Imagine Facebook and Instagram without the Like button

Off with their thumbs!
Image: bob al-greene/mashable

The Like button must die. 

More than any other feature, the thumbs-up on Facebook — along with its cousins, the Instagram and Twitter hearts — encapsulate everything that’s wrong with social media. It’s time to start visualizing a world where it doesn’t exist.

The Like has become the currency of carelessness — a way to show we approve without being deeply invested. In many cases, it covers for a lack of attention. It helps fake news propagate, discourages meaningful conversations, encourages shallowness, and exacerbates the most psychologically damaging effects of social media. 

If social media addiction is the disease of our age, it’s difficult to think of a feature that feeds that addiction more than the thumbs up. Pressing it repeatedly, like a rat in an experiment, we feed our innate need to be noticed. 

The question of how many Likes we’ve received keeps us coming back to our feeds over and over again to see who has acknowledged us in this most basic way. 

That has trained us to be passive, lazy friends who substitute Likes for real conversation. 

And who can blame us? It’s just too easy. Instead of asking how people are or what’s new in their lives, we can just double tap on their latest Instagram selfie and convince ourselves that it’s the same as actually keeping up with a friend.

More disturbing are the potential longterm effects of all this empty Liking. Putting aside the physical consequences of ingesting laundry detergent in the name of Likes — to take an extreme example — research suggests that liking is detrimental to mental health.

Even Facebook admits this. The company’s executives have cited research that suggests passively using Facebook leads to worse mental health. One study found that liking more posts was tied to worse mental and physical health and “decreased life satisfaction.”

This is pretty much why Facebook’s 2018 News Feed revamp is placing less emphasis on posts that get a lot of Likes and more on those that spark conversation in the comments. 

That’s a start, but it doesn’t go nearly far enough. The entire feature should be eliminated from every public-facing part of the service.

I’m aware that Facebook isn’t any more likely to get rid of the like than it is to kill News Feed. The company, after all, runs on Likes. The button is one of the most telling signals the company has in determining what its 2 billions users, well, like. 

Figuring out the details of what each Facebook user likes and dislikes is literally what fuels Facebook’s multi-billion dollar advertising business. Taking away that signal would have unknown implications on Facebook’s business.

But Facebook should, for once, put its users before its business and do it anyway. Perhaps a world where we can only comment, rather than mindlessly mash the button or choose an emoji, would be better for all of us.

Read more: https://mashable.com/2018/02/06/facebook-should-kill-the-like/

Facebook’s traffic is down as it strives for ‘meaningful connections’

Meaningful.
Image: facebook/mark zuckerberg

One of Facebook’s core statistics doesn’t look so good. Time spent on the network — a number that drives the tech giant’s revenue — is down by an estimated 50 million hours per day.

Facebook now reaches 2.13 billion people per month and has 1.4 billion daily active users. If we were to revisit that 50 million hours number on a per user basis, it would be a drop of 0.035 hours aka 2.1 minutes per user per day. 

For CEO and cofounder Mark Zuckerberg, that’s a necessary drop for his company’s future success. Zuckerberg announced the news Wednesday as part of Facebook’s quarterly earnings, reflecting on its 2017 revenue and spending and the future of the company. 

Facebook’s stock was down nearly 5 percent in after-hours trading, but by the end of the hour-long call with investors, had jumped up by 2 percent. Zuckerberg knows it won’t be pretty going forward either. 

“2017 was a strong year for Facebook, but it was also a hard one,” Zuckerberg said in a statement. “In 2018, we’re focused on making sure Facebook isn’t just fun to use, but also good for people’s well-being and for society. We’re doing this by encouraging meaningful connections between people rather than passive consumption of content.”

Time spent on Facebook

The world’s largest social network (a.k.a. advertising giant, democracy wrecker, and virtual reality headset maker) is far from dead. This is Facebook we’re talking about. The site traffic isn’t everything when it comes to financials. Revenue from Facebook ads is driven by actual clicks. Facebook still brought in $4.26 billion in profits last quarter.

Zuckerberg’s decry of the old model, that means fewer viral videos.

With Zuckerberg at the helm, Facebook is pushing itself to become a place where people enjoy themselves and genuinely want to keep coming back. According to Zuckerberg’s decry of the old model, that means fewer viral videos, unless users are having back-and-forth conversations in the comments section. 

“Already last quarter, we made changes to show fewer viral videos to make sure people’s time is well spent. In total, we made changes that reduced time spent on Facebook by roughly 50 million hours every day. By focusing on meaningful connections, our community and business will be stronger over the long term,” Zuckerberg’s statement continued. 

Zuckerberg’s hope is that the ads in Facebook will be better, and therefore bring in more revenue, too. “When you care about something, you’re willing to see ads to experience it,” he said. 

Money is still no issue for Facebook. Revenue reached $12.97 billion for the fourth quarter of 2017, up 47 percent from last quarter. Earnings per share came out below analyst’s estimates, $1.21 compared to $1.94 projected. However, Facebook made sure to note the U.S. tax bill affected its overall gains. Had that one-time charge not been taken into account the result would have been $2.21, beating expectations.

