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Twitter images, Facebook Privacy, Instagram and more – news roundup

Henry Elliss
Henry Elliss
Managing Director
25 August 2011

I should probably point out right at the start of this post that this ISN’T a post about the news about Steve Jobs resigning from his post at Apple. Not because it’s not extremely relevant and important news, but simply due to me not wanting to rush to jump on the band-wagon.

Jobs’ resignation will no-doubt have a massive impact on a number of things – Apple’s fortunes, the wider industry, nostalgic technology fans to name three. It seems like it’s too early to speculate on what any of this will mean, though, so we’ll save that for another post when the dust has settled.

Instead, I wanted to provide a quick round-up of some of the HUGE amount of social-related news which has come out in the past week or so. It seems to have been a bumper week for social news, so rather than picking one and poring-over the details, a round-up of what you might have missed would be more useful…

Twitter gets prett(i)er

If you’ve logged on to Twitter.com this week – which, incidentally, sounds like an odd thing to say, but when you consider that 75% of Twitter traffic comes from outside the main site, it makes more sense – you’ll have noticed a little less text and a little more colour to people’s profile. In a move which seems to signal Twitter’s intent to strengthen their rich-media support, profiles now include a panel of recent images posted by that user – whether from external sites like TwitPic or using Twitter’s own (also new) inline image hosting.

You can also browse through all of a user’s recent image uploads in the new “media” explorer, which you can access through http://twitter.com/#!/[USERNAME]/media/grid…

Facebook tightens privacy controls

In a move which is seen as an attempt to appease privacy campaigners and wavering users (particularly, one would imagine, those who have joined Google+…) Facebook have tightened up their privacy settings this week, making it easier to choose WHO sees your shared content, as well as making the process of adjusting your overall privacy settings MUCH easier.

You can read the full list of features over on the official Facebook blog, but one of the most well-received changes is the ability to pre-approve tagged photos, rather than having to retrospectively remove tags after they’ve been published…

Facebook also kills ‘Places’

As well as the privacy-focussed changes, Facebook appears to have also signalled the end of their “Facebook Places” feature. Whilst no fan-fare was made, the following line was included in an official Facebook blog post, leading many to speculate that Facebook is dropping out of the location-based service game

“As a part of this, we are phasing out the mobile-only Places feature. Settings associated with it are also being phased out or removed.”

Facebook never really seemed to take Places seriously – despite all the hype at launch (“Facebook will crush Foursquare!” etc etc) they never really fleshed-out their offering, so it could be that they’ve simply decided to make integration with services like FourSquare and Gowalla their focus instead.

Instagram gets new competition


In yet MORE Facebook-related news, photo-sharing (or should that be “photo-improving”?) app Instagram this week gained a new competitor in Facebook (sound familiar? see above!) when the announcement came that Facebook would be allowing users to add filters to their images.

According to many reports, Facebook make an attempt to purchase Instagram over the summer, but failed miserably – so in typical Facebook fashion, they’ve decided to give it a try themselves instead.

As with the FB Places story above, the news will surely be greeted with cries of “Facebook to crush photo-sharing apps!” and the like. But Instagram fans (including the author of this blog) seem to be a loyal bunch, so only time will tell if Facebook will manage to lure them over…

Google+ expands search integration

It’s hard to tell whether this is NEW news or not – the amount of integration Google+ are offering with other Google services was probably quite high at launch, but details of some parts are only now coming to light. Either way, I only read about the following change this week, so I’m calling it news!

The Google Webmaster team posted an update recently, explaining how to link your Google+ profile to other content you “own” – read about it here. Personally I’ve not seen it in action yet (despite trying it on several sites) but the move makes sense – and seems to match-up with another minor change I’ve seen recently, namely: When you add “links” to your Google profile, you’re now prompted with a tick-box to specify whether the site your listing is “owned” by you.

Presumably Google are looking to extend their knowledge of the “Officialness” of content, perhaps to allow them to assign more weight to content from users the consider to be socially influential? That’s my bet anyway, but we’ll find out soon enough I guess…

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