Chill Gets More Social but Ditches Live Rooms Feature

Chill just launched a new version to make watching videos more social and provide an easier way to find the content you want. Even though the live rooms -- the feature that let you watch videos with friends -- is gone, Chill now offers more discovery options and sharing capabilities like comments, reposts and thoughts. 

The new homepage is now a grid of videos shared by friends and the new popular section shows you what's "cool" at the moment in the Chill community. 

"More and more, the things that are important to us -- music, images, interests -- are being networked," Chill Director of Growth Andrew Skotzko tells LAUNCH. "Why hasn't video been? It's the richest medium of expression we have, but for whatever reason the social tools in video are still pretty weak. Sure, the vast majority of video sharing happens on Facebook & Twitter, but neither of those sites are optimized for consuming video—they're pretty noisy platforms."

While Chill's focus is no longer on watching videos with friends, Andrew says they will still...

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Comcast Brings Live TV Streaming to Tablets but Requires New AnyPlay Device


Comcast is starting to roll out AnyPlay, a device that makes it possible to watch live television on Internet-connected devices like the iPad and eventually, the Motorola Xoom.

For now, AnyPlay is only available to Xfinity HD Triple Play customers in Denver and Nashville but will eventually be available in other markets. In order to live stream all of the channels you subscribe to, with the exception of On Demand programming, you must download the existing Xfinity TV app.

"Here's how it works...the AnyPlay device works the same as any other set top box in the home, but instead of delivering the incoming channel lineup to a television, AnyPlay delivers the lineup to the Wi-Fi router on the home network," Comcast SVP of Video Product Development Mark Hess writes in a press release. "The router then...
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Watch TWiST News Roundtable with Marshall Kirkpatrick and Peter Pham Live at 1pm PT


[ Peter Pham and Marshall Kirkpatrick via creative commons licenses. ]

Today on This Week in Startups, Peter Pham, co-founder of Color, and Marshall Kirkpatrick, formerly of Read Write Web, will join Host Jason Calacanis for the first News Roundtable of 2012 live at 1pm PT.

Peter left Color back in June, less than three months after the social startup launched publicly. Now, he is a partner at the incubator Science, which former Myspace CEO Mike Jones launched in November.

Marshall stepped down from his full-time position at RWW in November to...
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Airbnb for Parking Spots ParkatmyHouse Launches in U.S.



U.K. based ParkatmyHouse, an Airbnb-like marketplace for renting parking spaces in crowded areas, just launched in New York, Boston and Washington, D.C.

Considering that homeowners and business owners tend to have parking spots that go unused throughout the day, ParkatmyHouse connects property owners with drivers in an attempt to turn those unused parking spots into cash and help drivers save money.

Since launching in the U.K. six years ago, 150K+ property owners have earned $5M+ through renting parking spots, the press release states.
 
"We're not talking about a few bucks," Anthony Eskinazi, CEO and founder of ParkatmyHouse, said in the press release. "Property owners with...
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Tumblr Rolling Out Fan Mail for Private Messaging



Tumblr is starting to roll out a new private messaging option for users, Fan Mail, the blogging platform company announced today.

“I’m very pleased to introduce Fan Mail, a beautiful new way to share those sweet, inspiring, or otherwise thoughtful notes with your favorite bloggers,” Tumblr founder and CEO David Karp wrote in a Fan Mail-themed note.

You'll soon be able to send unlimited messages to your favorite bloggers via...
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Survey Says 92% of Political Ad Buyers Choose Facebook Over Twitter



When it comes to advertising political campaigns on social services, Facebook is the tool of choice for political ad buyers, according to software company Strata. So if you start to realize there are more political ads on Facebook compared to other networks, you can't say we didn't warn you.

Strata recently conducted a survey that found 92% of political ad buyer respondents choose to spend money on Facebook ahead of Twitter (46%), YouTube (31%), LinkedIn (31%) and Google+ (23%). Overall, digital ad spending has doubled since the 2010 election.

When we recently logged into Facebook, we immediately noticed an anti-Mitt Romney ad by...
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Facebook's User Growth Continues to Decrease while Google+ Adds 625K Users Daily



Facebook's growth rate for its user base is continuing to decrease while Google+'s user base is growing, and at the same time when Google+ just experienced its biggest traffic month of all time.

