Facebook Messenger picks up contact groups, message forwarding and more

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 27, 2014

The social networking giant, Facebook, has just updated its slick Messenger client for the iPhone and iPod touch with a pair of long overdue feature additions.

The first lets you forward a message to another person (even Apple’s own Messages app supports this) and the other finally makes it possible to create groups for the people you message most, with custom group photo and name.

The new Facebook Messenger 4.0 is now live in the App Store so update your copy to check out contact groups and message forwarding for yourself… Read More


Facebook is buying Rift headset maker Oculus VR for $2 billion

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 25, 2014

Facebook on Tuesday issued a press release announcing it is buying Kickstarter-funded startup Oculus VR for approximately $2 billion in cash and stock.

For those who have been sleeping under the rock lately, Oculus VR is the maker of the Rift virtual-reality headset. This major move reveals Facebook’s intent to make use of virtual-reality technologies, not long ago the stuff of science fiction.

The announcement comes just days after the Japanese consumer electronics giant Sony announced Project Morpheus, its own head-mounted five-inch full HD display with a 90-degree field of view that could mainstream virtual reality gaming by connecting to the PlayStation console… Read More


Instagram reportedly testing location integration with Facebook Places

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 25, 2014

Facebook-owned Instagram has traditionally relied on Foursquare for its vast database of points of interest.

For example, upon uploading a photograph Instagram gives you an option of choosing a location where the image was taken using its Foursquare integration, simply by tapping a ‘Name This Location’ button.

Post acquisition, however, things have become a little weird.

Facebook has long been maintaining its own location database, Facebook Places. Two years into the acquisition, Instagram has now started using Facebook Places as its mapping service, at least for a subset of its users.

Despite this (expected) change, more than the 150 million Instagram fans can continue to share their check-ins to Foursquare from Instagram… Read More


Facebook update simplifies sharing and posting

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 17, 2014

Following today’s update to WhatsApp which brought out nice new wallpapers and privacy controls for your Last Seen, Profile Photo and Status, the social networking giant Facebook has just refreshed its main iOS client.

The new Facebook 8.0 for the iPhone and iPad, now available in the App Store, brings supposed improvements for reliability and speed, a simpler way to see and choose a photo album’s audience and a slightly refreshed iPad UI to make it easier to post and share on the tablet… Read More


Instagram to pester us with more ads as it signs major $100M deal

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 10, 2014

Facebook-owned Instagram is about to monetize its more than 150 million active users in a big way, by continuing to pester them with a growing number of really expensive photo and video ads. Not that fans of the photo and video-sharing service will necessarily approve of the move, but Instagram has now signed its first major deal, reports AdAge.

Come on, you knew this was coming: first ads began showing up on Instagram back in November 2013.

That being said, today’s announcement is on an entirely different level as the people of Instagram have managed to sign a lucrative deal with an ad agency worth a cool $100 million. According to people familiar with the matter, the team is now rolling out a paid advertising program with a year-long commitment from Omnicom to spend north of $100 million to advertise for its clients on Instagram… Read More


A year later, Facebook finally starts rolling out revamped News Feed to everyone

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 6, 2014

Precisely 364 days ago, Facebook held an event announcing a major redesign which promised to turn your News Feed into a “personalized newspaper.” As we noted in our hands-on with the new News Feed, the  two-column layout featured prominent shortcuts to your About, Friends and Photos sections, with all-new Movies, Books and Photos items in your About view indicating what you read, watched and shared. There was also an Instagram Timeline app and a few other tweaks.

The problem is, users hated it so Facebook has never gotten around to rolling it out to its 1.2 billion users (it was enabled for a single-digit percentage of Facebook users). After spending months refining its look and implementing changed based on user feedback, Facebook on Thursday has finally begun switching its user base to the new News Feed where your “stories have a streamlined look with bigger photos”Read More


Facebook wants to buy drone maker Titan Aerospace to bring Internet to far-flung places

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 4, 2014

With nearly 1.3 billion people using its service, Facebook is the undisputed leader in social networking. But if the service is to expand to the next billion users, and the next billion ones after that, Facebook is going to face a significant hurdle: for two out of every three people, a fast and affordable Internet connection is still a pipe dream.

