Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Today’s Top Stories: Spotify Matchmaking Apps, Facebook App Center”

Thursday, 10 May 2012 by Irwan K Ch

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Today’s Top Stories: Spotify Matchmaking Apps, Facebook App Center”


Today’s Top Stories: Spotify Matchmaking Apps, Facebook App Center

Posted: 10 May 2012 04:07 AM PDT

Social Media News

Welcome to this morning's edition of "First To Know," a series in which we keep you in the know on what's happening in the digital world. Today, we're looking at three particularly interesting stories.

Spotify Launches Two Matchmaking Apps

Spotify has partnered with dating websites Tastebuds.fm and Fellody.com to launch two new apps: Tastebuds and Fellody. The apps will let you find potential romantic partners based on your taste in music. You can find the apps here and here.

Gooogle Overhauls Google+ iPhone App

Google has launched a new version of its Google+ app for iPhone, bringing a completely redesigned interface, improved photos and profile pages and pushing the +1 button to the top of the posts.

Facebook to Launch Its Own App Center

Facebook has announced it’s building an app center, letting developers sell their apps for the first time. The app center will become available in the “coming weeks,” both on the web and in Facebook’s iOS and Android apps.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, mattjeacock

More About: Facebook, features, first to know series, Google, mashable, spotify

For more Tech coverage:


Sci-Fi Google Glasses Will Let You Take Pics Like This One [VIDEO]

Posted: 10 May 2012 03:22 AM PDT


You know those futuristic augmented reality glasses Google‘s been developing? A Googler recently posted a photo showing more of what you’ll be able to do with the sci-fi spectacles.

Google launched its Project Glass on Google+ last month, sending techies and futurists into a minor hysteria. The glasses — which don’t actually feature lenses, according to preliminary photos released by the company — will project augmented reality images into wearers’ field of vision. So when you wake up in the morning, for example, you’ll see weather forecasts, appointments and online correspondences projected in front of your eyes. Google has already released a concept video for the devices, and posted shots of people modeling early designs (see gallery below).

SEE ALSO: Google Glasses: Would You Wear Them? [POLL]

But this week, the world got another small glimpse at what the Google glasses will be able to do. Sebastian Thrun, a computer scientist and Google Fellow, posted a photo to his Google+ page of himself twirling his young son around in a circle. The shot shows a perfect point-of-view composition, with Thrun’s arms and son in clear focus as the background grass blurs. It’s not clear how he took the picture — a voice command? Eye gesture? — but the shot does indicate some pretty cool capabilities for the gadgets.

The New York Times reported in February that the glasses may be available to the public by the end of this year for roughly the cost of a smartphone — indicating they are meant to be a consumer product. But a Google spokesperson told Mashable last month that the glasses going on sale in 2012 is “extremely unlikely.”

What kind of P.O.V. shots would you take with Google glasses? Let us know in the comments.


Stephen, Google engineer





Click here to view this gallery.

Thumbnail image via Sebastian Thrun.

More About: Google, project glass


Samsung’s 55-Inch OLED TV Will Cost $9,000 [REPORT]

Posted: 10 May 2012 02:13 AM PDT

samsung oled tv

If you’re not satisfied with the current LED/LCD TV offerings, and can’t wait for OLED technology to burst onto the big screen scene, you’re in luck: Samsung will launch OLED TVs in the second half of 2012, the AP reports.

Two potential obstacles might prevent you from getting one, though: The TVs will initially be launched in South Korea, at a price of 10 million won, which is approximately $8,750.

For comparison, 55-inch LCDs from Samsung can be bought for as little as $1,000, while high-end models go up to $3,000.

While the Korean launch means we’ll probably see OLED TVs in the global market soon thereafter, Samsung’s head of TV business said it will take two or three more years for OLED TV technology to go mainstream.

Samsung showcased the 55-inch OLED TVs at this year’s CES, amazing us with their thinness, sharpness and color quality.

More About: OLED, samsung, trending, TV


Pinterest Plug-In Lets You Track Pins From WordPress

Posted: 10 May 2012 12:51 AM PDT


Now that Pinterest is the third most visited social network in the U.S., some startups are seizing the opportunity to facilitate pinning across the web.

Case in point: WP Pinner, an all-in-one Pinterest tool for users of the blogging platform WordPress.

WP Pinner, launched Wednesday, is a plug-in built for WordPress users to share material on Pinterest. Installing WP Pinner will mount a dashboard to the blog’s admin area.

The dashboard displays the board name, date posts, clicks, likes and number of repins. From here, WordPress publishers can also schedule pins and automatically follow users interacting with their pinboards.

Creators of WP Pinner, Wilco de Kreij and Mark Ramos, based in The Netherlands, were inspired by the success of Pinterest analytics tool Pinerly.

SEE ALSO: Pinerly: Hands on With the Newest Pinterest Analytics Tool

“I noticed there weren’t any really good tools around to manage my accounts,” said de Kreij. “Since I’m doing pretty much everything with WordPress these days, an integrated tool seemed like the best fit.”

wppinner

With the team’s first release of the beta, the only features available will be auto-pinning and tracking statistics.

Interested in getting WP Pinner? Enter an email address on their main page to receive an invite once the product is ready. Up to 100 Mashable readers can sign up for WP Pinner using this link to receive expedited sign-up instructions.

The team hopes to go live in a few weeks with more features, including detailed statistics, pinning and tracking non-WordPress posts and multiple account support. For now, the plug-in will only work on self-hosted WordPress websites on WordPress.org.

WordPress.com only allows plugins from the official WordPress plugin directory. Check out this video that explains what you can do with the Pinterest plug-in for WordPress:

Do you use Pinterest to share content from personal blogs or work-related websites? Tell us in the comments if you’ll use this plugin to track and analyze pin stats.

More About: Business, pinterest, Startups, WordPress


Find Deals, Buy Food, Store Receipts with PayDragon App

Posted: 09 May 2012 07:39 PM PDT


The Spark of Genius Series highlights a unique feature of startups and is made possible by Microsoft BizSpark. If you would like to have your startup considered for inclusion, please see the details here.

Name: PayDragon

Quick Pitch: An all-in-one food finding and mobile payment app.

Genius Idea: Use PayDragon to find restaurants, local deals, pay for meals and store receipts.


Imagine this: When in a long lunch line at a local eatery, simply grab your smartphone to pay for your meal. A new app called PayDragon lets you pay for food with a few taps.

PayDragon is like a bunch of cool food-finding and paying apps rolled into one. Use the app to find local restaurants near your location. Check out which spots are offering deals, like “free fries” or “drink with purchase.” Use the app to pay for the meal and store a digital receipt.

To use PayDragon, download the free app then set-up you payment information. Users can scan QR codes created by restaurants to order and pay for the item on their smartphone. If you want to bypass the whole QR code thing, restaurants will be able to create menus for the app which users can select entrees from and pay for them through the app. The bill is paid with one click.

Where does the dragon name come in? The company’s logo is “Swoop in. Swoop out.” And this app could make transactions quick. The video on the app’s website shows people purchasing items from a food truck. Users of the app can place and pay for orders with PayDragon when they’re blocks away. Shop owners can process orders quicker and move through more customers.

The only drawback is currently PayDragon only works with participating merchants in select cities. Currently, those locations are New York, Los Angeles and Austin, Texas, but details on the app’s App Store page say it’s expanding to new cities soon.

PayDragon was created by Paperlinks, a Y Combinator startup that is the main platform for creating QR codes. The app made its debut at SXSW earlier this year. CEO and founder Hamilton Chan leads a team of five employees at PayDragon, based in Los Angeles.

The app is available on both iOS and Android devices. It has a 4+ rating in the App Store and a 2.1 rating in the Android store.

What do you think about PayDragon? Would you use it? Tell us in the comments.


Series Supported by Microsoft BizSpark


Microsoft BizSpark

The Spark of Genius Series highlights a unique feature of startups and is made possible by Microsoft BizSpark, a startup program that gives you three-year access to the latest Microsoft development tools, as well as connecting you to a nationwide network of investors and incubators. There are no upfront costs, so if your business is privately owned, less than three years old, and generates less than U.S.$1 million in annual revenue, you can sign up today.

More About: apps, bizspark, deals


Pixar Wants to Know If You’re ‘Brave’ Enough to Wear a Kilt

Posted: 09 May 2012 07:24 PM PDT


Disney is ramping up its digital campaign for Pixar‘s next animated release Brave with a cheeky faux-advertisement showcasing some of the apparel in the film.

Brave takes place in 10th century Scotland and follows Merida (voiced by Kelly Macdonald), a skilled archer who is determined to challenge traditions and customs by taking fate into her own hands.

As far as Pixar films go, Brave is the first movie from the studio with a central female protagonist. This presents a challenge of sorts to the marketers at Disney and Pixar because focusing too much on the female aspect of the story can shut out the young male audiences that Pixar also wants to attract.

