New tool automatically spots potentially abusive tweets, limits reach
Twitter is making more changes to the way it deals with online harassment, including limiting how many people can see the messages of an abusive user. The microblogging and messaging service has also altered its policies relating to what is prohibited and how it deals with users posting policy-violating content, with a new tool able to help its staff more effectively monitor abusive tweets.
Amazon Echo adds support for Hue, WeMo home automation systems
The Amazon Echo has been updated to include support for other connected devices. The voice-controlled device is able to make changes to the WeMo Switch, Insight Switch, and Light Switch, reports TechCrunch, with the Hue A19, Lux, BR30, Bloom, and LightStrip also supported, allowing users to verbally alter the lighting or control other devices.
Periscope for iOS available now, Android version on the way
Twitter has added another video service to its roster, alongside Vine, one which provides live video streaming to the microblogging platform. A rebranding of an app Twitter acquired in January, Periscope lets users instantly stream from their smartphone to their Twitter feed, with viewers able to provide feedback to the broadcaster in real time.
Twitter starts testing automatic playing of promoted videos in iOS apps
Twitter is starting to test automatically-playing videos in its apps. According to Ad Age, the service will autoplay promoted video ads to some Twitter users in the United States using the official iOS app. While the videos will play muted, some users will see a looping six-second preview while others will see the the full video in a loop, with both groups able to select the video to view it full screen and with sound turned on.
The rebranding will focus on two popular features
Google's largely-failed social media experiment, Google+, is reportedly approaching a transformation, with a renewed focus on Photos and Hangouts. The two popular features appear to be splitting apart from the central service, marking the first step in an apparent rebranding effort that is likely aimed at revitalizing -- or quietly killing -- the stagnate social network.
Pebble releases preview of SDK 3.0 with color screen support
Pebble has released a new version of its smartwatch SDK, in preview. Version 3.0 is built with the Pebble Time in mind, including support for 64 colors in apps, a new animation framework, PNG and Animated PNG support, and automatic detection of which platforms the developer wants to build for when compiling. According to the company, developers looking to make apps for the new SDK will need to make relatively few changes to the application to get it to work.
Microsoft simplifies student enrollment process for free Office 365 subscription
Microsoft is offering a simpler way for students around the world to check their eligibility for a free Office 365 license. While free subscriptions have been around for a while, it typically involved a lengthy process to check for eligibility. Now, students and teachers need to just sign up with a valid school email address to receive their subscription, which includes installation of Office apps on up to five computers and up to five mobile devices, as well as 1TB of OneDrive storage.
Financial results slightly lower than expected, iOS 8 pinned for loss
In the quarterly conference call discussing Twitter's financial results, Chief Financial Officer Anthony Noto pointed to Apple's iOS 8 rollout as the reason why the company's monthly active users figure was short by four million members, at least in part. While initially a throwaway line in the discussion, the company's CEO has clarified the remarks somewhat, and has pointed specifically to iOS Twitter integration, and features in the new Safari as specific reasons for the user drop.
Google renews Twitter deal, will index tweets in real time this summer
According to industry sources, Twitter has signed a deal giving Google full access to user tweets once more. The deal means that in the near future, user tweets will be indexed by the search engine giant faster, with the exposure helping to drive traffic for the microblogging service. Tweets could show up real-time in Google search results as soon as the early summer. A previous deal, expired in 2011, had similar aims, but was dissolved by Brin and company over disagreements over use of the data. Presumably, the slow decline of Google+ may have something to do with the deal rebirth. Terms of the deal are not known.
Strips out recording options, potentially offensive material
Twitter has released a new iPhone app linked to its Vine video-sharing network, Vine Kids. The app offers a curated selection of videos "appropriate for a young audience," and further removes the core client's ability to record new material. Animated characters guide kids through clips.
Video on Twitter allows for clips to be shared without using Vine
Twitter has started to add some features it hinted at last November to its mobile apps. Rolling out slowly, users will be able to send Direct Messages to groups of people for the first time, while those who typically post videos to the micro-blogging service will benefit from being able to upload video clips directly to Twitter from within the app, without using a secondary service.
Carrier in home port, no hostilities underway against Chinese
Unknown hackers breached the Twitter accounts of United Press International (UPI) and the New York Post on Fridy. Nearly simultaneously, the Twitter feeds of both accounts reported that the carrier USS George Washington had come under fire by the Chinese Navy, and that Pope Francis had announced the start of World War III.
