Instagram announces Instagram Direct: photo and video sharing to private groups

During its press event held in New York City today, Instagram announced a new sharing feature called Instagram Direct that will allow users to share images and videos to other users privately.

The new sharing model will require users to follow each other to send photos and messages privately to individuals or groups of up to 15 people. A pending requests inbox will catch photos and messages from users who are not mutually connected.

Instagram also noted its growth from 80 million users to 150 million users worldwide from the start of 2013 to today. Kevin Systrom, co-founder of Instagram, also boasted that over half of Instagram’s users use the service daily…

Instagram on its new Direct feature:

From how you capture photos and videos to the way you start conversations through likes and comments, we built Instagram Direct to feel natural to the Instagram experience you already know. When you open Instagram, you’ll now see a new icon in the top right corner of your home feed. Tap it to open your inbox where you’ll see photos and videos that people have sent to you. To send a photo or video to specific people, tap the camera button to enter the same simple photo or video capture and editing screens. At the top of the share screen, you’ll see the option to share with your followers (“Followers”) or to send to specific people (“Direct”). To send using Direct, tap the names of the people you want to send your photo or video to, write your caption, tap “send” and you’re done.

After sending, you’ll be able to find out who’s seen your photo or video, see who’s liked it and watch your recipients commenting in real time as the conversation unfolds.

Instagram Direct will be available in Instagram 5.0 for Android on the Play Store today.

Moto G shipments plagued by bad weather, delayed until December 17th

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The winter weather has already wreaked some havoc across the US and unfortunately those folks waiting for Moto G shipments, the wait might take a bit longer than anticipated. According to separate emails obtained by Engadget and Android Central, Motorola is explaining that bad weather has impacted operations at their fulfillment center in Forth Worth, Texas.

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Former head of patents at Google is new interim head of US Patent & Trademark Office

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Google’s former head of patents Michelle Lee has been named as the interim head of the USPTO, starting work there on 13th January, reports Yahoo! Finance.

Although technically Lee is deputy director, the agency hasn’t had a director since David Kappos left back in February, meaning that Lee will be running the show for the immediate future at least.

The appointment is an interesting choice given Google’s vocal criticism of patent trolls …  Read more

Google Keep on the web updated with new design

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Google this afternoon announced a major update to its Google Keep service on the web, just in time for the holiday season. The service has been updated with a totally new design, based heavily on the Keep Android app. There are now full color notes, a custom font, and text that scales to fit the size of the note. Also new is the ability to rearrange items in a list. The search functionality has also been improved, and a navigation drawer has also been added to make it easier to switch between notes.

  • Sleek new design: many of your favorite things from the Android app are now on the web – full color notes, text that scales to fit the note, and a custom font just for Keep
  • Rearrange items in lists: keep everything in order, all the time
  • Improved search: finding the note you’re looking for is easier than ever
  • Navigation drawer: quickly switch between your active and archived notes, or get a custom view of all of your notes with reminders

Try out all the features for yourself at keep.google.com. Read more

Google releases ‘a new breed of Chrome apps,’ now available to all Mac users

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Looking back at late September, Google released Chrome Apps which should not be confused with Chrome OS or Chrome’s browser apps. These ‘Chrome Apps’ are full-fledged applications complete with offline support and include apps like Any.do, Pocket, and many more available in the “For your desktop” collection in the Chrome Web Store.

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Google Drive’s spreadsheet maker renamed Sheets, gets offline support & speed improvements

Google Drive has always had a way to make, edit, and manage spreadsheets, and today, the software has received significant upgrades. The web application, now known as Google Sheets, now has the ability to work offline. This is a significant addition for those who need to be productive without an internet connection. Additionally, Sheets has gained significant speed and performance improvements that allow content to load more quickly. The app can now also crunch even more cells and data simultaneously…

New filter and calculation views have also been added. “Filter views is a new feature unique to Google Sheets that lets you quickly name, save and share different views of your data. This comes in handy when you’re collaborating so you can sort a spreadsheet without affecting how others see it,” Google writes on its official blog. Improved text flowing and function help modes. “Whether you’re new to formulas or a wiz at running complex functions, it’s now easier to set up and perform calculations. New function help and examples guide you as you type, and error highlighting and coloring make it easy to spot and fix mistakes,” Google says.

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