social networking

If you have never heard of Microsoft’s social network, So.cl, we aren’t surprised. The service launched back in December 2011 and was a private beta for students of the University of Washington, Syracuse University, and New York University. Currently, the site is open to all users, but Microsoft keeps So.cl on the down low.

So.cl is a truly unique experience which tries to mix Bing with social networking. The site can be described as a mixture between pinterest and tumblr; it is currently being run by Microsoft’s research division.

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On June 14th, rumors were circulating that Microsoft was poised to buy Yammer, a social-network and messaging service for enterprise, for at least $1 billion dollars. Speculation cooled down a bit as Microsoft intended to focus on the Surface and Windows Phone 8 announcements but a new week is upon us and so the deal is now official.

Microsoft has now purchased Yammer (www.yammer.com) for a massive $1.2 billion in cash and it will be folded into the Microsoft Office Division, led by division President Kurt DelBene. The team will continue to report to current CEO David Sacks to maintain continuity, at least for the near future.

A statement from Microsoft on the acquisition states

“The acquisition of Yammer underscores our commitment to deliver technology that businesses need and people love. Yammer adds a best-in-class enterprise social networking service to Microsoft’s growing portfolio of complementary cloud services.”

Yammer is only four years old but has nearly 5 million users including employees at 85 percent of the Fortune 500, making it an interesting and strategic purchase. So why the acquisition even though Microsoft has Lync and Sharepoint already? Mary Jo Foley (ZDNet) ruminates that Microsoft "...needed a cooler brand and wanted the cross-platform support" which sounds about right to us.

Here's to hopefully seeing Yammer built into Windows Phone 8.

Full press release after the break...

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With the arrival of LinkedIn's official app in the Marketplace, users of the unofficial substitute, IN+ Networking, developed by Skilloo, are beginning to receive notice of IN+'s imminent demise. As of May 31, IN+ Networking will no longer be available for download and will cease to function.

Skilloo founder, and now member of LinkedIn's Mobile Team, Christian Haas, sent out an email to users to let them know that IN+ Networking will be replaced by the official app:

Hi IN+ users,

We're excited to announce the launch of the official LinkedIn app for Windows Phone. Developed in collaboration with Skilloo, LinkedIn, and Microsoft, the  
LinkedIn app for Windows Phone delivers on-the-go access to 160M+ professionals around the world.

IN+ will no longer be available for download or use after May 31, 2012. Please click on the button below to install the new LinkedIn app for Windows Phone.

Thanks again for being such a valued member.

-Christian Haas, Skilloo Founder and the LinkedIn Mobile Team

LinkedIn for Windows Phone was partially developed by Skilloo, in collaboration with LinkedIn and Microsoft. It has a beautiful interface and functionality galore. You can get it here.

Thanks, for the tip, Phrotzy!

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Torchbear, the app that combines social networking and gaming, keeps growing and growing. The latest update greatly improves sharing features (important for such a social app), adds a new Live tile, and even performance enhancements.

Torchbear version 1.5 release notes:

  • MANGO Support including LIVE Tile Support & System Tray Progress control!
  • System Tray is now transparent which gives us more screen space!
  • You can now Luv, Lulz, Like or Dislike any torch update
  • You can now comment on any torch update on a torch you have previously held
  • Twitter Support - can now share any torch update with 1 click twitter sharing
  • Sharing - can now share any torch update on Linked-In, Twitter, Facebook, Windows Live, and Windows Hotmail
  • Improved Notifications (now supports live tile, also the in-app notification screen has improved)
  • Improved News, Local News, and My News pages
  • Speed Improvements
  • Uses less bandwidth
  • Bug Fixes

How do you guys like Torchbear these days? The 1.4 and 1.5 updates have really improved the interface and given the app an impressive level of visual polish. The nearest torch to me is 39 miles away, but users who live in big cities and areas in which Windows Phone thrives will likely have a great time with the app.

Torchbear is a free application for your Windows Phone and you can find it here on the Marketplace. You can also check in on torches and view a world map of Torchbear activity at the Torchbear website.

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Torchbear bumped to version 1.3

Torchbear, a mobile geolocation based social network game, which went live on the Marketplace a few months ago, has been updated to version 1.3. The update is pretty big with more features and improvements being applied to the app. A quick walkthrough on what's included:

  • Added Search for player and torches to the main page
  • Added World News and Local News
  • Added auto exchanges for pending torches longer than 3 days
  • Added instant exchanges for players who have stopped playing
  • Exchange distance has been increased
  • Added support for Miles or Kilometers
  • New Player Points system
  • Improved loading performance
  • New Leaderboards (World, Nearby, and Following)
  • Ability to save any photo to your phone (including profile pics)
  • Can now exchange torches with a person who has held the torch before

You can download Torchbear for free from the Marketplace. Be sure to check out the official website too.

