Facebook Adds Flickr, Pinterest, Tumblr And Instagram Content To Its Home Lock Screen To Drive More Users

home screens with 3rd party content

In September, when Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spoke about the progress of Facebook’s Home Android launcher at TC Disrupt, he mentioned that users would soon start to see content from Instagram and other third-party apps on the lock screen, in addition to Facebook posts. Today, it’s beginning to roll that out, first to Android beta testers, and starting with photos and posts from Flickr, Pinterest, Tumblr and its own photo network, Instagram. Facebook is not disclosing how many beta users there are who will be getting this, but a spokesperson adds that “We hope to bring this to everyone soon.”

The idea here is that by making Home more useful, it will attract more users. So far the app has had between 1 million and 5 million installs according to the app’s page on the Google Play store, and last month Zuckerberg admitted that Home was “rolling out slower” than Facebook had hoped.

For context, Home reached about 1 million downloads one month after it launched in April, amid waning interest from carriers like AT&T who had signed up early to sell HTC handsets with Home preloaded on them.

Zuckerberg and Facebook are remaining bullish on Home turning a corner, and adding in services like these from beyond Facebook’s own walled garden could be one way to achieve that. “I fully believe that [Facebook Home] is something that people will want over time,” Zuckerberg said last month.

Here’s how it works: you need to select the app you would like to add from the Home settings menu and log in with your credentials. From there you can effectively use the apps as if they were within Facebook itself – meaning you can like and view posts, and click on a “view on” link to go directly to the site.

Facebook’s also made a video of how the new feature works, which you can see here.

While this service is limited to four apps – two from Yahoo, one from Facebook and Pinterest – it’s likely that Facebook will be adding more apps to this over time. What’s interesting about this is that it makes the Home lockscreen much more into something of a default homepage for you, a more visual one than Facebook’s timeline in its app. It’s not the much-fabled Facebook phone, but it’s another step to Facebook-as-mobile-platform-provider, rather than just one more of the many apps that we use every day.

Mailbox’s First App, Orchestra To-Do, Is Shutting Down

o-check-final-onwhite-dark

Before being acquired by Dropbox for $100 million, before its app became one of the buzzier startups of 2013, the team at Mailbox had been known for Orchestra, a simple to-do list app with tasks you could assign to others, or pull in via email. Now that app is shutting down, and will be removed from the App Store on September 6th, the company says.

The move to shut down the app shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to its users. In order to build the email management application Mailbox, development efforts on Orchestra had stopped. In fact, the company was a case study in what a well-executed pivot should look like – it realized early on that the product wasn’t breaking out to become a mainstream hit, so the team took their initial learnings and applied them to a new area. Orchestra, the App Store’s 2011 Productivity App of the Year, inspired the team to treat emails basically like to-do’s when they moved on to building what then became Mailbox.

Now at Dropbox, the work on Mailbox continues, the company explains in an announcement about the app’s impending closure, but they need to now discontinue the app and move on.

Users are advised to copy the tasks they have within Orchestra elsewhere before it shuts down, noting that while the app will still launch on your phone if installed after September 6, all cloud services, including sync, task delegation, and access to the web app and customer support, will become unavailable. These, of course, are some of the main reasons why users chose Orchestra in the first place, so there’s little need to keep the app once it’s disconnected.

Though Orchestra was certainly a well-built to-do list application, there’s certainly no lack of task list managers in the iOS App Store ready to step up and takes its place – including some of my personal favorites like AnyDO, FetchNotes, Wunderlist, Evernote, Clear and more.

The full announcement is below:

The next chapter for Orchestra

Back in September 2012 we announced that we were pausing development on Orchestra To-do to build Mailbox. Since launching Mailbox in February we’ve been thrilled and overwhelmed by the reception. By all accounts, Mailbox has been a success so far, and we continue to develop it in earnest.

To help us focus, we’ll be discontinuing Orchestra To-do and removing the app from the App Store on September 6. If you’re still using Orchestra we recommend you copy any tasks that remain on the app and save them elsewhere. After September 6 the app will still launch, but all cloud services including sync, task delegation, access to the web app and customer support will be unavailable.

There is much about Orchestra that we love, and it’s hard for us to say goodbye to it. You may feel the same way. But we believe Mailbox offers a simpler and more direct approach to our mission of solving the problem of using email as a to-do list, and it’s important that we devote all our resources to Mailbox going forward.

As always, we’re grateful to have you with us as we journey to transform how people work together. And if you haven’t yet tried Mailbox, you can grab a copy here.

