Google's social networking effort Buzz shut its doors last year but has popped up yet again, for what may be the last time. In an email that just went out to former users, Google noted it's packaging Buzz data into two files which will be stored on their Drive accounts. One is private, which will hold all of their posts both public and private, and another is public, which will contain a copy of any of their public Buzz posts, accessible to anyone who has a direct link (old Buzz links will redirect here.) One important note, is that your comments on others posts will be saved to their Drive files, and you won't be able to delete them once the shift happens "on or after June 17th." Need to do a total wipe / some selective editing? Check the link below to see your profile or the text of the message for a more thorough explanation after the break.
Filed under: Internet, Google
Source: Buzz Profile
When a laptop or a phone blows up it's usually because of some dangerous exploding battery. But what if you want to make a laptop self destruct and blow up on its own? You'll have to make something that Q from James Bond would invent, basically. The genius Caleb Kraft did just that.
Google Glass has better battery life with iPhone than with Android
Google Glass has a built in lithium-ion battery which, like most smartphones, only lasts through the day if you actively manage your daily usage. But Glass is dependent on a bluetooth wireless connection to the phone in the user's pocket, making its own ...
Lambda Labs Is Launching A Facial Recognition API For Google GlassTechCrunch
Google Glass's Hidden Labs Features - 'OK Glass' Everywhere, Web Browsing ...Android Police
Google Glass: It's not an enterprise product, get over itZDNet
Editor’s note: Jon Gottfried is a Developer Evangelist at Twilio, Co-Founder of the Hacker Union, and a StartupBus Conductor. Follow him on Twitter @jonmarkgo.
Being one of the first cyborgs in the world, I have been privy to a unique set of bizarre experiences that have led to some early observations and theories about the future of Google Glass and wearable technology.
At Glass Foundry SF, among the likes of Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, the New York Times and Hearst, was a rag-tag group of independent developers building Ice Breaker: myself, Song Zheng, and Rajiv Makhijani. When I pitched the idea of creating a Google Glass version of the dorm-room game Assassins, I thought it would be an interesting tongue-in-cheek jab at the Terminator-esque form of this new piece of technology. I could not have imagined it would turn into a six-month secret project slated to launch at one of the largest tech conferences of the year. We were building the first (and only) game for Google Glass. We had a six-month head start, early access to the Google Glass Mirror API and Glass devices as early as they were available.Developing applications for Glass is actually more similar to building a website than it is to building an Android application.
Let’s start off by talking about the reality of what it is like to develop applications for Google Glass. Like many of you, I expected it to be very similar to building mobile applications for Android. In fact, I began learning to build Android applications in preparation. My efforts were for naught, because the Mirror API is a RESTful web service. This means that developing applications for Glass is actually more similar to building a website than it is to building an Android application.
Once a user logs in to your application, they grant you permission to push “cards” to their Glass devices and to receive responses from it. It is purely asynchronous, and is not designed for real-time applications, such as an augmented-reality game or a Call of Duty-style, heads-up display. This will likely change with the upcoming release of the GDK, but for the moment you are restricted to building asynchronous applications. No problem for Twitter or Tumblr, where there is no need for instantaneous interactions. However, it certainly puts a damper on many of the science-fiction-esque predictions for Glass.
But there are still many reasons why I am excited about Glass and will continue to develop applications for it:
1. It gives us all a nerd boner.
Developers love technology for the sake of technology. People flock to line up for product launches with the same excitement that a tween feels when they spot Bieber for the first time. Glass is exclusive, mysterious and futuristic. As the first wearable-computing platform to have even a hint of mass availability, it makes us feel as if we are truly living in the future. You could meet a thousand Valley founders all creating the “next big social network,” but no amount of SoLoMo innovation can match the excitement or fear that we will all soon be addicted to The Game, only to be saved by a young Wil Wheaton.We have the opportunity to create the canonical user experience for wearable computers.
2. We are defining the future.
As developers, we have the unique opportunity to quite literally define the experiences that consumers have with technology. The first third-party applications for the iPhone set the stage for all mobile apps to follow. The same rings true for Glass. Whether or not the product itself is successful, we have the opportunity to create the canonical user experience for wearable computers. In the future, when there are both iGlass and Microsoft Senior Professional Heads-Up™ Displays for Business, they will all be modeled off of these initial applications for Glass – consciously or not.
3. There is money to be made.
While it is unclear whether there will be mass consumer adoption of Glass, it is obvious that this will be a valuable platform. Imagine being a real estate agent walking down the block and seeing information on all of the homes for sale without having to shuffle around with folders and papers. Imagine being a doctor who can immediately see the medical history for an unconscious ER patient without having to manually look it up on a computer and waste precious life-saving seconds. We are not yet comfortable interacting with these new cyborgs in social situations, but I have no doubt that there are an immense number of professional uses that will prove to be more valuable than the potentially awkward social stigmas surrounding them.
4. It is exclusive and attractive.
We are nerds. We have traditionally been at the bottom of the social pyramid. Sure, nerds might be the new rock stars in some circles. But the only thing cooler than a rock star nerd is a rock star nerd wearing a $1,500 pair of glasses that very few people in the world have even heard of, let alone seen in person. A friend of mine described it as the Air Jordans of the 21st century. Whether you are trying to network or get a date, Google Glass is truly one of the best conversation starters I have ever seen. And I promise you, the Glass Explorers are doing both.This is a new frontier and we are still defining the social norms involved with wearing a computer on your face.
5. There is hype.
The press loves Glass. For now at least, every application is the first X for Glass. My app GlassTweet was the first Twitter client for Glass. Ice Breaker was the first game for Glass. And what reporter doesn’t want to be first? It is a perfect opportunity for a developer to build a reputation as a Glass expert, and I have already met many developers attempting to do exactly this.
There are always skeptics. And they would be right to be skeptical – this is a new frontier and we are still defining the social norms involved with wearing a computer on your face. Some have even proposed that providing developers with Glass before the general public will make it seem too nerdy or awkward – what average person concerned about their appearance wants to be associated with a naked geek in the shower?
I would argue that Google took the only option available to them. The only truly scalable products of the future will be developer platforms. Facebook, Twitter, Twilio, Google, Apple, Microsoft, Arduino – all of these products have been successful in large part by embracing and empowering their developer communities. No company is omniscient enough to imagine every potential use of their products.
This gives developers an immense amount of power to define the success or failure of an entire product line. If they innovate and create amazing experiences, it can pave the way for mass consumer adoption of a product, and if they fail or are mistreated by their platform providers, they can create a product wasteland. It is a symbiotic relationship, and ultimately these developers in the Explorer program will define the consumer success of Glass. People will forget about Showergate if the applications on Glass are useful or fun enough to outweigh the initial awkwardness associated with any new product.
All concerns aside, the hard truth that skeptics must face is that this is an inevitable evolution of computing. We will continue to debate the pros and cons of wearable technology for decades to come, but one thing is crystal clear: wearable technology is coming, it is inevitable, and Google is steamrolling a path to this unavoidable future.
Will you join me in defining this future or will you be defined by it?
The Gaga plane-dog has a point. It's not Justin Bieber's fault he's a shrill, spoiled, cheap-shotting little bitch, it's all of ours for paying attention.
Digital dating is nothing to scoff at; it’s a big business, and it’s changed a lot of lives — mostly for the better. Yet, while dating has seen enormous progress during the Digital Era, there’s still a lot garbage out there, and the space is still mostly dominated by a handful of old names. A gaggle of dating sites and apps have appeared over the past five years, but few have had real staying power, and many have gone the way of the dinosaur.
While it’s still too early to make any pronouncements, it’s looking more and more like Tinder could buck the trend. Created by Hatch Labs — an LA-based startup backed by IAC, the same Barry Diller-led digital media giant that owns Match.com and OKCupid — Tinder has grown like a weed since it launched in October. A crazy, dating weed.
In part, that’s due to timing, and in part because Tinder is based on a familiar, throwback model, drawing on the same addictive formula behind Hot or Not. Essentially, it’s Hot or Not made mobile, casual and connected to Facebook, but rather than promising to introduce people to their one true soul partner/life mate, Tinder just wants to make it easier to flirt — and get you off your ass to meet people. In the real world.
By focusing on reducing the “creepiness” factor (always a relative term in dating, mind you), reducing spam and by targeting young people, Tinder has been able to find that elusive, exponential growth curve. (Unsurprisingly, it’s initial growth spike came from college campuses, and the average age of its users is still 23.)
It’s also fairly easy to use: It’s free, it doesn’t focus on building traditional profiles, instead pulling basic info from Facebook, is location-enabled, and matches users to other people nearby based on similar behavior, interests and so on. If you’re not interested, you can pass. If you are, it connects you with the other person, allowing you to chat and arrange a meeting offline.
Thanks to the above, the app has been seeing the same kind of growth that Facebook, Instagram and Twitter saw in the early days, Tinder co-founder and CEO Sean Rad tells us. But what does that mean, exactly? When we wrote about Tinder in early January, it had served one million matches and users had made 35 million profile ratings. Today, Rad says, Tinder has served 50 million matches and users have made 4.5 billion ratings.
So, while the team is keeping a tight lid on the number of downloads and users it’s attracted to date, from what we do know (and what we’ve been hearing from other sources), it’s safe to assume that both number well into the millions. And keep in mind: The app was released in late October.
Tinder also seems to be avoiding a common trend among popular mobile apps: High number of downloads, but comparatively low engagement. In Tinder’s case, Rad tells us that around 50 percent of users open the app once a day, while approximately 75 percent open the app once a week and around 85 percent use the app every month.
Based on this growth, rumors have been circulating for months now that claim Tinder is in the proces of raising a big round of outside funding, or is in the process of being acquired. At this point, the founder says, neither of those are true. While the company isn’t sharing how much it’s raised to date, we do know that IAC is it’s primary investor, and owns a minority stake in the business, having been the sole investor in its seed and series A rounds (which we hear total in the millions). And the startup was incubated within IAC.
IAC would likely love to own Tinder outright, as would others, but at this point the startup is resolved to stay independent, and go public rather than sell. Of course, there’s a long road ahead, and these things have a habit of changing. Furthermore, while Tinder has opted not to raise outside capital, our sources tell us that this hasn’t stopped venture capitalists from courting Tinder in every way possible.
With plenty of runway ahead and initial growth and scalability snags behind, Tinder has begun to focus more on product development as well as an area that will be key to its future: International markets. To date, 15 percent of Tinder users hail from outside the U.S., the CEO tells us, with the highest adoption coming from Canada, Australia, Brazil and Ireland. (In recent weeks, Rad says, Tinder was seeing 2,000 downloads/day in Brazil.)