That’s why it makes sense that for the latest featurette, a faux-ad for kilts, Disney goes after humor, not girlishness.

The studio has been busy releasing featurettes, behind-the-scenes photos and other tidbits across YouTube and Facebook. The Facebook Page for Brave has more than 125,000 Likes as well as a collection of photos, videos and links to apps.

Brave hits theaters on June 22.

More About: Brave, disney, pxiar, trailers

For more Entertainment coverage:


How the ‘Lincoln Invented Facebook’ Hoax Fooled Some of the People [VIDEO]

Posted: 09 May 2012 06:42 PM PDT


Abraham Lincoln applied for a patent on a newspaper-like version of Facebook in 1845? If someone told you that in a bar, you’d laugh. But if they wrapped it in a tall tale, wrote it on a blog, and attached a Photoshopped front page, it seems they can garner national press attention.

Entrepreneur and sometime blogger Nate St. Pierre published such a fable on his website Tuesday. He claimed to have visited a cemetery for circus folk in Delavan, Wisconsin (such a place does exist) and seen a gravestone that referenced P.T. Barnum and Abraham Lincoln.

That led him on a journey to the Lincoln museum in Springfield, Ill., where a librarian supposedly helped St. Pierre dig up a failed patent application for the “Springfield Gazette,” replete with status updates, a profile photo and pithy quotes. “After we read it, we both sat there quiet for a long time,” St. Pierre wrote. “It was so obvious what this was, guys. A patent request for Facebook, filed by Abraham Lincoln in 1845.”

Most tall tales have red flags in them for the alert reader. This one was like a Beijing Olympics of red flags.

For starters, St. Pierre referenced Barnum, and not in a subtle way. He pointed out the circus huckster’s predilection for hoaxes, alongside the most famous quote Barnum never said: “there’s a sucker born every minute.”

There were more technical fallacies, like the fact that the picture of Lincoln postdated the newspaper by decades. Still, the most glaring red flag was this: Abraham Lincoln’s life has been picked apart by more historians than any other American celebrity. We know everything there is to know about his early years in Kentucky, his law practice in Springfield, his one genuine patent (a device to lift boats over shoals).

And now one blogger digs up a whole secret area of Honest Abe’s life in one afternoon, with the help of a dedicated Lincoln librarian who has somehow never come across it before? If you believe that, we’ve got a wrought-iron bridge to sell you.

Still, the tale was enough to fool at least three publications: Forbes, The Next Web and ZDNet. (All three have since amended or redacted their stories). Many more kept their powder dry, but St. Pierre claims he got more than 100,000 views on his blog post. We’ll take that with a pinch of salt, but the 15,000 Facebook Likes don’t lie.

St. Pierre says he’s at work on a post that will explain his reasons for the fabulation. We’ll summarize it in another 19th century truism: you can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but not all of the people all of the time.

Ironically, that quote has been attributed to two historical figures: Abraham Lincoln and P.T. Barnum. Yes, really.

More About: Facebook, Photoshop


What Every Small Business Needs to Know About Liability

Posted: 09 May 2012 06:21 PM PDT


This post originally appeared on the American Express OPEN Forum, where Mashable regularly contributes articles about leveraging social media and technology in small business.

Doctor, daycare owner, bungee jump operator — these are businesses typically associated with risk and liability. But what about more “virtual” professions like a social media consultant, blogger or app developer? It's hard to imagine that sitting behind a computer can put you in any real danger of a lawsuit, right?

While a job in tech may be less risky than being a plastic surgeon, things can (and will) happen. A freelance writer could unintentionally plagiarize someone's work or end up leaving an exclusive smartphone prototype at a bar. But problems aren’t exclusive to an editorial or content-based company: An advertiser might fail to pay (making it impossible for you to pay your own vendors) or a less-than-reasonable client may choose to sue for breach of content.

These are all worst case scenarios, and there's a slim chance you'll ever encounter anything similar. However, as a freelancer, contractor or small business owner, it's your job to protect yourself from these dangers. Read on to learn more about what you can do to minimize your risk as much as possible.


Minimize Personal Liability by Incorporating


If you're sued as a sole proprietor, you'll be sued personally. This puts everything –- from your retirement savings to your house and other assets -– at risk. Once your business is incorporated (either by forming an LLC or Corporation), it exists as a separate business entity. This means that the corporation (and not you, the owner) is now responsible for all of its debts and liabilities. In the industry, we call this the “corporate shield,” as it separates your personal assets from those of the business.

What if you're just starting out and don't have many significant assets to worry about? If you're sued today, your personal assets may be vulnerable for up to 22 years — long after you're a huge success. So it's important to think about protecting not only the assets you have today, but also whatever you might have tomorrow.

Fortunately, forming an LLC or incorporating is relatively easy to do. In particular, the LLC is great for smaller businesses who want to protect their personal assets with minimal red tape and administrative requirements.


Personal Liability


While incorporating or forming an LLC is a critical first step to minimizing personal liability, this measure doesn't unconditionally protect you from personal liability. There are several circumstances where you can still be held personally liable, for example:

  • You personally guarantee a loan for your business.
  • Your actions result in an injury.
  • You commit a crime or operate your business illegally.
  • You do not operate your business as a separate entity (you commingle your personal and business finances).

Business Liability Insurance


Business liability insurance can protect your small business from personal injury or property damages in the event there's a lawsuit. Liability insurance comes in different forms depending on your business needs, so you should discuss your specific business risks with an insurance agent or broker who's familiar with your industry.

There are three key types of business liability insurance. Refer to the U.S. Small Business Administration for a thorough overview of the following:

  • General Liability Insurance: Protects your business from injury claims, property damages, claims of negligence and advertising claims. Depending on your business, this may be the only kind of insurance you need.
  • Product Liability Insurance: Protects against financial loss as a result of a defective product that causes harm. This type of insurance is geared toward companies that manufacture, wholesale, distribute and retail a product.
  • Professional Liability Insurance: Protects business owners who provide services against malpractice, errors, negligence and omissions. In some professions, you may be legally required to have coverage (i.e. if you're a practicing doctor in certain states). And some business contracts will require independent consultants (even technology consultants) to have their own coverage.

The Bottom Line


Incorporating or forming an LLC is an essential first step, followed by some common sense and liability coverage if necessary. No matter how small your business or what industry you're in, it's important to take your business and liability concerns seriously. A few proactive steps upfront can save you from serious headaches and financial hardship down the road.


More Small Business Resources From OPEN Forum:

- Should Small Businesses Follow Everyone Back on Twitter?
- Are You Falling into the Pricing Trap?
- How to Take Your PR Pitches to the Next Level

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, miflippo, PeskyMonkey

More About: features, mashable, open forum, Small Business

For more Business coverage:


30 Nostalgic Photos From Mashable Readers

Posted: 09 May 2012 06:07 PM PDT


Janelis




"Pure nostalgia. Snoopy Sno Cone Machine! Reminds me of hot summer afternoons when I was a kid. :)"

Click here to view this gallery.

We all have things that make us nostalgic. The right song or image can transport you back to another place and time.

For this past week’s Mashable Photo Challenge, we asked our readers to send us images that captured a sense of yesteryear. The Mashable community was overcome with nostalgia for technology, toys and places of the past.

They came up with the heartfelt collection of images and stories seen above, each of which caused us to feel a warm, nostalgic glow of our own.

SEE ALSO: What Were You Doing on Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and Instagram One Year Ago?

The Mashable community team loved perusing the nostalgic photos you sent us, and we look forward to seeing what you come up with this week. Stay tuned to Mashable for this week’s photo challenge: Family.

More About: community, Mashable Photo Challenge, photography

For more Social Media coverage:


Obama Gets Huge Twitter Boost After Gay Marriage Support [CHARTS]

Posted: 09 May 2012 05:49 PM PDT


1. @BarackObama




This tweet from President Obama's official account set off a chain of retweets, favorites and replies.

Click here to view this gallery.

When President Obama became the first sitting president to declare support for gay marriage in an interview with ABC News on Wednesday, the announcement sent Twitter into a tizzy. Politicians, celebrities and media personalities all used social media to react. Some expressed unqualified support, some criticized Obama for dragging his feet on the issue and others debated the announcement’s actual significance (see gallery above).

But the news didn’t just excite the Twittersphere — it also gave Obama a huge popularity boost on the network. Mashable contacted the social media analytics firm Topsy to see how reaction to Obama’s interview played out on Twitter.

The chart below shows just how much of a positive sentiment infusion Obama got from his announcement, which came at just about noon Pacific Time. Topsy analyzes reaction to events according to a “sentiment score,” and says a generally positive reception scores between 2 and 3 on the chart. Tuesday night, after voters in North Carolina passed a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, sentiment associated with his name sank below a score of -6, according to Topsy. But watch how it climbed to nearly 8 during Wednesday:


Shortly after Obama’s statement of support aired on ABC, his official Twitter account posted this tweet:

The message would be retweeted more than 30,000 times over the course of Wednesday afternoon. (This cool site shows how many retweets the message has gotten in total, with updates every minute.)

