Top Story: Twitter ‘Explores’ a New Look and Feel with Redesign
Twitter has redesigned not only its interface, but some of its terminology as well. They went to a simpler overall experience by giving more definite categories and designing the site to be easier to navigate.
Twitter added two categories – ‘Connect’ and ‘Discover’. While neither adds actual features, it changes how you view your content.
Connect – this is now where you will find all interactions: who tweeted you, who added you tweet to their favorites, followed you, or retweeted you. This is somewhat similar to the Facebook activity feed, if you ask us.
Discover – this basically is a news aggregator and it accomplishes this by, putting imagery, trending topics, and hot stories in one area. By pulling in more than just the words that are hot – they have made it into more of an actual news resource.
‘Discover’ is the feature that could really change how Twitter is used. It will now be more appealing to people solely looking to stay up to date in news real time because it has a dedicated page.
Under the Radar: Why is Facebook hiding messages from us?
Did you know that Facebook has been filtering your private messages for over a year? If you’ve never noticed your “Other” messages, you may want to take a look and see what you’ve been missing.
We all know what it’s like to be bombarded with annoying messages on Facebook. From event invites for parties located across the country to band performances from “friends” we talked to once in high school, it’s easy to feel spammed by Facebook on occasion. But what you may not know is that Facebook has its own form of a spam filter set up. It’s a section of your messages called “other” and you may have never noticed it if you haven’t bothered to look. But Facebook has allegedly been implementing this system since November of 2010.
I checked my “other” folder for the first time the other day and noticed quite a few messages in there. Admittedly, most of them are messages that weren’t important and I would have immediately trashed anyway. And, I thank Facebook for sparing me the creepy “I’d like to get to know you better” messages from faceless people. However, there were a few in there, like a special discount from a company I follow and a message from a friend (who I’m not connected with on Facebook), that I would have liked to see— messages that I had no idea were being hidden from me.
Am I mad? Not necessarily. I do think Facebook’s “other” folder is incredibly useful and has saved me much annoyance. But it’s also something that we should have been aware of from the start. I thank goodness for Gmail’s spam filter on a daily basis, but I still like to take a quick look at it from time to time to make sure nothing important is getting by. I’m thrilled not to get all those annoying Facebook messages to my inbox, but at the same time, I would have liked to know that my messages were being filtered and I wasn’t necessarily receiving everything that was sent to me. Check your “other” folder and see what you’ve been missing!
451 Labs Tool Review: Uber’s App—Making it easy to get a cab from your phone
Waiting on the side of the road waving your hand to get a cab to stop is so yesterday. With Uber, you can request a car right from your iPhone or Android. It will come in no time and be a whole lot less sketchy than many of the cabs you’ve likely ridden in before. But what will it cost you?
If you live in a major city, you likely know what it’s like to be frustrated trying to catch a cab. Especially if it happens to be raining out or you stay at the bar until last call and want to get home when every other city-dweller is also trying to hitch a ride. It’s enough to make you want to spend the winter huddled in your apartment to avoid being stranded far from home at all costs. Enter Uber.
Uber is a new service that makes it easy to get a cab. A non-sketchy car that is much more comfy and classy-looking than the average cab. All you need is the iPhone or Android app and you can request a car from anywhere. If you don’t have a smart phone, you can simply text Uber your address. A sleek black car with a professional driver will come pick you up, generally in about 10-15 minutes. Which means you can stick around the bar a little longer, instead of standing on the sidewalk with your hand up waving for a cab, while simultaneously shoving people out of your way and screaming that you were waiting first. Or maybe that’s just how we do it in Boston? (Tweet This!)
Adding to Uber’s appeal is the easy pay option. Instead of making certain you have cash on you or dealing with your cab’s faulty credit card machine (if they even have one!), Uber simply charges the credit card you have on file with them. It sounds super easy, but how much does it cost? Well, Uber charges based on distance traveled and time spent in cab and varies from city to city. In Boston, the base fee is $7.00, plus a $4.00 distance fee per mile, and $0.85 per minute time fee (for when the car is traveling less than 11 miles per hour). So, taking an Uber car will cost you more than a standard cab in Boston (which generally has a $2.60 base charge, plus a $2.80 per mile distance fee, and $0.47 per minute time fee). However, when you factor in the fact that you can avoid waiting and annoyance, along with a potentially sketchy cabby who’s chatting on his cell phone and swerving in and out of traffic, it seems pretty worth it for certain occasions. We’ll likely be saving the luxury for when we’re really stuck and want to get home hassle-free.
Uber’s services are currently offered in San Francisco/Palo Alto, New York City, Chicago, Seattle, Boston, Paris, and Washington D.C.
Around the Hub: Foursquare-Amex Partnership comes and goes in Boston
There was a lot of buzz about the Foursquare-American Express partnership when it was announced, but in Boston there hasn’t been much talk about it lately because it wasn’t really activated anywhere in the Hub.
About a week ago, Foursquare quietly rolled out specials at a number of local businesses that have a ‘Spend $10, get $10 off’ specials – provided by American Express. While we are excited to see this feature coming to Boston, it raises some concerns as well.
In Boston, they did not consult the businesses before putting this special up. While the money exchange is done on the credit card, many customers will likely ask the businesses about the specials. It makes sense that Foursquare would want to push this out to many businesses, however they should be giving merchants more information and training staff on the specials. If a local restaurant was consulted on this, they would be able to internally push the promotion to existing customers and get more reach overall.
UPDATE: As of this morning it appears the AMEX specials are gone in Boston
Will you be using the uber cool app for your next taxi? Will you be more keen to check your “other” Facebook messages, Will you be more tuned in with the new Twitter, or will you be checking in to see what new discount you can get? Join the conversation #451Labs and drop us a line.