Tag Archives: online

Nina Dobrev Poses Topless In Support Of Obamacare


Nina Dobrev Poses Topless In Support Of Obamacare

 

Nina Dobrev shed her clothes and went topless in support of Obamacare Thursday.

The 24-year-old “Vampire Diaries” star stripped down Oct. 3 and posed for an Instagram photo as a means of drawing attention to the issue of healthcare. In the snapshot, Dobrev poses topless with a sign reading “#getcovered” in front of her chest. The hashtag denotes the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which makes preventive care accessible and affordable for millions of Americans who may have otherwise been uninsured.

“Im Canadian. We have healthcare for all. If you dont have insurance go tohttp://say.ly/cdi6TN2 and #GetCovered, Because w/o it, youre naked,” she wrote.

Dobrev was one of multiple celebrities to support the healthcare law with the hashtag #getcovered, E! News noted. Kerry WashingtonSarah SilvermanRosario Dawson,Sophia BushKate BosworthJulianne Moore and Shaun White each tweeted the message this week.

The GOP has been crusading against the ACA, thus leading to the recent government shutdown.

 

Source The Huffington Post!

 

Two Words Can Make All the Difference

The Future of Facebook


Facebook CEO Zuckerberg addresses the audience during a media event at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park

Facebook is a hugely popular social networking site dedicated to bringing friends and family closer together. No one, not even Mark Zuckerberg (one of the main creators of Facebook) could have imagined the company to be where it is today.

One sixth of the worlds population Is currently registered as having created an official Facebook account since 2004. There are roughly six billion people worldwide and seven hundred million websites on the Internet.

Alexa, a web traffic agency, assigns each website a popularity rank based on the number of visitors a website receives and the number of quality sites linking in (among other measurements). The websites which fall below the ‘one million’ in global traffic rank on Alexa are considered the internets “one percent rule” (meaning these are the one percent of websites being read by the general public).

Facebook happens to be the second most talked about website (globally) according to the Alexa traffic rank. Google is, as expected, ranked number one on the list.

Facebook is much too popular a network to fall down in the rankings over the next few decades. The founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, has hinted at moving the social network in the direction of an online newspaper of sorts.

Whether this is true or not is yet to be seen but I believe I speak for all of us when I say I am excited to see the continuous evolution of Facebook take place over the years.

(Via. John Teevan – Student)

An illustration picture shows the logo of the Website Twitter on an Ipad, in Bordeaux

Twitter beefs up security safeguards after recent attacks


An illustration picture shows the logo of the Website Twitter on an Ipad, in Bordeaux

(Reuters) – Twitter Inc began introducing new technology on Wednesday to shore up security for users, responding to a spate of recent attacks on prominent accounts including those owned by the Associated Press and Financial Times.

Twitter said in a blog post it has begun to introduce “login verification,” a form of two-factor authentication in security industry parlance. The feature asks users to confirm their identity after a typical log-in, by sending a six-digit code to smartphones that must then be typed in to complete a sign-on.

The microblogging service, considered one of the most important communications platforms today, has not done enough to help protect users’ accounts, critics say. That criticism intensified after a fake tweet sent from the AP’s account in April about a non-existent White House explosion briefly roiled U.S. financial markets.

“There’s a second check to make sure it’s really you,” the company said on its official blog.

Repeated hacking incidents have raised questions about Twitter’s credibility and reliability just as it is beginning to assume a central role in a fast-changing media landscape, with the volume of tweets rising to more than 400 million a day.

(Reporting by Edwin Chan; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)

google-music

Google Play Music All Access Review: It’s Not a Spotify Competitor After All


Let’s get this out of the way: Google Play Music All Access is a terrible name, rolling off the tongue like a mouthful of marbles. I’m not sure what Google was thinking here, adopting such a clunky moniker for a fledgling streaming music service whose media-decreed rivals go by punchier handles like Pandora, Spotify, Rdio and Grooveshark. Why not something simpler like Google Music, leaving “All Access” to describe one of the subscription tiers? Even the name Google Play sounds catchier and more appropriate for something that dishes up tunes, but then Google already uses those two words (somewhat incongruously) to describe its entire digital distribution platform, from Android apps, devices and games to books, magazines and music.

google-play-music-all-access

Google Play Music All Access it is then, and I’ll henceforth be referring to it as GPMAA for sanity’s sake (or, as I’ve been pronouncing it out loud, “gup-mah”).

