We knew it was coming and now it's here — a brand new Twitter homepage. It's new, it's very blue, and it's all about search.
In fact, from the looks of it Twitter has decided to take the simple and straightforward front page route, all centered around search. Gone are any attempts to explain Twitter, or a link to the Twitter in Plain in English video. Instead, the Twitter homepage features a big search box, along with popular topics right now, over the past day, and from this week.
The fresh new look is big departure from the previous homepage, but we're kind of digging it here at Mashable. Of course, we're not surprised by the new focus on search, especially since that's Twitter's bread and butter, but the refreshed look and feel has us wondering if looks changes will make their way into the rest of the Twitter experience.
Now that it's here, all you need to do is logout of Twitter to check out for yourself. So take a look and then share your thoughts with us in the comments.
Bill Gates confessed at an event in New Delhi today that he gave up on Facebook because he couldn't keep up with the friend requests. Gates remarked that there were “10,000 people wanting to be my friends” after he tried out the service, and it was time consuming to decide if he “knew this person, did I not know this person”.
Gates was speaking at a gathering to accept the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development on behalf of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In addition to saying that Facebook “was just way too much trouble so I gave it up”, the AFP story on the event quotes Gates as saying he's “not that big at text messaging”. The Microsoft co-founder also mentioned that he doesn't spend all day using technology and that “All these tools of tech waste our time if we're not careful.”
And while Gates insists that he's “not a 24-hour-a-day tech person”, it's clear that a growing number of Facebook users are – it's the very reason why Microsoft has a stake in the networking giant, as users' time and attention are increasingly consumed by these somewhat addictive services.
About a month ago, a company called Triv140 created its attempt at Twitter Trivia, known fittingly as Trivia on Twitter. While there were Trivia services like @PlayTwivia on the market, none caught our attention like Trivia did.
The game is simple: reply to @Trivia with the answers to questions tweeted by Trivia. What really impressed us was its ability to monetize, through sponsors that would provide real prizes to Trivia contestants. Trivia is absolutely engaging and already has found a business model. What more can you ask for?
(Social Networks Online Defense Squad) is a role playing game of cops and robbers. Use your Twitter account to earn virtual money, take on missions, capture other players, and beef up your stats. Oh, and did we mention that your missions are to “capture” Twitter's most popular users?
Sound familiar to another very popular Twitter game? Check out #5 on this list to see what we mean.
Have a Twitter follower you just want to beat the snot out of every once in a while? Instead of a embarking on a real-life brawl, how about trying Tweefight, which pits your accounts against your archenemies?
The game calculates rank in order to determine who wins the fight, but you can improve your odds by using power-ups (that unfortunately cost money). Think of it as Google Fight for the Twitter crowd.
4. 140 Mafia
This is another Twitter RPG that has you recruiting friends, managing your mob, and trying to take over the Twitter mafia. This game is in the same vein and class as SNODS and Twitter's best-known and most popular game...
This list wouldn't be complete without the game that has revolutionized the meaning and quality of all Twitter games: Spymaster. The game is so deep, so complex, and so addicting that we had to write a 3000+ word guide to explain how to use it (see Spymaster Twitter Game: The Complete Guide). It's created addictions and controversies on its path to Twitter immortality.
From spies to leveling to advanced tactics to virtual currency, Spymaster has become the standard in Twitter games. Will someone top it? Maybe eventually, but it will not be a simple task, because Twitter games have really stepped it up and transformed how we play.
iLike, one of the 5 essential tools for marketing your band, is already great at helping artists create a single page that can reach their fans almost anywhere online, and help them monitor fan response.
Today, iLike is announcing a suite of new Web and mobile social integrations to improve artists' music presence on Facebook, MySpace, and YouTube, help distribute their tweets everywhere, and allow them to quickly create a custom iPhone app.
iLike's enhanced integration with Faceboook means that artists with Facebook Pages can add a music tab to their page and display tour schedule, songs, videos, and tweets. The Facebook page is then auto-updated with new material as it's added to iLike.
In the case of MySpace, iLike improves upon the standard calendar app with cooler content around concerts. So, listed events have their own page and show who's going, where it's taking place, include an add to calendar option, and have ticket buy options. The new concert listings are very similar to Upcoming event pages, and definitely likely to appeal to those artists that already have a strong presence on MySpace, but want the utility that better events sites can offer.
Bands and musicians with lots of video content will also love the fact that they can now sync their videos between YouTube and iLike, or post to YouTube from the iLike artist dashboard.
iLike's also working to incorporate artists' tweeting behaviors within all social touch points, so as an iLike musician you can opt to have your Twitter feed on your artist page, in the iLike music feed, and in your Facebook page's iLike music tab. If that's not enough, you can now even tweet from the iLike dashboard, and configure auto-updating to Twitter with your new iLike activities like video messages, album releases, and song streams.
The new self-service iPhone app for artists is another way that iLike hopes to help artists reach more fans. It provides a quick and painless way for musicians and bands to create their iPhone app with all the content they already have in iLike — music, videos, photos, blogs, concerts, fan wall, games — and customize the look and feel. Since the activity is pulled from the iLike Dashboard, artists don't have to worry about updating the app — it will update itself with new content.
Obviously, there's a growing demand for music sites, and social sites in general, to satisfy the demands of bands and musicians. We know that Kyte is anxious to get celebrities and musicians using their platform and their custom made iPhone apps, that Facebook is exploring uncharted territory (for them) with the celebrity of the Jonas Brothers, and that P Diddy is all over Ustream. Clearly everyone and their grandmother is trying to make a play to attract these high profile social media users, but for the time being, iLike's feature set seems to set them apart from the rest.
In the last couple of weeks, Facebook has started improving all sorts of little things around the site: it added semi real-time notifications about new posts in your stream, and most recently it added the possibility of creating custom friend lists in Facebook Chat.
Now, it's added popup alerts above the chat box, which instantly notify you about events such as one of your friends writing on the wall and the like. The popups appear automatically, stay up for a couple of seconds and then are gone; you can still find a list of all the notifications by clicking on the icon in the lower right corner of the screen.
Normally, I'm happy about real-time updates on Facebook; I loved the live feed and I still miss it, but this time I'm not so sure. Notifications include a lot of ads and spam from applications you've installed, and I don't want to be constantly nagged by a popup, saying that (for example) I have new SpeedDate matches.
You can turn off specific types of notifications, by clicking on the X to close the popup, after which you'll be asked to permanently turn off future notifications of that same type. However, the option to completely kill popups of any kind would be nice.