Wikileaks, the controversial not-for-profit group has been facing stiff resistance from governments worldwide. The site has already been banned in countries like China, UAE and has been shunned by companies like Amazon, EveryDNS and eBay. Yesterday we wrote about Wikileaks trying to keep their data alive by encouraging supporters to create mirror websites. The organization’s switzerland website has currently listed over 748 mirrors overall.
The only positive thing going for Wikileaks for the moment though appears to be its ability to communicate with their supporters through social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Facebook has issued a statement noting that the company shall not suspend the Wikileaks account anytime soon noting that no terms have been violated. A Facebook spokesperson has said,
“The Wikileaks Facebook Page does not violate our content standards nor have we encountered any material posted on the page that violates our policies.”
Twitter has however maintained a vague stance. While noting that the microblogging service is not meddling with Wikileaks trending on their timeline, the service has however been tight-lipped about a possible ban of the Twitter account.
It’s possible that Twitter caves in pretty soon. But we wonder how Facebook will respond if they are approached by government authorities to suspend its ties with Wikileaks.
If you are a heavy user of social networks, then it is very unlikely that you are yet to hear about Hootsuite. This is a nifty third party client that helps users manage all their Twitter and other social network accounts from one place. Hootsuite has now announced that their application for iPad is now available for download from the App Store.
It is worth noting that Hootsuite had introduced a few limitations on their service which primarily meant users looking to manage more than five social networks using the service had to pick between one of the paid plans. So, while the Hootsuite app for iPad is free, you may have to pay for one of the paid plans if you are looking to manage more than five social networks.
The Hootsuite for iPad app can be downloaded by clicking this iTunes link.
Twitter has announced an updated version of their iPhone app that, among other things, brings push notification for @mentions and direct messages. The new version 3.2 of the iOS app is now available for download at the App Store.The official changelog for the app reads,
Improved display of shortened URLs
Correctly load reserved Twitter.com paths, such as http://twitter.com/newtwitter
Fix connection error caused by a device clock being set incorrectly
Additional retina graphics
Enable geotagging in your account with one tap
Manage saved searches
If you do not own an iPhone, you can instead choose to receive these push notifications via SMS. With the Twitter app for Blackberry already having this feature enabled, the company has said that Android and Windows Phone 7 users will be getting this functionality on their platforms very soon.
Twitter announced yesterday about a partnership that it had struck with Apple that would integrate the company’s Ping Music-based social network service with the popular microblogging network. This integration would mean Ping users can link to their Twitter accounts to search for Ping users among their Twitter network as well as tweet to their followers about music that they like or are exploring.
We are now hearing about a possibility for Apple to make use of a native URL shortener script to let users share their activities on Ping over Twitter. MacRumors has discovered that the domain name itun.es is already in the posession of Apple and hence it is likely that the company makes use of this pretty URL for tweets from Ping. The domain name appears to have been purchased way back in 2006 and though it has stayed without much purpose until now, this could be the opportune moment for Apple to put the domain name to use.
If you are an active Twitterer from one of those countries where the new Windows Phone 7 handsets have already released, then you should be happy to learn that the official Twitter app for Windows Phone 7 is already available for download. However, at the moment, it looks like there is a bit of work still going behind the scenes. Some users have reported problems signing in while others have reported slow loading times. These issues however appear to have affected only a small section of users as reports from a majority of users seem to be on the positive side.
The Twitter app is pretty comprehensive in that it also features sections like ‘Top Tweets‘ that is available on the desktop application letting users read through Twitter conversations even without having to login. You can check out a video demo of the app below.
Twitter’s monetization model has always been a closely scrutinized affair and with the microblogging service yet to show revenues commensurate with its user growth, the company had recently announced a change of guard with COO Dick Costolo taking over as the CEO of Twitter.
Close on the heels of the announcement, Twitter has also launched a new monetizable feature – Promoted Accounts. Based on the long-tested Promoted Trends feature, the new feature will promote the advertisers’ Twitter account to targeted users who may be interested in the advertisers’ offering. Carolyn from Twitter writes on the blog,
“When an advertiser promotes an account, Twitter’s algorithm looks at that account’s followers and determines other accounts that those users tend to follow. If a user follows some of those accounts, but not the advertiser’s account, then Twitter may recommend the advertiser’s Promoted Account to that user. For example, a lot of people who follow several gaming-related accounts also follow @xbox. If someone follows gaming-related accounts, but not @xbox, Twitter may recommend @xbox to that person.”
