Large conference Facebook's first major show since September 2011
During a Facebook briefing at the SXSW festival, head of developer products Ilya Sukhar revealed that the company is holding a large F8 Developer Conference for the social media powerhouse on April 30. The developers-only conference will be held on April 30, and is likely to have over 1,500 coders in attendance.
Rapid Deployment Data Center concept features modular piece design
Facebook announced that it will be using its Rapid Deployment Data Center (RDDC) concept that was created through the Open Compute Project (OCP) for its latest build in as part of a second building at the existing Luleå, Sweden data center location. The design was displayed at the Open Compute Summit in January, showing the strides the company has made in data center construction and development since the official launch of their first center in Prineville, Oregon in 2011.
Social network introduces new rules for posts concerning regulated goods
Facebook is attempting to curb online sales of guns by updating its policy on user posts and pages on its social network. A number of "educational and enforcement efforts" were introduced by the company on Wednesday to both Facebook and Instagram, which will cover not only firearms but also discussions relating to other regulated item sales or services.
Vudu adding support for Google Chromecast to mobile apps, website
Vudu has revealed it will be adding support for the Google Chromecast to the streaming service in the future. Both the mobile apps for iOS and Android will gain the extra ability, including offering remote control through the app itself, with casting through the Chrome browser for Mac and PC also touted as part of the release. Though Vudu has yet to reveal a date, it is accepting registrations for beta testing.
Voting window appears when searching Google for American Idol terms
FremantleMedia, 19 Entertainment/CORE Media Group, and the Fox broadcasting network today announced partnerships with search powerhouse Google and social networking giant Facebook, designed to give fans new interactive on-air and online experiences with the series of American Idol XIII live shows and attendant fan voting.
Grovemade introduces walnut and maple cases for iPhone and iPad, iPhone docks
Accessories designer Grovemade has introduced new walnut and maple wood cases for iPhone and iPad today, as well as wooden iPhone docks. Each wooden iPhone case is milled from a solid block, and features a reinforced interior for durability. Cases for iPad Air and Mini feature three standing positions for reading, typing and viewing content, and Grovemade's iPhone Dock combines a wooden top with a solid three pound steel base for sturdy, one-handed operating. Walnut and maple cases and docks retail at $100.
Memorialized profiles to be remembered as-is
After a recent public call for Facebook to allow a family access to a deceased family member's "Look Back" video, the company has decided to re-evaluate how it deals with profiles left behind after death. In a statement from the company, new policy changes are outlined on how profiles are handled in their memorializing process. Accounts will now be left as-is instead of being restricted to a friends-only status.
WhatsApp to remain independent despite Facebook acquisition
Facebook has announced it will acquire messaging service WhatsApp for $16 billion. The deal, surfacing in an SEC filing, will see Facebook part with $4 billion in cash and $12 billion in shares for the messaging app, though there is an additional $3 billion in restricted stock units for WhatsApp founders and employees that will vest four years after the deal has closed.
Companies want easier time recouping legal fees
A collection of companies -- including Apple, Google, Yahoo, Intel, Cisco, and Facebook -- are asking the US Supreme Court for measures to help deter frivolous patent lawsuits, Bloomberg reports. In particular, the companies are seeking to change the language used to determine when a defendant can claim coverage of legal fees from a plaintiff. The current standard allows coverage only if a suit is ruled "objectively baseless" and filed in bad faith.
All users receive unique minute-long recap of Facebook lifetime
Facebook is celebrating ten years of operation, by providing its users a video-based compilation. The "Look Back" video is just over a minute long and is unique to each Facebook account, containing an assortment of most-liked photographs, status updates, and other events that are popular with friends, family, and acquaintances of the user.
FISA requests detailed in agreement with US government
A group of tech companies have released more information about government requests from the NSA and other agencies for user information, as part of their transparency reporting programs. Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Yahoo, and Microsoft have all posted more statistics online for these Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) requests, following an agreement between the companies and the US Department of Justice (DoJ).
Adopts Flipboard-style approach to Facebook and regular news content
Facebook has unveiled Paper, the first app to come out of the social network's new Creative Labs division. The title is launching for the iPhone on February 3rd, and is mainly a Flipboard-style news reader, combining a person's News Feed with articles "from emerging voices and well-known publications," all divided into over a dozen themed categories. People will be able to customize which categories they track.
Column appears alongside News Feed
Facebook has introduced a new Trending feature that enables users to view topics that are currently surging in popularity. The discovery tool is said to be personalized, combining notable topics from across the social network and conversations that are relevant to each specific user.
