Apple’s pushing into gyms with GymKit

a close up of a device: <p style=GymKit can tap-to-pair with fitness machines. Its display mirrors the Apple Watch.

Sarah Tew/CNET” height=”180″ src=”http://img-s-msn-com.akamaized.net/tenant/amp/entityid/BBGCs0U.img?h=180&w=270&m=6&q=60&o=f&l=f&x=195&y=248&#8243; width=”270″ /> © Provided by CNET GymKit can tap-to-pair with fitness machines. Its display mirrors the Apple Watch.Sarah Tew/CNET

Apple just made connecting to treadmills and ellipticals as easy as tapping your Apple Watch on a piece of gym equipment.

GymKit, a feature built into WatchOS 4.1, enables seamless tap-to-connect tech. It’s like CarPlay, but for fitness machines. Apple announced GymKit as a feature for Apple Watch back in June at its WWDC keynote, promising it would arrive this year. It’s just now becoming available.

I tried it, and it’s great. But it’s only rolling out at one North American gym at the moment, in New York: Life Time Athletic at Sky. It’s coming to Equinox as well in 2018.

Simple syncing for workoutsI tried it on my first GymKit workout and it worked just fine. One tap, and I was speed-walking. The treadmill’s display mirrored what my watch would normally show me, with extra data. Basically, the treadmill became a massive paired fitness device.GymKit works with a simple tap-to-pair process: Tapping a ready piece of equipment starts the process, and the Apple Watch brings up a confirmation screen. With treadmills, it asks if you want to record a walk or a run. From there, everything on the Apple Watch and the fitness machine’s readout are synced: heart rate, pace, active and total calorie estimates, and machine-specific data such as elevation and flights of stairs climbed. Connecting your watch also means the machine shows calorie estimates calculated from your own height and weight data on Apple Health, without adding any extra setup steps on the machine.Heart-rate data comes from the Apple Watch itself, or from any connected heart-rate device that’s also paired to your Apple Watch, such as a chest strap.Workouts can be paused on the connected machine, and your watch autopauses, too.Retroactive pairing

If you happen to miss pairing at the beginning, pairing later on (or even when the workout is finished) will still sync and record the workout into Apple’s Activity app and Apple Health. It’s designed to work with just one tap, like Apple Pay. I tried it on several treadmills, and it was extremely easy to connect.

Workouts saved on watch or phone

When GymKit pairs, info gets sent from Apple Watch to the gym equipment, and erased after that session, while the data also gets sent to your Apple Watch and iPhone where it shows up as a workout, labeled with the brand of equipment used. (It showed up as TechnoGym for me.)

A future of tap-to-pair connected things?

What’s fascinating about GymKit is imagining where this type of connectedness could end up next. For now, GymKit works with professional fitness machines, specifically cardio. Between TechnoGym, Life Fitness, Matrix, Star Trac, Schwinn, Cybex and Stairmaster, Apple claims it will eventually cover 80 percent of the fitness club equipment market.

There’s no reason why this idea couldn’t translate into tap-to-pair for home fitness equipment or sports gear, or maybe even hotel rooms or stores. GymKit works quickly, and exactly like I’d like to have iPhones, iPads and Apple Watches connect for other accessories, too.

But good luck finding a gym that has it right now

Life Time Athletic at Sky in Manhattan is the first gym in which machines have been upgraded to work with GymKit: TechnoGym ellipticals, treadmills, stationary bikes and stair-climbers will work, and currently there are 13 machines that are GymKit-enabled. Life Time plans to expand to 130 other locations over time, starting next year with locations opened in 2017, but don’t expect to find a GymKit-ready gym around the corner immediately. And, of course, it’s unclear how many other fitness clubs will make the move to upgrade for GymKit.

Equinox is expected to have GymKit locations in 2018 using Life Fitness equipment, with a new New York City location being the first early next year. In Australia, five Fitness First centers will be GymKit-ready.

For now, it’ll be a matter of retrofitting existing equipment with new GymKit-ready NFC and Bluetooth support modules (at a cost that was unclear, based on my hands-on time with it). Future TechnoGym machines going forward will all work with GymKit out of the box, which could mean more compatible gyms over time… provided those gyms bother to upgrade.

