Is Facebook Creating An Instagram Killer?


Apparently the social networking giant is becoming a little envious of Instagram, as new rumors are emerging that Facebook is releasing an iOS app to challenge the photo sharing novice.

According to TechCrunch, Facebook is secretly building an iOS app that borrows the best from Instagram, Color and Path (the latter which never really took off).

While it’s puzzling why Facebook would create a separate app for photos (which might confuse users), jumping in the photo sharing space is a smart move for Facebook as it would help them thwart the rise of new rivals like Twitter, as well as kill off current contenders like Flickr.

It’s still unclear whether Facebook will simply focus on photo sharing with filters (like Instagram), or integrate videos as well, although either way Facebook’s potential entrance into the market is probably sending shivers down everyone’s spine save Twitter.

For those of you addicted to photo sharing services like Instagram, Flickr or (for the few) Path, what are your thoughts regarding Facebook’s rumored app?

Would you consider dumping your current photo sharing service for Facebook, or would you continue to use alternatives instead of the social networking king?

Image Credit: TechCrunch

Blackberry: Facebook For Playbook Is Now Relevant Again


Despite being about half the size of rivals like iPad 2, Playbook is currently the only tablet blessed with an “official” Facebook app.

Until recently the Facebook for Playbook app wasn’t very impressive when compared with official apps upon iPhone and Android (which was disappointing considering the power of RIM’s tablet).

Fortunately it looks like RIM has revamped their Facebook app as their latest update makes using Facebook much more enjoyable experience. [Read more…]

Will AdGrock Help Twitter Become Profitable?


Another day, another tweet acquisition. Although this time instead of buying out a third party tweet client, Twitter has assimulated an ad startup by the name of AdGrok.

When Twitter approached us and asked if we’d be interested in working on their monetization platform, we realized that this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that we just couldn’t pass up. The fact that the Twitter team is both smart and user-focused only made our decision easier. (Official AdGrock Blog) [Read more…]

Rumor: Twitter Abandoning Text Only Format, Embracing Photos?

Twitter LogosInstead of buying a photo sharing service like Flickr, TwitPic or even yFrog, Twitter is allegedly building one in secret from scratch.

According to multiple sources, Twitter is on the verge on announcing it’s own built in Twitpic competitor. Like tomorrow, if things go according to plan (naturally this post might change that). (TechCrunch)

Previously the only thing images Twitter hosted on their servers were user profiles pictures, although aside from that the company has dogmatically embraced a “text only” strategy. [Read more…]

Facebook Courting PayPal


After informing developers of the need to embrace OAuth and HTTPS (news a few developers didn’t enjoy), Facebook is now throwing developers a perk by allowing them to receive payments beyond Facebook Credits.

Starting today, developers signing up for Facebook Credits will have the option to use PayPal as a payout option. Adding PayPal offers more flexibility and choice for payouts and makes it even easier to monetize your app with Facebook Credits.

When signing up for Facebook Credits for the first time, you can now add an existing PayPal account in the onboarding flow. You can also sign up for a new PayPal account by securely repurposing all the information you entered for Credits Onboarding to create a PayPal account. (Facebook Developers Blog)

According to Facebook, over 250 developers upon 500 apps have embraced Facebook Credits, which although significant still seems small considering that the social giant boats thousands of apps.

By embracing PayPal, Facebook is able to attract more developers who might be weary of Facebook’s in house currency system, as well as expand in more countries where Facebook Credits is not an option.

For those of you who create apps upon Facebook, is the PayPal integration a blessing for your app? Also would you prefer another method besides PayPal and Facebook Credits?

Instagram Defying The Odds, Still Growing Like A Weed


For those of you unfamiliar with the photo social network known as Instagram, it’s basically a cross between Flickr and Twitter (with a dozen plus photo filters to help spice things up).

Despite being only 7 months old and operating underneath Facebook’s and Flickr’s shadow, Instagram has become a blockbuster hit with the site now adding over a million users per month!

Co-Founder Kevin Systrom revealed Instagram’s latest stats upon TechCrunch Disrupt, and announced that the platform now boasts 4.25 million users who are uploading an average of 10 photos per second.

What’s incredible about Instagram’s growth is the fact that users can only access  and upload photos via an iOS device (or rather the iPhone as Instagram lacks an iPad app).