Google unveiled GPMAA yesterday at its annual I/O conference during an over three-hour developer-focused keynote, though of that time, the company only devoted a few minutes to touch on the service’s basic features. As suspected, GPMAA represents Google’s attempt to offer a subscription-based music service, streaming “millions” of songs — intermingled with up to 20,000 more, uploadable or song-matched from your personal library — for $10 a month ($8 a month if you sign up by the end of June). Chris Yerga, Google’s engineering director who steered this part of the keynote, explained that GPMAA would include common music streaming features like curated playlists, album recommendations and a build-your-own-radio-station feature.

In other words, GPMAA isn’t a wildly new product so much as another limb stitched into an existing framework. Google hopped into the music game in late 2011 with Google Music (later, Google Play Music), the company’s answer to Apple’s iTunes music store, the twist being that you could also upload up to 20,000 of your own songs and stream all of that to multiple Android devices. The service never really took off, though, and no surprise: Given the choice between having to curate your own music library (where you’re paying for every song or album and limited by what you own and limited by where you can listen) and throwing a few bucks at something that works on nearly any device, giving you instant listening access to an unprecedented single-source spectrum of music, which would you pick?

For Google to offer its own flat-rate streaming service was thus inevitable, but before we dive in — I’ve been playing with GPMAA on my laptop – I want to point out that those who view Google as simply an imitator (Google+ after Facebook, Android after iOS) are hung up on irrelevant chronology. It’s not about who builds first — Blizzard’s online game World of Warcraft is brilliantly imitative and Apple’s first tablet arrived nearly a decade after Microsoft’s Tablet PC — it’s about who can build better while at the same time capturing the public’s imagination.

google-music-hands-on1_2040_large_verge_medium_landscape

It’s also, occasionally, about playing catchup — and that, unfortunately, is how you’ll probably feel coming to GPMAA if you’re familiar with other streaming music subscription services.

At first blush, GPMAA looks like a refined version of Google Play Music, the “My Library” views consolidated and new ones like “Radio” and “Explore” given primacy, while the playlist options are where they were before, at bottom-left. Instead of the older version’s blandly all-white background, GPMAA’s selection window now sports a soft gray undertone that’s less garish when viewed in low light while helping to accent the white rectangles that surround images like album art. For those with ultra-high-definition displays (I’m using a MacBook Pro Retina), everything’s much cleaner and crisper, say, than Spotify’s client, where app-native text looks as though it’s being viewed through an out-of-focus camera.

You can still search for music in a box up top, to the right of the Google Play logo, but instead of retrieving music with price tags, you’ll now find clusters of artists, albums and instantly playable songs. Click an artist and you’ll summon a page sporting a brief list of “top songs,” followed by a single-line carousel devoted to “albums” and another to “related artists.” Clicking a song prompts a player to appear at page bottom with conventional player features, including options to repeat or shuffle, adjust the volume and rate a track thumbs up or down.

Google hasn’t said precisely how much music lives in its revamped library — Spotify claims over 20 million songs in its catalog, but Google’s only reference to a number was the word “millions” tossed out during the unveiling [Update: Google lists "18+ million" on its "About" page; also, a prior version of this review criticized Google for a dearth of search results for major artists like Miles Davis and Bruce Springsteen as well as a few confusingly labeled albums -- the same searches now turn up dozens of albums for both artists, all properly labeled -- improvements to the service are apparently ongoing.]

Another feature I’m less than impressed with is Google’s relational matrix. To be fair, the “related” intelligence of every streaming service I’ve used veers drunkenly between competent and “Seriously?” GPMAA is no different: Drilling on “related artists” for Bruce Hornsby, for instance, turns up more era-related than historically interactive or style-related acts; surely an intelligent music search would know to surface Jerry Garcia or The Grateful Dead before Marc Cohn and Sting, or Ricky Skaggs and Bela Fleck before Shawn Colvin. Let’s hope Google’s much-vaunted semantic search engine technology isn’t the underlying factor here, because that’d just be embarrassing.

