Facebook rolling out new discovery panel for iPad with game and trending news access

updated iPad screenshot

Facebook is now rolling out a new right-side panel for its iPad application to provide timely information, the social networking company told developers today. In the newest version of the Facebook iPad app, a new panel (shown in the image above) will provide instant access to trending news topics, calendar events, the weather, and games.

In the latest update to Facebook for iPad in the US, we’re testing new ways to help people discover more timely and entertaining content on tablet. This update will surface content on the right-hand side of the iPad that’s relevant to how people use tablets today, which is primarily to read news, watch videos and play games.

The move is primarily positioned by Facebook as a way to continue to attract gaming within the network. Facebook says that over 70% of iPad users have played a game on Facebook over the past three months, so it makes sense for the company to further promote gaming on the platform. This move also serves as a way for Facebook to keep users inside of its app while on the iPad.

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Facebook’s Snapchat competitor arrives on the App Store, then appropriately disappears

Screenshots via Engadget

Screenshots via Engadget

As we noted a few weeks ago, Facebook is currently in the process of developing a new Snapchat-like chat service separate from its main Messenger/Facebook inbox offering, even though it just recently removed its Poke app from the App Store.

Today Facebook “accidentally” published an early version of the upcoming software, called Slingshot, to the iOS App Store in a few countries. The app allows users to share a photo (or video) with friends, but those friends are unable to view the photo until they respond with a photo of their own. A “react” button allows recipients to quickly snap their reaction to an incoming message and send it back as a response.

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Giveaway: Win a Pad & Quill accessory pack for iPhone, iPad, & Mac ahead of Father’s Day ($600 value)

Update: Our winners have been chosen at random and contacted. As thanks for everyone participating, Pad & Quill is generously offering 15% off any order for a limited time to our readers using the coupon code DAD14 at checkout. 6/12/14

With Father’s Day quickly approaching, our friends over at Pad & Quill are teaming up with us to give away some cool bags and cases for your iPhone, iPad, Mac, and more. Pad & Quill makes super well-crafted accessories that look and feel very rich and thought out. We’ve had the chance to cover and review several of their products in the past.

We’ll be picking one grand prize winner to receive Pad & Quill’s Field Bag, Aria for iPad Air case, Bell Fino for iPhone 5s case, and any choice of Pad & Quill MacBook case for free (over a $600 value). In addition to the grand prize winner, two additional winners will be selected each to receive their own choice of any Pad & Quill iPhone or iPad case. Find out how to enter after the break… Read more

Facebook announces TV Show and Music ID app updates for iOS and Android

facebook-logo According to multiple sources, Facebook will unveil a new service today that can identify television shows and music playing in the background. The new software, which will be available via an updated App Store app on iPhone and a Google Play app on Android, will work in tandem with your smartphone hardware’s microphone. Facebook is said to be integrating the feature so Facebook users can more easily share what music they are listening to or what TV show they are currently watching to their Timelines. In iOS 8, Apple will unveil a new Siri feature in partnership with Shazam to identify songs playing in the background. Update: Official announcement after the break… Read more

Facebook may try to take on Snapchat again with upcoming ‘Slingshot’ app

facebook-poke

If at first you don’t succeed…

Facebook may have recently pulled its Snapchat-like Poke app from the iOS App Store, but the social network is gearing up to take another swipe at the messaging giant later this month, according to a new claim by the Financial Times. Facebook’s new app, currently dubbed “Slingshot” interally, will enable users to send short video messages to one another.

In 2012, Facebook launched its own Snapchat rip-off called Poke, which borrowed its name from an entirely separate feature that had been available on Facebook’s website for years. When Poke failed to attract a significant number of users, Facebook forgot about it and let it sit idle for nearly three years before removing it from the App Store.

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EFF marks Apple’s ‘remarkable improvement’ in protecting customer data from governments

Screen Shot 2014-05-15 at 3.26.29 PM

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) today published its annual “Who Has Your Back?” report that rates and compares how major corporations deal with government data requests. The EFF’s ranking of technology company data request transparency is notable because the organization is the “leading nonprofit organization defending civil liberties in the digital world.” The report ranks companies based on six categories: requires a warrant for content, tells users about data requests, publishes transparency reports, publishes law enforcement guidelines, fights for users’ privacy in courts, fights for users’ privacy for rights in Congress. This year, Apple received a star for each of the six categories. 

This compares to many other technology companies, including Google, Yahoo, and Facebook, that received stars across the board:

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Photo editing pioneer Hipstamatic offers Vine-like video app, Cinamatic

cinamatic

Hipstamatic led the way in offering a fast and fun way to edit and share photos from an iPhone, but has been a little slow to move into video. The company has now corrected this, launching the Cinamatic app designed to compete with Vine and Instagram.

Cinamatic lets you shoot short videos ranging from 3-15 seconds, apply filters to them and then share on Vine, Instagram and Facebook – or send them via email or Messages …  Read more

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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