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Instagram introduces web feed

This week on the Instagram blog, founder Kevin Systrom announced Instagram’s new web feed. The web based Instagram feed on the web functions much like it does via mobile. Users can browse through the latest photos of people they follow with updates as people post new photos. Users can also like photos by double clicking on them or pressing the like button, or leave comments. Uploading photos will not be part of the web based experience. Users will need the app for that.

Read more on the Instagram blog.

Twitter wins the social Superbowl

Matt McGee from Marketing Land ran an interesting comparative analysis of which TV spots integrated social media into their messaging. According to McGee’s calculations, Twitter mentions on Superbowl ads dominated all other social networks. Twitter was mentioned in 26 of 52 national TV commercials – or around 50% of the spots that aired during the CBS game coverage. Facebook was mentioned in only four commercials, YouTube and Instagram were even mentioned once each, by Hyundai and Oreo. Interestingly, G+, wasn’t mentioned once. Most of the Twitter integration came via hashtags – for example Audi’s #braverywins or Hyundai’s #pickyourteam. Last year, brands split their focus on Twitter and Facebook with eight mentions each.

Check out the full analysis over on Marketing Land.

Facebook working on new location tracker mobile app

According to rumours, Facebook is developing a smartphone application that will track the location of its users. The app, scheduled for release by mid-March, is designed to help users find nearby friends. The tracking app could help Facebook sell ads based on users’ whereabouts and daily habits. While Facebook won’t confirm that this is in development, Zuck emphasized the need for new mobile products in a recent call with analysts saying “A lot of what we had to do last year was simply to improve our mobile development process,” Zuckerberg said. “The next thing we’re going to do is get really good at building new mobile-first experiences.”

Facebook already records the GPS coordinates of users when they post status updates or photos from their phones, or check in to a venue. With the new app, Facebook would go further by tracking user locations as a background process – even when users aren’t on Facebook.

Read more on Bloomberg.

Twitter acquires Bluefin Labs

Twitter has acquired Bluefin Labs, a social TV analytics company that was founded in 2008. Bluefin Labs offers detailed reports about which brands are discussed most on social media. This is Twitter’s biggest acquisition to date. Since Bluefin Labs has raised $20.5 million to date, the sale price is assumed to be the price is between $50 and $100 million (or higher).

Twitter’s move into social TV space makes sense. It hired a Head of TV last fall and there’s a strong correlation between people watching shows and tweeting about them. According to Second Sync, 40% of all UK Twitter traffic at peak TV viewing time is about TV. And with the help of a prolonged blackout, the Superbowl was the most social event to ever air. According to Bluefin Labs, the Superbowl racked up 30.6 million mentions on Twitter, Facebook, and GetGlue, up from 12.2 million one year prior.

Twitter upgrades Android and iOS apps

Twitter has updated its Android and iOS apps as well as mobile.twitter.com. The newest release provides a single stream of content in each tab. Here’s how Twitter outlined the improvements on their blog.

Discover: Now all the content in Discover — Tweets, Activity, Trends and suggestions of accounts to follow — appears in a single stream, on both iPhone and Android. You can also dive into Activity and Trends from new previews at the top of the Discover tab.

Search: Search results now surface the most relevant mix of Tweets, photos, and accounts, all in one stream (similar to the stream in Discover). We’ve also added a new search button to Twitter for iPhone, letting you search from anywhere within the app. (This button was already available in the Android and iPad apps.) Look for the magnifying glass icon next to the button you use to compose a Tweet.

Connect: To provide a simpler experience in the Connect tab, the default view is now Interactions, which shows you new followers, retweets and mentions. If you prefer to view only your mentions in Connect, you can adjust the default in settings – find the “Connect tab” option and select “Mentions only”.

Links: Click a URL in a Tweet to go directly to that website from any timeline and get to content highlighted on Twitter faster. (Previously, when you tapped any part of a Tweet, it would first expand and then a second click was required to get to the website.)

About.me buys itself back from AOL

On Monday, About.me announced that it was buying itself back from AOL, which acquired the company two years ago. Tony Conrad, co-founder of About.me, said in a phone interview that he chose to repurchase his start-up because he thought it could thrive in a more autonomous setting.

“I think we can build it so much faster, and so much better, by making it independent again. There’s no obvious leverage in being part of the AOL media network, and there’s no synergy and integration.”

