All posts in “lists”

Amazon finally makes collaborative wish lists a reality

The new capability has been highly requested by Amazon (and Ebay and any other platform with wish list-like functions) users for a long time, and it previously only allowed us to share our wish lists, simply meaning others could merely view the lists.
The new capability has been highly requested by Amazon (and Ebay and any other platform with wish list-like functions) users for a long time, and it previously only allowed us to share our wish lists, simply meaning others could merely view the lists.

Image: LightRocket via Getty Images

Christmas in July!

Amazon is making it much easier for people to participate in the consumerist culture this month (besides Prime Day, of course). The e-commerce giant will finally let us collaborate on wish lists!

The new capability has been highly requested by Amazon (and Ebay and any other platform with wish list-like functions) users for a long time, and it previously only allowed us to share our wish lists, simply meaning others could merely view the lists.

But this new feature will now allow people to build lists together.

Amazon’s wedding registry was previously the only place more than one person could edit a wish list, so this is revolutionary for group gift giving. It’s like Pinterest shared boards on steroids, but instead of identifying snazzy looks or projects you want to execute (but still have to gather all the elements for), all the parts have been found.

Collaborative wish lists have unfortunately not yet hit all users, but according to Android Police, which first reported the addition, the invite button appears on any list once the function hits your account.

Clicking invite will reportedly generate a link that you can then send to people, and after that, it’s essentially like Google Docs (but seemingly without the blockchain). Inviting people will allow them to edit the list like it’s their own (adding, deleting, and altering quantities of items), and you can control who has access to it.

Those with editing abilities will also have a new function to chat each other about the wish list, which is also straight out of Google Docs’ page. But does that really matter when we can finally collaborate on contributing to capitalism?

Happy shopping y’all.

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Prepare to see everyone’s to-do lists on Facebook now

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A new list feature is coming to Facebook.

Starting Tuesday, the social network is rolling out itemized lists that you can post as you would a status update. You can add colors and emojis to your list, and pick a bulleted or numbered format. There’s so much potential.

Facebook is already pretty list-heavy, with users on their own volition ranking top movies of 2017 or favorite songs, and sharing them in status updates. But now it can be Facebook official. This new feature seems especially useful at the end of the year when lists are everywhere. 

Here’s what it’ll look like within the News Feed:

A bullet list.

A bullet list.

Image: facebook

A numbered list.

A numbered list.

Image: facebook

You’ll be able to create your own list, clone any you see in your feed, and of course, like and comment on your friend’s lists.

The only worry is that all Facebook users will default to the ultimate list: The to-do list. Heads up, nobody wants to see a list of your errands. That kind of list is unlikely to spark conversation, instead just making everyone anxious about their own to-do lists. Keep that in your own private space — no need to share.

Even Facebook’s sample lists include a “things I need to get done” list. What? Why? We should not be encouraging this kind of oversharing content. It’s already too much to see everyone’s meals photographed and posted online, let alone a mundane itinerary.

The dreaded to-do list.

The dreaded to-do list.

Image: facebook

The new list feature is somewhat reminiscent of the now-defunct li.st app. Even if that app is long gone, hopefully its more creative use of lists will live on through Facebook — if people seize the challenge.

Instead of just posting an errand list on your News Feed, take it to the next level with lists of random thoughts, inspirations, funny overhead quotes, and other non-to-do list topics. And remember, everyone who sees your status updates will see these lists, unless you set things otherwise.

Here’s a list of things you could post that aren’t to-do lists:

  • Shower thoughts

  • Fitness goals for that 10K you’re running in April

  • Podcasts to listen to on a road trip (everyone is always asking this on Facebook) 

  • Realizations/epiphanies you had while babysitting your friend’s kid 

Basically anything other than your plans to clean the litter box and then sweep the kitchen.

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Facebook pushes for more personal updates with launch of new Lists feature


Facebook’s status update box is getting a new feature called Lists, which begins rolling out today. This is the first major update to the entry field since the launch of colored backgrounds just over a year ago, and also serves as a way to encourage Facebook users to share more personal content. The feature, like it sounds, lets users make lists of anything they choose – New Year’s Resolutions, To Do’s, restaurants to try, travel ideas, and more.

Users can create their own lists with colored backgrounds, and decorate them with emoji.

The lists are also designed with the idea that friends could copy each other’s lists to share their own opinions about the subject at hand.

The feature is not yet broadly available, as it’s a slow global rollout starting today, we understand.

The addition appears as a part of the “What’s on your mind?” (status update) box as another option alongside things like Polls, Feeling/Activity, Photo/Video, Check In, GIF, and other items.

The goal with features like these is to push users to post more personal updates – like stories about their lives, what they’re up to, and what they’re thinking. These types of posts were once Facebook’s bread-and-butter, and enticed friends to log back in to see what others were saying. But over the years, Facebook’s News Feed has filled with videos, links, news, memes, updates from Facebook Pages, and, of course, ads.

Facebook today is trying to solve the problem of too much non-personal content in its News Feed.

Recently, it said it’s tweaking the News Feed algorithm to show more posts from users’ friends and family, and fewer from brands and publishers. But one problem with that strategy is that people have been posting less personal content over the years.

A report from The Information released in December 2016 said that personal updates had declined 15 percent over the year, and had declined 21 percent from mid-2014 to mid-2015.

On top of this, Facebook’s younger user base is also in decline. According to a report from eMarketer this week, Facebook lost approximately 2.8 million U.S. users under 25 in 2017, and will lose around 2.1 million more this year.

