social networks

We're fairly sociable as human beings. Mobile phones paved new ways to communicate without wires, far extending the reaches of walkie-talkies and the like. Pulling up the aerial on the brick and making a call was a luxury, but in 2014 almost everyone has a mobile device, be it a smartphone or feature phone. Social networks have also evolved from the personal computer to include mobile devices.

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The private social network Path is slowly getting better with each update, especially after coming out of beta a few weeks ago. The app was first introduced earlier in the year and after a hiatus, it’s back with another significant update. Version 2.1 is now live in the Store, and it introduces the most coveted feature of ‘media moments.'

For those who aren’t familiar with Path’s media moments, it’s enables sharing what you’re reading, a movie you’re watching or music that you’re currently playing. It may seem like a trivial thing, but it’s a core aspect of the social network, since presumably you want to be able to tell your friends what you are up to, including entertainment. With it missing on Windows Phone, the app was never complete for most fans of Path.

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It has been a whirlwind year for Windows Phone 8, especially in the last few months. Today, Microsoft gets another feather in their cap with the unveiling of Path beta for Windows Phone 8.

Announced back in July during the Lumia 1020 reveal, the app is now available to download for Windows Phone 8 devices and finishes the 2013 blitz of apps and games.

Path, launched in November 2010, is yet-another social network. It originally made waves on the iPhone, later expanding to Android and iOS in general (iPad). It’s claim to fame? Path is a private social-network, where the user can purposefully limit who views and accesses their timeline to just friends and family. In fact, it’s limited to just 150 contacts max with no “public view” at all. Users can share messages and photos with those closest to them, without any fear of accidentally posting something publicly i.e. the opposite of Facebook.

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WNM Live is a Windows Phone app that will connect you with other Windows Phone users in your area.  The social networking app was recently updated to version 1.29, which most notably changes the app’s name.  WNM Live is now Nearby.

Along with the name change, the user interface has been enhanced and the ad banners have been removed.  You also have a few bug fixes to help improve overall performance.

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Howeather is not your typical Windows Phone 8 weather app.  It does not have weather forecasts, radar images or severe weather alerts.  Instead, Howeather delivers an Instagram-like social network where you can share your current weather conditions with others and ask other members “how’s the weather?”

As you interact with the Howeather network, you will earn experience points that will translate to weather badges.  It is a rather unique approach to sharing and gathering weather information from your Windows Phone.  Howeather does need to build up its user base to be effective though.

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It was way back in May when the official Untappd app arrived for Windows Phone 8. The popular beer social network is certainly a niche service, but one that is growing in popularity. While the app itself is a PhoneGap release, meaning it’s not natively coded for Windows Phone, it is still better than nothing.

Late last night, version 1.1 of the app finally went live in the Store and it brings along with a handful of fixes, including the ability to upload images (which was broke) and the capacity to share to Twitter and Facebook.

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Yammer is Microsoft’s social network for enterprise and a place where companies can let their employees get their Facebook-fix, but in a manner that benefits the company. The company was acquired by Microsoft in 2012, and it’s one of the leading enterprise social networks with a fairly lucrative freemium model.

The Yammer Windows Phone app has slowly been getting better with each update, and today's update is no exception. 

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For those of you who can’t help to wave around your tablet and take photos, we have an exciting announcement. InstaPic, a full featured Instagram client will be headed to Windows 8 device shortly.

The application will allow users to view timeline and popular posts, search for users and tags, pin favorites to the Start Screen, locate friends from Facebook and their address book, and even upload photos to the popular social photo sharing service.

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Windows Phone Central App Roundup: Instagram
Windows Phone Central App Roundup: Instagram Apps

Instagram is a unique social network that relies more on your photographs than your words. It's a tremendously popular service that, for whatever reason, has steered clear of an "official" Windows Phone app.

But have no fear, there are some creative minds out there and several "unofficial" Instagram apps have popped up in the Windows Store. In the beginning, most were simply viewers to let Windows Phone users look at but not touch the Instagram community.

We now have two fairly decent Instagram clients that not only let you look at the Instagram community but also upload images as well. While the number of apps are still on the thin side, we decided to roundup a few that stand out.

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Ah, Facebook. We don't really get nor use it very often but we recognize that we're in the minority on that one. We also have those friends who meticulously and methodically check their status, friend count, "Likes" and what have you numerous times a day.

For those people, we humbly direct you towards Friend Tracker, the new app from Rudy Huyn (TVShow, MyEncyclopedia, Fuse, etc.). The app is simple enough: it looks through your contacts who are synced with Facebook and/or Live and keeps track of who's there, who's not and showing you a graph of the number of friends and activity.

According to the app's "How it works" section, Windows Phone checks this about once a day. But if you really want "real time" you can have the app login to your account and pull down the info on a much more frequent basis, like every 30 minutes or so.

It's a nifty little addition and completely free. Plus like all of Huyn's apps, really elegant. Here are some of the other features:

  • Live tile
  • Statistics on the number of friends
  • Scheduled agent

So if you need to keep abreast of your social status, sounds lke you'll want to pick this up. Grab it here in the Windows Phone Marketplace.