Facebook news reader app for mobile allegedly close to completion
Facebook could be launching its Flipboard-style news aggregating app this month, according to a report. The app, known as "Paper" and rumored a number of times in recent months, will be a mobile-based news reader in a magazine format that is set to be separate from the usual Facebook News Feed, though it apparently shares a number of traits with that part of the social network.
Creators of Potluck iOS app rumored to be bought for $15M
Facebook has acquired a social networking startup backed by the creators of Twitter. The nine-person team behind Branch Media, creators of the Branch conversation service and the iOS link-sharing app Potluck, has confirmed the acquisition and will form a new Facebook Conversations group, though the entire team will remain in New York City instead of relocating to Facebook's headquarters in California.
Facebook user claims not to have endorsed company, seeks $750
Facebook is being sued over apparent false "likes" being used in advertising on the social network. Anthony Ditirro has filed a class-action suit against Facebook in San Jose, for allegedly showing that users are endorsing products on the service to friends and acquaintances linked to the user, even if the claimed endorser did not actually "like" the associated Facebook page.
Weekly, monthly views let users change app's scope
Sunrise has released a major update of Sunrise Calendar, its popular iOS app. The title lets people merge iCloud, Facebook, and Google Calendar events into a single feed, as well as get notifications, weather forecasts, LinkedIn profiles, and Google Maps directions. Version 2.1 is the first to include a native iPad interface, and takes advantage of the extra screen space through new Week and Month views. The Week view is also accessible to iPhone users.
Judge rules Hulu must face privacy lawsuit
Hulu will have to face a class action lawsuit from users angered by the television streaming service's sharing of viewing histories with Facebook and business metrics company comScore. Reuters reported on Monday that U.S. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler rejected Hulu's argument last week that the complainants in the case had suffered no actual wrong due to Hulu's actions. Instead of the case being dismissed, Hulu will now have to face the plaintiffs in court, with the case potentially resulting in damages of at least $2,500 per violation in addition to punitive damages.
Cellular data access to Facebook free to users without data plan
T-Mobile will be offering users of its GoSmart Mobile prepaid wireless service free cellular data to access Facebook. The low-cost carrier is updating its plans in January, allowing all account types to access both Facebook and Facebook Messenger at no charge, regardless of whether or not there is inclusive data on the user's price plan.
Video ads on Facebook will automatically play silently
Facebook will be rolling out video advertisements to the News Feed of its users this week. A statement from the social network about the new ads effectively confirms an earlier report from the Wall Street Journal, with both desktop users and mobile device owners expected to see the new advertising units with automatically-playing video on their screens in the coming days.
Facebook app for iOS autoplays videos in news feed
Facebook has updated its iOS app to automatically play videos that appear in a user's news feed. Version 6.8 of the app does have the videos set as muted by default, reports TUAW, and though there is no option to turn off the autoplay aspect of the videos, there are settings to allow it to work just on Wi-Fi connections rather than cellular. Both videos from users and advertising will be affected by the change, though it is not known when it will appear in versions on other software platforms.
Amazon updates Cloud Drive Photos for iOS with video support
The Amazon Cloud Drive Photos app for iOS has received an update, bringing support for videos. Appearing on iOS months after Android, TechCrunch reports that the app allows for videos up to 2GB or 20 minutes in length to be uploaded, with the Cloud Photos Auto-Save also updated to allow existing videos on an iPhone or iPad to be automatically uploaded to the service. Other tweaks include a "large upload mode" that disables the iOS lock screen to let uploads finish, and an indicator in the Settings screen showing the usage of Cloud Drive by media.
Agents infiltrate World of Warcraft
Eight tech giants, including industry competitors Apple, Google and Microsoft, have joined forces to demand reforms to the US government's surveillance tactics. In an open letter sent to President Barack Obama and members of Congress, the companies argue that current surveillance practices, as detailed in ongoing leaks from former National Security Agency staffer Edward Snowden, have created an imbalance "too far in favor of the state and away from the rights of the individual-rights that are enshrined in our Constitution."
Mac mini arrays used for iOS app testing, general computing
Social media giant Facebook isn't generally known for its Apple technology use, but a new report suggests that it may have thousands of Mac minis in its data centers. According to ex-Apple engineer and current Facebook employee Christian Legnitto, the Facebook data centers in Prineville, OR and Forest City, NC both have "racks and racks" loaded with the diminutive computer performing "hundreds of thousands of tests every couple of hours" on iOS software in development.
Social network testing new list feature
Facebook is reportedly testing a new "Save For Later Reading" feature that enables users to compile content that appears in their News Feed. Mobile screenshot images posted by MyTechSkool and referenced by AllThingsD show an iBooks-style bookmark button next to news items, which can be later accessed via a new "Saved" category within the existing Apps menu.
