Facebook Planning to Buy Waze for Up to $1 Billion

Facebook seems to be all geared up to close yet another billion-dollar acquisition deal in an attempt to strengthen its mobile platform. The social media giant is in talks to buy the GPS company Waze for $800 million to $1 billion, Israeli daily newspaper Calcalist reports.

The negotiations between the social network and the Israeli start-up Waze Mobile apparently began six months ago. It is said that both companies have signed a term sheet, and that Facebook is doing due diligence.

Waze is a free social GPS application featuring turn-by-turn navigation app that uses crowdsourcing to gather real-time conditions on the road. In April 2013, the app had a base of 44 million users.

Facebook to Acquire Waze

Waze is already a part of Faceobook. Waze enables its users to share their drive with Facebook friends. It makes sense to why Facebook is interested in acquiring Waze. If the deal between the two companies goes through, it will be quite interesting to see how Facebook plans to incubate itself in the GPS space.

Last year in April, Facebook acquired Instagram for a whopping 1 billion USD and it isn’t surprising if Facebook spends the same on Waze. The company also acquired two Israeli startups: Snaptu in March 2011 for $70 million and Face.com in June 2012 for $60 million.

Waze has been in the subject of acquisition talk for a while now. Six months ago it was reported that Apple was interested to acquire the company for $400 million and plus $100 million in incentives. Waze tried to push the offer to $750 million, however, the deal didn’t pass through. The only reason why Apple wanted to buy Waze is pretty obvious – improve its own, much criticized Maps product.

Twitter Launches New #Music App

It has long been rumored that Twitter is looking to step into the music space. However, no one quite knew exactly what the popular micro-blogging service was planning. A short while back, Stephen Philips, the CEO of a music startup called “We are Hunted”, which was acquired by Twitter less than a week ago, officially announced Twitter #Music — a new music discovery service that is powered by Twitter conversations.

#NowPlaying Section in Twitter Music
#NowPlaying Section in Twitter Music

Unlike previous Twitter features and services, #Music is not integrated with the existing Twitter experience. Instead, it is accessible via an independent web app and an iOS app (Android app will be launched later). The main purpose of #Music is to aid music discovery by surfacing music being played by your friends and shared by artists you follow, in addition to showcasing trending and emerging tracks. You can browse through band and artist profiles, view their top tracks, and get a taste of their music. By default, Twitter plays a short preview pulled from iTunes. However, if you are an existing Spotify or Rdio subscribers, you can log into your accounts to enjoy full tracks from their respective catalogues.

Twitter is aiming straight for the mainstream audience with its new #Music app. In addition to partnering up with two of the biggest players in the online music segment, it also went to Good Morning America to announce its new feature. Currently, Twitter #Music is restricted to US, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand; however, more countries will be supported in the future.

[ Download Twitter #Music for iOS or use Web App ]

WhatsApp is Bigger Than Twitter says CEO, Jan Koum

Ever since it debuted in 2009, WhatsApp has become the only single most-used smartphone app and is one of the most popular apps across all platforms. WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum who was speaking at AllThingsD’s Dive Into Media conference claims that the service handles more than 200 million users  and processes 12 billion outbound messages per day. Impressive!

The popular cross-platform mobile messaging service is even bigger than Twitter says Jan Koum. There had been some buzz around the Web about Google planning to acquire WhatsApp, however, the company shot down all rumors and said that no such talks had occurred. There were also rumors about Facebook planning to acquire WhatsApp.

Koum also said that the service processes 12 billion outbound messages and 8 billion inbound every day, which is nowhere in the range of comparison with any other independent messaging service. With less than 50 engineers working for the company, it is said that it holds the highest ratio of active users per long-term employee today of any active company.

WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum

“We’re looking forward to a world with billions of phones. Once that happens it’s going to be extremely easy to monetize. But a lot more people need to join the smartphone revolution and a lot more people need to buy more goods on their phones.”

During this New Year’s eve WhatsApp processed 7 billion inbound and 11 billion outbound messages on a single day. Back in August 2012, WhatsApp said that it has reached 4 billion inbound messages in a day.

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Facebook Chat Heads Coming to Its iOS Apps

Apple does not allow third-party apps to mess around with its interface like the way Google allows Android developers to do, which is why Facebook will be releasing an update to its Facebook for iOS app that features Facebook Home’s popular feature Chat Heads.

You can call the updated version of Facebook for iOS as the “lite” version of Facebook Home Android launcher, which will feature SMS text messages with Facebook messages and popping chats up on top of other apps.

Along with Facebook Chat Heads, the update also includes “stickers” for the messaging end on both iPad and iPhone. This will enables users to buy and share “stickers” from the social network’s new Stickers Store feature, which was recently introduced by Path. The updated iPad app will include Facebook’s newest newsfeed update to desktop. The mobile version, however, will continue to reflect the desktop version in-browser.