Server issue prevented logged-out users from signing back into Twitter
Users of Twitter found they were logged out of their account and unable to log back in, for a few hours earlier today. Primarily affecting users of the Twitter app on Android as well as the mobile site, the fault has since been rectified by the microblogging service, and though there has yet to be any official explanation for the outage, at least one Twitter user claims it to be a date-based issue.
Netflix tests original show marketing with reminder Twitter messages
Netflix is testing a new way to remind subscribers to watch their original shows. A custom card for upcoming show Marco Polo is being used on Twitter to promote the show, complete with a "Tweet Me a Reminder" button. According to The Next Web, the @MarcoPoloMP Twitter account will be sending a message to anyone who opts in to the service at 12:01AM Pacific Time on December 12th, with participants also receiving a custom video message from the cast.
Flagging abuse on Twitter becoming easier to perform with simpler process
Twitter is updating the way it handles abusive tweets by making changes to its harassment reporting system, both on the public and internal sides. The microblogging service is starting to roll out a more mobile-friendly way of flagging abusive tweets, while a new blocked accounts page within the website's settings menu aims to help users manage who can or cannot contact them.
Posts $175 million net loss, average monthly active users increase by 13 million
Twitter posted its third quarter results for fiscal year 2014, posting $361.2 million in revenue. Revenue was up compared to the same quarter in 2013, with quarter-on-quarter results improving by approximately $49 million. The company beat out analyst projections of $351.35 million, but posted lower than the $0.01 earnings per share (EPS) expected with a loss of $0.29 EPS.
Twitpic still shuttering, service in 'read only' mode for now
With time ticking down before the permanent shutdown of Twitpic, the company has announced that it has agreed to an acquisition offer by Twitter itself. The arrangement keeps the domain and photo archive accumulated by the service intact, and this keeps "the photos and links alive for the time being" according to a blog post announcing the deal. The service is not completely rescued, however, as the service is still shutting down ultimately, and in "read-only mode" for now.
Digits offered in Twitter's Fabric development kit, uses only a phone number
Twitter has started putting the pieces into place to distance users from password requirements with the announcement of Digits. The company unveiled the new platform at its first mobile developer conference in San Francisco today, as a part of its Fabric suite of development tools. Rather than relying on a username and password for every app, Digits uses a telephone number and text messages to confirm identities instead.
Frustrated developer complaints cause removal of game from sale on Steam
[Update: Mike Maulbeck is stepping down from the company] A game has been pulled from the Steam store, after the developer threatened to kill Valve Software's co-founder, Gabe Newell. Mike Maulbeck, the creator of Paranautical Activity, was frustrated at how his creation was incorrectly labeled in the Steam store as an Early Access game, and during a tirade against Valve and Steam on Twitter, wrote "I am going to kill Gabe Newell. He is going to die."
Online abuse proposals quadruple current maximum prison sentences
The government of the United Kingdom is attempting to increase the possible penalties for online harassment, following recent high-profile reports of "trolling" in the country. The proposals, an amendment to the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill undergoing the latter stages of parliamentary debate, potentially allows for people convicted for trolling to face prison sentences of up to two years, up from the current six-month maximum.
Acquisition of TwitPic notification premature, shutdown rescheduled
Twitter image hosting site TwitPic has failed in its efforts to be acquired, and will be shutting down after all. Discussions over the last-minute acquisition failed, with the company announcing on its blog that it will wind up operations and take the service entirely offline on October 25th, one month after its original closure date, giving users just over a week to back up images stored on TwitPic servers.
BPCE, Twitter preparing to launch money transfers via tweets
Twitter users in France will soon be able to send money to other users by tweeting, according to a report. Groupe BPCE, the second-largest bank in France based on customer numbers, will apparently start providing simple person-to-person transfers of funds within the country, with the sender able to pass funds along to other people without knowing any of the recipient's bank information.
Twitter lawsuit accuses FBI, DOJ of First Amendment violations
Twitter has launched a suit against the US government. The lawsuit, filed in the US District Court of Northern California, demands that Twitter's full transparency report about law enforcement requests be published in its entirety, and that restrictions placed on what may be disclosed are illegal under the First Amendment of the US Constitution.
Twitter app for OS X updated, adds new photo features
Twitter for Mac has received an update today, adding new photo features for OS X users. The app allows users to access the social media platform outside of a web browser. Twitter for Mac v3.1 includes the new ability to view and post Tweets with up to four photos at a time, with an image preview for each available for viewing the full photo. Photos can now be shared privately in the Messages section. Various performance improvements and bug fixes are also available in the latest version. Free to download, Twitter for Mac is available through the App Store.
