Facebook is Creating a Smaller World With New Facebook Lite App
Jun12

Facebook is Creating a Smaller World With New Facebook Lite App

Last Thursday, Facebook launched their highly anticipated app, Facebook Lite. It has all the basic features that the flagship Facebook app has, but it runs on less than 1 MB of data. For some perspective, the traditional Facebook app takes up 25 MB. It will be accessible across all network conditions, specifically extending to developing countries with poor internet connection.  Vijay Shankar, the product manager for Facebook Lite, stated that Facebook’s core experiences like News Feed, status updates, photos, and notifications are all accessible through Lite. However, users will not be able to watch videos or use location tracking. Essentially, Facebook Lite is the key to open the doorway to the non-westernized world. According to the Telecommunication Development Bureau, 95% of the world’s population has access to 2G internet. As you can imagine, Facebook has now tapped into a completely new market. The app is currently available to android users in Asia, and in the coming weeks Facebook Lite will be accessible in places such as Latin America, Europe, and parts of Africa. With the “Lite” app, Facebook has the potential to reach over 5 billion people. 5 billion. With this news, I have some questions that I am hoping will be answered in the coming weeks as Facebook Lite is released to more countries. Will Facebook channel its former self in order to save data? Remember when Facebook looked like this? It was a simpler time, that’s for sure. Simpler times also meant much less space on your device, whether that was your desktop or your mobile device. Granted the website above was the desktop layout for several years, the app has had some significant changes, as well. With only 1 MB of data for Facebook Lite, I am curious whether or not Facebook will channel its younger self and provide a basic layout compared to the extremely sophisticated one we have now. Will these profiles have a cover photo, or just a profile picture? Can you view a Facebook Lite profile from the Facebook app? There are so many questions about this foreign app, and I can’t wait to learn more information as it is released and modified. How will Facebook integrate itself into the cultures of developing countries? In America and Western Europe, Facebook and other social media outlets are apart of our culture and daily routine. However, that is not the case for several of the areas that Facebook is now targeting. How will Facebook make a lasting imprint in these countries to ensure they become loyal users to the social media site? The creators of Facebook are going to have to tailor the app to people in Latin America or Africa or Eastern Europe so that each...

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Pinterest’s Buyable Pin no surprise, so what’s next?
Jun08

Pinterest’s Buyable Pin no surprise, so what’s next?

Earlier this week Pinterest announced that it will soon be rolling out its latest feature: buyable pins. This is perhaps the most wonderful and dangerous thing to happen to me since my student ID was hooked up to my parents’ checking account in college. For years, buyable pins have been the number one request from Pinners, and now our dreams have come true. We all knew this day would come and now that it’s here, I can’t help but wonder: what’s next? Now that Pinterest has taken a head-first dive into the world of ecommerce, I’ve made some predictions about what this social media power-house will do next… and what I’d like to see happen. 1. Giving Amazon a run for its money By creating buyable pins, Pinterest stepped into Amazon’s territory – the third-party online marketplace. Josh Constine at TechCrunch reported that Pinterest’s latest buying feature will include a button that allows a Pinner to add items to an Amazon Wishlist. Undoubtedly a handy feature, but what’s the point when I can simply pin it and come back to buy the item on Pinterest later? I am curious to see how the relationship between these two online giants will develop in the coming weeks. 2. Sponsored Buyable Pins We’ve got sponsored pins now, and we’re getting buyable pins soon. It can only be a matter of time until the two become one. Pinterest’s GM of Monetization Tim Kendall told TechCrunch in an article published June 2nd, 2015 that “This isn’t an ad offering, it’s an experience for pinners.” However, he went on to explain that though it isn’t an advertising opportunity yet, they hope to offer that at some point. 3. Expanding its own Ecommerce I have already compared Pinterest to Amazon in this post, but I will do it again. Amazon is not only a third-person marketplace, but now sells its own goods as well – the Amazon Kindle, for example. I wonder if Pinterest will do the same in the future, and if so, what their goods will be. Perhaps a sturdy waste bin for failed Pinterest craft ideas.   4. Shopping Lists I’ll soon be able to buy items right off Pinterest, but if you’re like me, you have a voice in your head that says you can always find it cheaper somewhere else. I’d like Pinterest to give me the ability to create a shopping list from things I see on Pinterest, so I can compare prices and take advantage of deals in physical stores. I imagine this feature would look something like Google’s Keep app, but built into Pinterest.   So there you have it, my hopes,...

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Google Your Collections
May06

Google Your Collections

When you hear the name “Google”, what do you think of? Probably an awesome company and search engine that’s brought us many of wonderful things like Gmail, Drive, Play, and more. Am I right? Of course I am. Everyone in the world knows Google, so much so that it has become synonymous with Internet searches.  Side note: have you ever Googled yourself? Interesting things come up. The search engine company has grown tremendously since its founding in 1996 from simple search queries into developing apps, social movements, and social media outlets like Google+. Now they are making waves by tackling another previously untouched target. On Monday, Google+ announced its newest feature called Collections. Similar to Pinterest, it allows the user to post pictures, articles, and videos into separate collections (get it) that can be shared with friends, the public, or kept private. The collections will gather in your Google+ home stream alerting others of new posts and collections. You can follow others’ collections, repost them to your own, and vice versa. Google has already dipped into so many different areas of technology it only makes sense to keep the trend up, and this move is a very smart one. Pinterest was founded in 2010 and has quickly grown into one of the most popular social media sites today. Valued at $11 billion, Pinterest has over 70 million total users and is constantly growing. Google’s move to challenge Pinterest is a bold one especially since Google+ didn’t fare too well against Facebook. For now, Collections is available online and on Android devices. Google says it will soon be available on Apple iPhones and iPads as well. It will be interesting to see how many use this new feature, and if in doing so, increasingly use...

