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.
Two factor authentication is one of the most convenient options for securing a user account, which is why you will find this feature available in many of the top cloud services. It can be argued though that it can be made even easier to deal with, specifically in cases when users frequently need to access their accounts from new devices.
The problem there is that, the way that it is typically implemented, users usually have to get a verification code via SMS or retrieve it from a dedicated app to finish the authentication process, which is something that many folks may find very annoying over time. So, to make the whole process easy for its users, Google is now rolling out a new option for two-factor authentication, known as Google prompt.
Opera Software made a bold move earlier this year when it introduced a native ad-blocker in its desktop Opera browser. While controversial, this feature is not enabled by default though promises to offer some major benefits, like a 40 percent boost in performance compared to an extension like AdBlock Plus.
However, folks are not only saying "No" to advertisements on their PCs but also on their smartphones and tablets. In fact, mobile ad-blocking usage has seen a 90 percent rise year-over-year, with more than 400 million devices said to run an ad-blocker. The latest versions of Opera Mini for iOS and Windows 10 Mobile and Opera for Android now cater to that growing audience too, as they too feature a built-in ad-blocker.
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.
Apple's annual developer conference is underway in San Francisco. Yesterday's opening keynote was the best since before cofounder Steve Jobs' death nearly 5 years ago. While pundits poo-poo what's missing (shiny gadgets), new and improved software and services matter more—and they showcase priorities properly placed.
CEO Tim Cook kicked off the event, by asking attendees to stand and offer a moment of silence for the mass murder victims the previous day in Orlando, Fla. Forty-nine people are confirmed dead and as many hospitalized from the nightclub shooting. He then went on to lay out a clear agenda for the keynote and the conference—four platforms: iOS 10, macOS "Sierra" (formerly OS X), tvOS 10, and watchOS 3.
When Apple announced iOS 10 yesterday, there was one question that people around the world were asking themselves: will my device run it? The company sent out rather confusing signals yesterday in answer to this question.
Slides shown during the announcement presentation revealed the iPads, iPhones and iPods that will be able to upgrade to iOS 10. But the official iOS 10 preview page told a different story. Devices that were previously absent from the support list -- such as 3rd generation iPad -- were suddenly listed as supporting iOS 10. Now Apple has changed its mind again, and updated the list once more.
Apple was quite boisterous at WWDC today regarding its operating systems and services. Quite frankly, I was blown away at all the ways the company is looking to improve its customers' lives, but some folks were apparently underwhelmed. Oh well, you can't please everyone, I suppose.
For some reason, Apple was fairly quiet about one huge change -- it is replacing the HFS+ file system. Based on the more-than-30-year-old HFS, it is apparently time to move on. What is the upcoming file system called? The unimaginatively "Apple File System". The encryption-ready file system will be used on macOS, iOS, tvOS, and watchOS.
It’s something that many iPhone and iPad owners have asked: just how the hell do I delete the pointless Stocks app? With iOS 10 there's no need to go as far as jailbreaking your beloved device, as Apple is making it possible to delete no fewer than 23 of the built-in apps.
That useless Stocks app? Gone! The News app you never use? History! There are many reasons for wanting to banish these apps. Apart from not using them, you might want to free up screen space by getting rid of unnecessary icons. You might feel you can free up a bunch of storage space -- but Apple insists that "the apps built into iOS are designed to be very space efficient, so all of them together use less than 150MB". Whatever. The point is: you can now delete them!
With Apple's software announcements today, the focus has been on what is new and exciting. But with (just about) any operating system update, there is a darker side: the older devices that slip into oblivion, never to be updated again.
It's no different with iOS 10 and macOS Sierra. On the mobile front, Apple is giving up on the A5 chip, meaning that a number of iPhones and iPads are not going to support the latest version of iOS. It’s a similar story for Mac and MacBook owners -- older devices simply aren’t going to get the goodies.
It's what Apple is describing as 'the biggest iOS release ever'. Whether everyone else agrees remains to be seen, but today the company took the wraps off iOS 10 -- and there's certainly a lot to take in. Perhaps the most notable change, for developers at least, is the fact that Siri has been opened up so that it can be used by third party apps.
Messaging has become more important than ever in recent years, and this is something that Apple recognizes with iOS 10. Taking design cues from the likes of Facebook and WhatsApp, the Messages app now includes full screen animations, and there's a neat new feature that means you can handwrite messages.
Not content with forcing people into using its Messenger app, Facebook is continuing its aggressive tactics and driving users to install its photo-sharing app, Moments. The social network has warned users that their photos face deletion if they fail to use the Moments app.
Unsurprisingly, this has led to a huge surge in interest in the app, pushing it to the top of the download charts. Facebook has announced that it is going to delete Synced Albums and Synced Photos if Moments is not installed by July 7, sending warning emails to a number of users.
If you like taking Live Photos with your iPhone then you probably want to share those moments with other folks. One of the best ways that you can do that is by converting your Live Photos to GIFs, so that everyone can enjoy them even if they do not have an iOS device or Mac.
By now there are loads of apps that let you do that, but Google believes that there is room for one more. So, its Research arm has introduced Motion Stills, which has a neat little trick up its sleeve.
If you access Facebook on your phone, the chances are that you use the dedicated Facebook app -- but this is not necessarily the case. A lot of people prefer to make use of the mobile Facebook website, and the social network is making an aggressive change to the way messaging works that will force the use of the Messenger app.
Head to the messaging section of the mobile site today, and you'll be greeted by a large pre-emptive warning that reads: "Your conversations are moving to Messenger. Soon, you'll only be able to view your messages from Messenger". For now, you can continue to send messages through Facebook's mobile site, but this will end at some unknown date in the future. It's an aggressive tactic reminiscent of Microsoft's forcing of Windows 10 onto users.
Tech companies are falling over themselves to embrace diversity both in the workplace, and in products. The latest example of this comes courtesy of Facebook which today releases an update to Messenger complete with hundreds of diversity-friendly emoji.
As well as bringing in the full (well, fuller) gamut of skin tones, the new emoji also nod to gender equality, as well as including redheads for the first time. On top of all this, Facebook is also standardizing its emoji set so the same selection is available to everyone, regardless of the platform they might be using.