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China video game craze drives booming e-sports market

a large crowd of people in a room: People watch the League of Legends 2017 World Championships Grand Final esports match between Samsung Galaxy and SK Telecom T1 at the Beijing National Stadium in Beijing

People watch the League of Legends 2017 World Championships Grand Final esports match between Samsung Galaxy and SK Telecom T1 at the Beijing National Stadium in Beijing © REUTERS/Thomas Peter

In an industrial park on the edge of Shanghai, a dozen Chinese teenagers are taking a break from battling digital armies to focus on their yoga.

They are members of EDG, one of China’s top electronic sports teams, who spend six days a week in a military-style training compound to become world beaters in video games.

EDG’s players – when not doing yoga to stay limber – spend most of their time at the camp wielding virtual weaponry playing multi-player battle games like “League of Legends” or Tencent Holdings Ltd’s popular “Honour of Kings”.

The team’s top players can rake in up to 30 million yuan ($4.54 million) a year each from tournament prize money, commercial endorsements and payments from avid fans who spend hours watching them play online.

China’s craze for e-sports is being propelled by the country’s booming video game market, the world’s largest and one that is expected to register $27.5 billion in sales this year, according to the gaming consultancy Newzoo.

Game developers like Tencent and NetEase Inc, and others like Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, are competing to market video games, fill stadiums with fans and sell broadcast rights to the matches.

“We have found the fastest-growing and biggest demand is in e-sports, and we are following that trend,” said Wang Guan, general manager of e-sports at Alisports, an Alibaba subsidiary.

Cities around the country are looking to cash in on the market’s fast growth with video game theme-parks and e-sports venues. Some universities are even rolling out gaming degrees.

Alisports, which organizes the World Electronic Sports Games, successfully lobbied the Olympic Council of Asia to include e-sports at the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou.

The extent of the e-gaming boom was on display in Beijing in November at the world final of League of Legends, with a prize of over $4 million at stake.

A crowd of more than 40,000 people packed into the city’s Olympic Bird’s Nest stadium to watch the South Korean gaming stars Faker and CuVee go head to head.

The raucous crowd, a bigger turnout than most local soccer games, underlined how popular gaming as a hobby and spectator sport has become in China.

Jiang Ping, 17, a university student in Beijing, paid 4,000 yuan to watch the final with his aunt. They were lucky: tickets sold on the gray market reportedly rose to more than 20 times the original price due to high demand.

“When I started playing this game five years ago, there weren’t that many people,” Jiang said. “Now the numbers are huge, and even the game itself is now owned by a Chinese firm, Tencent.”

Tencent owns the League of Legends developer Riot Games.

person sitting on a table: Zhang Shiyu, a 18-year-old student majoring in esports and management, talks to her parents via phone in Chengdu © REUTERS/Tyrone Siu Zhang Shiyu, a 18-year-old student majoring in esports and management, talks to her parents via phone in Chengdu

TENCENT OR DIE

The city of Wuhu, a backwater three hours away from Shanghai, is a symbol of China’s gaming potential – as well as its risks.

Many local governments have been seeking to develop more specialized industries, and Wuhu has targeted e-sports. In May, the city signed a deal with Tencent to build an e-sports university and a stadium for events. Other cities, like Zhongxian in the municipality of Chongqing, are also building facilities to profit from the e-sports boom.

Some industry participants, however, are already worried about a bubble forming, and rising debt levels as local governments jump into e-sports investment.

“Maybe some of the developers don’t have pure intentions, they are just using e-sports as an excuse to get land at a cheap price from local government,” said Tao Junyin, marketing director of VSPN, a leading e-sports content company.

Han Li, manager of Wuhu’s e-sports association, said the city had discussed ideas including an e-sports-themed hotpot restaurant, bar and cinema, in addition to the gaming school and arena.

Ultimately, though, China’s gaming giants are the ones calling the shots, he said.

“Tencent has a controlling power in the whole industry, so we have to find a way to work with Tencent. You either die or you go Tencent,” he said.

a screen shot of a computer: Zhang Shiyu, a 18-year-old student majoring in esports and management, attends a class at the Sichuan Film and Television University in Chengdu © REUTERS/Tyrone Siu Zhang Shiyu, a 18-year-old student majoring in esports and management, attends a class at the Sichuan Film and Television University in Chengdu

Tencent declined to comment.

SOCIALIST VALUES

Local gamers also face tougher regulation than peers in the United States, South Korea or Japan, with a recent government push to emphasize “core socialist values” in entertainment products including songs, online streaming and video games.