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Seesmic bumped to v2.0 with Mango support

Seesmic, the popular social networking client for Windows Phone, has been updated to version 2.0 and finally adds Mango support. Quick resume and performance improvements join the introduction of multiple live tiles, which will allow the user to pin Twitter timelines (and more) to the home screen. Should this app be too feature-rich for your liking, there are more simplistic solutions available such as Mehdoh.

You can download Seesmic from the Marketplace.

Via: WMPU

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Torchbear is a social networking styled game for your Windows Phone where you see how far you can pass a torch between other Torchbear members. A torch can be a thought, idea or image and collectively, Torchbear torches have traveled approximately 86,750 miles. Working off the success of the application and feedback from users, Torchbear has been updated to version 1.2.

New features include:

  • Torch points have been removed, torches are now ranked by Number of Followers the torch has
  • Players now receive points for distance traveled whilst carrying a torch (1 point per 50 miles) and unique torch exchanges (15 points if exchange is less than 1 mile, 10 points if exchange is less than 5 miles,5 points if exchange is less than 10 miles)
  • New Leaderboards that now include leaderboards for both torches and players, each category is split up into Worlds Top 20, Nearby Top 20, and the Top 20 Players/Torches you are following
  • Torch Profile - ability to save any torch profile pic to your phone and the Ability to rotate torch profiles pics
  • Torch Details - You can now update torch details after you have created a torch
  • Torch Exchanges - we now allow players to make multiple exchanges with torches they have previously held
  • The "Around Me" list has been improved, we now visually show which torches you have already held, and which torches currently have pending torch requests either by you or by someone else
  • Photos - all photos including both torch & player profile pics can now be saved to the phone

Torchbear is a free application for your Windows Phone and you can find it here at the Windows Phone Marketplace. You can also check in on torches and view a world map of Torchbear activity at the Torchbear website.

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Here's an interesting app, WNM Live (Who's Near Me) is a social networking platform that allows users to engage in voice calls with other Windows Phone users, or people from different platforms. The ability to be anonymous will remind some of Chatroulette, an anonymous video chat site, except with the ability to view profiles and choose people to talk to.

Some of the app highlights include:

  • Free Wi-Fi Phone Calls to other mobile & website users
  • Free Text/Picture Messaging
  • Live Stream where anyone can post
  • View user profiles and photos
  • Always anonymous - if you want to be
  • 2nd place in Microsoft's WP7 App Challenge
  • Available for other mobile platforms, the web, and as a Facebook app

While the features are certainly interesting, it's fairly obvious what a good number of users would use this app for. Then again, it's always nice to meet people around you who share the same interests, in this case it's Windows Phone. Searching users on gender, location and age is available. WNM also came 2nd place in Microsoft's WP7 App Challenge back in June earlier this year. Think of this app as the social side of "...I'm a WP7!", but taken to a more extreme level.

You can download WNM Live from the Marketplace, and check out the official website should you be interested for the experience on a larger screen.

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Torchbear goes live in the Marketplace

We first mentioned the Windows Phone app Torchbear a couple of months ago when the developer needed beta testers. Well, the kinks have been ironed out and Torchbear has left the Beta stages and is now available over at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

What is Torchbear you ask? Torchbear is described as a mobile geolocation based social network game. You create a torch that can be a thought, idea or image. You then create a mission for your torch and share it with other Torchbear users around the world.

For example, you can create a torch calling for the posting of photos that make you think of the fall season (that's the mission) and add your own photo to the torch. You then monitor how many exchanges, comments, and followers keep the torch burning. You can also monitor how far the torch has traveled. You can even map out where your torch has been and monitor your torches progress from Torchbear's website.  The goal is to generate the most activity from your torch.

You do have to register with Torchbear (free) and it's interesting to see how far your torches can travel around the globe. Torchbear is a free app and you can find it here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

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We've received reports from readers that they seem to be experiencing some trouble with the Facebook feed in People Hub where updates aren't appearing from friends and contacts. The good news is that it's not an actual bug or problem but more of the social network viewing the Facebook integration in Windows Phone as a third-party app, not an official app.

As each registered account has control over who can view and access status updates as well as personal details it's up to that contact to set privacy controls accordingly. Should they not allow status updates through third-party apps then you will unfortunately not be able to view when they visit the bathroom or when their mood changes.

