Facebook launches controversial newswire service
FB Newswire is designed to give media outlets and journalists a real-time feed of news-worthy content, but the media industry responded critically, arguing that Facebook would gain the most from the relationship.
“FB Newswire aggregates newsworthy content shared publicly on Facebook by individuals and organizations across the world for journalists to use in their reporting. This will include original photos, videos and status updates posted by people on the front lines of major events like protests, elections and sporting events.”
The tool is powered by Storyful, a social-news verification service that will verify the user generated content. But media outlets claim that far from being a helpful tool, it’s allowing Facebook to dictate the news it shares. Positioning it as the primary publishing platform that everyone else follows.
Twitter launches website cards
On Friday Twitter announced Website Cards, a new ad-unit that highlights a small photo, a line of text, and a URL to an advertiser’s webpage.
They wrote on their blog: “Today, we’re introducing a powerful creative ad unit called the Website Card — a new way for advertisers to easily surface website content within a Tweet and drive relevant traffic to any page of their site, such as their home page, product page, or an important blog post.”
The tool works on desktops and mobile devices and will be coming to a twitter feed near you over the next few days.
Guided Search helps discover Pinterest
Pinterest has announced that they plan to launch Guided Search, a new visual way to explore Pinterest’s more than 30 billion pins – links or images chosen by users and assigned by them to topical collections.
Unlike most search engines, where words are the key to finding the answer, Guided Search offers suggestions as you go using as few words as possible, based on the associations Pinterest has learned to make between all the objects in its database.
For example – searching ‘burger’ will present a series of options e.g. veggie, paleo, lentil etc, helping the browser refine what they’re looking for visually but also allowing them to make discoveries along the way.
Pinterest believe this will help leapfrog Google in terms of search.
Future of Google+ in question
Following the resignation of Vic Gundotra the driving force behind Google+, the industry is calling into question the future of the social network. Although the tool is integrated with YouTube, Gmail and chat it was late to launch and despite building 300 million monthly active users by October 2013, Google+ is still dwarfed by Facebook’s user base of 1.28 billion monthly active users.
CEO of Google Larry Page confirmed that the company would continue investing in Google+ but unconfirmed reports suggest that Google is shifting resources away from Google+ to other areas of Google’s development teams, including its Android mobile software teams.
Google introduces new ‘time machine’ feature in street view
Street-level mapping now lets users go back in time to see how cities have changed since the service launched in 2007.
Users can now click on a new clock icon that will appear in the corner of the screen when using Street View on Google Maps on a desktop or laptop computer, firing up scrollbar-controlled time machine, changing the year and even season of the area or building they are currently looking at to see how it has changed over time. Although not very impressive right now, if the time machine function stays, this will be an amazing tool for the future, allowing generations to look back at how their home, community and city has changed over time.