Social Media

Xbox One drops used games and online requirement policies

Xbox One has changed its policies for used games and online connectivity for disc-based games.

In a bid to win over Sony’s PlayStation 4 the Xbox One console will no longer require to be online once every 24 hours, instead only needing an internet connection when initially setting up the system.

The Xbox One

Discs will function as they did on Xbox 360, with no restrictions on borrowing or selling used games.

There will be no limitations to using and sharing games, it will work just as it does today on Xbox 360,” explained president of interactive entertainment Don Mattrick.

Full retail games bought from Xbox Live can also be played offline, and like today, can’t be resold or shared.

As with Xbox 360, any disc-based games on Xbox One must have the disc in the tray for them to run.

Region locking will also be lifted, meaning games from any region can be played on any console.

Since unveiling our plans for Xbox One, my team and I have heard directly from many of you, read your comments and listened to your feedback,” said Mattrick.

We have listened and we have heard loud and clear from your feedback that you want the best of both worlds. Thank you again for your candid feedback. Our team remains committed to listening, taking feedback and delivering a great product for you later this year.

The used games and online requirement policies have been a big talking point since the console’s unveiling last month, with one research firm describing it as “deeply flawed”.

Microsoft previously hinted that games will be freely playable on Xbox One after the system’s demise.

Read Don Mattrick’s open letter in full

Twitter Introduces Two-Step Authentication

Twitter has finally introduced two-factor authentication to more securely protect accounts, the company announced Wednesday.

The move comes after a number of hacks of high-profile Twitter accounts, including The Onion, the Associated Press and E! Online. Jim O’Leary from Twitter’s product security team announced the new feature via a blog post, saying it is in response to accounts “occasionally” being compromised by phishing schemes or password breaches on other sites.

Twitter is calling the new feature “login verification.” It works similarly to other two-factor authentication systems, especially Google’s: After the account holder logs into an account, Twitter will send a special code to the user via SMS text message that the person must enter to gain access to the account.

Users can enable login verification via their Twitter settings page. You’ll need both a confirmed email address and a verified phone number on your account to use the feature, and the system will send a test message to finish the activation.

Importantly, apps that you’ve linked to Twitter will continue to work “without disruption,” O’Leary wrote. For apps other than a browser that require you to log into Twitter, you’ll need a one-time password, available on Twitter’s application page (this is also similar to how Google two-factor authentication works).

Twitter built login verification out of its Twitter for SMS feature, which has been around almost since the service debuted. O’Leary says the work the company put into the new feature will enable more security enhancements in the future.

Calls for Twitter to introduce some kind of two-step verification service grew louder after account hacks became a frequent occurrence. Besides the companies mentioned earlier, the BBC, the Financial Times, Burger King and Donald Trump have all experienced Twitter hacks in recent months.

Currently it’s not available in UK/France

Update 25-May-13 10:54PM: This feature is now available in the United Kingdom, you will need to add a phone to your Twitter account to enable this feature.

YouTube introduces ultra-low bandwidth 144p video quality

YouTube videos are buffering all the time and you can only watch them a couple of seconds before they stop to buffer again? Or maybe the buffering takes ages and there is no apparent reason for that? This is usually the case when an Internet connection is not the most reliable one, or not fast at all but can also be because an Internet service provider is throttling the YouTube bandwidth artificially. Sometimes, it may also be because your ISP started to throttle your account, maybe because you passed a certain traffic threshold or because of other reasons.

YouTube introduced a new ultra-low bandwidth viewing option for select videos on the video hosting site. Up until now, videos were offered in qualities between 240p and 4k on the video hosting site with 320p being available on the site since the beginning.

If you have opened YouTube’s video quality menu recently you may have spotted a new 144p video quality option. Seen below from TheEllenShow.

144p (c) TheEllenShow - Shift It, Shift It in Forward

144p (c) TheEllenShow – Shift It, Shift It in Forward

The new quality level is not available for all videos and it is unclear if it will be made available for all, or if Google uses an algorithm of sorts to determine when to make it available. It is for instance possible that it is only enabled on videos that are requested by mobile users or low bandwidth users a lot. There has not been an official announcement of the feature so this is all guesswork right now.

The quality is not that great as you can imagine and only suitable if you are watching the video on a small screen, if you are only interested in the audio, or if you want to view the video no matter what and can’t get the other quality levels to play properly on the site.