For Facebook, revenue is all about smartphones. Mobile advertising revenue now makes up 89 percent of overall ad revenue, up from 84 percent a year prior. 

An ideological shift 

Facebook is now grappling with its new reputation. The company’s 2018 has been rocky following a recent shift in its ideology

After years of fueling growth among digital-first media companies with Facebook Page, the company said it would decrease their influence in the News Feed, dropping it to 4 percent from 5 percent.

Now, Facebook is prioritizing posts shared by friends and family and content from “trusted” news sources, where “trusted” is defined by the community. 

Facebook continues to be criticized by its own community for negative impacts on mental health and data privacy. Facebook effort to create an app to help children communicate inspired protest from the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood that it would negatively affect their wellbeing.  

“Shift from showing the most meaningful content to people to encouraging the most meaningful interaction,” Zuckerberg said. “It’s not just one News Feed change… It’s going to be a series of product changes.”

Zuckerberg called out Stories — the vertical photo- and video-sharing product that the company copied from competitor Snapchat — as a new product aligned with meaningful interactions on and off the platform. 

“Stories is a better format of sharing multiple quick video clips throughout your day,” he said. WhatsApp and Instagram are number 1 and number 2 “most used Stories product in the world.”

These updates are far from Facebook’s only worry going forward. Facebook is dealing with the backlash of incidentally spreading Russian propaganda during the 2016 presidential election and the overall presence of fake news on the site. Facebook also is combatting hate speech. Last year, U.S. lawmakers grilled Facebook, as well as Twitter and Google, on these practices and demanded that the companies make changes, in particular with transparency on political ads

Separately, Facebook is addressing data privacy and tools that allow users to further change their ad experience ahead of the European Union’s upcoming privacy changes known as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). 

Big bets ahead 

But not everything is negative or decreasing on Facebook’s horizon. A new initiative called Facebook Watch, a hub for high-quality video, is gaining traction among users, media publishers, and Hollywood studios. 

“It’s early. There’s some promising signs,” Zuckerberg said. “It’s really important to internalize that the News Feed ecosystem and the Watch ecosystem are two totally separate things … We’re optimistic that Watch will be a use of video to bring people together.” 

Zuckerberg and his team spoke little of hardware updates, but the company has made big announcements already this year with its products. Facebook’s virtual reality division Oculus is launching a new headset in China thanks to a partnership with Xiaomi.

Read more: https://mashable.com/2018/01/31/facebook-earnings-2017-50-million-hours-per-day-traffic/

Why Hillary Clintons former CTO is back in Silicon Valley

Stephanie Hannon, Strava's chief product officer
Image: strava

Stephanie Hannon, 43, didn’t consider herself an athlete until age 39. In 2014, a looming surgery for personal health reasons had encouraged her to start working out. She began with a hike, and like millions of people worldwide, she turned to her smartphone for some help on where to go and downloaded an app called Strava.

This week, Hannon joined Strava as chief product officer. She’s one of the major hires the company made after growing from a niche community of cyclists in 2009 to tens of millions of athletes worldwide. Now, Hannon wants to expand the tech platform for developers and the company’s relationships with cities. 

Hannon is quite familiar with building tech products and working with communities. She’s been working at the highest levels of Silicon Valley since the 1990s. She was one of the product managers in the early days Gmail and Google Maps and lived internationally to help expand those products. She later joined Facebook, where she focused on the safety of its one billion people communicating. 

But she took a brief break from the Valley after she was called about a position on the Hillary Clinton campaign in 2015. For 20 months, Hannon worked as Hillary For America’s chief technology officer and oversaw a team of 80 technologists dedicated to putting the first women president in office. That dream wasn’t realized, but Hannon isn’t giving up yet. 

During her first day at Strava, Mashable spoke with Hannon to hear about her career in Silicon Valley, her thoughts on the 2016 election, and what she’s working on next. 

What excites you most about Strava, and had you been familiar with the product and the company before or was it one of those phone calls? 

I knew about Strava since day one because that entrepreneurship program I told you about, the Mayfield Fellows program [at Stanford University]. The CTO here, Mark Shaw, was in the program as well, and I think I was his mentor. He’s a good friend of mine, so he had worked with the founders of Strava and Kana, and he was the third employee. 

I knew about Strava for a longtime, and I went on my own quest to get healthy. In 2014, I had a health crisis. I just wanted to say I’m totally fine. I had to have a very invasive surgery, and I wasn’t fit or healthy. So I knew 7 months before surgery if I got healthy, the outcome would be better and my recovery would be much easier.

For the first time in my life at 39, I went on a hike, and I used Strava from the very beginning to track my hike. I also radically changed my diet. I gave up meat. I gave up alcohol. I gave up a lot of things and went on this personal health quest. I had a 7-hour surgery, and I basically walked right out the door. The next day I walked 2 miles. For me, that was a really motivating moment, and when I got through the surgery, I was like I’ve never been a healthy person so how am I going to keep the motivation going when there’s no surgery moving. 

So, I went from hiking to triathlons.

No big deal, just running a triathlon?

