Friday, December 21, 2012

Facebook Launches its Own Version of Snapchat, Called Poke

When Snapchat launched a video update last week, AllThingsDreported that Facebook was planning on releasing its own photo and video sharing app to compete with Snapchat. Facebook’s new standalone app, Facebook Poke, was released today, expanding on Facebook's original "poke" concept. 

After connecting to Facebook Poke with a Facebook account, users can take a video or photo, write a message, or send a standard poke notification to friends who are also Facebook users. Each message lasts only a few seconds before expiring, after which time it is no longer visible. 

If a screenshot is taken, users are notified with a bright orange icon on the feed, which is the same functionality found in Snapchat. Users can browse through sent messages in Poke by tapping and holding on a message. 

Media sent via Facebook Poke is not visible in the standard Facebook app, but people will get a Facebook notification to download Facebook Poke to see Poke messages. Like the rest of Facebook's apps, Poke has a menu for reporting inappropriate content. 

Facebook Poke is a free download on Apple's App Store.

The Wall Street Journal comes to Apple's Newsstand for iPad, iPhone

Perhaps the most significant holdout from Apple's Newsstand feature in iOS, The Wall Street Journal, has now added support and in-app subscriptions.

Version 5.0 of The Wall Street Journal application is now available and will appear in the Newsstand folder on iOS devices. The application itself has the same look and feel, but now supports Newsstand-only features like automatic background updating to provide users with the latest content.

News Corp's Journal was one of the most prominent national newspapers that had not added support for Newsstand. The main issue was said to be the 30 percent cut that Apple takes from all in-app subscriptions sold on the App Store.

The official full list of features in the newly updated application are:
  • Newsstand & Alerts
    • WSJ is now in Newsstand! Get new issues automatically delivered to your device overnight. To use Newsstand, tap 'Allow' when prompted.
    • Note: WSJ App icon will now appear in the Newsstand Folder.
    • Breaking News Alerts from WSJ. To get alerts, tap 'Allow' when prompted.
  • In-App Subscriptions
    • Purchase a monthly subscription to WSJ through your iTunes account. With a digital subscription you get access to iPad, iPhone, and more.

The launch of the Journal on Newsstand comes less than a week after News Corp shuttered its tablet-only digital newspaper, The Daily. That publication was launched with much fanfare on the iPad and was developed in collaboration with Apple, but never gathered enough subscribers to sustain operations.

Google touts 10 tips on how to use its iPhone Maps app

(Credit: Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET)
Google Maps users looking to get more out of the app can grab some free advice from Google itself.
A new page dubbed "10 ways to make your Google Maps for iPhone experience even better" reveals several handy features that you may not know existed.
Tip 1: To place a pin on a map, press down and hold any location. The pin reveals the specific address and displays an info sheet with an option to share that location.
Tip 2: To access Street View, press and hold any location on the map and then tap on the info sheet. If the location is Street View-enabled, you can tap on an image to switch to that mode.
Tip 3: Shaking your phone lets you send feedback about the app to Google.
Tip 4: Swiping right or left on the info sheet can conjure up addition directions if you're trying to get to a specific location.
Tip 5: Tapping the three dots in the lower right corner lets you switch among various views, including traffic, public transit, satellite, and even Google Earth.
Tip 6: While traveling or mapping out a trip, you can peek at the next route by swiping the top bar to the left.
Tip 7: You can zoom in and out with a single finger by double-tapping a location, holding the second tap, and then dragging your finger up or down.
Tip 8: Tapping on your profile image in the upper right lets you enter both a home and work address.
Tip 9: You can switch to compass mode by tapping twice on the My location button in the lower left part of the screen.

Tip 10: And finally, you can save any location as a favorite by double-tapping on the info sheet and tapping the Save button.Tip 9: You can switch to compass mode by tapping twice on the My location button in the lower left part of the screen.
As a Google Maps user, some of these tips were familiar to me, and some were not. If you use Google Maps, feel free to share any of your own tips in the comments section.

