Having unveiled Windows 10 yesterday, Microsoft today welcomed a new addition to the fold in the form of Sway. This is the latest member of the Office family and it's being billed as a way to "reimagine how your ideas come to life". What does this actually mean? In many ways, Sway is an extension of OneNote. It's a web-based way to collect content, store images and text, add videos, and generally piece together everything you might need for a presentation, project, or idea. Sway is currently a preview product and, in keeping with Microsoft's "mobile-first, cloud-first world" there's a strong focus on cross-platform compatibility and cross-device syncing.
Sway is an interesting blend of existing Microsoft products, but it also brings in some new ideas. It's integrated with OneDrive, and has the note-taking features of OneNote. The various templates that can be used to present the data that is collected gives it something of a feel of PowerPoint, but it could also be used for very simple planning and project management like a cut-down, accessible version of Microsoft Project. It's all web-based and Microsoft is touting it as a "new way for you to create a beautiful, interactive, web-based expression of your ideas".
A giant of the modern web is to be cleft in twain. eBay Inc is set to split its online payment service PayPal into a separate, independent, publicly traded company; eBay and PayPal will be divided into two in the second half of 2015.
By keeping the auction and payment services at arm's length from each other, eBay will be hoping to breathe new life into the beleaguered selling site. The move comes after a review of the company’s structure and growth strategies by the board of directors, and is described as providing "shareholders with more targeted investment opportunities".
How much do you hate ads? How much do ads piss you off? Well prepare to turn into an even bigger ball of hate-filled pissed-off-ness when you hear about Facebook's latest ventures in advertising. Few people would argue against the suggestion that Facebook has all but given up any pretence of being a social network and has become little more than a huge cog in a massive advertising machine. Claims have been made that ads are being made more relevant to users, but the truth of the matter is that users are being made more relevant to advertisers. And Facebook now has a whole new way to follow you around the web to make sure you are delivered even more better-targeted ads.
It's very easy -- some would say fun -- to bash social networks. MySpace was a very easy target, and Twitter comes in for criticism from time to time, but it's Facebook that tends to bear the brunt of people's ire. Mark Zuckerberg's social (advertising) network hits the headlines quite frequently, but it's been on the lips of many in recent weeks after starting to aggressively implement its "real name" policy. It's something that initially upset drag artists around the world but it's also something that affecting musicians and other artists who have opted to use a stage name. In recent days another name has bubbled to the surface. It's not brand new, but Ello has been hard to avoid over the last few days. What’s going on?
It's clear that the fallout from the drag artist incident that social network users have been seeking out new homes where they are free to be whatever they want to be. This is something that Ello seems to offer. If you want to hide behind a pseudonym, adopt a different online persona, run multiple account under different names, pretend to be someone else, or just smirk at the fact you can call yourself Farty McPoopButt if you feel so inclined, you're onto a winner here.
Driving sales and increasing the reach of their brand is seen as key to the marketing success of companies, and many are turning to social media to pursue their strategy.
New survey data from marketing software platform Offerpop shows that brands are increasing their investment in social media and focusing on using it to drive sales in the run up to the holiday season.
Twitpic will no longer close on 25 September as the photo sharing service has found a buyer. There's not yet any word on who is behind the acquisition, but the takeaway news is that photos should be safe as Twitpic will live to fight another day.
Just a couple of weeks ago, founder Noah Everett posted the news that Twitpic was to close following something of a legal tussle with Twitter. But things have taken a turn for the better. After users scrabbled to download their images to ensure they were safe, it now transpires that the service is not going anywhere.
We all have photos and videos that we want to share with other folks. We do it all too often on Facebook, sometimes without even considering that it's a broad audience we are sharing them with, who may not want to, or should not, see all our intimate moments on display.
And let's be real for a minute: not all of us are in awe about someone drunk dancing on video, baby pictures, or mirror selfies (sorry that you had to hear that now) -- some of us may be, sure, but others may be more interested in, just as a totally and completely random example, seeing photos of fast cars (guilty as charged!). For those who want to fully control who can see their photos and videos, there is new app to consider, and it's called Cirqle.
A new infographic created by social insight tool company Refresh looks at over 1,300 CEOs on social media to determine how they use the technology.
Not surprisingly it's younger CEOs that are most likely to embrace social media, with 61 percent being under 40. Some 89 percent are male though that perhaps reflects the low number of female CEOs rather than their willingness to use social tools.