Sandberg says teenage use stays stable
Facebook chief operations officer Sheryl Sandberg said this week that the tech media has exaggerated the company's problems with teenagers, and that reports of declining engagement among younger users are overblown. Pulse 2.0 carried a report of Sandberg's most recent comments, which came in the midst of Salesforce.com's Dreamforce conference event. Asked about Facebook CFO David Ebersman's comments on teen use during the company's last earnings call, Sandberg said that those comments had been misinterpreted.
Facebook Messenger updated for iOS 7, adds SMS
Facebook Messenger, a chat app for Facebook users, has received an update for iOS 7. Facebook Messenger allows users to read messages without opening Facebook, send photos privately, make free calls and more. Version 3.0 features a completely new design, optimized for iOS 7. Central to the update is that users can now message people that are not their Facebook friends, using SMS. Available for free, Facebook Messenger can be downloaded on iTunes.
Facebook offered three Instagrams for Snapchat
Popular image sharing app Snapchat reportedly turned down a $3 billion acquisition offer from Facebook, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal. Sources familiar with the matter claim that the world's largest social network offered three times the price it paid when acquiring Instagram for Snapchat, which allows users to send picture messages that expire soon after they are viewed. Those same sources say that the $3 billion offer was not Facebook's first attempt to court the image sharing service.
Profile outage follows similar incident on October 21st
A large number of Facebook users have reported that profiles and pages on the service had a few hours of downtime earlier today. The issue, affecting profiles from approximately 10:30am Eastern Standard Time until 1pm, prevented page content from loading, and instead showed the error "Sorry, but this page didn't load properly. Please try again."
Bug bounty offers up to $5,000 for vulnerabilities in server software
Microsoft is teaming up with Facebook to offer more bounties for bugs and flaws in software used to by a vast majority of websites. The Internet bug bounty, HackerOne, sees the two companies paying cash prizes of between $300 and $5,000 in exchange for details for vulnerabilities in server-based software and frameworks such as PHP, Ruby, Rails, OpenSSL, and Apache httpd.
Large growth in monthly active users on mobile boosts bottom line
Facebook today reported financial results for the third quarter, which ended September 30. Revenue for the quarter totaled $2.02 billion, an increase of 60 percent compared with $1.26 billion in the third quarter of 2012. Daily active users rose to 728 million on average for September 2013, an increase of 25 percent year-over-year. Net income was $425 million, compared to a net loss of $59 million for the third quarter of 2012.
Redesigned Messenger distances itself from Facebook website
Facebook will be updating its messaging app for iOS and Android with a new design and functionality, as the social network moves to make Facebook Messenger a more general-purpose "mobile-to-mobile" messaging app. The next version of the app will be made available to a random group of Android users, before a full rollout over both platforms in the coming weeks.
Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, Twitter memo over spying concerns
A group of technology companies has asked members of the UK government that there needs to be a debate about Internet surveillance. Facebook, Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, and Twitter have jointly written a memo to Members of Parliament (MPs) calling for more transparency in requests for information by government-controlled organizations, such as GCHQ.
Graph Search, new Messenger among plans
Facebook is preparing a series of major updates for its iOS apps, a source claims. The company's core app is slated to get access to Graph Search, a feature which lets people locate others with similar interests. The option should be integrated into the mobile app's search bar.
Laws would only offer more precision in reporting gov't. requests
Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Yahoo are among the companies that have signed a new Center for Democracy and Technology letter asking the US Congress to pass Rep. Zoe Lofgren's (D-CA) Surveillance Order Reporting Act of 2013, and Sen. Al Franken's (D-MN) Surveillance Transparency Act of 2013. The bills were first introduced in August, and would let companies be more precise about when and how often they receive national security-related requests and hand data over to the government.
Facebook to tweak newsfeed ad settings
Facebook will soon tweak the settings of its ad engine in order make user newsfeeds show fewer ads that users aren't interested in. The social network will place more emphasis on user feedback, according to Reuters, with the number of times users hide or report an ad playing a role. The move is just the latest in Facebook's ongoing push to turn itself into a fully relevant ad platform.
New limited opt-out provisos may violate 2011, 2013 agreements
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced that it is evaluating if Facebook has violated an agreement it signed with the federal government in 2011 when it recently changed privacy policies for users. The agreement required Facebook to acquire the explicit permission of users before exposing private information, and Facebook's implementation of this agreement with the new policies may be in error, violating either the 2011 accord or the "sponsored stories" class action suit this year.