Thanks so much,
Gentry and the Mailbox team

YouTube-rival Dailymotion launches a standalone video-recording app to encourage user-generated content

video1 520x245 YouTube rival Dailymotion launches a standalone video recording app to encourage user generated content

French video-sharing service Dailymotion has launched a video-camera app for iPhone users, as it looks to encourage more users to upload their own content.

The Paris-based company claims to be the second biggest video-sharing service on the Web behind – you guessed it – YouTube. Following the collapse of a much-rumored Yahoo acquisition earlier this year, France Telecom’s CEO promised to invest 30-50m in Dailymotion, a company owned by France Telecom’s subsidiary Orange.

Whether a dedicated recording app was always on the cards isn’t clear, but it’s an interesting move from the company and brings it into line with YouTube which also has a Capture app.

How it works

Dailymotion Camera was designed in-house and, given its simplicity, it’s clearly aimed at everyone – even those with a rudimentary grasp of smartphone technology.

It has a record/pause/resume button which does exactly what you’d expect, and when you’re done you click the ‘tick’ button.

Photo 25 07 2013 11 16 10 220x330 YouTube rival Dailymotion launches a standalone video recording app to encourage user generated content

Photo 25 07 2013 11 17 30 220x330 YouTube rival Dailymotion launches a standalone video recording app to encourage user generated content

You can then trim the clip to your desired size, choose a filter (if you want), and then upload. You will of course have to connect your Dailymotion account, while you can also connect your Facebook and Twitter profiles too.

d7 220x391 YouTube rival Dailymotion launches a standalone video recording app to encourage user generated content

d21 220x391 YouTube rival Dailymotion launches a standalone video recording app to encourage user generated content

You can manage multiple video clips recorded separately, which can be ordered into a final deliverable. You can also access videos directly from your camera roll.

“UGC [user-generated content] is an important part of our video library, but many of our 115 million users have not had the skills or tools to document their worlds – preferring to view content than create it,” says Cedric Tournay, CEO of Dailymotion.

“We want to encourage this to change by providing a free, simple tool for any user – UGC and professional – to easily produce and upload top quality video content.”

Dailymotion Camera is available to download for free now, and this is in addition to the existing app for viewing videos. An Android version is in the pipeline, we’re told, but no definitive date has been set for that.

Dailymotion Camera | App Store

Disclosure: This article contains an affiliate link. While we only ever write about products we think deserve to be on the pages of our site, The Next Web may earn a small commission if you click through and buy the product in question. For more information, please see our Terms of Service

Feature Image Credit – Thinkstock

Stick around: Loopcam brings giant face stickers to its animated GIF app

Emoticon 520x245 Stick around: Loopcam brings giant face stickers to its animated GIF app

Earlier this year, Japan-based mobile messaging company Line raised more than a few eyebrows when it revealed that it made $17 million from selling stickers during the first quarter of 2013 alone. The likes of Path, Facebook and Viber use stickers too.

Now, stickers, if you didn’t already know, are large-scale emoticons which are used primarily during instant messaging (IM) chats. But as with anything in life, the only limitations are those imposed by your own imagination.

With that in mind, we introduce you to Loopcam’s latest update, as it looks to capitalize on the growing popularity of stickers around the world.

Loopcam, in a nutshell, is an iOS app that lets users create and share animated GIFs. With version 2.3 that’s hitting the App Store today, however, you can now superimpose stickers across a visage using automatic face-detection technology.

a11 730x484 Stick around: Loopcam brings giant face stickers to its animated GIF app

So now, in addition to capturing a series of frames stopmotion-style to create a shareable animation, you can make it look truly silly to boot.

“Being in the center of a highly competitive space drives us to push the boundaries with every step we take,” explains Loopcam CEO Tor Rauden K llstigen. “Learning from the widespread popularity of selfies, our engineers developed an entirely new way to express feelings.”

Loopcam 2.3 is live now.

Loopcam | App Store

Feature Image Credit – Thinkstock

Algoriddim launches djay 2, a complete overhaul to its praised DJing app for iOS

djay iPad Photo 1 520x245 Algoriddim launches djay 2, a complete overhaul to its praised DJing app for iOS

Following (but not replacing) the popular iOS app djay, creator Algoriddim has announced the launch of djay 2, a heavily upgraded DJing app that brings new polish and enhancements to its predecessor.

djay earned itself praise amongst both professionals and novices, and according to Algoriddim, djay 2 almost didn’t happen because its creators didn’t want to disrupt this balance.

The app brings in tons of new features, including a refreshed interface, a new music library, a built-in sampler, enhanced waveforms, improved performance mode and audio analysis, and improved external hardware support.

