News about new websites you might want to check out, changes to the websites you visit every day and more. In addition to just sharing about websites you might want to check out because they can add something to your day or life we will also have a section dedicated to websites changing how the internet works. These sites may offer little in terms of content but their design or function is groundbreaking. Or, vice-versa. These sites may have horrible design but offer and idea that can be life changing to many.
What you will not find here: 1) Paid content, 2) Content that is part of someone’s SEO or link plan nor 3) Fluff advertorial pieces of writing.
By now just about everyone has seen someone take an awkward photo of themselves in public and think, “Why?” Social media and millennials are the perfect mixture. Businesses probably already utilize Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social networks to either promote or provide newsworthy updates to their following, however, a majority probably haven’t had the time to take advantage of Snapchat. Snapchat provides its own hidden gems that other social networks cannot do, which is why it should definitely be considered when expanding your brand image. What is Snapchat? Snapchat is undoubtedly one of the most popular used apps right now, with its unprecedented amount of funding it receives, Snapchat is constantly being updated and improving its craft. At the moment it sets itself apart from other social media platforms in several unique ways: Snapchat provides raw, exclusive content. Nothing can be archived Able to have time elapsed video and photo sharing Allows for creativity to blossom. For example, Geo Filters and doodling. Secret QR Code feature for adding friends (Also, allows selfies to be the “Snapchat Ghost” in the QR Code. Use your logo if you are a business) Here is mine featuring me drinking coffee this morning. Imagine how many users are on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram right now, people seem to ignore the fact that Snapchat is right up there with them in the ranks of not only popularity but amount of users as well. Companies unknowingly have a huge amount of potential to reach their following and promote their image with Snapchat. Reach the Younger Demographic Without a doubt Snapchat is dominated by millennials. In fact, according to an article by CNET, research firm ComScore discovered that 18-24 aged users make up 45% of all Snapchat users. Almost doubling the percentage for any other social network, for that age group. There is no question if the younger market is in your business niche, definitely have a swipe at utilizing Snapchat. Think about this, there really hasn’t been a concrete way to market yourself with Snapchat, the opportunities are endless. Considering Snapchat has not been around for not even half a decade, it still is viewed as trendy by many. Businesses who have Snapchat, will appeal much more with the younger generation. Today’s youth perceive those who have the app as cool. TIP: Take a screenshot of your QR Code and promote it on other social media platforms to gain your following. Your loyal followers will definitely add the account. Special Sales and Discounts Probably the most popular way to use Snapchat from a business perspective is to offer discounts to your customers. Since the app only allows for posts to be up for 24 hours, followers will know there is a limited time to take action. Also, it gives them a little extra motivation to stay updated on the latest from any business. Coverage of Events Is your company doing something exciting? In my opinion, Snapchat’s best feature is being able to provide live, authentic action of whatever is going on. Whether your employees are doing community service or there is a special unveiling, there is a bit of a connection that one feels when viewing a Snapchat. The more you engage with your following, the greater chance of connecting with them. Previewing the Future Hinting...read more
Airbnb was founded in 2008 in San Francisco with a mission to give people a sense of belonging. Since then, the website and app have taken off and have become a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world. As the name states, it’s a website that allows anyone to become a host to their own B & B, or bed and breakfast. It has become especially popular for college students and young adults due to its low prices and local venues. Hosts and guests alike have fallen in love with Airbnb, giving other travel sites such as Expedia or HostelWorld a run for their money. Airbnb.com is more than just a reservation site. When you go to airbnb.com, you are instantly welcomed with a slideshow of warm videos and the phrase “Belong Anywhere.” The search bar for a destination keeps a low profile, allowing you to immerse yourself into what airbnb has to offer. You have easy access to videos of hosts, company culture, and featured locations, allowing you to get to know what this company is about and who is representing it. When you are done checking out their owned content, you can go to your own personal profile and see where you have stayed, where you’re going, and where you wish to go in the future. They do a really great job of integrating your information with what the site has to offer, instead of keeping a very dry profile page. Side note: They even have a video dedicated to intern life at airbnb. I guarantee Expedia does NOT have that. Airbnb’s brand represents more than just a company’s trademark. Although the video above does an incredible job of explaining airbnb’s symbol, I will quickly recap. The bélo represents a