Facebook, Google, And Twitter’s War For App Install Ads

An unexpected consequence of our love apps is that now there’s just too damn many of them. The app stores are overcrowded, leaving developers desperate for a way to get their games and utilities discovered. That is why the app install ad has become the lifeblood of the mobile platform business. Big brands aren’t the only ones to suck up to anymore. No one buys a car or Coca-Cola on their phone, at least not yet, so proving the return on investment of mobile ads to these businesses is tough. There is one thing people will instantly plop down a few bucks for on the small screen, though: Apps.

Twitter Will Reportedly Roll Out 'Buy' Button

Twitter is going to incorporate a way for users to easily buy things directly from its network later this year, according to a report Friday from Recode. The social network is partnering with Stripe, a payments services company, to integrate a "buy" button into tweets, unnamed sources told Recode. It is expected that the button will let users enter in payment and shipping information without leaving Twitter, allowing businesses to sell their products directly from tweets with Stripe powering the transaction.

Facebook Starts Using App Links To Get You Back Into Apps

App Links, Facebook’s initiative to make it easier for developers to link to specific content within an app, is about to become a lot more useful for developers who rely on Facebook to direct users to their apps. In a blog post, Facebook announced that developers will now be able to utilize App Links to send people straight from ads in the Facebook mobile app to specific points within their apps. There’s a catch though: for now, they’ll only be able to deploy these ads if they’re working with one of Facebook’s Preferred Marketing Developers.

Twitter Turns on Mute Feature

Twitter users can now mute others, meaning that their tweets will not show up in a timeline. The new feature, which Twitter announced in a blog post Monday, allows you to avoid seeing tweets from people you'd rather avoid. However, they will still be able to see your tweets and retweets. The new tool appears to be what Twitter was aiming for when it briefly changed its blocking policy in December, igniting a firestorm of controversy.

Say Goodbye to Facebook E-mail

Facebook announced Monday that it's getting rid of its @facebook.com e-mail service. E-mail service, you say? Yes, the social network actually had a service for e-mail addresses that users could get when they signed up -- not to be confused with Facebook Messages, Chat, or Messenger. Very few people actually used the service, according to the social network, hence, its retirement.

Twitter Buys Open Source Training Company

Twitter announced its latest acquisition, along with a move into offering richer resources to attract better engineering talent to the company. It has bought Marakana, an open-source technical training company; and in turn, Marakana will be the force behind a new effort called Twitter University. School mascot: a blue bird, not a whale.

Facebook Announces Searchable Hashtags

Facebook just announced that it is indeed launching ability to follow conversations via hashtags, as was reported in March. To be clear, there was nothing stopping you from including hashtags in your Facebook content before — it’s just that they didn’t have any real functionality. In its blog post announcing the new feature, the company acknowledges that this isn’t exactly a new idea, noting that it will be “similar to other services like Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, or Pinterest” — when you click on a hashtag, you’ll get a feed of comments using the hashtag. Facebook says its capabilities will include searching for hashtags, clicking on hashtags that come from other services, and writing posts directly from the hashtag feed.

Twitter to Roll Out New Password Security Control?

After the Associated Press' Twitter account was hacked into on Tuesday and the accounts of CBS News programs "60 Minutes" and "48 Hours" were hacked over the weekend, it's been made clear that Twitter needs to boost security. But, it may be doing just that. According to Wired's Mat Honan, the social-networking site has reportedly been working on creating a two-factor authentication for user password verification. Honan writes that the company is currently carrying out internal testing before rolling out the new security control.

Facebook Voice Calling for All US Users

Now the Facebook can really start to replace your phone. Today Facebook rolled out its free VoIP voice calling feature to US users of Home and its Android Messenger app. That means even less reason to open your standard “phone” app, and more data for Facebook about who you care about the most. Now all iOS and Android users in the US can Facedial their friends.

Facebook Reveals new Social Graph Data

Facebook continues to pull back the curtain on some of the technical details behind its search products, this time with a new look at the Social Graph. The social network's latest reveal is about LinkBench, a new database benchmark for the Social Graph, which is being released this week on GitHub. Touted as a tool for developers who need to benchmark and fine-tune database systems, LinkBench was designed to replicate the data model, graph structure, and request mix of Facebook's MySQL social graph workload.

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