While Twitter is primarily a text-based social network, more recently there has been an increased importance placed on images and videos. Just as tweets are limited to a certain number of characters, videos have -- until today -- been limited to 30 seconds in length. Now Twitter is embracing video in a big way, and today increases the maximum length to 140 seconds -- continuing the love affair with the number 140.
The company says that the number of video posted to Twitter has increased by 50 percent since the beginning of the year. This is an astonishing increase in just six months, and it makes the video-related changes all the more understandable. Vine users will also be able to take advantage of longer videos, but there's something of a catch.
Today Twitter launches a companion app designed for anyone who wants to analyse their tweet activity. Pulling out all the buzzwords, Twitter says it "provides real-time data and insights, allowing you to quickly understand, engage, and grow your audiences".
This is not just about gaining more followers, it's about making more meaningful connections, and trying out different marketing ideas. Twitter already provides fairly detailed analytics on its website, but here things are presented in a more accessible way. It also provides a more detailed breakdown of audience demographics for better targeting.
Apple has done it; Google has done it. Microsoft may be a little late to the party, but it's getting involved in the mobile payment game. Today the company releases Microsoft Wallet to Windows Insiders using Windows 10 Mobile build 14360 or higher.
Microsoft has teamed with MasterCard and Visa to provide a contactless payment solution that is -- for now -- available to Lumia 950, 950 XL and 650 users in the US. As well as making contactless payments, the app can also be used to store reward cards to reduce the amount of plastic you have to cart around with you.
Twitter has demonstrated its commitment to artificial intelligence and machine learning by splashing a reported $150m on London-based Magic Pony Technology. The aim is to use the company's advanced technology to improve Twitter's live and video experiences.
Jack Dorsey describes Magic Pony Technology as a 'company that has developed novel machine learning techniques for visual processing'. Thus far this has been used to sharpen blurry images, create computer-generated images from scratch, and to learn to recognize objects.
With the unstoppable growth of chat apps such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and the like, emoji have become an incredible phenomenon. The Unicode Consortium is due to publish the Unicode 9.0 spec tomorrow, and it seems that objections from Apple and Microsoft means we're not going to see a rifle emoji included.
The intervention is slightly surprising, yet not entirely unexpected. With the large number of high-profile mass-shootings such as in Orlando, debate about guns has come to the fore once again and the censorship of emoji is perhaps not completely unexpected. But at the same time, there is already a pistol emoji and there are not -- yet -- calls for it to be removed.
Unicorns are breeding in Britain. The country is now home to more than a third of European unicorns (tech companies valued at over $1 billion), but the whole of Europe is faring well.
A new report by GP Bullhound, an investment banking firm, reveals that there are 47 unicorns in Europe and 18 of them are to be found in Britain. The number of European unicorns has jumped by more than 20 percent in the last year, and the overall valued is placed at $130 billion (around £90 billion).
If you're in the market for an Apple Watch but you've been put off by the price, Best Buy might just have a deal that will tempt you to part with your cash. How low would the price have to be to convince you? How does $49 sound?
There is, of course, something of a catch. It's certainly not the case that anyone who wants an Apple Watch could walk into Best Buy, hand over 49 notes and walk about with an Apple Wearable; there's a little more to it than that.
By their very nature, remote access tools represent something of a security risk. It's only a couple of weeks since TeamViewer users complained about account hijacking, and now GoToMyPC has been hit by hackers.
The service has been hit by what is being described as a "very sophisticated password attack", and the company is advising all users to reset their passwords. Details are a little thin on the ground at the moment as an investigation is currently underway, but users are warned to monitor their account and change their passwords.
When your phone has 6GB of RAM, you expect it to be able to run all of the apps you want at the same time. The low-cost 'flagship killer' OnePlus 3 is one such handset, but people who have got their hands on the phone are discovering the it doesn’t necessarily use the available memory as they would have expected.
Tests show that the OnePlus 3 requires apps to be reloaded more frequently that phones with less RAM, and this has upset some users. The good news is that -- providing you don't mind getting your hands dirty with a little hacking -- you can dramatically improve your phone's memory management.
There's quite a lot to get excited about with regard to the newly announced OnePlus 3. After lots of teasing, the 'flagship killer' handset was revealed earlier this week as a 5.5-inch, dual SIM beast packing a Snapdragon 820 and 6GB of RAM.
But among all the specs that seem familiar, or at least make sense, there is the display. This is a 1080p panel powered by an Adreno 530 chip, with protection coming courtesy of Corning Gorilla Glass 4. It's described as being an Optic AMOLED, but what does that actually mean?
Continuing the spending spree that started with snapping up LinkedIn earlier this week, Microsoft today announces that it has acquired Wand Labs. The mobile developer has a chat-centric focus, and will help Microsoft to build on the Conversation as a Platform ideas Sayta Nadella has been championing of late.
Neither Wand Labs nor Microsoft has shared details of the amount of money that is changing hands, but the acquisition will assist Microsoft in developing its Bot Framework. Wand Labs' natural language technologies will extend the capabilities of Windows, Bing, Microsoft Azure and Office 365, particularly with intelligent agents and chat bots.
The advent of app stores has meant that software installation is very hands-off process these days. Select the app you want, hit install, and everything is taken care of for you. On one hand, this is great as it simplifies and accelerates things, but it also removes an element of control from the user.
With an update to the Windows Store app in Windows 10, Microsoft is changing this. Building on the ability to move apps from one drive to another, Windows 10 Anniversary Edition will now ask where you would like to install larger apps -- a real boon for people with more than one hard drive.
Flash -- despite the best efforts of many -- is not quite dead. It continues to hang around like a festering scab, just waiting to be cast off forever. With macOS Sierra, Apple is playing its part in consigning Flash to the history books, pushing HTML5 to the fore.
Following in the footsteps of Google Chrome, starting with Sierra, Apple's Safari will ignore Flash even if the legacy plugin is installed. HTML5 will be favored for each and every site -- a marked difference from Chrome which maintains a list of exceptions (such as YouTube) which could still make use of Flash.
Apple has announced that the deadline by which app developers must enable App Transport Security (ATS) in all apps is 1 January 2017. ATS is not a new feature of iOS 10, having been introduced in iOS 9 and it increases the security of data transferred over the web by apps.
With ATS enabled, apps are forced to use the far more secure HTTPS rather than HTTP, and this is something we've become accustomed to looking out for when browsing the web. At the moment, developers are able to disable ATS, but from the end of the year this will no longer be possible.
Facebook has announced that an updated batch of suicide prevention tools are being rolled out globally. It's a feature that has been available in some parts of the English-speaking world for a little while, but now the social network has decided to offer them up to everyone.
The aim is to make it easier for people to reach out to friends who they believe may be either suicidal, or at risk of self-harming. The tools have been developed in conjunction with people with experience of suicide and self-harm, as well as mental health charities. In addition to giving Facebook users the chance to reach out to those they may be concerned about, Facebook is also providing a round-the-clock worldwide team to whom concerns can be voiced.