Twitter, and apps that rely on Twitter’s API, were down Tuesday around 11:10 PT. Read more »
Instagram users for Android have a big update coming their way, as the company announced Tuesday that the redesigned Instagram 5.1 for Android cuts loading times in half. The boost in speed, according to the company, is the result of cleaning up the app’s design — it’s half as large as Instagram 5.0. The smaller package and sleeker design also help with Instagram’s accessibility — a lighter app means better performance on lower-end phones.
Whisper is already raking in more money from a new funding round led by Shasta Ventures. Read more »
After updating its News Feed last week, Facebook has introduced a one-column, minimalist look for Pages. Read more »
Facebook is finally rolling out that News Feed redesign it has talked about for a year, but the end result is a lot less drastic than it was originally meant to be. Read more »
Facebook will crack down on how guns are sold on its platform, but is it enough to curb it entirely? Read more »
Adventure and travel site Peek announced on Wednesday that it’s raised $5 million in a Series A funding round led by Montage Ventures. The company, which operates as part travel guide, part deals and booking service, is best known for its high-profile investor pool: Twitter’s Jack Dorsey and Google’s Eric Schmidt participated in the company’s initial seed round of $1.4 million. The company says that the money will go towards expanding Peek’s reach to 11 new cities (it currently operates domestically and internationally, including cities like San Francisco, New York and London) as well as accelerating its vendor platform, Peek Professional.
Twitch’s latest SDK allows users to livestream plays of their favorite mobile games. Read more »
Google Capital is taking a foray into real estate with a large investment in Auction.com. Read more »
Facebook is reportedly in talks to acquire a drone company as a way of expanding its Internet.org initiative. Read more »
Events-focused site Meetup has been offline intermittently since Thursday, due to a massive DDoS attack on the company’s servers. According to a blog post from co-founder and CEO Scott Heiferman, it’s the first attack of this magnitude in the 12 years since Meetup was founded, and the chain of attacks were attached to a ransom of $300. The company made the decision not to negotiate with the hackers, and continues to fight off attacks — as of 10 a.m. PST, the website remains down and redirects to the blog post.
On Monday, Kickstarter announced that it passed the $1 billion dollar mark in pledges to projects, with a few interesting insights into how that money was raised. Read more »
Former Jawbone co-founder Alex Asseily is now in the business of opinions with his new social network, State, where users can express their feelings on millions of topics. Read more »
If you’ve taken Uber before, you know all about surge pricing: when cars in the area are limited, Uber can raise the fare price of the ride to astronomical levels. It’s a pain point for users that’s likely to become more painful now that a report from The Verge reveals the company purposefully kept drivers off the road in San Diego to encourage surge pricing and “to make earnings even higher” for drivers. Uber confirmed the message, saying the company wanted to “reward” its drivers with good paychecks. While those seem like good intentions, the fact that Uber is subjectively controlling its prices in some markets goes against the supply-and-demand pricing the company has touted in the past.
Rideshare companies are struggling to navigate the nuances of auto insurance policies, which currently leave drivers to rely on personal insurance in between rides. Read more »
Twitter users may see something new when they search: The company announced via a blog post Tuesday that it will now include “relevant promoted accounts” in search results. (Promoted tweets have shown up in search results since 2010.) The promoted accounts will show up in Twitter’s “who to follow” recommendations. The move is clearly a way to add value for brands that advertise on Twitter – but it may turn off users looking to get the right answer to their query, not just who has paid enough to appear on top.
Facebook email, a service you probably never used, is going to the app graveyard today. Read more »
Uber remains the top dog in the rising transportation app market, but its surge pricing model — which places a multiplier on rates when traffic is high — has drawn ire from many users. But CEO Travis Kalanick said at the 2014 LAUNCH Festival today that the company is making the process more “humane” by adding push notifications to users when surge pricing ends, according to The Next Web. The notifications, which will roll out to iPhone users next week and Android users in the near future, may keep users from obsessively refreshing the app to get a better price, but it doesn’t solve the problem of enraging users when they need rides the most.
