Andrew Losowsky Examines Reading In Four Dimensions

  • Andrew Losowsky, books editor for The Huffington Post, has released “Reading in Four Dimensions” (available as a 99-cent Kindle Single) — a fascinating essay on the future of publishing and how the Internet has impacted the reading experience.
  • Many of us are publishing in new ways via Facebook, Twitter, blogs and more. Readers are interacting with these “works” in a kind of social reading environment, which changes the way stories are written and read.
  • Physical books will get better, but there will be fewer of them. Books do not change like Web entries that become features and can travel with you like a time machine that catalogues the thinking of that time.
  • The TechCrunch post includes a video interview with Losowsky that addresses key points from his essay, including “how print brings permanence to digital publishing, how the concept of ‘publishing’ has translated online and the value of paper books in our increasingly digital world.”

Google+ Games: Should Facebook and Apple be Nervous?

  • The introduction of games to Google+ potentially threatens both Facebook (which also has games) and Apple (which takes a 30 percent cut versus Google’s 5 percent).
  • Google+ sees games as being core to their mission: “We don’t consider ourselves experts at making compelling games, but we can bring a lot to the party,” explains Bradley Horowitz, VP of Product for Google+. “There were some internal debates about whether Google was well-suited to have games in our repertoire and what is the value of games to the users. There’s tremendous value for users. They provide a way for people to connect, discover and interact with each other… We don’t see games contrary to our mission, or a diversion. We see them as being core.”
  • If HTML5 unifies the Web and mobile, it could become possible “for software to be written once and run across multiple devices.” And if Google+ games were to run via a browser on the iPhone or iPad, this could be an additional concern for Apple.
  • What do you think? Should Facebook and Apple be nervous?

Boxee iPad App Aggregates Video Content from Social Feeds

  • Boxee launched a free iPad app this week that aggregates video content from social feeds such as Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.
  • If the user has the Boxee Media Manager client on a Mac or PC, the new app can stream video from the computer to the iPad.
  • The company also designed a bookmarklet that allows users to mark video content for later viewing.
  • “One criticism of the iPad application is that it doesn’t offer access to premium applications like Vudu, Netflix and Hulu Plus,” reports Digital Trends. “Missing premium applications is attributed to companies like Netflix preferring to keep content within its own application as well as Flash content on the Web that’s incompatible with the iPad.”

Facebook Introduces New Messaging App Dubbed Messenger

  • Facebook has announced a new iOS and Android messaging app named Messenger that will allow users to send and view messages to Facebook friends across the two most popular phone platforms.
  • The app will also include a group messaging feature that will enable users to message multiple people for a single large conversation. Additionally, Messenger will help with coordinating group events by allowing users to include their current location in messages.
  • “Now Facebook’s vision when buying app maker Beluga is becoming clear,” reports Digital Trends. “The company has taken Beluga’s group messaging app and married it with Facebook contacts and messages.”
  • Messenger joins other emerging messaging services such as Apple’s iMessage and Google’s Huddle, but Facebook has the advantage of its 750 million member user base.
  • Will Facebook’s Messenger have an impact on RIM’s BlackBerry?

Quixey Search Engine Targets Social Media Apps

  • Quixey is an app-specialized search engine funded by former Google CEO Eric Schmidt.
  • The service hopes to make it simpler for social media users (developers and consumers) to find applications and widgets for social networks.
  • Last week, Quixey got closer to that goal when it added Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Foursquare integration.
  • The engine also indexes and categorizes tools and apps based on social chatter, blog posts, reviews and other third-party descriptions of their function. The search technology bypasses the clutter by efficiently mining data and app-related keywords.
  • Quixey co-founder Tomer Kagan explains: “A lot of apps on Facebook [for example] don’t even have a description attached — just a name. From a search perspective, if all you have to work with is like three words, it’s extremely difficult.”
  • The Mountain View, CA startup has raised $400,000 in seed money from Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors.

GLMPS iPhone App Creates New Approach to Image-Sharing

  • GLMPS (pronounced “glimpse”), a new iPhone app, hopes to stand out from the growing collection of available image-sharing apps by creating a new type of media that combines stills and video.
  • Digital Trends describes the basic premise: “When you take a picture with your smartphone through the app, GLMPS captures a photo as well as a short, 5-second video clip of what took place just before the picture was taken. When viewing the GLMPS file, the video plays first, and is then shrunken down and superimposed as a thumbnail over the photo. The video then plays on repeat, much like a GIF file.”
  • All images are automatically stored to the iPhone’s camera roll. Users can then share the images through the free app, or post GLMPS files to social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.

Nielsen to Launch TV-Style Metrics for Facebook and Others

  • Online ad metrics are typically confusing to most advertisers, including those who pursue Facebook and other online ad platforms.
  • Nielsen is attempting to provide a solution to this problem by combining traditional TV data and anonymous online data.
  • According to Nielsen: “The new system will use an innovative, patent-pending process combining traditional Nielsen TV and online panel data with aggregated, anonymous demographic information from participating online data contributors. Using its unique approach, Nielsen will be able to provide reach, frequency and Gross Rating Point (GRP) measures for online advertising campaigns of nearly any size.”
  • The Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings service is currently in its testing phase with 80 brands. A public launch is expected by August 15.
  • Early partner Facebook is also working with comScore on a tool based on GRPs designed to assist advertisers. Facebook hopes both efforts will help make its ad platform more “approachable” to media buyers.