Yeah, I just want to stress that I’m not a great athlete. I think finisher is a great word. When I did a triathlon, my goal was to be a finisher, to make it across the finish line. If you’re a person who doesn’t consider yourself an athlete, carrying my bike into a big pen that says “ATHLETES ONLY,” the first time I walked through, I was like, “Is that really me?” 

Steph’s triathlon gear

Image: STEPHANIE HANNON

That was really exciting and motivating. I did triathlons, Tough Mudders, half-marathons. I went on a personal quest for fitness and when I did that my life radically changed, not just because I was fitter, but for most of my adult life I only slept 3 or 4 hours. 

I started sleeping 7 or 8 hours, and I would tell everyone about it. Like, “Have you guys heard about sleep?” I was more emotionally balanced and resilient. I was happier and had better relationships. My whole experience going through that had a big impact on me. As I was looking around at companies and met great entrepreneurs and all this cool stuff happening in Silicon Valley with the combination of knowing people here at Strava, combination of my own personal journey to get healthy, and also really believing in the product. 

At the core of it, I’ve worked on a lot of platforms, Google Maps is a platform, Facebook is a platform, I think the power of a platform and a lot of innovation can happen with partners to Strava or connected devices to Strava.

I think Strava can be sort of at the center of this connected world. The opportunity is much bigger. Strava is serving tens of millions of athletes, but I think there are more than 700 million athletes in the world, and I think they can all benefit from the product we build.  

You joined the tech scene in Silicon Valley in 1995. What’s the biggest difference between now and then? 

An incredible amount has changed in 20 years. I think the speed of development, like what I worked on when I was right out of college, my projects and products probably took a year and a half or two years to build and had a significant hardware component. 

Now, you work in a consumer web services company or a company that develops mobile apps and you can iterate really fast. You can build and launch things in a week.

I think the scale and impact has also dramatically changed because of the proliferation of mobile devices and the comfort level of the whole world with social networks and data and how people manage and use their data, like the concept of what we’re able to do at companies like Strava. I couldn’t even conceive of it two decades ago. 

We could also talk infinitely about diversity in tech. I felt very much unusual when I entered the workforce, but now I’m really happy to say the landscape has changed and I’m trying to encourage more diversity and building diverse teams has become really important to me and that feels more possible now than it did back then. 

That’s an inspiring way to put it. Diversity in tech is not perfect, but it’s good to hear that it has improved.

Exactly. We still have so long to go. I know when you’re building an engineering team to put the first women president in office, it’s an unusually good motivation to get a diverse engineering team, but I think we all have to keep working on it. 

You’ve worked at Google, twice in your career, and between that Facebook. You mentioned they’re relatable in the fact they’re mobile and they can scale fast, but is there anything in particular about the difference between those companies?

They’re both amazing companies. They’re so radically different. Google has been about organizing the world’s information and making it universally accessible and usable, which I’ll be able to repeat until the end of time. It was so drilled into us.

A lot of my time at Google was working on Google Maps. I brought Google Maps to Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, and that was an incredible experience because if you didn’t have a good online mapping tool and then you bring it to a country, suddenly they can manage in different ways, do different things with commerce and traffic, and how they look at solving big problems like terrorism or clean water, all this incredible good comes out of bringing maps to these countries.

Facebook is completely different. It was appealing to me at Facebook a billion people at the time was going there every day to communicate and how do you create a safe space for those people? A lot of what I worked on at Facebook was preventing spam and abuse and giving tools for helping people talk to each other when they were unhappy about content or had bad experiences on the platform. 

Both are amazing companies. The time I worked at Facebook they didn’t have as much acquisitions, so it felt like we were all unified working on this one product similar to Strava today whereas at Google it was already a big company and there were such massively diverse product lines, but I think across them is a focus on the user or the person or for Strava’s case an athlete and how do you build really compelling, innovative experiences that make their lives better or more efficient? 

Steph after participating in a half marathon

Image: stephanie hannon

Seemed like you had a pretty great life in Silicon Valley at some of the most respected companies. Why would you decide to leave these coveted jobs? 

It was a surprise call to get the call to interview to be the CTO. At the time I was leading Google’s social impact team and we worked on problems like disaster response. We built tools for the ebola crisis with Doctors Without Borders. We did a lot of philanthropic giving tools, and we also did a lot of Google’s elections work. In 2014, my teams were India and Brazil and we did a whole bunch of experiments in civic engagement. I was sort of immersed in that space of government and elections, and I had friends like Megan Smith, who was the CTO for Obama. 

When [the Clinton campaign] offered it to me, I was incredibly excited and paranoid because I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into, but I think if someone says, “Do you want to be part of putting the first woman president in the White House?” It was really easy to say that’s something I’ll always feel good about trying to do.

What was the great challenge you faced as CTO of Clinton’s campaign? 

I would say the greatest challenge was recruitment. For many engineers, they don’t know what it really means to work inside of a campaign or know what’s possible and then the short speed, incredibly short deadlines and very little time. We had some ideas that were not executable in the time that we had and the staffing we had. The deadlines we had were so rigid. When we were working on Google Maps or Facebook features you might aspire to launch something for St Patricks Day, but if you didn’t, it’s not a huge deal. 

