Facebook wants to support its developer base so users have more reason to stay on the site and come back often. Developers create the apps, such as Zynga's Farmville, that help create user interaction and retention. The longer you stay on Facebook's site, the more ads they are able to serve you.
Facebook says that Developers Live will come with content for everyone, including:
- Mobile developers will learn how to go deeper and grow their apps with Facebook
- Game developers will learn how to build better games across web and mobile
- Websites and publishers will learn how to use Facebook to drive traffic
The first Developers Live will feature Doug Purdy. He will be discussing "the top 3 things every mobile developer needs to know in 2013." It appears that registration is needed for the events as Facebook reminds you to "be sure to register for the event." You can find more information and the videos at Facebook's Developers Live site.
If you need a place to prototype your latest website and don't want to pay for a host, Google has your back. Google Drive will allow you to host your website by placing all of the necessary HTML, CSS, and other files on Drive. You then simply share the HTML file publicly and the website will load via the link.
Ironically, Google explains the process on this website that is hosted on Google Drive. The change isn't a big one, and certainly not one we expect users to switch to Drive for, but existing users should certainly like the new feature and it may be enough to keep them on Drive if they had thoughts of leaving.
Google and Mozilla are pushing WebRTC as the future of software-independent video and voice chat. To show off the capabilities, Mozilla called up Google from Firefox to Chrome to demonstrate the cross-browser functionality that is available via WebRTC. Of course, to do this, you'll need the latest builds of both browsers.
Mozilla's blog post talks up the new technology and open source:
Mozilla is excited to announce that we've achieved a major milestone in WebRTC development: WebRTC RTCPeerConnection interoperability between Firefox and Chrome. This effort was made possible because of the close collaboration between the open Web community and engineers from both Mozilla and Google.
Google's blog post is similar:
For the first time, Chrome and Firefox can "talk" to each other via WebRTC. WebRTC is a new set of technologies that brings clear crisp voice, sharp high-definition (HD) video and low-delay communication to the web browser.
Google is trying out a redesigned YouTube channel layout in a limited beta. The new design features cover photos, called "channel art" by Google, and trailers, which allow content creators to promote their channel's content to non-subscribers.
The new design looks strikingly similar to Google+ profiles, which could indicate how closely Google wants to integrate their products. The new design is seen above. You can see that the design doesn't have quite the same fit and finish as the old design.
Soon, however, all users will be able to use the new design. What do you think of it? Let us know!
Everyone thought Apple was going to have a Super Bowl ad, especially after Samsung had their cool ad which we talked about a couple of days ago, but nope - no ad from Apple.
What they did do during the Super Bowl was very quietly unveil their new product during the Star Trek: Into Darkness ad spot. At the end of the Star Trek Super Bowl spot, Paramount very quickly flashed a promotion for their iOS-based app, showing off a new AppStore.com link that takes people directly to it.
Apple already uses something similar with their iTunes links, but this new trick is designed so people can quickly type it into a mobile device, or remember something simple like AppStore.com/StarTrekApp. This means that whatever comes after AppStore.com can be at the developers' wishes, where developers can choose this when submitting an app, or use their company name to promote more than one of their apps.
Stickam, the live video streaming website that gained notoriety in the alternative teen culture took itself offline last night in what appears to be a permanent decision. This shocked many of its users who had no idea the service was closing.
Its service let users "stick" a live video stream on their website, or blog and could also be accessed from Stickam's website. It grew in popularity with the scene, emo and alternative youth demographics, but it also attracted more adult content related "performers" which Stickam quickly banned in an effort to keep things family friendly.
Stickam launched in 2005 and it quickly grew to 10 million registered users with about 6 million monthly unique visitors. With other services like YouTube, Google+ Hangouts and Ustream, gaining in popularity, the service just could not keep up.
Kim Dotcom says that Mega is behind the shutdown of Search-Mega.me after mountains of DMCA takedown notices for thousands of files stored on MEGA were issued yesterday. Dotcom says that the search engine did not have a takedown policy which offended some copyright holders.
Dotcom said that all search engines wishing to crawl Mega will have to play by the rules or lose access to the service. He pointed out Filestube as the golden standard of Mega search engines. In an interview with TorrentFreak, Dotcom said that Mega was concerned about the enormous amount of attention the search engine received, with articles mostly focusing on the many copyrighted files that were indexed.
"We have had some emails from rights holders that said 'these guys don't even have a takedown procedure, what are you doing about that? When we are faced with a situation like this, then we have to act" Dotcom told TorrentFreak. "If it's right in front of our face and it's put to us so prominently, we have to do something about it. Then we are in a state of knowledge and legally required to act."
In what seems to be the great internet outage week of 2013, even more services are experiencing server outages and downtime today. Reports are coming in that Microsoft's Outlook.com appears to be down as well as the Office 365 subscription service.
