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Twitter further embraces multimedia – Apple report battery issues on iPhone 5S – Secret Google project is underway in SF Bay

Twitter becomes more multimedia-laden

Upon its inception in 2006, Twitter was essentially little more than an elaborate stream of text messages limited to 140 characters each. Now, just over seven years down the line and with a reported number of over 200 million regular users, the 140-character rule most definitely still prevails, but that's about it.

Some refer to Twitter as a "micro-blogging" website, and for many it is - especially for those of a journalistic inclination or an outspoken nature. For others it's just another digital platform on which to inform friends and total strangers alike of what they're having for tea - often providing a supplementary snapshot. There are even some Twitter users who don't tweet, choosing instead to remain silent observers of their highly-tailored news feeds.

Rival social networks Facebook and Instagram are well known for their multimedia-heaviness and focus on the visual, and are both filled with images and (to a lesser extent) videos. Twitter seem to have taken note of this and have adjusted their own layout accordingly. Twitter users no longer have to click on image and video links contained within tweets to see what they are. As of yesterday, previews now appear directly on the Twitter timeline.

Twitter's blog commented on the development: "Twitter will be more visual and more engaging... These rich Tweets can bring your followers closer to what's happening, and make them feel like they are right there with you."

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Battery drain issues on the iPhone 5S

New iPhone models, the 5S and 5C, went on sale on 20th September and Apple have reported that the two combined generated sales of more than nine million handsets over their first weekend of release. The former boasts - amongst various other improvements - a far better battery life than previous iPhone models.

However, a manufacturing issue affecting some early batches has dictated that several thousand 5S handsets are faulty and may have problems facilitating battery-charging or providing the promised prolonged battery life.

A New York Times blog piece covering the story quotes Apple spokesman Teresa Brewer in saying: "We are reaching out to customers with affected phones and will provide them with a replacement phone."

Just how many faulty 5Ss have been sold will undoubtedly become clearer over the next few weeks, as unhappy customers continue to report and return their battery-haemorrhaging handsets. A Guardian piece reports that the 5S is outselling the 5C by 4:1.

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Secret Google barge in San Francisco Bay

A new "secret project" by Google is apparently underway on a barge which lies just off the ex-naval base of Treasure Island, situated right in the middle of San Francisco Bay. A structure made out of cargo containers rests on the barge, which is 250 feet long and 72 feet wide. Its purpose is still very much a mystery, and this will most likely remain the case until Google decide otherwise.

Wide speculation seems to have narrowed it down to two likely explanations. The first and seemingly most popular idea is that the barge will act as a "water-based data centre", for which Google were granted a patent in 2009. The 12 large white antennas atop the structure certainly support this hypothesis.

The second theory is that Google will open a retail outlet on the barge for Google Glass. However, Bob Jessup, a construction company superintendent who works very close by has dismissed the idea, arguing that the site would be too aesthetically displeasing to function as a retail unit.

A Coast Guard employee and a California state inspector have both had to sign non-disclosure agreements; the latter says he also had to surrender his mobile phone. The entire area is heavily-guarded and well-fenced in an attempt to further conceal the goings-on around Treasure Island.

Google have, perhaps predictably, denied any connection whatsoever with the vessel, but many speculative fingers are pointing in their direction.

Written by Rachel Hand

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