MySpace Founder Believes Google+ has Facebook on the Defensive

  • Tom Anderson, former founder and president of MySpace, details the key advantages Google+ has over Facebook in a recent guest post on TechCrunch.
  • Anderson suggests Google+ can attract game developers by taking a smaller cut, and may not need any advertising at all. “Google has plenty to gain without ever showing an ad and, put simply, Google doesn’t need the money,” writes Anderson. “Facebook’s got to know this, and it’s got to have them just a little bit concerned.”
  • Facebook is testing out a “real-time” feed, as opposed to its current default “Top News” algorithm (which Anderson has criticized). Facebook is having to deal with complaints from advertisers and app developers. “It seems that the ‘Top News’ stream is killing the virality of advertisers ‘content’ and of apps that are trying to find new users,” he adds.
  • Anderson addresses Google’s decision to block business accounts and suggests both companies have some challenging decisions to make: “How do they balance what’s best for the regular guy (you & me), advertisers (big brands), small local businesses (who can never afford the big spend), platform developers with non-competing services (games & music, which it appears FB won’t get into) and platform developers with potentially competitive services (like business networking and dating, which FB/G+ may want to get into themselves someday).”
  • “Over the long haul (5-10 years), the company that makes the right choices in these areas may just end up winning,” he concludes.

New Philips HDTVs Will Access Cloud Games and Set-Top Functions

  • Philips announced it will be including streaming set-top and gaming functions in some of its new HDTV sets.
  • The Philips 4000 and 5000 series, which use the CloudTV platform of ActiveVideo Networks, can access cloud-based games streamed as MPEG files.
  • Both lines will include Philips MediaConnect, that enables wirelessly connecting the TV and PC.
  • Other features include NetTV (offering services such as Netflix, VUDU, Facebook, Film Fresh, Pandora and Twitter), V-tuner Internet radio and built-in Wi-Fi support.
  • The 4000 series features six screen sizes, ranging from 19 to 55 inches, while the 5000 series adds another 10 screens, from 40 to 55 inches.

Facebook for Business Helps Organizations with Social Networking

  • Facebook announced the launch of “Facebook for Business” this week.
  • The service does not introduce any features new to Facebook, but is reportedly making it simpler for organizations to set up on the social networking site.
  • “Facebook allows small businesses to create rich social experiences, build lasting relationships and amplify the most powerful type of marketing — word of mouth,” a Facebook spokesperson told GigaOm. “We created Facebook.com/business to make it even easier for people to reach these objectives and grow.”
  • Facebook provides business services including user profiles for organizations, advertisements, sponsored stories, and assistance with creating Facebook apps and using social plugins.
  • The timing is interesting, since Google+ has recently been shutting down company profiles for violating user policy.

Netflix Pursues DreamWorks Animation, No Facebook Integration

  • Netflix is reportedly negotiating for exclusive streaming rights to DreamWorks Animation films.
  • The deal would replace DreamWorks’ contract with HBO (which runs through 2014).
  • DreamWorks reportedly has permission to end its HBO contract early. If it does, it could provide content to Netflix by early 2013.
  • If the deal goes through, it would mark the first time a major studio has licensed content to subscription VOD at the same time (as opposed to after) its pay TV window.
  • In related news (see LA Times link), Netflix will not be including Facebook integration anytime soon in the U.S. (although it will be integrated in Canada and Latin America). This is based on the 1988 Video Privacy Protection Act that requires peoples’ video rental information be kept private. Netflix feels that the law is ambiguous as it relates to Netflix/Facebook, but they’re not taking any chances.

Unreleased Facebook iPad App Discovered Inside iPhone App

  • Facebook’s iPad app may be closer to launch than earlier reported, since a fully operational version was recently discovered “hidden” inside the current iPhone app.
  • The iPad app reportedly has a more modern look than the “tired old” iPhone version, resembling Twitter’s iPad app. The navigational features are said to be intuitively positioned whether the device is held vertically or horizontally.
  • According to Wired writer Charlie Sorrel: “Facebook has managed to fully port the signature confusion of its website to a tablet app, a not insignificant achievement.”
  • The iPad app has also been described as “spectacular.” For those who can’t wait for the official release, the CNN post includes a link for instructions to get it running from inside the iPhone app.

Facebook Plans to Launch News Platform: Facebook Editions

  • Facebook is planning a new service called “Facebook Editions” that creates app versions of popular news outlets.
  • CNN, The Daily and the Washington Post are a few of around a dozen news outlets that have already signed on.
  • The recently released Google+, which already has 10 million users, reportedly has a similar idea in the works.
  • Both the Facebook and Google service have a potentially significant obstacle to face: paywalls (New York Times is holding back for the time being due to complications with this issue).
  • Look for Facebook Editions as a new feature of the social networker possibly by September.

Acer Announces Social Networking Hot Button for New Laptops

  • Acer has announced that the new Gateway NV and ID series laptops will provide one-touch access to social networking sites such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
  • Social networking hot keys will activate integrated widgets that enable activities such as status updates, message posting, uploading media and more.
  • However, some laptop makers — including HP and Dell — suggest that hot buttons could potentially overwhelm users, and prove to be an unnecessary feature when software could easily do the job (in some cases, such keys are even being removed from business laptops).
  • Computer users spend on average one out of every six minutes of online time on social networks, according to comScore.

Zynga Going Public: Insiders Anticipate Value at $20 Billion

  • The Zynga Game Network, maker of online video games, is expected to file for its initial public stock offering this week.
  • The company’s games, including “Cityville” and “Farmville” are immensely popular on Facebook, with 270 million active users.
  • The stock sale is expected to value the company between $15 and $20 billion, making it one of the largest technology offerings since Google’s IPO in 2004.

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