Here's an official response from Microsoft in a support thread:

"Facebook considers Windows Phone to be a third-party app, rather than an official Facebook app. This means Windows Phone only has access to information that is shared with apps and websites.

Each individual has control over what they share (Account > Privacy Settings > Apps and Websites: Edit your settings > Info accessible through your friends: Edit settings). If someone disables "My status updates," their friends will be not be able to see the updates in third-party apps. They will, however, show up on the Facebook website and in official Facebook-branded apps. Turning off platform apps entirely makes the user's whole Facebook profile disappear from Windows Phone.

This can be very annoying, but people should be able to control what they share. The ideal solution would be for Facebook to make Windows Phone an official app. Until that happens, updates from some friends may not appear in the People Hub."

Join the discussion over on our forums!

Update: To be able to see your contact updates in the People Hub, that contact will need to alter their privacy settings and enable "status updates" in the following area: "> Privacy Settings > Apps and Websites: Edit your settings > How people bring your info to apps they use: Edit your settings"

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We covered Yammer back in July, when it was first announced that it was headed to Windows Phone and now the corporate social-network is available for our devices.

"Stay connected to your business wherever you go with Yammer for Windows Phone. Yammer is a private, secure social network for your company. No matter what type of business you're in, Yammer let's you connect with your coworkers to collaborate, share ideas, and be more productive. This application offers on-the-go access to real-time conversations happening inside your organization. View messages, post updates, and receive important notifications no matter where you are, because the conversation doesn’t end when you leave the office."

Features include:

  • Threaded Conversations - Post, reply and like messages. Easily follow conversations with replies displayed underneath the original message.
  • Multi-Feed Access - Quickly navigate between My Feed, Group Feeds and Company Feed to find relevant conversations.
  • Multi-Network Access - Switch between various internal and external networks.
  • Member Directory and Profiles - Find updates, links and files posted by a specific colleague in addition to contact information.
  • Private Messages - Communicate privately with one or more colleagues.
  • Live Tile Integration - Receive real-time notifications from Yammer about new conversations and messages on your Windows Phone Start screen, all without opening the application.

The app is Mango compatible and looks to be pretty killer for those of you in enterprise who need this functionality. You can pick it up here in the Web Marketplace.

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Pikchur snaps its way into the Marketplace

 

Pikchur has found its way to Windows Phone 7, designed by IQ, and it's a stunning example of Metro UI implementation. Pikchur for Windows Phone is their first mobile application (minus integration with other apps on competitor platforms) and this bold move will pay off with the app proving to be very popular already.

The visual look and feel of the app is superb, responsiveness is instant and supported networks (which you can actively enable/disable per photo upload) is impressive. A quick run down of some intriguing features supported in Pikchur:

  • Live Tile shows your most recent photo as a Pikchur branded tile on the start screen
  • Picture Hub integration allows you to quickly send a photo to the Pikchur application
  • Bing Map Integration allows you to visualize photo geo-tag information
  • Pivot controls organize photo detail information and comments for easy viewing
  • Picture and location privacy options provide you with control over your photos and information
  • Facebook and Twitter integration allows you to start connecting with services
  • Toggle controls allow you to turn on and off social network/micro-blogging accounts to share a photo with particular services only
  • Available in 5 different languages

We will be bringing a full review sometime soon. For now, check out the video after the break and download the app from the Martketplace (Zune link). 

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I'm a WP7 - App Spotlight

Curious if you're the only Windows Phone user in your area? There's a way to find out. I'm a WP7 is a free application over at the Marketplace that will let you see Windows Phone users and developers who are in your area.

Key features of the app include:

  • Register by Location, Postal Code, or “In the Cloud”
  • See the latest WP7 Users and Developers
  • If you're a WP7 Developer, you can provide your Company Name to make it easy for WP7 Users to access your apps
  • Search anywhere in the world to see other WP7 users
  • Surprise Me button to pull up random locations, world wide, to show you the WP7 developers and users in that area
  • See WP7 developers in your area, and automatically search the Windows Phone Marketplace for their apps
  • Send messages to WP7 Users directly around the globe

There's no registration required and once you give the app permission to use your Windows Phone's location services, you're set. You can customize your profile within the app or keep it to the default settings that simply identify you as "WP7 User".

Once you download I'm a WP7, remember the title has "..." preceding the "I'm a WP7". It will show up at the top of your application lists (as opposed to mid-way down in the "I" listings).

You can download your copy of ...I'm a WP7 here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

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Twitter, the social network that has skyrocketed out of control, has been bombarded with API connections and tweets being published and re-tweeted through exceptional growth. Ryan Sarver, who is a member of the Platform Team at Twitter, announced that they've updated their Terms of Service to help mainstream the Twitter experience and ensure users are connecting to (and using the) service in the same way.