Going forward, the team of 13 will begin its international growth efforts in the UK, Australia, Latin America, Germany, France and China, in particular. To do that, the company is working on additional language support, targeted marketing and hiring local reps in each of these countries. Rad also sees big opportunity for growth in Asia, thanks to the explosion of mobile adoption, and is currently working on partnerships that will help it move into Asian markets and localize the Tinder experience to native languages, networks and so on. (Like how to leverage the biggest Chinese and Asian social networks for authentication, as opposed to relying on Facebook, for example.)
Tinder has also been busy building tools that will help it follow through with its mission to solve social, discovery and networking problems outside the confines of dating. Today, for example, the startup is releasing a new feature called “Matchmaker,” which allows users to create matches between any two Facebook friends — for any purpose.
Once users establish that connection, the two friends can chat within Tinder without sharing their contact information. The idea is to create a casual, simple way to make an introduction, whether you want to set two friends up on a date or make professional connections. Rad tells us that Matchmaker is anonymous and solves the awkward problem of introducing people and then being included on the resulting thread — an annoyance often experienced in email and Facebook intros.
With Matchmaker, the introducer doesn’t have to be removed from the thread, they can send the message to the two people they want to connect, and that’s it. If the recipient isn’t on Tinder, they’ll see that they get a message on Facebook, and they can then quickly create a Tinder login if they want to see the post.
Another cool feature of Matchmaker is that the person who makes the introduction can see if the match is active and they can get a sense of their success rate. Rad assures me that this feature is intended to be high level so that it’s not creepy, allowing users to get just enough of a sense of the activity level of the intros they curate so that they can check back in (or send a reminder) if the conversation goes silent.
Again, the idea is that, while there are plenty of media through which people can make digital introductions, those connections tend to carry more weight if they’re friend-approved. If that intro comes from a close friend, you’re more likely to follow through on it than if not. Of course, there’s the question of whether or not people will want to make introductions in a professional context through a networking that’s primarily associated with dating. For this reason, the startup is launching the feature in beta to test it out and to see if it catches on.
As part of this new release, Tinder is also making some improvements in the areas where its user experience has been less-than-impressive. In particular, many users have complained that the app’s sorting algorithm has matched them with teenage or underage users. (Not cool, Tinder, not cool.) So, in this release, Tinder now includes age filtering, so that users can select their preferred age range, along with making some general improvements to the accuracy of its matching algorithm and improving the speed of chat within the app.
As of now, Tinder remains exclusively an iPhone app, but the CEO tells us that the team is working on an Android version, which will be ready “within the next few months.” The team also has plans to develop tablet apps, but don’t expect Tinder to show up on the Web anytime soon. Tinder is going to remain mobile-centric for the foreseeable future.
In a crowded space, Tinder has, so far, managed to buck the trend and find that elusive, exponential growth curve. Of course, the next year will be critical. As growth inevitably levels out a bit, Tinder will have to keep evolving if it wants to avoid being another flash in the pan. International could hold the key to sustaining that growth, but it remains to be seen whether users will be willing to think of Tinder as more than a casual flirting and dating tool. That could be a tough sell, but if they get there, expect Tinder to stick around for awhile — and be on the receiving end of calls from every VC on the block.
For more, Find Tinder here.
If you're looking to trick out your bike, Magura's eLECT might be the electronic suspension system you crave -- if you're willing to sacrifice optimal reaction time. Using a 3D accelerometer, the eLECT analyzes terrain with a 0.2 second window to adjust to how bumpy or smooth your ride is. At first glance, 0.2 seconds seems impressive, but it equates to a distance of 3.6 feet when traveling at 12.4MPH. Indeed, on challenging trails, a lot can happen in 3.6 feet, and eLect's reaction time might be a touch on the slow side. While the system isn't quite perfect, it does offer some sweet options. For example, cyclists can toggle between automatic and manual control of the compression damper using the accompanying Bluetooth remote. Magura's eLECT isn't the first of its kind -- RockShox and Fox both have their own e-suspension systems -- but it's one of the lightest; the combined weight of the damper and remote is a mere 0.2 pound. There's no word yet on availability or pricing, but you can check out the results of Bike Radar's test ride at the source.
Filed under: Peripherals, Transportation
Source: Bike Radar
When we saw a 'We the People' petition to the White House to make the US move to the metric system, we listed very sensible reasons why the US should listen: The imperial system is archaic, irrelevant, doesn't scale easily and to be honest, there are just too many damn units to keep track of. Well, the White House listened and is going to do... nothing. In their response to the petition, they basically said use the metric system if you want to.
FTC Is Said to Begin a New Inquiry on Google
New York Times
WASHINGTON — Google's rivals have again prompted antitrust investigators at the Federal Trade Commission to examine the company's business practices, and staff members have begun a preliminary look at whether Google abuses its market dominance ...
Google Said to Face New Antitrust Probe Over Display AdsBloomberg
FTC Begins Probe of Google's Display-Ad BusinessWall Street Journal
Google faces new federal antitrust probe: sourceReuters
For YouTube's comedy week, Dane Boe created this music video 'We Didn't Star the Viral' (riffing off Billy Joel's We Didn't Star the Fire) that recaps pretty much all the viral videos that became infamous on YouTube over the last 8 years. You know the usual suspects: Keyboard cat, Star Wars kid, evolution of dance, Charlie bit my finger and oh so much more. Can you recognize them all? Did you watch them all? [Dane Boe via Neatorama]
Google Now’s “Topics” Page Returns And Shows You How Much Google Knows About You, But It Only Works On Android
A few weeks ago, Google briefly made a “Google Now” topics page available on the web and then took it down again. The page showed a list of topics Google believed you were interested in, based on your search history. Now this feature is back, but it’s a bit different from the leaked page. A few days ago, it seems, the company quietly (re-)launched this feature with the latest Google Now update. The leaked page was also visible on the desktop, but it looks like Google has plugged this hole the cards are now only available on Android – and only by going through Google Now‘s research cards.
On this page, you can still see many (but not all) of the topics that Google thinks you are interested in. The feature will now pop up at the bottom of Google’s research cards, which often appear after Google realizes that you’ve been researching a certain topic in depth. One of the reasons for this card to pop up, for example, would be when Google detects you are planning a trip.
To see this information, Google Now offers a link will appear underneath these cards (“Explore now,” then look for the “More of your topics” links in the top right) that allows you to delve a bit deeper into the topics you recently looked for and to get a different view of your search history. Indeed, besides powering the research cards, they mostly offer you a richer view of your search history.
Unlike Google’s search history page, however, this feature shows you an aggregate view of what Google believes you are interested in, not just a list of all of your searches.
In my case, for example, Google knew that I was looking for a hotel last weekend and had been looking at hotels in New York a few weeks ago, too. It also knows that I was looking for restaurants in Portland, did some research on web browsers, smartphones and Sim City.
For now, this feature is only available on Android, as the Google Now research cards haven’t launched on iOS yet (where they would be available trough the Google Search app).
Sadly, there doesn’t seem to be a way to just surf to this page without having a research card available through Google Now.
Google Now has always been about anticipating your needs and performing searches for you before you. The research cards clearly fit into this pattern and so does the ability to delve a little bit deeper into what Google thinks it knows about you.
This, of course, shows you how much Google really knows about you – which is either really cool or creepy, depending on your overall thoughts about Google and privacy.
When Google mistakenly leaked the topics page earlier this year, it looked like this would be another step in bringing Google Now to the desktop. Sadly, it looks like that isn’t quite the case and that we’ll still have to wait a bit before Now makes it debut on Chrome for the desktop, but with the new notifications system and a flag to enable Now in Chrome, it’s just a matter of time before Google will launch this feature.
Microsoft cleared of Motorola patent violation claim
The International Trade Commission has decided not to review the decision made last March by the administrative law judge presiding over Motorola's patent infringement case against Microsoft, thereby validating the judge's findings – which were in favor of ...
ITC says Microsoft did not violate Google patentReuters
Microsoft Prevails Against Google in ITC Xbox CaseWall Street Journal
Microsoft's Xbox Not Blocked From US in Google Patent LossBusinessweek
This is beyond sad. If you've been keeping up with the tornado that leveled Moore, Oklahoma, you probably saw the destruction it left behind. It looked like a movie set war zone or the aftermath of the apocalypse. But it was real. Google released satellite imagery showing what the destruction looked like from above. It's not pretty.
While Eric Schmidt's proclamation that "most" new TVs would have Google TV embedded last year didn't come true, LG stated today that it's bringing the platform to more regions soon. The Korea Times reports an unnamed company executive at the KCTA Digital Cable Show stated the platform is yielding good returns, with average sales of 10,000 units per month. He went on to state that LG Electronics would bring Google TVs to Korea later this year -- following the integrated IPTV boxes offered by LG Uplus -- and China after that. Microsoft is apparently ready to follow Google TV's lead with HDMI passthrough and TV overlays, we'll see if it can gain traction at home and overseas before others catch up.
Filed under: Home Entertainment, HD, Google, LG
Source: Korea Times
Google and Microsoft make Windows Phone YouTube app worse while they ...
Microsoft has replaced its good YouTube app with its bad one to keep Google happy. by Peter Bright - May 25, 2013 12:30 am UTC. The Web
If you're busy this weekend with trips to the beach and delicious barbecues and drinks with umbrellas in them, I feel bad for you. Memorial Day 2013 is not about enjoying the weather or spending time outdoors or kicking off Summer, nope, it's about having a day off so you can watch the new season of Arrested Development on Netflix.
HTC One Google edition: It's real and coming in summer
HTC will sell a Google Edition version of its flagship One smartphone with the stock Android operating system, CNET has confirmed. Word of a version of the phone without its trademark Sense user interface popped up earlier Friday on Geek.com, with a ...
An HTC One without Sense is not an HTC OneZDNet
Samsung Wins Big at CTIA's 2013 E-Tech AwardsPC Magazine
Apple Adds Samsung's Galaxy S4 To LawsuitInformationWeek
There's been some fuss about how used games work on the Xbox One—do we have to pay a fee to Microsoft to play them? Is Microsoft killing used games dead? Supposedly, no. Polygon is reporting that the Xbox One will NOT require gamers to pay a fee to reactivate an Xbox One used game.
