News

Twitter Opens Analytics Tools to All

Posted in News on 29 August 2014
Twitter is making its new analytics tools available for all users
 
The micro-blogging site launched its analytics dashboard in July, but only for advertisers and verified users. The tools offer users insight into how their content is performing on Twitter with a breakdown on the success of each tweet, total impressions and engagement rate.
 
Now, any and all Twitter users can find out how popular their tweets are.
 
“Absolutely thrilled to open up access to http://analytics.twitter.com to EVERYONE,” Twitter engineer Ian Chan tweeted to announce the change.
 
To break it down, the dashboard allows users to:
 
- See how their tweets are performing in real time.
- Compare impressions (times a tweet is viewed by anyone on Twitter Web and Android or iOS apps, including logged-out users), total engagements and retweets month over month.
- Use the tweet details page to see how many retweets, replies, favorites, follows, link clicks and embedded media clicks each tweet received.
- Export tweet performance metrics into a CSV file, which now includes both organic and promoted data.
 
Although analytics is far more useful to brands and marketers than it is for the average Joe, it still might be interesting for other users as well. If nothing else, it will help them to gauge the best time to tweet and how often to do so.
 

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Samsung Announces Gear S Watch

Posted in News on 29 August 2014

The face of Smartwatches is changing.

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Samsung has stepped ahead of competitors with the unveiling of its Gear S watch. The small, wearable device was presented Thursday with Samsung Electronics’ chief executive officer and head of IT and mobile communication noting the company is “leading this exciting and rapidly developing wearable category through progressive innovation.”

JK Shin, in a press release, said the watch is breaking new ground.

“The Samsung Gear S redefines the idea of the smart wearable and the culture of mobile communication. It will let consumers live a truly connected life anywhere, anytime,” Shin said.

And, he’s right. The new model is much more advanced than the company’s previous watches and should allow owners to break away from their Smartphones.

The Gear S will not only, through its 3G connectivity, allow wearers to remain up-to-date on messages and social network activities, it can also make and receive phone calls. The device — with its two-inch curved Super AMOLED display — can also be synced with a user’s Smartphone to have calls forwarded.

Samsung isn’t forgetting those with a healthy lifestyle in mind, either. The Gear S comes with enhanced multi-sensors, built-in GPS and a number of S Health features. Applications such as Nike + Running will also allow users to track their runs and stay on the go without carrying their smartphones.

The Gear S is expected to come on to the market in October.

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Apple Confirms Sept. 9 Debut Date - But for What?

Posted in News on 29 August 2014

Apple has set its much-anticipated fall line-up launch for Sept. 9, confirming earlier media reports that the new iPhone debut would indeed be held early next month.

The company sent invitations to the media today for its Sept. 9 press event in Cupertino, Calif — the company’s home base.

Apple, as usual, was cryptic. The invitation simply lists the date and the phrase: “Wish we could say more.”

Screen Shot 2014-08-28 at 2.11.58 PMIt is thought the company will debut its next-generation iPhone, which is expected to feature a larger screen and run on speedy new A8 processors.

Bloomberg reported in June that Apple was planning to kick-start production in China this summer on two new iPhones that will feature larger screens. So, it is possible the firm will debut two new handsets.

The new iPhone will have a screen that is 4.7 inches by 5.5 inches and the device will be rounder and thinner than the iPhone 5S, sources told Bloomberg. The move toward larger displays is a bid to enable the Cupertino company to better compete with the larger-screened Smartphones from Samsung and HTC.

There is also much speculation that the company will finally debut its iWatch, which has been in the works for some time.

Apple is rumored to have a team of about 100 product designers working on the device which will perform at least some of the tasks handled by the iPhone and iPad.

Apple filed a patent application in 2011 for a “wearable accessory device” with a “flexible display coupled to a bi-stable spring.”

Apple described the one-size fits all slap bracelet as layered flexible steel bands sealed within a fabric cover that are roughly one inch in width by nine inches in length. The device, which can lay flat or curl around the wrist, can switch from a convex shape to concave to allow it to be worn with the switches facing up or down.

The device, according to the patent, will use sensors to display information of interest to the wearer. It will also communicate wirelessly through Bluetooth or Wi-Fi with other gadgets such as Smartphones or tablets. The watch will also manage texts and phone calls, have access to music playlists and possibly be used for map viewing.

Yet another thought is that Apple will present an update for its virtual assistant Siri.

 

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Gmail Adds Auto-Unsubscribe Feature

Posted in News on 28 August 2014
On August 6, Google’s Gmail announced a new feature: the auto-unsubscribe button. What is it? What does it mean for your brand’s marketing efforts? The potential implications are great; as such, it’s important that you become familiar with the feature and gain an understanding of how to adjust your marketing efforts accordingly.
 
