Additional Video Support for Social Networks

February 12, 2015 · Written by Andrew S

Picture 2-12-2015Videos have been a major part of many social networks for quite some time now. At this point, Facebook is reaching over 3 billion video views a day. Over 50% of people in the United States that visit Facebook on a daily basis watch at least one video per day. Social networks that are focused purely on video, such as Vine, have continued to expand. Vine has recently launched Vine Kids, which is a kid-friendly version of the social network, which will allow children to share amusing videos with one another without running into potentially inappropriate content.

However, not every social network has excelled when it comes to videos. Surprisingly enough, Twitter has never had any direct video support, despite (or perhaps, because of) the fact that Vine is a Twitter acquisition. Recently though, Twitter finally got around to adding video support in the app itself. Not surprisingly, the interface looks quite similar to Vine, but videos that are shared can be up to 30 seconds long, instead of limited to 7 seconds, which is the case on Vine. It is likely that part of Twitter’s decision to add video support is to allow video ads to be shared on Twitter, to help generate income for the social network.

Not every social network is adding videos for the sake of advertisements though. The social network Ello was notoriously founded in response to Facebook, as a social network that vowed to never have any ads, instead generating money through paid-for features. Ello had a small surge in popularity when Facebook was under fire for cracking down on users that went by alternative names in their Facebook profiles. However, Ello’s time in the sun may have passed. Regardless, they recently added video support to the social network, in an effort to continue finding ways to make it better.

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Tags: Social Bookmarking,Social Media,Social Media News Brief,Social Networking,Web 2.0

Twitter Finds New Ways to Interact with Search Engines

February 5, 2015 · Written by Andrew S

Picture 2-5-2015One of the best ways for social networks to move up in the world is to pair themselves with the major search engines. Many of the larger social networks have some kind of history working with Google or Bing in different capacities. This is something that Twitter has recently been doing, as new features have been announced that directly implement aspects of these search engines. When it comes to Bing, Twitter has paired up with the search engine for translation reasons.

On the Twitter website, as well as in the mobile apps, users can now easily translate any tweet in a foreign language to the user’s default language. Though the translation tool is not perfect, it’s still a step up from not being able to read foreign tweets at all. Bing is not the only search engine that Twitter has found themselves recently pairing with, however. There has also been a deal made between Twitter and Google, which will ultimately allow tweets to appear in Google searches.

Yahoo and Bing already offer the ability to show tweets in their searches, but this will allow Google to have the same benefits. Twitter and Google had an agreement that was similar to this in 2009, but it was discontinued in 2011, around the same time that Google Plus launched. Google pairing themselves up with Twitter again may be yet another sign that they’re gradually removing support from Google Plus, which has been circling the drain for a while now.

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Tags: Search News,Social Bookmarking,Social Media,Social Media News Brief,Social Networking,Web 2.0

Snapchat Discover Offers Content from Major Brands

January 29, 2015 · Written by Andrew S

Picture 1-29-2015Snapchat has known for a long time that their platform could be monetized. That’s why they turned down billions of dollars that were offered when Facebook attempted to purchase them. However, we hadn’t seen many ways that Snapchat was actually pursuing these sorts of endeavors, apart from some occasional ads that have made their way into users’ Snapchat apps. This week, however, things changed with the launch of Snapchat Discover, which will be offering content from brands such as CNN, ESPN, Comedy Central, and more.

Snapchat Discover will allow all sorts of different brands to deliver content to users and users can pick which brands they hope to see information from. These brands will be able to regularly launch their own ephemeral content for users to check out and Snapchat Discover will be regularly refreshed with new options for users to browse through. The featured brands will change from day to day. Snapchat Discover launched with CNN, Comedy Central, Cosmopolitan, Daily Mail, ESPN, Food Network, National Geographic, People, Vice, Yahoo News, and Warner Music Group, but these will change daily.

Snapchat is not requiring companies to pay to feature content on their app. The way that Snapchat Discover will work to generate money will be by selling ad space that runs alongside the content that is viewed through Snapchat Discover. For instance, CNN content appears alongside BMW ads, while Vice content shows up with ads for GrubHub. Snapchat Discover could be a real game-changer for the way different companies will be spreading information to their user base. Furthermore, being on Snapchat will allow these brands to expand their user base by offering content to a younger demographic, the group that most frequently uses Snapchat.

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Tags: Social Bookmarking,Social Media,Social Media News Brief,Social Networking,Web 2.0

The Subsidiaries of Facebook

January 22, 2015 · Written by Andrew S

Beheading films on FacebookPart of the way that Facebook continues to evolve its social network platform is by acquiring other companies and oftentimes integrating aspects of that company’s work into Facebook itself. In other cases, Facebook will make acquisitions that are mostly separate from the social network, such as when they purchased Oculus VR last year. Though purchasing Oculus might not do much to enhance Facebook itself, Facebook has made a couple of recent acquisitions that will.