You might say the day is never really done in consumer technology news. Your workday, however, hopefully draws to a close at some point. This is the Daily Roundup on Engadget, a quick peek back at the top headlines for the past 24 hours -- all handpicked by the editors here at the site. Click on through the break, and enjoy.
When few (if any) web browsers do everything well, many of us have more than one client just to cover all the bases. The GO Launcher Dev Team's just-launched Next Browser for Android tries to solve this in the simplest way possible: it cherry picks features from established rivals. Sharing extensions from Dolphin? Check. Chrome's frequently visited pages? Check. Speed Dial from Opera? Check. There's even a Flipboard-style RSS reader. As there's also bookmark syncing and voice search, Next Browser is theoretically the only client that Android users could want. How well that pastiche works is another matter, but those who've been pining for an all-encompassing browser can give the new app a try at the source link.
Filed under: Cellphones, Internet, Software, Mobile
Via: Android Police
Source: Google Play, Next Browser
Perhaps you're whittling the last couple of hours away at your desk, trying to look busy until quitting time. So while you're trying to make it to the three day weekend, here are some of the best design posts we showed you this week.
Google to Fund, Develop Wireless Networks in Emerging Markets
Wall Street Journal
Google Inc. is working to build and help run wireless networks in emerging markets such as sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, connecting a billion or more new people to the Internet. WSJ's Amir Efrati reports. (Photo: Getty Images). Google Inc. is deep ...
Google to bankroll, build wireless networks across Africa: WSJReuters
Google 'to roll out internet to Africa and Asia'Telegraph.co.uk
Google pursuing broad wireless project for emerging markets, report saysPCWorld
We had the opportunity to grab an early look at the new and refreshed Google Maps, but not everyone is as fortunate; you either had to be an I/O attendee or hope you received an invitation after requesting one. However, a tipster has sent Android Police a set of instructions that'll let you get in on the new Maps without those pre-requisites. All you need is the ability to manually set cookies via a Chrome extension like this one or an alternate browser. Then visit the Google Maps page, replace the cookie labeled NID with a special code (we've included it after the break), and voil
Eric Yaverbaum: So Long, Sony: Why the Critics Are Wrong, and Microsoft’s New Xbox One Will Be the Most Successful and Transformative Console Yet
In 2013, the stakes are higher than ever to get the console right. No longer is there a minor battle between Sony and Microsoft to win the hearts of video gamers alone: it is now a total war for everyone who sits in the living room.
Through Halo and the original Xbox launched back in 2001, Microsoft was able to swiftly prove to gamers that their Xbox was a serious gaming platform. Xbox 360, the sequel to the original Xbox launched in 2005, upped the ante but was not quite the full revolution that its name would make it seem. Technology-wise, the system lacked much of the computational power of the later-shipping PlayStation 3, and it embraced HD-DVD, what would become an obsolete technology. Though some of those decisions could be considered grave mistakes, the power of Microsoft's marketing and their capability to secure prominent exclusive titles gave Microsoft a spend-happy customer base that kept developers building the game for Xbox 360, many of which operated perfectly over Xbox Live, their multiplayer service. As customers around the globe transitioned to high-speed broadband throughout the 2000s, the ability to connect players over the Xbox Live system turned out to be the most revolutionary improvement of all, and the reason why the most competitive gamers only played on Xbox. As of 2013, over 77 million Xbox 360s have been sold. Xbox Live has 46 million subscribers paying $60 a month to play games online. It has been a sparkling success.
Since the iPhone was announced in early 2007 and since the iPad was revealed to the world in 2010, pundits have made increasingly bold declarations that consoles were walking dinosaurs, sure to be made extinct by the rise of mobile gaming. Nothing could be further from the truth: though mobile gaming has certainly become more sophisticated and although computing power has increased dramatically in portable devices, mobile games simply do not have the immersive capabilities that could only be present in a larger, non-battery-powered device like a console. In addition, a necessarily small screen and inadequate controllers handicap the mobile gaming experience. For many years to come, there is plenty of space for a video game console in the living room.
Since its announcement on Tuesday, critics of the new Xbox have littered the Internet with complaints about everything from the size and shape of the console to the upgrades made to the famously ergonomic Xbox controller. Chief among all complaints, however, has been that Microsoft's presentation focused too strongly on how the Xbox One will change how people behave in living room, and not strongly enough on how the device will improve gaming.
These critics couldn't be more wrong, and they're missing the point, to boot.
Microsoft has nothing to prove when it comes to making gamers happy. Not only is the Xbox One a device brimming with extraordinary technical achievements (consider the SoC, rapid-speed 8 GB RAM, and an 8-Core CPU with on-chip GPU) that will play the most graphically impressive games to ever appear on a console, but the network it is connected to is much bigger and better than ever. Xbox Live is now powerful enough to allow for a transformative gaming experience. Microsoft claims that the new Xbox Live's 300,000 servers have more computing power than the entire world's computing power in 1999, put together. The "infinite power of the cloud," as they call it, brings with it the unparalleled capability for users to flawlessly play multiplayer games with friends without delay and the added capability to record and share their gaming achievements over the Internet. It is difficult to understate the experiential difference between this paid and technically superior service and Sony's less impressive PlayStation Network.
With the multiplayer gaming crown firmly in hand, Microsoft was able to focus their attention on disrupting the remainder of the living room experience. In the present, the primary activity for millions of people on the couch has been to watch what's on TV. Due to the explosive growth of smartphones and tablets, a formerly passive TV experience has been supplemented by the "second screen;" average users are, more and more, actively using social networks like Facebook or Twitter on their mobile devices while watching television. Dedicated social TV apps provide an even more immersive television experience. The one flaw with all of these apps is that, no matter how well synchronized they are with live content or no matter how much value they add to the user experience, all second screen apps necessarily remove the eye's focus away from the television screen and onto another device.
Microsoft trumped everyone in this space by releasing a new, cloud-powered version of what they call SmartGlass technology: a live-rendered "heads up display" for your television set. Additional content will be projected right on top of the screen when users command. Microsoft has realized what were once only imagined possibilities. For instance, Microsoft has already revealed one significant lifestyle improvement: fantasy sports will now be projected on top of a football game so hardcore fantasy gamers never miss a second of the action.
The new Kinect for Xbox One is the icing on the cake. What began as Microsoft's improved version of a gaming webcam has come a long way: the new Kinect is capable of fully detecting body motions in 1080p in 60fps, and thanks to IR sensors, even in complete darkness. The new Kinect has such sensitive vision that it can see the wrinkles in your clothes and even detect your heart rate. Skype video calls will look even more smooth and clear, so distant homes will be connected more closely than ever.
But as useful as Superman-like vision is, the Kinect's more impressive practical capability will be detecting user inputs for their Xbox or television. Kinect can use its superior microphones and cameras to detect who is speaking even in a noise-filled room and isolate their voice. Users can then issue the types of commands to their computers once only possible on Star Trek: at the sound of a user's voice, Xbox One will turn on, change the channel, put on any show desired, play Netflix or start a game without touching any buttons or flipping through confusing menus. In the same way that people can no longer remember their phone numbers because smartphones have rendered such knowledge redundant and inconsequential, Xbox One will make remembering television channel numbers a thing of the past.
Critics missed the point: the unveiling of the Xbox One was not a competition against PlayStation, or even an existential argument for plugged-in devices in the smartphone age. The Xbox One is not trying to compete with Tivo and cable boxes, Blu-Ray players and media computers, either.
The unveiling of the Xbox One was not an opening salvo against this motley of heterogeneous competition, but instead a champagne-popping ceremony at what is the beginning of the end. By packaging all these extraordinary capabilities so elegantly and by leading with such length in every facet, Microsoft has practically won the war for the soul of the living room already. All that remains is to see how competitors will exist in the shadow of Microsoft's new world order, and to find out what innovation they'll come up with next.
These days, you can't turn around without some new photo-sharing app being thrown at you. And if you can't beat 'em, you might as well go along for the ride. We've got two of the newest right here for you, plus a speedier way to browse on your phone that's finally out of beta.
Hear that? It's the long weekend calling your name. The week leading up to a holiday always feels that much longer. And you deserve a break. Kick back, relax, and browse through this week's cornucopia of iPhone app goodness.
The long weekend is finally here. And what's better than spending a holiday enjoying the warm weather with family and friends? Well, how about having a few iPad apps that help you stay connected and ready for whatever Mother Gaia has to throw at you—just in case. Lucky for you, we've got them right here.
Each week, our friends at gdgt go through the latest gadgets and score them to help you decide which ones to buy. Here are some of their latest picks -- along with a few you should probably avoid. Want more? Visit gdgt anytime to catch up on the latest, and subscribe to gdgt's newsletter to get a weekly roundup in your inbox.
On this week’s Ask A VC episode, Index Ventures partner Danny Rimer joined us in the studio. Rimer has been in the venture industry for over 11 years so he had plenty to share on how VC has changed, and the differences in the venture world in Europe and the U.S.
Rimer, who has led the firm’s investments in Etsy, Nastygal and many others, also talked to us about the future of e-commerce and how the industry is changing for startups.
Check out the video above for more!
By Tove K. Danovich
While discussing industrial animal agriculture in his book Eating Animals, Jonathan Safran Foer wrote, "Cruelty depends on an understanding of cruelty, and the ability to choose against it. Or to choose to ignore it." For many people who read Safran Foer's book, deciding against cruelty has meant going around it, becoming vegetarian or even vegan. Yet there were many others who simply wanted to do things better.
For this latter group, the non-profit Farm Forward (where Safran Foer is a board member) is developing an application called BuyingPoultry.com. Currently in the process of raising funds through Kickstarter, this app is the answer for people who are willing to spend a little bit more for humanely raised products but are confused by the labels.
By inputting the company or farmer's name on an egg carton or cellophane-wrapped drumsticks, customers will be able to use the app to pull up welfare standards of the farm in question. Both a quick rating and more detailed information will be shown for customers to get as much or little information as they want.
Executive Director Ben Goldsmith got the idea for BuyingPoultry.com after being regularly approached by friends and family who wanted to know if they should buy cage free, free range, organic, or if any of it really made a difference. "People want to make the best choices they can. You'd have to read a book or really do some research to get a general sense of what's going on," he said.
Farm Forward recognized that while many people were willing to spend more, not everyone wanted to put in the time to read a library on animal agriculture in the United States. While Farm Forward advocates for change in industrialized farming conditions of all animals, they focused exclusively on poultry for this app. Not only are nine billion chickens raised for food each year, they're afforded no protection under the law.
The Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, the only federal legislation protecting farm animals from slaughter, excludes chickens and turkeys entirely. This same lack of federal oversight applies to free range, organic, or pasture-raised birds. But, as Goldsmith said, "The truth is, more than 99 percent of poultry is coming from this system of what people call factory farms."
As the biggest wars are fought while making choices at the grocery store, this app -- similar to the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch Program -- was designed to accompany customers as they push their carts through the aisles.
Though Farm Forward often does seem to lean toward a vegetarian ideal, they're willing to decrease consumption of factory farmed poultry by any methods necessary. "Farmers produce what consumers want," Goldsmith said, "if consumers are out there in large numbers saying that they'll spend a bit more for a product that is meaningfully more humane, farmers will do it. It's not that they can't; there just isn't a significant market."
For people who don't have access to animal products that are Certified Humane, Animal Welfare Approved, or raised by a local farmer, the app also will give customers the option to send a message -- right from their phones -- to the grocery store asking them to provide more options. BuyingPoultry.com will also allow customers to tell large producers to step up their standards or thank farmers for doing something right.
Goldsmith projects that the first version of the application should be ready within the next 12 months, subject to hiccups along the way. They've gotten support from consumers, advocates, retailers and producers. For many reasons and from many backgrounds, people are rallying to give consumers the information they need to choose the products they want.
"That's why we've moved forward and come this far," Goldsmith said. "No matter how good of a job we do producing BuyingPoultry.com, no matter how complete the listings, or how much money we can raise on Kickstarter, the success of this project will be determined by consumers. If the consumers want to change the way turkeys and chickens are treated and make a difference, they can use this app and we can accomplish a lot."
Originally published on Food Politic.
While it's known that Google Glass has in-testing features just waiting to be exposed, we haven't seen many attempts to reveal them all. Zhuowei Zhang has stepped in with a complete list of what's under the hood, and it turns out that some of those features work... more or less. After modding the latest Glass firmware, Android Police can confirm that there is a functional Chrome browser lurking inside; Google just hasn't woven it into the user experience. Other Labs features produce similarly mixed results. OK Glass Everywhere lets users easily start a voice command chain from anywhere in the interface, but a video stabilization mode clearly isn't ready for prime time. Although you'll want to visit the source links for the full rundown, it's evident from just a cursory glimpse that Glass has plenty of room to grow.
Filed under: Wearables, Google
Via: Android Police
Tech in sports typically revolves around maximizing performance in some nebulous and difficult-to-fact-check way. But Adidas has been doing some very cool stuff, like MiCoach biometric tracking, and now it's got something new and actually kind of great in theory: a soccer ball that tells you what its doing.
Four weeks ago I joined STEMconnector, 'The One Stop Shop' and powerhouse convener on all things STEM. An organization poised to move the needle on the big issues impacting our country and workforce.
I knew it would be a new career that builds on my 20 years in education teaching entrepreneurship nationally and globally to low-income youth. I was excited to jump in also as a woman in tech to leverage the mentoring of girls with our awesome team. What I didn't know or plan for was how many people would come up to my privately and say, 'Julie, I am so excited for you and want to hear about your new job... but if I am acting confuse ... tend to look dazed... what does STEM stand for? What does it mean?'
"Please don't be embarrassed," I said to my friend Leslie, who is a social media guru I want to help us. "No, it's not stem cell research or another Washington association acronym," I added with an understanding smile.
It stands for Science,Technology, Engineering and Math. At this point, everyone I speak to understands it is somehow about education, but here is why it's critically important to us all and especially our children NOW!:
Let's start with THE 'S' -- Science. Innovation. Inventions. Think of how they affect our life commercially: think Mac computers, think cancer research, retinal scans, machines underwater that are built by engineers using math and technology to monitor the ocean floor and predict tsunamis.
My daughter told me this morning that hates science. She is in a group of 5th graders on a project that she says bores her. My heart starts racing and then I reflect on a report we released with My College Options that showed that only 13 percent of high school seniors want to pursue STEM careers and that 71 percent of jobs require STEM skills. "Justine, can we get you into an Camp Invention this summer," she looked at the photos online of kids creating and building machines. "Now that sounds fun, Mom!" she said. She also shares that she enjoyed replicating the solar system with plastic bottles project in November.
Now moving to the 'T' -- Technology. computers, jobs, new cars that run without drivers, working for Microsoft, Cisco, Google or a hot new startup. The issue here is there are not a lot of available computersScience teachers who are trained in America's schools and often our kids know more about technology than we do. Most states don't require computer science in school and that's a big concern. Often computer science majors are lured quickly into the private sector and don't chose teaching as a career. I see this first hand at home. When Justine was 6, I bought her an iPod Touch and disabled Safari (internet access). Within an hour she was texting family members and called my mom... in Italy! She knew how to take this device that I assumed was for games only and turn it into a communications portal. The vast majority of jobs require technology and companies are hiring often overseas to get the talent they so desperately need. Especially the 'E's' engineers.
Engineers solve complicated problems and apply that learning and technology to building safe bridges that won't ice over, pacemakers, crutches, machinery, buildings that will withstand hurricane force winds, windshield wipers, etc.
Engineers use a lot of M, math, which is our global common language. Financials, how the world works around us. Using math as building blocks to solve complex data driven problems and understanding."
"Justine, tell me what you like about math," I asked before dropping her off at school. Her grades have really gone up in this area and I thought I'd get a better reaction than her science comment. "I liked when we got a million dollars to work with and figure out how we would improve the school. We went online and figured out what materials we would need to buy and how much it costs. We even got onto one site and found great new playground equipment for $20,000 but at another site it was $38,000," she said. Justine is a born entrepreneur with three companies so it made perfect sense that when she is talking about money, she is doing math and loving it.
So what does STEM got to do with it? Why should 'we the people' care about STEM? It ties to everything, education, skills and to where the jobs are and will be. It's fun! It's America's competitiveness; it's cures for cancer and the world's water crisis; immigration and making a home for the best and brightest to stay and build great new companies; the woman in Seattle who mentors a girl in 4-H to patent her idea or code; the amazing focus from the White House and President Obama to train 100,000 more STEM teachers; the next Sheryl Sandberg, inventor Madame CJ Walker, or Steve Jobs.
Online dating is great! You can meet people you otherwise would never encounter that share your interests and just might end up being the one. But the anonymity factor makes it just as easy to flake on someone when it comes to meeting IRL as it is to click on his or her profile to begin with. So how do you keep the digital spark alive long enough make it from arranging the date to the actual date?
It's an age-old problem: do we clamor for a company to ship a product that's not ready, or do we swallow delays with grace as it aims to deliver when things are good and ready? Such a choice has to be made when it comes to Automatic, the California-based startup which had originally hoped to start shipping its automotive dongle + app platform at the end of this month. Those (including yours truly) who pre-ordered on day one received an email last night delivering the news that things were running a bit behind schedule. The hardware itself is actually already being manufactured, but stellar components are only a piece of the total puzzle. The software -- an iPhone app, in this instance -- still needs more time in the proverbial oven, and now we're being told that packages won't ship until "the end of August."
A three-month hiccup is nothing to scoff at, and Automatic seemingly knows it. In order to sate those who were hoping to use the $70 product during their upcoming summer road trips, the company is giving early pre-orderers the option to beta test the app as it stands today. For those who agree, they'll receive their hardware in mid-June, but they'll be forced to use it with a version of the app that "lacks a few features like Crash Alert and support for multiple cars and users." We'll be keeping a close eye as the situation develops, and will definitely endeavor to pass along a review just as soon as we're able. If you're curious, we've embedded the email in full just after the break.
Filed under: Transportation
Adrian Tomine has a talent for capturing the strangeness and beauty of life in a city, from creeping Brooklyn gentrification to the subway-borne Missed Connection. His frequent illustrations for The New Yorker have always made me wish I could own a larger print—in fact, a copy of his iconic post-Hurricane Sandy cover hangs in our living room.
"Blasphemy! A crime against nature!" Yes, many people feel the same way about non-alcoholic beer as they do about decaffeinated espresso. "It's just wrong and what's the point" is the thinking. Yes. Yes, you're very cool. Now shut it.
India has achieved remarkable economic success over the last 30 years. Once wed to closed-market, "small is beautiful" policies that severely curtailed growth, by the 1990s India had embraced the core tenets of economic liberalization and open trade. As a result, its once-meandering economy began to grow rapidly, showing liberalization's unrivaled power as a growth catalyst for the world's second most populous nation.
Unfortunately, India has taken a wrong turn in recent years, the effects of which are quickly reaching critical mass. In a range of industries from information and communications technology (ICT) to life sciences, clean energy, and biopharmaceuticals India has vigorously embraced a range of "innovation mercantilist" policies such as forced intellectual property transfer and mandated local production as a condition of market access.
For example, India's Supreme Court Court garnered headlines last month when it denied a patent to Novartis for the cancer drug Glivec. The decision will allow Indian pharmaceutical companies to expropriate Novartis' intellectual property and produce a drug that has been patented in nearly 40 countries. In addition, India's new Preferential Market Access (PMA) rules for electronics procurement seek to ensure that by 2020 80 percent of the computers and electronics sold in India are manufactured domestically. One glaring example of this is India's exclusion of foreign ICT companies from participating in the country's $4 billion national fiber optic network project, even if the companies produce the equipment in India. Collectively these policies constitute a concerted mercantilist policy that seeks to block foreign competition and boost domestic-owned manufacturing. As such, India's actions violate global trade rules, damage the international economy, and cut the nation off from much-needed foreign direct investment.
India has taken this turn in part as a response to China's robust embrace of similar tactics. They see the rapid growth in manufacturing in China and want it for India, and rather than take the hard steps through reducing corruption, building a viable infrastructure, and ensuring a trained workforce, it's easier for them to take the mercantilist short-cut to growth.
But these practices fundamentally will not lead to sustainable and broad-based growth for India. They will however shut out U.S. companies from one of the world's largest consumer markets and hurt American innovation and jobs. As such, the United States, a long-time strategic ally of India in a volatile geopolitical region, needs to wake up to the reality that these Indian policies are now threatening our economic well-being here at home.
While we should continue negotiations, our long history with China shows that negotiation can only get us so far. Mercantilists respond to action, not talk. To that end, Congress should begin the process of withdrawing India from receiving benefits under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), the development assistance program that eliminates import duties on thousands of products from developing countries. India was the largest recipient of GSP benefits in 2012, at $4.5 billion, nearly a quarter of the entire program. If it continues to close its doors to U.S. firms or steal U.S. intellectual property with impunity, there is no rationale for extending India this kind of preferential treatment.