Note: Instagram is rumored to be working on an Android app, although they refuse to give an ETA on when it will appear upon Android Market.

Instagram’s biggest rival (aside from Flickr) is probably, whose iOS only strategy has not yielded similar results.

Have you tried Instagram? If so, what are your favorite filters? Also do you think Instagram could challenge Flickr in the future?

Facebook, Microsoft Declare War Against Child Predators


One doesn’t attract 600 million plus users without picking up some of the worst scum along the way. Fortunately it seems as if Facebook is teaming up with Microsoft in order to catch child predators using the social giant’s website.

Facebook is joining Microsoft in the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s PhotoDNA program to combat child pornography. NCMEC’s program, using image-matching technology created by Microsoft Research in collaboration with Dartmouth College, gives online service providers an effective tool to take more proactive action to stop the distribution of known images of child sexual abuse online. (Official Microsoft Blog)

According to the NY Times (who first broke the story), PhotoDNA basically converts the image into a black and white photo, then chops them into smaller blocks.

Using certain measurement tools (which understandably they decline to elaborate upon), PhotoDNA is able to determine if certain images are indeed exploiting children.

Microsoft is apparently giving away this technology for free, and is trying to convince competitors (i.e. read Google) to adopt their technology (which they have already tested using Bing!).

Creating a safer environment for children seems to be a recurring theme for the social giant, and hopefully more companies (like Flickr, Twitter, etc.) will consider implementing PhotoDNA in order to root out child predators from the social universe.

Image Credit: NY Times

Twitter To Developers: Ask Before You Receive

Twitter LogosTweet developers seeking access to direct messages will now be required to ask for access instead of being given the keys to a user’s entire user account.

Beginning today, we’re giving you more control over what information you share with third-party applications. Apps that you use to access your direct messages will ask for your permission again. By the end of the month, applications that do not need access to your direct messages will no longer have it, and you can continue to use these apps as usual. (Official Twitter Blog)

Since there are many third party apps or websites that merely access Twitter to broadcast a message (i.e. Feedburner, Tumblr, mobile apps, etc.), restricting access should help ease fears that a random developer might be able to peak at messages not meant for public.

It may also help cut down on hijacked twitter accounts due to celebrities clicking on suspicious links (and direct messaging all of their followers with spam).

Hopefully Twitter refines these settings even further to include items like Tweet lists, access to timelines, bio info and the ability to alter ones profile picture.

For those of you who are tweet-a-holics, what other features do you want Twitter to restrict?

Facebook To Developers: It’s Time We Had The OAuth, HTTPS Talk


Despite the success of Facebook’s secure logging feature, many developers have yet to embrace the way of HTTPS (as one can easily notice by the lack of support from many popular apps).

In order to prevent a scenario where users have to choose between fun and security, Facebook is giving developers a deadline to embrace HTTPS (as well as OAuth 2.0).

Over the past few weeks, we determined that OAuth is now a mature standard with broad participation across the industry. In addition, we have been working with Symantec to identity issues in our authentication flow to ensure that they are more secure. This has led us to conclude that migrating to OAuth & HTTPs now is in the best interest of our users and developers.

Today, we are announcing an update to our Developer Roadmap that outlines a plan requiring all sites and apps to migrate to OAuth 2.0, process the signed_request parameter, and obtain an SSL certificate by October 1. (Facebook Developers Blog)

While forcing developers to embrace OAuth 2.0 and HTTPS will cause a few developers to whine, doing so will help Facebook cut down on the number of accounts hacked (especially around unsecured hot spots).

Smaller social networks like Twitter have already embraced OAuth 2.0 (not to mention secure logging as well), and Facebook’s adoption will hopefully inspire other social networks with large developer communities to adopt these standards as well.

YouTube Founders Save Delicious, But Is It Too Late?

After news leaked out that Yahoo! was shutting down Delicious (then announcing plans on selling the social bookmarking service), it looks like the former internet titan has found a new lease on life under new leadership.

Today, we’re pleased to announce that Delicious has been acquired by the founders of YouTube, Chad Hurley and Steve Chen. As creators of the largest online video platform, they have firsthand experience enabling millions of users to share their experiences with the world. They are committed to running and improving Delicious going forward. (Official Delicious Blog) [Read more…]