It may be an option for the desktop as well because of this but make sure you play it in a player window that is appropriately sized as you will end up with an image quality level that is not the greatest. Still, the new option may be worth a shot for YouTube users who often experience playback issues on the site.

Google Is Retiring Its Meebo Bar On June 6 To Focus On Google+

Meebo's homepage as of December 2011.

Meebo’s homepage as of December 2011.

Google will retire the website widget service Meebo Bar just one year after buying the company that built it. Google bought Meebo on 4 June 2012 reportedly for $100m (£643k), before proceeding to strip away much of its functionality.

The advertising giant confirmed this in an early email this morning to all publishers saying it reason for scrapping the tool is to focus on its Google+ plugins.

It started as an instant-messaging service compatible with other web chat programs. It then evolved into the Meebo bar, which could be installed by webmasters along the tops of their sites and allowed visitors to easily share links with friends. It also slurped up data about people and used that to hit them with advertising.

Before Meebo’s demise, Google stripped away all its features until it only consisted of the Meebo bar with added Google+ capabilities.

It will be retired on 6 June, a few weeks before Google Reader is due to be scrapped, here is the email the advertising giant (Google) sent out this morning:

Dear Meebo Bar Publisher,

Five years ago, we launched the Meebo Bar to bring community, engagement, and revenue to publisher sites.

As part of the Google team, this continues to be our focus, but we want to best serve mobile and desktop publishers moving forward. Therefore, we have decided to focus our resources on initiatives like the recently launched Google+Sign-In (which includes interactive posts and over-the-air app installs) and the Google+ plug-ins.

This means we will retire the Meebo Bar, effective June 6, 2013.

Thank you for being a Meebo Bar publisher. We have truly appreciated the opportunity to serve you.

Sandy, Seth, and the Meebo Team

Is it unclear what will happen to the “Sandy, Seth, and the Meebo Team”, who signed the statement, although it is possible they will be taken on by the advertising giant to create new features for It’s Google+ servicew.

Before Google bought Meebo, it was used by 100 million people a month, apparently.

Source: Email /

Formspring is shutting down

Formspring Logo

Formspring Logo

Formspring, a start-up that helped pioneer the “ask me anything” format of anonymous Q&A online, is shutting down. The San Francisco company announced the news in a blog post yesterday afternoon.

The closure of the Q&A platform will occur March 31st, and users will be able to export their data until April 15th, Formspring’s founder and CEO Ade Olonoh wrote in the closure announcement.

Formspring may have been the first mover in its space when it launched back in 2009, but its brand was certainly hurt when parts of its service were replicated by larger existing players such as Tumblr. The company, which raised a total of $14 million in venture capital, worked to keep its independent edge: For instance, last year Formspring rebranded itself with the launch of an “interest-based social network” that downplayed the anonymous Q&A aspects which had been copied by others. But it seems that it just wasn’t quite enough to keep things growing as Formspring and its investors may have hoped.

Rumors had swirled in recent months that Formspring had made internal cuts of key staffers, and also saw the departure of its charismatic COO Ro Choy. Today’s news shows that it was unfortunately all leading to this closure, and not to an acqui-hire situation.

Here is the blog post announcing the shut down in full:

Formspring launched in November 2009 as a unique way for people to have engaging conversations about anything. Eventually reaching over 30 million registered users and 4 billion posts, Formspring grew beyond my wildest dreams to become an important part of how people interact online.

I’m grateful to each of you that helped make the site better by asking questions and posting responses. None of this would have been possible without you. Through the community you created, we’ve met new people, strengthened relationships, opened our minds to different points of view, and made each other smile.

Unfortunately, and with great sadness, I must announce that Formspring is shutting down. While we’ve had great success in reaching a broad audience, it’s been challenging to sustain the resources needed to keep the lights on.

Sunday, March 31st will be the last day you’ll be able to ask questions or post content on Formspring. You’ll be able to export your responses from now through Monday, April 15th, after which the site and apps will go offline, and any content will be permanently deleted.

You can export the responses you’ve posted by following these steps:

  1. Log into your account and visit
  2. Click the export button
  3. When your export is ready you’ll receive an email
  4. Visit again to download a zip file with your data

Ade Olonoh, Founder and CEO.

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