Facebook Chat Heads for iOS

Update: Facebook 6.0 is now live in the App Store.

Here’s a hands-on preview of the new app by The Verge:

Within the Facebook app, you can pop-out Chat Heads for your conversations, but they won’t work anywhere else because of the way that iOS keeps apps sandboxed. Just as with Android, Chat Heads pop out on incoming Facebook Messages (but not for SMS), or you can open a new one directly yourself.

 

Why I Uninstalled Facebook Home in a Few Hours

Facebook announced “Home” a new Android launcher that lets you “connect” with your friends by putting them in the heart of your phone. Connecting with friends is good, but staying connected 24/7 is something that I don’t want.

Facebook Home was rolled out on Google Play Store yesterday and just like every other curious user, I installed it on my Galaxy S3. It brought everything including photos, status updates, messages and services at the foreground of my phone’s screen.

At first it looked good, but as I started using it for a few hours, it got really annoying because every time I turned on my phone’s screen I only had to see Facebook updates. And that’s the main reason why I uninstalled it and switched back to normal ‘life.’

Other than that, I honestly missed all the widgets and folders that I had setup in the previous launcher — checking my calendar for events, being updated with the latest cricket scores, Google Play, and so on. Also, I missed the dock icons at the bottom of the screen where I could easily access my phone’s dialer, messages, camera and browser. With Facebook Home installed, all of these features were gone.

Facebook Home vs. Other Launcher

Sorry Facebook, I really don’t want to see you popping on my phone’s screen every time I unlock my phone.

Personally, Facebook Home is a waste of time and I would not recommend any normal user to install it. However, if you’re a Facebook addict and you can’t seem to live your day without checking Facebook very occasionally, this is app is perfectly designed for you. It allows you to access all Facebook’s features without actually opening the app or the site on the browser.

Having said that, I think I’m not the only one who is annoyed with Facebook Home. A majority number of people who have installed Facebook Home have felt the same. The app has been negatively reviewed and majorly rated with one star on Google Play Store.

facebook-rating-play-store

With Facebook Home, your Android device is no more a smartphone; it’s simply a “friendphone” without any smartness.

Here’s how you can change the default launcher or uninstall Facebook Home and return back to normal:

  • Open Settings and scroll down to the “Device” category, then select “Apps.”
  • This will bring up list of all of your installed apps. Scroll down and find Facebook Home.
  • Tap on the name, then scroll down to the bottom and select “Clear defaults.”
  • Hit the Home button again, which will again give you the option to pick your launcher; pick Launcher, and choose “Always” to make it the default.

Otherwise, you can simply uninstall Facebook Home app by tapping on the “uninstall” button.

Official Facebook Home Now Available on Google Play Store

You can now get rid of the leaked Facebook Home apk as the new Android launcher from Facebook is finally available for download on Google’s Play Store. Users will be receiving updates for both Facebook and the messaging app, which will make your phone compatible to use Facebook Home on your Android device.

The official Facebook Home Android launcher is currently being rolled out to all regions on Play Store. If you don’t see the app yet, you’ll just have to wait for a few more hours.

Facebook Home Now on Play Store

Facebook is yet to update its official page for Home with a link to the app on Google Play Store. At this point, HTC One X, One X+, Samsung Galaxy S III, Galaxy Note II, and (eventually) the One and Galaxy S4 are the only devices that will support Facebook Home. Others, you simply have to wait, or it’s time you upgrade your phone.

Facebook Home Android APK Leaks, Download Now

Facebook Home, which was announced a few days ago, is scheduled for download to a limited number of smartphones beginning April 12. Facebook announced that Home will only be available for HTC One X, Samsung Galaxy S III and Samsung Galaxy Note II, while Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One will receive it soon as well.

However, for those Facebook addicts who no longer wish to wait and are eager to play around with it can download the leaked version of Facebook Home, pulled from a pre-release HTC First ROM.

This leaked version of Facebook Home consists of 3 APK files which you need to download in order to make it work. However, the APK seems to be buggy and incomplete, and is only compatible with Android devices with a maximum resolution of 1280 x 768 pixels.

Facebook Home APK Leak

According to Paul O’Brien of MoDaCo, the source of the leaked files, the “Chat Heads” feature doesn’t seem to be working in this build, however, the rest of the features offer a smooth experience.

Apart from the requirement of maximum resolution of 1280×768, users who want to try the leaked version should completely uninstall the existing Facebook app, as the leaked APKs are re-signed and can’t just be installed over the top of an existing installation.

For rooted users with Facebook pre-installed:

  • Find the location of Facebook in your system partition (e.g. /system/app/Facebook.apk or perhaps /system/app/Facebook_Client.apk)
  • Delete said file (after backing it up!)
  • Reboot device
  • Install Facebook from the Play Store then uninstall it
  • Install above APKs

You can download Facebook Home APK files from here.