Apple Store app adds support for iPhone 6
Apple's Store app has been updated to reflect its updated iOS and latest iPhone release. Users of the Apple Store app can now start their Retail Store order on their own device, featuring a Browse function that displays trending products, as well as reviews for accessories. Apple Store v3.0.1 offers compatibility with the latest Apple mobile devices, including support for iPhone 6. Free to download, the Apple Store app is available on iTunes.
Social media, commerce combination adds to previous Amazon cart initiative
Amazon and Twitter teamed up again for another commerce experience within the micro blogging platform. Similar to the previous initiative that the two companies launched earlier this year, users can reply to a tweet with a certain hashtag to add an item to their Amazon wish list. The only catch is that it only works with tweets that have links to the item on Amazon, while also required Twitter and Amazon accounts to be linked.
No details available on acquisition or company behind it, no legal plan stated
It turns out that TwitPic won't be forced to shut down after all, according to a tweet sent out on the official TwitPic Twitter account. Apparently, an interested party came to the rescue by acquiring the company, allowing it to fight off its recent conflict with Twitter -- at least for now. TwitPic was previously said to be winding down on September 25 as a result of a trademark dispute with Twitter.
Social media company evolves to include more commerce models, give exclusive offers
Twitter appears to be diving deeper in to the pool of commerce as the social media company announced today that it was beginning a new test of a "buy" button. A previous version of the button appeared in small-batch testing that appeared in June and in a mock-up dating back to January, but it's only now being officially announced by Twitter.
Bot system results in 40-percent spam reduction, rule changes issued in seconds
Social microblogging service Twitter offered details on how it battles with spam on the service, showing off a specialized tool that the company made in the process. BotMaker was built by the team, which has so far been responsible for a reduction of 40 percent "in key spam metrics" since its launch. The company went into spill some of the specifics of its creation, something it needed to make since it offers real-time interactions and an exposed developer API.
Company alters help page to reflect change in timeline content from popular, relevant accounts
Twitter users may have seen a number of items showing up in their feeds from users they don't follow for the last few weeks. In what was thought to be one of the company's experiments, tweets from users that aren't followed and random favorites from others were showing up in timelines. It appears that the feature is no longer in testing, as Twitter has added the new feature to its help page about timelines.
Change in Twitter policy to help protect families from malicious imagery
Twitter is now accepting requests to remove images and videos of the deceased. In a change of policy, the service announced it will take down photographs and other materials "in certain circumstances," with requests from immediate family members and other authorized individuals being considered for removal "in order to respect the wishes of loved ones."
Some hashtags now have an explanation attached to them when searched by test users
Social micro-blogging service Twitter was discovered to be testing a new feature recently that demystifies the code of a hashtag. The new feature was discovered in the Twitter iOS app, showing the meaning behind some popular hashtags, including those for television shows, Twitter specific events and video games. The feature could help relieve some confusion when it comes to hashtags, but it's unknown if the feature will be adopted.
Company prototyped several types of apps, decided to take system to Twitter
Madbits, a startup company founded by Clément Farabet and Louis-Alexandre Etezad-Heydari, announced this week that they are taking their technology to Twitter. The company was focused on making computers learn through the use of artificial intelligence, specifically "deep learning" as it readied for a public launch. Details of the deal have not been shared by either company.
Revenues up more than $170 million compared to last year, posts $145 million loss
Twitter released its quarterly results today, showing a strong surge in business during the second quarter of its 2014 fiscal year. The company posted revenues of $312 million, compared to only $139 million during the year-ago quarter. The increase represents a 129 percent increase year-over-year. The social media company also saw an increase in users compared to the results from the previous year.
Updates allow entire direct message history to be seen across apps, consistently deleted
Last week, Twitter announced that it is going to issue an update on how direct messages are handled on the micro-blogging service. The update makes deleting direct messages consistent across all platforms, allowing users a single action for removal, rather than deleting across every interface version. Another update is coming that changes how direct messages are handled across the numerous platforms, to give users access to their complete messaging history.
Social media users could buy products directly from Twitter feed
Twitter is making more of an effort to work with retailers, with two reports claiming the microblogging service is taking two separate approaches. The company acquired Tap Commerce, a marketing firm specializing in redirecting users to mobile apps, while a second report supposedly spotted the service trying out new "Buy Now" buttons next to product images.