One of these acquisitions was Wit.ai, which is a startup that was founded a year and a half ago, focusing on voice recognition software. Wi.tai’s platform will still remain open and free to all, but Facebook will likely integrate this type of technology into Facebook itself in some way. In addition to that, Facebook is continuing a trend of helping out developers with building their apps, so that those developers will in turn pay Facebook for ads or split revenue with Facebook for hosting its ads. This is one of the reasons that Facebook acquires certain subsidiaries without immediately incorporating new technologies into their own social network.

Another recent acquisition made by Facebook was that of QuickFire Networks, a company that is working hard on reducing video file sizes and upload times. These sorts of things would be extremely useful for Facebook, which features video ads as well as video sharing. The hopeful end result of this acquisition would be lower buffering times without having to sacrifice the quality of the video.

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Tags: Social Bookmarking,Social Media,Social Media News Brief,Social Networking,Web 2.0

Facebook At Work Provides Social Networking for Businesses

January 15, 2015 · Written by Andrew S

Picture 1-15-2015There have been reports appearing for a while that Facebook was working on an app that would more easily allow co-workers to communicate with one another. I talked about this briefly back in October. The rumors continued to be spread until yesterday, when Facebook finally officially unveiled their new application, known as Facebook At Work. Though it will first only be open to companies that have joined the program with Facebook, it will likely be rolled out more extensively later on.

The app allows co-workers to easily message one another, post in groups, and set up events and tasks. Some news sources believe that Facebook At Work will be making some serious waves and could change the face of corporations as we know it. Transforming the Facebook platform into a platform that can connect names with faces throughout a large company could help to keep growing corporations from feeling so inhuman. Smaller companies can suffice with other in-house messaging systems, but larger companies will truly benefit from a full-fledged social network for their company.

Facebook At Work will keep information separate from Facebook itself, and privacy settings will be treated differently, as bosses will have access to any information posted by anyone in the company. The intention is that Facebook At Work will remain professional, while still being able to bring together people in a larger company or corporation. A hurdle that some companies may have to overcome will be getting employees to view this version of Facebook as something that’s pivotal to the company, rather than the time-waster and distraction it currently is for most employees.

Not to be left behind, LinkedIn appears to be launching their own products geared towards co-worker communication. One of these products is an update to LinkedIn’s InMail service, which will allow co-workers to more easily contact one another. Another yet unnamed product is also being worked on, which will make it easier for administrators to send information to groups of employees.

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Tags: Social Bookmarking,Social Media,Social Media News Brief,Social Networking,Web 2.0

Updated Photo Filters for Twitter and Instagram

January 8, 2015 · Written by Andrew S

Picture 1-8-2015One of the things that many people seem to love about certain social networks is their ability not only to share images, but to make those images look like they were taken by a semi-professional photographer, despite these images generally being captured via phone. For a long time, Instagram has offered a plethora of photo filters that users can choose from before uploading a photo. Though other social networks have offered similar features, Instagram has long been the best choice for adding photo filters. However, as of last month, they may finally have some genuine competition in the form of Twitter.

Twitter initially launched their own photo filters in 2012, likely in response to the popularity of Instagram’s own filters, but the implementation of these filters left something to be desired. Initially, potential filters were shown on small thumbnails and the interface was not especially intuitive. In December, Twitter updated their photo filters to appear in the form of a row so that you can easily tap through them on your phone to choose which photo filter you wish to use. On top of this, Twitter’s photo filters are now adjustable, another feature that appears to have been adopted from Instagram.

Not wanting to be left behind, Instagram quickly responded with five new filters of their own: Slumber, Crema, Ludwig, Aden, and Perpetua. This is a big deal to Instagram users, because new filters have not been added to Instagram in more than two years and this update brings Instagram to a total of twenty-four filters. In addition to launching new filters on their platform, they have also given users the ability to rearrange their list of filters to move the ones they use to the top of the list or even to hide the ones that they never use. These updates give users more customization options when it comes to the photos that they wish to share.

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Tags: Social Bookmarking,Social Media,Social Media News Brief,Social Networking,Web 2.0

What to Expect from Facebook in 2015

December 31, 2014 · Written by Andrew S

Picture 12-31-2014With 2015 on the horizon, the major social networks are already looking into new features that they will be able to provide to their users in the coming year. Over the past couple of months, various features for Facebook have been teased and announced. Back in October, some hacked screenshots were discovered, which revealed that Facebook was working on friend-to-friend payment features for Facebook Messenger. Users will be able to enter their debit card information to easily transfer money to friends. This feature still has not been officially announced, but is likely among the features for Facebook that will be rolled out in the New Year.

Friend-to-friend payments are not the only feature that has been discussed for Facebook’s future. Facebook is working on some artificial intelligence research, with the hopes of warning users when they are about to upload an embarrassing picture. Using a specific branch of AI known as ‘deep learning,’ the idea is to keep users from potentially uploading content that could be embarrassing or otherwise problematic for them. Some have suggested that this is Facebook’s method of stopping users “from uploading drunk selfies.”