2010 slideshow identifies 38 different ways of tracking iPhone users
A National Security Agency presentation from 2010, leaked to Germany's Der Spiegel by Edward Snowden, calls former Apple CEO Steve Jobs "Big Brother" and iPhone customers his "zombies." The presentation is titled Exploring Current Trends, Targets and Techniques, and as a whole discusses NSA efforts to hack into iOS, Android, and BlackBerry devices. Slides on iPhone location services make reference to Apple's own famous "1984" Macintosh ad, and by extension George Orwell's novel warning about government surveillance and the manipulation of history.
Instagram gains 50M users in last six months alone
Instagram is preparing to introduce advertising to the photograph sharing service and image editing app for the first time. A report claiming that it will be including advertisements within its app comes at the same time as the Facebook-owned image and video-sharing social network has broken the 150 million monthly active user barrier.
Microsoft adds 5M square miles of images to Bing Maps
Microsoft has updated Bing Maps to include another 13 million square kilometers (5 million square miles) of satellite imagery. The update, consisting of aircraft and satellite aerial imagery according to The Next Web, is spread over the majority of the world, including areas of Iceland, France, Brazil, England, Chile, Fiji, and China, with the added photographs totaling almost 316 terabytes of data.
US asks for most user data, followed by India, UK, Italy, Germany
Government agencies representing 74 countries requested details from 38,000 Facebook accounts in the first half of the year, the social network has revealed. Its first Global Government Requests Report, similar to transparency reports published by Microsoft and Google, shows the governments of the United States, India, the United Kingdom, Italy, and Germany as making the largest numbers of requests for user data from Facebook for the period.
$10 million going to lawyers, $10 million to charity, privacy rules overhauled
Despite objections from privacy advocates to the contrary, Judge Richard Seeborg of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California approved Facebook's $20 million settlement offer over its controversial "sponsored stories" program. Additionally, the social network must give users more control over how personal content is shared, which Facebook's attorneys places at a value of $145 million. Between January 2011 and August 2012, Facebook charged advertisers $234 million for the program in question.
AT&T rumored to carry Nokia Lumia 925 from next month
The Nokia Lumia 925 will allegedly make its way to AT&T next month for $99 on-contract. The smartphone, said to be replacing the Lumia 920 currently offered by the carrier by WPCentral, will apparently go on sale two months after the device launched on T-Mobile in the United States, and could head to other US carriers in the coming months.
Writing permissions now separate
Facebook has changed its permissions requirements for third-party apps, adding a new dialogue that specifically asks users if they want an app to post on their behalf. The move addresses a common criticism of the previous login procedure, which gave a single "all-or-nothing" choice for permission to access the user's data, post on their Timeline and send messages to their friends.
Dedicated Facebook button included for quick uploading
Shortly after launching a quartet of PowerShot digital cameras, Canon has revealed another for release next month, with a focus on social sharing directly through Facebook. The PowerShot N, shown to Electronista at CES earlier this year, now includes a dedicated Facebook Connect button for instant sharing of photographs to the social network over a Wi-Fi connection.
Technology companies working on cheaper Internet access plans
A group of technology companies have grouped together to launch a new initiative to bring Internet access to parts of the global population that do not have it. The collective, consisting of Ericsson, MediaTek, Nokia, Opera, Qualcomm, Samsung and led by Facebook, launched Internet.org and will work together on projects to provide access to those without an Internet connection.
First company with offline translation app
Facebook has announced that it has acquired Mobile Technologies, a Pittsburgh-based company that specializes in speech translation technology. The company boasts of producing the world's first offline speech-to-speech translation app, Jibbigo, along with the first simultaneous interpretation system for educational lectures.
Listings currently US-, iOS-only
Facebook is this week updating its mobile apps with several features. Among these is previously-anticipated OpenTable integration, which will allow North American users to make reservations via a restaurant's profile page. When making a reservation, people will be able to pick from a selection of available times, and specify their party's size.
Would wedge TV-style spots into news feeds
Facebook is planning to start selling 15-second video ads to marketers, sources tell Bloomberg. The clips would be inserted directly into a person's news feed, and at least initially sold on a full-day day basis, with targeting based solely on a person's age and gender. A video would show no more than three times per person, per day, and cost marketers between $1 million and $2.5 million each day.
Social network seeks to increase mobile revenues via app sales, advertising
Facebook will be publishing mobile games, in a new program it announced today at the Casual Connect conference. The new pilot program will "help small and medium-sized developers take their mobile games global," with the company blog post suggesting it is aimed at indie developers that need help in marketing and tailoring their games to more lucrative customer markets.