Social media moves so fast, it's hard to keep up. Here are the week's top stories in scan-friendly format:
- Bing Joins iPhone App Store Ranks With New App
- Twitter Begins Trials of Business-focused Features
- Microsoft Pulls Micro-Blogging Product In China
- Coming Soon: Reply To Facebook Messages Via Email
Bing Joins iPhone App Store Ranks With New App
Bing, the Microsoft-founded search engine, now has an application in the iTunes App Store. The new search app shows different categories for initial searching, including Images, Movies, Maps, Businesses, News and Directions. Because the app asks to get your location upon launch, it specifies content tailored to your location.
Also similar to the Google Search application for iPhone, you can use your voice to submit search queries. For example, saying "movies" into the app will bring back movie listings in your immediate area. Users can also say a full address for maps and directions, which will appeal to mobile phone users who are driving and need directions.
The application from Bing is available immediately for major mobile platforms including iPhone, Windows Mobile, Blackberry and Sidekick. There has been no indication if a version will be developed for Nokia/Symbian phones of for the Android platform.
Twitter Begins Trials of Business-focused Features
We've covered Twitter's business model before on CMSWire and on the Social Media Minute, and it appears that some of the features Twitter has eluded to are close to coming to fruition. To thrive, Twitter must capitalize on the ability to help businesses interact with their customers. In this vein, Twitter has made a "Contributors" feature announcement on their company blog.
A "Contributor" is a feature that allows businesses to designate people's names behind a corporate Twitter account for more authentic conversation. For example, if a company has a team of 5 people who tweet on behalf of the company, they most likely all send out tweets as @company_name. With Contributors, the person's name can be appended as a byline on the specific tweet.
This feature is similar to a third-party called CoTweet. CoTweet allows a team to manage a company's Twitter presence with features that mirror these new offerings from Twitter.
It's great to see Twitter rolling out these new features as it points to sustainability for Twitter as a company. Twitter is a useful tool and platform, but without a business model and revenue stream, its future is unknown.
Microsoft Pulls Micro-Blogging Product In China
Microsoft recently launched a micro-blogging service in China called Judu. The service, similar to others on the Internet, allowed users to exchange short messages with other users on the MSN China website. An outcry ensued, whereby Microsoft was accused of poaching competitor's products when building Juku. Admittedly, the service from Microsoft is alarmingly similar to Twitter in appearance.
As a result, Microsoft has pulled the service just one month after its unveiling. In a blog post, Microsoft said it is suspending Judu while the matter is fully investigated.
In another development, another competitor, Plurk, recently pointed out that Juku's source code and appearance have a very similar look and feel to its own product. A post on Plurk's blog accuses Microsoft of trying to copy their product and ruin the startup's business model.
Obviously Microsoft sees validity in the micro-blogging model and wishes to bring some sort of offering to the market. Hopefully they can come to some agreeable conclusion to this mix-up with other competitors offering similar products. Perhaps Microsoft should consider an acquisition or similar partnership to bring micro-messaging services to the company's many web properties.
Coming Soon: Reply To Facebook Messages Via Email
One of Facebook's great features is the social site's ability to keep you up to date on activities surrounding your social profile. When someone comments on a photo or status update, you get an email to keep you abreast of these developments.
In an effort to make these emails more useful, Facebook is reportedly testing a feature that will allow you to reply to the status update via email, and have that update propagate back to the appropriate item on Facebook's site.
This new feature would be very useful, as users would not have to log in to Facebook just to make a quick reply or comment in reply to a Facebook email notification. A few blogs have reported seeing the new feature and say it works quickly.
However, it should be noted that by enabling this feature, Facebook is sacrificing page views and potential advertising revenue. But as a trade-off, Facebook is making its service less cumbersome for users and easier to use. This will advance the service from a usability standpoint, making users more likely to stick around.
Facebook is beta testing the feature with a limited numbers of users and has said it will be rolled out to all users very soon.