Twitter rolls out its 'Hide Replies' feature to all users worldwide | Twitter’s radical “Hide Replies” feature, one of the biggest changes to how Twitter works since the invention of the Retweet, is now available to Twit

Twitter rolls out its 'Hide Replies' feature to all users worldwide

Twitter rolls out its 'Hide Replies' feature to all users worldwide

Twitter rolls out its 'Hide Replies' feature to all users worldwide

Twitter rolls out its 'Hide Replies' feature to all users worldwide

Twitter rolls out its 'Hide Replies' feature to all users worldwide

Twitter rolls out its 'Hide Replies' feature to all users worldwide
Twitter rolls out its 'Hide Replies' feature to all users worldwide
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Twitter’s radical “Hide Replies” feature, one of the biggest changes to how Twitter works since the invention of the Retweet, is now available to Twitter’s global user base. The company says the feature will roll out to all Twitter users across platforms by today, with only one slight tweak since earlier tests.

Designed to balance the conversation on Twitter by putting the original poster back in control of which replies to their tweets remain visible, Hide Replies has been one of Twitter’s more controversial features to date. While no replies are actually deleted from Twitter when a user chooses to hide them, they are placed behind an extra click. That means the trolling, irrelevant, insulting, or otherwise disagreeable comments don’t get to dominate the conversation.

Twitter’s thinking is that if people know that hateful remarks and inappropriate behavior could be hidden from view, it will encourage more online civility.

However, the flip side is that people could use the “Hide Replies” feature to silence their critics or stifle dissent, even when warranted — like someone offering a fact check, for example.

The feature was first tested in Canada in July, then in the U.S. and Japan this September, across both web and mobile platforms.

Since its launch, Twitter found that most people hide the replies they find irrelevant, off-topic, or annoying. It also found people were using this instead of harsher noise reduction controls, like block or mute. In Canada, 27% of surveyed users who had their tweets hidden said they would reconsider how they interacted with others in the future, which is a somewhat promising metric.

The feature is, however, getting a slight change with its global debut. Twitter says some people wanted to take further action after hiding a reply, so now it will check to see if they want to block the replier, too. It also heard from some users that they were afraid of retaliation because the icon remains visible. It’s not making a change on that front at this time, but is still considering how to address this.

Another concern that was often mentioned on Twitter as the new feature first rolled out was the large pop-up notification that appears when users encountered a tweet with hidden replies.

Some people found the notification was so large and disruptive that it actually encouraged people to pay more attention to the hidden replies than they would otherwise.

Twitter says this screen only displays the first time a Twitter user encounters a tweet with hidden replies, however. Afterward, an icon will show people replies are hidden — and those are hidden on another page, not below the tweet.

But even though that’s a one-time notification, the attention it demands from the user outweighs the information it’s trying to convey — essentially, that twitter has launched a new feature and here’s where to find it. And if someone is engaged in trolling, being told that this particular Twitter user is hiding replies could enrage them even more.

In addition to the global rollout, Twitter also says it will soon be launching a new hide replies endpoint in its API so developers can build additional conversation management tools.

And Twitter notes it will be testing other changes to conversations, including more options around who can reply or even see specific conversations, as well as engagement changes designed to encourage healthier conversations.

“Everyone should feel safe and comfortable while talking on Twitter,” writes Suzanne Xie, Twitter’s Director of Product Management, who recently joined by way of an acquisition. “To make this happen, we need to change how conversations work on our service,” she says.

Twitter’s development in this area is interesting because it’s actively experimenting with ways to encourage civility on a platform that’s known for hot takes, sarcasm, snark, and outrage. It’s willing to change and evolve its features over time as it learns what works and scrap changes that don’t. It’s even been running a beta product (twttr) in parallel with Twitter, to try new ideas. If Twitter is ever able to turn things around by way of its feature set, it would be a marvel of product management.

The option to hide replies is rolling out globally on iOS, Android, Twitter Lite, and, starting today.


