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Instagram on iPhone Gets a Fresh Filter, Facebook Login, Apology
  • According to Mashable, fresh from nixing his revamped terms of service that caused such a stir on Tuesday -- and doing a 180-degree turn on those terms of service Thursday -- Instagram co-founder, Kevin Systrom, has launched a significant update to his iPhone app. The update adds a brand-new photo filter, "Mayfair", which brings the app's total number of filters up to 20.
  • Also in this update comes the ability to log in to Instagram via Facebook for the first time, without having to connect the two services in your settings. Given that Facebook's purchase of Instagram was wrapped up back at the end of August, this widely expected move is not before time.
  • Open up your news tab in the app, and you'll see Instagram is touting Systrom's apology from late Thursday. In contrast to his first attempt to walk back the updated terms of service, which came across as a little condescending, it offers a clear and distinct "sorry." Reads the apology: “Earlier this week, we introduced a set of updates to our privacy policy and terms of service to help our users better understand our service. In the days since, it became clear that we failed to fulfill what I consider one of our most important responsibilities – to communicate our intentions clearly. I am sorry for that, and I am focused on making it right.”
imagesInstagram has had an interesting 48 hours. The photo sharing app’s policy changes sparked a huge amount of controversy yesterday when news hit that Instagram claimed the right to sell its users’ photos at will. CNET reports that the company’s vaguely written policy change granted Instagram “the perpetual right to license users’ photos to companies or any other organization, including for advertising purposes, which would effectively transform the Web site into the world’s largest stock photo agency.” According to reports, this means that third party companies could have written a check to license Instagram photos, thrown them into some brochures, and distributed them without informing or reimbursing the user. Understandably, users were upset, and the news spread faster than a hipster on a fixed-gear bike.
Google Maps Puts Apple Maps to Shame
  • According to Mashable, when the Google Maps app for the iPhone was finally released late Wednesday night, there was a collective rejoicing from Apple fans worldwide. Not at all surprisingly, the app quickly soared to the top of the free apps list in the Apple App Store.
  • Google Maps has years of experience perfecting data accuracy and the latest app shows it. The interface is sleek and more organized than ever before. Apple Maps, however, was slammed for accuracy issues right out of the gate in September. Additionally, as a bonus for developers -- and app users alike -- Google announced Google Maps SDK for iOS, which gives app developers the opportunity to use maps within apps for the iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad. This will help users easily search and get the directions they want while using other apps and ultimately strengthen Google's maps reach.
  • While Apple Maps excels in some ways (3D rendering in particular) there are just too many arrows in Google Maps' quiver -- especially now that it's brought turn-by-turn navigation to its iOS app. Public transit, Street View and easy searching propel Google to a clear victory -- for now.
Facebook Users Have 7 Days Starting Now To Vote on Clarified Policy Changes and if They Keep Voting
  • According to TechCrunch, Facebook has integrated feedback from regulators and users into a clarified set of site governance and privacy policy changes, and users will have seven days to vote for or against them.
  • All users will soon receive an email alerting them to the vote on several important changes to Facebook’s Statement Of Rights And Responsibilities and its Data Use Policy. They’ll lose the ability to vote on future changes unless 30 percent of all users vote and the majority reject the proposal. Such a high turnout is unlikely, so this will likely be the last governance vote.
  • Users will vote on whether: Facebook will eliminate voting on site governance changes in favor of taking high-quality feedback from users through a question-submission system and webcasts; Facebook can share data to and from its affiliates, including Instagram; Facebook may change who can contact you via Messages; Facebook may clarify who can view your content after you hide it from your Timeline. Facebook is not removing existing privacy controls, altering terms regarding who owns content posted to the site, or changing how advertising works.

Billionaire philanthropist Mark Cuban is upset with Facebook. The owner of the Dallas Mavericks recently posted on his blog:

I am recommending that we de-emphasize pushing consumers or partners to like us on FB and focus on building up our followings across all existing social media platforms and to evaluate those that we feel can grow a material following. In the past we put FB first, twitter second. FB has been moved to the bottom of a longer list.
Why? According to Cuban, “Defining engagement by clicks, likes, shares, unlikes and reporting works for Google’s search engine, I don’t believe it works for a social network.” Cuban’s comments touch upon a deeper controversy brewing among businesses on Facebook. The social network uses an algorithm to control which posts show up in the newsfeed of a brand’s Facebook friends and fans. But Facebook also allows brands to override the newsfeed algorithm to give updates more prominence - for a pretty penny, of course.

