Reality TV has finally arrived in Silicon Valley. That’s right, Bravo TV, the cable network that brought you such great shows like Kathy, Project Runway, Shahs of Sunset, Real Housewives of [name your city], Top Model, America’s Next Top Model, and many others, is perhaps the first network to try and break through and pioneer a reality/docu-series about the tech industry right here in the San Francisco Bay Area. It’s tentatively called “Silicon Valley” and it’s being produced by the network with advised by Randi Zuckerberg, sister of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, former marketing head at the social network, and now an entrepreneur with her R to Z media company.
In typical Bravo TV fashion, “Silicon Valley” looks to be similar to their other reality shows, but the goal appears to be to cast a spotlight on the inner workings of the what life is like in the tech capital of the world. Expected to air this season, “Silicon Valley” has received some mixed reactions–in fact, it’s become quite polarizing. Mrs. Zuckerberg defends what is portrayed in “Silicon Valley” when in a statement to the local NBC affiliate here: “I’m a strong believer in innovation and entrepreneurship and hope that through this series, other people will be inspired to build the next break out companies and technologies.” The hope is sincerely there and for many people who happen to be involved in that hustle, they’re praying that the series does what they do here some justice and brings honor to their profession and their quest in trying to create something that will change the world.
Instagram just proved that it was definitely the top dog of the photo-sharing market. Announced today was a monster deal that pairs the largest photo-sharing app in the market today with the largest social network in the world. Yes, that’s right, Facebook has jumped and bought Instagram for a whopping $1 billion. Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, posted that they’re committed to building and growing Instagram independently and there’s no indication that it would act otherwise.
This acquisition totally makes sense and is probably a perfect one–as Mr. Zuckerberg mentioned in his post, the social network for years has been “focused on building the best experience for sharing photos with your friends and family” and Instagram now gives users the ability to be totally creative and help post (what some may think) better photos to the social network. After all, a photo-sharing feature currently does not exist on Facebook’s mobile app and there are some who think that their native mobile app just plain sucks. Now, Facebook owns one of the most popular apps and will be able to integrate both the team and the app right into its collective and build something great.
As you know, today is April 1 and what’s synonymous with the first of April is one of the most popular holidays for jokesters. It’s April Fool’s Day and this is when people can really become creative and come up with great gags and hoaxes that most people might normally fall for, on any normal day, that is. But since April Fool’s Day is upon us, I thought it would be interesting to cast the spotlight onto five interesting things that tech companies and publications are doing in order to try and fool everyone.
Editorial note: I’d like to apologize to the companies I’m about to promote here for dousing their ambitious attempts at trying to trick people…really, I thought about how best to do this before I penned this post. I don’t mean to ruin your joke.
Bringing faxing back
So someone decided to create a pretty lavish campaign centered around the antiquated fax machine. It’s called Down to Fax and they’ve billed themselves as being the “chatroulette for fax machines”. Yeah, so if you ever cared to try and hook up with someone, then forget using services like eHarmony or Match.com because the newest way to get someone to go out with you is through the fax machine. Someone clearly put a bunch of effort into the site because you can view “random submissions” that someone has sent in using the Down to Fax service and there’s even a Frequently Asked Question section of the website. Basically, it’s a free service, but of course local fax charges may apply. Never worry again about things getting lost in one’s spam folder or lost since they can’t get to the proverbial “Inbox Zero”. Hell, you don’t really need a fax machine–all you need is an email address and the service will send you potential matches. And as a word of caution, please don’t go out to your nearest Best Buy or Office Depot and buy yourself a fax machine.
You might think of this as the analog version of eHarmony.
Early today, Bloomberg Businessweek reported something that we probably all shouldn’t be too shocked to hear: Facebook is possibly going to dive deeper into the world of search. It was only a matter of time, quite frankly. Bloomberg Businessweek points out that never has Facebook made search a priority. In fact, the social network has placed their priority in helping to curate social data–they want you, the consumer, to share your data and content with them so that they have the human aspect of information that people would be so engrossed to learn from. Over the past seven years, Facebook and worked on organic growth of their social data without even putting as much effort into other forms of search–sure they’ve partnered with Microsoft’s Bing search engine, but it won’t give you the information that you really want to know about.
Facebook’s supposed effort to dive into the world of search could be seen as a potshot against their competitor, Google, but All Facebook believes that the effort to improve the search capability of the largest social network is indeed benevolent. Instead of the “anything you can do, I can do better” shtick, Facebook indents to help their users locate relevant content better amongst all the noise of status updates from games, apps, photos, videos, and other shared content, including from content on sites liked by other users.
Did you know that today marks around one year since the announcement was made that yet-to-be-proven startup Color declared that it had received $41 million in funding. All because they were developing a brand new (and supposedly “revolutionary”) photo-sharing application that dozens of other companies had already gone and did. The industry was rather chagrined and dismayed when they heard this, with even some publications declaring that the infamous “bubble” had returned. What made Color so fascinating for some people? It helped develop a brand new “paradigm” for photo sharing, but that you would take a photo and view the pictures that those around you would share photos. Simply put, according to GigaOm, it was more like Foursquare than existing photo-sharing services. The technology itself probably made it plum for the reputation that it was worth $41 million, but it ultimately was a bust, having hardly gained any traction.
But now, a year later, Color has undergone a bit of a pivot–moving past being an app displaying real-time’ish photos from those around you to now being an app that will enable you to basically broadcast live right from your phone, without requiring any upload time–give yourself 30 seconds and then your status update is now on the world’s largest social network. An interesting pivot, don’t you think?