Facebook launches Slingshot

Facebook has officially announced the launch of Slingshot app for iPhone and Android. It was leaked accidentally a week back before Facebook took down the app soon. The app allows you to send and receive photo or video messages that self-destruct after viewing. Yes, it does look similar to Snapchat, but it comes with a different working mechanism.

In Snapchat, you can see the photo or video that your friend sent and then respond with a similar one. But with Slingshot, you will be able to see what your friend sent only when you send one back yourself. You can use your rear camera to shoot a normal photo or video or the front one for a selfie. You can enable or disable Flash too.

 

Choose your friends and Sling!
Choose your friends and Sling!

When you receive a Sling from your friend, it is Locked by default. Locked Slings are pixelated and can’t be viewed as a normal photo or video. To Unlock the Sling, shoot a Sling of your own and send to that friend to Unlock the Sling he/she sent.

This is a Locked Sling. You will be able to see only the Pixelated view.
This is a Locked Sling. You will be able to see only the Pixelated view.

Once Unlocked, you can either tap the Sling to respond with one back, or simply swipe away the Sling to discard it. Do remember that once you swipe away the Sling, the message will no longer be available for your view.

This Sling is Unlocked
This Sling is Unlocked

Slings can also be customized with a text message (limited to 140 characters). You can also draw something on your Slings before Slinging them.

There is an option to Sling to all your friends too. Simply click the Select All button while you are about to Sling your message.

Since the messages self-destruct automatically, the photos and videos that you send or receive are not stored locally on your device. But, there is an option to opt-in to save your images to your local storage – check the Settings section inside the app.

The app is made by Facebook Creative Labs, the same team that made the Facebook Paper app. Slingshot is available for free on the iTunes App Store and the Google Play store, but is limited to the United States for now. As for the Android users, the Slingshot APK is already available on the internet.

Related : How to install Facebook Paper for non-US users?

What do you think about this app? Do you think Facebook’s Slingshot will succeed over Snapchat, the company which denied Facebook’s offer of $3 billion? Do share your thoughts with us.

Link : Slingshot websiteOn iTunes App Store | On Google Play store | Slingshot APK

Twitter’s new profile looks like Facebook

Twitter is hardly used by regular users from its website. Most regular users probably use something like tweetdeck or other similar desktop apps. But regular users are not really Twitter’s concern. Their big concern are the people who sign up and then simply stop using it because it is too confusing.

So how does Twitter keep these new users interested on its service? One simple way is to be more like a social network rather than a endless stream of tweets and links. With Twitter new profile design, they have shamelessly copied Facebook’s design.

Twitter_New_Profil_Design
Twitter’s new Facebook like design

I would not blame Twitter for copying Facebook. It would give a great deal of familiarity for a first-time user.

That said, I would not enjoy this sort of design on my phone app, which Twitter will probably end up doing because mobile is the future (rather present).

Interesting new feature added is that you can now pin a tweet at the top. This has to be a tweet you posted and not a retweet.

Get the new profile:

Your Twitter account will show up with the new profile design.

How to get the new UI on Facebook for Android

The current Facebook for Android group is a mess. Everyone knows that. The app is slow, lags and many users have even experienced problems with crashing often.

If you didn’t know, Facebook has a Alpha Testers group that allows the Android users to test the Facebook app updates before they are rolled out to the public.

image

The above shown image is that of the new Facebook for Android that Facebook has been working on. Based on first impressions, the app is fast and fluid. Scrolling across the posts, navigation is smooth, multimedia upload/download is flawless and the app didn’t crash. Simply said, this version is much better than the previous ones.

How to get this new Facebook app

Before you download this new version, you’ll have to note that, you will experience issues too since this is a beta edition. There may be crashes, image upload/load failure and other glitches.

There are two ways to get this new version of Facebook for Android.

The easy way is to download the Facebook version 9.0.0.0.18 APK and install it on your device. The APK download link is mentioned at the bottom of the post.

The hard way, is to sign up at Facebook for Android Alpha Testers group with your Google account by clicking the Become a tester button. Once registered, go to Settings > Apps on your Android device, find Facebook and hit Clear data. Once done, go to Google Play Store and update the app. If you do not find the update button, uninstall it and download it again.

If you are not able to update the app inside Google Play, try installing the alpha version APK.

