Thursday, February 06, 2014

Kik's New Update To Help Developers

Remember growing up how talking to your friends meant everything to you. The ability to call your friends from your home phone was the biggest deal after school. Then came instant messaging. AIM ring any bells? It definitely should, as it was basically texting before texting was texting. After the instant messaging, we saw texting come into light. Now we have hit the age of different messaging apps that allow us to communicate, even without a phone number. Facebook messenger app allowed us to stay in contact with all of our Facebook friends without having to open up the app itself. Recently, Kik has become the new social messaging platform to see incredible growth. It is essentially the new from of AIM, only on your phone and app based. The developers of the app have released a new upgrade as well that may catch a few off guard.

For those that may be unfamiliar with Kik, it's a messaging app that only requires a user name. No phone number required. As long as both users attempting to communicate have the app, a username, and a connection, they will be able to message each other. It has become a somewhat "safer" alternative than giving out your phone number should you want to communicate with someone you may not be familiar with. The newest update to the system now add a web browser to the mix however. The new built-in web browser will grant its user the ability to surf the web without having to leave the app and open up a separate browser app. While it may not seem like much on the surface, this could mean very good things for new web developers. In fact, CEO of Kik, Ted Livingston has even claimed that this update is mainly for developers more so than users.

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While many of the mobile version's of sites have been designed with the apps limitations in mind, making it accessible through Kik may be a bit different. This is why different API's and other tools have been apart of the upgrade. Web developers will now be able to properly integrate a Kik friendly version of their mobile sights into the new Kik web browser. Many of the users won't be thinking about it, but this will save them quite a bit of frustration as well. After all, what good is a web browser if sites don't work or load properly.

The update has also done their best to cater to the app developers as well. Web apps that are normally accessed through the typical browser app of a smartphone, can now be integrated to function properly within the Kik browser as well. This means that some games may become available while still in the Kik app. Overall, this is not a bad upgrade for Kik at all. This particular update has done a great job in terms of networking to other developers to use Kik and help the app grow. If utilized properly, this could stand to put the app up against the top dog social apps out there. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram may soon have some competition on their hands.


Sunday, February 02, 2014

Paper: The New App From Facebook

Last Thursday, Facebook made the announcement of their new app called Paper, which comes out this week. It's a free app for iOS that takes users created content and news from other, more legitimate sources, and puts them all in the same place.

You can create stories to share with others, or receive stories based on your personal interests. There are different sections that you can pick from like sports, world news, kitty cat pictures, photography, and even food.

The app is pretty similar to the Flipboard app in the sense that the stories have fun layouts, and most of the stories are more based on pictures instead of words. The biggest difference between Paper and Flipboard is that it is really easy for people you follow on Facebook to share stories with you, and you to do the same with them.

Moving around the app is pretty simple. It is designed to use with just your thumb, so all you do is swipe left or right to sift through different stories and then tap on one to open it up when you find something that you are interested in checking out. The pictures in the stories are sometimes panorama photos or just pictures that are too big for the iPhone's screen, so tilting the phone in different directions will reveal the rest of the picture.

The new Paper app is the first app to be made by Facebook Creative Labs, a company within Facebook that lets small groups create standalone mobile apps. This is part of the companies new plan to create more standalone apps rather than apps that work inside of Facebook itself.

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The whole idea behind the new app is to basically re invent Facebook. It uses literally nothing from what Facebook started with, and nothing that we once loved about Facebook. Instead, it focuses more on what Facebook has become. When you log into facebook, pretty much all you are going to see is news stories, animal pictures, and random people that you don't know complaining about their love life or posting five thousand pictures of their children. Paper is basically taking all of that and throwing away the random people complaining about their relationships and pictures of their kids.

It seems logical, it wasn't the original idea behind Facebook, but it is what the social media site has evolved into. Why not cater to the users and give them a less cluttered space to do what they want with? I'll probably give it a shot this week when it releases officially and see what its all about.