For its first week in the app store, djay 2 is available on iPad for $4.99 and iPhone for $0.99. After a week, the prices will bump up to $9.99 and $1.99 respectively. Check it out via the link below:

djay 2 for iPhone | iPad

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BillGuard launches for iPhone to combat the ‘$14bn’ lost by credit card users to hidden-fees and errors

CreditCards 520x245 BillGuard launches for iPhone to combat the $14bn lost by credit card users to hidden fees and errors

Launched in the US back in April 2010, BillGuard sells itself as the world’s first ‘people-powered antivirus system for bills’.

In a nutshell, BillGuard’s predictive algorithms alert users of unexpected charges such as hidden fees, billing errors, scams and fraud on credit card bills. It also issues alerts when a similar dubious charge has been flagged by other users, or receives a complaint elsewhere on the Web. As such, the ‘BillGuard brain’ becomes more accurate over time.

However, BillGuard has thus far been a Web-based entity – until today, that is.

The iPhone app was actually soft-launched back in March as a beta test to garner feedback, but was subsequently pulled from the App Store a few weeks ago when the beta-phase came to a close. From today though, the BillGuard app is live for anyone in the US.

How it works

When you first launch the app you’ll be prompted to log-in, or set up an account if you don’t already have one. You’ll also need to include a 4-digit passcode.

a14 220x330 BillGuard launches for iPhone to combat the $14bn lost by credit card users to hidden fees and errors

b12 220x330 BillGuard launches for iPhone to combat the $14bn lost by credit card users to hidden fees and errors

Next, you’ll need to choose which cards and accounts you want to integrate if you’re setting things up for the first time.

Bear in mind this is a US-only service, and works with the likes of Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and so on. Though you can also add your American Express, PayPal and Amazon cards too. It supports 5,000 different accounts in total.

c13 220x330 BillGuard launches for iPhone to combat the $14bn lost by credit card users to hidden fees and errors

d11 220x330 BillGuard launches for iPhone to combat the $14bn lost by credit card users to hidden fees and errors

You can see a basic at-a-glance overview of all your connected cards, including balances and total amount spent.

edashboard 220x390 BillGuard launches for iPhone to combat the $14bn lost by credit card users to hidden fees and errors

f3 Sidebar With Multiple Cards 220x390 BillGuard launches for iPhone to combat the $14bn lost by credit card users to hidden fees and errors

Push notifications tell you whenever a transaction is made on one of your accounts, and you can dig deeper to see exactly what it was and, indeed, whether it’s kosher.

The ‘smart inbox’ lets you swipe through charges in an email-style interface, while you can also contact merchants directly through the app to resolve disputes.

g1 App Notification 220x390 BillGuard launches for iPhone to combat the $14bn lost by credit card users to hidden fees and errors

h7 SmartSwipe Feature 220x390 BillGuard launches for iPhone to combat the $14bn lost by credit card users to hidden fees and errors

BillGuard says it’s looking to combat the billions of dollars lost by American cardholders each year to so-called grey charges – basically deceptive or otherwise unexpected charges.

Indeed, to coincide with today’s launch, BillGuard is also releasing an industry report on grey charges, claiming that American cardholders were hit with $14.3 billion in deceptive or unexpected charges in 2012. The most prominent type of grey charge is “free-to-paid”, for example when a consumer takes receipt of goods for a free trial period, but then is automatically charged a fee if they don’t return it within a specified timeframe.

BillGuard is a pretty ingenious idea for sure, insofar as users essentially help each other by flagging rogue charges, which help others recognize anything awry with their own accounts. When a charge is repeatedly disputed across the board, it is prioritized for all cardholders who can review it themselves.

“We have built the largest crowdsourced transaction monitoring community in the world,” says BillGuard co-founder and CTO Raphael Ouzan.

“As consumers ourselves, we realized early on that bill checking for most people is a long arduous task that most would prefer to avoid,” he continues. “So we set out to develop a tool that would make bill checking fast, fun and exceptionally effective, with a little help from some very sophisticated algorithms and millions of fellow cardholders.”

We’re told that BillGuard has eked out more than $50m in grey charges so far and, as you’d expect, they’re keen to get everyone on board. “Our data shows that if every American cardholder used the BillGuard iPhone app, the total annual savings in grey charges could top $7 billion,” adds Ouzan.

BillGuard actually added support for Apple’s Passbook application last year, before it even had an iOS app. So this has been a long-time coming.

Pricing

While BillGuard does have a free tier, the premium price for the full service costs $45/year, or $4.99/month, which gives access to more than two cards. Though, as part of the launch campaign, they’re offering premium access for a one-time fee of $9.99 until the end of August.