WhatsApp drops down to zero dollars on the App Store

Popular instant messaging service WhatsApp has made their iOS client free of cost for a limited time. Unlike on other platforms, the iOS version of WhatsApp has an upfront cost of $0.99 for the client.
WhatsApp is available on several other platforms, including Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry OS, Symbian and even Nokia Series 40. However, on other platforms, the application is free to download and use for a year, after which there is a $0.99 yearly fee. In comparison, the iOS version just has a one time fee that you have to pay while purchasing the app. And now even that has been waived off.
If for some reason you have resisted purchasing this app till now on iOS, it’s now available for download for free here.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Facebook Tries Letting You Pay To Guarantee Message Delivery, Changes Messaging Privacy Settings

Messaging Filters
Sometimes you need to message a non-friend, and today Facebook starts testing if it can make a little money and cut spam by asking you to pay to ensure the recipient sees it. Facebook’s also changing everyone’s privacy settings into dynamic filters that let “relevant” messages through. These moves address Facebook’s old settings that caused important messages to sometimes end up unseen.
Previously, Facebook’s messaging privacy settings were cut and dry. You set your inbox to allow messages from everyone, friends of friends, or friends only. Any sender that didn’t qualify had their messages dumped in the “Other Inbox”, a little known sub-tab of the Inbox that most people rarely checked if ever. I had a friend who actually got a Facebook Message from a long-lost brother from the other side of the world but didn’t see it for six months because he wasn’t a friend of a friend.
Facebook’s trying to rectify this situation, and also make room for the new revenue stream it’s testing by replacing these hard settings with softer filters.
If you were set to accept messages from friends of friends or everyone, you’ll now have the “Basic Filtering” which means you’ll mostly see messages from friends and people you may know in you main Inbox. If you had restricted your Inbox to friends only, you’ll be switched onto the Strict Filtering which means you’ll mostly see messages from friends.
You’ll notice the word “mostly” in there. That’s gives Facebook the freedom to deliver messages to your main Inbox even if they’re from outside your preferred categories of senders if it thinks they’re highly relevant. For example, if you have the Strict Filtering setting and are in a group message thread with three friends and one non-friend, Facebook might allow that non-friend to reach your main Inbox because there’s a high likelihood you want to see their message.
The new filters help out with the new version of Facebook Messenger For Android that allows signups from people without Facebook accounts. If a non-Facebook user that has your phone number in their address book tries to message you, Facebook might let that through.
Messaging Filters Full
These filters also permit Facebook’s new paid messaging system that it begins testing today with a very small percentage of users in the United States. The idea is that by letting people pay $1 or some other small fee, Facebook knows a message is important to the sender. The price also theoretically deters spam because conversion rates on spam messages are so low that having to pay to deliver them makes it very tough to earn money. Facebook is also capping the number of paid messages you can receive per week at one for now to reduce the potential for abuse.
Facebook explains that “Several commentators and researchers have noted that imposing a financial cost on the sender may be the most effective way to discourage unwanted messages and facilitate delivery of messages that are relevant and useful.”
Some users will surely be annoyed by both changes. Most people don’t want Facebook meddling with their privacy settings without express consent. Others will likely be angry that anyone with some money to spare can pester them with Messages. In the end, these settings might actually help people with strict privacy settings see important messages, and reduce spam for people with relaxed settings, but we’ll have to wait and see what their impact is, and whether users are able to see their value through the fear.

Another fake Whatsapp message doing the rounds

So, Whatsapp is going to charge users for messages from 2013, but will spare those who send this message (see image below) to 10 people. Only this time, I know that it is fake!

Quite a number of users woke up this morning to a message that read, “UR1994 KB1212 RJ1708 Send this message to 10 people. As soon as all of them have read your message, you will get an SMS from Whatsapp, with an activation code. Once you enter the activation code, you will no longer have to pay to use Whatsapp, which is going to charge for messages from new year 2013."
The fake message doing rounds
The fake message doing rounds

If this reminds you of a recent instance, wherein similar messages did rounds of the popular chat service, then you’re not alone. Only last month, users came forth with complaints of being bombarded with messages - some telling them the service would soon be a paid one, and that if users wished to continue using it for free, they should forward this message to 18 contacts on their list. There were others that came in with a string of emoticons, asking the recipient to forward it to 11 of his contacts to activate a new version of Whatsapp. 