There’s no denying that the majority of the world simply isn’t online, and when I say ‘majority’ I’m referring to the circa five billion people who are lacking fast connectivity.

But does it have to be this way?

With more than seven billion people living on planet Earth, technology titans are investing resources in crazy technologies that would bring Internet to the masses. TechCrunch is now reporting that Facebook is considering buying Titan Aerospace, a company that makes solar-powered unmanned aircraft.

The goal: use the drones to bring the Internet – and consequentially the Facebook service – to far-flung places on Earth… Read More


Facebook updates Paper with new sharing options, sound settings and more

By Cody Lee on Mar 4, 2014

Facebook has posted an update for its just-released Paper app this morning, bringing the app to version 1.0.2. The update adds a handful of new features, as well as several improvements including those in the form of reliability and performance.

On the new feature front, Facebook has added the ability to share articles via Facebook Messages, text message, or email. And you can also now turn off the app’s sound effects so you can browse through the posts of your friends and family in peace… Read More


Mark Zuckerberg says WhatsApp worth more than $19 billion

By Cody Lee on Feb 25, 2014

Since Facebook announced last week that it would be acquiring WhatsApp for $16+ billion, pundits have been trying to make sense of the deal. How can a messaging app startup be worth so much more than say, Motorola Mobility, which has thousands of employees?

According to Mark Zuckerberg, it’s not. It’s worth more. Speaking at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona yesterday, the CEO said that WhatsApp was a ‘great fit’ for his company and that it was worth more than the $19B ($16B + $3B in vested shares) they paid for it… Read More


Facebook testing new ‘Highlights’ summary feature on iOS

By Cody Lee on Feb 23, 2014

Over the weekend, Facebook posted a tiny 7.0 update for its iOS app with a change log that simply read ‘bug fixes.’ But as it turns out, the update was more significant than that as it activated a feature the company is testing on iOS right now called Highlights.

The feature is currently available to a subset of iOS users, in a new ‘People’ tab that is also in testing (replaces the Requests tab), and it offers a roundup of recent life events from your friends and family. Annoying UpWorthy posts and meme pics not included… Read More


Google reportedly tried to buy WhatsApp for $10 billion

By Cody Lee on Feb 20, 2014

The entire Internet is abuzz right now with this whole Facebook and WhatsApp deal. For the few that haven’t heard yet, the social network announced yesterday afternoon that it has agreed to acquire the cross-platform messaging giant for a staggering $16 billion.

Since the announcement, details of the buyout negotiations between the two companies have begun to slowly trickle in, and as you might expect, some of them are rather interesting. Fortune, for example, is reporting that Google actually offered to buy WhatsApp first… Read More


Facebook is buying WhatsApp for $16 billion

By Cody Lee on Feb 19, 2014

Facebook has announced this afternoon that it has reached a deal to acquire WhatsApp, the makers of the popular cross-platform messaging app, for a staggering $16 billion. That’s $4 billion in cash and approximately $12 billion in Facebook shares.

The social network says that WhatsApp will continue to operate independently after the acquisition, but claims the deal with WhatsApp—who has nearly 500 million users—”accelerates Facebook’s ability to bring connectivity and utility to the world.”

Read More


How to read iDownloadBlog from Facebook’s new Paper app

By Sébastien Page on Feb 5, 2014

I’m usually not much of a Facebook user but I have to admit I have been spending more time on the social network in the last two days than I have in the whole last month. Why is that? It’s simply due to their new app named Paper, which lets you browse Facebook in a beautiful and intuitive way. If you haven’t tried it yet, I really encourage you to have a look at it. It might change the way you see Facebook, at least until they slap a bunch of ads on it.

