Google have now enabled the ability for users to upload full-sized photos from any web browser to Google+. All you have to do is enable the option and let it do the photo uploading for you.
There are limits on the file size of the photos, with anything over 2048 pixels across (and videos over 15 minutes long) will still count toward your Google Drive cap.
250 million Facebook users play games on the service each month, equates to $2 billion in revenue for developers
Games on Facebook are an annoyance for some and a lifestyle for others. Whether or not you game on the social network, you most likely know several people who do. Today, Facebook released some astonishing statistics about its users' gaming habits.
In a release this morning, Facebook says that over 250 million of its users play games on its service. Roughly 20 percent of its daily users play some type of game when logged into the site. If that is not a wake up call to all game developers, then the monetary figures sure will be.
Over 100 game developers made $1 million last year from Facebook games alone, with the totality of all Facebook gaming developers splitting roughly $2 billion in revenue last year. Android and iOS developers are taking note too with over 55 percent of the top 400 iOS games having Facebook integration.
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.
Last year I reported on the German Data Protection Body, Unabhaengiges Landeszentrum fuer Datenschutz ULD, ruling that Facebook's Real Name policy violated German data protection laws. This was a major blow to Facebook's long standing policy of users only being able to create profiles with their real name.
Today a German court ruled that the data protection laws aren't applicable as Facebook has its European headquarters in Ireland. The court said that only Irish data protection laws could apply. Not one to back down, the ULD says that it is planning an appeal, and still believes that the method of forcing users to use their real name breaks privacy laws.
The head of the ULD, Thilo Weichert, said that the ruling was "more than amazing," and "contradictory". Personally I have no issues with Facebook requiring me to use my real name. If I do not want my real name used, I do not have to use the social network.
In what seems to be a trend as of late, some Facebook users across the web are having issues reaching the site this morning. Venture Beat is reporting that a large number of users are unable to reach the social network this morning.
The website "Down for Everyone or Just Me" is confirming that Facebook is not behaving nicely this morning and that some users are experiencing total outages to the service.
Most of the morning TweakTown staff were able to login and use Facebook normally, so we are betting that this is further networking issues like we saw last week.
You might have read a story I did a few days ago on a class action lawsuit settlement in which Facebook admitted to using its users images in "Sponsored Posts". The settlement was agreed upon with $20 million being set aside to compensate affected parties.
This morning I received my settlement notice even though I had no idea that I was one of the affected parties. The notice does say that I could be entitled to up to $10, but if the number of claims exceeded a financially feasible number, then all the money will be donated to charity. Other than that, it is full of legalese, but it does state a few interesting things which I have quoted below.
This Notice relates to a proposed settlement ("Settlement") of a class action lawsuit ("Action") filed against Facebook relating to a particular Facebook feature called "Sponsored Stories." According to available records, you may be a "Class Member."
The Super Bowl is over for another year, with the Baltimore Ravens beating the San Francisco 49ers, but Twitter are the champions of social networking for Super Bowl XLVII.
According to Marketing Land, Twitter was mentioned in 26 of 52 national TV commercials, taking 50% of the spots that aired during CBS' coverage. Facebook only took four mentions and Google+? None. YouTube and Instagram were mentioned once each, with Hyundai and Oreo, respectively. Last year's Super Bowl was a totally different story, which saw Facebook and Twitter even with eight mentions out of 59 commercials.
Last year saw Google+ not being mentioned either, and for Google+ reportedly being the second largest social network, that's weird. It all comes down to how people use social networks. Twitter, in my opinion, more of an instant tied-to-your-smartphone-and-event kind of thing, and Facebook is more of a 'everything else I do' social network. I don't know where Google+ fits in (personally), and Instagram is purely pictures - mostly of food.
Social networking leader Facebook had their earnings call yesterday, where CEO Mark Zuckerberg talked about the company's further investment into product development. This will be a huge push in terms of creating products that make the social networking site money, and lots of it.
Zuckerberg said during the earnings call that Facebook will grow their headcount quickly this year in product development. This quick expansion will cull some of their profits, but they're really pushing their revenue earning products like graph search, Gifts and others. These products could eventually be the strongest parts of Facebook, so they're getting much needed attention.
Just last year alone, Facebook added 1,419 employees which pushed them to a total of 4,619 employees across the world - representing a 44% jump. Facebook will continue adding staff to their payroll, concentrating on engineering and jobs associated with product development. Facebook CFO David Ebersman revealed during the earnings call that Facebook's expenses would expand by 50% this year, which is mostly due to hiring new staff.
Back in October, Facebook settled a class action lawsuit for $20 million dollars over user images being used in advertising. You may have a claim to part of that $20 million. Do not get too excited however, because as many as 150 million other users are entitled to part of it as well.
To lay official claim to your portion of the settlement, you or your child had a Facebook account with a Facebook Sponsored Story featured, and Facebook must have used your images in that featured post. If you are one of the "lucky" ones, you may be entitled to a payment of less than $10 from the social networking giant.
Chances are that no individual will see a single dime from the settlement though as a clause in the class action settlement states that if too many people are found to be valid claim holders, the settlement funds will be donated to several charities. This is because it would be too costly to send a check for $1 to 200 million (give or take) different people.
Roughly 1.5 billion people worldwide use social networking sites such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Google+ has claimed the second place spot in the race to become the largest social network in the world, beating out YouTube and Twitter by a few percent.
In a new report from GlobalWebIndex, Facebook is visited by more than half of all internet users, while Google+ sees about half that many users, with YouTube and Twitter getting about 20% each. Facebook is still the dominate monster, but Google+ is slowly chipping away at the top spot.
Since its launch, Google+ has managed over 300 million account creations and most of them are still considered active. That may seem a small when compared to Facebook's 1 billion+ user base, but not all of those accounts are active. In the end, ratings like these are hard to generate as all the major social networks are timid about sharing traffic data regularly.
Twitter ordered to reveal users personal data by French court in an effort to combat racism and antisemitism
The AP and Reuters are reporting that a Paris High Court has today ordered Twitter to reveal data that will help authorities identify authors of racist and anti-Semitic tweets.
The ruling is the result of a summons filed against Twitter by the French Jewish Students Union which wished to trace users who had tweeted hate speeches and rhetoric last October. The Students Union is hoping to get the tweeters prosecuted on the grounds that racial hatred is a crime in France.
Twitter has been given 15 days to comply with the order, after which the social networking company will be fined a daily penalty of $1335 until compliance is met. No word has been released yet on when or if Twitter will comply with the court's ruling.
In Indiana, it has been illegal for some time now for sex offenders to join popular social networks such as Facebook. Today the Associated Press is reporting that the 7th US Circuit of Appeals court has ruled that the law banning sex offenders from social networks is unconstitutional.
In the ruling, the judge writes that the law "broadly prohibits substantial protected speech rather than targeting the evil of improper communication to minors." The ACLU was behind the case and has fought for such bans to be removed before.
Federal judges have in the past barred such laws in other states, and this case sets further precedence for ongoing battles in several states where sex offenders are battling the right to sign up on social networking sites, chat rooms and instant messaging clients.