Twitter is abuzz too, with quite a few users discussing the latest message. 

Previously, the messages found their way to many, many inboxes, resulting in complete chaos. 

One of the messages read -
“Hello everyone, it seems that all the warnings were real, the use of WhatsApp cost money from summer 2012. If you send this string to 18 different on your list, your icon will be blue and will be free for you. If you do not believe me see tomorrow at 6 pm ending WhatsApp and have to pay to open it, this is by law This message is to inform all of our users, our servers have recently been very congested, so we are asking your help to solve this problem. We require our active users forwarded this message to each of the people in your contact list to confirm our active users using WhatsApp, if you do not send this message to all your contacts WhatsApp, then your account will remain inactive with the consequence of losing all their contactsMessage from Jim Balsamic (CEO of WhatsApp) we have had an over usage of user names on whatsapp Messenger. We are requesting all users to forward this message to their entire contact list. If you do not forward this message, we will take it as your account is invalid and it will be deleted within the next 48 hours. Please DO NOT ignore this message or WhatsApp will no longer recognise your activation.

 If you wish to re-activate your account after it has been deleted, a charge of 25.00 will be added to your monthly bill. We are also aware of the issue involving the pictures updates not showing. We are working diligently at fixing this problem and it will be up and running as soon as possible. Thank you for your cooperation from the Whatsapp team” WhatsApp is going to cost us money soon. The only way that it will stay free is if you are a frequent user i.e. you have at least 10 people you are chatting with. To become a frequent user send this message to 10 people who receive it (2 ticks) and your WhatsApp logo should turn Red to indicate a frequent user. Am sorry had no option! And check now the status of every individual contact is showing : Status : error."

At the time, irate users took to popular social networking sites expressing their irritation over being bombarded with these messages by their contacts, while those who have been spared the hoax messages are expressing relief. Another good reason to rubbish these messages as hoax is a blog post (which although came out way earlier, deals with the same message) on WhatsApp that clarifies all doubts.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Bricks, bits and mortar

THE lengthy, predominantly male queues outside Apple shops on launch days suggest that, contrary to received wisdom, not all men hate shopping. Yet the impression that they do periodically prompts retailers to try and re-invent the activity to appeal to the more retail-reluctant half of the population. The latest such ploy is a high-tech clothing chain calledHointer, which opened its first branch in Seattle last month selling jeans. Hointer has no over-solicitous sales assistants, no confusing piles of clothes and no endless lines at the tills. Instead, only one of each style of jeans is displayed on the shop floor. Shoppers use a smartphone app to scan items they wish to try on, and choose a size and colour.
The app sends a message over the internet to a robotic system in the stock room. This locates a pair in the correct size and uses tensioned cables to drop it into a basket in one of the shop’s six large dressing rooms. When Babbage tried it, the whole process took less than the time to walk to the fitting room, around 30 seconds. If the jeans fit, customers can simply put them in a bag, swipe their credit card through a reader and walk out the door without ever interacting with another person.
Nadia Shouraboura, Hointer’s boss and an  former vice-president at Amazon, says her aim is to make High Street clothes shopping as fast, convenient and stress-free as buying online. And because most of its jeans are tightly stored behind the scenes, Hointer can also offer a much wider range than most bricks-and-mortar shops: over 150 styles in its pilot branch. Ms Shouraboura plans to launch more shops in Seattle and San Francisco, and soon in London. She claims that a Hointer shop can offer ten times the selection of a normal store, making it particularly appealing to retailers in cities with expensive real estate. Hointer’s stripped-down, minimalist industrial design also allows her to open a store in as little as a day.
Every pair of jeans has a wireless tag that tracks its location in the shop—or alerts the store’s sole employee if someone tries to leave without paying. With robotic technology replacing human workers, Ms Shouraboura says that Hointer should soon be able to match online prices, with brand-name jeans starting from just $10. (At the moment, most of Hointer’s jeans are premium brands far beyond Babbage’s meagre clothing budget.)
While smartphone-enabled shopping is on the rise, Hointer’s high-tech operation is not immune from traditional retail woes. Holding a full selection of sizes and colours for 150 styles of jeans means that one small store is sitting on an awful lot of stock, running counter to accepted retail practice of sourcing only a little inventory and selling it as fast as possible.
Despite this, Ms Shouraboura remains upbeat. “Soon, every item in the world will be sold like this,” she says. “It will be bigger than Amazon.” In her upcoming stores, she plans to flog men’s shirts and shoes, too. Eventually, she hopes to launch a sister shop for women called Hointress. After all, some women hate shopping, too.

