Author: Frederic Lardinois

Google+ for consumers will shut down on April 2nd

It’s no secret that Google planned to pull life support from the consumer version of Google+, its failure of a social network, in April. Until now, though, we didn’t know the exact date. That date, Google announced today, is April 2.

On that date, Google will start deleting all content, including Google+ pages, photos and videos, and everything else on the site. If you were one of the last few Google+ users — or you just feel nostalgic about the stuff you posted there — now is the time to download all of that data.

If your company uses Google+ (and there must be some companies that do), then rest assured you will still be able to use it for the foreseeable future. Google is only shutting down the consumer version, as well as all Google+ APIs. Indeed, those APIs, which turned out to be major security liabilities, will shut down on March 7.

And there you have it. That’s the curtain call for Google+, the social network that could’ve been, from an era when Google desperately tried to catch up with Facebook and Twitter and integrated Google+ into every conceivable product. It even went so far as changing its sacred search results based on social signals (which really didn’t work all that well). The result was a bit of a disaster for Google and it took a while to right the ship.

Facebook will soon bring 3D photos to the news feed

Facebook made a small but interesting announcement at the end of its F8 keynote today: You’ll soon be able to post 3D photos to your news feed. For now, we know very little about this feature — or even how you’ll capture these photos — but chances are you’ll see them pop up in your friends’ status updates in the coming months.

How exactly Facebook will pull off this 3D effect, which looked pretty good in today’s demos, but also quite limited in how “3D” these photos actually are, remains to be seen. What’s most likely, though, is that Facebook will use some of its machine learning smarts to power some of this, especially given that the company also announced its (somewhat odd) 3D memories feature today, which uses machine learning to recreate the scenes of old photos in VR.

Facebook already supports 360-degree photos and video in the news feed, so the addition of 3D photos makes perfect sense in this context. For now, though, we’ll have to wait and see how exactly this will work.

Facebook’s Safety Check now lets people share first-person accounts from disaster zones

Facebook today announced an update to its Safety Check feature that expands the tool from simply allowing you to mark yourself as safe to sharing a bit more information about what’s happening on the ground. Facebook says it has activated the Safety Check feature, which launched back in 2014, more than 1,000 times.

These new first-person accounts will allow users to share information about road blockages, fires, flooding, electricity outages and other dangers during a disaster.

In addition to this, Facebook is also launching an update to its existing blood donation program. The company is launching a new hub today that will make it easier for clinics, blood banks and donors to find each other. Using this tool, blood banks can notify potential donors (who can share their blood type) of a blood shortage, for example, and steer them toward their location.

This is an expansion to the existing “Blood donations on Facebook” service now live in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan; so far, more than 8 million people have signed up for the service.

Instagram launches video chat

Facebook today announced that Instagram, its popular photo-sharing platform, is getting support for video chats, among a couple of other new features.

As Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg noted in his F8 keynote today, quite a few Instagram users already use the platform’s live video feature to chat with friends. “People use live video to just hang out,” he said. “It’s amazing how many of these tools are about bringing us together.”

We haven’t seen the new video chat in action, but chances are it’s a pretty straightforward feature that will expand on the existing messaging tools in Instagram.

In addition to these video chats, Instagram is also getting an improved Explore tab that, according to Zuckerberg, is “more focused on the things you are interested in.”

Instagram is also getting a new filter to protect users from bullying comments. “This new filter hides comments containing attacks on a person’s appearance or character, as well as threats to a person’s well-being or health,” the Instagram team writes today. In addition to the automatic filtering, Instagram will now also get alerts when there are repeated issues with an account.

But that’s not all; Instagram is also getting support for Facebook’s AR features with AR features from third parties.

The company made the announcement at its F8 developer conference in San Jose today, where the company also announced a somewhat related new feature: group video chats in WhatsApp.

These new features will roll out over the course of the next few weeks.

Facebook announces way to ‘Clear History’ of apps and sites you’ve clicked

Today is a big day for Facebook . The company is hosting its F8 developer conference in San Jose today and just before the event is scheduled to start, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg dropped a bit of news: The company will soon launch a new privacy feature that will allow users to see and delete the data Facebook has collected from websites and apps that use its ads and analytics tool.

With this, you can scrub at least some of your browsing history from Facebook’s data store. Zuckerberg likens this feature to deleting cookies from your browser history.

“Once we roll out this update, you’ll be able to see information about the apps and websites you’ve interacted with, and you’ll be able to clear this information from your account,” Zuckerberg explains. “You’ll even be able to turn off having this information stored with your account.”

Facebook notes that when you delete information through this feature, the company will remove all identifying data from your history but will still provide aggregated analytics to developers.

The Facebook founder also stresses that his time before Congress taught him that he didn’t have “clear enough answers to some of the questions about data.” Unsurprisingly, he promises to make some changes there and notes that the company is working on new and clearer controls.

The Clear History feature is currently in development and will roll out in the coming months.

Today at our F8 conference I'm going to discuss a new privacy control we're building called "Clear History". In your…

Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday, May 1, 2018

 

 

 

Talking fiber, drones and open-source hardware with Facebook’s Yael Maguire

 Facebook has been putting lots of resources into improving internet connectivity in rural areas. That may seem like a distraction for the social networking giant, but Facebook takes its mission to connect people pretty literally. To do so, it’s taking a building-block approach that involves many projects that all attempt to solve different issues of this larger technology challenge. Read More

Facebook’s OpenCellular is a new open-source wireless access platform for remote areas

 Facebook is clearly very serious about its mission to connect the world and in the process, it has launched solar-powered drones that use lasers to connect to each other and the ground, and more prosaic efforts like new antennas for covering both urban and rural areas. Today, Facebook is expanding this work with the launch of OpenCellular, a new open source hardware and software project that… Read More

Facebook will soon be able to automatically tag your friends in videos

 Facebook is making big strides in using its artificial intelligence systems for image recognition, but it’s also working on bringing this technology to video. As the company demoed at its F8 developer conference in San Francisco today, it has a team working on automatically tagging people in videos. As Facebook’s director of machine learning Joaquin Quiñonero Candela said during… Read More

Google+ now gives verified profiles, early access to new features to some Collections and Communities users

 A few months ago, Google pivoted Google+ away from being a basic social network and put a focus on content curation instead. To reward the most interesting and active users on its service, Google today launched the Google+ Create program. Google says that since it launched the redesigned Google+ in November, the number of Collection follows has more than doubled. This means more people… Read More

Parse Launches SDK Support For Apple’s WatchOS 2 And tvOS

 It’s been pretty quiet around Facebook’s Parse developer platform this year. The team launched its Internet of Things service in March and open-sourced its SDKs in August, but otherwise, we haven’t heard much about it. It looks like Facebook is putting a bit more emphasis on the service. The company today announced two new SDKs for Parse: Apple’s watchOS 2 and tvOS. Read More