Tag Archives: social

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)

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 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.


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.


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)

Top Mobile Issues Right Now – An Overview

People everywhere are increasing the time they are spending on their mobile devices, according to Visually, Inc. We are using our phones to browse the Internet, stay on top of emails, check in on social networks, play games, read news, listen to music and much more. In fact, we are adopting new uses for our mobile devices daily. Research firm Gartner estimates that in 2013, we will use our mobile phones more than our PCs to access the Web.

In the article, “Mobile growth is about to be staggering,” Forbes notes we are consuming wireless data at spectacular rates. In 2012, smartphones made up 16 percent of wirelessly-connected devices, using 44 percent of total traffic. By 2017, Forbes estimates, smartphones will make up 27 percent of connected devices, eating up nearly 70 percent of data.

Mobile Trends

Because of this increase, businesses are striving to make their products and services more mobile-friendly. Some of the trends already being spotted include:

  • Businesses are finding news way to utilize mobility, opting for specialized apps to create more efficiencies in running the business.  
  • Hot mobile areas that are socially stylish and interactive are helping to drive up the desire for new mobile cooperation
  • More business are using mobile accessibility for payments for products like Mother’s Day flowers and services like marketing consulting.

Mobile for Email

Survey after survey has confirmed that checking e-mail has become the most common mobile activity. Experian Marketing Services notes that 23 percent of mobile users spend time checking e-mail via their phone rather than through a desktop or laptop computer. Marketers are seeing a renewed emphasis on using email to reach their target audience.

Mobile for Social

The number of apps designed for both mobile and desktop use is growing. LinkedIn’s new app helps users stay in touch with important contacts, bringing together contact information spread across a range of devices. Facebook has created a new look for mobile users, making it easier to utilize options like messaging.

The rise of content marketing is also driving more mobile adoption. Approximately 91 percent of business to business (B2B) marketers use content marketing, and 87 percent use social media to share it, notes ÜberFlip.

Mobile for Budgets

One of the great uses for smartphone apps is the ability to manage your business (or personal) finances from your hands. Budget and banking app allow you to check your debt, spending and savings. Here are a few:

Mint – Smartphone users like Mint because it connects your banking and credit card accounts, while checking real-time spending patterns. You can set up categories for different business expenses (like entertainment, auto, food, etc) and you Mint account will synch this data across all platforms. This app is a a free download in both the Apple Store and Google Play. 

Pageonce – Another popular, free mobile app is Pageonce. It can pay bills, organize your spending and track your cash. The app also services users with notifications and email reminders to avoid missing any monthly payments. Pageonce charges users to pay bills with a credit or debit card, but there is no fee for paying bills via your bank account. 

Quicken – This free app needs to be set up once you have Quicken on your corresponding desktop/laptop. When you synch the two together, you’ll have your finances at your fingertips anytime, anywhere. Quicken speeds up your online budgeting easily and dependably. 

In the end, your business will have to weigh the benefits and the disadvantages of mobilizing all aspects of your operation. But mobile development for businesses is here to stay and it may be better for your company to move sooner rather than later. Find your company’s sweet mobile spot and start your ascent. 

If You Don’t Ask, You Don’t Get

If You Don’t Ask, You Don’t Get

Walk in to any bookstore and you will likely find shelf after shelf of books geared towards career development. Self-help books, instructional guides, biographies of those who paved the way before us. But none of those books know your journey; know your skills, abilities, talents and aspirations. On top of that, the business world is changing so dramatically: roles, responsibilities, and social rules – these are very difficult things to navigate.

So if you can find somebody who knows you and your skills, and can help you discover and unleash the best of who you are during the critical moments that you face along your journey – that’s worth more than any book can provide.

Mentorship is important because, as you rise up in business, the challenges get more difficult. The impact of the decisions you make on yourself, on your family, on your company, on your employees are much greater. Navigating those choices correctly, with confidence and without arrogance, often requires you to get feedback from trusted sources and bounce ideas off of them. And you need to have that discussion with somebody whose only thought is what’s in your best interest, and knows you well enough to get the best out of you.

You can’t just wait around for someone to offer up their time to mentor you. People don’t know they should be mentoring you. They will be flattered and honored if you seek them out and let them know why you chose them. Explain to them the problem you are trying to solve, how you want to define success, and why it’s a big enough issue to matter in your life and career. Engage them on why they would add value to your professional growth and figure out the best way for them to do that with you – that’s your responsibility. You, as a mentee, need to acknowledge that, no matter where you are in your life – professionally or personally – the journey is complicated and none of us can navigate that road entirely on our own. Seek people who you trust, who you believe in, and who will have a genuine interest in the outcome of your life. Then, engage them. If you give over trust and you bury your ego – because we all have one – and acknowledge that not every decision you make or everything you do is right or great, a strong mentor can add tremendous value to your journey.

But don’t assume, in a world where people are very busy, that they are going to seek you out. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

On the flip side, a successful mentor needs to be focused on what’s best for the person they are mentoring, in their current role, at the stage they are at in their life in that moment.