pinpoint on a map, the letter ‘A’ for airbnb, a traveler, and a heart. Those four things together, in airbnb’s mind, is all you need to travel, and they’re right. Airbnb goes a step further to establish their brand with their consumers by asking travelers to create their own symbol at Create Airbnb and take it with them on trips, or if they’re hosts, have it in their windows. It’s good when a consumer an identify a brand or simple, but it’s even better when they can relate to it, and that’s nearly impossible to do. Airbnb’s app is almost too user-friendly. I first discovered airbnb through the app. I got an email from a friend that had used it before and told me to check it out. I did, and instantly fell in love. I spent hours going through cities I want to go to and cities I’ve already been to. I’m a travel fiend, so stumbling upon this was a gold mine in my eyes. In my opinion, the app is even more user-friendly than the website. It is crisp, clean, and so easy to maneuver. You can’t access the awesome airbnb.com videos, but the reservation process is entirely accessible through your mobile device. Other hotel sites have apps, but nothing this in-depth. Having an app that is so accessible is key to seasoned travelers. If you’re a backpacker, you can book the room the day you arrive in the city without having to get access to WiFi or a place with computers. A working...read more
In August 2012, I was starting my freshman year of college at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. However, I didn’t know I would be going there until May, just three months before the first day of class. I handled the transition pretty well, the only problem was that roommates were slim pick-ins. All of my friends that were going there had already picked roommates so I was stuck with, cue the horror music, a random roommate, and thus began the worst 9 months of my life. I would wake up to all of the lights on and Playhouse Disney would be blasting from the TV. I would receive threatening texts if one of my friends entered our room, saying they couldn’t be trusted. The room was literally divided, all we needed was the tape to go down the middle. It was a pretty miserable experience, at best. Now, three years later, I have come across a new company called room.me, a start-up that started last August based out of Berlin and San Francisco. It is essentially Tinder for finding a roommate, and it could have saved me three years ago. This July it introduced its services to the bay area of San Francisco, and there has been a lot of talk and speculation about this new company. Room.me’s mission is pretty simple: we’ll help you avoid horrible roommates by matching you with like-minded people. In order to find out who you’re compatible you must go to room.me and begin the process. Sign up through Facebook or Twitter, create a profile, and answer nine questions. The questions are pretty traditional: early bird or night owl, smoker or a non-smoker, and your preference on noise. Once you finish this quick survey, you are taken back to the homepage and you can choose if you’re looking for a roomie or a room to stay in. If you click roomie, people’s images pop up and it gives you a percentage of how compatible you are with them. If you choose rooms, you can see how much each space is, what they are asking for, and how well you would mesh with the other roommates living inside. The process is quick and the website is very user-friendly. There’s no app, but I’m sure there will be if this start-up takes off, and I believe that it will. According to a recent Zillow study adults are relying more than ever on roommate living situations to save on expenses and doubled-up households account for more than 76 percent of all living situations nationally. Furthermore, San Francisco is one of the most expensive cities to live in, and young adults simply cannot make enough money to afford a living space by themselves. It only makes sense for room.me to enter the market. Room.me fills that void of trying to move to a new city while stressing about finding the perfect roommate. With room.me you can see who you’re compatible with, exchange information, and see if you are really meant to live one another without actually moving in together. The website is still being developed and there are some features that could be better, but that is all in due time. In the future, I could see it having a much more comprehensive list of questions and hypothetical scenarios that happen day-to-day. The more answers that you share with a person, the more likely...read more
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...read more
Earlier this week, Amazon launched what a majority of the Internet mistook as an outlandish April Fool’s Day joke – the Amazon Dash button. After all, who would actually create a button that reorders household supplies the day before April first and expect people to take it seriously? Well, Amazon did, so once again the Internet is wrong, for the Dash button is no laughing matter. Instead, it’s an invite-only product, offering a way for Amazon Prime users to easily replenish the common household items and groceries they order from Amazon at the push of a button. Amazon has enlisted certain brands that distribute products through their website to send Prime users Dash buttons. Customers can stick the buttons around their house and push them when they’re running low on their product of choice. But how does this magical button of dashing wonder work, you ask? Say you’re an avid user of Bounty paper towels – it’s the only quicker picker upper in your life, no other brand will ever suffice. But you’re