To be clear, a strong, growing, and collaborative trade relationship between the United States and India is in both parties' best interests. But India's recent trade policies are placing that relationship in jeopardy. The United States should not sit idly by as the Indian government enacts regulations that harm American industry and jobs. Strong leadership will be needed to achieve these goals and establish a fair, constructive and robust trade relationship between the two countries.
Cost projections for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program declined $4.5 billion last year.File this under something you don’t see every day. The total projected price for the Pentagon’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program--the most expensive weapons development program in history--has dropped. Though its program history is riddled with cost and schedule overruns alongside unforeseen engineering and design issues, the total price tag for the JSF fell $4.5 billion in 2012, the first time in the program’s history that the projected cost has gone anywhere but up (and up and up).
The cost savings come from the Pentagon’s annual selected acquisitions report (SAR), which reviewed 78 DoD programs and found that to absolutely no one’s surprise the overall cost of Pentagon acquisition programs grew by nearly $40 billion (or 2.44 percent) on the whole last year. But it seems all the talk of federal belt-tightening might be having an impact on Pentagon culture. This was also the first time in a long time that no program in the SAR went 15 percent or more over its budget.
Pentagon officials credited the Better Buying Power initiative, an in-house effort to reform weapons procurement to better allocate resources and reduce redundant or wasteful spending, with helping to curb spending on several programs.
For a program with such a checkered past--it's been considered for the budgetary chopping block more than once--the drop in overall cost is huge for the JSF program and an indicator that it may finally be moving toward initial operating capability. Often a program finds a way to spend the money it already has in its projections, so the downward revision in total price may amount to something the JSF program really needed: a public relations boost at a point when pricey government programs are not popular with anyone.
So not only is the JSF the most expensive weapon ever developed, but it might now hold the title--at $4.5 billion--for the most expensive PR moment ever purchased.
AT&T to Make Millions Thanks to New 'Administrative Fee'
It might not seem like much, just a measly sixty-one cents a month, but AT&T is apparently going to make a killing with its new administrative fee. The company tacked this $0.61 fee onto customers' wireless bills effective May 1, 2013, and calls it a "Mobility ...
AT&T Hits Customers with a New Administrative FeeThe Mac Observer
AT&T to Impose New 61-Cent Fee on Wireless PlansWall Street Journal (India)
all 50 news articles
For the past several years I've helped judge Trend Micro's annual What's Your Story video contest, which, in past years, focused on how to combat Internet risks like cyberbullying and inappropriate use of mobile technology. But this year, the contest had a more uplifting theme. Contestants were asked to create videos that addressed the question, "What does the good side of the Internet look like?"
There were two $10,000 grand prize winners in two categories: individual (or a group of individuals) and schools. The winners in the individual category were Saad Sifate, George Strawbridge, and David Oladejo, of Ottawa, Ontario. The school grand prize went to teacher Patty Ream's class at Ripley Union Lewis Huntington High School, of Ripley, Ohio.
Sifate, Stawbridge and Oadejo's entry, "I'm an Educated Dude," which took place in front of a graffiti covered wall in Ottawa, consisted of a poetic rap about the pros and cons of the Internet. I was a little worried that the group might have missed the mark when the lyrics began with, "Press down Ctrl H, all I see is hate, confidence deflate and less than civil debates." But I lit up when he went on to rap, "But the forgotten message is that the Internet has a direct correlation to education communication and a supreme impact on our generation. Education is the key." What impressed me was the way the video explored the nuances of the Internet and how you can transform bad into good."The Internet is a composite and the parts that are negative are what can truly make it positive," it concluded. But my quotes don't do it justice. Click here or below to see the two-minute video for yourself.
I'm an Educated Dude
The school video, "The Legend of the Responsible Gamer," begins with a teenage boy bad mouthing another online gamer "you're so bad kids, why do you even play this game, why not do everyone else a favor and log off." But then the unthinkable happens. A hand reaches out from the monitor and pulls the young gamer into another world where he is greeted by a guy in what looks like a Jolly Green Giant outfit who -- in a positive and very physical way -- teaches him a lesson in humility as they go through an obstacle course together with some positive reminders like "it takes a much better person to encourage somebody rather than bash them down." Click here or below to view the video.
Legend of the Responsible Gamer
Also see Digital wisdom from young filmmakers: "What's Your Story?" winners from my ConnectSafely.org co-director, Anne Collier.
This post first appeared on SafeKids.com
Once a upon a time, Microsoft saw fit to put together a YouTube app for Windows Phone and it was actually pretty great — it let users download videos straight from the app and there was nary an ad to be found. To absolutely no one’s surprise, Google wasn’t too pleased: after all, the features that made the app so appealing didn’t exactly jibe with YouTube’s terms of service, and the search giant demanded the offending app be removed.
Well, after a bit of back and forth (and a conciliatory update), it seems the two companies have finally come to an agreement. Microsoft and YouTube released a statement today affirming that the two companies will work together on crafting yet another YouTube app for Windows Phone that doesn’t fly in the face of Google’s and YouTube’s rules.
Here’s the (admittedly brief) statement in full:
Microsoft and YouTube are working together to update the new YouTube for Windows Phone app to enable compliance with YouTube’s API terms of service, including enabling ads, in the coming weeks. Microsoft will replace the existing YouTube app in Windows Phone Store with the previous version during this time.
So there you have it. Frankly, the news doesn’t come as much of a shock — Microsoft was seemingly caught off-guard when Google’s ire first became known and was willing to make things right by adding those ads should Google give the company access to “the necessary APIs.” Then again, a Google representative points out things like YouTube’s the iFrame API have been open to the masses for a while now, so it’s unclear why Microsoft didn’t just go that route in the first place. While it’s refreshing to see these two work out their differences here for once (mostly because Microsoft has been poking at Google with its Scroogled campaign for months now), the real loser here is the consumer.
In just a few weeks a new, ad-laden version of the app will trickle into the Windows Marketplace and Windows Phone users who have downloaded the app will soon find themselves faced with the prospect of embracing a much different YouTube experience. Granted, it’s only one app that’s being bowdlerized, but Windows Phone has been making significant strides when it comes to app quality lately and it’s a bummer to see such a prominent app lose its charm.
In the event you’re a Windows Phone user who hasn’t yet updated your YouTube app to the latest version, you may want to wait before taking the plunge. Microsoft recently pushed a tweaked version of the app into the Windows Marketplace that removed the ability to download videos on the fly, though you still won’t be subjected to in-stream ads.
Welcome to Growing Up Geek, a feature where we take a look back at our youth, and tell stories of growing up to be the nerds that we are. This week, we have our new associate editor, Melissa Grey!
Sometimes, the formative moments in your life happen when you least expect them. One such moment occurred for me in 1997, as I watched my brother pilot Cloud Strife through the ruins of the Forgotten City while Aerith Gainsborough clasped her hands in prayer. We'd taken turns playing Final Fantasy VII on and off for days. He bemoaned my stubborn inclusion of Red XIII in every party and we both developed gambling habits at the Gold Saucer on the outskirts of North Corel. We argued about the validity of Yuffie Kisaragi's existence and watched in awe as Sapphire Weapon emerged from the sea to attack Junon. We laughed. We cried. We experienced a game unlike anything we'd ever played before, but nothing could have prepared us for what happened next.
As a sword-wielding Sephiroth fell on Aerith like an avenging angel, I felt the Earth tilt on its axis. It wasn't simply the unexpected plot twist that left me reeling. No, it was deeper than that. I realized in that moment that the figures on my screen had transcended the jagged stacks of polygons that made them. They had become real to me. The loss of one of them, fictional as it was, cut me to the quick. It was then that I realized what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to devastate people the way I had been devastated. I wanted to build worlds as fantastical as Midgar and populate them with characters as richly layered as Vincent Valentine. I wanted to tell stories. I wanted to be a writer.
Filed under: Misc, Alt
Florists around the country, pay attention. If you're looking for a value-added reason for people to buy a dozen roses from your shop, then find a way to get this brilliant Crown Vase put into production and include one with every bouquet.
AT&T must be run by magicians. The company is turning a mere 61 cent monthly fee into hundreds of millions of dollars.
But instead of delighting an enchanted audience, AT&T has mostly angered its customers with its new "Mobility Administrative Fee," which went into effect for all monthly cellphone contracts on May 1. The company has more than 107 million wireless subscribers, so the new fee stands to bring in $775 million each month.OK?
Here's AT&T's explanation for the price add-on: "Consistent with similar fees charged by other carriers, the monthly fee of 61 cents per line will help cover certain expenses, such as interconnection and cell site rents and maintenance," AT&T's executive director of media relations, Mark Siegel, told The Huffington Post. The fee applies to all "postpaid (contract) consumer wireless customers."
The new fee should not have come as a surprise to the AT&T customers who read their bills carefully. "Customers were given a full thirty days advance notice of this fee in their April bills. The fee is summarized and identified as a line item on every single monthly bill," Siegel said.
AT&T customers took to Twitter to complain:
“@cultofmac: AT&T Just Added A New 'Mobility Administrative Fee' To Your Monthly Wireless Bill cultm.ac/1acaKO5”This sucks.— Brian(@BWFeldy) May 23, 2013
Worst phone company ever! RT @verge AT&T adds admin fee to wireless bills, stands to rake in millions bit.ly/12ZFoI2— Sammy (@y0shiy0shi) May 23, 2013
Now, you get to pay more for shitty cellular: AT&T adds 61-cent 'mobility' fee to wireless bills - news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-57…— Ryan Sanders (@RyanGSanders) May 24, 2013
Analyst Jon Hoffman discussed the issue on market intelligence company ABI Research's blog on Thursday. Calling the fee "arbitrary," Hoffman writes that AT&T imposed the fee "Because they can."
Hoffman explains that AT&T added a fee instead of simply raising prices for service because they want to be able to charge customers nice, even prices. "Suppose AT&T decides on a direct price increase - how awkward do these sound? Data usage is beyond mass market comprehension, so keep it simple - $30/3 Gigabyte. $50$/5 Gigabyte," Hoffman writes.
Today, plenty of employers need tech-savvy employees with the social know-how to navigate and solve complex, real-world workplace issues.
The best way to recruit these top candidates? Gamification.
Gamification means applying game-like mechanics -- think reward, recognition, and participation -- to non-game contexts like recruitment and workplace training. Gamifying the recruitment process makes hiring more interactive for referred candidates and current employees, who are rewarded for their participation and progress. Current employees can be certain the candidate screening process is interactive and rewarding for those they refer, incentivizing them to continue to make quality referrals.