Test turns original tweet into a Twitter card, gives users more room for context
A new Twitter feature was spotted in the wild today, featuring a new way for users to retweet. Building upon the need for more information and the lack of space when quoting, Twitter is looking to utilize Twitter Cards to give users more room to comment compared to quoting. By changing the feature, Twitter could grant a more effective way to communicate when retweeting.
SnappyTV purchase bolsters Twitter tools for broadcasters
Messages on Twitter could soon include more video clips from television, thanks to an acquisition by the microblogging service. SnappyTV, a start-up primarily offering tools for quickly spreading TV show clips around on social networks, has been bought by Twitter for an unknown amount, and is likely to help the company involve itself more with television broadcasters.
Web gets in-timeline translations
Twitter has expanded its use of Bing translations, reports note. For the first time, the function has been made available in the official Twitter iOS app, where it will display translated text underneath the original. To get the option to appear, though, a person has to select an individual tweet.
New web profiles for all users, Tweetdeck adds scheduled picture tweets, visibility
Twitter has made a few changes to some of its services recently, namely in the profile pages and its Tweetdeck app. The company announced in April that it was testing a new profile layout for the web, starting with a small user group. These new profiles have now been rolled out to all Twitter users. Tweetdeck has also seen some changes, adding new features to post scheduling within the app.
Agreement integrates Accuen into MoPub for further ad reach, buying
Social media company Twitter has made a move to strengthen its ad division with a $240 million agreement with Omnicom Media Group. The two-year deal will see Omnicom's programmatic ad-buying unit, Accuen, integrated with Twitter's MoPub ad exchange. Twitter had purchased MoPub in September for $350 million in a move to strengthen its advertising arm.
Censorship requests from Pakistan Telecommunications Authority performed by Twitter
Twitter has come under fire for agreeing to requests by a bureaucrat in Pakistan to block certain content from the site. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has attacked Twitter for complying with the requests from the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority, suggesting the agency does not have any legal authority to demand the removal of the content.
Chrome for Android improved, adds new features
Google has updated its Chrome browser app for Android devices, most notably adding an Undo Tab Close feature. Also included in the update changelog is new a fullscreen video ability with subtitles and HTML5 controls, support for some multi-window devices, more Chromecast support and other bug fixes. Chrome is free to download through Google Play.
Audio sharing site could be Twitter's second attempt at music, growth solution
Twitter may be taking another stab at the music app business, as it is reportedly in talks with Soundcloud about a possible acquisition. Sources familiar with both companies have said that Twitter is considering a deal that would bring the social audio and music sharing service under its wing. The deal would mark the latest high profile purchase for Twitter, following its previous $350 million deal for MoPub in September 2013.
Move intended to assuage Internet fears of 'fast lane' provisos
Starting at 2PM ET, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Senior Counsel for External Affairs for the Chairman, Gigi B. Sohn, will be monitoring questions regarding Wheeler's pending net neutrality legislation. Using the hashtag #FCCNetNeutrality, users can submit questions, or follow the discussion led by the FCC's chairman's lead attorney.
Feature makes its way to live apps less than a month after tests discovered
On its blog today, Twitter announced that the recently-tested mute feature is now starting to roll out to all users of the official Android and iOS apps, as well as on Twitter.com. The feature allows users to mute someone from their timeline without unfollowing them or informing the party being muted.
Kik messaging app launches its own virtual currency
Canadian start-up Kik has launched a virtual currency for its messaging app with built-in browser. Kik users can now earn "Kik Points," which both incentivizes in-app activity and allows for buying content. Points can be earned by executing specific tasks, such as inviting friends to the beta, and in turn "buy" in-app content like stamps. Kik is available for download across operating systems.
Google, Facebook, Amazon among coalition asking for FCC to reconsider net rules
A coalition of technology companies have co-signed a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) over its net neutrality proposals. Signed by over a hundred Internet companies, including Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, and Amazon, the letter asks the FCC to reconsider what the companies claim "represents a grave threat to the Internet."
Twitter users reply to posts with hashtag to add items to Amazon cart
Amazon is expanding its purchasing options, by allowing customers to shop for products by posting on Twitter. Introduced today, users of both services can add items featured on the social media site directly to their Amazon.com cart by responding to specific posts with #AmazonCart, with the product then shown in the checkout section of Amazon's website for later purchase.
Mobile app feature similar to Tweetdeck's muting of followed accounts
A mute feature has started appearing in official Twitter clients for Android and iOS, according to reports, meaning that widespread use of the feature may be available in the near future. The mute feature would allow a user to stop the tweets and retweets of someone they follow from showing up on their timeline.