Engadget is reporting that they are getting reports from users that the Outlook.com site has been unreachable for some of the morning and that subscribers to the Office 365 service are unable to reach their accounts.
From my testing, Outlook.com is down and my attempt to visit Office 365 was unsuccessful as well. No statement has been released from Microsoft at this point and we have no ETA on when the services will be back online.
Facebook is testing a new feature that will allow users to attach an emoticon to a status update. So if you're feeling happy, you can have a smiley face next to your status. If you're reading, you can have a book. The options are in addition to your actual status update, and you can get pretty specific with what you are doing.
Facebook is calling the new feature a "really small test" and isn't saying much about the new feature. It's only available to a small group of users and there is no promise of it ever being rolled out across the network, nor a time frame for which it would be.
The box "What are you doing?" allows users to select a category, such as "feeling." You can then select another option, such as "happy" or "sad." We'll be sure to report more on this topic when Facebook lets the cat out of the bag.
Today has not been a good day for websites. First Twitter has issues, and now it appears that Amazon has gone down, at least for some users. When visiting Amazon.com, some users are presented with the screen below. The error returned by Amazon is a 503, meaning the server behind Amazon is down for maintenance or is overloaded.
It is possible that a DDoS is being orchestrated against Amazon, though there is no confirmation of this. The outage appears to have started around 11:40a.m. PT and is currently still unavailable. We'll let you know when we hear more about this. Meanwhile, let us know if you can access Amazon.com.
Update: It appears that all is back to normal with Amazon. Let us know if you are still having trouble accessing the site.
Micro-blogging site, Twitter, experienced a global outage today. The site first went down just after 10 a.m. Eastern Time for most users. Twitter confirmed that the site was back up and running normally at 12:50 p.m., meaning that the outage lasted nearly three hours.
"We apologize to users who were affected by this, and we're working to ensure that similar issues do not occur," the post reads.
For almost the entire first hour of the outage, Twitter was inaccessible to nearly every user worldwide. Most users who attempted to access Twitter during the outage received the typical fail whale message that "Tiwtter is over capacity." Some users, however, saw the newer "Something is technically wrong" screen, which includes an icon of a robot missing a claw.
North American users reportedly regained access to Twitter shortly before 11 a.m., so the downtime was not as long for US users. It's not clear what the cause of the issue was, though Twitter is said to be working on fixing it so that similar issues don't occur.
Twitter-like video sharing site Vine has experienced its first service outage after only being around for 5 days. Twitter launched Vine last Thursday to share short, 6-second looping videos. Vine, as an extension of Twitter, believes the limit on content forces users to have creativity.
Earlier today, Vine experience its first service outage, with most services being disabled and the app alerting users about the service interruption. Vine tweeted about the outage, saying the following: "Vine is experiencing a temporary service interruption. Thanks for your patience."
Vine has had several growing pains during these first five days. Porn instantly became a problem on the service, with one video even being promoted to an Editor's Pick. This resulted in Apple pulling it from the featured section of the App Store. Vine is now doing a better job censoring search terms.
The service has since returned for some users, though Vine/Twitter has yet to confirm that the service is back to being fully functional. If you're still having trouble with the service, let us know in the comments.
Google, citing help from its community of citizen cartographers, has launched a highly detailed map of North Korea in its Google Maps service. The company pieced the map together using "very limited map data," and admits that it is far from perfect.
Most of the data was generated by users who added it using Google's Map Maker, a web app that lets users add to a map using their unique local knowledge. All of this user generated data had to have come from visitors to the country as its citizens are denied access to the internet. In a blog post, Jayanth Mysore, Senior Product Manager at Google Map Maker wrote:
"We know this map is not perfect - one of the exciting things about maps is that the world is a constantly changing place. We encourage people from around the world to continue helping us improve the quality of these maps for everyone with Google Map Maker,"
The map will be of little use to almost everyone inside of North Korea's borders as only very high ranking officials have access to the World Wide Web. During a recent trip to North Korea, Google's CEO Eric Schmidt urged its leaders to open the internet as well as cell phone technology to its citizens. No information was released on Pyongyang's reply.
As part of Facebook's governance change--you know, the one that took away your right to vote--Facebook instituted a policy that would allow easier access to their chief privacy officer, Erin Egan. The way Facebook is allowing access is through a new app aptly named "Ask Erin."
The app is basically a comment form on the site's "Facebook and Privacy" page that allows users to directly ask questions of Erin Egan. While she won't answer every question, certain ones that have value for the public or are especially important will be features in a series of posts present within the app.
The notorious patent troll Soverain has been defeated by Newegg over its "shopping cart" infringement case. Soverain had previously won millions in similar suits against giants like Ann Summers and Avon. This decision means that Soverain cannot use the patents in its other current suits against Kohl's, Bloomingdales, Walgreens and Home Depot.