The “Radio” feature, which lets you create radio “stations” (based largely on the relationships mentioned above, for better or worse), works as you’ve come to expect radio features to since you first fiddled with Pandora years ago — with an interesting wrinkle: You can monitor what’s coming through a “Queue” view or re-initiate the radio mix and stream by clicking on it under the “Radio” view, which is unique, and possibly of interest if you want to curate your radio playlist (as opposed to not having to worry about it). That “Explore” feature, on the other hand, is more “been there, done that,” a view that simply makes recommendations, lets you browse new releases, discover new material sorting by genre or check out featured albums and playlists.

google-music

What about streaming quality? Lossless playback? A universal player? Family access plans? Music catalog certainty, i.e. artists and songs not inexplicably vanishing because a use contract ends or some deal falls through? Google’s settings make no mention of quality, so what you hear is what you get — almost surely compressed, though in what format and at what bit rate is anyone’s guess until Google makes this clear (as services like Spotify do), as it unarguably should. If you want a universal player, alas, you’re out of luck: GPMAA is for browsers and Android devices only, another sign that Google’s only half-heartedly invested in music as an actual service and not just a platform-building exercise. As for family access plans, Google’s not offering one at this time (to be fair, neither is Spotify, though users have been clamoring for one for years); whether it (or others) should or not gets into the economics of service sustainability and fair compensation to artists, which is something Google’s also saying nothing about. It’ll be interesting to hear from artists about GPMAA over time; they’ve certainly had few positive things to say about Spotify’s remuneration model.

What I dashed off yesterday serves as a summary here: Instead of boldly leading, GPMAA merely extends Google’s toe-in-the-water approach to music, adding incrementally interesting features instead of galvanic ones. Unless you care desperately about curating your radio streams, a service like Spotify comes off as decidedly superior here — by wide enough margins that, especially given Spotify’s platform agnosticism, I’m not sure it’s fair to call GPMAA an actual competitor.

It’s a shame, really. Google had — and still has — an opportunity to do something daring in this space, something that can and ought to exist like Google Search exists beyond a single platform like Android. I’m not sure what the holdup is: market jitters, problematic label deals, the economics of profitable music streaming, a simple lack of imagination. Whatever the case, GPMAA is at best thoroughly competent — a diffident “me too” service that comes up short in too many areas to recommend over existing, more thoroughly outfitted alternatives.

(VIA. Techland.Time)

Google signage seen at the company's headquarters in New York

Analysis: Google+ struggles to attract brands, some neglect to update


Google signage seen at the company's headquarters in New York

(Reuters) – To mark the Cinco de Mayo holiday this year, Domino’s Pizza festooned its Facebook page with a string of posts, including an image of a Mexican-themed guacamole pizza that garnered over 2,000 “likes”. But visitors to Domino’s companion Google+ page on that day found less festive fare: The most recent post was from October 2012.

Two years after introducing its social network, Google Inc is struggling to win over the brands and businesses that have been its most loyal customers in the Internet search market.

For Google+ to thrive, it is vital to draw in household names, not just to lay the groundwork for potential future business, but also because users of the site have come to expect being able to follow, comment on or even vent about their favorite brands.

Progress has been slow. Rival services from Twitter to Amazon.com Inc are increasingly competitive in vying for corporate attention and marketing budgets, while technical shortcomings of Google+ have put off some companies accustomed to the flexibility of Facebook, marketing and corporate executives say.

The biggest problem for Google+ is that many more consumers use Twitter and Facebook – and they log in to Facebook for much longer periods.

A Google spokeswoman said Google+ has been used by millions of brands and businesses, and that the benefit of the service extends beyond Google+ Web pages, by providing brands with social capabilities that enhance Google’s other products.

Google+, which was first introduced in June 2011, has roughly 135 million users that it says actively use its website news stream, and about 500 million that have set up Google+ accounts at some point, according to the company. Still, Facebook has 1.1 billion users who engage with the service at least once a month, while Twitter has 200 million.

The average U.S. visitor to Google+ spent 6 minutes 47 seconds on the site in March, versus more than 6 hours on Facebook.com, according to Nielsen Media Research, though the data does not include activity on the social networks’ mobile apps.

“The main reason we are more active on Facebook than Google+ is because that is where our customers and our target demographic are spending their time,” said Dave Gilboa, the co-founder of online eyewear company Warby Parker.

Many businesses do build outposts on Google+, eager to benefit from its integration with Google’s popular Internet search service. Some corporations have even used its online video feature for splashy product launches.

But the flurry of commercial activity common on other social networks – from restaurant promotions to movie trailers – is harder to spot on Google+, raising questions about its ability to rival Facebook or Twitter as a thriving online community.

Google does not provide detailed information on user activity. But the level of consumer engagement on other social services, such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, is “orders of magnitude higher” than on Google+, Gilboa says.

Still, he noted that a key benefit of Google+ for Warby Parker is the way it adds social capabilities to other Google services, such as YouTube videos his company produces.