Why the Focus on Unsubscribing?
 
Beginning in 2003 with the passage of the CAN-SPAM Act, which, among other regulations like not using false or misleading header information or deceptive subject lines, requires the senders of email marketing campaigns to clearly tell recipients how to opt-out of receiving future emails – return email addresses, opt-out buttons or otherwise – and to honor opt-out requests promptly, email marketers have understood the importance of allowing target audience members to unsubscribe. Because harsh penalties and fines exist for non-compliance, unsubscribe options became commonplace quickly.
 
With Gmail’s announcement on August 6, however, this has gone one step further. The auto-unsubscribe feature that will be displayed on promotional messages will make it easier than ever for Gmail users – which comprise 74 percent of the United States’ consumer base – to unsubscribe from unwanted messages and senders.
 
How Gmail’s Unsubscribe Works
 
The basic premise is simple. On promotional messages that already contain unsubscribe options, recipients will now see a prominent link at the top of the email – right beside the name of the sender – that allow them to unsubscribe from the sender. Because most unsubscribe options are featured at the bottom of email messages, this eliminates the need for scrolling through a message in order to opt-out.
 
Along with the feature’s debut announcement, Gmail stated that the process can take a few days, depending on how fast the requests are processed; however, the end result is the same.
 
Implementing the Feature
 
The unsubscribe option is made possible through the list-unsubscribe header inside common email marketing campaigns. This is what makes the option appear at the bottom of messages, however it is generally hidden from email recipients in the actual header. Gmail’s feature pulls from that – otherwise invisible – feature and makes it visible at the top of messages.
 
This means that without implementing the list-unsubscribe header, recipients will not be able to see the auto-unsubscribe option. Furthermore, senders with negative reputations will not be rewarded by being able to use the feature. Because it could be used as a method for validating the authenticity of email addresses, only senders with positive overall reputations will be able to implement the option.
 
Brands sending from new IP addresses, email addresses or domains will not have the auto-unsubscribe feature to accompany their messages until a positive history of sending is established. Like Google’s other products, those who take advantage will simply not be rewarded.
 
For brands that use multiple unsubscribe options to allow users to unsubscribe, Gmail’s recommendation is that those options be limited to a maximum of five.
 
When Google receives unsubscribe requests through the auto-unsubscribe feature, senders will receive notices and will be required to act immediately by removing those recipients from their email lists. If this fails to happen, Gmail could stop delivering messages to all users which could seriously hinder email marketing initiatives.
 
Why the Auto-Unsubscribe is Positive
 
You might be wondering why making it easier for email recipients to opt-out of your campaigns could possibly be viewed as a positive thing. Why do you want your subscribers to be able to opt out without even viewing the information contained in your message?
 
The answer to this question is simple: transparency. Your target audience members want to do business with brands that are trustworthy. Often times, trust is associated with transparency. When users are able to unsubscribe to your campaign without a hassle, your complaint rate will likely drop.
 
An additional positive? A more focused and receptive email subscriber list. It’s great to have a list that contains thousands of recipients. However, the focus of email marketing should be effectiveness. If your list is full of individuals who will never take action, you’re wasting your efforts. A list of subscribers that are engaged and interested leads to better results in the long run. Cutting out those who are completely uninterested – and will always remain uninterested – doesn’t hurt a brand at all.
 
Why the Auto-Unsubscribe Option Could Also Be Negative
 
Just because a particular email recipient isn’t interested in what your brand has to offer right now, they still made it to your list in one way or another. Whether this was through an event, a promotion or something else, they are on your list for a reason.
 
When an email doesn’t interest them, they may not feel like scrolling through your message to find the unsubscribe option at the bottom of the screen, so, instead, they stay subscribed. In the mentality mentioned above, this means they are uninterested. However, from another perspective, it might also mean they just aren’t interested right now.
 
This means that a future message, tagline or headline could draw them back in. They may be content to receive messages without taking action, however, something may interest them in the future. If the option to opt out becomes easier, they may do so without ever receiving that future message. This could lead to a loss in conversions and profits in the future.
 
Whether the auto-unsubscribe feature is a positive or a negative has yet to be seen and may depend upon your email marketing strategy and outlook. In either case, it’s important to be aware of the new feature and to consider how to incorporate it into your strategy, starting today.
 

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Apple to Debut a 12.9-inch iPad

Posted in News on 28 August 2014
Maybe bigger really is better — when it comes to tablets, that is.
 
Apple, it seems, agrees. The Cupertino company has plans to produce a 12.9-inch iPad by early next year, according to a report from Bloomberg.
 
Sources told the publication that Apple has been working with suppliers for more than a year to develop a new range of larger touch-screen devices.
 