almost out. LE GASP! What a travesty – the world will STOP without your paper towels. You’re simply too busy to a) go to the grocery store, or b) go on Amazon.com and reorder them because that’s something reserved for commoners. Thankfully, you live a life of luxury and convenience with Amazon Prime and requested a Bounty Dash button. Push the battery operated, Wi-Fi enabled button that is situated right next to your classy paper towel holder, confirm the order on your smartphone, and in two short days the doorbell will ring as drones deliver your paper towels. VOILA! Your day is saved, the crisis has been averted, the world will continue turning. What about my kids? Will a fleet of Bounty paper towel trucks pull up to my front door if they get ahold of my beloved Dash button? In a word: no. Amazon actually thought this out and created a safety feature for those of you with button loving children. If little Tommy or Sally happens to push the Bounty button 4,000 or so times a day, you will NOT receive 4,000 rolls of paper towels. Amazon will only deliver one order at a time, so if you pushed the button yesterday and Tommy pushed it today, they won’t place Tommy’s order until yours has been delivered. And the button is synced with the Amazon app on your phone so you’ll get an alert whenever an order has been placed that you can easily delete. Personally, my inner button lover ADORES this product because button pushing is fun whether it’s an elevator button or my mother’s nerves. However, at this point in my life, I’m resolutely confident I will never use a Dash button. Mainly because running errands is oddly comforting to me and I rarely order things online. Others are more cynical about the product, but people believe the Dash button is the next best thing since Betty White (she’s older than sliced bread, you know). So who knows what the future will hold for the elusive Dash...read more
On a day when others are playing tired practical jokes, posting fake stories, and generally making it more annoying to go about your daily life, Google decided to give us something new and completely awesome instead: Pac-Man. What’s so new and awesome about a game that came out over thirty years ago, you ask? You play it on a map of your neighborhood. Or a map of any place in the world. That’s right. In one of the best April Fool’s Day “pranks” of all time, Google created a feature for their map service that transforms whatever area you choose into a Pac-Man level. If you’re anything like us, right now you’re probably trying to think of the most ridiculously convoluted interchanges you have to deal with in your city. Indeed, depending on the location you pick, the game has hilariously absurd and complicated results. You can pick some pretty aesthetically-pleasing spots too, or if you’re lazy, the Midwest offers a lot of grids. If you’re on a mobile device, your options for playing the game are a bit limited – you can only play the game in a handful of places. Google added an extra twist for these players though: a list of clues corresponding to the various maps available for mobile play. As wonderful as all this is, it seems no good thing comes without a catch: Google says this feature “will only be around for a little while.” While we can hardly bear the thought of a world-travelling Pac-Man being taken away from us, it seems that’s inevitable. So here’s what you need to do right now: head on over to Google Maps, type in a location, click the Pac-Man icon in the lower-left corner of the screen and GO. Our advice: watch out for the...read more
The day where you’ll be able to dedicate an entire website towards your dislike of a brand, your love of a sport, or your obsession with a country is finally on the horizon. Come June, you’ll be able to purchase a domain name that’s specific to the intended purpose of your website. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) released a list of 500+ top-level domain names under which the public can register their websites. That list includes everything from .sucks and .porn to .news and .Budapest, with more domain names added daily. We can’t wait to see what these new domain names bring to the Internet world – the creative potential is endless – but some options will be spoken for. ICANN is giving trademarks and celebrities first dibs on any possible sites that could be registered using their names. Celebrities like Taylor Swift and entities such as Harvard and Microsoft are taking advantage of the early access period and have already registered for certain domain names to protect their brands. There’s some chatter from companies suggesting that these domain names are a form of extortion, compelling firms to buy them so others don’t taint their brand. Logically, it makes sense that some people would be ticked off but still scoop up the negative domain names to be safe. What they don’t see is this is also an opportunity to address customer complaints and see how they can improve their brand. It’s one of those glass half-full, glass half-empty instances where the situation really depends on your perspective. For those of you who can’t wait for these new domain names to be released to the public, start saving your money (each domain registration is around $250) and start counting down until June. We’ll be on the lookout for the sad, funny, and outrageous...read more