This year, Tencent limited the time children could play its popular Honour of Kings game after coming under fire over gaming addiction. In November it said it would bring the top-selling game “Playerunknown’s Battleground” to China, but would tweak the game to fit with “socialist core values”.

Tencent’s main local rival, NetEase, has already embedded banners with patriotic slogans into one of its popular battlefield games to head off official criticism.

“In China, you have to follow the government’s decree,” said Tao of VSPN. “But you can always make moderations to the games so that it will pass the censor.”

Nonetheless, China’s youth seem enthralled, prompting some universities to start offering e-sports degrees, from professional gaming to e-sports commentating and graphic design.

Zhang Shiyu, a 18-year-old student majoring in esports and management, practices in her dormitory room at the Sichuan Film and Television University in Chengdu © REUTERS/Tyrone Siu Zhang Shiyu, a 18-year-old student majoring in esports and management, practices in her dormitory room at the Sichuan Film and Television University in Chengdu

Liu Xuefeng, a freshman from Anhui province, applied for a gaming degree program in the western city of Chengdu – despite facing push-back from his concerned parents.

“I am very interested in this program, and they couldn’t stop me, so they had to cave in the end,” he said, adding that he wanted to be an e-sports commentator. “There is great potential in the development of the gaming business.”

The allure of becoming the next big gaming star is already sparking fierce competition to get into the market, said David Ng, head of Super Generation Investment, which owns the EDG e-sports team.

“Sometimes we will have a thousand application letters in our mail box to join our team on a single day.”

($1 = 6.6132 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Pei Li and Adam Jourdan; Additional reporting by Thomas Suen; Editing by Philip McClellan)

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Here’s how to find your 9 best Instagram pics

a close up of electronics © Provided by The Next Web Wondering which of your Instagram posts scored the most likes this year? There’s an app for that, and it generates a handy grid of your nine top posts, which you can happily publish on your profile for all your followers to enjoy.

Simply visit 2017bestnine.com on your phone, enter your Instagram handle on that page, and voilà! The site will generate an image featuring your most liked posts, and even display the total number of likes from all your pictures and video from the year. Here’s ours from @thenextweb:

a close up of text on a white background © Provided by The Next Web

If you’d like to share the grid on your profile, you’ll want to click the ‘Photo only version’ link, so you can download and publish it from your phone.

It’s worth noting that this won’t work if your account is set to private – but that’s easily fixed by simply switching your profile to ‘Public’ for a quick minute, grabbing your Best Nine grid, and switching back to private when you’re done. Easy peasy, no?

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The Quickest & Most Popular Workouts to Lose Weight

You don’t have to spend hours in the gym to achieve results. Check out these exercises that will help you shed serious pounds, all within minutes. Short but effective workouts that aid in weight loss may sound too good to be true, but they do exist. If you’re exercising efficiently, you can squeeze in a full-body workout that will help you burn calories long after you finish your cool-down. The key is to push yourself to your max and challenge a variety of muscle groups through a mixture of aerobic and anaerobic training.

Not sure exactly what this means? We’ve put together a list of workout tips from top personal trainers that will help you work out smarter and shorter. Keep reading to learn what kind of movements they recommend, how to pair exercises for maximum benefit, and what you need to do to make sure you’re working out as efficiently as possible.

Are you a beginner just starting out on a fitness journey? Check out our list of Personal Trainers’ Top Tips for Working Out for the First Time.

from The Quickest & Most Popular Workouts to Lose Weight

New Galaxy S9 leaks reveal Samsung’s hidden secret

a close up of text on a white background © Provided by Forbes Media LLC Samsung is testing out a second variant of the Galaxy S9 flagship in China according to the latest leaks. The South Korean company is testing two S9 and two S9 plus variants – each with single SIM and dual SIM versions of the two flagship handsets being trialled.

This would not be the first time that Samsung has tested out different configuration of a smartphone before committing to one specification for the launch event. The Galaxy Note 7 had different variants available around the world, both of which had been tested in Europe prior to the public release of the phablet.

That Samsung is testing out a variant of the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus handsets should not come as a surprise. The real surprise would be if the dual-SIM variant makes its way out of the Chinese market into the wider world. Much as I’m sold on the utility of dual SIM handsets (easily found in the UK through handsets from OnePlus and WileyFox, to name two), there seems to be a reluctance by networks to bring dual SIM handsets to the mainstream in western markets. Perhaps there’s to much revenue from roaming fees while travelling around Europe and flitting between countries?

