News you need to know
Facebook Messenger is now a platform
The biggest news of this week is that Facebook Messenger is now a platform for apps. Developers can build mobile apps that connect into Messenger in interesting new ways, allowing them to inject GIFs, directions or other content directly into conversations. It's a technique that's worked well for LINE in Asia, which allows you to do everything from order a cab to download music.
Messenger will also now provide tools for people to talk directly with businesses about things like reserving a table or checking if products are in stock. If it can pull it off like Path Talk did, it might actually kill you having to call restaurants/supermarkets/shops ever again.
Twitter launches live-streaming video app Periscope
The live streaming wars are on. Periscope, Twitter's live video streaming app, launched to a lot of fanfare this week. It lets you stream high quality video in real time from your phone with no friction whatsoever; just tap a button and you're on the air.
I've spent the last few days engrossed in Periscope; it gives you a window into people's lives like I've not seen before. The format of the app encourages anyone to stream almost anything; I've watched a newscaster behind the scenes, a huge fire in New York and a friend playing with his dogs all in a single day
This app -- along with Meerkat -- has huge potential and I believe it is going to change the way that news and content is consumed online.
Facebook May Host News Sites’ Content
Speaking of Facebook, The New York Times dropped a bombshell this week: news publishers are working with the company to publish their content directly on Facebook. We're not talking small-fry publishers either; Buzzfeed, The New York Times and National Geographic are in advanced talks to make it happen.
I'm still unsure about what's in it for anyone but Facebook; we don't know much about the potential deal, but it seems like these companies would lose a lot of control and commoditize their content by doing this.
Some other tidbits from around the web this week:
- Apple plans to give fashion advice to sell its upcoming Watch
- You can now embed Facebook videos anywhere on the web
- Streaming service Twitch was hacked, as was messaging startup Slack
- Twitter made a deal to get Foursquare precise locations right inside tweets
- Pebble Time's Kickstarter finished up at a whopping $20 million pledged
- Microsoft may be working on a successor to the Surface 2 (the non-pro version)
- Google is working on a way for you to pay your bills in your inbox
The Shut-In Economy
Services like Postmates (which delivers any physical thing you could desire to you by asking via an app) and Homejoy (an on demand cleaning service, requested via an app) are creating a generation of shut-ins that work more and have almost no reason to leave their homes.
Many of these services are only available in places like San Francisco right now, but it's an interesting look at a world where the on-demand economy is making inroads into every part of life..
I’ve changed my mind about responsive design
This is advice that almost everyone building for the web and mobile should heed: "I believe publishers must abandon this one-size-fits-all approach, and start thinking about mobile web as a uniquely mobile experience."
Why Meerkat and Periscope Are the Biggest Things Since, Well, Twitter
It's no secret that I think Periscope is a big deal, but this is a great read on just why it matters so much. Spontaneous live video has big implications for a lot of things online and has come at the crux of mobile technology and LTE network availability worldwide.
It already changed the way I experienced the news this week -- but it also means you can experience "spontaneous togetherness" with complete strangers on the other side of the world
Facebook Wants To Own Everything You Do On The Internet
With Facebook Messenger's new platform and some other big changes, the company is making an aggressive move toward becoming the beginning and end of your experiences online.
The thought is a little scary, considering just how many core services and infrastructure the company now has. I don't like to put my own writing in here too much, but I do think this is worth a read.
Trouble in Neopia? 15 Years Later, Neopets Lives On
Remember Neopets? It was the quintessential site that children and young adults spent much of their time on in the late 1990s and early 2000s where you could look after your very own pet on the internet. I'd thought the site was long gone, but as it turns out its very much so alive(ish).
Filters for iPhone puts hundreds of great filters and tweaks for pictures at your fingertips
My favorite new app for editing photos on the iPhone, Filters gives you 800+ filters for $1. It's easy to use, has a nice interface and actually provides decent filters and tweaks that don't make your photos look like total over-edited crap.
Nuzzel's Time Saving App Arrives On Android
My favorite news app, Nuzzel, arrived on Android this week. This service plugs into your Twitter and Facebook to surface the news that your friends (or friends of friends) are sharing the most. A great way to cut through the noise and find good content if you follow the right kind of people online.