The iPad Air coming this fall boasts a 9.7-inch screen while the iPad Mini has a 7.85-inch screen — meaning this new tablet will be significantly bigger.
 
The changes on the way for the iPad are likely an effort by Apple CEO Tim Cook to encourage new sales in a tablet–saturated market. In another move to give iPad sales a boost, Apple is teaming up with IBM to build enterprise apps designed only for iPhones and iPads.
 
The new class of business apps will bring big data and analytics capabilities to Apple’s handsets, challenging longtime industry leader Microsoft’s offerings.
 
The new capabilities will include:
- A new lot of more than 100 industry-specific enterprise solutions including native apps, fashioned exclusively for the iPhone and iPad;
- Unique IBM cloud services optimized for iOS, including device management, security, analytics and mobile integration;
- New AppleCare service and support offering tailored to the needs of the enterprise;  and
- New packaged offerings from IBM for device activation, supply and management.
 
It is impossible to say if the changes Apple has up its sleeve will be enough to convince tablet users to upgrade to the new version of the iPad.
 

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Dropbox Lowers Prices, Increases Storage for Pro Users

Posted in News on 28 August 2014
Just call it the storage wars.
 
Dropbox has dropped its prices to remain competitive in the ever-growing cloud storage market and has also increased storage space and added new security features for Dropbox Pro users.
 
Under a new, simplified pricing structure, Dropbox Pro users will now pay for a single plan that gives them 1 TB (1,000 GB) of space for $9.99 a month.
 
The company has also added four major security upgrades.
 
“Simple collaboration is one of the reasons people choose Dropbox Pro, but we’ve heard you ask for more ways to protect the stuff you share,” said Dropbox employee ChenLi Wang in a blog post. “That’s why we’re bringing new sharing controls to Dropbox Pro.”
 
The upgrades include:
 
Passwords for shared links — This feature creates an additional layer of security so only people with the password can access a user’s link.
 
Expirations for shared links — This option protects sensitive files by enabling the user to set how long the links stay up.
 
View-only permissions for shared folders — This feature allows a user to choose if recipients can edit or just view files within shared folders.
 
Remote wipe — This option hands users the ability to delete their Dropbox files from a lost or stolen device while keeping them safely backed up in Dropbox.
 
The new features are automatic with anyone signing up for the service. Current users’ accounts will be updated automatically in the next few days.
 

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Why Augmented Reality Is The Future

Posted in Tips on 27 August 2014
“What’s the next big thing to come out of the tech world during the coming 10 years?” the man asked in the sweltering sunlight. The setting was Lightning in a Bottle, a music, arts, and spirituality festival held each year in California. Chad Hurley, the founder of YouTube, was on stage at the Temple of Consciousness giving his take on founding and building a successful business in the age of the internet.
 
YouTube, as you may know, was purchased by Google to the tune of over $1.5 billion back in 2006, giving Chad and his colleagues an inside look at upcoming innovations.
 
“It’s certainly not Google Glass,” he said. “Have you heard of augmented reality?” a subject that has interested us at Fueled since we heard about it. Augmented reality technology has been in the works for years, with the first AR mirror already on the market.
 
Essentially, augmented reality provides a real-time look at the world, with added features. For example, popular Smartphone apps offer the ability to look at a landscape while simultaneously viewing GPS information. Other well-known possibilities include the ability to gaze at the night sky with constellations highlighted. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
 
There are myriad applications of augmented reality technologies in the professional world. For example, in the near future, architects will be able to construct 3-D digital blueprints of their projects and superimpose them on the construction zone, allowing them to better visualize and modify massive buildings before the concrete sets.
 
Volkswagen already uses augmented reality to assess safety tests. And on the topic of safety, augmented reality technology shows promise for increasing the abilities of doctors and surgeons, allowing medical professionals to simultaneously view injuries and valuable information about the patient’s pulse, body temperature, and more.
 
Beauty company Sephora recently launched the world’s first augmented reality mirror. While it may lack the practical applications of other technologies, this product is sure to become a favorite with the luxury crowd. The screen allows users to visualize the effect of makeup on their faces, without putting any on. In the near future, products like this will make their way into the homes of the wealthy, just one of the ways that augmented reality promises to make life more convenient.
 
Video game companies have been researching augmented reality capabilities for years, and the time that this sort of entertainment hits the streets is fast approaching. Soon, indoor games that use AR will create fantastic worlds, mimic laser battles, or pose challenging puzzles through a blend of real and virtual components.
 
Another promising lead is the idea of virtual geo-caching, where participants are forced to navigate the real world to find digital objects in a series of challenging adventures.
 
Aesthetic considerations also play into augmented reality predictions. As Mr. Hurley explained, people will soon be able to add to their experience of the world. “If you like palm trees, you’ll be able to walk down a street lined with palm trees, no matter where you are.”
 