As All Facebook reports, in the 1,001 days from April 1, 2009 through Dec. 28, 2011, Facebook added 609M, with averages of around 600K per day and seven per second. But according to Optim.al, that growth rate has tapered off.
 
While Facebook's growth soared to 8.39 users per second from July 2010 through March 2011, it slowed to 7.02 users per second from March 2011 through Sept. 2011. From Sept. 2011 through Dec. 2011, growth dropped to five users per second.

Last month, an unofficial Googler revealed how Google+'s growth is accelerating, noting how it recently passed 62M users and adds 625K users per day. Still, Facebook has...
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Watch SimpleGeo and Sprint.ly Co-Founder Joe Stump on TWiST Live at 1pm PT

[ Image courtesy of Joe Stump via creative commons license. ]

Today on This Week in Startups, SimpleGeo co-founder Joe Stump will speak with Host Jason Calacanis about his newest venture, software development service Sprint.ly.

Joe left SimpleGeo, along with co-founder Matt Galligan, after Urban Airship acquired the company for a reported $3M in Oct. 2011. Prior to the acquisition, SimpleGeo raised $10M in funding from Ron Conway, Kevin Rose, Chris Sacca, Timothy Ferriss, Shawn Fanning and Gary Vaynerchuk.
 
Before launching SimpleGeo, Joe co-founded...
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Zuckerberg Supports Facebook Competitor Path


Despite any potential threat that Path might be to Facebook, Path CEO Dave Morin says that Mark Zuckerberg supports the company and even uses the product.

"We're friends on Path," Dave said on This Week in Startups. "Mark's a great supporter. He gives me great advice."

Dave, a former Facebook Senior Platform Manager, was one of the original members of the Facebook team platform team but left to start Path in 2010.

"I don't think I'm reacting to anything," Dave says. "I think that we believe...
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Discovr Hits 1.5M Downloads, Launches Movie Discovery App


The company behind music discovery app Discovr, which recently hit 1.5M downloads, just launched Discovr Movies for iPhone, iPad and Mac OS.

"It was the single biggest request we kept hearing from users," Filter Squad founder and CEO David McKinney tells LAUNCH via email. "We just got heaps of people asking us to make Discovr Movies."

Discovr Movies features an interactive map of movies, making it easier to discover new ones from a data set of nearly 500K titles.

"People intuitively understand the...
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Google+ Boosts Stream Control, Adds Brand Page Admins



Google+ just shipped a load of new features including a volume slider to adjust how posts from specific Circles integrate into the stream, notifications that are easier to understand and the option to add up to 50 people as administrators to a brand page.

"Oh, cool," Robert Scoble writes on Google+. "Google+ finally included its first form of noise control this morning. Good first step. Now we need Gmail-style filtering on top of this."

The volume slider lets you control whether you want to see more or less...
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Gmail for iOS Adds Scribbles Drawing Tool, Custom Signatures



If you have ever wanted to send an email with just doodles or scribbles, now you can with the Gmail app for iOS and Gmail for mobile devices. 

"In the Gmail app and Gmail for mobile you can now open up a canvas and scribble a message that will be attached to your email," the Gmail blog states. "It's perfect for sending a quick sketch that is hard to express in words or adding a fun graphic to make your email more personal."
 
Scribbles offers 10 different colors, three brush sizes, lines, erasers and spray paint.

As The Next Web notes, "you can now have arts and crafts time inside of your Gmail app."

As part of the update, you can also set a custom signature for...
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Zite Personalized News App Lands on iPhone to Rival Flipboard


Personalized news app Zite has just made its way to the iPhone -- the same week competitor Flipboard launched for iPhone.

 
Zite, powered by personalization technology, makes it easy for users to find interesting topics and stories to read based on their taste. Zite learns from both explicit -- thumbs-up and thumbs-down -- and implicit -- what stories you click on -- feedback to deliver more relevant news to you.

Current Zite for iPad users will be able to use their same profile on the iPhone thanks to Sybil, which allows multiple profiles.

While Flipboard's iPhone app...
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Is Google+ Trying to Be Like Myspace Music?



Japanese pop group AKB48 is leveraging the social functions of Google+ to regularly host Hangouts with fans and broadcast concerts live through Hangouts on Air, Google+ VP of Product Bradley Horowitz recently announced.