Google Brings Ancient Bible Scrolls, Ten Commandments Online

Google is making it much easier yet again to see ancient scripture right in the comfort of your own home. The search engine giant announced on Tuesday that it is bringing some of the earliest known copies of part of the Bible to the online world, along with other texts more than 2,000 years old.
Google is partnering with the Israel Antiquities Authority to launch the Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library, an online collection of 5,000 images of scroll fragments. Among the texts is the Book of Deuteronomy, which includes the Ten Commandments, and part of Chapter 1 of the Book of Genesis, which is seen in the picture above and measures in at about 10 cm.
Google said the initiative will shed "light on the time when Jesus lived and preached, and on the history of Judaism."

"Millions of users and scholars can discover and decipher details invisible to the naked eye, at 1215 dpi resolution," Google said in an official blog post. "The site displays infrared and color images that are equal in quality to the Scrolls themselves. There’s a database containing information for about 900 of the manuscripts, as well as interactive content pages. We’re thrilled to have been able to help this project through hosting on Google Storage and App Engine, and use of Maps, YouTube and Google image technology."
The news comes just more than a year after Google put online five manuscripts of the Dead Sea Scrolls,which are ancient documents which include the oldest known biblical manuscripts. These documents were written more than 2,000 years ago on pieces of parchment and papyrus and were preserved in dark caves until recently.

Google's partnership with the Israel Antiquities Authority is a part of a greater effort to bring cultural and historical materials online. The company's most recent initiatives include the Yad Vashem Holocaust photo collection, Google Art Project, World Wonders and the Google Cultural Institute.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012



Apple (AAPL) has just released iOS 6.0.2 to fix a number of bugs on the operating system including one bug that reportedly affected Wi-Fi performance on both the iPhone and the iPad. Some users on Apple’s support forums have in the past complained about an issue where their Wi-Fi connectivity symbol turns grey and prevents them from connecting to their home networks. Engadget’s German site writes that these Wi-Fi issues were supposed to be fixed with the release of iOS 6.0.1 but notes that users have still reported problems connecting to known Wi-Fi hotspots even after installing the patch.


Consumer Reports Windows 8

Like a lot of people right now, you might be thinking about buying a new PC for the New Year. But according to Consumer Reports, you’re probably better off sticking with an old Windows 7 machine for the time being because Windows 8 has some serious flaws that crimp usability and create frustrating experiences. In fact, the publication has created a handy list of reasons to avoid Windows 8 for a while and most of them are pretty compelling. 

Among other things, Consumer Reports writes that Windows 7 is still a very good PC operating system, that Windows 8 really only works if you buy a computer with a touchscreen, that the lack of a native Start button is annoying to many users, and that “Windows 8 models still are not performing as well as expected” and are delivering “less-than-optimal performance.” Windows 8 has taken criticism from a wide variety of sources, including an MIT professor and a very drunk person, for being needlessly confusing.

Amazon's Bezos awarded patent for smartphone airbag system

There are quite a few among us who have at least once been through the hell of having a cracked, or worse, a shattered smartphone display. How about an unbreakable phone, then?

