Category: Social Networking

Instagram Lite Quietly Released to The Play Store

Instagram Lite, a much smaller version of the full Instagram app, has now landed in the Google Play Store.  The app, which only 573K in size, was quietly released into the store late yesterday and appears to be limited to testing in Mexico at the moment.  A broader roll out is expected, but it isn’t clear when that will happen.

The introduction of a lite version of Instagram goes with a current trend that is happening within app development which is to bring lighter weight apps that require less resources to mass of Android devices out in the market, especially in developing markets.

Twitter Adds Bookmark Feature to Save Tweets for Later

Twitter has begun rolling out a handy new feature to their mobile apps and site:  Bookmarks.  The bookmarks feature allows you to save a Tweet in your feed to read later or to share later.  There appears to be no expiration of the bookmarks either so you can, in theory, save them for as long as you want.

The new feature is rolling out as a cloud-side update to the Twitter apps for both Android and iOS and is also live on the mobile site,  It does not appear to be on the main Twitter site, at least not yet.

In Case You Missed It – Twitter Supports Notification Channels in Oreo

This one could have passed by you without you noticing because it seems to have passed a lot of people by it seems.  Twitter, sometime late last year, rolled out Notification Channel support for those running the social networking app on Android Oreo.  The problem is, they never announced it or put it in the release notes so it isn’t clear when the new feature came into the app.

Notification Channels, in case you don’t know or remember, allow you to set more granular toggles on the types of notifications you get from an app.  It is supported in Oreo but not every app has support for it yet.  Usually when a developer adds support, they advertise it.  Apparently not Twitter.

Twitter Now Supporting Third Party Two Factor Authentication Apps

Twitter has finally begun allowing users to use 3rd party two factor authentication apps to verify their identity.  The new feature is rolling out to users accounts online and you can now select the default SMS authentication or a 3rd party authentication tool.

In April, the social micro blogging site rolled out SMS authentication that allowed users to have an authentication code texted to them when they were logging into their account.  That is still enabled by default but you now have the option to use a 3rd party app like Google Authenticator to verify your identity.   The feature requires that you log into your Twitter account online, then go to Settings & Privacy in your account settings.  There you can setup an authentication app.

Twitter Rolls Out Popular Articles Feature in Android App

Following up on their iOS and web updates, Twitter has now begun rolling out a new Popular Articles feature in their Android app.  The update requires that you have the latest version of their app but this new feature is a cloud-side change that is rolling out to users.

The new Popular Articles feature is based on the interaction with articles from those that you follow on the service.  In other words, if a handful of those that you follow on Twitter like or retweet an article, it will show up in this new section.

Twitter Announces Twitter Lite for Low Bandwidth Connections

In an effort to meet the need of subscribers with slow connections, Twitter has introduced a new web-based Twitter Lite solution.  Twitter Lite is aimed for those on unstable or unreliable networks as well as those on slow connections.  Indeed, based on a report from GSMA, 45% of smartphone connections are on 2G speeds or slower.  Using data compression and other techniques, the Lite version of Twitter can launch about 30% quicker.  It is also more resilient on slow speed connections.

The new Lite version is accessed by going to from your mobile device.  Once there, you will see that it looks pretty much like your normal Twitter feed.  Now tap on your profile avatar to go into Settings.  About halfway down you will see a new Data Saving feature which you can enable.  This further reduces the load of Twitter to your phone’s browser, by up to 70%.

Twitter No Longer Counting Usernames in 140 Character Limit on Replies

Twitter continues to tweak their service to give you more space in your replies on the service.  Starting today, the company is rolling out an update to users that eliminates the username of those to whom you are replying to from your 140 character limit.  This means you will have those characters to formulate your reply and, hopefully, not have to do so in multiple Tweets.

How this works is pretty straightforward.  When you reply to a Tweet, the @username part is removed from the tweet but you are shown who you are replying to at the top of the page on your Android phone.  While this isn’t a big deal for individuals you are replying to, for large groups, it is a big space saver.

Instagram Update Allows Multiple Photos in A Single Post

Instagram has rolled out an update to their Android app that brings a long wanted feature to the social sharing app.  Now you can select multiple photos or videos from your phone and have them in a single post.  Up to this point, you were limited to one photo or video per post.  Most people got around this by creating collages but that doesn’t always have the desired effect as it shrinks the photos down considerably.

To use the new feature, you have to have version 10.9 of the Instagram app for Android.  That build is rolling out in the Play Store now so it may be a day or two before everyone sees it hit their phones.  Once you have it and you start a new post, you will see a new “select multiple” feature.  Tap it and then tap all the photos you want to add to your post.  You can have up to 10 and you can mix pictures and video.  After you have selected your photos, you can apply filters to one or all of the photos and the post it as normal.  Once your post is done, those who see it can swipe through your photos to see all of them.

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