An informal survey by Reuters showed that of the 100 most valuable global brands in 2012 ranked by Millward Brown, a media research firm owned by ad giant WPP, 72 have a presence on Google+, compared with 87 on Facebook.

However, roughly 40 percent of the brands with pages on Google+ have either never posted any content, or do so infrequently. Seventeen brands, including Nike and Pepsi, had not posted to their Google+ page in more than a week.

The McDonald’s Google+ page did not have a single posting. A spokeswoman for the fast-food chain said only that the company was “not active” on Google+.

“In my personal network, I have very few people who are actively using Google+,” said Dan Nguyen-Tan, vice president of sales and marketing for San Francisco-based bicycle company Public Bikes, which does regular promotions on Facebook but has not created a Google+ page. “That could be a reason why I haven’t thought about it as an effective tool.”

CREATIVE CONSTRAINTS

Some also complain that Google+ is too restrictive a canvas.

Its profile pages are more limited than on Facebook or Twitter because they don’t support iFrame, a Web standard that allows multiple Web pages to be embedded within a main page.

“I don’t think that Google+ has enough creative options for brands to be able to marshal a lot of resources and activity around it,” said Vince Broady, the Chief Executive of Thismoment, which develops social marketing campaigns and Web pages for brands such as Coca Cola and Intel.

Gretchen Howard, Google’s director of global social solutions, said the company was working its way down a “wish list” of features that businesses have been asking for.

Over the past year, it has rolled out a tool that allows software developers to connect with a brand’s page, though that has so far been offered only to a limited group of partners.

That’s not to say Google+ hasn’t had its share of success stories.

Howard points to examples such as automaker Fiat’s launch of its new Panda car using “Hangout” video conferencing, and the 40,000-member baking community page created by chocolate company Cadbury. According to Google, more than 100 brands on its social network have amassed more than 1 million followers.

And Google’s search engine, the most popular in the world, is a big draw. Businesses who have registered with Google+ often get extra visibility in search results, with a portion of the results page displaying information from their Google+ profile.

Search ads that incorporate Google+ information – such as the number of users who follow a brand – have a 5 to 10 percent better click-through rate than regular search ads, said Howard.

“Right now, the value isn’t in the network itself, it’s in what it can do for the search results,” said Greg Finn, director of marketing at search engine optimization firm Cypress North.

Google has never articulated how, or even if, it intends to make money off its social network. But analysts say the goal is to prevent migration of Internet users to Facebook and other social networks, while improving its core search advertising business and possibly providing a new source of income.

While Google+ does not feature any ads now, Pivotal Research Group analyst Brian Wieser said attracting major brands could be the first step to an important, high-margin revenue source.

New ad space inside Google-owned websites is particularly valuable because it doesn’t need to share revenue, as Google must do when its network places ads on other websites.

“If you’re Google, you really want to have more owned and operated properties,” said Wieser. “That’s a wonderful, high-margin piece of inventory.”

Google+ is a means to that end, he said.

(Reporting By Alexei Oreskovic; Editing by Martin Howell and Gunna Dickson)

(VIA. Reuters)

Vin Diesel- Facebook 'Owes Me Billions Of Dollars'   Read more- http-::www.businessinsider.com:vin-diesel-says-facebook-owes-him-money-2013-5#ixzz2T7GRwvzB

Vin Diesel: Facebook ‘Owes Me Billions Of Dollars’


Vin Diesel- Facebook 'Owes Me Billions Of Dollars'   Read more- http-::www.businessinsider.com:vin-diesel-says-facebook-owes-him-money-2013-5#ixzz2T7GRwvzB

With 41 million likes on Facebook, “Fast & Furious 6″ star Vin Diesel is one of the most popular celebrities on the social networking site.
But how did the action star create such a successful online persona? He got in the game early.

“What Facebook didn’t realize is something very big was about to happen, and that was — for the first time in history, and it’s kind of a fluke they didn’t see this coming — when I jumped on that page in April 2009, I started talking to people. In the realest ways,” Diesel tells Entertainment Weekly in a new interview.

“So, when I had started my page, the only person that had a million fans was Barack Obama. Because it was first-quarter 2009, and he’d just got elected as President, because of social media,” Diesel explains. “So, when I started talking to the fans, I became the No. 1 page in the world. Over Coca-Cola, over huge companies. And it was only because I said: ‘Hi, guys, I love you.’”

The 45-year-old actor continues, “Imagine if you could’ve been a Facebook friend to Marlon Brando, or whoever your role models are. Imagine, if you were able to Facebook Elvis, and talk to him, and hear from him without the Hollywood of it all. That was the ‘Fast & Furious’ experience.”
“I think Hollywood, and the choices Hollywood has made, would’ve been radically different if Clark Gable had 40 million people on his Facebook page,” Diesel added.