As per a listing on the US Patent and Trademark Office, Amazon Chief Jeff Bezos now officially holds a smartphone airbag system patent, the mechanism behind which is a built-in accelerometer adept at detecting whether the phone is falling too fast. Once it detects that, it will quickly deploy an airbag. In a brief outline of the patent in question, the USPTO site adds, “A system and method for protecting devices from impact damage is provided. Prior to impact between a surface and a device, a determination of a risk of damage to the device is made. If the risk of damage to the device exceeds a threshold, a protection system is activated to reduce or substantially eliminate damage to the device.”
For crack-free gadgetry (Image credit: Getty Images)

In an elaborate description of the patent, it has been explained that it is essentially a damage avoidance system that is activated once the risk of damage is detected, before impact with the surface. In this sense, a damage avoidance system comprises one or more protection elements working together to reduce or prevent damage to the 'portable device' on hitting the surface. 

Using a mobile phone, one of the most commonly used gadgets as an example, the patent description explains that a damage avoidance system on a mobile phone would come with a safety monitoring system and a protection system. For instance, if a user accidentally drops his mobile phone, then the safety monitoring system, using several detection elements, will detect that the device is no longer in contact with the user. It then measures a distance from an approaching surface and decides the velocity toward the surface. The explanation elaborates,"Based on the collected information, the safety monitoring system determines whether the risk of damage to the cellular phone, that will be caused by the impending impact, exceeds an acceptable threshold.  If the safety monitoring system determines that the risk of damage exceeds the acceptable threshold, the protection system is activated."

In this case, a protection system deploys an airbag before the device hits the surface. This way, the airbag meets the surface at impact. The airbag will absorb the impact and protect the device to reduce or eliminate damage. 

The listing on the USPTO page bears the names of Gregory Hart and Jeffrey Bezos as the inventors. The patent application had been filed on February 11, 2010. 

Interestingly, the listing makes note of the fact that at least as per one report, 1 out of 3 cellular phones are damaged or lost in the first year of buying them. "Damage may occur when a cellular phone experiences an uncontrolled impact with a hard surface or even become submerged in a liquid. With the number of cellular phones in use exceeding several billion and repairs typically exceeding $25, the costs of damage and loss of cellular phones amounts to billions of dollars per year," it points out.

Facebook to launch Snapchat-like 'self destructing' message app

Not one to stay behind, Facebook is planning to introduce yet another feature to its kitty – the ‘self destructing’ chat message. The Snapchat-like app, which will destroy messages after having been received, is said to be in the testing stage, reports AllthingsD.

Snapchat became a much used app and became prominent because of its ability to destroy messages within 10 seconds of being sent. A user can send messages that destroy themselves from not only their phones, but the receiver’s phone as well. Snapchat even destroys matter from its own servers. The company even added video capabilities to the app. Clearly, this app became very popular with the youth who used it to exchange messages and photographs.

Facebook too will be looking at implementing similar functions in its chat app, including the capability of deciding the amount of time the message or image remains visible. This move is a part of Facebook’s blitzkrieg addition of features to its apps including standalone ones like Messenger and Camera.
Facebook Messenger takes in non Facebook users into the fold
Destroy your messages after the user receives it on Facebook!

There were rumours raging that Facebook was planning to acquire messaging service WhatsApp. However, it appears that the reports were merely speculative and multiple sources confirmed that they were unfounded. It was revealed that Facebook was actually implementingchanges to its Android app instead.

Facebook has opened up its messenger service to people who aren't registered with the social network, and users can now use Facebook Messenger to chat using only their name and mobile number. Facebook updated its Android app earlier in December to embrace a wider audience base by removing the necessity of being a Facebook member to use the messenger service. It is supposed to help in enticing more non-members to use Facebook services while giving existing users a bonus by letting them chat with friends who are not on the social networking website.

