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Amazon Rolls Its Shopping Carts Onto Twitter's Turf
May 05, 2014
Amazon is now allowing consumers to add items to their shopping cart simply by sending a reply on Twitter. Users who connect their accounts on the two services can add a product they see in a Twitter link to their Amazon shopping cart simply by replying to the tweet with the hashtag #AmazonCart -- or #AmazonBasket in the UK. The feature is available only in the U.S. and the UK at present.
Pinterest's Guided Search Finds Needles in Haystacks
April 29, 2014
Pinterest last week announced Guided Search, a new search engine for navigating its particular type of content -- user-provided pins, which now number around 30 billion, and an array of around 750 million boards. Guided Search is designed to help users discover pins they were not necessarily looking for, but that might interest them. For now, the feature is available only on mobile.
Google+ Daddy Vic Gundotra Bails
April 25, 2014
Vic Gundotra, who moved Google into the social media world, first with the ill-fated Buzz and then with Google+, on Thursday announced his departure from the company. "Now is the time for a new journey," he wrote, fittingly, on Google+. The announcement was laced with the usual praise for colleagues accompanying such statements. It was met with an equally platitude-laden response.
Facebook Dips a Toe Into the News Biz
April 24, 2014
Facebook on Thursday announced FB Newswire, a site aggregating content from posts users put up on their pages that it will offer as a resource to journalists. The content will be curated by Irish firm Storyful, which News Corp., at the heart of a cellphone hacking scandal in the UK, purchased in December. Journalists and media organizations "have become an integral part of Facebook."
Founder of Russian Social Media Says He Got the Boot
April 23, 2014
Pavel Durov, the founder of Russia's most popular social network site, claims he has been ousted by allies of President Vladimir Putin -- who went ahead and took over the site while they were at it. Durov, who ran the mega-popular VKontakte, had reportedly run afoul of the Russian government for refusing to heed requests to censor posts on the site.
Banking Trojan Enters Mobiles via Facebook
April 21, 2014
Purveyors of a notorious mobile banking Trojan have started targeting Facebook users to infect Android smartphones. The Net predators use a desktop Trojan to leverage a Facebook socializer to install banking malware on their phone, ESET malware researcher Jean-Ian Boutin discovered last week. The desktop bad app, Win32/Qadars, waits for an infected machine to open a Facebook page.
Twitter Makes Bold Moves in Mobile Ad Game
April 17, 2014
Twitter has announced new ways for advertisers to connect with targets both on and off the site. The new ad offering is the first integration between Twitter and MoPub, the mobile advertising exchange that Twitter acquired last year. With the partnership, advertisers will be able to launch ad campaigns that run across the entire Twitter Publisher Network.
Samsung Strikes Deal With Fellow Apple Patent Foe
April 16, 2014
Samsung, longtime patent foe of Apple, will partner with Swiss Federal Railways, another -- unlikely -- Apple patent foe. While the deal itself may not be groundbreaking -- Samsung will supply the state-owned rail company with 30,000 mobile devices -- it is interesting given both parties' litigious background with Apple. Samsung's court battles with Apple have been documented ad nauseum.
Twitter Tries to Defuse Turkey Controversy
April 15, 2014
Twitter has agreed to close some accounts in Turkey, but the two sides are still at loggerheads over allegations of tax evasion and whether or not Twitter must maintain a physical presence in the country. Twitter Vice President of Global Public Policy Colin Crowell led a delegation of sorts to address the country's multifaceted grievances with the social media site.
Facebook Mixes Up Mobile Messaging
April 10, 2014
Facebook is ditching the private messaging function in its main mobile application in favor of having the entire messaging experience take place inside the dedicated Messenger app. The company launched the dedicated messaging app on iOS and Android in 2011, and later debuted it on Windows Phone. Facebook last year redesigned the app to focus on aiding those who want to be reachable at all times.
Investors See Gold Mine in Quora
April 10, 2014
Why is question-and-answer website Quora so popular with investors? "Because of the high quality of the discussions on the site," answered Paul Levinson, professor of communications and media studies at Fordham. To get a true expert take on the matter one would have to consult Tiger Global Management, which led the Series C venture capital round that brought in $80 million.
Twitter Applies a New Coat of Face(book) Paint
April 08, 2014
Twitter on Tuesday announced a redesign of its user profiles, hard on the heels of its launch of new photo-sharing capabilities late last month. Included among the new features in the redesign are larger profile photos, customized headers, and an enlarged presentation of tweets that have been particularly popular. Users also can pin a tweet to the top of their page.
Record Labels Slam Russian Social Net With Piracy Suit
April 04, 2014
Sony Music, Universal Music and Warner Music on Thursday filed legal proceedings against vKontakte, or VK, charging that the Russian social network operates a music service that deliberately facilitates widespread copyright infringement. VK operates an unlicensed music service involving a large collection of copyright-infringing tracks, the companies charge.
Google+ Changes Rules of Engagement
April 02, 2014
Gauging your popularity on Google's social network, Google+, got a little easier Tuesday, as the would-be Facebook competitor added page view analytics. Now, when members view their profile page -- which metrics show isn't that often -- they'll see a number beneath their mug indicating the number of times their content has been viewed by someone since Oct. 12, 2012.
April Schools' Day: School Canceled Thanks to IT System Hack
April 01, 2014
Well, an A for creativity. In Australia, someone penetrated a high school's IT system and penned text messages and emails to parents saying that the school had been badly damaged by a fire and was not fit for students. There was no truth to the message, however -- just a bit of April Fools' Day shenanigans. An unknown person apparently wiggled into the school's IT systems Tuesday morning.
Twitter Tagging: It's Not the Characters, It's the Mileage
March 28, 2014
Twitter has bolstered its photo-sharing capabilities with the addition of two new features: the option to add up to four photos per tweet, and a function allowing users to tag up to 10 other people in a photo. Both features are designed to make photos more social. When a user shares multiple photos in a tweet, the images will automatically create a collage.
Microsoft Launches Public Cloud in China
March 27, 2014
Microsoft is now offering general availability of its Azure cloud service in China, becoming the first multinational company to provide public cloud services in the Middle Kingdom. Microsoft is partnering with 21Vianet, a Chinese data center services provider, a marriage that likely helped appease Beijing officials. Until now, all major cloud providers in China have been Chinese.
Facebook Makes Unreal Acquisition
March 26, 2014
Facebook has agreed to acquire Oculus VR, maker of the Oculus Rift virtual reality gaming hardware. Facebook will pay around $2 billion for the company. That figure includes $400 million in cash and 23.1 million shares of Facebook common stock, valued at $1.6 billion based on recent average trading price. There is a provision for an additional $300 million earnout based on performance.
Twitter Bags Encryption Program
March 25, 2014
Twitter rose to notoriety by being the place where people spilled the minutiae of their lives, but there are times when its users don't want everyone online to see what they're thinking. For those occasions, there's direct messaging. When direct messages are sent by one tweeter to another, there's a certain expectation of privacy there -- even though little is done to protect those messages.
Nuzzel Aims to Calm the Chatter
March 24, 2014
Nuzzel, a service that helps users pick out the most popular items from their social media feeds, launched to the public last week. The aggregating network made its debut in 2012, but until last week, it required an invitation to join. Now anyone can use the service, which is spearheaded by Friendster founder Jonathan Abrams.

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