Following a failed attempt to acquire Instagram, Facebook will roll out up to a dozen photo filters in a mobile application release, according to a report from The New York Times Bits Blog.
Several Instagram-like photo filters are ready for release, two unnamed Facebook engineers cited in the report say, but the release date is unknown at this time.
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is pushing engineers and artists “to create more filters before releasing the new product” Bits reports. “Facebook will also try to introduce new styles of filters with the hopes of drawing users away from other photo apps.”
This isn’t the first we’ve heard of Facebook photo filters. TechCrunch reported in June that Facebook was working on a spin-off photo-sharing application for iPhone. Screenshots obtained by the blog indicated the app would have “location elements, likes and comments, multi-picture mode, filters, multi-user albums, face-tagging, and more…”
more to come… follow this post for updates (Mashable)
Cold shower ... Premier Iemma's $600,000 APEC toy / Brad Newman.
The New South Wales Government has unveiled the latest weapon in its battle to stop protesters disrupting next month’s APEC summit a $600,000 armoured truck, fitted with a high-powered water cannon.
The US-built truck, which has an airtight cabin to protect its users from tear gas, is the first of its type in Australia. Wire mesh covers its shatter-proof windows, a heavy bar at the front allows it to ram obstructions out of the way and has a bigger fuel tank.
The truck can hold 12,000 litres of water to service its cannon, which is capable of knocking people off their feet and drenching a crowd within seconds.
“I hope that we’ll never have to use a piece of equipment like this.” Premier Morris Iemma said after a demonstration of the truck’s ability to shoot water at targets up to 50m away.
“But if the situation arises, if there are people who take the law into their own hands with riotous behaviour on our streets, then this is a good weapon to have to restore order and control.”
The truck, brought to Australia in March when officers started their training for APEC, was officially welcomed into the armoury of the NSW Police’s riot squad today. Mr Iemma said it could be used to protect police if dangerous situations arose during the course of the summit.
“It’s the men and women of the police force who are sent in to the front line to deal with these dangerous situations, their protection is just as important as the protection of the public.” Mr Iemma said.
But the Greens today accused the Government of taking a heavy-handed approach to the September 2-9 conference, which will take place behind a fenced-off area of Sydney’s harbour foreshore.
NSW Greens MP John Kaye said police were yet to sit down for talks with organisers of a major protest that was expected to draw tens of thousands who want to voice their opposition to war in Iraq and call for action of climate change.
“They are not there for violence.” Dr Kaye said today.
“This water cannon will not be effective if there is a small number of protesters who muck up … water cannons don’t work in those type of environments. Innocent people can get mowed down, knocked over and injured by a water cannon.”
The NSW opposition said today it supported the water canon’s acquisition.
But Liberal leader Barry O’Farrell said more advertising was needed to alert Sydney residents to the APEC public holiday on Friday, September 7.
“While I don’t normally support government advertising, particularly because of its regular abuse by this Labor Government, there is still considerable confusion about the APEC public holiday.” Mr O’Farrell said.
Alex Bainbridge, spokesman for protest group Stop Bush Coalition, said the water cannon would not deter activists from protesting against the war in Iraq, global warming and the Federal Government’s workplace reform at Sydney’s Town Hall on September 8.
The group also is planning a smaller visual stunt to mark US President George W Bush’s arrival in Sydney on September 4.
“It’s not a comforting thought to think that they might be going to prepare to use a water cannon against us.” – Mr Bainbridge said.
“But it’s even more worrying to think about the innocent people being killed in the war in Iraq, and the fate of humanity if global warming isn’t held in check.”
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Skype CEO Tony Bates seal the deal. Photograph: Susana Bates/Reuters
Little more than a decade after the dotcom bubble burst, the internet business is once again partying like it is 1999. The frenzy of deal-making in Silicon Valley, which is turning social media entrepreneurs into multibillionaires, moved up another notch when Microsoft splashed out $8.5bn for the loss-making internet telephone service Skype.
Tuesday’s buy is a record for the software giant and takes the total value of worldwide tech-related deals so far this year to $85.5bn (£52bn) – the strongest spell since the months before the dotcom bubble burst on 10 March 2000.
Analysts said the deal would give Microsoft a boost in its increasingly bitter battle with Apple and Google. Skype boasts about 170 million users every month and is adding 600,000 a day. But most calls are free and the service has struggled to make a profit. Last year it lost $7m.
Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s chief executive, said that with Microsoft’s backing Skype would be able to build a future where “talking to friends and colleagues around the world will be as seamless as talking to them across a kitchen table or a conference room“.
Buying Skype gives Microsoft a recognised brand name on the internet at a time when Google and Apple are both building up their internet phone and video services. “Google has Google Voice, Apple is building up Facetime, Skype is a great brand,” said Colin Gillis, an internet analyst at New York-based BGC Partners.
Gillis said Microsoft was likely to add Skype to its Xbox video games system, Office software and its mobile and tablet software. “Skype addresses some major holes for Microsoft,” he said. “If they don’t screw it up.”
Skype was founded in 2003 by Swedish tech entrepreneur Niklas Zennström and the Dane Janus Friis. The service has grown far beyond its techie roots and is already a mainstream product. The retail giant WalMart started selling Skype hardware in 2007. At peak times there are more than 23 million Skype users online.
This is the second time it has been sold to a big tech firm. In 2005 eBay, the online auction company, bought it for $2.5bn. But eBay struggled to integrate Skype and argued with its founders and management, eventually selling it for $2.75bn to a private equity investor, Silver Lake, in 2009 but keeping a 30% stake.
Friis and Zennström also backed the sale as part of a consortium that bought 14% of Skype. Just a year and a half later eBay has made its money back and the founders are sharing a $1.2bn payday. The Skype deal ranks as the biggest in Microsoft’s 36-year history and follows multibillion-dollar strategic purchases by other tech giants including Intel, which bought the virus software specialist McAfee, and Hewlett Packard, which bought the handheld devices firm Palm.
Investors are also fighting over the new generation of tech firms including Facebook, Groupon and Twitter. Google is believed to have made multibillion-dollar offers for both Groupon and Twitter.
Private investors have fought to get a stake in Facebook, which is lining up a share sale next year that could value the firm at more than $70bn.
Facebook has unveiled it has refreshed its commenting plug-in that allows Facebook users to comment on websites using their own names.
There are a number of sites already using the Facebook plug-in, including TechCrunch, and it seems that you can now publish the comments you make on articles to your own Facebook feed, allowing your friends to view what you think about particular stories.
It’s an interesting concept that completely opens up the idea of story commenting – something that is usually done through a pseudonym.
Like most commenting systems, a publisher who uses the plug-in can censor certain comments made, including the blacklisting of words and users.
To add the commenting system to a site you will only need a line of code and the ranking of comments will be done through how many Likes a comment gets.
This is not the first major change Facebook has made to its API this week. It also changed its Like button, making it more like the site’s Share feature.