Link : Facebook for Android version 9.0.0.0.18 APK | via Android Beat

Facebook buys WhatsApp for $16 billion

Facebook has been rumoured in the past to buy the popular phone messaging app Whatsapp but nothing materialized. Today Facebook announced that it would be acquiring Whatsapp for $16 billion. Let that number sink in a bit. Facebook bought Instagram for a billion dollars and that was considered overpriced. Whatsapp is possibly worth 16 Instagrams!

Whatsapp_Facebook

Facebook is buying the competition out!

Facebook today is a internet giant but its growth happened on the PC screen. Their ads are far more effective on larger screen and not so much on mobile phones. This is why it bought Instagram whose growth was mobile only. Whatsapp is similar but only a bigger threat to Facebook.

There is a rising trend of younger people preferring WhatsApp and not on Facebook. They are creating group conversations and sharing photos on WhatsApp not Facebook.

Facebook is now shelling out huge amounts not just so they have a great product but also to buy out the competition. It could also be to avoid Google or Apple getting in and buying these products.

Trivia

In 2009 Facebook turned down Brian Acton for a job. He lamented on Twitter that it would have been a great opportunity to work with great people but he was looking for life’s next adventure. He was also rejected by Twitter for a job according to this tweet.

He went on to create Whatsapp and is now selling it for $16 billion to the same companies that did not give him a job.

Source: Facebook Press

How to install Facebook Paper for non-US users

Facebook rolled out Facebook Paper for the iOS devices yesterday, as announced. Facebook Paper is an app that beautifully shows your News Feed stories and other themed stories.

Facebook Paper is available for iOS devices only in the US for now. If you are in hurry to install Facebook Paper before an international rollout is launched, here is a trick that will help you.

image

Open App Store on your iPhone or iPad. Tap the Featured section in the bottom left of the app. Scroll to the bottom and you’ll see your Apple ID there. Tap it.

Then, in the pop-up menu that appears, click View Apple ID and then you’ll be asked to enter your Apple ID password. Once entered, you’ll find an option there to change the country. Set the country to US.

image
Change Country on iTunes

You’ll be asked to accept the new Terms and Conditions. Once done, choose None while Apple asks for a valid payment option.

Note : If you have pending non-US Apple credits or iTunes Match subscription, or iTunes Pass, you’ll be in trouble. You’ll have to either to finish your credits and then change your country to US. Or, you can login from iTunes desktop app and sign up for a new US account. Note that you’ll need a US address and credit card.

Also, your existing credit card details will be lost when change countries. You can now download and install the Facebook Paper app on your iPhone or iPad.

Link: Paper – (Facebook) on App Store

Via The Next Web

Facebook Paper, Available for iPhone (US only) on February 3

Facebook Paper is a social news reader app that lets the users to browser through their News Feed stories, photos, videos and other curated stories.

It is one of the first standalone apps released by Facebook Creative Labs. The Facebook Creative Labs is a special section within Facebook that aims at bringing standalone mobile apps. Facebook Groups is yet another app that is rumored to come soon.

Coming to Facebook Paper, it has a Flipboard-like user interface. It welcomes the user with a Paper feed that has a big photo from a popular story at the top, followed by other stories below.

image

With Facebook Paper, you can read curated stories from various sections like photography, food, design and more. There are as much as 19 sections that you can browse through.

The main idea behind this app is to bring stories that are great, but not shared by your friends. It’s no longer Facebook anymore with this app, rather a Facebook newspaper, thanks to the Facebook Paper’s news curation algorithm and the human Facebook editors.

The stories from these sections are not personalized though. This means that all the persons would see the same stories all over the world.

The app has been designed to make sharing stories easily with your friends.

Alternative to Facebook native app

The very idea of the Facebook native app is to keep the users engaged with their News Feed stories. With Facebook Paper having this now, and that too with bigger images and a beautiful user interface, people may consider ditching the Facebook native app.

Right now, Facebook Paper doesn’t come with ads, which includes the sponsored stories too. But, it is believed that Facebook will bring ads once people start engaging a lot with this new app.

If you wish to have a look into Facebook Paper before it’s out, you may check this video on Vimeo or have a look at Facebook Paper webpage.

Facebook Paper is available only for United States iPhone users for now. It is scheduled for launch on February 3, 2014. Facebook Paper for Android and other mobile platforms should come soon.

