Category Archives: Social Networks

basic_glass

On April 15, Tax Day no less, you can take your spare $1500 and you too can own Google Glass.

Normally via “invite only” and slightly harder to get, the Google Glass Explorer program is being opened up to the entire United States on Tuesday. Starting at 6 am PT / 9 am ET, you can shell out $1500 to get your own. While I personally quibble with the idea of throwing down $1500 for a beta product that will be completely changed in 1-2 years based on feedback and interaction, I do see this as a step forward from Google’s perspective. After all, the more people out there (and especially outside of the Bay area) who are wearing Google Glass, the less alien it seems to everyone else. Eventually, perhaps, seeing someone wearing Glass won’t inspire either curiosity or fear and will just be accepted. But $1500 for a beta product? I’m not so sure of that.

You can sign up now to be reminded the minute the Glass program opens to the public. You must be 18, with US residency and a US shipping address. The sale is for one day only, so get them while they last. If you do decide to be a Google Glass Explorer, then follow their list of Do’s and Don’ts. You don’t want to be a Glasshole.

Twitter is getting a lot more like Facebook. In an effort to retain users who don’t necessarily know what to do with Twitter once they sign up (ie, most people) and in order to separate the signal from the noise, Twitter is rolling out a new look and feel. Initially, only new users and occasional celebrities seem to have the new format. I found it on actor Channing Tatum’s Twitter profile.

Twitter's New Look and Feel includes a large cover image

Twitter’s New Look and Feel includes a large cover image. Click to view full-size image.

Large cover image: Similar to Facebook, Twitter has gone for a simplified layout, including a white background and a large cover photo. I haven’t yet found the dimensions of this photo, but it’s pretty large.

Three column format: The flotsam and jetsam have now been separated into three columns. Your profile photo and bio are moved to the left-hand column. When scrolling up, your profile photo jumps into the always present menu bar.

Menu bar: A menu bar at the top of the stream allows you to view tweets, tweets with photo and video, followers and more.

Pinned tweets: You can now pin a tweet to the top. In this example, there is a pinned tweet from Feb 7, and the rest of the tweets are more recent. This is sort of an extension of your profile bio, in that you can share what you’re about in a single tweet.

Subpages have card formats. Click to view the full size image.

Subpages have card formats. Click to view the full size image.

Subpages: Subpages, such as Tweets with Photos and Video or Following are now displaying in a card format, which is similar in form to Pinterest. I suspect because all of this information is extremely visual, the card format is the best mode of presentation.

Popular tweets are called out. Click to view the full-size image.

Popular tweets are called out. Click to view the full-size image.

Popular Tweets: Tweets that are retweeted, replied to, favorited and just generate a lot of interaction appear in a larger font within your stream. Again, this is an effort to separate the signal from the noise. That said, I find the stupidest things I tweet often get the most interaction, for no discernible reason. We’ll see how this works out.

Again, the new format is slowly rolling out to everyone over the next few weeks. If you haven’t had a Twitter account before, this is the time to grab it with the new format immediately. The rest of us just have to wait.

Cheers!

netneutistockfeature1-e1293050143472While trying to feverishly watch season 2 of House of Cards, I’ve noticed a few spinning rainbows via my AppleTV. What’s up? I tend to blame my Internet connection, but in reality it seems like there’s some nefarious “auto slowdown” occurring. It seems like Netflix is having a conflict with Verizon and other broadband providers over how much content should be carried without additional fees. Netflix complains that they’ve encountered a 14% slowdown in average speeds. The Wall Street Journal is reporting on the conflict between the two titans, but they’re telling us that Google, Microsoft, and Facebook, have already begun paying broadband providers for smoother access to their networks, which leaves Netflix kind of flapping in the wind complaining about tiered access.