BillGuard for iOS is available to download now. And we’re told an Android version is currently in the works, with an expected launch some time in Q4.

BillGuard | App Store

Disclosure: This article contains an affiliate link. While we only ever write about products we think deserve to be on the pages of our site, The Next Web may earn a small commission if you click through and buy the product in question. For more information, please see our Terms of Service

Feature Image Credit – Thinkstock

The UK’s Channel 4 updates its 4OD app on Android and iOS with downloads for offline playback

4oD 520x245 The UKs Channel 4 updates its 4OD app on Android and iOS with downloads for offline playback

If you’re a fan of Channel 4 in the UK and Ireland, you’ll like the latest update to 4OD.

Both the iOS and Android version of the catch-up TV service now lets users download content to watch on their device up to 30 days after the initial broadcast, with a further seven days offered to watch the content.

This brings the service in line with BBC iPlayer which introduced similar functionality last year, though for now that remains restricted to iOS.

The upshot of all this, as you may have guessed, is that you’ll be able to download shows from Channel 4 and watch anywhere – including when you go abroad on holiday, or any Internet blackspot.

You’ll now see a little download icon next to each programme, but it’s worth noting that you’ll only be able to download a show over WiFi.

4odiphone The UKs Channel 4 updates its 4OD app on Android and iOS with downloads for offline playback

An additional update has been introduced for the iOS version in the form of Collections, which are essentially editorial compilations linking programmes together by theme or subject matter.

4odipad The UKs Channel 4 updates its 4OD app on Android and iOS with downloads for offline playback

Channel 4 only launched the native Android app back in February this year, so it’s nice to see it getting the 30-day download window at the same time as its iOS counterpart, even if it has to wait for the additional Collections feature.

The refreshed apps are available to download now.

4OD – Google Play | App Store

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Tech education startup Treehouse branches out to the iPad with a new app

treehouse 520x245 Tech education startup Treehouse branches out to the iPad with a new app

After embracing gamification, hitting $3.6 million in revenues and raising $7 million, technology education startup Treehouse has launched its first iPad app.

Treehouse offers lessons across a range of subjects, from HTML, JavaScript and Ruby to UX design and businesses management. In general, these lessons follow a simple pattern: you watch videos, answer questions, and then – if it’s a programming course – you’ll write and edit code within the app.

Coding on the iPad isn’t new nor has it proved a productive task, and that’s why Treehouse never actually tasks you to build an entire site from scratch using the app. Instead, Treehouse simply helps you get your feet wet by letting you play with code throughout your lessons.

THiPad 01 520x379 Tech education startup Treehouse branches out to the iPad with a new app

THiPad 02 520x379 Tech education startup Treehouse branches out to the iPad with a new app

THiPad 03 520x379 Tech education startup Treehouse branches out to the iPad with a new app

THiPad 04 520x379 Tech education startup Treehouse branches out to the iPad with a new app

THiPad 05 520x379 Tech education startup Treehouse branches out to the iPad with a new app

The app is free and largely works like the site in tablet-optimized form, but it requires a Treehouse membership (so, it’s not really free), and that’ll set you back $25 to $45 per month. This price is worth it if you’re serious about learning to code and want to explore different ways of doing so, but if you’re only dabbling, you’ll probably find it prohibitive.

Update: While Treehouse offers Android lessons, Apple, annoyingly, did not allow them to be included in the app :

We teach Android at Treehouse as well, but Apple has refused to let us release the app while including Android content. At the time of review several other applications in the App Store included Android content, but in our case we were told it was against App Store guidelines to have Android content in our app.

In any event, you can try the service here, and download the new app via the link below.

Treehouse for iPad

Image credit: Thinkstock

Disclosure: This article contains an affiliate link. While we only ever write about products we think deserve to be on the pages of our site, The Next Web may earn a small commission if you click through and buy the product in question. For more information, please see our Terms of Service

Sunlit for iOS is a neat journaling app that lets you easily curate and share photo stories

sun 520x245 Sunlit for iOS is a neat journaling app that lets you easily curate and share photo stories

App.net is best known for being an ad-free alternative to Twitter but, as regular readers will know, there’s more to it than that. Founder Dalton Caldwell is building a social platform that lets services and apps share cloud storage, messaging, search and places – new photo-sharing app Sunlit for iOS is perhaps the best example of that vision, thus far.

Sunlit is built on App.net – that’s to say that you need an account to use it and it stores images to your App.net cloud. It also syncs up with and imports data from other App.net apps, such as check-in journaling app Ohai. That tie-up is great for App.net users but, in reality, it has less than 250,000 users, so most people will be using Sunlit for what it offers at face value.