For the campaign, for the first time ever, we put a real-time caucus app in the hands of every captain in Iowa so that meant we had a real-time dashboard so we could see the results for all areas they came in. You need to build the app, have it be reliable, and train your staff and have everything go well on that night because it’s that night or never.  Dealing with those kind of rigid deadlines with a small amount of resources was my biggest challenge. 

But you were able to overcome that? Did the project go well?

Well, I’d like to believe that. We could have a debate about Iowa, but I mean I’m really proud of the team. I could not be more proud of the people who gave up jobs at big companies and big compensations to come on the quest we went on for the 2016 election. I think we did a lot of things great and then there were a lot of things we ran out of time to do. A lot of time as a CTO is with these limited resources, what’s most important. 

Steph campaigning for Hillary

Image: wikimedia commons

As CTO of Clinton’s campaign, how do you think technology impacted the outcome of an election?

I think technology played a massive role. A lot of modern campaigning is how do you reach the people you want to reach efficiently. Different people are wanting to get their news on Facebook or social media. Some people prefer a newspaper. Some people prefer TV. Some people only need to hear something once. Some people need to hear something multiple times. Some people are only affected when they hear something at night or on the weekend. 

I think what’s exciting about technology in the modern era is you can reach people in a way that’s very meaningful to them with very personalized messages. I think technology plays a massive role in identifying the most important people to activate and how to activate them and how to measure your success. I hope we can have a positive impact with those technologies in 2018 and 2020 races. 

Why are you choosing to come back to Silicon Valley and San Francisco? Was there any doubt to packing up your bags and coming back here?

No, my home has always San Francisco, although I like working in different places. Over my 10 years at Google, I worked in Switzerland and in Australia. I think of San Francisco as home, but I love being abroad and in different places.

You can imagine the grief of what happened [with the election]. The outcome was big, not only for me, but with the 80 people that I hired. So a lot of the end of the year and into this year was supporting them and helping them find new jobs. Had we won the election I would have been so happy if a bunch of my team ended up in the US Digital Service or different parts of the government, but in the end, these 80 people, we all wanted to find ways to be productive, so there was a lot of that, and then there was time-off. 

Then I joined Greylock in July of this year, and for me, that was a way to be immersed in the entrepreneurship community, think about what I wanted to do next, and also help advise.   

How does your time at Greylock compare to Facebook, Google, and Clinton campaign? 

A lot of it was how I can use my experience building products to help portfolio companies at Greylock in different ways. For some of them, I’d help them hire their first product manager. For some of it, it might be a company in a new phase of growth and the product team needs to figure out how to interact with them. With some of them it was what does the product development phase look like. How do we iterate and use data? How do we think about metrics? How do we recruit? A lot of people were interested in my experience in scaling an engineering team so fast. A lot of my days were meeting with companies and just sort of helping and advising. Some of my days were just talking to companies and figuring out what to do next. 

Google has a huge market cap. Facebook is worth billions. Strava is significantly smaller. Can Strava even compete with them? 

I believe there’s space for more vertical, intimate, personal, social networks. I think there’s a set of people that you interact with for passion or love, and it doesn’t always look like your broad social network. I experienced this in the campaign era, sometime people got fatigued on Facebook because they would go there and the content was not something they were excited about. If you are a person who’s an athlete or you’re trying to get inspired or motivated or you’re trying to get a new idea and you want to go to Facebook to look for the content it isn’t easy, but when I go to Strava and look at my feed, it’s exactly what I’m looking for. It’s really easy to figure out which types of friends are which types of athletes and having these different experiences or oh, this person runs where I run so maybe we can connect. Or that bike is a bike I was thinking about buying, so maybe I should talk to them about it.

From a technological perspective, what’s the most unique or innovative thing that Strava is doing?

Many pieces add up to what’s appealing to the users and athletes today. I think it’s a good activity tracker and that’s not a small task. It’s doing incredible in biking and running and launched different multi-sport features. The idea is to appeal to all these athletes, to serve all athletes of all types. I think that’s really interesting, and then there’s the social network piece of this is a community and how do you put meaningful and interesting community features to help and support each other? 

There’s this whole platform piece. We want no matter what device you use or whether you do activities indoor or outdoor, we want you to be able to have that all in one place, and that’s a meaningful technology problem. 

A lot of my career I worked with cities, and I worked with cities at different capacities. In 2007, I helped launch Google Transit. If you remember back then, we only had driving directions on Google. I worked at Google in the Zurich office and obviously public transit in Europe looks different than in a city like San Francisco or Mountain View. I helped create that transit feed that’s widely adopted today, and then later in my Google career, I worked in projects on urban mobility and how do you take all the anonymized rich data we had to work on things like traffic congestions or infrastructure planning.  There’s a whole Strava Metro piece. Strava is working with more than 130 cities on how they can use the data to make their city better for pedestrians, runners, and cyclists. 

Image: stephanie hannon/strava screenshot

There are a lot of companies chasing health and fitness information. In your opinion, what gives Strava a competitive edge to them? 