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Microsoft Is On The Edge…Of Glory
May04

Microsoft Is On The Edge…Of Glory

Microsoft finally released the name of its new default web browser that will take the place of good ol’ Internet Explore last week…and we’re on the edge of our seats (you’ll see what we did there in a bit). The new browser is titled Microsoft Edge (now you see it) and will launch with the release of Windows 10. The browser, formerly code-named Project Spartan was alluded to at the Windows Convergence Conference in Atlanta back in March. Details on Edge are few and far between. Similar to Apple’s artificial intelligence system, Siri, Edge has Microsoft’s Cortana built-in to support users with searches, appointments, reminders, directions, and more. Microsoft took Google’s love of simple design to heart when designing Edge’s interfaces around the idea of  minimalistic design. Other additions include reader, note-taking, and sharing features, which might be the browser’s saving grace – Internet Explorer’s technical downfall was its compatibility issues with other browsers – and an engine for rendering, called EdgeHTML. Right now, Microsoft is on the edge…OF GLORYYYY and it’s hanging on a moment of truth (Thank you, Lady Gaga). The initial release of Microsoft Edge and users’ willingness to switch from Chrome or Firefox to the new browser will set the stage for the success of the browser long-term. Microsoft has to overcome a deep stigma to atone for the sins of the late Internet Explorer. After all, users will only combat viruses, security issues, and compatibility issues for so long before making the permanent switch to another browser. This is Microsoft’s chance to rebrand themselves as a reliable browser source people can depend on. As a fan of Cinderella stories, I personally hope Microsoft will be able to turn its riches to rags back to riches in terms of its web browser and get a happily ever...

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In-App Dating? GetReal
Apr29

In-App Dating? GetReal

Smartphone dating applications have become the new norm when it comes to meeting new people. While you can still walk up to strangers at a coffee shop or bar and get to know them in person, that particular form of spontaneity has gone by the wayside thanks to apps like Tinder and Grindr. I mean, why should you actually talk to someone when you can left- or right-swipe their profiles to see if they’re interested? Being rejected via social media applications is so much less traumatizing than in person, right? I’m not sold either way, but a new app wants you to get real about meeting new people. GetReal is a recently launched iOS app that wants users to spend less time messaging through apps and more time in each others’ company. Similar to Tinder, it’s a location-based networking app that connects you to the people in your vicinity. However, there is no in-app interaction and pre-meeting conversation other than the request to meet. Here’s how it works: When you open the app, it shows you everyone on GetReal in your surrounding area. After checking out the various user profiles consisting of one photo and a short status, you can send a meeting request through a pin-drop map feature to pinpoint the location and have the option of adding a short message. The requested person has half an hour to accept, decline, or defer your invite. Then you meet them in person and start a conversation that way. All communication on the app is limited to the meet up requests; there is no chat or messaging function. If you’re a little iffy about meeting a stranger, GetReal allows users to link their Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn profiles to the app so you can see if you have any mutual connections. The app also keeps track of how many people you’ve invited to meet, how many people are available in your location, and any people you have muted, which we’re assuming is a way to block people. GetReal isn’t limited to screening potential dates; the main goal is just to help people meet in person. Whether you’re networking, in a new city, want to meet people in your neighborhood or while traveling, want to expand your circle of friends, etc., GetReal wants to help users meet up in person. A group of 200 beta testers in San Francisco and New York tech industries found the app can be used for anything; they have been using the app for everything from recruiting to tech talks to growing their networks. The app creator, Arnaud Meunier thinks the recent inflation of apps and...

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UltraHaptics: The UltraCool Possibilities
Apr28

UltraHaptics: The UltraCool Possibilities

You know how in Iron Man, Robert Downey Jr.’s lab is controlled by his hands? There aren’t any physical buttons, its all hologram-like images that he moves with just a flick of his wrist. Super cool right? The first time I saw it, I couldn’t wait for that to be our reality. Thanks to a company called UltraHaptics, that reality is closer than we think. This technology company based in the United Kingdom is working on developing technology that “enables users to receive tactile feedback without needing to wear or touch anything.” They have made this possible through their use of ultrasonic sound waves. UltraHaptics uses a small collection of ultrasonic speakers that emit low frequency sound waves. These waves are similar to those of the bass you feel when you go to a club. The sound waves are all concentrated to meet in one area, providing an invisible layer of ultrasound that you can feel with your hand. Other companies have been working towards the same goal as UltraHaptics using different strategies, but UltraHaptics has added an extra layer of feedback to their technology. When someone touches the area of concentration, they feel a small vibration against their skin. By giving the feel of a force field to the user, it is easier to interact and utilize the technology. The possibilities of this technology are endless. This technology can be used on a car’s dashboard, to make a phone’s screen larger, really anything. And with the rise of popularity in the development of this technology, many industries are eager to get involved. Tom Carter, UltraHaptic CTO, said they are working in a variety of areas including consumer electronics, home appliances, and even virtual reality. Carter recently said of their work, “I’d like to believe that the first product featuring our technology will be on the shelves in a year”. If Carter’s hopes become reality, our world will just be so much cooler than it already...

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