Covering bases of all that’s in vogue with users these days, Facebook had acquired photo editing and sharing app Instagram in September. The deal was valued at $1 billion when the companies agreed to it in April. But Facebook's stock price has lost half of its value since its IPO. With Facebook trading at $18.06 on Aug. 31 when the deal closed, it is worth about $715.3 million – $300 million of it in cash and the rest in stock.

Facebook has steadily worked on making Instagram a bigger part of its family. Come January 16,Instagram's new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service will be effective, and in an official blog post, it has shared all that its users should expect. Sharing a few key updates, Instagram elaborates that nothing has changed pertaining to the ownership of a user's photos or bits about who can see them.

Most importantly, Instagram shares that the updated privacy policy will help them function as a part of the social networking giant Facebook with ease by sharing information between the two of them. This way, it believes that they will be able to fight spam more effectively, detect system and reliability problems quicker and also build better features for users, by learning better how the platform is being used. The updated Terms of Service, Instagram shares, will help protect users and prevent spam and abuse.

Facebook plans on releasing the Snapchat competitor app within a few weeks, aiming at releasing it before the end of the year. How Facebook will tighten the ropes around the kind of data and photos that are shared through its service, owing to its stringent Terms and Privacy Policies, remains to be seen.

YouTube Capture for iOS lets you record, enhance and share YouTube videos

For all those iPhone and iPod touch users who love recording, enhancing and sharing videos on YouTube, Google has launched the YouTube Capture app. Reed Morse, Software Engineer at YouTube, has shared in an official blog post that the newly launched app is the search giant's attempt at speeding up recording, enhancing and sharing videos for users to share with their friends or the whole world. 

The app is ready to record as soon as you open it. Once you are done filming your video, you can write a caption, select the audience you want to share it with and then hit Share. The video continues to be uploaded in the background, even if you have minimised the app. Users can decide the audience they want to share their video with – be it private (only the user can see it), unlisted (only those with a link to the video will be able to view it) or public. 

Here's a video to introduce you to YouTube Capture:

There are many enemies of a good video, shaky hands being one. As a solution to this common problem, the app allows you to touch up the video with YouTube enhancements like colour correction and stabilisation. Users can even trim the length and add free background music from YouTube. These edits can be added to existing YouTube videos on a user's device, and these can be reverted later on Interestingly, the app will remind the user to rotate their phone to a horizontal position while recording the video. This way, not only will the videos be of high quality, it will also be devoid of the "Vertical Video Syndrome".

The app is up for grabs on the App Store. Users can upload their videos to YouTube, Google+, Facebook and Twitter simultaneously. The YouTube Capture app is compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation), iPod touch (5th generation) and iPad. To be able to use this app, users will need devices running iOS 5.0 or later. This app is optimised for iPhone 5. Needless to add, folks at Google are working to bring this app for Android users too.

By way of an official blog post recently, Raul Furnica, Vladimir Vuskovic and Pepijn Crouzen of the YouTube API Team, raised the curtain on the YouTube API version 3.0. YouTube API version 3.0 will enable users to to make better integrated video experiences. Elaborating further, the post adds that the new API is easy to use, courtesy the rich client library support, improved tooling, reference documentation and integration with Google’s common API infrastructure. “Version 3.0 only returns what you ask for and is using JSON rather than XML encoding for greater efficiency. The API introduces new core functionality including Freebase integration via topics, and universal search.  If you develop social media management apps, you’ll love channel bulletin post and full subscriber list management, also new in this release. Version 3.0 of the API constitutes the API's biggest overhaul to date and we’re eager for you to try it today!,” the blog post explains.

Instagram says it now has the right to sell your photos

In its first big policy shift since Facebook bought the photo-sharing site, Instagram claims the right to sell users' photos without payment or notification. Oh, and there's no way to opt out.

