|Fate||Acquired by Snap Inc.|
|Defunct||July 8, 2016 (4 years ago)|
Bitstrips was a media and technology company based in Toronto, Canada. Founded in 2007 by Jacob Blackstock, David Kennedy, Shahan Panth, Dorian Baldwin, and Jesse Brown.The company's web application, Bitstrips.com, allowed users to create comic strips using personalized avatars, and preset templates and poses. Brown and Blackstock explained that the service was meant to enable self-expression without the need to have artistic skills. Bitstrips was first presented in 2008 at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, and the service later piloted and launched a version designed for use as educational software. The service achieved increasing prominence following the launch of versions for Facebook and mobile platforms.
In 2014, Bitstrips launched a spin-off app known as Bitmoji, which allows users to create personalized stickers for use in messaging apps. In July 2016, Snap, Inc. announced that it had acquired the company; the Bitstrips comic service was shut down, but Bitmoji remains operational, and has subsequently been given greater prominence within Snapchat's overall platform.
Bitstrips was co-developed by Toronto-based comic artist Jacob Blackstock and his high school friend, journalist Jesse Brown.The service was originally envisioned as a means to allow anyone to create their own comic strip without needing artistic skills. Brown explained that "it's so difficult and time-consuming to tell a story in comic book form, drawing the same characters again and again in these tiny little panels, and just the amount of craftsmanship required. And even if you can do it well, which I never could, it takes years to make a story." Brown stated that the service would be "groundwork for a whole new way to communicate", and went as far as describing the service as being a "YouTube for comics". Blackstock explained that the concept of Bitstrips was influenced by his own use of comics as a form of socialization; a student, Blackstock and his friends drew comics featuring each other and shared them during classes. He felt that Bitstrips was a "medium for self-expression", stating that "It's not just about you making the comics, but since you and your friends star in these comics, it's like you're the medium. The visual nature of comics just speaks so much louder than text."
The service was publicly unveiled at South by Southwest 2008.In 2009, the service introduced a version oriented towards the educational market, Bitstrips for Schools, which was initially piloted at a number of schools in Ontario. The service was praised by educators for being engaging to students, especially within language classes. Brown noted that students were using the service to create comics outside of class as well, stating that it was "so gratifying and shocking what people do with your tool to make their own stories in ways that you never would have anticipated. Some of them are just brilliant."
In December 2012, Bitstrips launched a version for Facebook;by July 2013, Bitstrips had 10 million unique users on Facebook, having created over 50 million comics. In October 2013, Bitstrips launched a mobile app; in two months, Bitstrips became a top-downloaded app in 40 countries, and over 30 million avatars had been created with it. In November 2013, Bitstrips secured a round of funding from Horizons Ventures and Li Ka-shing.
In October 2014, Bitstrips launched Bitmoji, a spin-off app that allows users to create stickers featuring Bitstrips characters in various templates.
In July 2016, following unconfirmed reports earlier in the year,Snap, Inc. announced that it had acquired Bitstrips. The company's staff continue to operate out of Toronto, but the original Bitstrips comic service was shut down in favour of focusing exclusively on Bitmoji. Following the acquisition, Snapchat's app was updated to integrate with Bitmoji, allowing users to link their accounts between the two apps and add Bitmoji to their posts. In September 2017, animated, 3D rendered Bitmoji were introduced to Snapchat's augmented reality "World Lenses" feature.
Since the Snap acquisition, Bitmoji has seen significant growth; in April 2017, it was reported that Bitmoji was the most-downloaded app on the iOS App Store in Australia, Canada, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States.In December 2017, Apple stated that Bitmoji was the most-downloaded iOS app worldwide in 2017, followed in second place by Snapchat itself. The following month, Bitmoji released an update branded as "Bitmoji Deluxe", which includes a wider array of customization options.
In June 2018, Snap launched its development platform Snap Kit, which includes the ability to offer access to Bitmoji stickers within third-party services with a Snapchat connection.In April 2019, Snap announced a new multiplayer mobile game within the Snapchat app known as Bitmoji Party, where players use their Bitmoji characters in-game. Later that month, Snap announced a new software development kit for selected partners.
Keek was a free online social networking service that allowed its users to upload video status updates, which were called "keeks". Users could post keeks to the Keek website using a webcam or via the Keek mobile apps for iPhone, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, or Android. Users could also reply back with text or video comments, known as "keekbacks", and share content to other major social media networks. There was also an embed option so users could embed their keeks into a blog or website.
