The U.K. makes it OK for anyone to use your Instagram images (Original)
The U.K. has passed a bill that holds a rather damaging clause to photographers; orphaned photos can be licensed for commercial use. The vague law means that as long as a U.K. publisher tries to find the original owner of a photo, they can run it - even if said owner is never found. And those photos can come from anywhere, Great Britain and beyond.…
Sina Weibo, China’s Equivalent of Facebook and Twitter, Gets $586M Investment From Alibaba (Original)
Sina Weibo, the micro-blogging platform that took root among China’s white-collar class, may be worth more than $3 billion today after Alibaba agreed to pay $586 million to buy preferred and ordinary shares in the company.
The deal creates a strategic alliance between Alibaba, which runs the eBay of China, and Sina Weibo, which is kind of like a Facebook-Twitter hybrid. Weibo grew to 46 million daily users and earned $50 million in advertising revenue last year, according to an SEC filing last week from parent company Sina. It was 12 percent of parent company Sina’s total advertising revenue.
Like Twitter and Facebook, Sina Weibo has gotten a lot more aggressive about pushing in-stream or news feed advertising. Last week, they announced a new product called “Window Recommendations” in partnership with Alibaba’s Taobao. In that integration, about 3 to 5 ads featuring Taobao goods get pushed into a Weibo stream.
The two companies say the deal happened so that both companies could better connect Alibaba merchants to their Weibo users and followers and experiment with new ideas in social commerce. The partnership could bring $380 million in advertising and e-commerce revenues to Weibo over the next three years, Sina said.…
Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley: All Our Numbers Are Up 10-30% Each Month (Original)
Today at Disrupt NY 2013, Foursquare founder and CEO Dennis Crowley denied rumors that growth was stagnant for Foursquare. “I think there’s a little bit of perception that we’re not growing,” Crowley said. ”This is false.” In reality, March 2013 was the best month to date.
When it comes to growth numbers, Crowley started by saying that “[they] don’t talk about growth numbers so much.” But Foursquare tracks the number of active users, monthly sign-ups, check-ins, web visitors, etc. “All of these numbers are up 10-30 percent,” Crowley said.
Yet, Crowley was very candid about the situation the company is in right now. “We’re not the shiny new thing anymore,” he said. The company is currently trying to become the main location tech company and turn into a recommendation app for restaurants, bars, etc.
“A lot of people understand what we’re trying to do, being the location layer on the Internet, but there are a lot of people that don’t,” Crowley said. “People are still skeptical,” he continued.
“We are like that company that quietly pushes out big enhancements,” Crowley said. The company just wants to focus on improving the product and generating revenue, even if Foursquare receives negative thoughts from time to time.…
Dennis Crowley Says That Foursquare’s API Is Currently Underutilized, Apps That Use Its Location Data Are Smarter (Original)
During our Disrupt event today, New York City company Foursquare’s co-founder Dennis Crowley spoke about how people are talking about the company these days. One of the interesting things about the company is its strategy to be the “location layer” of the Internet. For four years, the company has been trapping all of this location data, tips and social graph information.
On its location data, Crowley said that the company is generating all of this information that will be important moving forward, like finding all of the interesting places on say, a Monday morning in New York City. These are the bits of data that Foursquare has just started leveraging in its own app and it’s only going to get better.
Crowley says that its API is underutilized by partners and people aren’t “leaning” on them as much as they could be, as of yet. He says that in the next year you’ll see more apps that use Foursquare’s location data get smarter about the world around it. This means that the company has a lot more evangelism to do to educate companies on how their data is best used. I can’t think of many services that do a really good job of it right now.…
Millions are leaving Facebook every month due to boredom (Original)
Facebook is by far the biggest social network on the Internet, but in its most established markets, Facebook is losing users by the millions on a monthly basis. According to independent analyst estimates,……
HackSpaces Is A Cloud-Based Management Tool For Co-Working Spaces (Original)
Increasingly, startups and hackers and designers are working out of co-working spaces, and almost all of those co-working spaces have the same problems: People have food and items delivered but aren’t around to sign for them; everyone is fighting for space in the conference rooms; and the spaces have trouble collecting money from users.