Twitter mentions of “Obama” spiked massively when his announcement aired as well. Check out this chart from Topsy, which breaks the buzz down nearly to the minute:

The term “North Carolina” was mentioned at a a peak of nearly 60,000 times in one hour after voters passed their gay marriage ban there on Tuesday night. But after Obama went public with an opposite stance on the issue on Wednesday, Twitter mentions of his name peaked to more than 192,000 mentions in an hour. Mitt Romney, who Obama will face in November’s presidential election, also got a nice boost in mentions after he reiterated his position against gay marriage following Obama’s announcement. This by-the-hour chart shows how Obama’s mentions peaked through Tuesday night and into Wednesday afternoon, as well as how he compared to other hot Twitter topics during that time span:

Did you follow Obama’s support of gay marriage today? What role did Twitter play in how you learned and processed the news? Share with us in the comments.

More About: barack obama, Twitter

For more Social Media coverage:


Is Digital Waste Dragging You Down? [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted: 09 May 2012 05:24 PM PDT

Tablets, iPhones, Android phones, broadband, mp3, 3G, 4G, MacBooks, Ultrabooks, Facebook, Twitter, hard drives, the cloud, text messages, apps and Google Maps.

Humans have access now to more information than ever before. But with the constant stream — more like a flood — of information and storage, we often forget how much of that data just sits unused, neglected and forgotten in the digital ether.

It’s clear most of have and hold on to more than we need. Just how much more? The average smartphone owner has 65 apps installed on his or her phone, but only uses 15 in a given week, according to a study by the mobile analytics company Flurry. More than half of computer users say the data on their computer is irreplaceable, but most only use a fraction of what they store. And the amount of media people upload is mind boggling — 60 Instagram photos per second, 5 terabytes worth of Facebook photos per week and 60 hours of YouTube video per minute.

SEE ALSO: Which Social Network Should You Use — and When? [INFOGRAPHIC]

These stats are all according to research pulled from more than a dozen sources including the Pew Research Center, ComScore, The Wall Street Journal and others. The online security firm Trend Micro aggregated it all together to produce an infographic shedding some light on just how much digital space we use and whether it’s more than we need. Check out the full infographic below for the fuller picture.

Is your digital life over-cluttered? What are the drawbacks, or does it even matter? Let us know in the comments.


Thumbnail image courtesy of iStockphoto, Clicknique

More About: android, infographics, ipad, iphone, smarthphones


6 Ways to Anticipate the Future of Digital Behavior

Posted: 09 May 2012 05:08 PM PDT


“How do we observe the future?” So began the presentation of Duane Bray, partner and head of IDEO's global digital business, at our Mashable Connect conference in Orlando, Fla., last weekend.

IDEO is a firm that solves problems through "human-centered" design. Its clients span the business, government, education, healthcare and social sectors. The company was founded in Palo Alto, Calif. in 1991, and employs more than 550 people in 10 different offices in the U.S., Europe and Asia. Bray has been with the firm since 1995, minus a brief stint at Pentagram Design in 2000.

Bray says he’s no futurologist, but he did point to some signs — namely, current human behaviors — that can help us understand what the future might look like.


From Data Trails to Collective Intelligence


First, Bray looked at the formation of data trails. Apps like Google Maps, Yelp and Foursquare have imposed an ever-expanding layer of data over physical spaces. We’re not the first species to do that, Bray pointed out: Ants use phermones to communicate and create trails to food sources for other ants. Our use of data-driven services is helping us develop a similar collective intelligence among humans.

In the future, Bray asked, how might we navigate places by the graffiti of data trails? How might we recall our past experiences, or those of our friends, with a place? How can we build a single place that gives us access to this network of data, instead of requiring the use of separate apps for traffic, food, reviews, images and thoughts from friends?


From Single to Multi-Threaded Narratives


Next, Bray pointed to shifting modes of conversation. He showed a photo of a row of people holding champagne classes in a chauffeured car. Most of the people were looking at their phones, seemingly entirely disconnected from each other. But, Bray said, they were actually having conversations with each other on their phones, checking into the “WinoWagon” on Foursquare and commenting on photos others in the car had just posted to Instagram. Online connectedness, Bray argued, is making our conversations more complex and multi-threaded. It’s also capturing and sharing the narrative of group experiences in a different way.

In the future, how might we use multi-threaded narratives to generate entirely new forms of content? Bray asked. How might we provide ways to navigate or map multiple narrative threads, or be able to see the impact that one conversation has on another? Another challenge, too, is overcoming the feeling of disconnect we can experience when conversations transcend time and medium.


From Singular to Mosaic Identities


Lastly, Bray looked at how the web is shaping and fragmenting our sense of personal identity. He pointed to the selection of cartoon-like avatars to represent and — in the case of one 18-year-old online poker player, who went by the name of “Grandma Rose” — misrepresent ourselves in virtual environments. He pulled up a boy’s handwritten list of potential screennames, featuring names like “The Dunkster” and “Punk of Funk,” alongside names he labeled “stupid:” “Eskimo Man” and “Loaf Man.” He also showed two photos of teenage girls who were rated equally attractive on an online rating service. But the girl playing a guitar in her photo got far more messages than the girl who simply submitted a headshot, Bray said, because the photo with the guitar told a narrative.

The web is replacing the idea of a singular identity with mosaic identities, Bray said. In the future, how might we allow for better feedback loops about how others perceive and engage with our identities? How could we ensure that we not subjected to complex identity management?


Six Approaches for Observing the Future


Bray didn’t offer any answers to these questions, but he did suggest six approaches for seeking out the future of digital behavior.

  1. Get out of your comfort zone. Try out new products or services, even if you're not sure how they relate to you. It might help you get a feel for patterns or trends. And if you're creating things that others will use, get out of the office and into their world.
  2. Magnify the edges through extremes. Don't stick with the middle of the bell curve — look for extreme fans, the disenfranchised, people who have different perspectives. Often, it's the edge cases that can be most inspirational.
  3. Explore outside of your field or industry for analogous behaviors. One of the biggest limitations people have today is that they only study what happens in their own fields. Look for examples outside your field and see what ideas or solutions exist there.
  4. Create human-centered view. Map out what you're working on from the perspective of different people. Use the map to help you document actual experiences, and to identify steps that can be improved.
  5. Try it on for size. This is a chance to role play. Spend a week immersing yourself in the tools, spaces or experiences of others, and identify what you can learn from that experience.
  6. Get tangible: Introduce and encourage experiments. Have a potentially good idea? Make it tangible (rough and ready is okay) and take it into the world as an experiment. Ask people to try it out and improve it. And take feedback to make the next version of your idea even better.

    Exhibitor Hall




    Click here to view this gallery.


    Mashable Connect Sponsors


    Buddy Media is the social enterprise software of choice for eight of the world’s top ten global advertisers, empowering them to build and maintain relationships with their consumers in a connections-based world. The Buddy Media social marketing suite helps brands build powerful connections globally with its scalable, secure architecture and data-driven customer insights from initial point of contact through point of purchase. For more information, visit http://www.buddymedia.com.

    AT&T is bringing it all together for our customers, from revolutionary smartphones to next-generation TV services and sophisticated solutions for multi-national businesses. For more than a century, we have consistently provided innovative, reliable, high-quality products and services and excellent customer care. For more, visit http://www.att.com.

    Barnes & Noble College Marketing (BNCM) helps brands thrive on campus. It is a division of Barnes & Noble College Booksellers, LLC., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Barnes & Noble, Inc. that operates more than 640 college bookstores across the country, serving more than 4.7 million students and faculty members. BNCM has the on-campus access and student understanding to deliver superior marketing programs for its brand partners. BNCM's capabilities include: experiential and event marketing; product sampling, sweepstakes and promotions; digital marketing (social, email, web); on-campus advertising and postering; and programs targeting freshmen, graduates, alumni and athletic event fans. Visit www.bncollegemarketing.com.

    Hiscox specializes in tailored insurance coverage for a range of professional services firms in industries like IT, marketing, consulting and more. Hiscox Insurance Company Inc. has been protecting clients for over 100 years and is rated ‘A’ (Excellent) for financial strength by A.M. Best.

    We offer professional liability insurance, general liability insurance and other policies direct, either online or over the phone, with customized coverage starting from just $22.50/month.

    Visit hiscoxusa.com/smallbiz for a fast, free quote now.

    Webtrends powers digital marketing success. Webtrends is at the forefront of real-time digital marketing relevance and customer experience management through unified customer intelligence. Our industry-leading analytics across mobile, social and web enables marketers to optimize campaigns, maximize customer lifetime value and deliver highly relevant digital brand experiences in real-time.

