted an adjusted profit of $8.08 per share $6.5 billion in sales. The company also plans to create a new class of non-voting capital stock that effectively creates a 2-for-1 stock split. The new class C shares will be traded under a separate ticker. “Google had another great quarter with revenues up 24% year on year,” Google CEO Larry Page said in a statement. “We also saw tremendous momentum from the big bets we’ve made in products like Android, Chrome and YouTube. We are still at the very early stages of what technology can do to improve people’s lives and we have enormous opportunities ahead. It is a very exciting time to be at Google.” A letter from Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin explaining the decision to split the company’s stock follows below along with the Google’s earnings release. More →
Google on Wednesday announced a major redesign for its Google+ social networking site that will introduce a more functional and flexible user experience. The new interface focuses on customization, Google’s Hangout video chatting service and features that will make it easier to discover new conversations and profile pages. One of the first improvements users will notice is a revamped navigation bar located on the left-hand side of the screen. The “ribbon of applications” can be dragged, dropped and placed in any order. The new interface also features a Facebook-like chat bar on the right with a “Trending” widget to help users discover popular topics on Google+, and a dedicated Hangout page will provide users with quick access to popular hangouts, tips and live broadcast. The new design is slowly rolling out and will be available over the next few days. A video highlighting the new Google+ can be found after the break. More →
Instagram is a hugely popular social network centered around sharing retro images with friends, and while it continues to add users by the millions, it will likely soon see a somewhat sizable defection in light of recent events. Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Monday announced that Facebook will acquire Instagram for $1 billion. The deal will make Instagram’s small team rich and give the app exposure to millions of new users, but it will also bring a fresh round of privacy concerns that have already begun to surface. For those who avoid Facebook and its suite of services, deleting an Instagram account couldn’t be easier: users can simply visit the company’s account removal page, log in, and select a reason for their account removal requests from the drop-down menu. As it turns out, “privacy concerns” is the very first option.
Adding yet another positive note to Instagram’s biggest week ever — Facebook on Monday announced that it will acquire Instagram for $1 billion — the company’s new Android application has been downloaded more than 5 million times after less than one week of availability. Instagram launched for Android-powered devices on April 3rd, and it took less than one day for the highly anticipated app to reach the one million download mark. As of Monday, April 9th, the application had been downloaded from the Google Play marketplace more than 5 million times, The Next Web reported. Instagram allows users to capture photos or import them from a smartphone’s camera roll, and then apply retro effects before sharing them with their contacts. Facebook expects its acquisition of Instagram to close later this year. More →
One of the most popular photography applications ever to hit Apple’s iOS platform is now available for Android. Instagram allows users to capture photos and edit them using a number of filters that give images a unique retro look. Pictures can then be shared with other Instagram users, and also shared on Twitter, Facebook or via email. Filters can be applied to images imported from a handset’s camera roll as well, and the app supports devices running Android 2.2 or later. Instagram announced during the annual South by Southwest conference that its Android app would be better than Instagram for the iPhone in a number of ways, and now Android users can find out exactly how the new build stacks up. Instagram is available immediately for free in the Google Play store. More →
After being greeted with mixed reactions, millions of users have warmed up to Facebook’s new layout, dubbed Timeline. The new face of Facebook places all of a user’s interactions with the social network on the profile page in reverse chronological order, giving friends a single destination with infinite scrolling on which they can observe all status updates, photos, wall posts and more. While Facebook tried its best to make the transition an easy one, the company said in January that the slow march to making Timeline a requirement was underway. As of Friday, Timeline is no longer an option and those users who have not already made the switch will be forced to do so.
UPDATE: A Facebook spokesperson contacted BGR to clarify that only Pages are being updated today. Timeline for profile pages are still being rolled out and there is no concrete date for when the mandatory changeover will take place.
A proposed amendment to FCC legislation that would have prevented current or potential employers from seeking access to employee Facebook accounts was shot down by the House of Representatives on Wednesday. The amendment was put forth by Democratic Congressman Ed Perlmutter, and it was defeated 236 to 184 with only one republican voting in favor of the change. “Nothing in this Act or any amendment made by this Act shall be construed to limit or restrict the ability of the Federal Communications Commission to adopt a rule or to amend an existing rule to protect online privacy, including requirements in such rule that prohibit licensees or regulated entities from mandating that job applicants or employees disclose confidential passwords to social networking web sites,” the proposed amendment read. Other legislation is currently being considered on federal and state levels that would prevent companies from demanding usernames and passwords in order to access employee social network accounts. More →
Exactly six years ago Wednesday, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey published the first post on his new service Twttr. “Just setting up my twttr,” Dorsey wrote in his brief note. No one knew at the time, but his tweet was the first of trillions of messages that would be posted to the social networking service over the coming six years. Twitter has seen more than 532 million accounts registered in its six years, and the service is used around the world by people in all walks of life. While some still view Twitter as a wasteland packed with irrelevant minutiae, the service is also used by tens of millions of people and organizations as a means of communication and promotion. Twitter has even played an integral role for groups looking to organize in protest against oppressive regimes. Twitter announced on its blog Wednesday that the service is now home to more than 140 million active users who post an average of 340 million tweets per day. As of about a year ago, four months after Twitter celebrated its fifth birthday, the company confirmed that it was delivering an average of 350 million tweets each day.
In a recent feature about Windows 8 and an earlier piece covering some of the problems facing iPad competitors, we mentioned the lack of multi-user login support as one area where media tablet vendors were missing the mark. The iPad also lacks multi-user support of course, but some features associated with multiple login functionality will become available to iPad users beginning Thursday. Skyfire, maker of the popular like-named mobile Web browser, released an updated version of its iPad browser on Thursday that includes a new “HotSwap” feature. The feature allows multiple users to share the same iPad and swap browser profiles, thus eliminating the need to log out of websites and services each time a different family member picks up the device. So, for example, a user can keep all of his or her tabs open and remain logged into Facebook, Twitter and Amazon even if another user logs into the same sites using a different profile. Skyfire with HotSwap is available as a free update for current users, and the app costs $4.99 for new users. The company’s press release follows below, along with a video showcasing the new HotSwap feature. More →