A lot of co-working spaces have built their own in-house tools to deal with these problems, but today at TechCrunch Disrupt NY’s Hackathon, one team created a cloud-based platform that can be used for helping co-working spaces communicate with members.
The hack, called HackSpaces, is designed as a platform that can be used to keep track of payments, seats and conference rooms. The conference room scheduler, for instance, replaces whiteboards currently used by some co-working spaces and allows users to quickly see via a mobile app which rooms are in use or scheduled later in the day.
HackSpaces also provides a messaging tool that can allow co-working members to let each other know when packages arrive or if there are events happening in the space. The messaging tool allows users to communicate with everyone, or to call out individual members with @ mentions. Individual users can get push notifications or text alerts when, for instance, their lunch has arrived at the front desk.…
Foursquare Redesigns Its Venue Pages For The Web To Capitalize On Its 50M Monthly Unique Visitors (Original)
Foursquare today launched redesigned venue pages to focus on its Explore and Discover functionality, bringing them more in line with its homepage. The changes, which come two weeks after the company raised another round of funding and released an updated iOS app, are designed to capitalize on the traffic that Foursquare gets from Google, which has doubled the site’s traffic over the past year. This is an important play for Foursquare, as it’s competing with Google Local, Yelp and Facebook, which today launched its redesign for local business pages.
Foursquare’s lead engineer for the web, Mike Singleton, told me that the site now gets over 50 million unique visitors on the web, which is 17 million more than actually use its app. That means that Foursquare is quietly breaking through as a place for information about venues, its most prized asset:
People are coming from Google for different reasons, we needed to give them the information they needed at a glance, which was difficult.
Since focusing on its Explore functionality, Singleton says that its usage has doubled, especially on the website. The new venue page has all of the information that people need in a quick glance, the pages are more visually appealing, and owners of the venues should be proud to show them off, perhaps by linking to them on their website over competitors like Yelp.…
Facebook building $1.5 billion data center in Altoona, Iowa (Original)
Facebook has already set up shop in North Carolina and Oregon, but it's heading to Iowa for its next -- and biggest -- data center. According to the Des Moines Register, the town of Altoona will be home to a 1.4-million-square-foot facility (code-named Catapult), and it will reportedly be the "most technologically advanced center in the world." Why Altoona, you ask? The city is already home to several data hubs, as its fiber-optic cable system, access to power and water utilities and affordable land are big draws for companies. Facebook will complete project Catapult in two $500 million phases, though the entire cost will reportedly ring in at $1.5 billion. The social network is also seeking wind energy production tax credits, which is no doubt connected to its Open Compute Project for promoting energy efficiency. That's all we know so far; suffice to say a center this big won't be built overnight.
Source: Des Moines Register…
Why Twitter Music Is Totally Going to Work (Original)
At first glance, Twitter?s entry into the music business today may be a bit of a head-scratcher. The service had barely launched before people were questioning why Twitter would even want its own music app. But really, it?s simple: Twitter Music is all about getting you to spend more quality time with Twitter. It?s about everybody?s favorite buzzword: engagement.…
Facebook Voice Calling Now Available To All US Users Thanks To Today’s Android Rollout (Original)
Now the Facebook can really start to replace your phone. Today Facebook rolled out its free VoIP voice calling feature to US users of Home and its Android Messenger app. That means even less reason to open your standard “phone” app, and more data for Facebook about who you care about the most. Now all iOS and Android users in the US can Facedial their friends.
Previously VoIP for Android was available in 23 other countries, but its roll out to the United States makes it 24. Facebook tells me the rollout will happen over the course of today, and doesn’t require any formal app updates.
To start a VoIP call in Messenger you click the I icon on someone’s profile and then tap “free call”. In Home, you can start a call from a Chat Head by clicking the three dots beside a person’s name, opening the conversation in Messenger, and then following the steps above.
Facebook first began testing its open sourced version of VoIP with iOS users in Canada and the US in January, and has been slowly rolling it out to more countries and Android since. But today is the culmination of that rollout (excluding less critical developing markets).…