Teens Create Shareable Video Bios with Facebook’s Lifestage

Constructed as a way for high school students to get to know their classmates, Facebook’s new Lifestage is a standalone iOS app, aimed at people 21 and under. The user answers a series of biographical questions by shooting video rather than writing text, and Lifestage turns the clips into a video profile that others can watch. Users, who can swipe to block and/or report sketchy visitors, do not need a Facebook account but instead select their high school to see video profiles of classmates. Continue reading Teens Create Shareable Video Bios with Facebook’s Lifestage

Twitter and Pepsi Ink Deal to Add Promoted Stickers to Photos

If you’re in the U.S., India, Russia, Canada or Mexico, the next time you want to tweet a photo, the top stickers will come from PepsiCo. The company, which has created almost 50 different stickers, is Twitter’s first partner in promoted stickers. Of those, only eight will be available to Twitter users, specific to 10 countries, including those listed above. In the U.S, Twitter users have the option of two Pepsi cans side by side, smiley emoji, a barbeque grill, and a ballet dancer’s feet clad in red pointe shoes. Continue reading Twitter and Pepsi Ink Deal to Add Promoted Stickers to Photos

App for Broadcasting Text Chats Rolls Out with ‘SummerBreak’

Avner Ronen, founder of consumer electronics startup Boxee, has rolled out Public, a messaging service that he calls “a third medium for broadcasting conversations.” Public, which raised $2 million at the end of 2015 and is available as an iPhone app and website, broadcasts group chats to an audience, complete with GIFs and emoji. A handful of active participants chat about a topic, which anyone can follow in real-time or read later. Chats can also be shared on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram or embedded in other websites. Continue reading App for Broadcasting Text Chats Rolls Out with ‘SummerBreak’

Apple Envisions a Future Based on Siri, Intelligent Messaging

At the Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday, Apple CEO Tim Cook described how the company’s virtual assistant Siri will become ubiquitous across Apple platforms and capable of sending messages, making phone calls, ordering a Lyft ride and interacting with non-Apple apps and services. Mastering voice services is key to Apple’s success in an arena where Google, Amazon and others have made headway. Apple also plans to vastly improve Messaging, which, with third party apps, will empower it to do much more. Continue reading Apple Envisions a Future Based on Siri, Intelligent Messaging

Facebook Overlays Live Video with Viewer Comments, Emoji

Facebook now puts viewer comments and reaction emoji as an overlaid graph on Live videos. That enables a user who fast-forwards through a recorded Live clip to identify which parts of the video are worth watching and which can be skipped. The new capability could encourage amateurs to pay more attention to how their videos are shot and paced, ultimately making their content more compelling. Periscope offers a similar ability to leave real-time feedback in the form of “hearts” on live streams. Continue reading Facebook Overlays Live Video with Viewer Comments, Emoji

People Can’t Get Enough of the Peach Social Network App

It looks like the next big thing in the world of mobile apps could be yet another social network and messaging service. Peach allows users to share statuses, pictures, locations, GIFs and songs. People can also like their friends’ posts and send each other emoji. It sounds very similar to every other social networks available today, but due to Peach’s functionality and short-cut feature for sharing, it has caught the interest of early adopters. The app, which was created by Vine founder Dom Hofmann, is growing so fast that it crashed last week. Continue reading People Can’t Get Enough of the Peach Social Network App

Instagram Answers Competitors with Short Boomerang Videos

Instagram has launched a new app called Boomerang that allows users to record 1-second video clips and share them on social media. The app records a burst of five photos and then stitches them together into a video loop, similar to an animated GIF, and plays the loop backwards and forwards to create the Boomerang effect. The app, available on Android and iOS, does not require an Instagram account. This is the third standalone app from Instagram; Layout is used to create collages to upload to Instagram, while Hyperlapse lets users create time-lapse videos. Continue reading Instagram Answers Competitors with Short Boomerang Videos

Facebook Testing New Emoji in Ireland, Spain for Wide Release

Facebook just announced something fans have been wanting for a long time: in addition to the ubiquitous “like” button, fans will have other icons to express emotions. The new emoji, designed after months of research to find expressions that would work globally, include surprise, anger, love, laughter, sadness and a supportive cheer. Although many users have lobbied for a “dislike” button, Facebook declined to add one. The tests in Spain and Ireland are just the first of a round before the emoji are widely released. Continue reading Facebook Testing New Emoji in Ireland, Spain for Wide Release

Facebook Intros New Second Screen Tools for Live TV Viewing

The idea of second screen viewing — that users are interacting with social media platforms at the same time they watch live TV — came to fruition several years ago, but it’s still an area ripe for growth. That’s why Facebook, which already has a relationship between its site and live TV, has unveiled even more tools to reinforce the integration. Among the new tools are ways to let viewers make their opinions known via polling and voting, custom icons for TV shows, and a way for broadcasters to easily gather viewer feedback. Continue reading Facebook Intros New Second Screen Tools for Live TV Viewing

Snapchat Adds New Tool to Share News from ‘Discover’ Portal

Snapchat is finally letting users share stories with their friends directly from the app’s news portal. Users simply have to hold down a news story, add a comment or some emoji, and then send it to friends just like a regular Snap. The Discover portal has seen viewership drop since it debuted earlier this year, and Snapchat is betting on sharing to attract more loyal viewers. Many other media companies such as BuzzFeed rely heavily on social sharing to drive Web traffic. Continue reading Snapchat Adds New Tool to Share News from ‘Discover’ Portal

Android Wear Watches Can Now Connect to Phones via Wi-Fi

Google has updated the Android Wear operating system to include wrist controls, Wi-Fi connectivity, and other functionality features. For the first time, smartwatch users won’t have to be tethered to their smartphone because the Wi-Fi connection will allow them to receive text messages and check email on their watches without needing their smartphones nearby. The first Android Wear smartwatches with this technology built-in are expected to begin shipping next month. Continue reading Android Wear Watches Can Now Connect to Phones via Wi-Fi

CES: Polaroid Demos New Pocket-Sized Mobile Photo Printer

Polaroid has unveiled its portable Zip device, a 6.6-ounce photo printer, less than one-inch thick, that creates 2×3-inch prints using the company’s ZINK zero-ink technology and adhesive-backed ZINK paper. The pocket-sized device enables users to print photos from Bluetooth-enabled smartphones and tablets. The Zip includes a free mobile app available for iOS and Android, and an array of editing options such as adding filters, frames, stamps and stickers. Users can even make business cards. The Zip is expected to ship this spring for about $130. Continue reading CES: Polaroid Demos New Pocket-Sized Mobile Photo Printer

Facebook Takes on Snapchat with Slingshot Messaging App

Facebook launched its new Slingshot messaging app for both iPhone and Android this week. The app has been described as similar to Snapchat, although it has one significant difference. In order to see what others have sent you, you need to send a photo or video in response. The free app is meant to feel more like a game that involves active engagement than a traditional social messaging tool, based on the inability of users to watch so-called “shots” passively. Continue reading Facebook Takes on Snapchat with Slingshot Messaging App

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