An app store? For Windows? Microsoft’s much-discussed Windows 8 operating system is due to officially release January 2013, and the update is sparking plenty of heated discussion. But one of 8’s most exciting changes is the arrival of a Windows app store, similar to Apple’s app...

  • Mashable reports that Cyber Monday sales increased by 30.3% from the year before, according to the latest data from IBM Smarter Commerce, which tracks online sales for 500 retailers in the U.S.
  • Mobile shopping exploded on Cyber Monday, with 18% of shoppers accessing retailer’s websites from a mobile device, an increase of more than 70% from the year before. The iPad proved to be the most popular mobile device for shopping, driving 7% of the day’s online shopping, followed by the iPhone, which accounted for 6.9%. Android devices were third, driving 4.5% of sales.
  • Overall, IBM found that the majority of consumers (58.1%) shopped from smartphones on Cyber Monday, while 41.9% shopped from tablets.  A separate study from comScore found that Black Friday online sales topped $1 billion this year for the first time ever.
dfonic: Apple Now Has 37% of All Mobile Ad Impressions; Samsung in Second in Largely Fragmented Market
  • According to TechCrunch, mobile ad network Adfonic says that Apple in Q3 accounted for 37% of all mobile ad impressions on its network, with Samsung the second-most popular at 24%, and the rest trailing some ways behind.
  • It will be interesting to see what happens in Q4: In its AdMetrics report, Adfonic notes that Apple increased its lead over Samsung by three percentage points without much impact from the iPhone 5, which only hit the market at the end of the period. So one way of charting iPhone 5 popularity will be to see what kind of an impact it has on Apple’s ranking in the current Q4 quarter. But at the same time, Adfonic’s CEO points out that Samsung, too, is rolling out new devices that may also raise its share.
  • Apple and Samsung were the only two to see their shares of ad impressions increase compared to Q2 — yet another sign, if one was needed, at how these two have continued to become the two to beat in the market.
Remember high school cliques? Whether you were a jock, a brain, a cheerleader, or a drama kid, high school cliques are based on some combination of common behaviors - and, as web design company Wix discovered, those stereotypes can extend to social media. Check out their infographic below!
Thanksgiving is right around the corner, which means two things: lots of turkey and empty wallets. With Black Friday and holiday shopping fast approaching, the official Google blog recently posted a blurb about indoor Google Maps for Android devices. Their plug is timely, convenient and one step ahead of big-time competitor Apple. Indoor Google Maps have been a thing since early 2012, but holiday shopping makes this handy feature-of-the-future way more convenient. Big-box stores like IKEA, Macy’s, Best Buy, and Nordstrom already participate in high-traffic locations, and vendors are encouraged to bring Google indoors for zero cost. Business owners simply submit their floor plans to Google, which then builds the layout and adds the store as a participating location to its indoor GPS.


Facebook Rolling Out Pages-Only Feed
  • According to AdWeek, amid the marketer outcry over their page posts reaching fewer News Feeds, Facebook announced that it has begun rolling out a “Pages Only” News Feed that will only contain content from the pages a user has liked. Inside Facebook reported last week that Facebook was testing the brand-friendly, filtered news feed, which hit all users on November 14th.
  • But this new feed doesn’t mean that every page post will be seen by every user checking their Pages Only feed. Mark Cuban may still decry that his brands won’t reach 100 percent of its fans all the time even in a brand-only environment. But if a user has fanned 50 brands and those brands post the recommended maximum of two posts per day, full distribution would mean 200 posts flooding a user’s feed, including posts such as "Brand X likes a photo" or "Brand Y updated their cover photo."
  • Given that Facebook has corralled a brand-friendly feed in which users would likely be more receptive to marketing, will Facebook let brands run ads within the Pages Only feed? Not at this time, said a Facebook spokesperson.