Instagram said today that it has the perpetual right to sell users' photographs without payment or notification, a dramatic policy shift that quickly sparked a public outcry.
The new intellectual property policy, which takes effect on January 16, comes three months after Facebook completed its acquisition of the popular photo-sharing site. Unless Instagram users delete their accounts before the January deadline, they cannot opt out.
Under the new policy, Facebook claims the perpetual right to license all public Instagram photos to companies or any other organization, including for advertising purposes, which would effectively transform the Web site into the world's largest stock photo agency. One irked Twitter user quipped that "Instagram is now the new iStockPhoto, except they won't have to pay you anything to use your images."
"It's asking people to agree to unspecified future commercial use of their photos," says Kurt Opsahl, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. "That makes it challenging for someone to give informed consent to that deal."
That means that a hotel in Hawaii, for instance, could write a check to Facebook to license photos taken at its resort and use them on its Web site, in TV ads, in glossy brochures, and so on -- without paying any money to the Instagram user who took the photo. The language would include not only photos of picturesque sunsets on Waikiki, but also images of young children frolicking on the beach, a result that parents might not expect, and which couldtrigger state privacy laws.
Facebook did not respond to repeated queries from CNET this afternoon. We'll update the article if we receive a response.
Another policy pitfall: If Instagram users continue to upload photos after January 16, 2013, and subsequently delete their account after the deadline, they may have granted Facebook an irrevocable right to sell those images in perpetuity. There's no obvious language that says deleting an account terminates Facebook's rights, EFF's Opsahl said.
Facebook's new rights to sell Instagram users' photos come from two additions to its terms of use policy. One section deletes the current phrase "limited license" and, by inserting the words "transferable" and "sub-licensable," allows Facebook to license users' photos to any other organization.
A second section allows Facebook to charge money. It says that "a business or other entity may pay us to display your... photos... in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you." That language does not exist in the current terms of use.
Google's policy, by contrast, is far narrower and does not permit the company to sell photographs uploaded through Picasa or Google+. Its policy generally tracks the soon-to-be-replaced Instagram policy by saying: "The rights you grant in this license are for the limited purpose of operating, promoting, and improving our services." Yahoo's policiesservice for Flickr are similar, saying the company can use the images "solely for the purpose for which such content was submitted or made available."
Reginald Braithwaite, an author and software developer, posted a tongue-in-cheek "translation" of the new Instagram policy today: "You are not our customers, you are the cattle we drive to market and auction off to the highest bidder. Enjoy your feed and keep producing the milk."
One Instagram user dubbed the policy change "Instagram's suicide note." The photography site summarized the situation by saying: "The service itself is still a fun one, but that's a lot of red marks that have shown up over the past couple weeks. Many shooters -- even the casual ones -- probably aren't that excited to have a giant corporation out there selling their photos without being paid or even notified about it."

Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom speaks at the LeWeb conference in Paris. Click for larger image.
(Credit: Stephen Shankland/CNET)
Another unusual addition to Instagram's new policy appears to immunize it from liability, such as class action lawsuits, if it makes supposedly private photos public. The language stresses, twice in the same paragraph, that "we will not be liable for any use or disclosure of content" and "Instagram will not be liable for any use or disclosure of any content you provide."
Yet another addition says "you acknowledge that we may not always identify paid services, sponsored content, or commercial communications as such." That appears to conflict with the Federal Trade Commission'sguidelines that say advertisements should be listed as advertisements.
Such sweeping intellectual property language has been invoked before: In 1999, Yahooclaimed all rights to Geocities using language strikingly similar to Facebook's wording today, including the "non-exclusive and fully sublicensable right" to do what it wanted with its users' text and photos. But in the face of widespread protest -- and competitors advertising that their own products were free from such Draconian terms -- Yahoo backed down about a week later.
It's true, of course, that Facebook may not intend to monetize the photos taken by Instagram users, and that lawyers often draft overly broad language to permit future business opportunities that may never arise. But on the other hand, there's no obvious language that would prohibit Facebook from taking those steps, and the company's silence in the face of questions today hasn't helped.
EFF's Opsahl says the new policy runs afoul of his group's voluntary best practices for social networks. He added: "Hopefully at some point we'll get greater clarity from Facebook and Instagram."