Adobe details feature roadmap for Photoshop on the iPad, subject selection coming in 2019

Adobe details feature roadmap for Photoshop on the iPad, subject selection coming in 2019

Adobe has taken quite a bit of heat for its release of Photoshop on the iPad, mostly because it’s not as feature-complete as a lot of users were hoping, given that this is meant to be a full version of Photoshop on par with the desktop edition on Apple’s tablet OS for the first time. Adobe has long cautioned that it would essentially be releasing an in-development version of Photoshop for iPad, and adding features as it goes, but now it’s adding some more clarity and specificity to its product roadmap, which might help allay customer criticism.

In the time remaining in 2019, which is not much, Adobe is planning to ship a couple of features that should improve the everyday experience of working with Photoshop on iPad. First, it’s going to offer ‘Select Subject,’ which will hopefully go a long way to address the omission of the so-called ‘Magic Wand’ selection tool. Demoed at Adobe MAX just a few weeks ago, the ‘Select Subject’ feature works with Adobe’s Sensei AI tech to automatically pick out the subject from a selection box. It’s live now in the desktop version of Photoshop and works surprisingly well, and allows you to quickly pick out objects and mask them or move them for manipulation in creating compositions. This single feature, provided it works well on iPad, would go a long way to making it a much more effective tool for creative pros.

The other feature that the team is aiming to ship this year is intruding a speedier, optimized version of the cloud documents system it introduced for Adobe Creative Cloud alongside Photoshop for iPad. These improvements will make upload and download fast for all PSD flies stored as cloud documents, which should make working on the across platforms even better.

Looking ahead to 2020, the list of features coming to the iPad grows longer, and includes key elements like the ‘Refine Edge’ brush that Han help improve selection of fine detailed textural elements like hair or fur. That’s another key feature for anyone looking to do the same kind of creative composition work on the iPad that they currently do on desktop. Also coming in 2020 are Curves for making tonal adjustments, as well as more features for layer-based, non-destructive adjustment tools. Photoshop on iPad will also gain brush sensitivity and canvas rotation, both currently on offer form the company on its Fresco digital painting app.

Another feature that is planned for 2020 that will bring better parity with Adobe’s desktop software is Lightroom integration for Photoshop. That will allow you to edit RAW files in Lightroom and then directly switch over to Photoshop to do further edits within the same workflow.

This probably isn’t an exhaustive list of everything Adobe plans to do with Photoshop on the iPad in the next year, and in fact the company is calling for users to provide feedback about feature additions and improvements via its official user feedback tool.

MontyCloud raises $2.85 million for its cloud management platform

MontyCloud raises $2.85 million for its cloud management platform

For enterprises that want to move to the cloud, that actual move is often hard enough, but in the long run, being able to manage the lifecycle of their cloud deployments is just as important. MontyCloud, which focuses on these kinds of Day-2 operations, today announced that it has raised a $2.85 million seed round led by Madrona Venture Group, which also included investments from Lytical Ventures and Bob Hammer, former CEO of CommVault.

In addition to the funding, the company also today announced the launch of its multi-cloud management platform in the AWS marketplace, which, among other things, uses some AI-smarts to make management and governance for modern cloud infrastructure — and the applications that run on it — easier. Currently, the service focuses on AWS and will soon add support for Azure and other platforms as well.

The company was co-founded by its CEO Venkat Krishnamachari, whose experience includes opening new Azure data center regions for Microsoft, as well as time at AWS and Commvault. Krishnamachari tells me that the co-founders first bootstrapped the service themselves, up to the point where they had their first paying customers. Currently, the company has about 15 employees in India, in addition to a smaller core team in Seattle.

MontyCloud CEO Venkat Krishnamachari

MontyCloud CEO Venkat Krishnamachari

“It’s been a lot of fun understanding how enterprises consume new services — how they can get the outcome that they desire,” Krishnamachari said. With the proliferation of cloud accounts and policies around them, the large cloud platforms are getting harder to operate for many companies, all while they are also trying to move to a devops model and move faster. To help them, MontyCloud ties all of the accounts together and exposes them in the context of the applications that run on them. All of this, of course, also generates plenty of telemetry, which the company can then use to help these customers monitor their deployments and automate their routine maintenance, but also to optimize their cloud spent and improve MontyCloud’s own AI automation models.