With more people joining Twitter and accessing the service in multiple ways, a consistent user experience is more crucial than ever. As we talked about last April, this was our motivation for buying Tweetie and developing our own official iPhone app. It is the reason why we have developed official apps for the Mac, iPad, Android and Windows Phone, and worked with RIM on their Twitter for Blackberry app. As a result, the top five ways that people access Twitter are official Twitter apps. 

Still, our user research shows that consumers continue to be confused by the different ways that a fractured landscape of third-party Twitter clients display tweets and let users interact with core Twitter functions. For example, people get confused by websites or clients that display tweets in a way that doesn’t follow our design guidelines, or when services put their own verbs on tweets instead of the ones used on Twitter. Similarly, a number of third-party consumer clients use their own versions of suggested users, trends, and other data streams, confusing users in our network even more. Users should be able to view, retweet, and reply to @nytimes’ tweets the same way; see the same profile information about @whitehouse; and be able to join in the discussion around the same trending topics as everyone else across Twitter. 

More after the break.

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Sharing images and web pages [How To]

Everyone loves to share, which is why there is a huge part of Windows Phone 7 that is focused on social connections and platforms. As well as engaging with your friends while on the go, you may find yourself browsing the web within Internet Explorer an feel the need to share an image you see on a website, or the web page itself.

While offline and browsing through our photo albums there is fantastic social integration with the ability to share images to your online profiles and through other services, but what about while online? Via email, you can send any image or web page straight from your browser to a recipient of your choice, which can come in handy should you be the sharing type and wish to save a good number of clicks (or in our case – presses) when sending some useful content to your contact(s).

Sending an image from a current web page is simple enough, simply press and hold on the picture you wish to share and a menu will pop up with a “share” option. Then select your desired email account to send from and an email composition window will then slide into view. If you wish to send the entire web page as opposed to just an image, press on the “…” at the bottom left of the browser and select “share”. Again, an email account selection will appear and then a composition window. 

Windows Phone 7 makes simple tasks easier and faster for people to complete and communicating in more complex ways is possible, rivaling with competing platforms. What do you share while browsing around; do you use this feature regularly?

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LinkedIn updates for PeopleHub [How To]

Do you use LinkedIn for networking with colleagues and co-workers? Would you love to receive updates from this social platform on your phone in PeopleHub, alongside Facebook? Good news – this is easily achievable in just a few steps.

Ensure your Live account is synced to your Windows Phone 7 device before we proceed. To get linked in (get it? heh) on your phone, follow these steps:

  1. From your computer, log-in to your Windows Live account and scroll down to “Messenger Social” on the dashboard/main page, click Add.
  2. Select LinkedIn from the list and fill in your credentials in the newly opened window.
  3. Configure the settings to your preference as to what is to be synchronized between your Live and LinkedIn accounts.
  4. Hit Save, and we’re done!

Simply open PeopleHub on your phone and any status updates from your friends on LinkedIn will now populate the list as well as Facebook. Before you begin experiencing horrid thoughts about your contacts list being imported from the social platform to your phone, fear not, this only synchronizes status updates. 

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Okay, we think we understand what Warnygo is and coming for Windows Phone 7 soon, and we'll try to explain it.

Basically it's a way to send out "alerts" based on certain categories and using geolcation. Some of those categories are:

  • Accidents
  • Actors
  • Weather alerts
  • etc.

So lets say you're in midtown Manhattan and you notice a building is on fire or something really important happening, you can send a "warny" out and people using the same network and in the area will get the notification/alert on their device. You can also subscribe to your favorite "zones" or areas of interest, for example if you want to follow any "warnies" in your hometown while you are away.

It's like a localized Twitter feed which you don't have to subscribe to or follow. We can totally see this taking "social networking" to another level (and even have socio-political implications). The big question though is will it catch on? (Anyone who has tried Google's lame 'Open Spot' will know how lonely this can be) Too early to tell, but it's an interesting idea and coming to WP7 soon.

See the video of the app in action after the jump.

[via Twitter]

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While we've had Google Buzz available to us for quite some time via the mobile Google Maps application, the website was never fully optimized for mobile use (it was for the iPhone and Android).

Now if you browse over to buzz.google.com, you can login and see all your updates that way, sort of like a web-Twitter feed.

There's still no dedicated feed program for Google Buzz on Windows Mobile (that we know of), but then again since we're sort of creeped out by the whole thing and prefer Twitter, that's okay.

Read more here: Google Mobile Blog

 

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