Entries in Social Networking (21)


Take That, Instagram: Twitter Adds Own Photo Filters

Twitter(NEW YORK) -- The filtered photo war is on.

Instagram announced Sunday that it was no longer supporting embedded photos on Twitter, but Twitter isn’t sitting still when it comes to photo sharing.

On Monday evening Twitter’s updated its Android and iPhone apps with features that allow you to add filters to photos directly from the app. No need to do it through Instagram anymore.

There are eight filters to choose from -- including, Warm, Cool, Vintage, Happy, and Cinematic -- as well as cropping and brightening functions. The photo filters, using technology made by Aviary -- not Twitter -- will be added to the Twitter app when you download the update.

You can easily see your photos with the filters in a grid, which makes it easier to decide which filter you’d like to use. Instagram still offers a more robust set of features, though, especially with its blurring tool.

Coincidentally, Instagram also released an update for its iOS app Sunday, which adds the ability to crop and scale photos.

Instagram’s CEO said that the decision to drop Twitter embedding support was about sending people to Instagram’s own site -- but it so happens that Facebook acquired Instagram in April. “This is likely the result of the Facebook acquisition, as it makes little sense for Facebook to send Instagram pictures to Twitter,” Michael Gartenberg, research director at Gartner Inc., told ABC News earlier Monday.

Still, it is easy to see why Twitter has added the functionality to its own app. Instagram has over 100 million users and on Thanksgiving alone over 10 million photos were uploaded.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


MySpace CEO: 'There is No Point to Compete with Facebook and Twitter'

MySpace(NEW YORK) -- Justin Timberlake unveiled the new MySpace last week with a tweet containing a link to a video preview of the new site. In addition to a very catchy song, the video revealed a beautiful website with a clean, Pinterest-esque design.

The site, it turns out, doesn't only look entirely different from what you might picture when you think of one of the original social networks, it's also going to be an entirely different type of network. It is a website for connecting artists -- music artists, to start -- with their fans.

Timberlake first planted the seed at MySpace when he became part owner of Specific Media, the company that bought MySpace from News Corp. in 2011. And the Hollywood jack-of-all-trade's fingerprints are all over the future new MySpace. It's a completely new product; it will live separately from the classic MySpace, and will be rolling out to a wider audience and those who have requested invites before the end of the year.

Those are just a couple of things learned when ABC News caught up with the brothers running MySpace -- Tim Vanderhook, the CEO of Specific Media, and Chris Vanderhook, the COO. Here's what they said:

What is the new MySpace? How is it different from the classic MySpace?
Tim: We tried to build a social network for the creative community to connect to their fans and for fans to have a great experience as well to explore and find out more about the artists they love.

You can use other social networks to log onto it, right?
Tim: No one wants to manage another social network. We think it is unique and distinct, it integrates with Facebook and Twitter to be able to pull over your social graph and pull over your identity of who you are. We think Facebook is the uber social network that is supposed to be there. We think we built a great social network for artists. Similar to how LinkedIn built one for business, we think there is a huge gap that we wanted to fulfill. There is no point to compete with Facebook and Twitter.

What is the site called? Will there be two sites now?
Chris: It's referred to right now as the new MySpace. The point is to show a difference between the MySpace classic and the new MySpace.
Tim: There will be a separate section for our consumer base using the classic MySpace. We are going to leave it up for quite awhile. We will make a decision at a later date if we will ever take down the old property.

What inspired the design that is shown in the video?
Chris: My Space started originally back in 2003 and their platform was built on a code base from 2003. Even up to today, the MySpace classic site is built on 2003 code. The world is a much different place, now we have tablets, smartphones, connected TVs. We wanted to build for today and for the future. A lot of the elements from the design is built for widescreen formats for tablets and smartphones. We had the great ability to just build for the future and not compensate for the past.

When will the new MySpace launch?
Chris: You won't see a traditional launch out of us, you'll see it on a rolling basis. We are in a beta period now with artists, managers, DJs, tastemakers. Our employees, which is a little over 700, have been on the site for a few months now. The next to get the invites will the MySpace loyalists and we will continue to roll out invites for the foreseeable future.