Conrad went on to indicate where he feels About.me’s sweetspot is within the current social landscape. “People shouldn’t leave it to Google to define who they are based on an algorithm. Facebook is your social graph; Twitter your communications network; LinkedIn is great for people that have real accomplishments, but it’s not their real identity.”

About.me also plans to announce a $5.7 million financing round this week with money coming from several Silicon Valley venture firms including True Ventures, Google Ventures, Founder Collective, CrunchFund and Ron Conway. AOL will maintain an 8% ownership stake in the company.

Spotify comes to Windows Phone 8

Spotify is now available for Windows Phone 8. As will be familiar, Spotify users on WP8 will be able to create playlists, browse friends playlists and download tracks for playback without an internet connection. Tracks users add to any playlist via the mobile app will be simultaneously available on their PC and vice versa. The app is free and so is the service for the first 30 days with the premium service costing $9.99 a month.

LinkedIn congratulates profiles with most views

LinkedIn is celebrating reaching 200 million members by sending out emails to thank users whose profiles have had the most views. LinkedIn announced on their blog that the emails would soon be coming to “many who have been instrumental in helping us reach this milestone to recognize their part in our journey.”

Inside each email, there was a link to a letter from LinkedIn executive Deep Nishar that also includes an infographic with statistics on LinkedIn’s user base in 2012. The most-viewed profile in the past year was apparently President Barack Obama’s, which received 526,270 views.

Twitter extends search results

Twitter has announced that it is rolling out an update for its mobile apps and website enabling users to search older tweets. Previously, the site only allowed users to search for tweets that were up to a week old.

Here’s what Twitter’s Paul Burstein had to say:

“Yesterday, we updated our Android, iOS and mobile web apps to make it easier for you to find relevant content when you’re on the go. We also started to roll out an additional update on our mobile apps as well as on twitter.com: you’ll now be able to find older Tweets using search. To see for yourself, try searching for [Manchester United Southampton] or [#SpotTheShutte].”

Previously, Twitter search results displayed Tweets going back about a week. We’ve developed a way to include older Tweets, so you can see content that goes beyond the more recent Tweets.

As we roll this out over the coming days, the Tweets that you’ll see in search results represent a fairly small percentage of total Tweets ever sent. We look at a variety of types of engagement, like favorites, retweets and clicks, to determine which Tweets to show. We’ll be steadily increasing this percentage over time, and ultimately, aim to surface the best content for your query. For now, enjoy your trip down memory lane!”

Astronauts to host G+ Hangout from space

On Feb 22nd, NASA will host the first Google+ Hangout live from the International Space Station. NASA astronauts Kevin Ford and Tom Marshburn, along with the Canadian Space Agency’s tweet-star Chris Hadfield will be on hand to answer questions about life in space. Users can submit a question by sending a video prior to the Hangout and the astronauts will be answering real-time questions via Google+, Twitter and Facebook. The live chat will start at 11 a.m. EST and is scheduled to last an hour.

Twitter ups price of promoted trends to 200k per day

Twitter’s promoted trends prices have been steadily rising, and are now at the $200,000 a day mark in the U.S. This represents a 33 percent increase over the $150,000 rate the company was asking for in 2012 and up 150% from the $80,000 a day it was getting for the ads back when it launched them in 2010. CEO Dick Costolo recently described promoted trends as the “atomic unit” of its ad strategy. Unlike other Twitter ad products, advertisers have got a very good chance that everyone who uses Twitter that day will see it.

Snapchat raises $13.5 million in Series A

Snapchat has finalized a $13.5 million Series A round. According to The New York Times, Snapchat is now valued between $60 and $70 million. Snapchat co-founder Evan Spiegel confirmed the news adding that the company now sees 60 million snaps sent per day, and users have sent over five billion snaps in total. The company has hired five new employees, bringing the total staff to 10, and has moved to a new office in Venice Beach, CA. The company will use the funding for “hiring and servers, definitely. But most importantly, it allows us to remain independent and continue to grow the Snapchat community.”

Twitter releases Lolcat language option

As a bit of Friday fun, Twitter quietly added Lolcats as a new language for the site.

To activate, simply click on twitter.com/?lang=lolc (you can also turn it on in Twitter’s Settings). Tweets, Followers, and Following on profiles stay the same, but everything else changes. Ultimately, there’s not that much LOL. Most words have simply been capitalized, and some letters are dropped (FIN FRIENDS). The best changes include View Summary being changed to VIEW SUMMARY. KTHXBYE! and More being changed to MOAR.

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