Insiders confirm Facebook Credits are coming to mobile operating systems

facebook currencySince June, there have been some fairly well-supported rumors that Facebook is planning to implement its own mobile payment system. Details from Project Spartan emerged last month and made it pretty obvious that Facebook was working on a way to get around the extremely tight grip Apple’s App Store has on mobile consumers.

Now Bloomberg is reporting that the Project Spartan is underway. “Facebook Inc. is in talks to let developers sell virtual goods within mobile Web browsers, part of an effort to generate more revenue from smartphones and tablet computers,” insiders say.

Social networking sites are seeing huge boosts in their mobile traffic, and Facebook’s mobile data capacity increased 166 percent (in terms of bandwidth) since the beginning of 2011. And Facebook’s well aware of the importance of its mobile presence – and more significantly, how to further develop it.

When Apple introduced iOS 5 recently, it announced a deep Twitter integration with the updated operating system, which begged the question, why not Facebook? One theory is that Facebook’s mobile ambitions have made it wary of partnering with such an established platform. Facebook needs to find a way to profit off of all the smartphone-bred traffic it gets. And mobile Facebook Credits are a start.

Until a payment system is implemented, Facebook will continue to lose out. When users playing Farmville or any other Facebook game purchase something via PC browser, the app’s developer and Facebook each get a cut. But when this happens inside the Facebook app, the mobile operating system manufacturer gets the money that Facebook would otherwise pocket. And considering the popularity of the Facebook app and mobile gaming, that adds up quickly. It’s become increasingly obvious that if users’ payment information is stored by Apple or Android or whoever, they are far more likely to make app purchases and in-app payments. We can’t blame Facebook for wanting a piece of that.

The system will be built for the HTML 5 Web standard, as rumored, and a “select” handful of developers have been chosen for the project. You would be able to play any Zynga-Facebook games or use other applications without leaving Facebook, and obviously your Facebook Credits would be the currency du jour. Facebook is also considering including updating its homepage to include a News Feed for app activities, although this is largely based on speculation for the time being – and we’re hoping that if such a feature sees the light of day, there will be a clear opt-out option. Not sure about you, but we do not want constant and extremely visible updates about new “[insert anything here]-Ville” games.

Computing

The iPhone’s Screen Time and Siri Shortcuts could land on Macs this year

For its desktop computers, it appears that Apple may continue to draw from the iPhone for inspiration. iOS 12 features, like Screen Time and Siri Shortcuts, are believed to be making their way to MacOS this year at WWDC in June.
Computing

Worried about your online privacy? We tested the best VPN services

Browsing the web can be less secure than most users would hope. If that concerns you, a virtual private network — aka a VPN — is a decent solution. Check out a few of the best VPN services on the market.
Mobile

Breaking news: Samsung responds to reported Galaxy Fold display issues

The Samsung Galaxy Fold has arrived, and it goes on sale soon. Folding out from a 4.6-inch display to a tablet-sized 7.3-inch display, this unique device has six cameras, two batteries, and special software to help you use multiple apps.
Mobile

Apple's iOS 13 will reportedly offer a systemwide Dark Mode and windowed apps

iOS 12 was a relatively large update to Apple's iPhone, but iOS 13 could be even bigger. Rumors have begun circulating about what we should expect from iOS 13, which suggest a much more productive operating system for both iPhone and iPad.
Social Media

Looking to officially rid your inbox of Facebook messages? Here's how

Deleting messages from Facebook Messenger is almost as easy as scrolling through your News Feed. Here, we show you how to delete an entire conversation or a single message, both of which take seconds.
Social Media

LinkedIn: Now you can express love, curiosity, and more with new Reactions

LinkedIn is following in the footsteps of Facebook (three years later!) with the rollout of new reactions that give users more ways to express themselves when responding to posts in their feed.
Social Media

Twitter’s experimental Twttr app is even more popular than the real thing

Twttr, the new app that lets regular Twitter users test new features, is proving more popular than the main app, according to the company. The revelation suggests some of the innovations may land for all Twitter users soon.
Social Media

Messenger and Facebook, together again? Facebook tests integrating chats

Longing for the old days where Facebook and Messenger were one app? Facebook is testing an integrated chat option. While Messenger remains more feature-rich, the test brings some chat functionality back into the Facebook app.
Social Media

How to download Instagram Stories on iOS, Android, and desktop

Curious about how to save someone's Instagram Story to your phone? Lucky for you, it can be done -- but it does take a few extra steps. Here's what you need to know to save Instagram Stories on both iOS and Android.
Social Media

Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp went down worldwide for 2 hours this morning

Chaos erupted on the internet this morning, as Facebook, Instagram, and Whatsapp all went down from 6:30 a.m. to approximately 9 a.m. Thousands of users were unable to access the sites or send or receive Whatsapp messages.
Mobile

Skype screen sharing for mobile will let you share your swipes on dating apps

Skype is prepping the launch of screen sharing for mobile so you can share your swipes on dating apps, shop with buddies, or, perhaps, show a PowerPoint presentation to coworkers. It's in beta just now, but anyone can try it.
Social Media

Facebook toys with mixing Stories and News Feed into one swipeable carousel

Facebook's News Feed could look a lot like Stories if a prototype the social media giant is working on rolls out to users. The design change mixes Stories and News Feed posts into a full-screen slideshow that users swipe left to navigate.
Social Media

No more moon showers as Facebook Messenger’s dark mode gets official rollout

Facebook Messenger launched a dark mode last month, but to activate it you had to message the crescent moon to someone. Now it's been rolled out officially, and it can be accessed in a far more sensible way — via settings.
News

Twitter has revealed a launch date for its handy hide replies features

Twitter has revealed a launch date for a feature that lets users hide replies to their tweets. The hope is that it will help the original poster filter out offensive or irrelevant content from conversation threads.