There’s also Samsung’s approach to supporting microSD cards. In previous dual-SIM handsets the second SIM card sits in the same physical space as the microSD card – it’s a dual function space on the card holder. There are a number of indications that suggest Samsung might be (once more) considering dropping SD card support from a flagship handset and relying on a bump up in the internal memory. If that’s the case, then where would the second SIM card go?

a screen shot of a computer © Provided by Forbes Media LLC Although Samsung can push the envelope and advanced smartphone design with the Galaxy S handsets, 2018 design is looking for like an iterative update where specifications are increased across the board, capabilities bumped up, but nothing fundamental changes. I’d expect the S9 to continue supporting microSD, I’d expect BRIC editions of the handset to continue offering dual SIM support, and I’d expect the variants that reach North America and Europe will be limited to single SIM operations… unfortunately.

from New Galaxy S9 leaks reveal Samsung’s hidden secret

Apple now lets you preorder apps in the App Store

a close up of a black device with a screen © Provided by The Verge

Apple has launched a simple but useful new feature for the App Store: the ability to preorderapps and have them automatically download upon their release.

A developer will now be able to put their app in the App Store up to 90 days in advance of its release, rather than only being able to publish their app when it’s ready to launch. Once it’s up, customers will be able to choose to preorder it and have the app delivered when it’s ready. The feature is available on all iterations of the App Store, so iOS, macOS, and even tvOS apps can all be offered for preorder.

Developers can offer both free and paid preorders. If the price changes during the preorder period, customers will be charged whichever is lower: the price they preordered it at, or the price at launch. They won’t be charged until the app downloads.

While it won’t be useful for every app, there are a lot that do get announced in advance, particularly games. If a developer is trying to draw attention to their new app, it’s a huge help to be able to point people to where they can actually get it — and let people buy it ahead of time so that they don’t forget.

Google has offered a similar feature for a couple years now, allowing customers to “pre-register” for an app release. That feature only notifies customers when an app is available, though — it doesn’t let them lock in a pre-order price and have it automatically download.

Still, this is a really basic feature that’s helpful to both shoppers and developers, and it’s kind of puzzling that it took Apple nearly a decade to add it. I look forward to being able to download apps on a trial basis sometime around 2025.

from Apple now lets you preorder apps in the App Store

Imgur’s Snacks is a Story-like collection of curated GIFs

a close up of a cell phone © Provided by Engadget Imgur began as a way for Redditors to share images quickly and easily, but has grown into a pretty robust site and accompanying mobile app. Last week, the company announced two new features that should help you find more time-wasting goodness: a tag-based content feed and a new Snacks feature, which echoes Snapchat (and Instagram, Facebook and YouTube) Stories.

a screen shot of a smart phone © Imgur Your new feed is accessible from its own tab on your Imgur home screen, right next to the “Most Viral” tab. You’ll need to tap through a few tags of your own interests and your feed will fill up with images and GIFs from the people and tags you follow. You can up/down vote, comment and add favorites from the endless scroll of Imgur content. It’s a nice way to just browse stuff you’re interested in, instead of what’s most viral on the service.

a screenshot of a computer © Imgur You can find Snacks in the search tab within the Imgur app. You’ll see a bar at the top, just under the search field, with a curated list of GIFs that you can tap and just, well, watch. There doesn’t appear to be a way to create your own list, unfortunately, which separates Snacks from the other social media story features. 

from Imgur’s Snacks is a Story-like collection of curated GIFs

Apple in 2018: Five questions we need to ask

The iPhone X marks a big redesign for Apple's popular smartphone. © Provided by CNET The iPhone X marks a big redesign for Apple’s popular smartphone. This past year was one of Apple’s busiest ever — and 2018 could be even more jam-packed. 

In 2017, with the iPhone X, Apple revamped its popular smartphone for the first time in years, removing the home button and integrating an OLED screen that stretches across the entire front of the display. It showed off its new HomePod speaker and updated the Apple Watch. Sales of the iPad even started to rise again after sagging for about three years.

It’s going to have a tough task topping all that in 2018. Apple will finally start selling the HomePod, presumably revamp its Mac computer, and come out with the iPhone X’s successors.

Sounds simple, right? Well, we have a few questions for Apple going into next year.