    Webtrends dramatically improves digital marketing results for more than 3,500 global brands including, in EMEA and internationally, Lloyds Banking Group, Barclays, HSBC, ASOS, Orange, T-Mobile, Microsoft, BMW, Toyota, Play.com, AllSaints, The Telegraph, and many more.

    www.webtrends.com

    Definition 6 is a Unified Marketing Agency that creates brand experiences that unite brands and people in motion. Through imagination, innovation and insight, we execute ideas that deliver continued value across all brand interactions. For more information, please visit http://www.definition6.com.

    The Adobe Digital Marketing Suite is an integrated set of applications which allow businesses to gather customer insight and optimize advertising, conversion and retention efforts as well as the creation and distribution of content. For example, using the Suite, marketers can identify the most effective marketing strategies and ad placements as well as create relevant, personalized and consistent customer experiences across digital marketing channels, such as onsite, display, e-mail, social, video and mobile. The Suite enables marketers to automatically adjust to customer interactions and better maximize marketing ROI, which leads to a positive impact the bottom line.

    http://www.adobe.com/solutions/digital-marketing.html

    The leading resource for human resource and business leaders to explore and discuss the latest workforce and workplace trends including social innovation—providing the in-depth research and insights needed to adapt and take advantage of what's next.

    www.shrm.org

    More About: big data, future, identity, location-based, mashable connect

    For more Tech coverage:


Brain Surgery Tweeted Live [PICS]

Posted: 09 May 2012 04:50 PM PDT


Dr. Kim Dong of Houston’s Memorial Hermann hospital performed a brain tumor resection surgery on a young adult patient Wednesday morning. The operation was a routine one for him, but this time it came with a catch: His every move was live tweeted by hospital staff, with graphic photos and video posted to Twitter and other platforms along the way.

"What will come out of this is a detailed, real-time sequence of what happens in a brain surgery through all the stages from preparation, to shaving the hair, to making the incision, to draping," Dr. Kim told Mashable on Monday. "People are very anxious and want to know what goes on in a brain surgery like this."

Here’s how the operation happened: Dr. Kim and his team opened an approximately two-inch by two-inch “window” in a 21-year-old woman’s skull. The window gave Dr. Kim access to the woman’s brain, which was exposed for more than an hour. Guided by a fiber optic camera, he then located the woman’s tumor beneath the surface of her brain and cut it out.

While Dr. Kim worked in the operating room, a team outside the room documented everything on social media. The posted videos to YouTube and photos to Pinterest, with a feed from Dr. Kim’s fiber optic camera providing an unprecedented view from inside the patient’s skull. A brain tumor specialist answered questions from the Twitter audience during the operation, and Storify presentations recapped all the action.

SEE ALSO: Behind the Scenes of the World's First Live-Tweeted Open-Heart Surgery

This was not Memorial Hermann‘s first major operation to be documented in a major way on social media. In February, the hospital performed the world’s first-ever live-tweeted open heart surgery. That operation delivered more than 125 million views through Twitter, Storify and media coverage, according to Natalie Camarata, the hospital system’s digital marketing manager.

“The idea is always just to pull back a curtain and show in detail how something that happens every day in our hospitals actually works,” Camarata told Mashable earlier this week.

Check out the Storify below to see how Memorial Hermann used social media to document and recap Dr. Kim’s brain surgery. Be warned, though — some of the photos and video are graphic.

Do you think this was a cool use of social media for public education? Let us know in the comments.

More About: Storify, Twitter


Instagram Adds Popular Tilt-Shift Feature to Android App

Posted: 09 May 2012 04:37 PM PDT

Instagram Android App - 600

Fresh off its Android debut, Instagram has added the popular tilt-shift feature to its latest mobile platform, giving photos more depth of field and a realistic blur.

The company has rolled out its Instagram Android v1.1.0 update, now available in the Google Play Store. The update comes as many Android users anxiously awaited the inclusion of the tilt-shift tool, which was already available on the iOS version of the app.

The handy tilt-shift feature gives users the flexibility to alter the depth of field of images with a few swipes of your finger. The tool worked just as well for us on Android as iOS, making it easy to add a slight blur to emphasis certain focal points. For example, you can emphasize the heart of photos and blurring the rest, while also making some scenes look miniature.

SEE ALSO: 21 Ridiculously Cute Dog and Cat Instagram Pics

“Tilt-shift within mobile photography applications is often the process of selective focus in order to simulate a miniature scene, also known as miniature faking,” Instagram said in a blog post. “Selective focus can also be used to give the appearance of a shallow depth of field (DoF), or placing the focus on a subject in the background while blurring out the foreground and vice versa.”

It also included a few user tips to make the most of the tilt-shift feature.

Instagram, which was recently purchased by Facebook for $1 billion, now has more than 50 million users and is growing its user base by about 5 million each week, according to its API.


BONUS: 25 Most-Followed Users on Instagram [PICS]



25. Jason Mraz




Username: Jason_Mraz Followers: 363,621 Number of Pictures: 254

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: android, apps, instagram, iphone, Photos


Is YouTube Killing the Viral Video Star?

Posted: 09 May 2012 04:28 PM PDT

As YouTube continues to ramp up original programming and push for its partner channels, viral video stars of the past are beginning to feel the heat.

At the web culture conference ROFLcon, Matt Harding (Where the Hell Is Matt?), Judson Laipply (“Evolution of Dance”), Liam Sullivan (“Shoes“) and DeShawn Ray (Parody Rap Battle) discussed their fame on YouTube and how the platform’s recent changes have affected them, for better or worse.

All of the panelists were making videos before YouTube launched in 2005, and some didn’t discover their video’s success until it was brought to their attention.

“You have that one thing that makes you memorable,” says Judson Laipply, whose “Evolution of Dance” was at one point the most-viewed video on YouTube.

“I was not an online person at all,” says Sullivan, explaining that a friend had to tell him when his video went viral. In fact, Sullivan didn’t even put his video on YouTube — someone had taken it from his website.

Before Google acquired YouTube in 2006, creators relied on brand sponsorships for their video to be monetized. Harding, who was sponsored by Stride, says that he was fortunate to have creative freedom from the corporate company.

“[Stride] said ‘We really like what you do, we want you to do it again for us and we don’t want to change anything about it,’” says Harding. “Every company would say that, but very few sincerely mean it.”

Today, creative ad agencies and social media departments within companies are more likely to just create videos themselves. YouTube has a partner program, a revenue-sharing platform that pays users a portion of money for ad clicks.

SEE ALSO: Entertainment in Flux: How Nerdist Stays Ahead of the Curve

These channels and partnerships create consistency, something Laipply notes is YouTube’s advantage when it comes to marketers.

“They don’t want one video to get a million views; they want somebody to put out a video a week for 40 weeks that gets a million views per video,” says Laipply. “It creates a mutual audience, and audiences are always easier to sell marketers on.”

Now production studios pool together YouTube talent, providing the resources to make content. Maker Studios is one of the most well-known of these companies. Some of its services include production, management, distribution, sales and marketing.

“It’s like old Hollywood right now,” says Sullivan, who now works with Maker Studios. “You get together with all these other people, and you make all the stuff you want to make that the big studios would say no to.”

According to Maker Studios’ co-founder, Lisa Nova, the company was founded on the belief that YouTube is the future of entertainment — partly because of advanced tech.

“Our belief in the YouTube platform has only been strengthened and supported with technologies like connected TVs that further blur the lines between TV and the Internet,” says Nova. “We see the devices as one in the same, as our content can be seen on both online and through connected TVs.”

Do you think there’s a future for viral video stars? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Image courtesy of Liam Sullivan

More About: features, ROFLcon, viral videos, YouTube, youtube partnership program

For more Social Media coverage:


Joe Jonas Named Pepsi Ambassador for ‘Pulse’ Dashboard, #LiveForNow Campaign

Posted: 09 May 2012 04:07 PM PDT

Joe Jonas Live for Now

PepsiCo has tapped Joe Jonas as a brand ambassador for its new celebrity-infused “Live for Now” global ad campaign.

The Jonas Brother will lend his star power by participating in Pepsi Pulse, the campaign’s social media dashboard that curates trending pop culture news.

Jonas on Wednesday described his involvement and revealed his favorite apps, music services and other digital tidbits.

“It seemed like the perfect fit,” Jonas said during an interview with Mashable in his New York City hotel suite Wednesday. “I like to be spontaneous and want to encourage fans to live for now.

“Being creative is going to be fun.”

On Twitter, Jonas will tweet messages and photos to show how he’s “living in the now,” and spur on fans via #LiveForNow hashtag challenges to contribute content for the real-time Pulse platform.

Eventually, Jonas’s music chops will be put to use, but there are no details on that yet.

Jonas is the third high-profile musician to join Pepsi’s Live for Now initiatives. Hip-hop star Nicki Minaj helped launch the campaign May 7, appearing in a commercial that also used her song “Moment 4 Life.” A partnership with Katy Perry and her upcoming flick Part of Me 3D will include Live for Now branding and live events.

