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After a filing in 2007 based on its social network, Twitter was finally granted a patent on... well... Twitter. US Patent #8,401,009 grants Twitter the rights to how its service works.
When news came of the applications approval, Twitter co-founder, Biz Stone, tweeted "Look Ma, I'm officially an inventor." Does this mean that Twitter will begin suing other startup social networks or services that have similar functionality? Technically they could, but Twitter has a policy that requires its employees to vote before legal action could be taken.
"Like many companies, we apply for patents on a bunch of our inventions. We also think a lot about how those patents may be used in the future, which is why we introduced the Innovator's Patent Agreement to keep control of those patents in the hands of engineers and designers."
The infamous hashtag is something that Twitter has enjoyed, but it looks like rival social networking site Facebook could integrate it, too. Twitter didn't create the hashtag, but it is used frequently on the social network site that it has become the phrase people associate with Twitter.
The news comes from The Wall Street Journal, citing "people familiar with the matter" that the hashtag would come to Facebook, but won't be introduced "imminently." What would Facebook do with the hashtag? Well, they could use it for breaking news and current affairs going on, such as during TV shows when something is said during a show, they'll have a hashtag for it to use it on Twitter. Facebook could adopt something similar, but it's unknown how their hashtag service would work right now.
How do you think it should work? Leave us your thoughts in the comments.
Last year I reported on a bill passing congress that would allow Netflix to integrate with Facebook to share your watch history with your friends. Three months later, Netflix has finally implemented some functionality with the social network.
Today Netflix rolled out new features that will allow you to share your activity on your Facebook wall. After enabling the feature, two new rows will appear in your Netflix app that allows you to share your activity with your friends. Users will have the ability to post shows and films to Facebook and offer comments about recently viewed items.
This functionality has been available to the international crowd for well over a year now, but was held up in the US by obscure laws dating back to the VHS rental days that prevented renters from disclosing an individual's rental records. Netflix and Facebook teamed up to get the law amended - things were made official this past January.
Facebook's platform team have shared some big numbers over the last couple of days, including that more than 400 billion Open Graph actions have been shared "back to Facebook" as of March. Facebook defines their Open Graph actions as "the high-level interactions users can perform" in a Facebook-connected app.
These actions could include a multitude of things, following, liking, listening to music, reading an article, watching a video, etc. This makes the 400 billion action number impressive, but with 1 billion+ users, you can't be that astonished. Facebook add that "on average, people choose to share their app activity" with friends over 1 billion times per day. The social network have also said that as of this month, "110 million songs, albums and radio stations have been played 40 billion times" through Facebook-integrated apps and "1.47 million books have been shared."
RumorTT: Facebook looking into monthly subscription service, would add extra profile features, remove ads
Patents are often a double edged sword that can lend an interesting look into the way a company thinks. It's something we see and speculate on all the time, and this morning is nothing different. Facebook has filed a patent that could drastically change the social network's business model.
US Patent 20130030987 A1 was filed in 2011 and was granted in January of this year. It's titled "Paid Profile Personalization" and describes a method that would allow Facebook to remove ads, and implement "premium" features to the profiles of users who subscribe to a monthly service.
Does this mean that Facebook could be investigating a paid subscription service that would let you spice up your profile and remove those annoying tiny ads? Truthfully, I have no idea. The fact is that most patents remain unused and in recent times, they are used more as a blocking agent than a true "innovative idea."
The one thing I do know is that with 1+ billion users, if Facebook was able to get just 30% to subscribe to a $9.99 monthly service, then Facebook could be well on its way to becoming the most profitable company in the world. I seriously doubt I would opt in to another monthly subscription, but on the other hand, I know many people who would.
This Thursday Facebook will be holding a big press event where it is expected to announce the first major change to its Timeline feature since release in 2006. We are hearing speculation that the news feed may be broken down into multiple categories and would be configurable.
TechCrunch is reporting that in addition to the multiple news feeds, we will also see large timeline photos, and image based ads adorning the service. When tech news site Mashable reached out to Facebook and asked for a comment, they replied "We don't comment on rumor and speculation".
If the rumors are true, then we will see the new multiple feed feature somewhere at the top near the search bar as well as a new photo feed that would exclusively feature images uploaded through the Facebook and Instagram apps. My only worry is that the rollout of Facebook's last big announcement, Graph Search, has not even began to get started, so how long would it be before everyone had access to these new features?
Google released two new accessibility features this week to its social network Google+ as part of its ongoing effort to allow disabled users more usability of its Hang Out feature.
The new Sign Language Interpreter app allows deaf or hard of hearing users to include their own interpreter inside a hangout. The interpreter's image will be shown in the top right corner of a Hangout window, and will automatically become the main image in the hangout whenever he or she speaks for a deaf user.
Also released is an updated set of keyboard shortcuts for better accessibility for those who might not be able to use the mouse during a hangout. Disabled users can mute their microphones by typing the Ctrl+D command on PC or Command+D on a Mac. To begin a chat, they can type Ctrl+B on PC or Command+B for Mac. A full list of shortcuts is accessible by typing "?" during a hangout in the chat window.
Image storage is becoming a major issue for social networking giant Facebook. The service sees over 300 million photos uploaded every single day, which equates to over 109 billion photos uploaded to the social network annually. Naturally, not all of these photos are viewed every single day - some of them go months without being viewed.
Facebook says that 82-percent of all traffic that the service sees is made up of only eight percent of the images stored on the company's servers. This equates to a very large amount of energy inefficient storage for files that are rarely accessed. Facebook has come up with a plan to solve this issue, though.
The company is planning a new "cold storage" facility that will house the old photos and store them for future retrieval. The facility will be located in Prineville, Oregon, and will have three 16,000 square-foot data hubs. The servers will lay in hibernation until data is requested from them. This will increase the amount of time it takes for an old photo to be served to the end-user, but most will never notice it. The delay will be "a matter of seconds, or milliseconds", said Facebook communication manager, Michael Kirkland.
Most of you will be familiar with Burger King's Twitter account being hacked yesterday, our own Trace Hagan covered it here. While funny and serious at the same time, the hack may have actually helped the company more than it hurt it.
Burger King officials once again have control of the hacked account and it seems that everything is back to normal for the most part, but one major change has taken place, BK's followers are up by more than 30,000 than it had this time yesterday. The account now sits with over 100,000 followers.
Upon regaining control of the account the company acknowledged the event by tweeting: "Interesting day here at Burger King, but we're back! Welcome to our new followers. Hope you all stick around!" With an increase in marketable audience this big, I really hope we do not see companies begin to "fake" hacks just to gain larger followings.
Last week we reported that Google were dishing out users' data to developers when they download apps from the Play store, but now it's being reported that Facebook takes data from users even when they're logged out of the social network.
Facebook have confirmed this, but have insisted that the information collected is only for security purposes or to aggregate statistics. Facebook's data collection is from the cookies on your computer when you visit the social network, with the cookies shifting the information over to Facebook from any site that you visit that contains a link to Facebook - such as the "like button".
With this information in-hand, Facebook can map out your web usage. Director of Engineering for Facebook, Arturo Bejar, has said that the data is used to combat spam and phishing attacks by detecting suspicious logins. Not only that, but cookies can use the data to keep users from having to complete extra authentication steps each time they log-in. Because, you know, everyone logs out of Facebook when they're finished with it.