Although there is no way to customize the sections of Paper with the content of your choice besides the default ones, I want to show you how you can browse through iDB’s latest post using Paper… Read More


Facebook celebrates 10-year anniversary with new ‘Look Back’ feature

By Cody Lee on Feb 4, 2014

It’s hard to believe it, but Facebook celebrates its first decade anniversary this week. That means that 10-years ago, Mark Zuckerberg and pals were in their Harvard dorm rooms making history, launching what would become the largest social network of all time.

And to help commemorate the occasion, Facebook has launched a new feature called ‘Look Back.’ Starting today, Facebook users will begin receiving notifications saying that a video summary of all of their Facebook activity has been compiled, and is ready to watch… Read More


In response to Facebook’s Paper, FiftyThree files trademark application for the term ‘Paper’

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 4, 2014

Facebook yesterday released its new Paper for iPhone app, a free download, prompting a swift response from Seattle- and New York-based FiftyThree which slammed the social networking behemoth for ignoring the fact that the Paper name has been associated with FiftyThree’s own iPad drawing program, also a free download from the App Store.

The small startup said Facebook had ignored requests to change its app name even though FiftyThree filed for the ‘Paper by FiftyThree’ trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office back in May of 2012.

Not content with Zuck & Co. piggy-backing on the established Paper brand, FiftyThree has now moved to file a trademark for the term ‘Paper’ itself. Grab your popcorn… Read More


Facebook refuses to change Paper app’s name following FiftyThree’s objection

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 3, 2014

Facebook’s new Paper for iPhone app is out in the wild now. Released earlier this morning as a free download in the US App Store, already the software has created a controversy by using the same name as FiftyThree’s popular drawing program, Paper for iPad, also a free download.

Facebook was of course aware of FiftyThree’s Paper, Apple’s 2012 iPad App of the Year. In fact, the social networking giant was kindly asked well in advance of its own release to avoid using the same name, but refused… Read More


Facebook’s new Paper app lands in the App Store

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 3, 2014

Facebook’s new Paper for iPhone app has just landed in the App Store, download it free. The news-reading application, which employs beautiful edge-to-edge design and Flipboard-like gestures, serves both stories surfaced from your News Feed and cherry-picked items from big name publications curated by Facebook editors. The app can be customized with a choice of more than a dozen topics ranging photography and sports to food, science and design, with each section including “a rich mix of content from emerging voices and well-known publications”Read More


Facebook caught testing Graph Search for mobile

By Cody Lee on Feb 2, 2014

It’s been more than a year now since Facebook first launched Graph Search for desktops, and nearly 4 months since we first saw evidence that it was testing an iPhone version of the tool. But it looks like it’s finally about ready to go mobile.

Following a hint by Mark Zuckerberg last week that Facebook’s Graph Search would be hitting mobile devices soon, the social network has begun testing the new feature. Some users are even beginning to see the search tool on their smartphones… Read More


Facebook announces new iPhone app, Paper, coming to App Store next Monday

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 30, 2014

The rumors were true: the social networking giant Facebook on Thursday officially announced its brand new social newsreader application for the iPhone. Called Paper (not to be confused with this), the app is scheduled to hit the App Store next Monday, February 3, 2014. The company has released a nice video walkthrough, embedded below the fold, which shows off really nicely done – gorgeously, dare I say – layout, fluidly animated interface and some familiar Flipboard-like gestures… Read More


Facebook app picks up ability to hide unwanted stories

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 27, 2014

I’ve always detested how Facebook‘s iPhone and iPad app wouldn’t let me do something about posts I never wanted surfaced in my News Feed in the first place, even more so after the social networking giant started injecting sponsored stories and ads into my feed.

A new version of Facebook’s iOS app, now available in the App Store, solves this problem in one fell swoop. Now whenever you stumble upon a post you’d like to hide, you can do so easily.

This extends to Facebook apps so you could, for example, hide all posts from annoying games like FarmVille, Heart of Vegas, Game of Thrones Ascent that continue to spam people’s News Feeds… Read More

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