When prodded to name the gadgets, apps and music services he likes, Jonas was quick to tout his iPad and the Twitter app. But he also rattled off these favorites:

  • Shazam: This app recognizes music, TV and advertisements in seconds. To Jonas, it’s “mind-blowing.”
  • Fandango: Jonas enjoys being able to use a barcode as his movie ticket.
  • Uber: “It’s pretty awesome,” he says, adding that it’s good for when traffic is high and the weather is bad.
  • GrubHub This app makes it easy for Jonas to order food from a mobile device and then have it delivered.
  • Spotify: Jonas likes listening to other people’s playlists on Spotify.
  • Pandora: Jonas recently visited Pandora HQ and learned about the “DNA of music.”
  • Fake text message app: Possibly Fake-A-Message or Fake Sms Celebrity, which lets Jonas send texts disguised as other celebrities.

Jonas also says ebooks are “cool.” He wants to read The Hunger Games next but may consume the trilogy in printed form instead.

Behind Jonas in his suite stood a printed poster of Pepsi Pulse. On the web, the platform (see below) presents the trending news items in a top 10 ranking based on real-time data from social media-optimization company SocialFlow.

Shiv Singh, global head of digital for PepsiCo Beverages, recently told Mashable the hub basically “is a cheat sheet for pop culture.” It’s purpose is to invite and inspire consumers to live in the moment by knowing what’s hot across the web so they can be the first among their friends to share the information on social networks.

Photo above courtesy of Don Bowers/Getty

Live for Now Campaign

More About: Entertainment, Facebook, Music, pandora, Pepsi, pop culture, Social Media, spotify, Twitter


President Obama Wants Campaign Song Requests for Spotify Playlist

Posted: 09 May 2012 03:13 PM PDT

President Spotify

President Obama will now take your song requests.

President Obama’s team has set up a page on BarackObama.com for voters to submit potential campaign songs that could be added to his Obama 2012 Supporter Picks playlist on Spotify.

“As we head into rally season, what music gets you fired up?” the page asks. “Submit your favorite tracks below, and you could see them on the Obama 2012 Supporter Picks playlist on Spotify.”

Spotify is a music streaming site that gives users free access to millions of tracks on their computers and mobile devices. It also allows users to create playlists, see what their friends are listening to and to download third-party apps to discover everything from song lyrics to recommendations.

SEE ALSO: Obama Supports Gay Marriage, ABC Breaks News Online

Obama’s team is no stranger to using Spotify to get the word out about his campaign and connecting with supporters. In February, they introduced their first playlist which featured songs from a variety of artists, from Bruce Springsteen and Earth Wind & Fire to No Doubt, Florence + The Machine and Sugarland. It also featured “Let’s Stay Together” by Al Green, which Obama sang a few weeks earlier at the Apollo Theater in New York.

In other presidential news, Obama also declared his support for same-sex marriage in an interview with ABC News Wednesday.

Which songs do you think are good for political campaigns? Let us know in the comments.

More About: Facebook, Mobile, Music, president obama, spotify, Twitter, U.S. presidential election


Cancer-Battling Kids Sing Kelly Clarkson’s ‘Stronger’ [VIDEO]

Posted: 09 May 2012 02:55 PM PDT

At Seattle Children’s Hospital, one floor is full of kids fighting battles that no one should ever have to face — especially not at their age. For a moment, however, the ward was filled with hope and joy from the most unlikely of sources.

In the above video, the ward’s patients and staff lip-dub to Kelly Clarkson’s song “Stronger.” The video below shows footage from behind the scenes.

The Hematology-oncology ward covers the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of blood diseases and cancer.

We understand if you have “something in your eye” by the end of the clip.

More About: viral, viral videos, YouTube


Facebook Launches App Center, Lets You Sell Apps

Posted: 09 May 2012 02:37 PM PDT


Facebook just got a little bit more like Apple and Google.

The company announced on Wednesday that it is building its own app center. It will also enable paid Facebook apps for the first time.

Users currently search for apps on Facebook using the same search bar they use to find people, groups and events. In the coming weeks, they’ll be able to search from a dashboard that looks much like Apple’s App Store or Google Play — complete with details and ratings for each app.

Facebook will build access to the center into its web product, as well as its iOS and Android apps.

Though the new app hub looks similar to its Apple and Google counterparts, it will work very differently. Since many “Facebook apps” are actually iOS or Android apps with Facebook integrations, it will refer users to other app stores to download them.

“The App Center is designed to grow mobile apps that use Facebook – whether they're on iOS, Android or the mobile web,” explained Facebook engineer Aaron Brady in a blog post.

To reach Facebook’s more than 900 million users through its app store, developers need to use Facebook Login in their apps. That’s a pretty big incentive to use Facebook Login.

Facebook also introduced paid apps on Facebook.com Wednesday. Facebook apps such as Zynga games have been free up until this point. In Zynga’s case, this hasn’t stopped it from raking in revenue from in-app purchases and advertisers.

But paid apps will offer a new opportunity for Facebook developers to monetize — and for Facebook to collect a 30% cut of their transactions.

Would you pay for Facebook apps? Will a store set-up be useful? Let us know in the comments.

More About: app center, apps, Facebook


Why ‘The Atlantic’ No Longer Cares About SEO

Posted: 09 May 2012 02:00 PM PDT


The number of online news consumers has grown consistently over the past half-decade, yet not every publication has gotten the same lift as The Atlantic, whose web audience has catapulted from approximately 500,000 to 13.4 million monthly visitors since taking down its paywall in early 2008.

As we’ve explored previously, there are many factors that have contributed to The Atlantic‘s online success: assigning a number of well-known columnists, like James Fallows and Andrew Sullivan (now of The Daily Beast), to begin writing original pieces for TheAtlantic.com; launching and staffing two new online news properties, TheAtlanticWire.com and TheAtlanticCities.com; and building up its digital ad offerings to support those hires.

Furthermore, The Atlantic is adapting its editorial strategy to the shifting landscape of online news consumption, namely, to capitalize on the growing importance of social networks, rather than search engines, as sources of traffic.

“Sixteen months ago we received the same number of monthly referrals from search as social. Now 40% of traffic comes from social media,” Scott Havens, senior vice president of finance and digital operations at The Atlantic Media Company, said in a phone conversation ahead of his on-stage interview at our Mashable Connect conference in Orlando, Fla. last weekend. “Truly [our writers] are not really thinking about SEO anymore. Now it’s about how we can spin a story so that it goes viral.”

SEE ALSO: Inside The Atlantic: How One Magazine Got Profitable by Going 'Digital First'

Bob Cohn, who was recently promoted to editor of The Atlantic Digital, rejoices the change. “Before, it seemed Demand Media was going to own the Internet by assigning stories based on search returns. It was a cynical approach to journalism,” Cohn recalled. “We’re no longer writing to get the attention of Google algorithms. We’re writing to get you to share it, to digg it.”

Cohn says that writers author their own headlines, which are frequently rewritten by their channel editors and sometimes tweaked again by a homepage editor. Often, a headline that appears on Facebook or Twitter is different than the one that appears on the site.

I asked Cohn why he didn’t feed in a separate headline in the metadata. He said he and his team could, but it was no longer important enough to compensate for a boring headline, even in search results or on Google News.

And what kind of headlines do well? “A great headline is just a great headline,” says Cohn. “It has to be clear; it has to be intelligent. We’re not writing for machines. We’re writing for humans.”


Exhibitor Hall




Click here to view this gallery.


Mashable Connect Sponsors


Buddy Media is the social enterprise software of choice for eight of the world’s top ten global advertisers, empowering them to build and maintain relationships with their consumers in a connections-based world. The Buddy Media social marketing suite helps brands build powerful connections globally with its scalable, secure architecture and data-driven customer insights from initial point of contact through point of purchase. For more information, visit http://www.buddymedia.com.

AT&T is bringing it all together for our customers, from revolutionary smartphones to next-generation TV services and sophisticated solutions for multi-national businesses. For more than a century, we have consistently provided innovative, reliable, high-quality products and services and excellent customer care. For more, visit http://www.att.com.

Barnes & Noble College Marketing (BNCM) helps brands thrive on campus. It is a division of Barnes & Noble College Booksellers, LLC., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Barnes & Noble, Inc. that operates more than 640 college bookstores across the country, serving more than 4.7 million students and faculty members. BNCM has the on-campus access and student understanding to deliver superior marketing programs for its brand partners. BNCM's capabilities include: experiential and event marketing; product sampling, sweepstakes and promotions; digital marketing (social, email, web); on-campus advertising and postering; and programs targeting freshmen, graduates, alumni and athletic event fans. Visit www.bncollegemarketing.com.

Hiscox specializes in tailored insurance coverage for a range of professional services firms in industries like IT, marketing, consulting and more. Hiscox Insurance Company Inc. has been protecting clients for over 100 years and is rated ‘A’ (Excellent) for financial strength by A.M. Best.

We offer professional liability insurance, general liability insurance and other policies direct, either online or over the phone, with customized coverage starting from just $22.50/month.