Linkedin Adds Facebook-style Mentions in Status Updates and Home-page Comments

Earlier today, Angela Yang, Associate Product Manager at LinkedIn, announced in a blog post that the professional social networking website will now support the ‘mentions’ feature that will help users to have better conversations among them. A feature that is very much similar to what Facebook and Twitter offers.

“We’re excited to introduce a new way for you to engage with your network through the ability to mention your connections and companies in conversations on LinkedIn,” the company said in a blog post.

How does it work?

  • If the feature has been enabled for you already, you can begin by typing the name of a connection or the name of company in your status update box or a comment field on the Homepage.
  • A drop-down list of connections will appear from you which you can select someone and complete your status or comment and post it.
  • At the same time, the person or company you’ve mentioned will receive a notification alerting them that they have been mentioned.

Apart from this, LinkedIn has also said that you can mention other LinkedIn members who are engaged in an on-going conversation in the comment sections of posts on the LinkedIn Homepage.

LinkedIn Mentions Feature

As of now the feature will begin rolling out to English-speaking members starting today and will be soon rolled out to all global members.

The new feature was earlier spotted by The Next Web member when he discovered LinkedIn mentions on his account this morning along with a tooltip next to his status entry box.

Will There Be Ads on Facebook Home? Yes, at Some Point

Today, Facebook announced Home, a new launcher that integrates Facebook deeply into Android and turns your phone into a “social” device. Home launcher for Android will be made available on Google Play Store starting April 12.

One of the main features of Home is the Facebook Cover Feed, which features newly updated stories and photos from your Facebook friends. You can view notifications, post comments, like and share posts, and so on. In other words, it is a Facebook hub, with which you get to play with every feature that you see on the desktop version.

In the last few months, Facebook has been focusing more on mobile and has been trying to figure out a strong strategy to monetize apps and other services offered on mobile devices. With today’s announcement, the question strikes whether the new Facebook Home launcher will have ads or not?

Facebook Home

At the event, CEO Mark Zuckerberg indicated that ads will be a part the launcher at some point. He is quoted as saying, “There are no ads in this yet. I’m sure at some point there will be.”

Zuckerberg responded more directly to a further question: “Yup!” he said when asked again whether people might see ads in cover feed. So it looks like Facebook has come up with a strategy and a platform on mobile through which it can generate some revenue.

However, putting ads in the Cover Feeds doesn’t mean that you would see the usual ads that you see in the desktop version. It means that you’ll be seeing promotions and sponsored stores just like how they’re on the Facebook for Android app. However, putting ads in Cover Feed means you’d see these promotions and sponsored stores directly on your phone’s home screen and lock screen, and I’m very skeptical that users will be accepting this.

What do you think of it? Let us know by posting your comments below.

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Mark Zuckerberg Unveils Facebook Home Launcher for Android

Today is the day that Facebook invited the press to “Come See Our New Home on Android.” Well, it’s not a new phone nor it’s a customized Android operating system, but a new Android launcher.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced “Home”, a new Android launcher that will turn your Android device into a “social” phone. Home will be available for free download on Google Play Store starting April 12.

According to Zuckerberg, the new Facebook Home launcher for Android focuses on people and not tasks and apps, as most smartphones are built upon. The launcher is designed to make it easier for users to know and see what’s happening with friends and what content they’ve been sharing.

Facebook Home

“Home isn’t a phone or operating system, and it’s also more than just an app. Home is a completely new experience that lets you see the world through people, not apps.”

The new Home launcher for Android will work on HTC One X, HTC One X+, Samsung GALAXY S III and Samsung GALAXY Note II. Additionally, Facebook has announced that it will be made available on HTC One, the Samsung GALAXY S4 as well as new devices in the coming months

The home screen of Home focuses on a feature called Facebook Cover Feed, which replaces the lock screen and of course the home screen. It’s a feed comprised of stores and photos that constantly keeps updating as to see what’s happening with your friends. Home also features a new notifications system that lets you scrub through multiple alerts at once.

Home will be available for download on April 12th in the US, however, international users will have to wait a little longer. Also, the launcher will be available to users of Android Jelly Bean and Ice Cream Sandwich, but not Gingerbread.

A notable feature is the Facebook Chat Heads, with which you can chat with friends. For instance, when a friend messages you, it pops up that friend’s face and you can tap on the face to continue the conversation even when you’re using other apps.

Facebook has created the Facebook Home Program to allow handset makers to optimize the Home experience. Partners include AT&T, Orange, Qualcomm, HTC, Samsung, Huawei, Sony, EE, ZTE, Lenovo, and Alcatel.

In the same event, Facebook also announced the new HTC First smartphone, which will be the first device that is optimized for Facebook Home. Click here for more details on the features and specifications.

Here’s the official commercial video uploaded on YouTube:

Hands-On With The HTC First Running The Gesture-Powered Facebook Home