Mentors must also consider the external realities of your situation. If you are running a company, or a large division within one, if you have investors, or are trying to advance within the company, they need to understand the context. That way they can understand why you are seeking what you are seeking, help you navigate, and build your confidence so you can arrive at the place you ought to be, when you ought to be there.

Ultimately, the goal of a successful mentorship match is that mentees find themselves in a position that brings the greatest amount of personal happiness and professional success. Part of that may be discovering that what you are doing may not be the right thing for you to be doing. The role of a good mentor is not to only make you great at what you are doing, but help you arrive at the thing you should be doing – where you will derive the greatest amount of value in your life.

(VIA. Daniel Rosensweig – Linkedin)

Jomi’s Smart Water Bottle Sleeve-Plus-App Wants To Track & Chart Your Liquid Intake To Make You Drink More

Jomi’s Smart Water Bottle Sleeve-Plus-App Wants To Track & Chart Your Liquid Intake To Make You Drink More

Move over HAPIfork. Estonian startup Jomi Interactive is cooking up a pair of smart devices that will remind people to drink more water. Or at least whatever liquid/poison of choice you put in your water bottle. The aim, says the startup, is to encourage healthy behaviour and counteract the mild dehydration we are all apparently afflicted with. No, not just hungover folk; everyone who fails to glug down the requisite 2.5-3 litres of water per day.

Jomi is prototyping a device — or rather two devices — that aim to fix the problem of having plentiful water on tap but never remembering to drink enough of it (perhaps the ultimate #firstworldproblem). So far, Jomi has created design prototypes and 10 milled PCBs for developers to play around with but no final product. It’s bootstrapping development but will be launching a crowdfunding campaign to fund a production run once it has finalised hardware design and testing.

The two devices it’s planning are the Jomi Band, which will be the more basic of the pair (pictured above in an early design concept render, and below right in prototype form). This will attach around a water bottle and remind the user at pre-set intervals to take a sip (presumably by flashing/beeping). The second more pro product — the Jomi Sleeve — will attach to the bottom of the bottle and, in addition to reminders, will periodically weigh the bottle, to figure out how much water is being consumed. The data will then be sent via Bluetooth to a mobile/tablet app so that pro users can geek out over graphs and charts showing their beverage consumption data (and share their relative ‘liquidity’ with friends).


What specifically does the device hardware consist of? “PCB is custom built, it features an accelerometer, MCU, LEDs, and a few other bits and pieces,” Jomi founder and CEO Andre Eistre tells TechCrunch. Although he stresses they are still at an early stage, with the hardware set to shrink — and the design to be reworked. The software will be open to other developers to hack around with it — so perhaps another app could be made to warn alcoholic beverage drinkers when they have reached a daily safe unit intake level. (Or track soft drink guzzlers’ sugar intake and chart their rising risk of Type 2 diabetes.)

“Designers (from Estonian Arts Academy) are working on the next version of the design model and the design is expected to change drastically over the next few weeks,” he says. “Right now we are focusing on hardware (revision 3) and embedded software of the device… The hardware isn’t final either — it will be a lot smaller than that. Software will be open source — we want people to have fun with the device.”

Eistre says Jomi will 3D-print new silicone molds for the first test batch — due to be handed out to a test group by the end of this month. After that it will be turning to Kickstarter to get the funding ball rolling for a first production run, as it continues product development.

The target market for the devices are 20- to 40-year-old health conscious U.S. consumers who have a penchant for gadgets — the sort of folk who likely own a Fitbit or Fuelband.

Jomi is partnering for testing the market in Europe with bottle maker KOR water, and is hoping to get similar companies in the U.S. interested. ”Our intended target market is the U.S., where we would like to secure deals with a few larger water vessel producers, like Sigg, Gobble, CleanKanteen, CamelBak, etc,” Eistre says.

It’s also making the most of Estonia’s startup-friendly environment, securing help and small bits of funding (totalling around €8,000/$10,500 to date) from a variety of domestic companies to keep development costs down.

For instance, Eistre says the hardware development costs have been completely funded by local electronic design firm Hedgehog. Other Estonian companies and organisations that have kicked in free services/grants include Trinidad Consulting, 7Blaze, Velvet Creative Alliance and — quelle surprise — local water company Tallinna Vesi.

Jomi is also down to the last eight (out of a starter pool of 100 original “best business ideas”) in Estonia’s “largest entrepreneurial competition” — Ajujaht (aka “brain hunt”) – which has a €50,000 prize for the winner.

Jomi’s water-measuring gizmos can be put into a category (connected objects/the Internet of things) that looks set to explode over the coming years, as more everyday objects are augmented with data-generating sensors, and that data is in turn funnelled into the Internet’s matrix via smartphones and home routers.

(VIA. Tech Crunch)

Pro-Chavez Venezuelans mark coup anniversary on eve of election

(Reuters) – Hugo Chavez loyalists on Saturday on the eve of a presidential vote celebrated across Venezuela a milestone in the late leader’s socialist revolution, irking the opposition that complained of a campaign tipped in favor of the government.