Visit hiscoxusa.com/smallbiz for a fast, free quote now.

Webtrends powers digital marketing success. Webtrends is at the forefront of real-time digital marketing relevance and customer experience management through unified customer intelligence. Our industry-leading analytics across mobile, social and web enables marketers to optimize campaigns, maximize customer lifetime value and deliver highly relevant digital brand experiences in real-time.

Webtrends dramatically improves digital marketing results for more than 3,500 global brands including, in EMEA and internationally, Lloyds Banking Group, Barclays, HSBC, ASOS, Orange, T-Mobile, Microsoft, BMW, Toyota, Play.com, AllSaints, The Telegraph, and many more.

www.webtrends.com

Definition 6 is a Unified Marketing Agency that creates brand experiences that unite brands and people in motion. Through imagination, innovation and insight, we execute ideas that deliver continued value across all brand interactions. For more information, please visit http://www.definition6.com.

The Adobe Digital Marketing Suite is an integrated set of applications which allow businesses to gather customer insight and optimize advertising, conversion and retention efforts as well as the creation and distribution of content. For example, using the Suite, marketers can identify the most effective marketing strategies and ad placements as well as create relevant, personalized and consistent customer experiences across digital marketing channels, such as onsite, display, e-mail, social, video and mobile. The Suite enables marketers to automatically adjust to customer interactions and better maximize marketing ROI, which leads to a positive impact the bottom line.

http://www.adobe.com/solutions/digital-marketing.html

The leading resource for human resource and business leaders to explore and discuss the latest workforce and workplace trends including social innovation—providing the in-depth research and insights needed to adapt and take advantage of what's next.

www.shrm.org

More About: mashable connect, Media, SEO, Social Media, the atlantic

For more Business coverage:


New Google+ iPhone App Improves Pics, Elevates +1 Button

Posted: 09 May 2012 01:41 PM PDT

google-plus-update-600

Google just overhauled its Google+ iPhone app. Whereas previous updates had been primarily concerned with adding functionality (like video-chat “hangouts”), this time the search giant says it’s all about the “sensory” experience.

Google describes the Google+ 2.0.0.558 update (that’s really the version number) as taking full advantage of the mobile experience.

“We’re not interested in a mobile or social experience that's just smaller,” Google’s blog post reads. “We're embracing the sensor-rich smartphone (with its touchable screen and high-density display), and transforming Google+ into something more intimate, and more expressive.”

The entire interface has been reworked from top to bottom. At launch, the app still takes you to your stream, but every post in that stream now puts photos front and center, with larger, crisper type on text. Importantly, text now overlays the top of photos, saving space. Instead of changing your stream with a swipe, you now tap the “All Circles” menu to change your stream’s view.

Click within a post, and the photo or video fills the post, with any accompanying text beneath, links in bold blue text. You’ll also the +1 button prominently in the top corner of any post — it stays there no matter how deep you scroll.

The profile and photos pages have changed the least, getting updated with the same fonts as the rest of the system, which appears to be some form of Helvetica.

The iPhone version is rolling out today, and Google says an Android update is coming within the next few weeks. No word on the mobile site, or whether the Google+ will ever get the full iPad-app treatment — though this “immersive” update seems a no-brainer for that platform.

What do you think of the Google+ update? Let us know in the comments.


BONUS: The Secrets of Google+ Brand Pages



1. Access Your Brand Page




Once you've set up your brand page, you access it through your personal Google+ profile.

On your home page below your name and avatar pic is a drop down menu.

Open this menu to see your page, click on it to access it.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: apps, Google, iphone


Could Video-Sharing Apps Hurt YouTube? [STUDY]

Posted: 09 May 2012 01:27 PM PDT


Mobile apps that promote photo and video sharing are eating up more of consumers’ time and representing a threat to YouTube‘s dominance, according to a new study.

Flurry Analytics tracked 180,000 apps from October 2011 to March 2012 and found an 89% jump in minutes spent on photo and video apps. Next on the list was music, productivity, social networking and entertainment. Consumers spent 87 minutes a month using such apps — including Viddy and Socialcam — in October and 231 minutes in March, according to Flurry. From July to March, meanwhile, time spent rose 166%. (The research did not include stats from Instagram, and Flurry doesn’t break out figures for photo-sharing vs. video-sharing apps.)

Researchers then compared those figures to YouTube’s. What did they find? YouTube still has a big lead, although the video apps are making inroads. Consumers spent 425 minutes, on average, on YouTube in March, which is far ahead of the time spent on mobile photo and video-sharing apps. However, YouTube’s time spent average fell from 472 minutes the month before.

A blog post from Flurry expands on this phenomenon:

“While mobile app video consumption grew more than online consumption, the gap in usage at the end of 2011 was still meaningful. During 2012, however, is where things get interesting. As online video consumption dropped by 10%, mobile video app consumption increased by another 52%.

While it cannot be concluded that mobile video apps are cannibalizing YouTube, the shift in time spent between these two platforms appears to be a signal of disruption. Think of it this way: With every mobile video you share of friends, family, vacations, parties and weddings, you are likely loading another bullet in the chamber for Web 3.0. For YouTube, it appears they need to run, outrun your gun.”

For Flurry, this is just the latest sign of the web’s transition from the social media-dominated era of Web 2.0 to the mobile-first period of Web 3.0. The research company found last June that for the first time consumers were spending more time on mobile apps than on the web. That data supported a hypothesis from Wired in August 2010 declared that “The Web is Dead,” pointing to a shift in consumer usage of the web to apps.

A Google rep says YouTube doesn’t see much of a threat from mobile devices: “Developers bringing more video applications to the Web is good thing for consumers.” The rep pointed out that YouTube has more than 3,000 partners using its open API to upload hundreds of thousands of videos every day. Mobile playbacks on YouTube have tripled in the last year to more than 500 million views a day and every minute over three hours of video is uploaded to YouTube from mobile devices. Says the rep: “We continue to invest in this area and developers can expect more improvements in the months ahead.”

More About: Mobile, socialcam, viddy, Video, YouTube

For more Mobile coverage:


Kickstarter: The King of Crowdfunding [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted: 09 May 2012 01:15 PM PDT

In this economy, a new business or project is lucky to score a dollar here, a nickel there. But Kickstarter is helping ideas reach and even exceed their funding goals by tapping you, the crowd.

By now, you may have heard of the record-smashing Pebble e-paper watch for iPhone and Android. The blockbuster project is the most-funded project in Kickstarter history, earning $9.8 million in pledges, an astounding figure when you learn its initial funding goal was only $100,000.

Kickstarter is a testament to the web’s viral nature, proving that even business projects can earn millions of fans. In 2011, Kickstarter welcomed 30.6 million visitors to the site, where they pledged $99.3 million in support of projects and endeavors they believe in.

SEE ALSO: Kickstarter Spoof Wants Funding for T-Shirts, Beer [VIDEO]

Take a look at more astounding Kickstarter facts and figures in the infographic below, courtesy of our friends at Statista. Where do you think Kickstarter is headed next? Does it have room to grow? Let us know in the comments below.


Thumbnail image courtesy of iStockphoto, lightkeeper

More About: Business, crowdfunding, infographics, kickstarter, Startups

For more Business coverage:


Porn Company Sues Tumblr for Copyright Infringement [VIDEO]

Posted: 09 May 2012 01:05 PM PDT


If you’ve ever wondered how sites like Tumblr get away with displaying copyrighted images, you’re not alone. Now one of the Internet’s biggest players — the porn industry — is eyeing Tumblr for copyright infringement.

Adult publisher Perfect 10 is suing Tumblr for $5 million for “rampant and unremedied uploading, display and distribution of Perfect 10′s copyrighted photographs.”

In the complaint, Perfect 10 states that Tumblr’s reblogging platform allows “subscribers to copy and distribute infringing content at the touch of a button.”

The complaint also states Perfect 10 sent former Tumblr president John Maloney six Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) email notices to take down the more than 200 images, but as of the date of the complaint filing, Tumblr had removed “at most only a handful.”

This is a direct attack against Tumblr’s biggest defense, “safe harbor laws,” which states that users — not hosts such as Tumblr — are responsible for copyright violations.

According to the porn company, “Tumblr should be held liable for its failure to abide by its obligations under the DMCA and for willfully ignoring the widespread and uncontrolled copyright infringement pervading its website.”

SEE ALSO: How the Web Has Changed Our Perception of Copyright Law

Especially with the controversy regarding the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), some have argued that it was only a matter of time for Tumblr to be held liable for copyright violations.

Tumblr is not the only Internet site Perfect 10 has blacklisted. In the past, the porn company has also sued several companies for allegedly misusing its images, including Google, Microsoft and Amazon.

If Perfect 10 wins this lawsuit against Tumblr, it could have a ripple effect with other sites. With its “re-pinning,” Pinterest, for example, might be susceptible to a copyright lawsuit.

