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The week in social: Meerkat, BriefMe, and Tinder Plus

Startup Meerkat brings live video broadcast to Twitter

Built on top of Twitter’s identity, distribution and communication systems, Meerkat is a real-time video broadcast app that automatically connects to your Twitter account, allowing for instantaneous contact lists and content pushes. Links to broadcasts are sent to your twitter stream with video comments and interactions delivered via Twitter @ replies. Broadcasts can be scheduled up to 24 hours in advance and once you’re done filming, the content disappears unless you save it to your phone. This is a key consideration given the auto-tweet links will live on forever in tweet form even if the content is no longer in existence. Meerkat’s primary challenge will be to keep its app filled with enough compelling content to ensure continual user engagement.

More information on TechCrunch.

Google overhauls Contacts app

Earlier this week, Google unveiled an update to its Contacts app that employs a new material design, and lets users integrate other Google app functions such as email and calendar appointments. The integration of these features lets users see emails and events exchanged between each other when a specific contact is viewed. In addition to these updates, contacts are auto-updated based on Google profiles to include information such as job titles and updated profile photos. The app is currently available for consumer GMail users, and a version for Google Apps users is currently being worked on.

Read more on The Next Web.

WWE takes title of most popular YouTube sports channel

Last week, World Wrestling Entertainment, otherwise known as the WWE, became the biggest sports channel on YouTube. With a total of 4.2 billion views in the last 12 months, the channel also has 5.2 million subscribers, more than the NBA, NHL, MLB, and NFL combined. In all of social media combined, the company has 450 million total likes/follows, an increase of 75% year over year. In addition to a strong company following, John Cena, the top billed performer, has over 36 million likes/follows, being the most followed active American athlete on social media.

More information on Lost Remote.

BriefMe application helps rank popular stories by social media activity

Powered by a propriety ranking algorithm that scores articles partially by how popular they are on social media, a new application for iOS, BriefMe, is changing how articles are served to users on mobile apps. The application will send users 3 articles per day via push notification using this algorithm. There is a home feed that will also show users the top ten articles of the moment, and has separate feeds for specific categories. Every article has a “BriefMe Score”, that uses the algorithm to show a user how popular it is. Lastly, there is a “stream” section that shows an endless scrolling list of news, and each article has to option to be shared on social, which ultimately increases the “BriefMe Score”.

Read more on Social Times.

Facebook Slingshot now lets users Explore

In attempt to add new functionality to their Slingshot app, Facebook has added an “Explore” option, that lets them discover new and exciting users. Facebook announced the new feature in a blog post this past Tuesday, saying that they are answering requests from users to find a way to discover “funny, inspiring and creative” people. The Explore feature is focused on popular users, and is the next attempt my Facebook to drive usage of one of its standalone apps. One of Slingshot’s last major app updates came in December with a major design overhaul.

More information on Venture Beat.

Tinder launches Tinder Plus

Tinder, the popular swiping social dating app, has launched a premium version that allows users to redo swipes to reject another user with a “rewind feature”, and gives them a larger total number of swipes. The catch for the service is that it will cost users who are above the age of 30 more money. For users between age 18-29, the service costs $9.99, and users over 30, it jumps to $19.99, with these prices being relative to the United States.

Read more on Huffington Post.

Instagram debuts carousel ads to help users learn more about brands

Facebook-owned Instagram earlier this week debuted a new ad format that lets marketers tell more sequenced stories about their products, services, or brands. Users can swipe to the left of an ad that they like, and get more imagery related to that ad, in a carousel-like function. The new format is available on a limited-basis, like much of Instagram advertising has been, and there is no official word yet on what advertisers are using it currently. Instagram advertising has seen a slow trickle since its inception, allaying user fears that ads would take over their photo-feed, but it remains to be seen if more ad partners will start using the service.

More information on Mashable.

Google+ splits offering into separate products

It’s been alluded to over recent weeks, but Google+ has officially confirmed a network split into three distinct products as a way to focus on independent, tailored development. With the company’s product VP heading up the offering, Google+ will shortly be split into photo management and streams. In addition, Google is also looking to distance Hangouts from the network. It is yet to be seen what changes or impact this split will have on the user experience.

More information on The Next Web.

Twitter purchases Vine content discovery company Niche

Twitter has recently announced the acquisition of Niche, a discovery platform of content creators on Vine. With a hefty price tag of $50M (in cash and stock), it is proof that Twitter is placing a premium on social influencers and the kind of reach they can bring for brands and advertisers. Several social influencers on Vine, such as “Princess Lauren”, earn around $2,000 per sponsored Vine, and many popular content creators earn a living off the of the deals they have made on Niche. Although Vine is not the only social media site where social influencers do partnerships with brands, it is one of the fastest growing, being a still relatively young network.

More information on Business Insider.

Imgur launches brand new iOS application

Imgur is taking a second stab at launching a mobile application, creating an experience that will let its users browse through images, photos, and GIFs. The experience on the mobile app is intentionally different than on the web, and users are presented cards in an endless row, that contain an image and caption. Users can tap on the card to share, like, or make a comment, or continue swiping to see more images. The initial stream of photos provided are the sites most currently popular or viral. There currently is no feature for uploading photos, and CEO Alan Schaaf notes that he wanted to start small and get the critical pieces right.

Read more on The Verge.