Members of the Venezuela's acting president and presidential candidate Maduro campaign team read newspapers outside their headquarters in Caracas

Saturday marked the 11th anniversary of Chavez’s return to power after a two-day coup tacitly backed by the United States. The event galvanized support for the former paratrooper and prompted him to push ahead with increasingly radical policies that further polarized Venezuela.

Venezuelan state television broadcast a barrage of programs glorifying Chavez that portrayed the opposition candidate in Sunday’s election, Henrique Capriles, as the political heir of a “right-wing oligarchy” that orchestrated the 2002 coup.

Pro-Chavez militias were also planning to commemorate the failed coup in a rough Caracas neighborhood, an event that was expected to double as an unofficial rally for government candidate Nicolas Maduro despite a ban on formal campaigning in the final two days before the vote.

Frustrated by what it sees as an unfair use of state funds to buoy Maduro’s candidacy, the opposition lodged a formal complaint with the electoral authority alleging that state TV channel Venezolana de Television (VTV) was violating election laws by broadcasting “biased political content.”

“It is unacceptable that an official channel breaks the rules,” Capriles’ campaign team said in a statement that called on election authorities to take immediate action against VTV.

In its complaint, the opposition also alleged that Argentine soccer great Diego Maradona had flouted Venezuelan election laws by publicly endorsing Maduro, who is favored to win on Sunday. Maradona, who is well-known for his leftist politics and was close to Chavez, flew in on Thursday to join Maduro in his final campaign rally and spent much of Friday by his side.

A representative from Venezuela’s Election Council said it had not commented on the opposition complaint.

Meanwhile, VTV broadcast live footage of Foreign Minister Elias Jaua touring an apparently abandoned construction site of an athletic complex in Miranda, the state that the sports-loving Capriles governs, warning viewers that only a Maduro victory could ensure prosperity for all Venezuelans.

“This is another white elephant,” said Jaua, who previously served as Chavez’s vice president. “Tomorrow is a historical day in which we’ll vote to strengthen democracy and our revolution.”


After formal campaigning came to a close on Thursday night, the 40-year-old Capriles relaxed the next day by playing basketball in Petare, the largest slum in Caracas. He has campaigned on an image of youth and energy, almost always sporting a Venezuela baseball cap.

The campaign to succeed Chavez, who died on March 5 after a two-year battle with cancer, has been especially acrimonious, with both sides spouting harsh language and personal insults.

At stake is control of the world’s largest oil reserves, economic aid to a host of left-leaning governments in Latin America, and the future of what Chavez called “21st century socialism,” a mix of hard-left politics, heavy government spending on the poor and state control over the economy.

The Maduro camp has relentlessly accused Capriles of being a spoiled rich kid who plans to dismantle the oil-funded social welfare programs that made Chavez a hero to the poor, a claim the opposition has repeatedly denied.

For his part, Capriles has described Maduro, a 50-year-old former bus driver, as a faint echo of Chavez and a political novice without a coherent plan to address problems such as rampant violent crime, high inflation and a slowing economy.

To be sure, both candidates have offered few specifics on policies they would adopt as president, leaving many Venezuelans to lament the lack of a serious political debate.

“We haven’t talked seriously about the grave problems in our economy. We don’t really know how we are going to solve the crime problem. We haven’t discussed the militia, education, or our crumbling infrastructure,” wrote Juan Nagel, a contributor to the Caracas Chronicles, a prominent Venezuelan political blog that backs the opposition.

Polls open on Sunday at 6 a.m. (1030 GMT) and voting will run until 6 p.m. (2230 GMT), though it could drag on later if there are still lines. Results are expected on Sunday night.

(Editing by Andrew Cawthorne and Vicki Allen)

(VIA. Reuters)

If You Are Not Moving Forward You Are Moving Backward

Detroit’s auto industry once stood for the symbol of American innovation and entrepreneurship. For thirty years from the early nineteen forties until the end of the nineteen sixties, Detroit was an outlandish city which stood for “the industrial greatness of America” as told by President Harry Truman.

But what happened to Detroit? How did the city go from prosperous beyond measure to half of its children who now live in poverty? How did the city which once rivaled such cities as Chicago and New York turn into the second most dangerous city in America?

The answer is simple. The city lost their entrepreneurial way of life and instead became a city focused on tough manual labor, long hours and competitive pricing.

Ford motor company, general motors and chrysler were three major startups, putting Detroit on the map as one of the places to live, work and prosper in America for decades; other cities, for the time being, would marvel in Detroit’s leading edge. These three companies brought innovative ideas from entrepreneurs who were posed to make a positive step toward the future of the auto industry.

However, as Detroit quickly became the fourth most populous city in America; people began to rival one another through means of extended work hours, competitive wages and were no longer focusing on the next generation of technology and innovation. The city lost their competitive edge and to the people who choose to stay, were left either jobless, homeless, or underpaid.

Detroit was once seen as the silicon valley of the world, a land of riches and prosperity, filled with possibility but became stagnant and saw themselves fall off the competitive ladder.

This is an article written by a staff member at http://www.SoshITech.com which is noted by the logo on the far left. SoshITech is dedicated to bringing readers the most intrinsic material on the web, whether it be career tips, Search Engine Optimization advice, social media news or any other topic an educated reader will be able to put to good use.