Google and Facebook Embed Easter Eggs Celebrating Christmas

Google is well known for embedding easter eggs on their search results page. Last year whenever someone typed a reference to Christmas, a small streamer like design showed on the results page. This year the design is much more elegant with snowflakes and even a Santa Claus like figure flying across the header of the results page.

CHristmas_EasterEgg_Google

 

While Google is showing this only for Christmas related queries, Facebook too has introduced its own easter egg in the form of animated snowflakes on its Android app. Just open a chat with someone using “chat heads” and we can see snowflakes falling on the profile pic.

Xmas_FB_ChatheadsHave you seen any more unique and interesting ways tech companies are celebrating Christmas festival with their users? Do let us know in your comments.

 

Facebook redesigns the “Like” button

Facebook is pushing a new design to its iconic “Like” button. The “Like” button is now more or less a constant on just about any website, to get visitors sharing links on their own Facebook profiles.

Today, Facebook’s developer blog introduced a new way the “Like” button will show up. The new button has vectorised design. Facebook is also introducing the option of getting websites to use both the “Like” and “Share” button. The two buttons seem similar to people but they are actually very different. The “Share” button allows users to add a comment to the link they are sharing on their timeline. The “Like” button only shares the link on a users timeline.

FB new Like Button
The new Like and Share buttons rolled out by Facebook

How does one test the new “Like” button?

The Facebook “Like” and “Share” buttons are used by 7.5 million websites. But rolling out the new buttons to websites over time, Facebook is rolling the new button design to a percentage of users.

This is a bit strange as it might mean that a website owner might not see the newly designed button while visitors to the site might get to see the button. This could be problematic especially if the new design breaks or does not go well with the overall design of a website.

Are you seeing the new “Like” button and do you like it? ;-) Do drop in your comments.

Source: Facebook Developers Blog

How to Become Android Beta Tester for Facebook

Two months ago Facebook launched a new program called Facebook for Android Beta Testers. This program allows Android users to test the latest experimental features in the Facebook app. Obviously, this beta edition of Facebook for Android will not be full coded and may cause problems. If you are enthusiastic about helping Facebook build a better app, you should definitely be a part of this program.

Google launched a beta testing program at the Google I/O 2013 conference held on May 2013. With the beta testing program, Android developers can roll-out the updated versions of their apps to a particular group of users, beta testers, to know how those versions perform before rolling out to all the users.

How to become a beta tester?

Becoming a beta tester is really simple. You’ll have to join the Facebook for Android Beta Testers group on Google Groups, install the beta version of Facebook app and you’re ready to go.

Facebook Android Beta Tester

  • Once you’re a part of that group, go to this page and click the Become a tester button.

Become a beta tester

  • Uninstall Facebook if you have that installed on your device already.
  • Download Facebook from Google Play Store and you’re good to go.

Install Facebook

Things to note:

  • You should join this group with the Google account associated with your Google Play Store.
  • If you don’t get the beta version of Facebook even after trying the above steps, restart your phone.

This program is available to any Android user running either Gingerbread, Ice Cream Sandwich or the latest Jelly Bean.

Hacker Posts Bug Report on Zuckerberg’s Timeline

What if you find a bug on Facebook’s privacy feature and no one took you seriously? What is the best way to get Facebook’s attention. A great way is to post the bug report on Mark Zuckerberg’s wall. This is exactly what a Palestinian online security expert, Khalil Shreateh did when he found a vulnerability that allowed a Facebook user to post a message on any Facebook user’s timeline even if they were not in his timeline.

Facebook has a Bug Bounty program called Whitehat. It allows bug reporters to report a bug and pick up $500.

Khalil initially used Whitehat to send in a bug report. He was sent a reply by Facebook that it was not a bug. That is when the hacker decided to catch the attention of Facebook by posting the bug report on Mark Zuckerberg’s wall.

Not just that, he also took screenshots of it and posted them online in a blogpost.

Zuckerberg Wall Bug Report - Copy

 

Unfortunately the $500 bounty for the hacker was denied to Khalil because he had not followed terms and conditions of the White Hat program. They also ended up suspending his account for sometime before reinstating it.

This is actually very shabby treatment by Facebook of the hacker. Khalil could have posted about the vulnerability online for the general public to use and literally caused mayhem on Facebook. But he chose to do the right thing by reporting it to Facebook. Unfortunately the social network which likes to ‘break things’  and do things the ‘Hacker way’ did not appreciate it.

(via RT)