Instagram is an American photo and video sharing social networking service owned by Facebook, created by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger and originally launched on iOS in October 2010. The Android version was released in April 2012, followed by a feature-limited desktop interface in November 2012, a Fire OS app in June 2014, and an app for Windows 10 in October 2016. The app allows users to upload media that can be edited with filters and organized by hashtags and geographical tagging. Posts can be shared publicly or with pre-approved followers. Users can browse other users' content by tags and locations and view trending content. Users can like photos and follow other users to add their content to a feed, a function that seems to be discontinued as of September 2020.
Facebook Messenger is an American messaging app and platform developed by Facebook, Inc. Originally developed as Facebook Chat in 2008, the company revamped its messaging service in 2010, and subsequently released standalone iOS and Android apps in August 2011 and standalone Facebook Portal hardware for Messenger-based calling in Q4 2018. Later on, Facebook has launched a dedicated website interface (Messenger.com), and separated the messaging functionality from the main Facebook app, allowing users to use the web interface or download one of the standalone apps. In April 2020, Facebook officially released Messenger for Desktop, which is supported on Windows 10 and macOS and distributed on Microsoft Store and App Store respectively.
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Vine was an American social networking short-form video hosting service where users could share six or seven second-long, looping video clips. It was founded in June 2012; American microblogging website Twitter acquired it in October 2012, well before its official release on January 24, 2013. Videos published on Vine's social network could also be shared on different social networking platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. The Vine app was also used to try to browse videos, along with a group of videos that were uploaded by theme, and hoping that users could "trend" videos. Vine competed with other social media services such as Instagram and Mobli.
Scan is a mobile app development company headquartered in Provo, Utah, United States. The company was founded in January 2011 by Garrett Gee together with his college friends Ben Turley and Kirk Ouimet. The company, owned and operated by Scan, Inc, was acquired by Snapchat in 2014.
A sticker is a detailed illustration of a character that represents an emotion or action that is a mix of cartoons and Japanese smiley-like "emojis". They have more variety than emoticons and have a basis from internet "reaction face" culture due to their ability to portray body language with a facial reaction. Stickers are elaborate, character-driven emoticons and give people a lightweight means to communicate through kooky animations.
Whisper is a proprietary Android and iOS mobile app available without charge. It is a form of anonymous social media, allowing users to post and share photo and video messages anonymously, although this claim has been challenged with privacy concerns over Whisper's handling of user data. The postings, called "whispers", consist of text superimposed over an image, and the background imagery is either automatically retrieved from Whisper's own search engine or uploaded by the user. The app, launched in March 2012, is the main product of the media company WhisperText LLC, which was co-founded by CEO Michael Heyward, the son of the entertainment executive Andy Heyward, and Brad Brooks, who is the CEO of mobile messaging service TigerText. Since 2015, the service has sought to become more of a brand advertising platform, with promotional partnerships with Netflix, NBCUniversal, Disney, HBO, and MTV. According to TechCrunch, as of March 2017, Whisper has a total of 17 billion monthly pageviews on its mobile and desktop websites, social channels and publisher network, with 250 million monthly users across 187 countries. It is owned by MediaLab.
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Facebook Slingshot was an instant messaging software application for sharing photos and videos with friends, designed by Facebook. The app was launched on June 18, 2014 for Android and iOS devices. The app was discontinued and removed from the app store and Google Play store in December 2015, after Facebook shut down its "Creative Labs" division.
Foursquare Swarm is a mobile app that allows users to share their locations with their friends and create a record of their experiences in their personal lifelog. Swarm for iOS and Android devices launched on May 15, 2014. A spin-off from and companion app to Foursquare City Guide, Swarm allows users to check-in to a given location, and see who is nearby. These check-ins are chronologically listed to create a personal lifelog for each user, which serves as a digital library for all the places they’ve been, in a searchable database that can be revisited and shared.
Onavo was an Israeli mobile web analytics company owned by Facebook, Inc. The company primarily performed its activities via consumer mobile apps, including the virtual private network (VPN) service Onavo Protect, which analysed web traffic sent through the VPN to provide statistics on the usage of other apps.
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Facebook Stories are short user-generated photo or video collections that can be uploaded to the user's Facebook. Facebook Stories were created on March 28, 2017. They are considered to be a second news feed for the social media website. It is focused around Facebook's in-app camera which allows users to use fun filters and Snapchat-like lenses to their content as well as add visual geolocation tags to their photos and videos. The content is able to be posted publicly on the Facebook app for only 24 hours or can be sent as a direct message to a Facebook friend.
Bobble Keyboard is an input method app for Android and iOS devices founded in 2015 by Ankit Prasad and Mohd. Wassem. It was developed and produced by Talent Unlimited Online Services Private Limited.
MessageMe was a messaging app and platform for the iPhone and Android. It launched in March 2013 and grew to 5 million users within 3 months. The app allowed users to send and receive videos, photos, stickers, and voice messages in addition to text..