Facebook’s latest acquisition, WhatsApp, will roll out voice calling to all users sometime during the second quarter of this year. Read more »
Airbnb’s new safety laws make sure guests have access to first aid and working fire detection technology. Read more »
Anonymous confessional app Secret has a new update that will give users more control over posts. Read more »
After nine years of leadership, Y Combinator founder Paul Graham is stepping down as president and passing the title on to entrepreneur Sam Altman. Read more »
This week, Facebook announced its acquisition of messaging platform WhatsApp for $16 billion. Here’s how it fits into the company’s view of mobile over time. Read more »
Messenger app WhatsApp is Facebook’s largest acquisition to date. Read more »
After releasing a preview during last year’s I/O, Google is rolling out its “new” maps to all users, complete with exploration and recommendations. Read more »
Part of the reason that Tinder has taken off so well in the past few months is that it shows users nearby within a mile radius. However, Businessweek reports that white-hat hackers uncovered location data for users that went much deeper than that mile designation — even triangulating someone’s position within 100 feet. The hole was patched before the beginning of this year, but the process took months and Tinder was slow to respond. It’s also not the first time the company has landed in hot water over its location technology — and its transparency about security.
Edtech startup Renaissance Learning announced a $40 million from a new venture capital arm of Google that focuses on established startups. Read more »
Sidecar has announced a user marketplace that helps riders and drivers connect. Read more »
All users of LinkedIn will be able to post their thoughts via the company’s publishing platform, and gain followers for doing so. Read more »
An MIT study claims that Twitter can be used to predict major social events, thanks to heavy activity from specific communities. Read more »
Irish game development and publishing company King, best known for creating freemium smash hit “Candy Crush Saga,” filed for an IPO Tuesday. The company, which hopes to raise $500 million, pulled in $1.9 billion in 2013 and says 78 percent of its total gross bookings last year came from Candy Crush Saga, which launched on mobile in November 2012. King’s revenues in 2012 were just $164 million. King says 70 percent of its gross bookings — which it defines as the total amount its users pay for virtual items and access to skill tournaments — are on mobile, and just 4 percent of users (roughly 12 million) regularly make in-game purchases.
Secret is an anonymous social network that lets users share personal, gossipy information. But is the app really that useful if nobody’s listening to you? Read more »
Pinterest mobile for iOS and Android both received updates today — the most noteworthy of which is the ability to view GIFs on both iPhone and Android smartphones. According to the company’s engineering blog, the feature allows users to pin GIFs directly, which will show up in feeds with a small play button. GIFs can then be played via mobile, shared and repinned across platforms. The iPad version was also updated, including support for place pins.
Sharing on social media doesn’t actually mean a user has read a piece of content, The Verge reports, citing findings from real-time analytics site Chartbeat. Chartbeat says its data shows no correlation between sharing and reading — fair reasoning behind Upworthy’s decision to value an engagement metric called “Attention Minutes” over both pageviews and shares. But all is not completely lost: data from Upworthy shows that likelihood of sharing is best if a user reads an article or watches a video all the way to the end.
With just a few lines of code, the largest social network in the world has offered an opportunity for a portion of its user base to cease being invisible. Read more »
After months of relative silence, photo-sharing app Frontback has released an update and claims it’s growing fast internationally. Read more »
A report from Recode says that SaaS platform Lithium is in the final stages of acquiring Klout Read more »
If you are one of the precious few who enjoy socializing with fellow passengers on an airplane, take note: Virgin America has announced an in-flight social network to help business travelers connect. The airline’s “network” is basically a deployment of geolocating business connection app Here on Biz for iPhone. Passengers will be encouraged to log in at the gate or in the air via Gogo Inflight Internet to see nearby professionals’ details from LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Passengers will be able to access the app via Gogo for free until July.
Instagram has published a guidebook for brands that want to advertise on the platform. Read more »
Chaatz, a messaging app released today for iPhone, will begin to install its services onto feature phones later this year. Read more »