Do you think Tumblr is guilty of copyright infringement? Should users or hosts be responsible for what’s on the internet? Sound off in the comments.

More About: copyright infringement, tumblr

For more Social Media coverage:


Etsy Raises $40 Million, Looks Beyond the Marketplace

Posted: 09 May 2012 12:53 PM PDT


Etsy, an online store for selling handmade goods, has a plan to expand beyond its peer-to-peer marketplace — and it has raised $40 million to put it into place.

The company wants to be a one-stop shop for creative independent businesses, though it hasn’t quite defined what that means.

“We've always taken our sellers seriously, but I think it is a shift,” Etsy VP of Marketing and Brand Matt Stinchcomb tells Mashable. “The marketplace is a core piece of what we do, but I don’t think it will define who we are.”

Etsy’s seven-year-old marketplace has 875,000 active sellers who together sold more than $525 million worth of goods in 2011.

In the last year, the company has made moves to provide new services to those sellers. In September, the site integrated with small business accounting service Outright.

In May, it acquired Trunkt, a startup that specializes in wholesale, with plans of adding wholesale support for sellers.

It’s not clear exactly what additional seller services Etsy has in mind, but Stinchcomb suggests a myriad of potential ways the company could expand its seller platform.

“What does [Etsy] mean for offline? For brick-and-mortar stores? Fundraising? These are all places where we think we can be a support.”

In addition to expanding tools for sellers, the company will use the new round of funding — its sixth and biggest yet — to expand internationally.

“We have been profitable since 2009,” Stinchcomb says. “This wasn’t about keeping the lights on or anything.”

More About: Etsy

For more Business coverage:


The Best and Worst Times to Share on Facebook, Twitter

Posted: 09 May 2012 12:51 PM PDT

Twitter App

Want your link to get the most traction on Twitter? Post it on a Monday between 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. ET.

Link shortening and tracking service bit.ly has released new data on the best and worst times to share links on popular social networks, from Facebook and Twitter to blogging site Tumblr.

The company revealed that posting links to Twitter between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. ET (or 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. PT) will give you the highest click rank, especially on days earlier in the week. Meanwhile, sending a tweet with a link after 8:00 p.m. should be avoided — as should posting links after 3:00 p.m. on Fridays.

The half-life of a link posted to Twitter is about 2.8 hours, according to bit.ly.

However, Facebook’s optimal posting times are slightly different than Twitter. Links sent between 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. get the most traction, with Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. being the best time to post on Facebook all week.

Links posted after 8:00 p.m. and before 8:00 a.m. on Facebook also don’t get the most clicks. Similar to Twitter, bit.ly recommends not posting the links you want to go viral during the weekend.

“While traffic starts to increase around 9:00 a.m., one would be wise to wait to post until 11am,” bit.ly said in a blog post on its site. “Traffic from Facebook fades after 4:00 p.m.”

Meanwhile, Tumblr has a much different usage pattern than Facebook and Twitter. It’s suggested to wait until at least 4:00 p.m. ET. to post important content, and posts that go up after 7:00 p.m. get the most clicks during a 24-hour period.

It’s also suggested that Friday evenings are a key time to post on Tumblr — a time bit.ly recommends avoiding on Facebook and Twitter.

Bit.ly traffic from Tumblr peaks between 7:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday, with similar traffic on Sunday, according to the study.

“It's easy to see that just like your neighborhood restaurants, each social network has its own culture and behavior patterns,” bit.ly noted in the blog post. “By understanding the simple characteristics of each social network, you can publish your content at exactly the right time for it to reach the maximum number of people.”

Do you notice a difference in engagement when posting at different times? Let us know in the comments what works best for you.

More About: bit.ly, Facebook, Social Media, trending, tumblr, Twitter


6 Tools to Build a Mobile App on the Cheap

Posted: 09 May 2012 12:36 PM PDT


The Mobile App Trends Series is presented by Sourcebits, a leading product developer for mobile platforms. Sourcebits offers design and development services for iOS, Android, Mobile and Web platforms. Follow Sourcebits on Twitter for recent news and updates.

The massive growth of the app market has coincided with the creation of a parallel niche industry — the proliferation of accessible, low-cost development alternatives to traditional shops and agencies.

But not all brands — or industries altogether — require diverse, expansive functionality in their apps. In the same regard, a lean approach to launch can move a unique product to market in a mere matter of minutes. For these brands, the process going forward is much as the same is it is for high profile, heavily touted launches: engage with customers, build off their response and expand and iterate in due time.

As the mobile applications market moves toward $25 billion per year, according to a MarketsandMarkets report, non-traditional development opportunities are emerging in a number of forms. Programs now allow everyday consumers to build apps through HTML, drag-and-drop platforms, customize templates and simply drop an SDK. These services are on the rise, and they’re worthy tools to keep in your arsenal.

Below are six platforms carving out their space in the market.


1. PhoneGap


PhoneGap leverages JavaScript to allow for the development of apps in HTML5 and CSS3 — highly capable languages that are now standard to most mobile devices. In turn, developers are able to create what are, at their core, mobile web apps that can engage with the APIs of mobile devices.

Building in HTML, CSS or JavaScript allows developers to shortcut the core complexity of launching on multiple devices and platforms — writing in multiple languages. PhoneGap provides a beta service known as PhoneGap Build, which allows users to upload code and receive iOS, Android, Palm, Windows and BlackBerry apps ready for launch. Despite a web-based foundation, the apps are still able to access such features as geo-location, camera, push notifications and contacts.

Beyond high profile clients like Wikipedia, which used PhoneGap to launch its official app on Android, iOS and Playbook, the service is utilized by development companies building for multiple clients. Sean Mahoney, CEO of AndPlus, LLC relies on PhoneGap to build for both large corporations and small startups. As a power user, he's able to bring PhoneGap beyond its core capabilities.

"Moving to PhoneGap, we saw that we were able to set up our own development environments and thus develop and deploy extremely scalable, as-native-as-we-wanted apps for mobile devices," Mahoney says. "For power users like AndPlus.com, we actually have created a PhoneGap deployment area that is exclusive to our clients. This allows us to create, use, and build apps that utilize plugins developed by our internal team."

Cost: Free to use for development while in beta; support plans begin at $249.99 per year.


2. Branded Business Apps


Branded Business Apps touts a five-step app development process, which allows for the launch of iPhone, iPad and Android apps in less than 48 hours. Created largely for service industries — restaurants, churches, health clubs and hotels, among others — functionality is limited to a basic set of almost 40 features. According to Allison Birr, marketing and sales specialist for the brand, these features cover the needs of most small to medium businesses — Branded Business Apps' core demographic.

This design approach is at the foundation of most inexpensive development alternatives. And the inability to extend beyond limited features is, in most cases, hardly a shortcoming for small businesses. The process begins with a design questionnaire, which dictates the content on a set number of screens and a limited amount of basic copy. Dropped into a template selected from a standardized list, the product is brought to fruition in a significant fraction of the time and cost otherwise required by full-fledged shops.

Following launch, content is managed by the client through a CMS that allows service-focused businesses a selection of unique capabilities, depending on their needs. This extends beyond providing customers with instant awareness of directions via GPS and specials via push notifications — integration with social networks, as well as audio and video services, means that musicians, professional speakers and other performers can actually distribute their own products, much as they would a podcast in the App Store.

Cost: Development costs begin at $399; monthly management begins at $39 per month.


3. EachScape


EachScape takes a unique building-block approach, which allows it to avoid the use of templates most often responsible for the generic interface of inexpensive apps. "EachScape is a drag and drop environment where the user selects 'blocks' or components, integrates their content, customizes and is then able to generate apps for iOS, Android and HTML5," explains Ludo Collin, CEO of EachScape.

This approach expands both the aesthetic and functional capabilities of EachScape apps. On the interface end, the platform allows users to select from an extensive list of functions, from the generic — horizontal panels, for example, which can be customized with copy and images — to the more complex, including Google ads, chat, HTML and video. From there, the apps are built in Objective C (for iPhone) and Java (for Android). As such, they maintain the operating systems' native capabilities.

"We have built a platform that enables brands to cost-effectively build and manage apps across operating systems and devices. While we’re not 'cheap,' we enable our clients to build highly custom apps that can run on iOS and Android devices, in native code, as well as HTML5 for much less than working with a dev shop," Collin explains. "We are customizable and feature-rich, unlike template solutions.”

Additionally, he notes, "clients can license the EachScape platform, bring it in-house and have multiple people with web-producer (rather than developer skills) building and deploying apps for the organization."

On top of that, EachScape maintains a block marketplace, to which developers can provide code for functions that extend beyond those already available. The ability to request blocks, and thereby add components unique to your app, has garnered EachSpace a notable range of clients, including MTV, CBS and E!. "We are customizable and open," Collin says. “If a client doesn’t have all the functionality they need, they can (or we can) build an additional feature block to accommodate the need and that becomes part of the platform."

Cost: Licenses start at $2,500 per month.


