In addition to testing out a new format for conversations within a prototype app called twttr and other features like a “Hide Tweet” button, Twitter today confirmed it’s also developing a feature that would allow users to subscribe to individual conversations taking place on its platform.
The new option was first spotted by Jane Manchun Wong, a reverse engineer who often peeks inside popular apps to discover their yet-to-be-launched features and changes.
Twitter is testing "Subscribe to conversation" so you can get notified over a conversation without liking or replying pic.twitter.com/6hpSQcMJZD
— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) March 15, 2019
Wong tells TechCrunch she found the “Subscribe to conversation” feature within the Android version of the Twitter app, where it’s a user interface prototype for now. The button simply reads “Subscribe to conversation” and is positioned at the top right corner of a tweet view, she says.
Reached for comment, Twitter didn’t provide details about specific launch plans. It noted the feature was under development, and pointed TechCrunch to its tweet confirming this. The company’s short statement reads, “This is part of our work to make Twitter more conversational.”
This is part of our work to make Twitter more conversational https://t.co/jB4PWv3A04
— Twitter Comms (@TwitterComms) March 15, 2019
Healthier and better structured conversations are among Twitter’s top goals at present, as the company tries to make its app easier to use and less prone to abuse.
The new subscription feature would allow someone to follow a thread without directly signaling their interest, or having to join in the conversation themselves. With a click of the button, users could instead opt to receive notifications when new tweets were added to that conversation.
To some extent, this feature is another example of how the change from stars to hearts as Twitter’s favoriting mechanism has had a ripple effect on Twitter’s development. The star had indicated interest, but didn’t convey an emotion. Twitter wanted to evoke a more positive vibe, so it shifted over to hearts several years ago. But as a result, people felt they could no longer save tweets they wanted to later reference using the default engagement mechanism, as it indicates an endorsement. (And not all tweets you’re saving are those you support.)
Twitter later addressed this problem with a separate tweet-saving feature, Bookmarks.
Now it’s creating yet another way to track tweets – and, in this case, the resulting conversation, too.
If Twitter had kept stars, it could have built out its “Likes” page with all these variations on tweet-saving and more. It could have added toggles for notifications, and who knows what else – keyword search across your saves? bookmarking with tags? private and public boards or collections, like Moments, but built from bookmarked collections?
Aggregating these features in one place could have made Twitter a valuable reference and “Read It Later” tool to rival apps like Pocket and Instapaper – or even web browser bookmarking itself.
But that’s not the path Twitter took, so now we’ll have Likes (hearts), Bookmarks, and conversation subscriptions, it seems.
Twitter declined to say when the new feature would arrive.
Update: 3/15/19, 5 PM ET to clarify Twitter spokesperson also directly confirmed the development of the feature, as did the tweet the company posted.
Indonesia, the world’s fourth largest country by population, has unblocked Tumblr nine months after it blocked the social networking site over pornographic content.
Tumblr — which, disclaimer, is owned by
Oath Verizon Media Group just like TechCrunch — announced earlier this month that it would remove all “adult content” from its platform. That decision, which angered many in the adult entertainment industry who valued the platform as an increasingly rare outlet that supported erotica, was a response to Apple removing Tumblr’s app from the iOS Store after child pornography was found within the service.
The impact of this new policy has made its way to Indonesia, where KrAsia reports that the service was unblocked earlier this week. The service had been blocked in March after falling foul of the country’s anti-pornography laws.
“Tumblr sent an official statement regarding the commitment to clean the platform from pornographic content,” Ferdinandus Setu, acting head of the Ministry of Communication and Informatics Bureau, is reported to have said in a press statement.
Messaging apps WhatsApp and Line are among the other services that have been forced to comply with the government’s ban on “unsuitable” content in order to keep their services open in the country. Telegram, meanwhile, removed suspected terrorist content last year after its service was partially blocked.
While perhaps not widely acknowledged in the West, Indonesia is a huge market, with a population of more than 260 million people. The world’s largest Muslim country, it is the largest economy in Southeast Asia and its growth is tipped to help triple the region’s digital economy to $ 240 billion by 2025.
In other words, Indonesia is a huge market for internet companies.