The company declined to comment.  

What does the iPhone lineup look like?

When Apple launched the first iPhone, in 2007, part of the gadget’s appeal was that it was one device for everyone. You could have the same iPhone as basketball players or movie stars, assuming you could afford the $500 price tag.  

Gradually, though, Apple started expanding. Now there’s everything from the “cheap” $349 iPhone SE to the $1,150 version of the iPhone X — and a myriad of options in between. The company has also kept the older models around as cheaper options for consumers not only in Western markets but also in newer markets like India and China.

The early rumors say Apple next year could launch three high-end phones that look like the iPhone X, as well as a follow-up to the iPhone SE.

The result could be an iPhone line that’s more varied than ever. This also raises the question of which older model Apple will keep as it moves to the next generation. Will it stick with all three new models?

The adoption of the iPhone X look across three new models of iPhone suggests the home button may be on its way out more quickly than we realized. 

How does Siri become relevant, especially in the home?

Apple beat its rivals to market with the Siri digital assistant, artificial intelligence software that lets machines act more like humans. But Amazon and Google have surpassed Siri with their own assistants, thanks to the proliferation of smart speakers in the home.

Amazon, with its Echo smart speakers and Alexa voice assistant, now all but owns the home. Since launching the Echo in late 2014, Amazon has sold 20 million smart speakers in the US, taking 73 percent of that market, according to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners.

Already late in playing catch-up, Apple in November delayed the HomePod, leaving the field that much longer in the hands of the Echo, the Google Home and smart speakers from companies including Sonos. Even when the HomePod eventually launches in 2018, Siri will be only a minor part of the device.

Though the smart home is still in its early stages, Apple could be missing out on a big opportunity if it takes too much longer to get things right. And it’s got to find a way to make Siri not only smart enough to play the music you want but also trustworthy enough to lock your front doors.  

“Siri has to work really well on HomePod,” Technalysis Research analyst Bob O’Donnell said. “If it doesn’t, that’s a serious blow to the evolution of Siri.”

O’Donnell’s research showed that 50 percent of people who have smart speakers at home use their personal assistants at least once a day. On smartphones, only 30 percent of people use their digital assistant every day.

Apple needs to make sure Siri gets smarter and more useful — and do it fast. 

Where does Apple go with augmented reality? And what about virtual reality?

Apple finally dipped its toes into augmented reality with the launch of its iOS 11 software and its augmented reality programming interface, ARKit. The technology overlays digital images on the real world using special headsets or your phone. In the case of Apple, AR means new interactive apps, like Ikea’s software that lets you virtually furnish your apartment, or Pokemon Go software that lets you catch digital monsters.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has compared AR’s potential to the impact of the smartphone on the world’s population. “We don’t have to think the iPhone is about a certain demographic, or country or vertical market: It’s for everyone,” Cook said during an interview with The Independent earlier this year. “I think AR is that big. It’s huge.”

So far, there are about 1,000 AR apps available for the iPhone and iPad. For the tech to become as big as Cook predicts, that figure needs to rise.

Along with pushing augmented reality software, Apple is rumored to be working on AR goggles. It’s unclear when something like that would hit the market or how it would avoid the problems Google saw with its Glass eyewear.

Apple also hasn’t made any moves into virtual reality, even as companies like Samsung, HTC and Facebook’s Oculus push the technology that makes you feel like you’re in a different world.   

How deep will Apple get into the entertainment business?

Apple used to provide one of the main places to buy movies and music: iTunes. Now it’s making some of that content, too. The company has been releasing original TV shows through its Apple Music service, and its efforts are growing. For instance, Apple has signed a deal to release a drama series starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon, and another series from Steven Spielberg.

The company hadn’t been as serious about releasing original content as Amazon, Netflix and others. Some of the shows garnered mixed reviews, like the reality app-pitching show “Planet of the Apps.”

But as video gets more important, Apple could do even more.

The more interesting question is whether it may launch its own video service or offer shows a la carte. Perhaps Apple TV, once considered a hobby by the company, will become more of a focal point. 

Does touch come to the Mac in a bigger way?

Year after year, Apple denies speculation that it will make a touch-screen Mac or release a hybrid Mac-iPad. It says that’s not the best way for people to interact with their computers.