Well, I’m going to remind you that I’ve worked here for 20 hours. I think a lot of what makes Strava unique is how well, and first of all early, they were really focused on a type of athlete and a certain experience, and they did that so well they got significant adoption. The learnings from that and being so ruthlessly focused are big. When they moved from cycling to running, they kind of were able to take the lessons but acknowledge that the same way to motivate people doesn’t necessarily look the same. They were able to build on their product and engineering team to build a new feature set. And then from running to multi-sport and from being an activity tracker to a social network. A lot of what makes it special is how powerful the product is. Building on the core user base, but being able to expand. In London, I think we have more runners than cyclists. And then the power of the platform, the vision to be able to serve all athletes is also what makes it special. 

Do you think Strava is at a disadvantage because it doesn’t make its own hardware, at least not yet?

I’m optimistic. The fact that we have 300 devices that integrate with the platform and the fact we have 20,000 thirty-party apps built on our open API, I think that’s a strong signal that we’re going to be with all types of athletes and all devices. I don’t think building our own hardware is a necessary part of that. 

What do you think your biggest challenges in this new role?

I like to say opportunity. As a user, I think there’s so much to build on. There’s incredible success that Strava’s already had. Any opportunity for a product leader to figure out what to work on because there’s no end of ideas. So I think some of the things I care about is how to be the best at multi-sport and continue to invest in those experiences. We want those people to have great experiences on the product and invest in the platform. 

A personal thing I feel very strongly about is discovery. I was just in Sydney, Australia over the holidays, and I was standing by the top of a bridge and I was holding my mobile phone. I know Strava has great data about places I can go, but it’s not sourced up in an easy, consumable way, so that’s a massive opportunity.  

You’ve held a lot of different roles: engineer, product manager, CTO. What’s been the common thread in your career, and how do you see Strava furthering it?

Where I feel most proud and motivated is technology that makes the world better for people. That looks and feels like different things. In the early days of Gmail, how can we give this version of online email free to very institution in the world and that was a really powerful quest. As we talked about I was obsessed with transit information and then at Facebook I was able to say how do you create a safe space for a billion people to communicate and then at the Hillary campaign I had a quest which I feel really passionate about, and I think a lot of people will lead a better life if this person is elected. 

Getting behind that was really easy, so in a similar way, when I look at Strava and the benefit of living a healthy active life and the power of data and community can inspire people to do that. We’re having incredible success at Strava, and I hope by me being here we can accelerate it and amplify it and reach more athletes globally. 

Read more: http://mashable.com/2018/01/04/stephanie-hannon-strava-cto-hillary-clinton-greylock/

Facebook is overhauling its News Feed so users feel better again

Facebook is re-tweaking its News Feed again. 

This time it wants to bring it back to friends and family instead of viral videos and media posts, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced in a post Thursday. 

“I’m changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions,” he wrote.

He said the change should make everyone feel better: “The research shows that when we use social media to connect with people we care about, it can be good for our well-being. We can feel more connected and less lonely, and that correlates with long term measures of happiness and health.”

With fewer posts from businesses, brands, and media, expect to see more of what your “friends” are sharing and liking. 

Zuckerberg didn’t mention Facebook’s role in the 2016 election or Russian meddling through the platform as motivation to change what shows up on the social network.

A breakdown of the “closer together” initiative (also outlined in a video above) indicates news stories will get de-prioritized, while conversations that Facebook thinks will spark a lot of engagement will get a boost. 

To achieve a happier Facebook user base, it looks like Facebook will focus on comment-heavy posts — and not just quick comments like, “Oh no!” or “Thanks!” but lengthy (meaningful!) comments.

All those “likes” won’t mean as much as full-on engagement, which under the new rules seems to mean back-and-forth conversations. Sounds like posting links back and forth won’t count as much in the meaningfulness meter.

In other words, publishers will almost certainly see traffic drop and video views decrease.

Zuckerberg rationalized that the changes will ultimately make for a better Facebook experience, naturally, but might actually cause people to spend less time on the social network.

“I also expect the time you do spend on Facebook will be more valuable,” he wrote.

UPDATE: Jan. 11, 2018, 5:07 p.m. PST This post has been updated with more information about the News Feed changes.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2018/01/11/facebook-news-feed-algorithm-changes-family-friends/

Soon, you’ll be able to save tweets for later

Image: Richard Drew/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Twitter, the social network that redefined the term “information overload,” is working on a feature that’ll make it easier to bookmark those cool tweets that deserve a second look. 

Announced by several key Twitter employees, including product VP Keith Coleman, the new feature could be called “save for later.”

According to Coleman, this has been a “top request,” and Twitter wants user feedback before they push out a final version of the feature. 

And Associate Product Manager at Twitter, Jesar Shah, has implied that the feature might first become available in Japan. 

As she pointed out, there are roundabout ways to bookmark a tweet — for example, you can DM it to yourself, like it or retweet it. But a dedicated “save for later” button is probably a better option than cluttering your direct messages and likes. 