Now, with the new funding, the team plans to build out its technology and onboard more of the customers that it currently has in its pipeline. It also plans to expand its AI ops stack.

As Madrona venture partner Ted Kummert told me, he decided to invest in the company because of the team, which has some obvious experience in this area, but also because he sees the pain point MontyCloud is trying to address. “We see a lot of opportunity and a lot of customer pain for a standalone company to create value,” he said. “There is a lot of value to have a company that’s just completely focused on this problem and ride above the platform agenda others might have.”


Jeff Bezos’ Day One Fund awards $98.5M in grants to organizations battling homelessness

Jeff Bezos’ Day One Fund awards $98.5M in grants to organizations battling homelessness

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’s Day One Fund today announced $98.5 million in new grants for organizations that aim to prevent and reduce homelessness.

The grants from the Families Fund went to 32 organizations across 23 states. Last year, the fund awarded $97.5 million in grants to 24 organizations.

Among the recipients this year is Mary’s Place, a Seattle nonprofit that helps homeless women and children and gave Bezos the inspiration to support homelessness organizations. Mary’s Place has been a frequent partner of Amazon, and the tech giant even set aside space in one of its new office towers for a new homeless shelter for the organization.

Here are all the organizations in Amazon’s home state of Washington that received grants this year.

  • Catholic Charities Eastern Washington, Spokane: $5 million
  • Interim Community Development Association, Seattle: $2.5 million
  • Mary’s Place, Seattle: $5 million

Bezos launched the Day One Fund last September with an initial commitment of $2 billion. “Day One” is a reference to Bezos’ mantra at Amazon, that it’s essential to approach every day with the enthusiasm and energy of a new venture because it’s “always Day One.”

In addition to supporting organizations that aim to prevent and reduce homelessness, the fund also has plans to “launch and operate a network of high-quality, full-scholarship Montessori-inspired preschools in underserved communities.” The Day One Fund hasn’t shared much information on that part of its mission, saying only that it is building up the organization.

The fund is applying the same set of principles that Amazon is based on, most notably customer obsession. In the case of the fund’s early education push, the customers are kids in underserved communities.

Here are the rest of the recipients of the 2019 Families Fund Grants:

  • Bethany House Services, Cincinnati, OH: $1.25 million
  • Catholic Social Services Alaska, Anchorage, AK: $5 million
  • Coburn Place, Indianapolis, IN: $1.25 million
  • Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness, Hartford, CT: $2.5 million
  • Covenant House, New York, NY: $5 million
  • Family Gateway, Dallas, TX: $2.75 million
  • FamilyAid Boston, Boston, MA: $5 million
  • ForKids, Norfolk, VA: $2.5 million
  • Goodwill Industries of Northern Michigan, Traverse City, MI: $1.25 million
  • Great Lakes Community Action Partnership, Fremont, OH: $1.25 million
  • Homeless Services Network of Central Florida, Orlando, FL: $5.25 million
  • HOPE Services Hawaii, Hilo, HI: $2.75 million
  • HopeWorks, Albuquerque, NM: $2.5 million
  • Lafayette Transitional Housing Center, Lafayette, IN: $1.25 million
  • MIFA, Memphis, TN: $5 million
  • Our Family Services, Tucson, AZ: $2.5 million
  • Pathways of Hope, Fullerton, CA: $2.5 million
  • St. Joseph Center, Venice, CA: $5 million
  • St. Joseph’s Villa, Richmond, VA: $1.25 million
  • St. Stephen’s Human Services, Minneapolis, MN: $5 million
  • St. Vincent de Paul, Baltimore, MD: $5 million
  • The Road Home, Salt Lake City, UT: $5 million
  • The Road Home Dane County, Madison, WI: $1.25 million
  • The Whole Child, Whittier, CA: $5 million
  • UNITY Of Greater New Orleans, New Orleans, LA: $2.5 million
  • Upward Bound House, Santa Monica, CA: $1.25 million
  • Welcome House of Northern Kentucky, Covington, KY: $1.25 million
  • West Virginia Coalition to End Homelessness, Bridgeport, WV: $1.5 million
  • YWCA Columbus, Columbus, OH: $2.5 million

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