Since the beginning, Google+ has been seen as a mess. It has been dismissed as the social network for people who don’t actually like to be very social, and Google is only too aware that it needs to step up its game. You may well have wondered if the company knew what it was doing… today Google shares details of what it has planned.
Several months ago, Google announced that it was going to split up Google+ into a number of separate projects -- Hangouts, Photos, and Streams. We've already seen the arrival of Google Photos to replace Google+ Photos (you keeping up?) and now, as well as admitting that it made mistakes, Google gives a taste of what’s to come in the months ahead.
Mark Zuckerberg's Internet.org has come in for quite a lot of criticism since it launched. Designed to help get the entire world online, it has been argued that the program is in opposition to the idea of net neutrality and many of its backers have pulled out or complained about things since it kicked off.
But in many regards none of this matters -- it is the numbers that are important. Twelve months after the launch of Internet.org, more than a billion people have been connected to the internet free of charge. Moving into year two, the next part of the operation involves scaling things up.
LinkedIn caused a storm a couple of days ago when it removed the option to instantly download contacts. Many users of the professional social network were more than a little irked to discover that while contact exporting was still available, a wait of up to three days had been put in place.
Unsurprisingly, users revolted, having been particularly upset by the fact the change was implemented with no warning or announcement. But the company has managed to turn things around by quickly backtracking on its decision after listening to a stream of complaints on Twitter.
Sometimes it just takes someone with a big enough name -- and voice -- to draw attention to something that thousands of others have been saying for a long time. Proving this, Kim Kardashian (of all people) has made a suggestion for a feature that Twitter should adopt: editing. Twitter loves the idea. And when we say 'Twitter', we don’t mean 'people on Twitter' -- we mean Twitter itself: none other than co-founder Jack Dorsey.
Kardashian tweeted to her 33.8 million followers letting them know that she'd got in touch with Twitter to share her idea. In a matter of hours she received tens of thousands of replies, favorites, and replies. If she has husband Kanye West on board, that's another 13.5 million followers.
Videos on Facebook are big business. As well as drugged up post-dentist footage, there is also huge advertising potential. Now Facebook has announced a new set of options for video publishers -- including the ability to limit who is able to see videos based on their age and gender.
A social network might not be the first place you would think of to try to keep something private, but a new 'secret video' option makes it possible to restrict access to those people who have a direct link. Other new options include the ability to prevent embedding on other sites, but it is the audience restriction settings that are particularly interesting.
Part of using any social website is customizing the appearance of your account to your liking; now Twitter has bucked the trend and removed that option. As noted by TechCrunch, Twitter users are no longer able to adorn their profile with a custom background image.
It seems like something of a strange move, made all the more odd by the fact that Twitter has not made an announcement about the change. Firing up Twitter, users around the world will today find that their accounts look rather different. It's bright, white backgrounds all the way. So what on earth is going on?
Over the years Twitter has taken various steps to help users avoid spam, trolls, abuse, and other online problems. Today the social site takes the wraps off the Twitter Safety Center. This is home to advice about staying safe on Twitter and online in general, as well as including links to the various tools that Twitter has to offer.
The Safety Center is divided into three sections -- Tools, Policies, and Enforcement -- and the idea is that users are given the information they need to keep themselves safe. Each of the sections includes advice and guides about improving security, maintaining privacy, and avoiding unwanted content.
Facebook wants to make Messenger appeal to as many people as possible, so, last month, it announced that it will no longer require new users to have a Facebook account in order to use its increasingly popular messaging service. The feature was initially said to be offered in just a handful of markets, US, Canada, Peru and Venezuela.
Now, the feature is made globally available according to Facebook's David Marcus. Just like in the first markets, all that new users need to sign up for Messenger is their phone number.
It's been a tumultuous time at Reddit recently. The self-styled (albeit slightly sarcastically) Front Page of the Internet raised the ire of some users several months ago when it started to impose stronger restrictions on the type of content that could be posted. It started with restrictions on certain types of explicit content, followed by the killing off of harassment, hate, and abuse subreddits.
After the site fired AMA (Ask Me Anything) coordinator Victoria Taylor, there was an uprising. Moderators were unhappy, users were unhappy, and CEO Ellen Pao ended up resigning. As users left in their droves, finding solace in alternatives such as Voat, the site scrabbled to defend itself both to users, employees, admins, and volunteers. Today in an Ask Me Anything session, Reddit co-founder Steve 'spez' Huffman introduced a swathe of new restrictions on what users are allowed to say. In public, at least.
Twitter acted quickly to remove two Vines advertising the network's #DiscoverMusic campaign after warnings from an epilepsy charity. Epilepsy Action advised Twitter that the two ads could be dangerous to those suffering from photosensitive epilepsy.
The charity made a public appeal to Twitter in a tweet, and the company was fast to respond. Communications director Rachel Bremer thanked Epilepsy Action for drawing attention to the ads which were removed. The epilepsy charity was not alone in sending warnings to Twitter -- quite a few concerned tweeters got in touch with the company to point out the problem.
Add a few friend on Facebook, join a few groups, and follow a few people you know and your Facebook feed can collapse into a jumbled mess. The way Facebook's algorithm works means it's all too easy to see too much stuff you're not really interested in, and miss what you want to see most.
Today the social network is rolling out a new set of options that can be used to gain better control of what you see. The latest update gives prioritization options so you can be certain that you'll always see posts from a particular friend. Will it be enough to please those who are critical of how things work at the moment?
Facebook has been busy updating its look. It's very subtle, so you'd be forgiven for missing it. Following on from last week's incredibly understated logo change (just believe us, the font is slightly different) comes an update to the friends icon. A minor thing, you might think, but with the current focus on diversity, it's one that is noteworthy.
The social network comes in for constant criticism; just about everything it does gets a negative reaction. If it's not complaints about Internet.org, it's the company's lackadaisical attitude to privacy. If people are not whining about changes to their news feed, they are questioning censorship. One Facebook designer was unhappy with the way the friends icon pushed a male figure to the front, while the female symbol shrank into the background. So she redesigned it.
Ever wanted to know when one of your Facebook friends deletes you? Well now there’s an app that’ll tell you that and more.
Unsurprisingly named "Who Deleted Me on Facebook", the app shows you which accounts have unfriended you, which have become deactivated and who is online.
Need a social network to connect with friends and likeminded individuals? Take your pick; there are dozens to choose from. Facebook remains by far the most popular and, as it is used by real people, it is filled with everything that makes up life -- the good and the bad. In response, a group of Evangelical Christians in Brazil set up Facegloria with the aim of becoming "morally and technically better than Facebook".
Actually the real aim of the site is to promote Christianity -- to the extent that rather than a Like button, there is an Amen button. Think "godbook", if you will. Of course there are restrictions -- religion isn’t meant to be fun, you know. On the list of banned content is violence and pornography, swearing (there are literally hundreds of banned words), anything that violates "biblical principles", and depicting or referring to homosexual activity.
Social giant Facebook has been in talks with music labels for the past few months, although nobody is quite sure what the company is planning.
Reports say Facebook has met with Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment, three of the big music licensing labels. Since this doesn’t seem to involve indie labels, we can assume it isn’t a music streaming deal, but instead a licensing and content protection deal.