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<a data-cke-saved-href='http://video.msn.com/?vid=e0aaf4ff-24c7-42a0-875f-40917489ea1b&mkt=en-us&src=SLPl:embed::uuids' href='http://video.msn.com/?vid=e0aaf4ff-24c7-42a0-875f-40917489ea1b&mkt=en-us&src=SLPl:embed::uuids' target='_new' title='Search with friends'>Video: Search with friends</a>

Microsoft is getting ready to overhaul Bing again and we like where it's going. The new Bing Search will integrate heavily with Facebook (leaving us non-users on the side) allowing you to quickly ping your friends, family and colleagues for tips, advice or to share your finds on the web with them directly.

In a way, it's sort of the logical next-step in search. Merging of social services with web inquiries makes sense and is the reason why sites like Quora have taken off .

The service just doesn't integrate with Facebook though as "social networks" is tossed around like the pop catch phrase it is implying that Twitter, LinkedIn and whatever Live can connect to today will also be on board. The system works by having a side panel that shows your friends' live stream, enabling you to quickly interact with them via the Bing Search page.

Clearly Facebook is front and center here for a few reasons, most notably the fact that's it the most popular of the bunch but also because Microsoft and Facebook love each sooo much it may almost may Nokia jealous.

Watching the demo video above, we can't help but wonder what Bing Search on Windows Phone 8 will be like. We have to imagine that this tight integration will carry over to mobile as well this Fall, giving Microsoft a new edge for search.

No word on when we can expect the new Bing to launch but you can sign up to be notified by clicking the source link. Question for you folks: Good idea or bad ? And do you think this will help them in their battle against Google?

Source: Bing (For US only for some odd reason)

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Torchbear, the popular social location based game for your Windows Phone, has been updated. Version 1.4 allows users to exchange with at least three of the nearest torches with no distance limitations. For those not familiar with Torchbear, you create a torch that is passed around from player to player to see who's torch travels the furthest. A torch is a message with a mission and purpose. For example, your favorite dessert is chocolate cream pie and you want to have others share what their favorite dessert is.

Other changes that come along with version 1.4 include:

  • Total Distance now displayed in the player summary screen
  • Players receive one point for unique torch exchanges greater than 10 miles
  • Maps now autozoom to show all torch positions
  • A menu option has been added to "Tell a Friend" about torchbear

You also have the customary minor bug fixes and game flow changes to improve the experience. Torchbear is a free application and does require member registration (free) to participate in the game.

You can grab your copy of Torchbear here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

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The search giant is pushing forward with its latest social media product (anyone remember the rise and sudden fall of Buzz?) called Google+ and beta testing has been well underway with invites being rolled out. TechRadar reports that Google has confirmed that an iOS app will be hitting the App Store in the closing future which will feature native support. Question is, will they support Windows Phone 7?

Google+ is seen as the potential Facebook Killer and has a lot of hype to live up to according to the social media sphere. Since we already have Facebook and soon-to-be Twitter integration, I think Google+ could be a worthwhile addition. If we look at the current Google presence on WP7, it's nothing to be proud of. Users of docs, calendar, GMail, GTalk and other services have to switch between apps and there's no fluidity.

Google+ could become a hub of sorts, which could include all the social features which is present on the web version (chat, video conferencing, messaging etc.) while bringing in other Google services into one location. Then again, we do have Skype coming and WP7 is a very social integrated OS already. Would we really need another social network?

Via: TechRadar

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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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MobileTechWorld has done some digging and found a recent job posting for Microsoft, specifically for their 'Windows Mobile 7 Communications group' which is seeking to "... bring social networks to life by integrating them into the core experience of the phone".

Now none of this should come as a surprise per se — social networks are the current and next big thing on smartphones.  Combined with what I refer to as "personal GPS" (i.e. not just for driving) and you have a method for near universal awareness of location (i.e. Google Latitude), status (Facebook), thoughts (Twitter) of all you friends, family and colleagues.

What of course is missing currently from Windows Mobile is a way to integrate all that information into "...a single hub on the phone" as his job ad rightly points out. (See this mockup video for what Microsoft probably intends).

It would seem natural for this "social hub" to be combined with Microsoft's future cloud-location-service called "Orion" (you heard it here first), which will provide aGPS services for all future Windows Mobile 7 devices, including extremely fast signal locks via various methods (trilateration, WiFi networks, GPS) in ...the storage platform (Unified Store)" a possible reference to Mesh.  Finally, the team seems to be interested in defining API's for 3rd party services to build off of for seamless fusion with the core Microsoft is providing.

The somewhat bad news is that this seems to be a recent job posting, meaning WM7, at least in this regard, is still behind a bit from being anywhere near finalized. On the other hand, Microsoft seems serious (if not late) in attempting to redefine social interaction on smartphones.  We can't wait.

Read the full job description after the break. 

[MobileTechWolrd via Twitter/UX Evangelist]

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