Shah also shared an “early prototype” of the feature in a short video (below), but said the final version of the feature is “likely to change.” In her example, the feature is simply called “Bookmarks.”

We’ve pinged Twitter about details on this new feature, and will update this post when we hear from them. 

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/10/10/twitter-save-for-later/

Get 75% off Samsung’s truly wireless, fitness-tracking headphones

They can even store up to 1000 songs.
Image: SAmsung

Just to let you know, if you buy something featured here, Mashable might earn an affiliate commission.

Awesome deal alert! The Gear IconX wireless smart headphones from Samsung are being slashed from $200 to $50 — if you don’t wanna do the math that’s 75 percent off

The IconX headphones are Samsung’s truly wireless, fitness-tracking in-ear headphones with touch-reactive controls. Conveniently, they come in a box that doubles as both charger and carrying case, and since both the wing and ear-tip are adjustable they’ll fit snugly in pretty much everyone’s ear. 

Regardless of whether your phone has a headphone jack or not (*cough* Apple *cough*) wireless headphones are ideal for the gym, running in the great outdoors or otherwise staying active. For android users, if you sync to the S Health app these little guys will also track your speed, distance, and heart rate while you work out. 

No distractions.

Image: Samsung

You actually don’t even have to have your phone on you to use the IconX headphones. They have 4GB of internal memory, so you can load up your favorite workout playlists, leave your phone in your locker and hit the treadmills. The surface of the earbuds is touch reactive, allowing you to switch songs, change the volume, and answer calls (when connected to your phone via Bluetooth.)

Mashable’s tech reporter Raymond Wong tested these headphones out back when they were first introduced in June of 2016. He was impressed with the straightforward and intuitive touch controls and thought the sound quality was good, though he wasn’t able to workout with them. He also noted that they fit comfortably in his self-professed “small ears.”

With all of these features, the Gear IconX headphones originally retailed for $200. At $50, this is now a steal. This deal only lasts as long until supplies run out, so don’t miss your chance to take 75 percent off these comfy, truly wireless earbuds. With three colors to choose from (black, blue and white), you’re sure to find a pair that fits your style.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/09/29/samsung-headphones-sale/

The iPhone 8 might cost up to $1,200

The iPhone 8 (or Edition or X, take your pick) could weigh down your bank account.
Image: loris ravera/mashable

Apple is finally slated to reveal the highly-anticipated deluxe anniversary iPhone on Sept. 12, and you will want to buy it immediately — but the sticker price could wind up dampening your excitement for the phone’s next-gen features. 

Rumors claim the iPhone 8 (or Edition or X, depending on who you trust) will be much more expensive than any of its predecessors, pushing the starting cost up to at least the $1,000 mark. That means the top-of-the-line model will cost a whopping $1,200, for anyone who wants more than just the basic level of storage on their deluxe device. 

Leaker Benjamin Geskin tweeted out a pricing tier for the new iPhones, citing information from a friend who has a friend at Apple. 

The sourcing sounds sketchy, but Geskin is far from the first to suggest that the next iPhone will cost more than $1,000. Apple insider John Gruber suggested the deluxe new device would debut at the price point back in July, speculating that Apple could justify the cost by showcasing next-level tech that will be common in future iPhones in a premium device today. 

A New York Times report also backed the idea of a starting price “around $999,” for the iPhone, citing anonymous sources who had been briefed on the device. That’s a much more reliable report than just the whispers of friend of a friend — but others aren’t so convinced that Apple will ask such a high price for a phone.

UBS analysts Steven Milunovich and Benjamim Wilson wrote in an investors note that they “questioned the logic” of Apple putting such a premium on an iPhone. They claim instead that the company will roll out the deluxe device at a $900 starting point for a 64GB model, with a 256GB version eclipsing the $1,000 mark. 

The analysts also noted that Apple typically takes some cues from its competitors, and with Samsung’s latest offerings starting well under $1,000 — the new Galaxy Note 8 starts at $930 unlocked — there’s little incentive for Apple to set the bar any higher.   

None of these projections questioned the features expected in the deluxe iPhone, which include a new edge-to-edge OLED display, a nearly bezel-free screen with no home button, and a new sensor system for facial recognition. 

Speculation over the price of the iPhone is nothing new for the rumor cycle, with reports flying about the extra costs for as long as there have been rumors about a new OLED screen. Now that we’re a week away from the big reveal, however, those projected costs are all the more pressing, since we’re finally closer to getting a shot to put down the cash for one of our own.  

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/09/05/iphone-8-price-tier-rumors-/

Everything we expect to see at Apple’s big iPhone 8 reveal

Image: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Apple’s next iPhones are almost here.

We’re just days away from what will be Apple’s most anticipated reveal in recent memory. On Tuesday morning, CEO Tim Cook will take the stage at the company’s Steve Jobs Theatre in Cupertino and show off three new iPhones. 

We’ll also get our first look at the next Apple Watch, Apple TV, and hear the latest updates on iOS and macOS High Sierra.

Beyond that, the event carries special meaning for Apple. Not only is it the company’s first public event in the theatre named for its storied founder, it’s also the 10-year anniversary of the original iPhone launch. Given that extra significance, we could be in for a tribute to that original launch or to Jobs himself. 

iPhone 8 or iPhone Edition?