Perhaps more disturbing would be the capability to recall dead relatives or distant friends, placing them within a world that is only half-real.
 
Whatever the case, augmented reality will give everyday users more direct control over their experience of the world.
 

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Pinterest Testing News Section With iOS Users

Posted in News on 27 August 2014
Pinterest is testing a “News” section with iOS users.
 
News updates will appear in users’ notifications tab, to offer updates on new likes as well as pins and follows from the people they follow.
 
“If you’re on mobile, you may notice a new section in your notifications called ‘News’,” reads a Pinterest blog post.
 
“Your News tab gives you a snapshot of what’s up with your Facebook friends and all the different Pinners, brands and boards you follow.You’ll discover things like the latest projects people are collecting Pins for, or interesting companies they’ve found to follow. (The one thing you won’t see are Pins that people save to their secret boards—as always, those are totally under wraps.)”
 
Pinterest said it will be testing the News section over the next few weeks and asked users to offer feedback.
 
News of the new feature comes close on the heels of the social media site’s announcement of Conversations, the new direct-messaging tool enables users to exchange private messages with fellow pinners via its website or its iOS or Android apps. Now, once a pin is sent, the recipient can send a pin back to them or reply with a message.
 
“Every day, people send more than two million Pins,” reads a Pinterest blog post. “Sending a Pin is a great way to let someone know you found something they’d love. We wanted to make it easier for you to have a good old-fashioned conversation about those Pins.”
 
Conversations also allows pins and messages to be sent to multiple people.
 
Pinterest has made a number of improvements and updates to its app to capitalize on and continue to foster the growth it has experienced in the past year.
 
Pinterest topped the recently-released American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) with a 76 percent satisfaction rate. The site has steadily gained the approval of its pinners over the past three years due to its improved features and search functions.
 

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Ballloon Provides Quick Trip to the Cloud

Posted in News on 27 August 2014
A new Google Chrome extension aims to pop wait times when it comes to saving items to the cloud.
 
ChromeBallloon — yes, it’s spelled with three Ls — helps users collect images, pics, PDF files or links straight to their Dropbox, Google Drive,
OneDrive or Box without the downloading steps similar extensions can require. It makes saving material to the cloud quicker and much more simple. All that is required is one left click on the mouse.
 
“It is just like a floating balloon, which will fly directly to clouds,” the extension’s site explains.
 
Users needs to only hover their mouses over a picture, for example, for a small icon with clouds to pop up, they then choose the desired destination and send it to the cloud.
 
“We have designed Ballloon to be as easy as possible,” the site explains. “There is still a lot more we want to do, to make saving simple and fast for all.”
 
The extension has been created by Madhouse Tech and, since being launched, has received a handful of favorable reviews on the Google site.
Files are saved to a Ballloon folder in a user’s cloud account. Once saved, files can be shared with other people or accessed on other computers.
 
One of the nice features about Ballloon is if a user happens to lose track of where they have saved their files they can just go to the Ballloon departures page where there’s a log of what has been saved and where.
 
While the extension is currently available there are more options coming, the site explains.
 

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Amazon Gets its Game Face On With Acquisition of Twitch

Posted in News on 27 August 2014
eCommerce giant Amazon is adding Internet video broadcast channel Twitch to the fold in a cool $970-million cash-deal.
Although the actual purchase price comes in under the $1 billion-mark, sources told Reuters “some retention agreements” will push the deal past that amount.
 
The move comes as no surprise — CEO Jeff Bezos is doing his darnedest to make Amazon a one-stop shop for all things entertainment. The purchase puts Amazon in direct competition with the mobile gaming big boys — Apple and Google — as the eRetailer looks to take a substantial slice from the massive mobile gaming app market. Currently, online games make up more than 75 percent of all mobile app sales.
 
But the purchase could also mean more competition for Netflix.
 
Although Twitch is geared toward gamers, the video platform offers commentary, and online shows as well as gaming footage.
 
“Broadcasting and watching gameplay is a global phenomenon,” Bezos said in a statement. “Twitch has built a platform that brings together tens of millions of people who watch billions of minutes of games each month — from The International, to breaking the world record for Mario, to gaming conferences like E3.”
 
Twitch has more than 1.1 million unique broadcasters per month and its videos reach more than 55 million gamers.
 
Twitch CEO Emmett Shear said the acquisition will not impact its location or staffing.
 
“We chose Amazon because they believe in our community, they share our values and long-term vision, and they want to help us get there faster,” Shear wrote in a blog post. “We’re keeping most everything the same: our office, our employees, our brand, and most importantly our independence. But with Amazon’s support we’ll have the resources to bring you an even better Twitch.”
 
It was reported earlier this year that Twitch was also in talks with Google, but a deal never materialized.
 

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