Newegg actually lost the first trial against Soverain back in 2007, but the company stuck to its policy of "Do not negotiate with patent trolls", and appealed the ruling on grounds that the online shopping cart was used well before Soverain's patents were issued.
Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng said that Newegg has "been hit by companies that claim to own the drop-down menu, or a search box, or Web navigation. In fact, I think there's at least four that claim to 'own' some part of a search box." He says that his company has "never lost a patent case" (discounting the now-overturned verdict), and will continue to fight against trolls. "Seriously, screw them - you can quote me on that."
Well, we were right. The tweet by Twitter's CEO was a tip that they were going to release Vine soon. Today, Twitter has announced the launch of Vine. According to the blog post by Twitter, Vine is "a mobile service that lets you capture and share short looping videos." Twitter hopes the short length of time will inspire creativity.
Vine is available for iOS devices, specifically the iPhone and iPod touch. The app is free and currently available in the App Store. The blog post states that they are currently working on bringing the app to other platforms, meaning we should soon see an app available on Android and possibly Windows Phone, Windows 8, and other devices.
Vine explains the app a bit better in their blog post:
Posts on Vine are about abbreviation - the shortened form of something larger. They're little windows into the people, settings, ideas and objects that make up your life. They're quirky, and we think that's part of what makes them so special.
We're also happy to share the news that Vine has been acquired by Twitter. Our companies share similar values and goals; like Twitter, we want to make it easier for people to come together to share and discover what's happening in the world. We also believe constraint inspires creativity, whether it's through a 140-character Tweet or a six-second video...[/quote]
China has unblocked access to the code sharing site GitHub, after at least partially blocking it last Thursday. The reasoning behind blocking GitHub isn't known, and it's not clear why they would block it as it has no affiliation with any government or political views.
The unblocking is likely due, at least in part, to Google's former head of China operations' post: "GitHub is the preferred tool for programmers to learn and connect with the rest of the world. Blocking GitHub is unjustifiable, and will only derail the nation's programmers from the world, while bringing about a loss in competitiveness and insight."
The post was made on Sina Weibo, China's equivalent to Twitter. The message was re-posted over 80,000, which helped spread the message that GitHub should not be blocked. Users may still have trouble accessing GitHub, as some of the DNS servers still have the old cached routing information from when it was blocked. The should clear up soon.
Oops. Facebook has had to issue an apology to Murry Lipp after the social networking giant banned the user for uploading a picture of a gay marriage. Lipp founded the Gay Marriage USA Facebook page and uploaded a picture of a mixed-race gay couple. Other users commented on the picture, with some calling it "vile."
Facebook didn't seem to have an issue with these comments, though they removed the picture that had been reported as "offensive" by users. They also banned Lipp for a week. The spokesperson, speaking on behalf of Facebook, agreed that the picture "did not violate [Facebook's] terms." The comments should have been removed instead of the picture. "We apologise for the error," he added.
Facebook has said that they are reviewing the way the report button works, as it clearly is being misused and not working properly currently. However, it would be impossible for Facebook to have enough staff to review all of the reports it receives as the site sees thousands of complaints every day.
Twitter acquired a little known video hosting service that never managed to launch. Known as Vine, the service hosts video clips that loop. From their site: "The best way to see and share life in motion. Create beautiful looping videos in a fun way, then share with your friends and family."
The site also says that the service is coming soon. Evidence from the tweet shows that the service is already functioning, so could Twitter be planning to integrate the service as their own video hosting service? As of late, Twitter has been restricting access to third-party services so that they could better manage advertising revenue and other features.
It looks as though Vine may be turned into a hosting service for videos embedded in Tweets. It's not clear, if this does happen, whether or not Twitter will restrict users from using other services to embed videos in tweets. Keep your eye on Twitter as they should be doing some interesting stuff in the upcoming months.
Mega, the recently launched brainchild of the infamous Kim Dotcom, has already climbed to the ranks of the top 150 sites on the internet. In just five days, the file sharing website has eclipsed rivals RapidShare and Dropbox according to Alexa rankings, a service which ranks websites by size from users who install its browser toolbar.
In a tweet that simply read "141", Dotcom announced the sites entry into the 150 club. The numbers are based on website ranking service Alexa, where Mega is still in the 7,000 range if you go by the three month stats, but if you track the site on a seven day basis, Mega has beat out its major rivals in terms of website traffic.
GitHub, the popular code sharing repository, has been caught up in the Great Firewall of China. The news was first reported by Hacker News at around 1:40 a.m. Monday morning.
As of today, Chinese developers, as well as anyone else in the country, are unable to access the project and code sharing site. GitHub, a San Francisco based company, allows developers to share code and creates an easy way to fork existing projects without losing previous code.
GitHub joins the ranks of giants such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Google+ that cannot be accessed in China. We do not know how many total sites are blocked, but Wikipedia claims that over 2600 sites are blocked in the People's Republic of China.