So, there won't be a hard launch?
Tim: You're not going to see a moment in time launch from MySpace. We will open up huge swaths of invites as we roll out.
Chris: Another note on the reason we are doing the rolling launch versus the traditional launch: We know we are the underdog. For us it is a little too presumptuous to do a big huge, bang, Steve Jobs launch. That's not our brand and its not right for MySpace. We want to be able to prove everything that we want to do.

How involved has Justin Timberlake been in the project?
Tim: Justin is really involved. He invested in the company and is a part owner of it and has assisted in the development of what the new Myspace is all about. He has instituted a creative team here where we have injected artists as part of the company as well. We work with his creative team. Chris and I were just on the phone with him yesterday. We talk to him on a constant basis. The seed of what we have built stemmed from his vision of what MySpace should be.

Will the site go beyond being a place just for music artists to connect with fans?
Tim: It's for all artists. We think there is an opportunity for all artists, whether you are a filmmaker, producer or a recording artist. We think the idea to create something unique and drive a connection with a fan base has a lot of equity.

Do you have a plan for apps?
Chris: We connected and built the design to live across different devices. You will definitely see those offerings from us.

You sure you don't want to tell me when the site will launch to the public that has been signing up for invites?
Chris: There are consumers we are thinking of opening it up to. There are 5 million artists who use the platform and we need to make sure we serve them well. After we go through that, we will go right to consumers. I believe consumers who are making the requests will be on in due time.

Before the end of the year?
Tim: Yes, before the end of the year.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


New Facebook Feature Released: Cool or Creepy?

Facebook(NEW YORK) -- Facebook is thinking about all the ways you can find more friends, including the ones around you. The social network has quietly rolled out a new feature called Find Friends Nearby.

Find Friends Nearby, or Friendshake, as Facebook is calling it in some places, will display the names of people who are in your area with their phones. But you have to opt into using the service by visiting http// on your mobile phone. The site will prompt you to agree to share your location. If you choose to do that, it will return the names of people — friends and non-friends — in the area. It will only return the names of other people who have opted in to use the feature.

First reported by the tech site TechCrunch, the feature hasn’t officially been announced by Facebook. However, the Find Friends Nearby feature is live and working. We tested it at the ABC News headquarters and it returned the name of an individual in Manhattan.

The service comes just two months after Facebook acquired Glancee, a mobile app that allowed users to find friends near them with similar interests.

Facebook would not discuss the privacy issues surrounding the service or when it plans to talk about it more publicly. “We are constantly testing new features but have nothing more to share at this time,” a Facebook spokesperson told ABC News.

Update: Facebook has pulled the feature and issued the following statement:

  • “This wasn’t a formal release – this was something that a few engineers were testing. With all tests, some get released as full products, others don’t. Nothing more to say on this for now – we’ll communicate to everyone when there is something to say.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Facebook to Allow Users Under 13?

LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Facebook is reportedly working on new technology that would allow children under 13 to use the social networking site while being supervised by their parents.

Citing people familiar with the matter, the Wall Street Journal reports the company is testing mechanisms that would link kids' accounts to their parents'.  The sources said Facebook is also looking into controls that would give parents a say in who their children can "friend" and what applications they can use.

Currently, Facebook mandates that users be 13 or older to open a new account, yet many kids get around this rule by lying about their ages.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Sex, Alcohol and Showers: What Would You Give Up for the Internet?

John Foxx/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- Just what would you give up if the Internet was taken away from you? For some, sex, alcohol, showers and chocolate are on the list, according to a report by the Boston Consulting Group.

The study, which is focused on the importance of the Internet on the economy, predicts that by 2016 the Internet will account for 5.2 percent of GDP for G-20 countries. However, it’s the supporting facts that show how dependent consumers are on the Internet.

The researchers found that 21 percent of Americans would give up sex for Internet connectivity. Seventy-three percent would give up alcohol, 69 percent would give up coffee, and 77 percent would sacrifice chocolate rather than give up the Internet for the year.