The war around the idea of “net neutrality” is heating up as consumers move away from traditional TV and focus more on “binge watching” and a la carte watching via Netflix, Hulu, Google Play, iTunes and other streaming and/or subscription services. Just last month, a court ruled in favor of Verizon’s suit to block the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality rules, which has spurred chaos among the providers and content creators as more people consume more high-definition video. To add fire to the furnace, Netflix is more than likely very interested in the upcoming federal review of Comcast’s acquisition of Time Warner Cable, and may push for new requirements on traffic-swapping deals. As we move forward into the unknown waters of “tiered Internet access” it’s going to be more and more about who pays what: the content creators and/or their customers.

Unhappy with your Lookback video? Too many photos of your ex? Of other people’s exes? Now you can edit your video … sort of.

A_Look_Back-5

It’s a start at least. Facebook lets you choose from a pre-selected group of photos and status updates for each section of the video. I still didn’t get the photos I really wanted in there, but I got rid of the ones I didn’t want. That’s good enough.

To edit your movie:

  •    Go to Facebook.com/Lookback.
  •    Click Edit in the top right.
  •    Scroll down and select from the pre-selected items. I didn’t realize that you can pick from more than one page of items at first, but it’s still pretty restrained.
  •    When you’re done, you can view your video.
  •    Click Update. Your video will update, and you can update your status with it.

The catch? It updates the original post you made with your video and does not make a new one.

For a laugh, you can also view what a Facebook movie would look like if it told the real truth.

Screen Shot 2014-02-03 at 9.44.25 AMFor years, I’ve moved between Android and iOS, usually changing operating systems when a new phone grabs my attention. It’s a constant “push and pull” problem: the combination of a phone’s unique features, the operating system, and my desire to have a “perfect mobile experience”. Rarely is that experience as perfect as I want it to be. As an iPhone loyalist, I judge everything against the experience I have with iOS, Apple’s hardware, and the overall platform’s ecosystem. As iPhone has seemingly “shrunk” in form factor, staying at an untenable 4″ screen size in light of other manufacturers’ growing screens, I’ve gravitated toward the larger-screen phones, most recently, the Nexus 5. The Nexus 5, for once, is the perfect phone for me. It’s size and form factor seem the perfect size for my palm, my pants, and my weary eyes. KitKat is the best version of Android to date and, simply put, I’ve never been so satisfied with a smartphone. I’ve kinda cast away the thoughts of going back to iPhone. Yes, there are the nagging rumors of the coming iPhone 6 with a larger screen, but KitKat has a hold on me unlike any that iOS has ever had.

However, Apple’s advantage is their App Store. And, with Facebook’s iPhone-only new app, Paper, being released today, I’ve begun to wonder: can one app make me go back? I hate the feeling of being left out: when an app is only available on “another” platform, I get frustrated. Facebook turns 10 years old today, and there’s new research that shows its users have evolved their expectations of what the Facebook experience means for them. In light of this, Facebook’s Paper app is an attempt to evolve how Facebook interacts with its users and how it expects to provide new types of interaction between you and your Facebook friends. Paper reformats the typical Facebook experience with a more visually stunning approach (similar to what Google Plus did with their app), and turns your Facebook feed into a “Flipboard-like” magazine experience. Development of the app was led by a team that Facebook acquired from Apple in 2011, and represents Facebook’s obvious prioritization of rich visual design. The obvious plus to Paper is it gives you a platform-specific experience optimized for what that platform can best provide. In this sense, it may mean more fragmentation in apps if Facebook determines to release platform-optimized Facebook experiences across the board. However, it also means that Facebook evolves from being a fast-food experience (dumbed down UIs to provide a similar experience across all devices), to a more holistic and optimal experience based on whatever platform you’re on. The Paper app could signal a new frontier in designing and developing app experiences that mold more to its user’s context, and is a step-forward to a more humanistic experience. This means our platform decisions may no longer be made based on just price, carrier subsidies, form factors, and operating systems. We may begin making decisions based on all these plus the type of app experience we prefer based on how we use our phones.

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