If your company is looking to ramp up employee referrals and improve the recruitment process overall, it can help to take a look at some existing games to glean insight on what will work best for your business's hiring and employee referrals. Here are three recruitment games your business needs to know about:
Plague. Over at Risk Management Solutions (RMS), vice president of talent acquisition Amelia Merrill employed game mechanics to help her company compete with the likes of Google, Facebook, and other hot Silicon Valley start-ups. RMS is in the business of risk modelling for man-made disasters, so the company partnered with Plague Inc., one of the most popular games for iPhone and iPad.
Plague simulates pandemic situations much like the ones RMS tackles, so the company integrated their brand as an expert character, offering a scientific authority within the game to guide players. Merrill predicted 700 million brand impressions in 12 months -- a huge boost for employee branding and recruitment efforts. The game is a great tool for current employees to act as brand ambassadors and promote the company on a wider scale, boosting employee referrals overall.
My Marriott Hotel. Marriott International Inc. was one of the first to adopt game mechanics for the referral and recruitment process. As the company spread into international markets, it needed a way to attract tech-savvy Millennials and interest them in the hospitality industry.
The company created a hotel-themed Facebook app, My Marriott Hotel. The game required users to navigate the complex daily tasks of running a hotel kitchen. Available in English, Spanish, French, Arabic, and Mandarin, the game has been successful in attracting a wide range of job candidates while giving them an opportunity to solve real-world problems.
Cityville. Cityville allows players to build virtual cities, similar to the way Farmville allows users to build farms. With Cityville, users can try their hand developing business management skills. Players oversee virtual development by adding businesses, producing their own goods, performing jobs in neighboring cities to earn reputation points, and more.
Cityville has already partnered with major franchises like Best Buy, Coca-Cola, and McDonald's, much like RMS's relationship with Plague. The companies have used the game to strategically improve brand recognition and engagement of potential job candidates. With Cityville, passive job candidates get a chance to build their skills and be rewarded for it -- and companies get key recognition to improve their hiring process.
Any business looking to boost employee referrals and improve recruitment efforts can turn to gamification as a key strategy. Simply ensure you're offering rewards, recognition, and participation. Your workers will be more likely to engage in referring candidates, and passive job seekers will be drawn to your business.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Netflix is hoping this weekend's release of the resurrected TV series "Arrested Development" will draw more subscribers to its Internet video service.
The award-winning show about the dysfunctional Bluth family returns Sunday, seven years after Fox cancelled the series. The revival coincides with Netflix's own resounding comeback from a customer backlash over price increases and shareholders' worries about rising expenses. The adversity had raised doubts about the company's management and future.
Now, Netflix is winning back subscribers and investors with a bold attempt to establish its $8-per-month service as a home entertainment powerhouse that rivals the broadcast television networks and premium cable channels such as HBO.
"Arrested Development," a comedy that won six Emmy awards during a critically acclaimed three-year run, is the third exclusive series from Netflix Inc. this year. It's part of Netflix's effort to add more original programming to a selection that consists primarily of old TV series and movies.
With 29.2 million U.S. subscribers — far more than the 21.9 million TV subscribers that leading cable provider Comcast Corp. has — Netflix has already reshaped home entertainment.
The service is encouraging more people to forego cable and satellite TV service and rely on Netflix to watch popular TV series a year or more after they originally were shown. Netflix also is empowering viewers to watch an entire season of a TV series in a matter of days instead of months.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings isn't done disrupting things yet. He is spending more than $2 billion annually, including about $200 million to finance original programming that can be watched on traditional computers, smartphones, tablets, video game consoles and Internet-connected TVs.
By expanding its library of content, Netflix is hoping people will decide to spend their idle time on its Internet video service rather than play video games, fraternize on Facebook, surf cable or satellite TV or watch a DVD. (Netflix started out as a DVD-by-mail rental service, but it is phasing that out in favor of Internet streaming.)
"We want our members to choose Netflix in these moments of truth," Hastings wrote in a recent essay outlining Netflix's philosophy.
By bringing back "Arrested Development" this weekend, Netflix is also trying to prove that people still want to see quality entertainment even when the weather is getting nicer and the days are growing longer. That runs counter to the philosophy of broadcast TV networks, which for decades have typically started the new seasons of their top TV series in September and stopped showing new episodes just before Memorial Day weekend.
BTIG Research analyst Rich Greenfield believes the scarcity of compelling choices on broadcast TV at this time of year is bound to help Netflix draw more viewers to "Arrested Development." In a recent analysis posted on BTIG's blog, Greenfield predicted that the total number of hours watched on Netflix in June might even surpass the Fox broadcast network for the first time.
If that were to happen, it would be an ironic twist, given that Fox canceled "Arrested Development" in 2006 over the protest of the series' fervent fans. "Arrested Development" had low ratings during its run, but the viewers who did watch loved it. Others discovered the show later on DVD or Internet streaming — both of which have been available through Netflix.
The first three seasons of "Arrested Development" were being watched by so many subscribers that Netflix knew another season would be well-received by its existing audience and would likely lure new subscribers, too.
Like Netflix's previous series, all 15 new episodes of "Arrested Development" will be released simultaneously to allow viewers to watch the show as if they were perusing a book and deciding how many chapters to pore through in a single sitting. "Arrested Development" is scheduled to be available at 12:01 a.m. PDT Sunday (3:01 a.m. EDT), meaning Netflix subscribers could conceivably devour the entire season before grilling on Memorial Day afternoon.
Netflix's departure from TV's traditional one-episode-per-week strategy has been well received by subscribers who have watched the service's previous forays into original programming.
February's release of "House of Cards," a political drama that stars Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey, helped Netflix add 2 million more U.S. subscribers during the first three months of the year, more than analysts anticipated. "Hemlock Grove," a quirky horror series, attracted additional viewers during the first weekend after its mid-April release, according to Netflix, although the company hasn't provided specific numbers.
It's difficult to quantify how many subscribers joined Netflix to watch "House of Cards" and then decided to stick with the service after seeing all the other material available. That's because "House of Cards" debuted during a winter period that is traditionally one of the service's prime times. For instance, Netflix added 1.74 million subscribers in the first three months of 2012. The difference between the two years could be an indication that "House of Cards" generated an additional 250,000 subscribers, although there is no way of knowing for sure.
In any case, "Arrested Development" is expected to attract even more new subscribers than "House of Cards" because of its built-in fan base and the success that several of its cast members have enjoyed since the show's cancellation. The original cast, including Jason Bateman, Michael Cera and Will Arnett, is returning to the zany series revolving around a family whose opulent lifestyle was torn apart by the arrest of a corrupt patriarch played by Jeffrey Tambor.
In the new episodes, viewers will get updates on the characters, one by one. Although that was done because of difficulties booking the actors all at once, it ended up allowing for a non-traditional viewing experience, one more fitting on Netflix than a traditional network. Viewers, for instance, will be able to pause an episode on one character to watch the same scene from another character's vantage point.
The long-awaited return of "Arrested Development" prompted Netflix to be more optimistic about subscriber growth during the traditionally sluggish April-to-June period, Hastings told The Associated Press in a recent interview. The Los Gatos, Calif., company predicted that it could gain as many 880,000 U.S. Internet streaming subscribers during the second quarter. Without the series, Hastings said, the projected increase probably wouldn't have exceeded 530,000, the growth it had during the same period a year ago.
If "Arrested Development" does as well as Hastings hopes, it will mark another triumph for a company that had fallen out of favor with subscribers and investors less than two years ago. Netflix infuriated customers in July 2011 when it announced price increases of as much as 60 percent for people who wanted to rent DVDs by mail and stream Internet video. Then, Hastings unleashed even more outrage by outlining plans to spin off the DVD-by-mail option into a separate service called Qwikster — an idea that seemed so absurd that it was mocked on "Saturday Night Live."
Netflix didn't waver on its new pricing system, even though it resulted in the loss of 800,000 customers at the time. But Hastings scrapped the Qwikster concept amid the backlash. The DVD-by-mail service, which has lost 6 million customers in the past 18 months and now has 8 million, is being allowed to slowly fade away.
While Netflix subscribers were howling, shareholders were dumping their stock. Investors feared the company wouldn't be able to attract enough subscribers to cover the steadily rising fees for licensing video rights.
Those worries have dissipated now that Netflix is growing rapidly again, something that Hastings had promised would eventually happen after apologizing for the Qwikster mistake and the way he handled the price increase.
After hitting a high of nearly $305 in July 2011 and then falling to below $53 last August, Netflix's stock is trading at nearly $230.
"I don't have a sense of 'I told you so,' or something," Hastings told the AP last month. "I have a sense of satisfaction that we are doing what we do best, which is steadily improving our service."
We've gotta give it to Microsoft... building a YouTube app for Windows Phone 8 that strips out advertising and allows users to download streaming videos was one hell of a way to get Google's attention about the lack of an official app for the platform -- even if it managed to attract ire at the same time. Now, multiple reports are coming in that both companies have reached an agreement of sorts, which will result in an app that's fully compliant with YouTube's Terms of Service in the coming weeks. You might've already guessed it, but unlike Microsoft's most recent conciliatory update to its YouTube app, the next version will serve up ads. You'll find a joint statement from both companies after the break. Now that the pair are learning to cooperate, might we suggest they take a look at Gmail?
Filed under: Software, Mobile, Microsoft, Google
Source: The Verge, The Next Web
Microsoft and YouTube just told us that they’re working on an official YouTube app for Windows Phone
Microsoft and YouTube just told us that they're working on an official YouTube app for Windows Phone together. The app will be released in "the coming weeks" (and will have ads).
Gillmor Gang – Robert Scoble, Kevin Marks, John Taschek, Keith Teare, and Steve Gillmor. Recording for today has concluded.
"Okay, Glass. Who's that?"TechCrunch has a nice look at a new API from Lambda Labs, an "early-stage startup" (meaning, brand-new) from San Francisco, that's causing a bit of consternation. Lambda Labs makes a facial recognition API, which you can actually try out here in your browser. But now Lambda has released a version of that API specifically for Google Glass.
There are certain software restrictions that hold back what the hardware can do--in this case, you can't use the facial recognition API to get a real-time identification. Instead, you have to take a picture, send it to the app's developers for it to be analyzed, and then receive the ID. That doesn't take long, but it's not exactly a Robocop-level ID system.