Interestingly, U.S. consumers also perceive the cost of the Internet to be $3,000 a year, even though most spend only $472 on applications and services.

The Boston Consulting Group provides information about all G-20 countries in its report and interviewed 1,000 users in each location.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Social Networking Sites Face Prosecution in India for Insulting Content

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW DELHI) -- Social networking sites have fallen afoul of the Indian government after what they say is a refusal by the sites to remove material insulting to the leadership and promoting enmity between religions.

Facebook and Google were among the sites listed when prosecutors presented their case in court on Friday. The sites were cited for refusing to remove controversial images of government leaders as well as sale of obscene objects.

If convicted leaders of the 21 sites may face a maximum of five years in prison. Representatives from some of the listed sites say the content is removed if it violates their policies.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Facebook Debuts New Look; User Reactions Mixed

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(PALO ALTO, Calif.) -- Facebook users may have noticed some changes when logging in Wednesday.  The social networking site changed its look, adding a "top story" listing of the newest postings by your online friends, and the reaction is…well, mixed.

“Starting today, it will be easier to keep up with the people in your life no matter how frequently or infrequently you’re on Facebook,” wrote Mark Tonkelowitz, an engineering manager at Facebook, in a post on the company’s blog.

The idea, Facebook says, is that if you’ve been away from the site for a few days, you won’t be in danger of missing the most important posts friends put up -- though Facebook isn’t offering many details on how its software will figure out which posts are most likely to be of interest to you.

“We use a variety of things to decide whether a story might be interesting or important,” said a Facebook spokesperson in an email. “For example, this may include changes about your employer, school, relationship status or city, as well as things like the number of likes or comments on a post. For example, if a friend’s posts get dozens of comments or likes, it’s likely to be a top story.”

“News Feed will act more like your own personal newspaper,” said Tonkelowitz. “You won’t have to worry about missing important stuff. All your news will be in a single stream with the most interesting stories featured at the top.”

There are other changes:

-- New posts that went up since you last logged on are marked with small blue triangles in the upper left, as if you had folded down the corner.

-- There’s a moving “ticker” along the right margin: “See what your friends are up to right now.”

-- Photos are larger.

Do you like what you see? On Facebook’s blog Wednesday morning, people were voting against the changes by a two-to-one margin. One annoyed comment: “Quite frankly I don’t want Facebook deciding who is most important in my life. I want my news feed to just go chronologically and if I want to hide posts from someone, I will. Stop changing.”

Google “created a bit of a feeding frenzy that I think surprised a lot of us,” said Rob Enderle, a California-based technology analyst. “In a way they used social engineering to create initial demand and that was new to them.”

It’s natural for people to react negatively when there’s a change made to something with which they were comfortable; think how you react when a friend shows up with new glasses. In the meantime, Facebook will have to put up with comments like this:

“Facebook, you’re not near as smart as you think you are,” wrote a user from Texas. “Your algorithms for deciding what I want to see, who I want to talk to or what I think is important are 99.999% of the time the exact polar opposite of what I want.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Facebook Ends Daily Deals

LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty Images(PALO ALTO, Calif.) -- Facebook is getting out of the daily discounts business after a four month trial.

The Palo Alto, California-based social networking giants says there is a lot of potential for driving people to local businesses, and it will continue to explore these opportunities.

That's not surprising, because a new study says half of all American adults are now on social networking sites. A third of baby boomers check in daily. The power users are young women, with more than twice as many logging in each day.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Aug202011 People-Searching Website Sued as 'Scam'

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(OAKLAND, Calif.) --, a social-networking website that says it helps old friends reconnect, has been labeled as a "scam" in a lawsuit that claims it tells people "someone" is searching for them, then charges them for "a list of fake names." The site has now tried unsuccessfully to have the suit quashed, though lawyers for both sides said the case is in its early stages.