At one point, Diesel was the number one fan page in the world — and even Facebook corporate didn’t understand why.

Diesel says the Facebook team asked him “to come up to their office to explain what the f— I was doing, and why I had so many fans.”

“Facebook really owes me billions of dollars,” he jokes. “But whatever.”

(VIA. Business Insider)

Google's zany hardware projects may not be zany in year

Google’s zany hardware projects may not be zany in year


Google's zany hardware projects may not be zany in year

SAN FRANCISCO — Halfway through Google’s quarterly conference call in late April, CEO Larry Page sounded a bit exasperated after a stock analyst asked him how much the company planned to invest in some of its more-speculative ideas.

“I feel that when I say anything, I always get asked that question,” Page answered, just after he’d spent several minutes talking enthusiastically about self-driving cars, Google glasses and other projects that as yet contribute nothing to the company’s bottom line.

Wall Street concerns over such spending are understandable after Google reported that Motorola Mobility, the phone maker acquired by the search giant one year ago for $12.5 billion, had an operating margin of -18% in the first quarter. And that figure excluded stock compensation charges.

In fact, Motorola’s results, charges related to its acquisition, and Page’s rapid pace of investment all helped to push down Google’s overall operating margin significantly during the quarter, to 25% of revenue from 32% a year ago, when all expenses are included.

It’s enough to make an investor wonder why Google — whose $50 billion in revenue and eye-popping $32 a share in net income last year were due wholly to its online ad business — would want to be in any hardware business at all.

Yet as the company gets set to host its annual development conference this week, the thousands of eager software developers who will gather in San Francisco for Google I/O offer proof that what seems zany one year can become a highly profitable business just a few years later.

That’s because every good piece of software needs a hardware platform to run on, and Google is continually pushing for a world where online advertisers can find consumers no matter where or how they access the Internet.

Google’s ability to maintain its sales and profit growth as the online world goes mobile is proof of the success of what it calls its “multiscreen” strategy.

When Google acquired a small company called Android in 2005, few outside of Silicon Valley even knew what a smartphone operating system was.

Eight years later, Google’s mobile OS is the most popular around the globe, and millions of consumers have smartphones optimized to show Google ads.

As Page said on the conference call three weeks ago, in explaining Google’s investments in speculative projects, “there’s not much competition, because no one else is crazy enough to try.”

This year, the newest and most speculative hardware platform at Google’s I/O conference will be a computer for your face, which the company calls Google Glass.

Page couldn’t hide his excitement when he talked about the project on the April call.

“I get chills when I use a product that is the future, and that happens when I use Glass,” he said then.

Within months of its public debut, the Internet-ready, half-pair of glasses that makes a wearer look like a Borg character extra in a Star Trek movie already has inspired strong reactions — both pro and con.

In early April, two of Silicon Valley’s most prominent venture capital firms agreed to share with Google’s own venture unit all funding proposals from startups that use Google Glass in their business plan.

(While the partnership, called the Glass Collective, garnered headlines, it also raised the question of why entrepreneurs would want to let three different VC partnerships compare notes on their startups, rather than force the firms to compete for an equity stake, as is common practice among VCs.)

On the downside for Google Glass, one Seattle bar made a bold statement — and acquired a lot of publicity — when it banned the device over concerns for the privacy of its patrons.

Raising privacy concerns is nothing new for Google, of course, something understood by those who had their home wireless networks invaded without their knowledge by Google’s Street View project in 2010.

The company has paid fines both in Europe and the U.S. over Street View, but the fine amounts were mere rounding errors for Google, which is still making money hand-over-fist selling ads alongside Street View results — and all of its other services.

While Google’s strange glasses are creating a lot of buzz, it’s another new product, called Google Now, which may prompt developers who attend this year’s I/O show to write apps that will help boost Google’s bottom line sooner, rather than later.

As a voice-based digital assistant that’s a rival to Apple’s Siri, Google Now is an advance in a technology that’s at the heart of Google’s success: Internet search.

Now that the company has released tools for developers of its Chrome mobile Web browser that take advantage of voice capabilities, Page says “we’ll be amazed” in the future to find that Internet computing once required cumbersome human actions such as typing on a keyboard or clicking a mouse.

Then again, we may all someday marvel that anyone ever had a problem with the Borg.

(VIA. USATODAY)