Dearly beloved, we are gathered here to say our goodbyes. Here she lies; very few knew her worth – the late, formerly great browser of Microsoft – and we celebrate her inevitable end. Rejoice, speedy and secure web-browser-lovers, for Microsoft has announced the phase-out of Internet Explorer. For those of you who still swear by the formerly flawless, currently ill-fated browser, we express our condolences for your loss, but it’s time to move on. At the Windows Convergence conference in Atlanta, Microsoft announced Project Spartan, the code-name of its next generation web browser and it addressed plans to phase-out Internet Explorer. First released in the mid 1990s, Internet Explorer dominated the browser market and peaked in the early 2000s. Since then, it’s commonly associated with slow loading times, security risks, and poor compatibility with other browsers. Microsoft plans to rebrand its image in terms of web browsers around Project Spartan. While much is still to be determined, including the final name of the browser, current features that are supposedly set in stone include: Cortana – Microsoft’s personal web assistant, Annotation tools that are compatible with keyboards & pens, A streamlined layout, and A reading mode Internet Explorer will still exist in some versions of Windows 10 and Microsoft will make sure its new model is compatible with the software that operates solely on Internet Explorer. But for the most part, it’s gotta be going to that Best Buy in the sky, where it will be join long-time pal Clippy in Internet heaven (or hell, depending on your perspective). Farewell, Internet Explorer. Note: The beginning of this post is inspired by the creative genius that is “La Vie Boheme” from the Broadway production RENT, to which we do not own the rights, but hold in the very highest...read more
Getting the best of TV has always been hard. You have to pay more money to get the extra channels. If you don’t want to have cable, then you have to pay in order to gain access to the streaming services that are available with sites like Hulu Plus and Netflix. In many cases, there are easy ways around all of this, and it’s a very simple answer. Just share your login and password. HBO Go, the newest of all the streaming services, has run into the oldest problem in the streaming book. People have begun to share their login credentials to let others who don’t pay for the subscription-only channel access the backlog of shows and movies that HBO has produced over the years. Unlike other services, HBO has actually acknowledged this practice of account sharing. The odd thing is…they don’t seem too worried about it. In an interview with BuzzFeed, HBO CEO Richard Plepler discussed how they aren’t ignoring password sharing; instead, they are “looking at different ways to affect password-sharing.” Take a look for yourself. Since Netflix started, the sharing of passwords to friends, family, strangers, and whoever else was looking for the streaming service was common. Netflix cracked down on the people doing this, supposedly, but has since allowed for up to five “viewing profiles” to be added to one account. Hulu Plus is still competing with those who pay for cable. Aimed more toward people trying to save money each month, relying on Hulu to provide them with their favorite shows so a cable company does not. What makes HBO’s stance such a new and refreshing one is that they have always been a “paid” service. HBO Go is linked to your cable provider and can only be accessed if you log in with that provider, which is unlike any of the other services. But what exactly does Plepler’s statement about “looking at different ways to affect password sharing” mean? Are they looking to crack down and eradicate it? Do they want to separate HBO and the Go platform? Do they want to encourage users to hand out their passwords to friends and family? The answers are unclear. For now, HBO and HBO Go are one. With one, you obviously have the other. Well, maybe you have the other. Extra Links: BuzzFeed, TechCrunch, The Verge Image via: HBO Go...read more
Google Maps is going to know more about you than, well, you do. It is perhaps one of the most used services offered on the internet. Google Maps allows users to search for directions, look what’s nearby, and creep on their neighbors from space. Now they hope to add a new level of customization, making your experience even better. With the use of personal data they collected, Google Maps will be able to provide users original, customized, maps. The customization will come in the form of recommendations to; restaurants you may enjoy, places you will find interesting, the scores to the sports around your area, and anything thing else that they believe you will find interesting. You might wonder, where do they get this information? It is from your searches, items you have reviewed and even what your friends like. They use it all to give you the best, most personalized, experience. Bernhard Seefeld, product management director for Google Maps, has high hopes for the future. At GigaOm‘s conference on Tuesday, November 5, he said that they “can build a whole new map for every context and every person,” and that it will be “a specific map nobody has seen before, and it’s just there for that moment to visualize data. For example, if you were really into seeing America’s National Parks, and were on a vacation near one that you did not know about, Google Maps would be able to provide you directions to it without you having to search for it. Pretty crazy huh? The change will not be immediate and will probably take a few years to get perfected. Right now they are working on better software to be able to understand the surroundings around peoples’ searches. Will you embrace this new level of customization, and use its capabilities to enhance your experience. Or, do you feel violated and believe that this is just pushing it too far? ...read more