There’s no question this is Apple’s most anticipated iPhone yet. The company’s been trying to keep its exact details under wraps, so of course we have a pretty solid idea of what it’s going to look like, thanks to a never-ending stream of leaks and rumors.

Physically, it’s expected to be about the same size as an iPhone 7, but with an edge-to-edge OLED display that’s bigger than what is currently on the iPhone 7 Plus. It won’t have a home button or Touch ID, and will likely use some kind of facial recognition tech to unlock.

A mockup of a new ‘copper gold’ color Apple is rumored to be introducing for the iPhone 8.

Image: mashable/raymond wong

Wireless and rapid-charging will be supported, and it will have dual rear-facing cameras — likely equipped with a depth sensor to better enable all those new augmented reality apps. It will probably come in a new color and cost at least $1,000, maybe much more

One thing we still aren’t sure of, though, is the name. 

Though most people, us included, have been calling it the iPhone 8, there’s a good chance Apple will eschew its typical naming conventions given that this phone marks the tenth anniversary of the original iPhone. iPhone X, iPhone Edition, and iPhone Pro have all been posited. 

As we get closer to the reveal, iPhone Edition is looking more and more likely but, as with so many Apple rumors, it’s hard to say with any certainty (my favorite dark horse candidate is still, simply, iPhone.) 

iPhone 7S + iPhone 7S Plus

Again, we can’t be sure of the name as some reports have indicated the iPhone 7’s immediate successor will be called “iPhone 8.” Regardless of what it’s called, this pair of phones will be much closer to the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.

The iPhone 7S and 7S Plus are expected to look much like the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus .

Image: Aflo/REX/Shutterstock

The displays will likely be the same as the iPhone 7 line — no edge-to-edge display here. Though it’d be tempting to think of these phones as the compromise buy compared with the third ultra-premium iPhone, there will be some noticeable improvements.

The 7S and 7S Plus are expected to ship with the same rapid and wireless charging as the iPhone 8, but other than that it’s unlikely to be a major departure from the iPhone 7. It will have an LCD display, a home button, dual rear-facing cameras, and a starting price similar to that of the iPhone 7. 

It probably won’t come in any new colors, and may not even be available with a rose gold or jet black finish.

Apple Watch Series 3

While the three new iPhones will likely hog much of the spotlight on Tuesday, there’s other new hardware to look forward to, including what is likely a new Apple Watch. While it’s not usually the company’s sexiest product, Series 3 sounds like it’s set to be a big revamp.

Series 3 sounds like it’s set to be a big revamp

Most significantly, Apple is expected to add LTE connectivity to its wearable, marking the first time the Apple Watch can truly be independent of your iPhone. This could also have big implications for its fitness-tracking abilities, which we learned more about when Men’s Health visited Apple’s testing lab.

Apple will launch watchOS 4 alongside its new wearable, and it features a new mode for high intensity interval training. The new OS will even be able to connect directly to some types of gym equipment. 

On the outside, the new Apple Watch could have a new screen design, if Apple-watcher John Gruber’s sources are to be believed (Gruber himself says he “wouldn’t bet the house” on the rumor, so, grain of salt). But if turns out to be correct, it’d be the first major redesign since Apple first launched its watch in 2015.

4K Apple TV

As if a new Apple Watch and three-piece set of iPhones isn’t enough, we’re also due for a new Apple TV. Here, it’s not the design of the set-top box that has us excited (though expect it to at least be slimmer and speedier than the current 4th gen model released back in 2015).

The latest box will finally add support for 4K and HDR content. Given that there’s more 4K content available than ever (and HDR is slowly gaining ground), this will be a very welcome (and, frankly, overdue) update.

macOS High Sierra and iOS 11

Apple’s fall launch isn’t all about the hardware. MacOS High Sierra, which comes with a nicely revamped Photos app and a ton of under-the-hood improvements, will likely make its official debut.

Likewise, it looks like iOS 11 will finally be ready for everyone. We know most of what’s in the update, thanks to months of beta builds, but there are still a few unknowns. Apple has yet to reveal the specifics of its P2P messaging service for its Messages app, beyond what we briefly saw on the WWDC stage. 

Apple’s new P2P payments feature for Messages.

Image: apple

And while we we’ve seen a lot of ARKit-enabled augmented reality apps, there’s still a lot we haven’t heard about yet. Exactly how the new iPhone cameras will enhance iOS’ augmented reality features is also unclear. 

As always with Apple, nothing is certain until Tim Cook steps onto that stage. A few surprises are always on the table. Check back this Tuesday for Mashable’s live coverage from Cupertino.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/09/09/apple-iphone-8-event-what-to-expect/

Why youll probably want the next Apple Watch

The next version of the Apple Watch could be a game changer.
Image: Getty Images

Apple is getting ready to launch a new version of the Apple Watch that doesn’t need to be paired with an iPhone in order to work, according to Bloomberg. The report, published earlier this month, claims the next version of the watch will include an LTE chip for internet connectivity and suggests the watch’s square casing may receive a radical new design.