4. Canvas


Canvas focuses almost entirely on data collection applications for small businesses in a seemingly endless array of industries, from fishing to construction to transportation. The apps, which number in the hundreds, provide businesses with the ability to record and request data, then store and distribute through the Canvas cloud.

"Today 95% of businesses use clipboards and paper as the predominant means of data collection when they aren’t sitting in front of a computer," says CEO James Quigley. "There exists tremendous potential for businesses to replace their clipboards with a smartphone or tablet, and for that reason the market for our product and similar approaches is global and very large."

As an alternative to high cost app development, Canvas has created a marketplace where users are "sharing their experiences, providing very complete solutions off the shelf." Construction businesses, for example, can immediately gain access to apps that provide forms and feedback for job cost estimation, building inspection requirements, employee time sheets and remodeling proposals. Customized for each business, they provide the appearance of self-produced software while simultaneously enriching practices. The apps are customized as necessary and provide a level of communication between businesses and their customers.

"All the data collected by our subscribers is then sent to our cloud, where it is converted to PDFs and forwarded back their customers, is made available to be searched and sorted, and can even plug into our clients’ back offices," Quigley explains.

While of a slightly different strand than other services — these apps supplement existing business practices, rather than launch businesses themselves — even this low level of customization allows for the creation of branded apps at almost no cost.

"Leveraging a cloud platform is enabling organizations to gain speed to market, flexibility and affordability without sacrificing on the ultimate quality of the product or app," Quigley says. "While more affordable application development may not include complete customization capabilities, the reality is that the large majority of businesses don’t need excessive customization."

Cost: 50 cents per use of each app, $20 for unlimited monthly use, and $210 for unlimited yearly use.


5. CloudSpokes


Dave Messinger, chief architect of CloudSpokes, says his company is ” the first developer community that matches the cloud with the crowd — a true market where businesses tap into skills and pay for results versus effort, and where developers get access to a new world of opportunity to earn money for cloud development."

The service, built by cloud solutions brand Appirio, allows companies to outsource any form of public cloud development work — entire mobile applications, Facebook pages and technical components for enterprises — in the form of a competition. After customers post a deadline alongside technical specifications, developers in the community submit entries, which are then judged by the customer or the CloudSpokes team.

"For developers, this approach creates a market for their talents, lets them develop new skills with real world assignments and transitions their careers to the cloud while establishing street cred as skilled practitioners," Messinger says. "For companies (including Appirio), this means tapping into a developer ecosystem and paying only for the components of work that meet pre-agreed upon requirements."

The success of CloudSpokes reflects the effectiveness an entirely unique approach to app development: A gamified network of freelance contributors. Current challenges range from the bizarre — a Python-based app that can create a route guiding users to every train station on a given system within 24 hours — to the highly practical, including an app to facilitate financial aid application processes by extracting information from existing tax files.

Cost: Project rate set by client.


6. Red Foundry


Chicago-based Red Foundry allows developers full control over the quality and cost of the platform, though VP of Business Development Stan Monlux has stark words for those who go the inexpensive route: "Honestly, cheap apps suck. If you want to build a cheap app on Red Foundry, you can certainly do it, but we have no interest in that market."

Instead, Red Foundry has two primary goals. One is to allow companies to shift resources from writing code to creating great design, and the other is user experience and enabling brands to make money without gamification. The company makes money by taking a share of revenue from managing a commercial element and development services.

"We have fairly unique technology that allows fully native apps to be built and customized more like a web mashup, as opposed to starting from scratch," Monlux explains. "The unique thing about this is that it allows apps (we call them Elements or Micro Apps) to live within other apps to provide highly contextual features that users want, such as booking a hotel through Expedia directly from the Fodor’s travel guide app without ever having to leave it."

Through this technology, Monlux explains, app development can be completed on the end of the designers, whose capabilities will more often than not dictate the quality of the app from an aesthetic perspective. The Fusion Studio allows a drag-and-drop approach, while apps built in Xcode, Eclipse or other toolkits can achieve similar functionality through the inclusion of the Fusion SDK in a line of code.

"Speed versus native code isn't much of an issue with our platform," Monlux says. "The key to any great app is great design. Our best partners are design shops and developers with a carefully crafted vision for their UI. Red Foundry was built to support great designers, but in the end you need good UI design chops to build great looking apps."


Conclusion


The use of any of these services comes with key sets of advantages and disadvantages — with the benefit of speed comes the sacrifice of functionality, while the expansion of capabilities brings with it additional costs and added time. In short, as Collin says, "Anything that seems to be too good to be true might be just that."


Series supported by Sourcebits

The Mobile App Trends Series is presented by Sourcebits, a leading developer of applications and games for all major mobile platforms. Sourcebits has engineered over 200 apps to date, with plenty more to come. Sourcebits offers design and development services for iPhone, Android and more. Please feel free to get in touch with us to find out how we can help your app stand apart in a crowded marketplace. Follow Sourcebits on Twitter and Facebook for recent news and updates.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, akinbostanci

More About: app development, mashable, Mobile App Trends Series, mobile apps


Obama Supports Gay Marriage, ABC Breaks News Online

Posted: 09 May 2012 12:09 PM PDT

President Barack Obama officially declared his support for same sex marriage in an interview with ABC News.

Journalists have been following the story throughout the day using both social media and more traditional online stories.

Right before the official broadcast of the news went live, ABC posted a video with a headline and URL — one that scooped its own coverage.

We’ve used Storify to chronicle the political and social coverage surrounding the announcement.

More About: barack obama, Politics, Storify, trending


Why Entrepreneurs Should Never Wait to Follow Their Dreams [VIDEO]

Posted: 09 May 2012 12:05 PM PDT



Jesse Draper is creator and host of The Valley Girl Show, through which she’s become a spokesperson for startups and helped pioneer the way of new media content distribution. Formerly a Nickelodeon star, Draper is now CEO of Valley Girl‚ where she oversees the show and runs technology blog Lalawag.com.

Alexa Von Tobel is CEO and founder of LearnVest, which she describes as “Daily Candy meets personal finance.” She started her company with a 75-page business plan that won a contest, and has since raised $24.5 million in funding for this female-focused finance startup.

Von Tobel has become the specialist of personal finance of this generation. She regularly appears on such talk shows as Nate Berkus, Rachael Ray and Gayle King to comment on all things personal savings and spendings. In this interview, she breaks down her formula for a happy financial life, “the LearnVest method,” and explains why LearnVest’s success was only possible because she followed her dreams without hesitation.


More Video from The Valley Girl Show


More About: entrepreneurs, personal finance, Startups, valley girl, Video

For more Business coverage:


Antoine Dodson Gets the ‘Pop Up Video’ Treatment [EXCLUSIVE]

Posted: 09 May 2012 11:45 AM PDT

Remember when VH1 first introduced Pop Up Video in the ’90s? Without those little nuggets of trivia, who would have known Meatloaf was a romantically inclined Libra?

Now, imagine that same concept with viral YouTube sensations, like Antoine Dodson or Rebecca Black. That’s exactly what PopSpot aims to do.

PopSpot is the brain child of Eyeboogie, the masterminds behind Pop Up Video. The team premiered the pop-up version of “Bed Intruder” this weekend at the web culture conference ROFLcon, where Dodson himself was in attendance.

Although the auto-tuned song was originally composed by the Gregory Brothers, Dodson performed an extended edit of his YouTube hit at an after party. (Scumbag Steve also gave a live performance of his new rap song.)

Mashable spoke with Dodson at the conference about becoming a viral sensation, and what’s in store for the future.

To Dodson, the original song wasn’t funny at first — he thought the Gregory Brothers were making fun of his family. Now, after talking to the video creators, he feels that the song and the video send a positive message about a serious issue in a fun way.

Now that the family has had time to process, they are comfortable with the video and accepting of Dodson’s fame. As for his sister, “time heals all wounds, and she’s ok now.”

The video has since earned Dodson enough money to move his family out of the projects. But it’s also required Dodson to seek management and a lawyer.

SEE ALSO: ROFLcon: What the Internet Talks About Offline

“Two years ago, I could go into a store and buy toothpaste and a toothbrush, and not think twice about it,” says Dodson. “Now I go into the store to buy toothpaste and a toothbrush, and I’ll be in there for two to three hours, taking pictures and signing autographs.”

The YouTube celebrity tours frequently, making appearances at events like ROFLcon, and even the Mashable Awards — however, Dodson says he doesn’t intend to make a music career out of his fame.

Film, on the other hand, is another story. Dodson is joining a few other major-league memes in the film The Chronicles of Rick Roll. It was announced in early 2011, but Dodson says it will go into production this year.

Take a look at PopSpot’s “Bed Intruder” video above, and let us know what you think. Would you like to see more viral videos get the Pop Up treatment? Sound off in the comments.

More About: antoine dodson, features, Meme, music videos, ROFLcon, trending, vh1, YouTube

For more Entertainment coverage:


Posted in |