When MySpace was still in its prime, it served as the go-to place for keeping track of what songs artists were creating. In 2007, it even launched Myspace Transmissions, a series of digital EPs featuring audio recordings, streaming video of music performances and video footage of artist interviews for fans to enjoy.

As interest in With Myspace irrelevant and Facebook tightly integrated with Spotify, Google keeps making an effort to expand its music content on the network, as it launched Google Music featuring tight integration with Google+ in November to challenge iTunes Match and Spotify. At that same time, Google introduced its Artist Hub, a DIY-like software that lets anyone sell and price their music on Google Music.

Horowitz describes AKB48 as...
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Excelade Video Analysis App Helps You Master All Sports, USA Olympic Skeleton Coach Loves It



Sports video analysis app developer UberSense recently launched a new product into its family -- Excelade for iPad and iPhone, which provides video analysis for any sport, dance form, musical instruments or other types of activities where technique analysis could be beneficial.

With Excelade, athletes and dancers can easily analyze their performance and compare it against their own progress, progress of friends or against instructional videos, similar to the apps for Golf and Baseball. While SwingReader Golf and Baseball offered a library of pro videos, since there are numerous sports, they did not want to pre-populated the app with a ton of videos, UberSense co-founder Amit Jardosh tells LAUNCH via email. 

"Features-wise, for now the app is almost on par with our other apps, but...
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Facebook Security Flaw Reveals Zuckerberg's Private Photos


[UPDATE 12/13/11 at 9:15am: Facebook is now suggesting that you enable secure browsing to help protect account from hackers. ]

[ UPDATE 11:52am PT: ] Facebook has ackowledged the bug that allowed users to access private photos and is currently fixing the bug. A Facebook spokesperson told ZDnet that the bug "was discovered in one of our reporting flows" that let users report several instances of inappropriate images or posts. Facebook also reaffirmed its commitment to data privacy, stating it as a "top priority" for the company. ]

A Facebook security hole that allows you to view, save and share private photos has enabled one hacker to expose those of Mark Zuckerberg.

The method requires you to first locate the person you want to view photos of, then report a photo as nudity or pornography. From there, check Report to Facebook and click continue. Facebook will then give you the option to help them take action by selecting additional photos to include in the report, which then gives you access to the user's private photos.

Facebook has received an enormous amount of criticism lately...
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Zite Adds First Branded Section for Lululemon, But Still No Ads in App



Tablet magazine Zite has just launched its first branded section for athletic clothing line lululemon yet still refrains from placing ads -- which have become the norm on Flipboard, Editions by AOL and tablet content platform OnSwipe.

"We’ve been very vocal about not putting ads into Zite," the blog states. "Though you will find lululemon posts within the section, most of the content is simply what may inspire a lululemon guest," the Zite blog states. "From health articles to fitness tips, lululemon trained the channel to generate content that would appeal to health and fitness buffs. Of course, the lululemon channel will also personalize content for you based on your reading habits and specific interests."
  
To access the channel, click "Customize" and select lululemon. 

Flipboard, which...
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Nimble Is Free No More, Launching CRM Platform at $15 Per User Monthly for Businesses



Nimble, the social CRM company that lets you monitor your Gmail, calendar, Facebook, Twitter and other social accounts, is set to publicly launch in January 2012 at a price slightly hire than expected.  

"As you know, Nimble has been free during our testing phase," CEO Jon Ferrara writes to users. "We wanted to wait until Nimble was something worth paying for...something truly helpful in growing a business."

While a free single-user version of Nimble for basic social relationship management will still be available, businesses who use Nimble as a team will have to pay $15 per user per month...
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Google Search Makes Graphing Math Functions Easy and Free


Students can now plot mathematical functions including trigonometric, exponential and logarithmic, using Google search.


Simply type in a function and Google will show you an interactive graph at the tip of the search results page. You can zoom in and out across the plane to explore the function in more detail and also plot multiple functions.

"I still recall the day when my friend Yossi came to school and showed off his brand new graphing calculator," Google Engineer Adi Avidor writes on the Google Inside Search blog. "I was stunned by how easy it was to plot complicated functions -- meanwhile, the rest of us were still drawing them by hand on graph paper."

While there are a number of free and paid mobile apps that function like...

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