A week ago I wrote about my feelings of ennui towards the iPhone 6, asserting that there was just nothing to get excited about. Some people agreed, but many didn't -- it was to be expected really. What was particularly interesting was not just the discussion that started here in the comments on BetaNews but also that the article spread further afield. It was picked up by Macworld whose resident columnist The Macalope, er, disagreed with what I had to say. You'll notice that I've provided a link to the Macworld article which, despite quoting 46 percent of my post, The Macalope failed to do initially.
If you take the time to read the Macworld article you'd be forgiven for thinking that I was hurt at having my work pulled apart. Not a bit of it. No, I'm not concerned about being criticized. I've been writing for approaching 15 years now, and I know I'm going to piss people off from time to time. That's not to say that this is necessarily my intention -- in addition to news, I like to share my opinion and there will, of course, be some collateral damage that follows. Despite The Macalope's suggestions to the contrary, this was not designed to be a "link-baity" piece. Like Joe Wilcox, I've written about the importance of writing for the reader rather than writing for Google, and this is an ideology I firmly subscribe to.
The leaking of celebrity photos which may have come from iCloud is just the latest in a series of high profile security and privacy breaches that are leading many people to question how safe their data is online.
For those who have decided enough is enough, secure transaction specialist Imprima has produced an infographic guide to "unfriending the internet" which covers how to take your personal profiles off the main social networking sites.
Facebook's own safety advisers are calling for new controls to be put in place that prevent gruesome images appearing on the social network after harrowing images appeared on one page in particular.
The new move is being proposed by Stephen Balkam, chief executive of the US Family Online Institute (Fosi), at the next meeting of Facebook's Safety Advisory Board after images of severed heads appeared on the social network courtesy of the Islamic State (IS).
Continuing its propensity for terminating projects, Google has decided to kill of its Authorship program. The markup was introduced to provide online writers with a way to link their work to their Google+ profile and have their profile picture displayed in search results. But in its three year lifespan, Authorship did not really manage to take off, and Google Webmaster Tools' John Mueller announced that "we've also observed that this information isn't as useful to our users as we'd hoped, and can even distract from those results. With this in mind, we've made the difficult decision to stop showing authorship in search results".
Head to one of the Google Authorship support pages and you're greeted by the message: "Authorship markup is no longer supported in web search". This is an interesting move, especially considering how keen Google has been to push people into using Google+. Authorship not only enables writers to more visibly stamp their mark online, but also to gain a following. In practice it was found that Authorship did little to help drive traffic and "wasn't always easy to implement".
For a while now, verified users and advertisers have been able to check statistics about their Twitter account so they can see how many times individual tweets have been viewed, check what types of tweet encourage the most engagement, and so on. Now Twitter Analytics is available to everyone -- free of charge.
It doesn’t matter if you have a blue verified tick next to your name or not, now you can use the analytics dashboard to check the performance of tweets. While this is a useful tool for businesses, for the average Twitter user it is a tool that will satisfy an idle curiosity and provide a way to while away the time obsessing over what key phrases yield the greatest return.
Click-bait articles are rife online. Countless websites ply a trade in leading headlines designed to lure readers in, giving as little away as possible as an encouragement to click through. A virtual prick-tease, if you will. Sometimes the click is worth it, but all too often the article -- particularly on tabloid-style newspapers, magazine websites and sites peddling listicles -- is pointless or misleading. A suggestive question, the promise of sex, inappropriate references to the iPhone 6, the implication of free money... the possibilities for click-bait are virtually endless. It -- understandably -- annoys a lot of people, and it has annoyed Facebook enough for the social network to take a stand.
You've no doubt noticed that your Facebook newsfeed has become clogged up with countless "one weird trick", "ten ways to give her the best orgasm ever", and "you'll never guess what!" headlines. Now Facebook is taking steps to limit the appearance of such articles so that what users see is more interesting and relevant. In a post on the Facebook blog, it has been announced that two key updates are to be made: "the first to reduce click-baiting headlines, and the second to help people see links shared on Facebook in the best format".
The subject of US journalist James Foley's recent beheading is obviously a sensitive one, but Twitter's decision to suspend the account of users sharing the video made it about censorship as well as politics. As you are no doubt aware by now, Foley was kidnapped in Syria a couple of years ago, held captive, and on Tuesday a video was released by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). It shows Foley kneeling on the ground, reading from a script before a masked captor draws a knife, and executes him. It is grisly, horrific, depressing, heart-wrenching, and real. It spread like wildfire across YouTube, Twitter, and countless websites, but it wasn't long before censorship was seen.
YouTube quickly removed the video, but this did not stem the flow. Copies of the video were hosted elsewhere and then posted to Twitter, as were stills from the footage. This is when Twitter stepped in. Posts containing the images or video were removed, and accounts suspended. Dick Costolo, Twitter's CEO, tweeted: