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When Google unexpectedly launched its new social network Google+ earlier this week, many pundits were skeptical about the company’s latest attempt to enter the social arena. Given Google’s dismal track record when it comes to these kinds of products, that kind of skepticism made sense, but after using it extensively for the last few days, I can’t help but...

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Theoretically, only developers currently have access to the latest version of Apple's iOS 5 software for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. In reality, however, getting access to beta versions of iOS has never been easier for non-developers. Getting the software (which is easily available if you know how to use Google), is just one part of the process, though. Your phone's UDID also has to be registered with Apple. The easiest way to do that is to get a $99 developer account, but for most people, that's a lot of money just to try out some beta software. Because of this, a large market for rogue iOS activations that allows virtually anyone who is wiling to risk $5 to $10 is currently flourishing. Some of these services have been around for a while, though most started around the time of the lengthy iOS 4 beta test.

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AddThis, the popular service that allows publishers to monitor how their content is shared on over 300 different social media sites, just introduced a new service that displays sharing activity as it occurs in real time. Whenever a user now uses the embedded AddThis links in a story to share your content on any of AddThis' supported networks, the...

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Link shorteners are some of the most often used tools in the Twitter ecosystem. While Twitter itself has been offering it’s own t.co URL shortener for a while, it was never integrated into the Twitter.com web interface. That’s changing today. Twitter now automatically shortens links for URLs that take up more than 13 characters and will also ensure that links don’t point to sites that are reported to be malicious. This feature is starting to roll out to “a small percentage of users” today, so don’t worry if you don’t see it yet. According to Twitter, it will eventually be available for everyone.

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It’s a big day for buttons today. Twitter just introduced its new Follow button and thanks to an unfortunate leak, we also know that Google is planning to launch it’s +1 button for third-party sites tomorrow. Twitter’s Follow button has long been overdue. It allows site owners to give their visitors a chance to follow their accounts with just a few click. Google’s +1 button is part of the company’s efforts to add more social signals to its search results. Whenever somebody +1s a story on a third-party site, this information will appear in their friends’ search results if that page appears (and can also push sites up on their friends’ search results pages).

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For months now, we have heard rumors about TweetDeck being bought by either UberMedia or Twitter. Lately, the rumors pointed towards an acquisition by Twitter (for around $40 million). Today, Twitter finally confirmed this acquisition in a short blog post.It's interesting that Twitter notes that TweetDeck "provides brands, publishers, marketers and others with a powerful platform to track...

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Twitter just announced that it is launching a redesigned permissions screen today that will make it easier for users to understand which data they are sending to third-party services. In addition, Twitter also announced that apps that “do not need access to your direct messages will no longer have it” by the end of the month. Over the next...

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While Twitter has been continually updating its desktop apps and desktop browser experience, its mobile site has been sorely lacking - both with regards to design and functionality. Today, however, Twitter announced that it is launching a new HTML5-based version of its mobile site for smartphones and tablets. This new design will roll out slowly. Today, only a select number of users on iPhones, iPod Touches and Android smartphones will see the new site, but Twitter plans to roll this new version out to all users over the next few weeks.

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More than any other recent news event, the news of the death of Osama bin Laden showed the power of Twitter. A single tweet by Donals Rumsfelf's former Chief of Staff Keith Urbahn managed to set the Internet on fire long before the news was made official almost two hours later. ... Socialflow analyzed how Urbahn's tweet spread across Twitter in the hours after he posted his now-famous "So I'm told by a reputable person they killed Osama Bin Laden. Hot damn."

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When it comes to social search and social recommendations today, there is a lot of hype around the concept, but given that a user's social graph is - almost by default - limited, there are major gaps in both accuracy and coverage when it comes to putting this concept into reality. While Google +1 and Bing's implementation of Facebook 'like' data are trying to find ways around this, Microsoft researcher Mohammad Raza argues (PDF) that we need a smarter recommendation system that is based on the idea that "your friends know you and can best predict your taste" and that social search can be greatly improved upon with the help of prediction extraction.

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"I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy." Chances are, you've seen this quote, attributed to Martin Luther King Jr. at least once on Twitter or Facebook. Perfectly capturing the feelings of many who felt somewhat conflicted while looking at the images of Americans celebrating the death of Osama bin Laden, this quote sadly doesn't appear anywhere in the works of Martin Luther King Jr. - it did, however, quickly make the rounds on virtually every social media service, starting, it seems, on Faceook and quickly spreading to Twitter, Tumblr and other sites.

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A new Twitter worm is spreading quickly this morning by pretending to tell users who has unfollowed them. Through using this kind of smart social engineering (who wouldn’t want to know who these ungrateful people are?), this rogue Twitter app gains access to a user’s account by using Twitter’s standard authentication mechanism. The worm also attaches terms to every one of these tweets that are currently trending on Twitter, ensuring these messages get seen by an even wider audience.

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The Wall Street Journal today reported on a rumor that Twitter is “in advanced talks to buy TweetDeck,” the popular Twitter client for the desktop and browser. Neither Twitter nor TweetDeck founder Iain Dodsworth have responded to these rumors. As much as I would prefer to see a healthy ecosystem of Twitter apps, I can’t help but think that it makes sense for Twitter to buy TweetDeck, especially given what we know about Twitter’s priorities these days.

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All the way back in 2009, I reviewed the Notifications app for ReadWriteWeb and wondered if it was going to be the best push notifications service for the iPhone yet. At that time, it had more features than Boxcar, which was still in its infancy. It was also one of the first apps of its kind to use PubSubHubbub to speed up notifications of updated news feeds. over time, Boxcar ended up trumping Notifications in terms of features and the difference in speed became negligible. Now, however, Notifications is is back as Push 4.0 for both the iPhone and iPad ($0.99 - iTunes link) and while its feature set hasn't changed much from the early days (Twitter, email, RSS), the developer Fabien Penso has worked hard on making it the fastest push app out there - and, I'm happy to say, he succeeded.

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Readability, the service that reformats websites for distraction-free reading, just launched rdd.me, a new URL shortener. Even though there are already plenty of choices out there for shortening long domain names, this new one is worth a look. Once your friends click on an rdd.me link, they will either get a link to turn on the distraction-free mode above...