With the hopes of reversing this trend, Facebook has been developing features to appeal to younger users. For example, it bought the viral app tbh in October 2017 and then quickly rolled out a Q&A feature similar to tbh’s in the News Feed. Lists also feel like the sort of thing that will appeal to younger users, though they could help anyone call more attention to their posts – like the colored backgrounds now do.

Facebook did not give an ETA as to when the rollout would complete, but Lists will begin appearing for some subset of users beginning today.

Twitter just launched, and killed, a new abuse fix in 2 hours

Twitter is updating its safety features, but not all at once.
Twitter is updating its safety features, but not all at once.

Image: Richard Drew/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Twitter is trying to listen to users when it comes to abuse, apparently. And that means rolling out a fix and killing it in short order.

On Tuesday morning, the company announced it would no longer notify users when they were added to lists. Lists are often deployed as a tool of harassment — adding people to a “top idiots of 2017” list, for example. But they’re also used to organise communities or to follow certain topics.

Two hours later, after waves of mostly negative feedback, the company tweeted: “This was a misstep. We’re rolling back the change and we’ll keep listening.” 

“Reconsidered and reversing,” tweeted Ed Ho, the company’s Vice President of Engineering.

The notification change was part of an ongoing effort to address the company’s “broken windows” when it comes to abuse and harassment, a source familiar with the situation said. 

The Twitter list move was a problematic “fix,” as many online critics pointed out. Most importantly, those added to problematic lists would not know and therefore would not be able to take action, including blocking associated accounts.

Twitter does want users to get list notifications, but not for lists that are abusive. It remains difficult to define the latter, however, so for the moment it chose to block such notifications all together. Until it didn’t.

User customisation seems the obvious answer. It’s preferable that users be able to opt in or out of being added to lists at all, as well as being able to report those using it as a tool of abuse. 

But others just want Twitter to deal with its Nazi problem.

While Twitter has updated its abuse and harassment policies, the complexity of abuse on the platform can only be dealt with through product fixes. “Safety by design,” in other words. 

In recent weeks, it has allowed users to report accounts even when blocked and introduced additional steps to prevent those who have been suspended from creating new accounts.

Using machine learning and detection methods that previously countered extreme content relating to terrorism and child abuse, the company is looking at a combination of factors that might indicate abusive accounts with a high degree of certainty: IP address that have previously had suspended accounts, similar handles, similar email addresses, and accounts that start @ replying the same people and using the same hashtags.

There’s more in the works at Twitter, but the issue remains: The company gives everyone a public platform no matter their opinion (almost), so every technical fix is going to look ineffective and incremental compared to the size of the problem.

“We are aware that we are far behind the industry standard,” the inside source said. “We have always erred on the side of freedom of speech and the unintended consequence is abuse.”

And that’s the almost impossible problem Twitter has set itself: How can you fix abuse without giving away your entire business model and mission?

Google Maps lets you save and share favorite places with launch of Lists


Google Maps is today rolling out a new feature to all users on iOS and Android devices that will allow you to make lists of places that you can star, save and share with friends. There are three different lists types built in at launch – “Favorites,” “Starred Places,” and “Want to Go” – the latter which is designed to serve as a personal bucket list. However, you can also create your own custom lists which can be public, private, or shared with a link.

The feature has been in testing since this past fall among Google’s power users, Google Local Guides, and was built off the starring functionality that’s been available in Google Maps for over five years.

Being able to create and share lists of places could give Google Maps a more social feel to it. That’s an area that Google wants to explore, notes Maps lead product manager, Zach Maier.

Before, he says, Maps has been focused on getting people from point A to point B without getting lost. Now, “we want to help people break out of their routine, and do something new,” he explains.

google-maps-places

To use the lists option, you tap the “Save” button that appears on the detail page for the location in question, whether that’s a business – like a restaurant, bar, or shop – or anything else. It can even be a drop pin you place on the map itself, Maier said. That’s helpful for marking specific destinations that aren’t otherwise discoverable in Google Maps, like a particular spot within a large, local park.

It seems like Starred places and Favorites could have some overlap, but the intention with Stars is to allow users to save a personal list of places they need to reference, that aren’t necessarily those they would call “Favorites.” For example, a doctor’s office or school might be Starred, but not favorited.

During testing, users could create lists for themselves, but with today’s launch these can be shared and followed, too.

So if you make a list of the best restaurants in your city, you can make it discoverable by any user on Google Maps by setting the list to public. Or, if you’re making a list to be shared with just one person or a group of friends – like a travel itinerary or local recommendations catering to someone’s particular interests – that list can be shared via a link instead.

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Clicking the link will display the list, and with another click you can choose to follow it as well. This will allow you to pull up the list and keep track of its updates at any time, as long as you’re logged into your Google account.

Google hasn’t partnered with any brands or publishers on the launch to seed the service with interesting and useful public lists, but Maier didn’t rule out the possibility in the future. Today, Google already works with several companies, like NYT, USA Today, Michelin, and Google-owned Zagat, for instance, to augment its search results with more information, including links to those brands’ own lists. It would make sense to bring them to Google Maps at some point, too.

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The new feature will compete head-on with Foursquare, which has offered list-making tools for some time, as well as with smaller startups like Soon, Spot, and the zillions of other “bucket list” making tools on the App Store.

Google’s public lists won’t yet be searchable, in the same way that Foursquare’s are, but your own lists will pop up as suggestions when you begin to type in the search box. Your lists and those you follow are also available offline.

Google says the new feature is rolling out today on iOS and Android, and lists will be viewable on the web through shared links. The full list-making experience will come to the web and other platforms at a later point.