Facebook rolling out new location-sharing feature for iPhone called Nearby Friends

Facebook Nearby Friends

Facebook announced today it will be rolling out a new social feature to its mobile app called Nearby Friends. The feature allows Facebook users to occasionally receive notifications when common friends are in similar locations similar to features offered by Foursquare and Apple’s Find My Friends service.

If you turn on Nearby Friends, you’ll occasionally be notified when friends are nearby, so you can get in touch with them and meet up. For example, when you’re headed to the movies, Nearby Friends will let you know if friends are nearby so you can see the movie together or meet up afterward.

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Facebook releases ‘Tweaks’ tool to help devs iterate on their apps faster

Tweaks

Facebook has today open-sourced its rapid prototyping tool ‘Tweaks’, a framework that helps application developers quickly iterate on their projects and test out different possibilities for their iOS apps.

The best way to improve an app is to use it every day. Even when ideas can be tested out in advance — for example, with Origami — it can still take some time with the app to see how it works in practice.

Occasionally, it’s perfect the first try. Sometimes, the idea doesn’t work at all. But often, it just needs a few minor adjustments. That last case is where Tweaks fits in. Tweaks makes those small adjustments easy: with no code changes and no computer, you can try out different options and decide which works best.

Tweaks makes it really simple for developers to adjust parameters and properties in their application and then test them out in realtime. This is particularly useful for rapid user interface development, which often consists of merely tweaking parameters (like colors or durations) than any involved work.  Normally, developers have to recompile application binaries in order to change animation curves, durations or other parameters. This is relatively slow and inefficient.

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Adobe VideoBite, a bite-sized video editor for iPhone, now allows titles, photos & music

videobite

Adobe VideoBite, an iOS app designed to make video editing as quick and easy as possible, has been updated to allow titles, photos and music to be added, turning it into a fully-fledged editor while retaining its simple user-interface.

Heartwarming Apple ads aside, I’ve always been rather skeptical of the real-world practicality of video editing on a phone, but I have to confess that VideoBite does make it a very slick process. Trimming clips, for example, involves nothing more than pressing a heart icon at the beginning and end of the bit you want to keep. Adding transitions and music is just as easy, and your finished masterpiece is saved to your camera roll, with exports to Facebook, YouTube and email also supported …  Read more

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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New leaked docs show NSA collects personal data from smartphone apps

New documents leaked by Edward Snowden and reported by The New York Times, The Guardian and ProPublica detail how the NSA and its British counterpart can collect users’ personal data through smartphone apps. The reports specifically mention popular apps like Angry Birds, Twitter, Google Maps and Facebook and claim the NSA is capable of intercepting information ranging from location, age, and sex of users to address books, buddy lists, phone logs, geographic data and more:

The N.S.A. and Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters were working together on how to collect and store data from dozens of smartphone apps by 2007, according to the documents, provided by Edward J. Snowden, the former N.S.A. contractor. Since then, the agencies have traded recipes for grabbing location and planning data when a target uses Google Maps, and for vacuuming up address books, buddy lists, phone logs and the geographic data embedded in photos when someone sends a post to the mobile versions of Facebook, Flickr, LinkedIn, Twitter and other services.

At least one of the app developers, Rovio, is not surprisingly unaware of any of the activity mentioned in the documents, but it will be up to the app developers, Apple, and Google to address the issue and clarify for users if their personal data is safe. In a recent interview with ABC, Apple CEO Tim Cook commented on the controversy over surveillance programs and promised he would press congress for more transparency: Read more