That sounds pretty weak to me. A promoted account is only shown to users who are already following several related accounts. In that case, wouldn’t the advertiser’s account be offered as a suggestion to the user in any case? Will that mean that the advertiser will be paying for something that they can get done for free anyway? An alternative would be to target users by geography or age group (which the Twitter database does not have at present) and let advertisers reach out to those users who they may not be able to target otherwise.
Having said that, this is still in testing phase and it will be interesting to see how the functionality pans out moving forward.
Popular third party Twitter client, TweetDeck has released a new version of their Android app that brings widgetized views to the Android phones. The first version of the app was released last month and one issue that was pointed out by many was the unavailability of widgets on the Android app. The updated version of the application now brings three widgets – bar view, column view and post view. With this latest update, it is possible for users to tweet without leaving the homepage of the application. Also, users may view all the recent tweets from the column view.
Do note that the app is still not free from bugs and there are quite a few issues that need to be sorted out in the latest version. However, these are expected to be ironed out soon and so if you are ready to check this new version out, hit the app marketplace and download the latest version of TweetDeck.
Justin Bieber is one of those celebs who trends on Twitter every other day and there is no doubt that he is one of the most social-media savvy artists around. But if you thought that was not something newsworthy, here’s a small tidbit from a Twitter employee – At any moment, Justin Bieber consumes 3% of Twitter’s resources. The popular microblogging service is learned to have dedicated racks of server simply to manage resources consumed by Bieber.
However, Bieber is not alone in his consumption of resources as Dustin Curtis, a designer at Twitter has also revealed that his company has servers dedicated to most big users. Nevertheless, considering that Twitter is among the websites that is most notorious for frequent downtimes, you just got someone you can blame next time the fail whale pops out.
TweetDeck, one of the most popular third party Twitter clients had last week launched a new beta version of their Android app that was available for download to interested users who had to request for access via a web form. Several media publications had reviewed the new app and had made note of several raving features including its squeaky clean interface and easy navigation tools.
However, several early bird users who have downloaded the beta version of the TweetDeck app have been complaining that the application consumes an inordinately high amount of data and consequently also drains the battery a lot quicker. A user on the TweetDeck support forum writes,
“Aside from the fact that it seems to be using a larger amount of battery why on earth is the program using so much data? Mine used 74mb in a day and a half. My colleagues used 100mb in the same time!!”
The updates from the support thread shows that the TweetDeck team has already worked on the data consumption part. It is however not clear if the developers have been successful in reducing battery consumption though. Considering that battery backup is not really great in many of the Android handsets out there, such a drawback could hugely pull down the popularity of this new app.
Tweetie from AteBits aka Loren Brichter was one of the most popular Twitter clients for the iPhone before it was acquired by Twitter and was relaunched as the official Twitter client for iPhone. Among the several cool features on Tweetie was this simple ‘drag to refresh‘ functionality. Basically, this feature allowed users to simply tap and swipe a downward gesture in order for the client to refresh the Twitter timeline.
It now appears that Loren Brichter had sought to patent this idea as founder of Atebits. The date the patent was filed is interesting – April 8, 2010. That’s just a day before Twitter officially announced (on April 9th) that they were acquiring Tweetie. The patent is of course filed in the name of Atebits and so Twitter may have agreed to purchase this patent idea as well. But from the dates, it appears that Twitter may have waited for Brichter to have filed the patent idea before deciding to officially announce their acquisition. Any idea why?
Nevertheless, this is how Brichter explains the seemingly simple concept in his patent application
“In one arrangement, a scrollable list of content items may be displayed. Input associated with a scroll command may be received. Then, based on the scroll command, a scrollable refresh trigger may be displayed. Subsequently, the scrollable list of content items may be refreshed in response to determining, based on the scroll command, that the scrollable refresh trigger has been activated. In at least one instance, it may be determined that the scrollable refresh trigger has been activated in response to determining that the scroll command was completed while the scrollable refresh trigger was fully displayed.”