But the Glass hardware is capable of that kind of real-time information flow, to a degree. Glass isn't an augmented reality system; it's more like a tiny notifications screen in the corner of your field of view. You won't see a face with a name under it, but you might see a face, then tilt your eyes up and to the left and see text with an ID on it.
The bigger and perhaps more interesting issue here is whether this will fly with Google and the US government. In a New York Times article, Steve Lee, director of project management for Google Glass, said: "We’ve consistently said that we won’t add new face recognition features to our services unless we have strong privacy protections in place." And then there's the inquiry from eight members of Congress about Google Glass's potential privacy implications.
I've written about how Google Glass isn't a surveillance device, but this is something a little bit different: the debate here is all fine lines and shades of gray. The API already exists, the technology is common, and the hardware is out there. Does it really matter if you're performing this action with a smartphone or Google Glass? Can you ethically stop someone from accessing previously-accessible data just because it's in a slightly different form? It's a nuanced and complex question, one we don't have an answer to--but one that Google and lawmakers will have to address.
The Carbuncle Cup is the annual U.K. award for the ugliest buildings in the country. Above you can see some of this year's nominees, submitted by readers of the Guardian. It's fun to point out a blight on a skyline! But there's also a problem: ugly isn't a great way to discuss architecture.
In each issue of Distro, editor-in-chief Tim Stevens publishes a wrap-up of the week in news.
Can you believe we've had the Xbox 360 since 2005? As a child of the two- or three-year console cycle, a system still going strong after eight seems inconceivable. Finally, it's being put out to pasture -- somewhat unceremoniously. The Xbox One is its successor and, with no backwards compatibility for disc-based or downloaded games, those looking to make the leap to the next generation in the fall will already want to start weaning themselves from Microsoft's current wunderconsole. It'll make it easier for both of you when it comes time to unplug it.
And you probably will want to unplug it and make the upgrade, though to be fair there's plenty to be cynical about with the Xbox One. So, I'll get that out of the way first, starting with the name. Microsoft is trying to send the message that the new Xbox is the only device you'll need to control your living room. That may be, but One? HTC, of course, called its latest flagship the One, but that was a case of a company distancing itself from previous, complicated naming schemes and going with something simpler. Here, there have been only two previous generations of the Xbox. Calling the third one the "One" is simply confusing. Still, it beats "Xbox Foo," which is what Microsoft's initial press release mentioned. Someone, it seems, got the memo on the official name a little too late.
Allow me please to take you back for a moment to the beginning of 2011. Remember how surprised the world was that, in just 18 days, a leaderless grass-root uprising managed to topple the Mubarak regime that had ruled Egypt with an iron fist for 30 years?
Much has been written since then about the causes of the January 25 Revolution. But nothing has come anywhere close to what is provided by this wonderful book, Revolution 2.0: The Power of the People is Greater than the People in Power. It appeared last year and I deeply regret having waited so long to read it. Having said that, this backward-looking book did provide important insights on Egypt's current situation and what may lie ahead.
Written by the now-famous Google executive and accidental revolutionary Wael Ghonim, the book provides you with an amazing birds' eye view of the build-up to the uprising and its successful conversion into a force for democracy, social justice and respect for human rights -- or, to use the inspiring revolutionary chant, "bread, freedom and human dignity."
By his own well-written account, Ghonim was neither brilliant at school nor a great rebel. He was, however, an intensely focused and determined individual who was eager to question and did not readily take no for an answer.
At first, he grew up absorbing the culture of fear that had infiltrated virtually every aspect of Egyptian life. But, unlike millions of his countrywomen and countrymen, he had one advantage: he was very tech savvy, incredibly curious and able to combine an understanding and respect for his culture with access to insights from the outside world.
Ghonim's interest in politics and the changes that it can bring to society started early. But his real moment of consequential political awakening came a little later.
In 2010, Ghonim saw for the first time the photo of Khaled Said, a young Egyptian tortured and murdered by members of the then-State Security forces. The book describes vividly how tears came pouring out as he stared at Said's badly-disfigured face on the Internet. Awakened and shaken, he launched a Facebook page honoring the young man and seeking justice for him, as well as for many others who had suffered unduly at the hand of the Ministry of Interior.
Calling it "Kullena Khaled Said" (or We are all Khaled Said), Ghonim was taken aback initially by the popularity of his Facebook page. Somewhat timidly at first, and hesitant to venture near the lime light, he intensely worked behind the scenes to mobilize the many young Egyptians who were angry at a regime that did not respect them, and felt alienated in a country that was being run for the benefit of the privileged few.
Drawing a page from Ghandi's non-violence philosophy, the page organized a series of peaceful "Silent Stands" to protest police brutality. The movement captured the interest of the disgruntled young and activists, and it secured their loyalty by engaging them in surveys, encouraging a high level of interactions on the page, and essentially reinventing crowd sourcing and decision-making -- all of which is documented in a fascinating way in this fast-moving book.
As important, if not more, the page administered by Ghonim and Abdelrahman Mansour (who joined the page on its third day as the second admin) achieved something that many thought improbable if not impossible: Encouraging an increasing number of young Egyptian to believe that they stood a chance at regaining a claim on their country and its destiny. In the process, they started gradually overcoming multiple barriers of fear that, both explicitly and implicitly, had relegated them to just impotent and frustrated observers. No longer were they willing to accept, as Ghomin self-reflected at the time, "the fact that I'm so insignificant that my fate can be decided by a government, or State Security, or a police force."
Bolstered by the success of the popular uprising in Tunisia a few days earlier, Ghonim took the brave step of calling for a revolution on January 25 -- the spontaneous popular uprising that served as THE catalyst for the millions of Egyptians that subsequently took to the streets of cities and villages to topple the Mubarak regime in a largely-peaceful, determined and previously-unthinkable manner.
The revolution that started on January 25 was about citizens keen to overcome "torture, corruption, injustice and unemployment." They sought to hold more accountable a government that treated Egypt like a "piece of property that can be divided among a few" while the rest "sit and watch." They came from all social classes, religions and backgrounds. And most of them were demonstrating for the first time in their lives. In the process, they gave credence to the view that "Egyptians are capable of the impossible if they stand united."
As the saying goes, the rest is history -- that is before you internalize the book's unique ability to take you behind the scenes.
After readers are taken along a suspenseful buildup to January 25, Ghonim shares with us in a disarmingly humble way what he went through in prison while millions around the world watched the crowds gather in Tahrir (Liberation) Square demanding representation, freedom, dignity and justice.
Arrested on January 27, Ghonim is beaten, interrogated and psychologically tortured by State Security forces frantically trying to understand the rapidly-changing situation in the street, including the role that social media is playing. Blindfolded for most of his 12 day arrest, he emerged from prison unaware of what had transpired on the streets and in the media.
Shortly after his release, Ghonim agrees to appear on a live television show. After speaking about his motivations and aspirations for Egypt, he broke down in tears when told of fellow citizens who had died at the hands of thugs seeking to regain the streets for the Mubarak regime. He gets particularly emotional and leaves the set after being shown the picture of yet another young person "who had dreamed of change and paid for it with his life, only two months after his wedding."
Ghomin's genuine and unanticipated behavior ended up by breathing enormous life and excitement at a critical time -- when, having already secured concessions from Mubarak and achieved much more than anyone had dared imagined at first, a tiring revolutionary movement was starting to lose momentum and was facing a mounting risk of fragmentation. Energized by the frankness, humanity and vulnerability of Ghonim, the movement regained its composure, triumphantly completing the final mile.
I have read many writings on the Egyptian revolution. However, until "Revolution 2.0," none of them -- whether individually or collectively -- gave me such a feel for the heart and soul of the millions of unknown young Egyptians who stood up and delivered the unthinkable. And with this wonderful book having provided me a unique context, I found myself going back to the Internet to rewatch with greater appreciation the videos from 2011.
In the last two years, the exuberance of beneficial change has given way to the complicated reality of another difficult revolutionary transition: that of pivoting from dismantling a repressive past to building a better future. With Egypt still lacking institutions, leaders a la Nelson Mandela and political unity -- and with the economy and social contracts pressured under the weight of unemployment, poverty, inflation and deficits -- many are concerned that the energy of the revolution could now be channeled into sectarian violence.
I too am worried -- very worried -- by the stumbles of the last two years. Each of them makes the immediate future more uncertain and the subsequent recovery more challenging. Yet, having observed and studied many country transitions over the last 30 years, I do not share the pessimism and cynicism about Egypt's longer-term future.
Politically awakened and now feeling that they legitimately secured a claim on their country's future, the Egyptian youth will not stand by and see their revolution hijacked. And having learned from the slips of traditional political setups and unreformed institutions, it is just a matter of time until the experience and sophistication of Egypt's youth are translated into a new political force for economic revival, social justice and mutual respect.
Meanwhile, after the fall of the Mubarak regime, Ghonim stuck to his statements that he wanted "no public position or reward." He took a leave of absence from Google and, using the proceeds of the book, founded an NGO seeking to improve access to education.
Once again, his shrewd use of technology is breaking down walls that imprison millions of Egyptians who have fallen hostage to poor curriculums, stretched teachers and tiresome methods of teaching. And -- once more -- he is not dissuaded by arguments that the challenge is too big and too complex.
Yet again Ghonim moves forward against considerable odds. Just look at the early success he is having with "Tahrir Academy," an initiative that provides access to educational content to all Egyptians, and helps particularly the most vulnerable segments of society. Once again he is doing so in a manner that engages a growing number of people to address a common problem that was once deemed to be impenetrable and overwhelming.
In lieu of a formal review, Matt Burns and I sat down to take a look at the Samsung 700T AKA ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T, a convertible tablet that has a small button on the keyboard that pops out the Windows 8 tablet that forms the brains of the machine. The device is a bit chintzy – more pressed metal and injected plastic than I like to see on a laptop – but at about $1,000 retail it’s an acceptable compromise for Win8 users who are looking for a nicer tablet.
I gave this device a Fly simply because I like the idea – a laptop that turns into a tablet with much fuss – but Matt was unimpressed. A little treat for you: this thing was so hard to describe that I had to read the name off of my phone and I still mispronounced it.
The laptop hit about 6 hours of battery life and a Geekbench score of about 4,000, on par with the i5 tablets we tested. The lower price – especially at this late in the game for this laptop, make it an interesting choice for a fleet laptop but I think the fit, finish, and power could detract from its overall appeal. It’s an interesting laptop, to be sure, but not the best of the bunch.