The app lets users create photo ‘stories’ which can be shared with friends private (by default) or publicly using a dedicated Web page. In addition to using existing data from App.net, you can pick photos from Dropbox and your camera roll, make check-ins or import them from Foursquare and snap new photos (and add filters) from your phone.

sunlitx1 520x438 Sunlit for iOS is a neat journaling app that lets you easily curate and share photo stories

The basic version of the app is free to use, but it limits users to just one story – a hurdle that is overcome with a $4.99 in-app purchase to unlock unlimited stories.

sunlitx2 520x438 Sunlit for iOS is a neat journaling app that lets you easily curate and share photo stories

So, beyond the technical details behind the app, is it worth your time and download?

The design is beautifully clean and the app is easy to navigate. It allows App.net users to be given collaborative access to stories (so they can add and remove images and descriptions), but stories themselves can be shared with anyone thanks to the public share option.

Here’s a story I cooked up earlier:

sunlit1 520x295 Sunlit for iOS is a neat journaling app that lets you easily curate and share photo stories

sunlit2 520x296 Sunlit for iOS is a neat journaling app that lets you easily curate and share photo stories

sunlit3 520x295 Sunlit for iOS is a neat journaling app that lets you easily curate and share photo stories

sunlit4 520x295 Sunlit for iOS is a neat journaling app that lets you easily curate and share photo stories

I tried sharing the URL with non-techy people who rarely use Facebook (my parents) and they enjoyed the feel and convenience of the link, but if I was going to post photos online but not to a social network, I’d put them on a blog (public) or share via a messaging app (private).

That said, I do appreciate that, in age when seemingly every app under the sun wants you to upload your entire camera roll and share it at will, Sunlit is an easy way to curate a collection of images that you actually want to share.

Sunlit for iOS

Headline image via Ricardo Reitmeyer / Shutterstuck

Photo-editing app Hipstamatic Oggl lands on Windows Phone 8 with direct sharing to Instagram

2013 05 07 15.14.46 645x250 520x245 Photo editing app Hipstamatic Oggl lands on Windows Phone 8 with direct sharing to Instagram

Hipstamatic Oggl is out now for Windows Phone 8, providing somewhat of a stop-gap for handset owners still craving for an official Instagram app.

The photo-sharing service has been available for iOS devices for a couple of months now and expands upon the original Hipstamatic app with a refreshed interface, social features and vintage filters.

manual thumb 3ED7A5B8 220x366 Photo editing app Hipstamatic Oggl lands on Windows Phone 8 with direct sharing to Instagram

The Windows Phone 8 version, announced in May alongside the Lumia 925 is much the same, enabling users to mix and match various analog-inspired lenses and films. Square crop photos are a requirement here, again taking after its hugely successful rival Instagram.

There’s no official Instagram app for Windows Phone 8 at the moment, but Hipstamatic does offer users the ability to post images directly to Facebook’s wildly popular photo-sharing service. That’s a huge step forward for Microsoft’s mobile platform and should enable users to side-step third-party clients such as Instance.

Hipstamatic is also offering a PRO version of its new Oggl app for Nokia Lumia 1020 owners. It’s almost identical to the entry-level version, but packs in some impressive new manual controls including exposure, white, balance, IOS and shutter speed adjustments. Users also have the ability to reframe shots thanks to the handset’s monstrous 41-megapixel sensor, as well fix framing problems with an auto-leveling feature.

fef817a6 2a42 40a7 be1f 6d9d931917d0 220x366 Photo editing app Hipstamatic Oggl lands on Windows Phone 8 with direct sharing to Instagram

Video aside, these features actually push Hipstamatic Oggl far beyond Instagram’s native apps for iOS and Android. By blending both a professional camera interface and stylish photo-editing options, this could truly be the silver bullet for Windows Phone 8 users. Even for those who are disinterested in the Lumia 1020, it’s still a solid replacement for Instagram – albeit without the huge community.

Both the standard and pro versions of Hipstamatic Oggl are free. They come with 5 preset lenses and films, with additional filter packs requiring a premium subscription. Anyone that creates an account before August 9, however, will have access to the entire library over the next 60 days. Once that’s over, it costs $2.99 for three months or $9.99 for the year.

Is it Instagram? No. Hipstamatic Oggl is a robust alternative though which Windows Phone 8 users should check out without question. Pick it up in the Windows Phone store now.

Hipstamatic Oggl | Windows Phone 8
Hipstamatic Oggl PRO | Windows Phone 8 (Nokia Lumia 1020 exclusive)