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AppleSocial Travel Apps Thrive as App Store Hits 40 Billion Downloads (SocialTimes)
Apple announced Monday that its App Store customers have downloaded more than 40 billion apps. It was a record-breaking year, the company said, with nearly 20 billion apps downloaded in 2012 and 2 billion downloads in December alone. CNET Developers, of course, have benefited from the App Store’s growth. According to Apple senior vice president of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue, over $7 billion has been paid out to iOS developers. An acceleration in app downloads is expected to continue over the next 12 months, according to research firm Flurry Analytics. GigaOM December’s app numbers were very likely boosted by a large number of people unwrapping brand new iPads, iPad minis, iPhones and iPod Touches as holiday gifts — we don’t know how many just yet, but expect to hear that number during Apple’s earnings call in two weeks. But it’s important to remember that while total app downloads are one way of indicating how active a mobile platform is, plenty of people download an app and never use it again. Forbes Although Google Play has been gaining traction and growing at a much faster rate, Apple’s App store beats Google where it matters the most – in profits. Despite this announcement, Barclays analyst Ben Reitzes cut his price target on Apple from $800 to $740. ReadWrite The timing of Apple’s announcement is interesting. The eyes of the technology world this week are turned toward the Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

Infographic: Facebook Mobile Ad Performance (AllFacebook)
As more and more Facebook users check the site through their mobile devices, advertisers have followed suit. New figures from Kenshoo Social show that more than one of every $5 spent on Facebook ads are delivered on mobile devices. AppNewser The social networking giant saw a gain from 14 to 20 percent of its ad revenue since October of 2012. The growth is impressive considering that mobile ads have only started appearing in March of 2012. Adweek Kenshoo Social saw that the average desktop ad click cost advertisers $0.81 whereas the average mobile ad click cost $1.38. That price divide is likely due to scarcity and function.

Pandora Reaches More Devices, Cars and Ears in 2012 (SocialTimes)
Pandora has released statistics from 2012 that show a modest increase in the overall share of the audience for radio, but a large increase in the time that its users spend listening to the service. The company now boasts 175 million registered users.

AP Sharing Sponsored Tweets And Panicking Reporters (AllTwitter)
The Associated Press (AP) is blazing a trail for online news outlets this week, with its announcement Monday that it will be sharing sponsored tweets during CES. The Associated Press announced that Samsung “will be the first company to provide sponsored tweets to the news agency’s primary Twitter account, @AP.”

It Must Be Nice to Get Too Many Recruiter Emails on LinkedIn (SocialTimes)
Monday, Etsy design lead Cap Watkins announced in a blog post that he was leaving LinkedIn because, among other reasons, the site was overrun with recruiters sending unsolicited job posts. Sadly, he did not provide a screenshot of the emails he received about “exciting system operations positions (because I have familiarity working around coding languages) or sending obvious form mail designer inquiries.”

RightThisMinute: When Citizen Journalists Become TV Producers (LostRemote)
RightThisMinute, a joint venture between Cox Media Group, Raycom Media, E.W. Scripps Company and MagicDust Television, is a daily TV show devoted to finding the best viral videos and the stories behind them. Think Tosh.0 and TMZ (former TMZ and EXTRA executive producer Lisa Hudson is one of the executive producers) often with more serious videos.

This Year, Pinterest Wants You to Practice What You Pin (SocialTimes)
After 30 days of inspiring pinners with holiday ideas from celebrities and brands, Pinterest is ringing in the new year with a new board and a new challenge for users: to actually make or do something that you pin on Pinterest. While the virtual scrapbook is great for collecting professional photos of beautifully sculpted baked goods and perfect homes, critics have grumbled (and even fans have to admit) that the site creates standards of perfection that are hard to live up to in real life.

Yes, There is Now a Facebook App that Will Tell You Which of Your Friends Have the Flu (AgencySpy)
If you’ve ever needed a medically motivated excuse for blacklisting your Facebook friends, Help Remedies and agency Tool are here with a Web app that will tell you which of your contacts is afflicted with illness this flu season. The Facebook app, fittingly named “Help My Friend Gave me the Flu,” marks interactive director/clothing designer James Cooper‘s first project for Tool, who lured Cooper away from JWT in October.

Bravo Launches Connected TV App with Social Sharing, Video Playlists (SocialTimes)
Bravo Monday announced a Connected TV app to unite viewers and advertisers with “Top Chef” and other popular shows on the second screen. For advertisers, the second screen offers new ad placements including branded-bottom third snipes, traditional pre-roll video and embedded logo placement.