Is Facebook About To Kill Twitpic?

I have mobile uploads all over the place. Some of my photos get posted to Twitpic, some on Flickr, some on Facebook and some… crap… I don’t even remember the names of the other sites. So, the real question isn’t whether Facebook is about to kill Twitpic… the REAL question is… will anybody care?

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twitpic LogoFacebook has been increasingly using their short URL over the past few week, however the move appears to be much less of an attack on and instead a more effective way to generate traffic from other social channels and fill feature gaps.

Right now it’s annoying, I need to determine where to publish a photo: Facebook, Twitter, and now Instagram. However if I could upload an image to a single source, such as Facebook, and then have that image distributed across all my networks it would be much better. That is exactly what Facebook appears to be doing with their new URL shortening service. Take the following tweet published by Ben Blumenfeld of Facebook earlier today:

It appears to be an automated tweet (presumably from an unreleased service) which states Ben’s Facebook activity. This is somewhat similar to Twitpic which simply links back to images published through their service. If I was able to upload mobile photos to Facebook and have them automatically published out to Twitter, there’s no doubt that it would be my primary mobile publishing tool. While this is only the initial testing, I’ve been seeing similar stories from other Facebook employees over the past couple weeks.

This would only lead me to believe that Facebook is about to move to essentially try and kill off Twitpic, Plixi, and other photo sharing services that are currently filling the gap left by Twitter, who has yet to release their own photos application.


AOL buys it’s own geo-location mobile social service Rally Up

WOW! Remember when AOL was King? Now it seems they are just Tardy For The Party. In any event, their stocks rose (if only slightly) after they purchased the geo-location social networking site Rally Up. I’m already checking into five different places and starting to narrow it down to my top three. I, for one, will not Rally Up anywhere but good luck to AOL in it’s attempt to remain relevant.

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Internet company AOL Inc. has purchased location-based social networking service Rally Up for an undisclosed sum.

New York-based AOL said Tuesday that Rally Up’s mobile applications will add to its consumer applications unit. The company will join AOL in its new office in Palo Alto, Calif. Rally Up will work with AOL’s vice president of mobile, David Temkin, on creating products that are first released as mobile applications, AOL said.

Rally Up started in 2009. It offers a social networking app by the same name for Apple Inc.’s iPhone and iPad, and has submitted another application to Apple’s App Store called FacePlant that is meant to let iPhone users see friends and start a video chat over the iPhone’s FaceTime app.

AOL shares rose 5 cents to finish regular trading at $22.22.


Where’s my 4G?

No matter how sexy the phone is… if you can’t get coverage… it is just a worthless shiny toy!

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It’s not an overstatement to say that Sprint pulled off a significant coup earlier this year when it introduced America’s first 4G smartphone to rave reviews. The HTC Evo 4G not only attracted new customers to a carrier that had long been losing them, but it also gave a much needed boost to a struggling brand.

Though the Evo 4G, and the newer Samsung Epic 4G, are sold across the country, Sprint’s 4G WiMax network still does not cover some of the nation’s largest cities. And for 4G handset owners paying an extra $10 per month for service they don’t get, the coverage gaps can seem endless, inexplicable, and frustrating.

Why the wait?
So what is the holdup? Why does it take so long to get 4G and when will Sprint add new cities? Indeed, we’ve asked those questions for months, so we don’t blame CNET readers for doing the same. Though acquiring the necessary spectrum plays a huge part in bringing 4G service to a new area, Sprint and its partner Clearwire also have to surmount a multitude of logistical and legal barriers before they can acquire the land, build the tower, install the equipment, and switch on the service. Depending on the community, that can take months or even years, and in the process, customers are left waiting.


Foursquare and Gogo Form Their Own “Mile High Club”

Foursquare and Gogo have partnered, using the location based app to market to those of us who want to keep in touch while flying the friendly skies. I must admit, I’ve never heard of Gogo before I read about this partnership. I would imagine that is why they came up with the badge idea in the first place. So, once again, Foursquare is impacting my behavior and I’m off on a mission to get a badge I never even knew I wanted.

Seeing a new badge roll out, a “Mile High Badge” at that, (don’t judge me) sparked my interest and I needed to learn more. I went to the Gogo website to see what they were all about, which, after all, was what they were hoping for. Gogo is a paid Internet inflight wi-fi network, providing coverage on flights throughout the United States. Here’s how it works, once the aircraft reaches 10,000 feet and the flight attendants says it’s OK to can turn on your portable electronic devices, you log into Gogo and you can tweet, check-in on Foursquare, blog, post to Amplify or surf the web right from your smartphone.

Not only do I want the badge but I want to be able to tweet from 30,000 feet in the air. So, I’m off to find an airline tickets and signing up for Gogo. I wonder how many check-ins I have to do to get my badge? Meanwhile, Foursquare, we are going to have to seriously talk about more user incentives. I get why business want to partner with you and I appreciate the specials that pop up from time to time but we are going to have seriously talk about more user incentives. I mean, why would I keep checking in and going after these badges? At some point the “cool factor” is going to wear off. Already I’ve begun to enjoy checking into Yelp more than Foursquare. Oh, and Glue gives out real-live, physical badges… GIVES them out. I think I’m starting to move into stage five of my Foursquare addiction… it’s about time!

Read all five stages of Foursquare “From Addiction to Apathy: The Five Stages of Foursquare Use” here.

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Starting today, airplane passengers who check in to Foursquare via Gogo’s Inflight Internet service will be greeted with a nice surprise — the “Mile High Badge.”

The “Mile High Badge” is nothing more than a digital token you can use to celebrate your location-based conquest. But the Foursquare-Gogo team-up suggests that in the future, mobile phone checkins may have an important place in the sky too.

Gogo Inflight Internet is available in the United States on Air Canada, AirTran, Alaska, American, Delta, United, US Airways and Virgin America. A la carte, Gogo service costs around $10 per flight, depending on the airline and the destination. The provider also sells service by month, in six packs and as 24-hour passes.

As Wi-Fi in the sky becomes more ubiquitous, the competition to attract passengers who pay to surf will only grow for both Internet carriers and airlines alike. Gogo’s Foursquare “Mile High Badge” is a clever promotional vehicle that, if successful, will have flyers promoting their service across social media channels.