Remember when Apple launched Ping? It was supposed to be the quintissential social network for anyone who loved music. Except that Apple crippled Ping right out of the gate, and we learned that it wasn't really a social network at all - it was just another method the company wanted to take advantage of to get people to buy more music. It was annoying and resrictive. You could only talk about music that was available on iTunes...and nothing more. Recently, it was rumored that Apple would kill Ping, and now it has been confirmed. Ping closes its doors on September 30th. Anyone out there upset by the closure? Anyone?
Instagram 3.0 was released today, and with it comes a host of new features and bug fixes. One of the major additions is the Photo Map, which makes it easy to find images that have been geo-tagged to specific locations. Users will find a new Photo Map section in their profiles that will allow them to see their own images overlayed on a map as well. Other features include infinite scrolling on photo feeds, redesigned profile and upload screens, and other performance improvements. Grab Instagram 3.0 now from the App Store or Google Play for free. Check out a video explaining it all after the break.
Last week at a press event in Austin at SXSW, Rdio gave us a look at its brand new, completely overhauled music experience. We got a look at the new Rdio, and we walked away impressed by the beauty of what the streaming music company is attempting to pull off. There are a lot of changes, and we think that most people will think they're all good.
New Rdio isn't just a visual makeover though. Wilson Miner, head of design for Rdio said, "We want back to ground zero and rethought the whole user experience from the groud up to put the focus 100% on music and people." That people part is a big deal, because social integration is a big part of the new Rdio. When you log in, you've got a constant bar on the right-hand side that shows your online contacts and what they're listening to. There's also another tab that gives recommendations of who to follow (oh, and you should definitely follow the Gear Live Rdio profile!) Wanna share a track or album with a contact? The old way still works, but now you can just drag and drop content onto contacts as well. Very fluid.
Facebook's "Read, Watch, Listen" theme of its f8 developer event, happening tomorrow, apparently now involves altering the "Like" button to specific actions.
In other words, "read," "watch" and "listen" will be applied to the "Like" button. The result? Buttons that will allow you to indicated that you have "Read" books or articles, "Listened," to music, or "Watched" videos or other content.
So far, multiple reports have confirmed the "Read, Watch, Listen" theme, including TechCrunch, AllThingsD, and others. One industry source has also confirmed the theme to us, although the source said he wasn't sure if that was going to be an official motto, or just the substance of the talk.
Google on Tuesday took another leap into the social space with Google+, which aims to connect people via specific friendship circles, interests, location, and more.
Google+, which is currently operating via a "field trial," has four main components: Circles, Sparks, Hangouts, and Mobile.
"We'd like to bring the nuance and richness of real-life sharing to software. We want to make Google better by including you, your relationships, and your interests. And so begins the Google+ project," Google said in a blog post.
Google+ begins with Circles, which helps compartmentalize all the people in your life. Google took a swipe at Facebook, arguing that putting everyone under the "friends" label hurts the ability to share. It becomes sloppy, scary, and insensitive, the search giant said.
"From close family to foodies, we found that people already use real-life circles to express themselves, and to share with precisely the right folks. So we did the only thing that made sense: we brought Circles to software," Google said. "Just make a circle, add your people, and share what's new—just like any other day."
Facebook yesterday updated its iPhone app to version 3.4, bringing enhancements to the News Feed and notifications UI as well as the option to check-in to Facebook Events on the go. For unfriending that cannot wait until you get back to your desktop, the app adds that, too.
The signature feature of the update, of course, is the mobile check-ins for Facebook Events. We previously reported that Facebook added another layer to its location-based functionality by including a check-in icon available on the day of a given event. The company had pledged to launch the feature soon on the iPhone and their mobile site. Yesterday's update fulfills that pledge.
Formerly, the only way you could check in to a Facebook Event was through Facebook Places, which entailed checking in to locations as you would with Foursquare or Gowalla. Now users can check-in to events themselves, opening up new possibilities for companies and individuals. For example, you could arrange contests at events.
IntoNow is a free app for the iPhone that allows you to connect with your friends around the shows you love. Simply place your iPhone in front of the TV, and IntoNow uses it's SoundPrint technology to recognize whatever you're watching. Once your show or movie is tagged, you can see how many other people are watching, share it with your friends, review it on IMDB, add it to your Netflix queue, and buy or rent it on iTunes.
IntoNow's SoundPrint technology covers more than 140 million minutes of previously aired shows, or the equivalent of 266 years of video. It can recognize a show even if it's airing live for the first time. SoundPrint has an index of "more than 2.6 million airings, indexed during the past five years, and it’s growing by the second." They describe SoundPrint as a “fingerprinting” technology; a series of algorithms that can quickly identify a show based on the audio. They've has even made a SoundPrint API available for developers, so look for more applications to come out using SoundPrint technology.
Internet-connected social TV is becoming the new trend in technology, and data is showing that Americans are using TV and Internet together on an increasing basis. Google and Apple have launched their own internet connected set top boxes, and companies like Comcast and TiVo are major players as well. The future of social television looks very promising, and soon we'll all be "checking in" to our favorite TV shows on a regular basis, using awesome technology like IntoNow and SoundPrint, or other social apps like GetGlue.
Check out a demo of Intonow's social TV app in this episode.
How many times do you catch yourself watching tv while you're on the internet?
At CES, we caught up with Ben Kaufman, founder of Quirky (and he also started Mophie back in the day,) to get a look at the social product design process behind Quirky.com. Get a look at their amazing products, and awesome design process here. Site members can jump in at any point during a products design lifecycle, and once they do, they get a royalty whenever that product is sold.
Flipboard, one of the best iPad apps for reading through your Facebook and Twitter feeds in a magazine format, just received a major update that brings a bunch more features to the table. You can now view your Google Reader subscriptions, Flickr feeds and groups, and the app also boasts more features for Facebook and Twitter as well. You can use the app not only to check out all the content that's out there, but now it's easier to add your own updates, photos, and articles back into your social networks as well. Hit the video for a look. Flipboard is completely free.
Read More | Flipboard
It doesn't matter if you run a Fortune 500 company, or if you just have a personal blog. It's also not about whether you like Facebook or Twitter, or if you're active on the social scene. The simple fact is that the world is moving to social, and in a big way. Facebook has over half a billion users, growing every day, with Twitter following behind. Where people used to look up things on Google or Yahoo!, now they look it up on social networks. Instead of getting stories and links from news sites, they get them on Twitter. Instead of writing an email to a friend asking how he's doing, they sit on their Facebook walls and see what they're up to.