Another feature that could be on the horizon for 2015 might be the long-requested ‘Dislike’ button. Facebook’s ‘Like’ button has been a symbol of the company for years now, and there have been requests for a ‘Dislike’ button for as long as the feature has been available. During a Q&A with Mark Zuckerberg earlier this month, the Facebook CEO mentioned that the company was thinking about the ‘Dislike’ button, or at the very least, other types of reactions and responses users could make to posts other than ‘Like.’

Most recently, Facebook has begun to test new advertising features. Advertisements are where much of Facebook’s revenue comes from, which is why they are always hoping to find innovative ways for their advertisements to work. One method that Facebook is currently testing is playing ads after a video is complete. Many people are familiar with ads that start up before a video is played, but Facebook wants to test out what happens when ads are played after the video has ended. It will truly be interesting to see how Facebook and the other social networks continue to evolve in the coming year.

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Tags: Social Bookmarking,Social Media,Social Media News Brief,Social Networking,Web 2.0

Snapchat Continues to Find Ways to Stay Relevant

December 24, 2014 · Written by Andrew S

Picture 12-24-2014Some could argue that 2014 has been a bit of a rough year for Snapchat. Though this is the year that Snapchat was monetized for the first time, the ephemeral social media app ran into a variety of snags. In one instance, third-party apps allowed many photos taken with Snapchat to be saved and eventually exposed, in an event known as ‘The Snappening.’ However, Snapchat has proven this year that they are willing to change and alter their interface to provide a better experience for its users. In reaction to The Snappening, Snapchat added a function that allowed users to see if another app was saving pictures from Snapchat.

Another hurdle for Snapchat occurred when the Sony Pictures hack organized by North Korea led to a variety of Snapchat company secrets being exposed. These leaked emails had a number of early reveals to the public about what Snapchat will be working on in the future. One that stands out in particular would have to be the fact that Snapchat has met with Sony Music Entertainment in an attempt to bring a music service to the Snapchat platform, an interesting move that is definitely different from the norm for Snapchat.

Though some of Snapchat’s recent announcements and information reveals have been reactionary, Snapchat has found plenty of other ways to upgrade their service in the past few months. In November, Snapchat launched Snapcash, a feature that allows friends to send money to one another via debit card. They also opened up their Geofilters tool to the public a few weeks ago, which allows users to submit artwork that will appear as a geo-targeted filter in Snapchat photos. With these recent developments, one can only expect that Snapchat will continue to expand in the future.

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Tags: Social Bookmarking,Social Media,Social Networking,Web 2.0

Facebook and Bing Go Their Separate Ways

December 18, 2014 · Written by Andrew S

Picture 12-18-2014Facebook and Microsoft have had a long-standing relationship, which for quite some time has led to Facebook including Bing results in the Facebook search bar. Similarly, searching in Bing would allow Facebook users to find results from their friends. However, it appears that Facebook has been making some changes regarding the way their search function works. In particular, it looks like they have removed Bing from the equation, without fanfare.

One of the reasons that Facebook worked with Bing in the first place was because it has long considered Google to be a rival, especially with Google’s mostly unsuccessful plunge into social network territory with Google Plus. What this means for the future of the partnership between Facebook and Bing is currently unclear, though it is likely that these changes have been made in relation to Facebook’s new search functions, which I talked about last week.

It seems that Facebook wants to refocus their search functions to work within Facebook, rather than extending to the rest of the web. However, the refining of their search functions appears to be used to compete with other search experiences. A Microsoft spokesperson says that they continue to partner with Facebook in other areas apart from the search function. It still is possible that Facebook and Bing will work concurrently in the future, but under what circumstances is currently unknown.

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Tags: Search News,Social Bookmarking,Social Media,Social Media News Brief,Social Networking,Web 2.0

Facebook Now Lets You Search for Specific Posts

December 11, 2014 · Written by Andrew S

Picture 12-11-2014Last month, Twitter released an update to their search function that allowed users to search for any tweet that had ever been posted, from Twitter’s launch to tweets being posted right now. Twitter’s search had worked similarly to this beforehand, though it didn’t quite extend all the way back to the beginning of Twitter. Not wanting to be left behind, Facebook has updated their own search function in response and finally is now allowing users to find older posts.

Facebook has been working on this feature for more than a year. Searching is customized for each user, so that users can search only through posts that have been shared with them, rather than all posts on Facebook. Users simply have to type in any word and can find all posts that use that word or phrase. These can be specified to certain users, so that you could type in a friend’s name and find any posts that they might have written that used the word “Florida” or “restaurant.”

There are plenty of applications for this new feature that could benefit Facebook and even build it up as a competitor to Yelp or Google. For instance, now any user can type in “happy hour” or “great burger” and find every time that one of their friends referenced this sort of thing. It allows Facebook to operate as a service for friend-based recommendations. The search function can also be used to find friends’ opinions regarding major news events by typing in keywords like “ebola” or “Ferguson.” With Facebook making everyone’s posts that much more public, your privacy settings may be more important than ever, so it may be worth taking a look at those again now that Facebook has rolled this feature out.

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Tags: Social Bookmarking,Social Media,Social Networking,Web 2.0

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