Early Google Glass owners are dominated by developers and tinkerers, so it's only fair that they get easy access to the downloads they need. Appropriately, Google has quietly set up a page that centralizes both Glass images and kernel source code. The company has even saved owners from having to hack their eyewear the hard way -- one image comes pre-rooted for those willing to toss caution (and their warranties) to the wind. Most of us can't take advantage of these downloads for about a year or more, but those with early access can swing by the new code hub today.
Filed under: Wearables, Google
Via: Android Police
Source: Google Developers
Most ads on Facebook are seen but not clicked, yet they can impact users, especially kids who shouldn't really see some of the ads.
So here's a problem: Facebook imposes a minimum age of 13 years old before you can create an account. As a result, if a child signs up for Facebook indicating she is 13 years old -- but is really 10 years old -- when she is 15 years old, Facebook thinks she's 18 and "legal." As an adult, Facebook ads can change to cater to the adult 'buyer.'
Thus, one challenge with Facebook ads is that kids might be exposed to mature ads simply because they told a white lie about their age when signing up.
Can you block Facebook ads or opt out of ads showing on your account? "No" is the official Facebook answer. Facebook says, "Ads help keep Facebook free."
What can you do about that?
If you sit with your child and look at the ads served up when she is using Facebook, you can click on the upper-right corner of ads that are inappropriate and select and "X" to "Hide this Ad" or to "Hide All Ads from XYZ Company." Once you do that, you're asked to indicate why you want the ad hidden. If you click on "sexually explicit" or "misleading" or "against my views" or "offensive," Facebook records your response and will begin to modify the types of ads served.
You'll need to repeat these steps a few times on a few more ads before those you deem inappropriate will stop being shown. In addition, you'll need to check periodically for new types of ads being served up to your child.
In fact, if you don't want weight loss ads or insurance ads, the same process works to remove those from being shown.
Now since a majority of Facebook ads are not clicked, you might wonder... if only a few people click on Facebook ads, what's the point of having them? For one, Facebook needs to generate revenue. But also, clicking on ads doesn't really matter.
Why? Farhad Manjoo of Slate says, "It's a fact well-known to advertisers, though it's not always appreciated by people who use Facebook or even by folks in the Web ad business: Clicks don't matter." He continues, "Whether you know it or not... ads on Facebook are working. Sponsored messages in your feed are changing your behavior -- they're getting you and your friends to buy certain products instead of others, and that's happening despite the fact that you're not clicking, and even if you think you're ignoring the ads."
This type of marketing is designed to generate demand for a product. Ads subtly creep up on viewers even days after the first exposure. During a time of evaluation and decision, brands shown in ads run through a user's head and remind them of promises given or images viewed.
How are Facebook ads influencing you? How are they influencing your child or teenager? If you want to hide certain types of ads, you've been told how to do that. Other than that, you can simply decide to stop using Facebook. Let's see how that goes at home.
Note: I work for Net Nanny; opinions expressed here are my own.
The rumors on the potential sale of Hulu started circulating again a couple of months back. Now, according to AllThingsD, Yahoo is joining other big-name companies (such as Time Warner Cable and DirecTV) in the race to try and acquire the streaming service. Per the always-insightful sources "familiar with the process," Marissa Mayer & Co. submitted a bid for Hulu just this morning, though there are no details on how much the company is willing to spend on the video site. Something tells us we'll know more soon enough, but we can say with confidence that Yahoo is starting its holiday shopping really early.
Filed under: Home Entertainment, Internet, HD
Google Needs To Bring Emerging Markets Online To Grow Its Business Opportunities In The Next 10 years
The WSJ has reported that Google is participating in discussions with emerging markets such as Southeast Asia and Africa about setting up wireless network infrastructure in cities and towns. A source told the WSJ that: “The wireless networks would be available to dwellers outside of major cities where wired Internet connections aren’t available and could be used to improve Internet speeds in urban centers.”
This aligns with Google’s goals of surrounding the world with technology that fits into our daily lives. That’s a “don’t be evil,” touchy-feely notion, but it comes from a need to set up Google’s future business opportunities globally.
Remember, all of Google’s products require one thing: The Internet.
According to Internet World Stats, Africa’s “Internet penetration rate” was a paltry 15.6 percent as of June 2012. Compare that to 78.6 percent in the United States, and it’s clear that Google needs to move outside of the U.S. to go after its next group of “customers.”
That’s a lot of business opportunity.
Google Chairman and former CEO Eric Schmidt talks about Internet penetration a lot, projecting that by the end of the decade, everyone will be online: “For every person online, there are two who are not. By the end of the decade, everyone on Earth will be connected.” That’s lofty, but it’s essential for Google to grow.
Mobile phones prevail in areas that don’t have proper Internet connectivity, but smartphones are still limited. People still use laptops and desktops at work, and would possibly use them at home, if they had proper connectivity. When looking at the chart above, Google sees all of the possible business opportunities that would come into play once those penetration numbers start jumping up. With more people online, there would be more eyeballs, more ad clicks, more shoppers, more…everything. If Google can push a few of these projects through in Africa and Southeast Asia, it will attract support of governments in other locales, as well.
Google is working on rolling out connected Internet with its Fiber product in places like Kansas City, Austin and Utah. A quarter of Kansas City area residents don’t have Internet connectivity in the home, with 17 percent of them not using the Internet at all. These findings were unearthed during Google’s due diligence for setting up Fiber, of course. When I visited the area this month, Fiber hadn’t reached the homes that need it the most, the ones that would take advantage of the “free option.” That’s where things will get interesting for Google, as it will bring them engagement that they haven’t had and could lead them to building new products that they haven’t been thinking about yet.
If you take those learnings and the Fiber rollout in Kansas City and apply it to emerging markets, then Google’s intentions become clear: More people online, more people using Google products. It’s simple. What’s not simple is getting these markets to realize that it would not only be good for Google to have more people online, it would be great for local businesses as well.
While Google isn’t commenting, either for the WSJ story or this one, it’s clear that Schmidt is on a worldwide friend-making expedition, attempting to get as many global government officials on the “Internet For All” train that he can.
Sure, setting up these emerging markets will help Google’s potential bottom line, but it could also help the entire technology ecosystem. More opportunities for Google will open up more opportunities for those building apps and services. If Google wants to do all of the research and foot the bill to get things rolling, then everyone wins.
[Photo Credit: Flickr]
The folks over on Android Police must have spent some of their time rewatching I/O videos. While they were doing that, they spotted a potential leak during the “Structure in Android App Design” session. In it, it seems, Google quietly leaked screenshots of what looks to be a revamped interface for the Gmail app.
If this turns out to be a real product, and the presentation sure made it look like that, the app could soon get a new navigation drawer that should make using it quite a bit easier – especially for those of us who like to use lots of labels in Gmail.
Currently, Google uses what it calls a “spinner,” the drop-down menu at the top of the screen you’ve probably seen in numerous Android apps. Instead, as Google’s Jens Nagel showed during his presentation, the new design would use a navigation drawer that users can pop out from the left side of the screen.
Here is what this would look like:
It’s worth noting that Google showed a lot of mock-ups during this presentation. The Gmail screenshot looks pretty real, however. Google does typically vet these presentations ahead of time, so we will just have to wait and see if this is really a leak or just an example of what the Android team could do with navigation drawers in Gmail.
During the presentation, Google also showed a mock-up of what the Calendar app would look like with the new navigation drawer, but Jens Nagel explicitly noted that while they could use this as the main interface for Calendar, the sidebar does “look a bit underpopulated,” especially on a tablet. It would be odd for Google to use one interface paradigm for one of its main native Android apps and go with another one in the rest of its apps.
Here is the full presentation. The discussion about the new Gmail interface starts about 23 minutes into the video.
Reports: New Xbox could DOOM second-hand games market
Microsoft has been quite cagey about its plans for games licensing on the new Xbox One, but multiple reports now suggest there's going to be very little incentive for a second-hand games market anymore, and buyers could get stung with extra charges.
Xbox One evolution: We trace the history of the Xbox (video)CNET
What we think we know about what Microsoft isn't saying about the Xbox OneArs Technica
Microsoft Xbox One 'a let down,' says Steven Butts of IGNFox News
Google has been busy pushing ahead with plans to be a wired internet provider in the US with Google Fiber, and it looks like it's intent on being a major player in the wireless network business elsewhere in the world as well. According to a report out today from The Wall Street Journal, Google is currently in the midst of a "mutipronged effort" that would "fund, build and help run wireless networks in emerging markets such as sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia."
That effort would reportedly involve partnerships with local companies, and an emphasis on delivering wireless access to residents outside major cities, where wired internet remains unavailable -- Google, and Eric Schmidt in particular, have repeatedly talked about reaching the next five billion people. According to the WSJ, Google would provide its own "recently developed wireless technologies" for at least some of the networks, some of which are said to involve TV whitespace technology. For its part, Google is remaining mum on the matter, and it's not clear when we can expect the networks to actually roll out.
Filed under: Wireless, Mobile, Google
Source: Wall Street Journal
Thank the old gods and the new that it’s Friday, AMIRITE? You know what that means right? Friday is Gadgets Podcast day, and boy do we have a show for you!
In this episode, John Biggs, Matt Burns and Darrell Etherington discuss Microsoft’s just-announced Xbox One, complete with voice commands, a brand new Kinect, a slew of new entertainment/social features, and the best specs yet.
Plus, Laptop Week is coming to a close, so the fellas discuss some of their faves, like the Dell XPS 13 Developer’s Edition with Ubuntu and the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina.
We invite you to enjoy our weekly podcasts every Friday at 3pm Eastern and noon Pacific.
Click here to download an MP3 of this show.
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Intro Music by Rick Barr.
Scientists now believe that the blue and green gaseous material at the center of the ring is a large football-shaped region sheathed by a ring of cooler gas (the yellow and orange ring) at its fattest point near the center. So the ends of the hotter football-shaped gas cloud protrude from either end of the ring, and we’re looking directly at the end of the football, so we see the enveloping cooler gas as a ring encircling the hotter blue/green gas.
What does all that mean? If you’re an astronomer it means you have a better understanding of the Ring Nebula. That in turn provides insight into the way our own sun’s nebula will form in another six billion years or so when it runs out of fuel, sheds its outer gasses, and collapses in on itself (it won’t look like this because our sun isn’t as big, but nonetheless there will be similarities). For the rest of us, it means look at that amazing image of the Ring Nebula!
Best Buy's deal of the day is Barnes and Noble's NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight for only $80. That's $30 off the next best offer and perhaps more importantly, $40 less than Amazon's Kindle Paperwhite (with ads).