The two big social networks are making big additions to their services, faster broadband is coming to the UK and one airline is trialling virtual reality on long-haul flights. It’s just another week in the world of digital.

Facebook shows location-based recommendations, as user base grows


Facebook has launched a brand new feature for its iPhone app which will show tips and recommendations in a user’s news feed depending on where they are.

The feature, which takes inspiration from the likes of Yelp and Foursquare, will show interesting facts about a local landmark, photos that friends may have taken at the same location and even local restaurant recommendations. It’s likely that the feature will open up a number of opportunities for localised advertising.

Users will be able to opt-out from the feature, which will use a combination of cellular data, Wi-Fi and GPS to pinpoint your location.

Twitter launches video uploads and group DMs


Mobile video uploads of up to 30 seconds and private group direct messaging are coming to Twitter.

The new video feature will allow users to upload 30 second non-looping videos, which can be played directly in a user’s timeline. The service will sit alongside Twitter’s alternative video service, Vine, rather than replacing it.

Group DMs are also coming to the service, allowing multiple users to message each other in one private chat. They will even be able to send pictures to each other through this service.

In a blogpost announcing the changes, Twitter said: “We designed our camera to be simple to use so you can capture and share life’s most interesting moments as they happen.”

“In just a few taps you can add a video to unfolding conversations, share your perspective of a live event, and show your everyday moments instantly, without ever having to leave the app. Viewing and playing videos is just as simple: videos are previewed with a thumbnail and you can play them with just one tap.”

Google, O2 and Raspberry Pi team up to support coding in schools


Google, O2 and Raspberry Pi have teamed up to support a £3.6m campaign to improve the teaching of coding in UK primary schools.

The initiative will see a consortium made up of Queen Mary University London and Hertford College team up with Google to produce training materials and encourage young people to think about computing skills. O2 will provide a peer-to-peer training scheme in conjunction with Oxford Brookes University, whilst Raspberry Pi will partner with Our Lady’s Catholic High School in Preston to support school computer lessons.

The Department for Education campaign is designed to address a forecast skills shortage for coders within the UK labour market.

500Mbps broadband promised by BT


Telecoms provider BT has announced plans to roll out broadband speeds of up to 500Mbps to homes and small businesses across the UK.

The speeds will be achieved by using “G.Fast”, which are short local loops that offer speeds of up to 1Gbps. The technology will be trialled in pilot schemes at Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire and Gosforth, near Newcastle.

However, BT is being somewhat vague on timescales, claiming that if expects to offer “initial speeds of a few hundred megabits to millions of homes and businesses by 2020”, with an increase to 500Mbps coming “as further industry standards are secured and new kit is developed”.

Qantas introduces ‘virtual reality’ in-flight entertainment


Fed up of tiny TV screens and a small selection of movies on your in-flight entertainment? Well, Australian airline Qantas has, what it believes is, the answer.

The airline is set to offer virtual reality headsets to passengers on flights between Australia and the United States, having teamed up with Samsung.

The Samsung Gear VR headsets will show a variety of tailored content, with Qantas claiming that the service will provide “new experiences” for passengers, although critics of the idea have questioned how much VR content is currently available.

You’ll have to have deep pockets to experience VR at 35,000 feet however, with the headsets only available to passengers sitting in the first class cabin on flights to Los Angeles from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.