Instead, its solution from 2016 was integrating a touch-sensitive strip called the Touch Bar into its new MacBook, as well as giving its iPad more computerlike functionality. The Touch Bar, which replaced the normal function keys on the top row of the MacBook Pro’s keyboard, can be programmed for quick access to things like emojis. It lights up with a menu of buttons, control sliders, dials and tools, which change with the app you’re using.

But the call for Apple to add more touch to its computers hasn’t abated. The Touch Bar has some fans and some haters, and the iPad Pro doesn’t quite cut it as a PC replacement for many people.

“Consumers more and more want touch in their notebook [computers],” Creative Strategies analyst Carolina Milanesi said. “Is the Mac the one going to be left out?” 

from Apple in 2018: Five questions we need to ask

Google Storyboard turns your videos into comic strips

© Provided by The Next Web Google just launched three experimental photography apps on Product Hunt. My favorite one is Storyboard, which lets you automatically turn your videos into a one-page comic strip.

It’s still early days, so the app is super-sparse at the moment. Just load the video into the app, wait a few seconds, and Google will throw out a comic strip with stylized effects. And that’s about it. You can pull down to refresh the storyboard with a different set of panels or styles, but you can’t manually edit panels or the layout.

As it stands, the app is a bit too barebones for my liking, but it’s easy to see how with a bit more meat it could become a popular choice for the Instagram crowd. Even just letting you add more pages to the comic book would make it a lot more enticing. If Google let me pick the frames used in panels, rearrange the layout, and add captions or speech bubbles, it’d be a lot of fun.

Still, it’s worth giving a shot, although be warned it’s an Android exclusive. You can download the app here, or check out Google’s other two experimental apps here.

from Google Storyboard turns your videos into comic strips

Facebook is trying to make the Poke happen again

a screenshot of text © Provided by TechCrunch

Facebook’s “Poke” feature has never really gone away, but now the social network is giving it a more prominent placement – and is even considering expanding the set of casual greeting options to include others, like a wink, wave, high-five or hug.

A number of people recently noticed the return of the Poke on Facebook’s mobile app.

Though Facebook had never really discontinued the age-old feature, which serves as a quick way to get someone’s attention on its network, it has now given the Poke a highly visible spot.

At the top of users’ profiles on mobile, the Poke button sits next to a Message button, and right below your friend’s name and photo.

The Poke is one of Facebook’s oldest features. It existed at a time when the social network was still called Thefacebook, for example, and there wasn’t as much to do on the site as there is today. The meaning of the Poke was never defined, as Facebook decided to leave it up to interpretation.

“When we created the poke, we thought it would be cool to have a feature without any specific purpose,” Facebook had explained in the past. “People interpret the poke in many different ways, and we encourage you to come up with your own meanings.”

Of course, many people took the Poke to be a form of virtual flirting while others saw it as more of  a joke. Poke wars between friends ensued, as well.

Now it looks like Facebook wants to give the Poke another shot.

The new Poke button’s placement also makes it easier accidental Pokes to occur, when you were aiming for the Message button instead, or just browsing through a user’s profile.

For this reason, not everyone is thrilled with the new button, it seems:

Because the feature is from an earlier era of Facebook history, the Poke is actually somewhat mysterious to some users who don’t know what the feature does or why it’s there. Others, who do remember the Poke, assumed it had been removed and has just now returned:

But the Poke had never been shut off for good – it was just tucked away in the navigation. Now, it’s sort of impossible to miss.

Facebook isn’t done with the Poke yet, either.

The company has been testing a new series of greetings including hello, high-fiving, hugging, and winking, in addition to the Poke, The Next Web recently discovered.

These also sit at the top of users’ profiles for those who have been added to the test group, and appear as bright, colorful buttons. (It had tested a “hello” button earlier this year, as well.)

The idea with Greetings is to offer Facebook users more ways to reach out to friends, beyond posting to their profiles, commenting and direct messaging. With these more lightweight interactions, you can show a friend you’re thinking about them with little effort on your part.

But Facebook will need to be careful with the launch of Pokes and Greetings. In the past, some women said the Facebook Poke often felt like a creepy flirting tool, for example. If the new Greetings buttons or the new Poke button are available to anyone on Facebook to access, and not just a user’s friends, they could be abused as a way to pester someone online.

Not everyone has the test of the Greetings buttons or the new Poke button, we understand. Facebook would not confirm if or when it would make these features publicly available to all.

from Facebook is trying to make the Poke happen again