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According to a report from website All Things D, Facebook is working on a system that will allow users to make payments via their mobile device in similar fashion to how PayPal and Google allow users to pay with their smartphone. The report says that the new mobile payment solution is in a very limited test at the moment and will let shoppers make purchases with credit card information stored in their Facebook account.
Of course, this will only work if you have a credit card already on file with Facebook that you have used in the past to purchase gifts, in-game purchases, or even targeted advertising. The new one-click mobile payment system will use the same information and will allow shoppers to quickly navigate around entering details such as billing addresses, expiration dates, and even security codes found on the back of their cards. For the moment, it is unclear if Facebook will expand the mobile payment program beyond its current test, and with all of the security and privacy concerns already surrounding Facebook, this may be one tough cookie to sell to its members.
Celebrities are an odd on bunch. One moment they accost the public and demand privacy, but just a few minutes later, they will jump onto Facebook or Twitter and post about every moment of their daily lives. Apparently posting to Facebook is not easy enough for celebrities and the company is said to be developing a new VIP app that would allow them extended access to the social network.
The new VIP app will allow celebrities and public figures to better manage their content and engage with their followers. Some see this as an effort on Facebook's part to lure celebrities away from Twitter and back into the white and blue social network. The app will supposedly let celebrities jump into conversations about them even if they are not following one of the commenters or are not a part of the group of friends having the conversation. Website TechEYE says that Facebook is even briefing celebrities on "best practices" for interaction with their fans on Facebook.
Today, Facebook has announced that it has finished rolling out its Graph Search feature to everyone using US English as their primary language. Eight months ago, the company launched the advanced search feature to a handful of select beta testers and then began to slowly roll the service out a few months later.
Graph Search lets users search using common phrases such as "pizzerias in my city that my friends have visited and liked." In the early weeks of the beta program, the service received much criticism as the level of search capable was just to much for some people to be comfortable with.
A search phrase such as "photos of friends of my friends at the beach" would return photos of all the friends of your friends who were at the beach. This became a problem because many of those photos featured women in bikinis. Facebook has since restricted certain search phrases and this issue is no longer a problem.
I have had Graph Search since the beginning of last October and was one of the original groups of beta testers. The novelty wore off after only a few weeks, and I have not used the search terms more than three or four times since. I am hoping that with everyone now using Graph Search the algorithms will become smarter and return more relevant results.
Today, Mark Zuckerberg has to be celebrating as his company's stock hit $37.96 per share in late trading on Tuesday. That equates to an increase of more than 7 percent for the day. The jump in share price comes after the company posted impressive second quarter earnings last week, which derived from better-than-expected mobile growth.
Facebook says that it now has more than 800 million active monthly mobile users and that mobile ads are accounting for more than 40 percent of the company's ad revenue. This is up from 30 percent the previous quarter and more than triple what it was during the previous year. The rise in stock price can also be attributed to the social network's new program announced today for game publishing in which it will help distribute games from small- and medium-sized developers and in turn collect some of the profits for itself.
Pinterest announced today a new addition to its popular image collecting service that allows users to edit their feed to provide them with content that is related to what they have been pinning. Dubbed the "Edit Home Feed" option, users can now opt out of letting Pinterest track your activity on other sites.
Pinterest now tracks you on sites that have a "Pin It" button whenever you pin something from that website. It then uses this data to suggest boards based on your interests. Opting out is a simple as ticking a box in your account settings. Pinterest added this feature to help ease concerns over online tracking which is been at the forefront of the news for the past few months now.
When the announcement was first made that Yahoo had purchased Tumblr, thousands of users began posting their concerns that the service would remove its erotica category which made up roughly 10 percent of the social blogging service's user base. Yahoo shortly thereafter released a statement that said they had no intentions to remove any of the adult material, pages, or blogs from Tumblr.
Yesterday, Yahoo completely backtracked on the promises and removed more than 12 million blogs from the service that were marked as featuring adult content on both Tumbler's internal search results and the indexing of all of the major search engines such as Google and Bing. Additionally, the "Erotica" category has been removed alongside other adult themed content.
While the blogs are still hosted on the site, removing them from any and all search results as well as any internal linking that would help users find their way to such blogs renders them virtually invisible and only findable through direct links. Additionally, a recent update to Tumbler's iOS app removed search results for the hashtags #Gay, #Lesbian, and #Bisexual.
A few months back, I reported that the French authorities were pushing Twitter to release user data on one of its members who posted an anti-Semitic tweet to his account. Today, the company said in a statement that it has complied with a French government request to hand over tweets related to a rash of anti-Semitism on the site.
The offenses took place last October when several anti-Semantic tweets and hashtags appeared on the short message social network. I won't repeat the tweets here because they are quite offensive, but if you must read them, you can head over to Source #1 below. The tweets caused an uproar in the Union of Jewish French students and other anti-racism groups around France.
The UEJF took their case to the French court system and won a ruling in January that said that Twitter must hand over the account information and names of those who posted the anti-Semitic tweets. Just two months later, the UEFJ sued Twitter for $50 million when the company failed to comply with the court's request.
Early this morning, Facebook finally switched on Graph Search for all of its English-speaking users in the US. By expanding its test program that was rolled out in January from a few thousand users to a few million users, Facebook can now see how its new search performs on a massive scale.
Graph search is a tool that allows people to search Facebook's fast database using natural language searches to find almost anything the social network has ever indexed. An example of one search would be: "Photographs of my friends taken before 2005" or "restaurants in New York City my friends have visited and liked." Facebook would then return results based on your query.
I feel the graph search, while cool, is not really useful past searching for restaurants, photos, or places. I have been a member of the beta program since the week it was released and to be quite honest, the novelty wore off very fast. In the past few months, Facebook has modified the search so much that now most results are quite broad and not a specific as they used to be.
Yesterday, the popular image hosting service Imgur launched its very own meme generator in an effort to lure all of Reddit from several other meme-generating websites. This announcement comes shortly after Reddit banned links from Quickmeme earlier this week which was accused of running upvote bots and injecting malware via its images.
All of the most popular and least favorite meme images are preloaded into the generator, and a built-in gallery collects all the most popular memes created each day. During a quick scan through all of the memes, I noticed such timeless classics as Overly Obsessed Girlfriend, Bad Luck Brian, Scumbag Steve, Actual Advice Mallard, and everyone's favorite, Grumpy Cat.
With Imgur already one of the most popular image sharing websites on the Internet, not to mention Reddit's go to source for image hosting, we are sure to see thousands of more memes pop up everywhere. What's your favorite meme? Post the link below in the comments for everyone to see.
During today's Microsoft Build conference, CEO Steve Ballmer announced that Windows 8 is finally getting an official Facebook app. This announcement comes almost a year after the new Windows operating system was announced.
Facebook and Microsoft have partnered up to build a native app for the company's flagship operating system, and as a result, Facebook will default searches to Microsoft's Bing search engine. In return, Microsoft will deeply integrate Facebook into Windows 8.
There are also reports coming in that Facebook-owned Instagram will also be getting a Windows 8 app and that tMicrosoft hopes Twitter's Vine will follow suit. Ballmer also announced that Windows 8 will be getting an official version of Flipboard as well as an NFL Fantasy Football App.