The class-action suit, filed in February in U.S. District Court in Oakland, Calif., accuses MyLife of luring people to pay $7.95 for membership to find out who may be looking them up, then charging $100 or more to their credit cards.

"It gets worse," said the suit. "Victims of the ruse then find that MyLife hacks into their address books to target their friends, family and other contacts with spam solicitations stating that 'someone' is looking for them."

MyLife, along with its executives and investors, moved to have the suit dismissed, but District Judge Claudia Wilken ruled this week the suit can go forward, though only against the website and not, for now, against the individuals. The case has now been combined with a second, similar complaint. The next hearing is Sept. 1.

"Clearly the case is without merit," said Jeffrey Tinsley, CEO and founder of MyLife, in a telephone interview.

"We've been in business nine years, and we're proud of the service we offer," he said. "We wouldn't benefit from fake searches. We'd just get a lot of people angry."

MyLife's homepage is dominated by a bright green box: "See Who's Searching For You." In it, you can enter your name, age and ZIP code to "find out instantly," though before it gives you any results, it takes you to a new page, inviting you to enter your email address and "get alerts for new searches on your name."

The site also features "success stories" from members who found relatives or long-lost friends. The complaint paints a very different picture.

" is a scam that begins with a false solicitation telling potential victims that 'someone' is searching for them, and they can find out who by paying a small fee," the suit said.

It added that users do not realize they are signing up for long-term subscriptions.

"We want the money back, and we want them to stop sending out those phony solicitations," said Scott Bursor of the law firm of Bursor and Fisher, which filed the complaint. "People sign up, pay the money, [and it] turns out nobody's looking for them."

MyLife said in a news release that it has more than 60 million registered members, and "finds itself only behind industry giants: Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and LinkedIn." It said unique visitor traffic grew 20 percent in July.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Google+ Claims 20 Million Members in First Month

Comstock/Thinkstock(MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.) -- Google+ turns a month old on Thursday, and already it claims up to 20 million members. Since the service went live, Google Inc. stock has gone up nearly 30 percent, raising the value of the company (the "market cap" in Wall Street jargon) by $45 billion.

"They're probably the only company well positioned to launch a Facebook alternative," said Danny Sullivan, founder of Search Engine Land and a prominent Google watcher. "People like alternatives. Twitter doesn't offer a full-fledged alternative to the Facebook experience. Google does."

Google+ is still far smaller than Facebook, but it is already stealing attention and advertising dollars. It offers one-stop shopping for people who want to link up with friends and family but don't like using multiple sites.

"Google+ has aspects of Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn in it, and folks are a bit overwhelmed with all of the different social networking services," said Rob Enderle, a technology analyst based in San Jose, Calif. "Folks have also crammed these other services with tons of 'friends' they don't really know, and the sheer volume of activity has weakened the quality of the experience."

Google+ will look familiar if you've used Facebook -- but different. There are photos and comments from friends, but there are also "circles" into which you can categorize people with whom you've linked -- friends, family, acquaintances and so on. There may be something silly from that Saturday-night party that you'd share with close friends, but not with a business connection.

Enderle says the mix is well-thought-out. "Google+ thus simplifies their online social networking life," he said in an email to ABC News, "and has allowed them to start over choosing their 'friends' more judiciously, preserving the quality of the experience."

That said, tech-industry wags like the irony that the most-followed public figure on Google+ is Mark Zuckerberg -- Facebook's founder. (Well behind, according to Google+ Statistics, are Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google's founders.)

And writers have noted there's a tech-geek Silicon-Valley quality to Google+; Zuckerberg's 388,000 followers can't compare to the 11 million on Twitter that Lady Gaga or Justin Bieber each command.

But Google is not complaining. It has a success on its hands. "For people who love Google," said Sullivan, "it's like they've found a home where they can be loud and proud about the company."

One other thing: There is an aura of exclusivity to Google+. When it started you had to be invited to join, even if only by a friend you hadn't seen in years. "That last created a bit of a feeding frenzy that I think surprised a lot of us," said Enderle. "In a way they used social engineering to create initial demand and that was new to them."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio