Posted by Andru Edwards Categories:
Mark Zuckerburg just announced that Facebook has agreed to acquire the super-popular Instagram for a cool $1 billion. Facebook has been hard at work recently to improve its own built-in photo sharing and viewing experience, while Instagram recently released an Android client that was downloaded a million times on its day of release. Now, Facebook gets the Instagram team in-house, while acknowledging that it should be run independently and maintain all of its social sharing features. Get a look at the full announcement after the break.
Gowalla's co-founders on Monday confirmed that they will be making the move to Facebook, though the social network said it will not be acquiring Gowalla's technology.
Gowalla's location-based social service will be "winding down" by the end of January, co-founder Josh Williams said in a blog post. "We plan to provide an easy way to export your Passport data, your Stamp and Pin data (along with your legacy Item data), and your photos as well."
The ball got rolling on the Gowalla-Facebook deal several months ago after Williams said fellow co-founder Scott Raymond attended Facebook's f8 developer conference.
"We were blown away by Facebook's new developments," Williams wrote. "A few weeks later Facebook called, and it became clear that the way for our team to have the biggest impact was to work together. So we're excited to announce that we'll be making the journey to California to join Facebook."
Williams, Raymond, and other members of the Gowalla team will move to Facebook in January and join the company's design and engineering team, Facebook confirmed.
Facebook is good for discovering the latest news about your friends and family, but what about music? As part of its f8 developer conference yesterday, the site teamed up with a number of online music entities to bring music discovery to Facebook.
Music companies like Spotify, Rdio, Rhapsody, and Slacker will be offering their own apps, which will allow you to share what you're listening to with friends on Facebook. Their music choices will also show up on your news feed, and you can listen to the songs right inside Facebook.
"You'll now start seeing new music posts and play buttons all over your newsfeeds. Hit a play button and the music starts. Right there," Spotify said in a blog post. "Spotify fires up to give you a new soundtrack to your social life. Check out your new Music Dashboard and your real-time ticker to discover the music that's trending with your friends."
Facebook head Mark Zuckerberg is set to take the stage in just about 15 minutes to kick off Facebook's f8 Developers Conference. You can watch the event unfold live, right here--just hit the play button up top.
We're expecting a bunch of new hotness to be revealed, including the new Facebook music initiative, and a major expansion and re-thinking of the Like button. Also expect new features around news publications, video, and Facebook games as well. It'll be a full morning
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.
Read More | Google+
Another photo service is about to enter the digital space. The Web site for Photovine is live but lacking in information, other than a teaser video.
Photovine was built by a company named Slide which was acquired by Google in 2010. Google reportedly paid about $228 million for Slide.
The skimpy homepage is labeled "Photovine," with a tag that reads "plant a photo, watch it grow". There is one sentence under that reads, "Photovine is a fun way to learn more about your friends, meet new people, and share your world like never before."
The app is displayed in use on an iPhone 4 to the right of the text. That's thoroughly confusing given that Google owns the Photovine trademark. It stands to reason that an Android phone would be more apropos.
"We've been listening to feedback from our users who want more flexible ways to find their friends on Google+," Rohit Khare, a Google product manager, wrote in a Google+ post on Tuesday night. "One of the most flexible tools is an address book uploader, and I wanted to share the good news that it will be rolling out to everyone over the next few days."
Under the new uploader, users will be able to take their address books (in CSV formats) or vCard electronic business cards, and roll them into Google+. However, Khare pledged to keep the imported contacts separate from the other, existing Google Contacts, and to only store the ones that a user puts into Circles.
When Google announced its "field trial" of Google+ this week, many wondered if the search giant had finally crafted a successful social tool or whether it would fizzle like Buzz and Wave. That remains to be seen, but at this point, it appears that many tech-savvy early adopters are at least eager to try it out: invites are now closed.
"We've shut down invite mechanism for the night. Insane demand. We need to do this carefully, and in a controlled way. Thank you all for your interest!" Vic Gundotra, Google's senior vice president of engineering, wrote in Wednesday night post.
Google+ made its debut on Tuesday and aims to connect people via specific friendship circles, interests, location, and more. Those visiting the plus.google.com Web site are currently met with a notice that says Google is "testing with a small number of people," but those who want access can sign up to get an email when it opens to a larger group.
Even those who have been invited, however, are having trouble getting access. "Already invited? We've temporarily exceeded our capacity. Please try again soon," reads a note on the site.
Google's new Google+ social network, currently in a "field trial," can't quite avoid the stereotype that the company's products sacrifice usability for new features. Put simply, Google+ is a social network for geeks.
Unfortunately, Google can't help exposing numerous options to share, hide, protect, and discover photos, friends, videos, posts, and all of the other minutiae that make up today's online social interactions.
Underneath, however, there are some rather elegant features, including a lovely "Circles" interface to add friends, and a "Hangout" group video chat feature that holds promise.
But users used to Facebook's minimalist interface may find Google+ jarring. And, sad to say, Google's "field trial" suffered from overcapacity, an issue which may or may not have rippled into our evaluation on Tuesday afternoon. I and other staffers experienced numerous annoyances, which resulted from either poor design decisions, alpha glitches, or the overcapacity issue - I don't know which. Read on for our full hands-on with Google+.