Here are some cool things we read about this past week.
Facebook has just launched promoted posts, a new feature that will extend the reach of the page content. Promoted posts allow Facebook page admins to boost exposure for their posts beyond the normal reach they get in fans’ news feeds – without having to go through a separate ad dashboard. Facebook doesn’t specify how much larger a percentage of a brand’s fans will see that post when it’s promoted. The option is available to any page with more than 400 fans and any type of post can be promoted, including status updates, photos, offers, videos and questions. The posts appear directly within the desktop and mobile news feeds rather than in the right hand column where ads usually appear. Promoted posts are marked “sponsored” in the feed and go to friends of people that interact with the units as well as brand fans.
Google provided free recommendations and reviews from Zagat on Wednesday of this week, serving up content on Google+ in a feature the company calls Local. After paying millions for Zagat in September, Google will finally link social with maps and search features. The Local tab in Google+, available on both desktop and mobile, offers a list of recommended places. The new service will also appear across Google’s Search and Maps for desktop and mobile, combining content from one listing. Reviewers can also share opinions and upload photos on places to eat.
Twitter has reengineered its site to load tweets five times faster, as part of an effort to maintain users’ interest in browsing its constant stream of short messages. The overhaul will also prepare the microblogging service for the next generation of web browsers laying the ground for more interactive features. The changes, which are currently being introduced across Twitter.com, will also do away with the “hashbang” symbol on its page addresses. The “#!” symbol in Twitter URLs was used to tell web browsers to fetch and render tweets requested by the user, but now much of that work will be handled by Twitter’s own servers.
Expanding its partnership outside of the U.S., Foursquare and American Express have launched a new initiative in the UK that allows Amex cardholders to redeem location-based offers from popular brands and restaurants. American Express’ Smart Offer APIs are embedded at supporting retailers or restaurant’s at their POS terminals, which automatically credit a cardholder’s account within five business days, without the need to show a voucher or offer code. Starting this week, Foursquare users can redeem offers at outlets including Bella Italia, Tesco, Café Rouge, Eat, House of Fraser, Nando’s, PizzaExpress, Primark and Strada.