If true, the next-generation Apple Watch’s features could make it the first truly must-have wearable product, finally offering people the right balance of connectivity, usefulness, and fashion credibility that they’ve been asking for.

The Watch wasn’t a breakout success initially, but over time, Apple has correctly adjusted to consumer sentiment and found a great niche for the product. The first iteration was marketed as a general smartwatch for everyone, but as excitement for the shiny new Apple product wore off, the company pivoted to emphasize health and fitness features, like a built-in GPS and water resistance. That shift led to stronger sales that appeared to put Apple atop the entire wearables market.

The third soon-to-be-released version of the Watch will likely continue this health and fitness focus that much was clear from the preview of watchOS 4 we saw at WWDC earlier this year. But it could also make the Watch even more useful for everyone in their everyday lives, making it a must-have for all of us in the iEcosystem.

Connectivity, everywhere

The most exciting rumor about the next-generation Apple Watch is, without question, standalone internet connectivity. Many market analysts believe that the addition of LTE connections will finally convince consumers that wearables are worth their time (and more importantly, money), giving them the ability to use their devices as more than a glorified extension of their smartphone. The feature could be the key for the market’s growth as it enters a “new phase,” in which sales are projected to double by 2021.

The new Apple Watch won’t be the first smartwatch to have standalone internet connectivity, however; the Samsung Gear 3 offered a mass-market 4G LTE-connected smartwatch and was launched last year.

But introducing LTE connectivity to the best-selling device on the market from the most visible company in the world will instantly bring the feature to a wider audience, letting Apple play off its image as an innovator even if Samsung was there first. This happens with the iPhone nearly every product cycle, and the gigantic base of Apple fans eat it up. There’s little reason to believe the Watch would be much different.

There are some concerns about how functional Apple’s standalone wearable could be in its first iteration. Screen size, battery life, and memory are already concerns for such a small device adding LTE chips and giving it even more processing power could make those problems even worse.

The Watch won’t ever be used for major tasks, though. It’s more likely to be used when production is secondary, like, say, when wearers’ hands are otherwise occupied. Runners and other exercisers will be relieved to ditch their phones and retain the ability to send texts, download apps, and stream music online. And a more general audience will be interested in boosting productivity, like when they first started using an iPhone.

LTE-connection will make the Watch all the more attractive to those of us who can’t spend a moment without being connected, which is one of the most important requirements of a gadget these days.

A fresh new look

The rumored new form factor for the Watch shouldn’t be taken lightly as a majorly attractive feature that could make it a must-have device. There’s even a rumor that Apple could introduce microLED screen technology with the new Watch, which could make it even brighter and better looking than the current OLED setup.

Smartwatches have previously fallen in the middle of a strange space between fashion and function, but the scales could be tipping toward looks as a potential determining factor for general consumers. Android Wear devices from major tech companies have largely struggled since the OS was updated earlier this year but fashion companies haven’t been deterred from using the platform, since their customers are worried about looks first, performance second.

If Apple, a famously design-centric company, begins to really treat its Watch like the fashion plate it has the potential to be, its general appeal could go through the roof as hypebeasts and fashionistas lust after the new form factor.

That type of sentiment doesn’t apply to most gadgets, where one generation replaces the last because it works better but in fashion, where aesthetics are the most important quality, consumers can justify buying a new model on looks alone. There’s more of an incentive to upgrade to the new redesigned Watch to go along with your Series 2 for Apple fans, too, giving them an opportunity collect them all and cycle between looks.

Some might be leery of Apple’s movement toward a fitness and fashion focused wearable (Mashable tech editor Pete Pachal chief among them), but the company will find a more receptive general audience by crafting a sexy, always-connected Watch.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/08/14/apple-watch-3-must-have/

Let this fitness tracker motivate you to get moving

Just to let you know, if you buy something featured here, Mashable might earn an affiliate commission.

Theres nothing better than being in shape. It prolongs your life, it makes you feel better, and it can even boost your mood. Unfortunately, its really hard to get in shape, and even harder to maintain it.

Luckily, there are some great fitness trackers that can help you achieve your goals like the Moov Now Personal Coach & Workout Tracker. This award-winning tracker actively monitors your bodys motion to ensure that you get the most out of every workout. It even gives you personalized feedback to correct your form and help minimize your risk of injury.

But what really separates Moov Now from the competition is its coaching. Moov Now features a real-time audio coach that gives you positive feedback throughout your workout so youre always pumped to conquer that next hill or set a new personal record. Its the perfect training tool for high-intensity workouts like circuit training, running, cycling, swimming, and cardio boxing.

Moov Now also shows you how to work in proper intervals so you can recover safely, gain results faster, and gradually level up to more intensive workouts. Plus, it constantly changes your workouts so you stay motivated and dont plateau.

With a tracker like this, its much more likely that you’ll actually get your butt off the couch.Moov Now normally costs $79.95, but you can get it for just $49.95, a savings of 37 percent. Buy it here.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/07/29/a-fitness-tracker-thats-also-a-personal-trainer/