The country’s anti-porn laws have been used to block as many as 800,000 websites as of 2017 — so potentially over a million by now — but they have also been used to take aim at gay dating apps, some of which have been removed from the Google Play Store. As Vice notes, “while homosexuality is not illegal in Indonesia, it’s no secret that the country has become a hostile place for the LGBTQ community.”
DocuSign CEO Dan Springer was all smiles at the Nasdaq on Friday, following the company’s public debut.
And he had a lot to be happy about. After pricing the IPO at a better-than-expected $ 29, the company raised $ 629 million. Then DocuSign finished its first day of trading at $ 39.73, up 37% in its debut.
Springer, who took over DocuSign just last year, spoke with TechCrunch in a video interview about the direction of the company. “We’ve figured out a way to help businesses really transform the way they operate,” he said about document-signing business. The goal is to “make their life more simple.”
But when asked about the competitive landscape which includes Adobe Sign and HelloSign, Springer was confident that DocuSign is well-positioned to remain the market leader. “We’re becoming a verb,” he said. Springer believes that DocuSign has convinced large enterprises that it is the most secure platform.
Yet the IPO was a long-time coming. The company was formed in 2003 and raised over $ 500 million over the years from Sigma Partners, Ignition Partners, Frazier Technology Partners, Bain Capital Ventures and Kleiner Perkins, amongst others. It is not uncommon for a venture-backed company to take a decade to go public, but 15 years is atypical, for those that ever reach this coveted milestone.
Dell Technologies Capital president Scott Darling, who sits on the board of DocuSign, said that now was the time to go public because he believes the company “is well positioned to continue aggressively pursuing the $ 25 billion e-signature market and further revolutionizing how business agreements are handled in the digital age.”
Sales are growing, but it is not yet profitable. DocuSign brought in $ 518.5 million in revenue for its fiscal year ending in 2018. This is an increase from $ 381.5 million last year and $ 250.5 million the year before. Losses for this year were $ 52.3 million, reduced from $ 115.4 million last year and, $ 122.6 million for 2016.
Springer says DocuSign won’t be in the red for much longer. The company is “on that fantastic path to GAAP profitability.” He believes that international expansion is a big opportunity for growth.
Stock market investors showed lukewarm enthusiasm for Pivotal Software’s debut on Friday. After pricing the IPO at $ 15, the company closed the day at $ 15.73.
The enterprise cloud computing company has been majority-owned by Dell, which came about after its merger with EMC in 2016. It was spun off from Dell, EMC and VMware in April 2013.
After that, it raised $ 1.7 billion in funding from Microsoft, Ford and General Electric.
Here’s how it describes its business in the S-1 filing:
Pivotal looks to “provide a leading cloud-native platform that makes software development and IT operations a strategic advantage for our customers. Our cloud-native platform, Pivotal Cloud Foundry (‘PCF’), accelerates and streamlines software development by reducing the complexity of building, deploying and operating new cloud-native applications and modernizing legacy applications.”
According to the filing, Pivotal brought in $ 509.4 million in revenue for its fiscal year ending in February. This is up from $ 416.3 million in revenue for 2017 and $ 280.9 million in revenue the year before.
The company is still losing a lot of money, however. Losses for fiscal 2018 stood at $ 163.5 million, improved from the than the negative $ 232.5 million seen in 2017 and $ 282.5 million in 2016.
“We have incurred substantial losses and may not be able to generate sufficient revenue to achieve and sustain profitability,” the company warned in the requisite “risk factors” section of its IPO filing.
Pivotal also acknowledged that it faces competition from “legacy application infrastructure and middleware form vendors” like IBM and Oracle. The company says it additionally competes with “open-source based offerings supported by vendors” like RedHat. Pivotal also faces challenges from SAP Cloud Platform, Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.
The company says it believes it will stand out from the pack because of its strong security and easy-to-use platform. Pivotal also claims to have strong brand awareness and a good reputation. It has 118 U.S. patents and 73 pending and is betting that it will remain innovative.
Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs served as lead underwriters. Davis Polk and Fenwick & West worked as counsel.
The company listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker “PVTL.”
It has been an active spring for tech IPOs, after a slow winter. Dropbox, Spotify and Zuora are amongst the companies that have gone public in recent weeks. DocuSign, Smartsheet, Carbon Black and Pluralsight are all expected to debut within the next month.