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Oh no, not again: Google's Area 120 is building a hyperlocal social networking app

Google's history with social networking has been tumultuous, to say the least. The most successful attempt has been Google+, which gave competitors Facebook and Twitter reason to be concerned, but ultimately went into disrepair and finally shut down back in April. Few will remember another long lost attempt that went by the name Schemer, a hyperlocal social network designed to help people discover and plan things to do in their area. Things also went poorly for Schemer and it was retired after just 2 years. Now it looks like Google's experimental Area 120 group is taking a run at resurrecting this style of app with a new service called Shoelace.

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Instagram kills Direct, its standalone Snapchat competitor, merges it into main app

In order to fiercely compete with Snapchat, Facebook launched Stories on almost all its messaging platforms, beginning with Instagram. The feature was so popular it succeeded in dethroning its rival, which encouraged the company to release a standalone messaging app called Direct. Although the new software brought some extra features like exclusive filters, Instagram has decided to merge all functionalities into its main application.

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Facebook page admins can now reply to Instagram DMs from FB, as shades of cross-platform integration emerge

Over the years, Facebook has purchased many successful businesses but has for a large part kept these services separate, at least as far as the public can observe. But now we're slowly starting to see that change, as Facebook Page admins become able to respond to Instagram Direct Messages right from their inbox.

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Twitter's chronological timeline rolls out to Android app

Twitter announced last year that it was bringing back the fully chronological timeline. It didn't launch the feature right away, and even when it did, iOS got it first. Oh well, such is life (and you should be used to it by now). Today is the big day for Android, though. Head to your Twitter app and enjoy the glory of a chronological timeline.

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Twitter unveils new policy on dehumanizing speech, seeks feedback from users

They say you should always start with a joke, and boy did Twitter have a real knee-slapper at the beginning of its latest blog post: "The Twitter Rules apply to everyone who uses Twitter." Haha. With the joke out of the way, Twitter explains that it has developed a new comprehensive policy on dehumanizing speech. It's also asking for feedback from all of us on the new policy.

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Facebook is removing the trending news feature next week

Facebook introduced a feature called Trending in 2014, and you can probably guess what it did even if you never touch Facebook. Yes, it shows trending news stories. Facebook is done with Trending, though. The company says it's killing that feature next week in order to focus on other news features.

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Facebook Stories are getting video ads

Posting social media updates is so yesterday. Stories are all the rage now with big players like Snapchat and Instagram racking up many millions of Stories each day. Now, Facebook's version of stories has hit a big user milestone—150 million daily users. Being Facebook, that means it's time to start pushing ads.

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Twitter is testing a bottom navigation bar in its app

Phones are big these days, and that can make UI elements at the top of your screen hard to reach. Thus, apps are increasingly going for the bottom navigation tabs. Even some Google apps are all over the bottom tabs. Now, Twitter appears to be testing a bottom nav UI. We've seen several reports, but it seems there's no way to trigger the UI yourself.

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Facebook plans to build a 'Clear History' feature

Facebook has been roundly criticized in recent weeks for the way it handles user data, including allowing said user data to fall into the hands of political consultancy Cambridge Analytica. Facebook aims to address your concerns at this year's F8 conference. The company is announcing several privacy-oriented features including Clear History. It's not ready yet, but Facebook says this tool will show you where it's getting personal information on you and allow you to delete it.

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Facebook adds 360-degree photos and HD video to Messenger, publisher information to News Feed

Facebook is rolling out new features today to what are arguably its most important products: the News Feed and Messenger. On the Messenger side, you'll get panoramic photos and HD video support. Meanwhile, the News Feed will get additional tools to help you assess the credibility of a publication that appears in your Feed.

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