Facebook’s Slingshot app said to launch tomorrow after last week’s botched debut (update: It’s out)

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Update: Like clockwork, it’s out.

Facebook plans to launch its long-awaited Snapchat competitor called Slingshot tomorrow, according to a source. The application briefly became available in some international App Stores last week, and then it (appropriately) swiftly disappeared. The new standalone iPhone application allows users to send a photo or video with text or drawings to another person, but the recipient cannot view it unless they acknowledge that they want to view the message…

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New official Paper app aims to turn Facebook into a beautiful, magazine-style experience

Update: Now available

Facebook has made many changes to its newsfeed over the years (each usually generating howls of protest on launch and then viewed as business as usual within a week or two), but the interface on web and iOS app alike has seen only minor tweaks. Popup photos aside, it’s essentially remained a clean but uninspiring scrolling layout.

All this is set to change with the launch of Paper, a new iOS-only app set to launch in the U.S. on 3rd February.

Paper makes storytelling more beautiful with an immersive design and fullscreen, distraction-free layouts. We’ve also made it easier to craft and share beautiful stories of your own …

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Facebook Messenger just turned into a phone & voice messaging app

Facebook-voice-record

Facebook is updating its Messenger iOS and Android app today with a couple of really interesting new features: the ability to record short voice messages, and a free calling service that utilizes users’ existing data plans but not their call allowance. Facebook noted on the app’s iTunes page that the calling service will roll out in the next few weeks, while the other features appear to be available to users today.

The new voice message feature will allow all users to record a voice message through a new record button (pictured above), but The Next Web explained Facebook is limiting the new VoIP calling feature to Canadian users initially. The app isn’t live on the U.S. store, but it has already landed in Canada and should be available everywhere soon.

To use the service, Canadian users will be able to log into their Messenger app, open a conversation with the person they want to call, hit the ‘i’ button in the top-right corner and selecting ‘Free Call.’ To send and receive calls, users will need to have the latest version of the app that is available today. Read more

Facebook’s iOS App Center going live tonight?

Update: Facebook confirmed to TechCrunch it has been “testing it with a small percentage of users” since it launched last month, but the social network has “no further details to announce at this time.”

The image above is a screenshot just posted by TechCrunch. A reader who claims to be seeing the Facebook App Center already live in the iOS app sent it. As noted in the report, Facebook has an “app-themed” event in San Francisco tonight where we could see more of the App Center. The company announced the new HTML5-based App Center last month and said the iOS and Android Facebook apps would have access to the app marketplace in the coming weeks.

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Facebook announces App Center for all platforms and devices

Facebook just announced that it is launching a new App Center—but it is not just for Facebook apps.

9to5Mac reported for months that Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg and company were planning a web-based alternative store to Apple’s App Store and Android’s Google Play dubbed “Project Spartan.” Speculation said the project is a framework for apps that would use social hooks, while working inside of Facebook’s ecosystem.

It seems those reports are ringing true, because the highly-anticipated HTML 5-based App Center will give Facebook users access to iOS, Android, web, mobile web, and desktop apps. Interestingly, Facebook reiterated that it is not competing directly with Apple or Google, because the App Center will send users to both the iOS and Android platforms. For example: If you are visiting Facebook’s App Center on an iPhone, and then enter Words with Friends, or one of the many Facebook-compatible games, you will soon beam to that app’s App Store page for installation. The same holds true for Android users.

“In the coming weeks, people will be able to access the App Center on the web and in the iOS and Android Facebook apps. All canvas, mobile and web apps that follow the guidelines can be listed. All developers should start preparing today to make sure their app is included for the launch,” explained Software Engineer Aaron Brady in a Facebook Developer’s blog post.

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Spotify for iPad finally lands in the App Store

There were leaks last month showing what might have been our first look at the Spotify iPad app, but today the company officially launched its long-awaited app with a blog post and the video above. The free app has already landed in the App Store as a universal download (an update for users of the iPhone app), and the service offers a 48-hour free trial for non-Premium subscribers with the ability to increase it to 30 days.

Our iPad app looks great. We’ve included Retina graphics and high-definition album art to make browsing a pleasure. Enjoying all the world’s music instantly on your iPad has never been easier. And with the brand new full-screen view and AirPlay integration, Spotify and your iPad are perfect for each other, both as your pumped-up living room stereo and your lean, green music machine when you’re on the move.

Compared to Spotify’s iPhone experience, the iPad app has been completely redesigned with a layered UI more familiar to Facebook iPad app users and packs most of the service’s features apart from the recently launched Web apps. It also includes a new full-screen mode with Retina graphics to take advantage of the device’s display and AirPlay support. Missing is “Collection” view and few other features only accessible through the online service.

The full set of features, as described by Spotify community manager Andres Sehr, is below:
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Posting negative comments on social media sites will get you fired at Apple

Apple likes to maintain tight control over its image and that extends to any outwardly-facing public social network, especially Facebook.

Sure, the Cupertino firm maintains its own Facebook pages and Twitter channels, basically outlets to spread news about new iTunes content, product updates, support documents, etc. in a tightly controlled manner. But If you thought each Apple employees is his or her own person and entitled to express opinion about the brand, you’re in for a surprise: Tweet/post/blog negatively about Apple and you’ll get fired. Period.

One employee in the UK went on to berate Apple “privately on Facebook”, arguing the posts were not public. ifoAppleStore.com has the story of an Apple employee named Crisp who appealed to the UK labor after being fired for “gross misconduct”:

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Two of your favorites come together: Skype and Facebook

Announced on the Skype Blog, Microsoft-owned Skype now integrates with (5% Microsoft-owned) Facebook on Mac.  With the update, your Facebook friends will be able to see your online status and Skype you without leaving the Skype application.  As per usual with Microsoft applications, the Mac version trails behind the Windows version…and as a bonus, non-paying Skype users will now see ads.

Today we’re launching Skype 5.4 for Mac Beta. The launch introduces the same Facebook integration found in Skype 5.5 for Windows. We are excited to finally deliver Facebook integration to our Mac users.

Just like in our Windows client, you will now be able to IM and connect with your Facebook friends without leaving Skype. You will also be able to read and update your News Feed, as well as comment and ‘Like’ your Facebook friends’ posts – all within Skype for Mac. To connect to Facebook, simply sign into Skype, click on the Connect to Facebook tab and enter your Facebook sign in details.

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We are also introducing an advertising platform in this new release, but if you are a paying Skype consumer or have Skype Credit, you won’t see any display ads; similar to the model that is currently being used in our Skype for Windows client.

Download Skype 5.4 for Mac OS X Beta.  We’re sticking to 2.8, in case the snarkiness didn’t tip you off. Read more