Netflix Tests Instagram Stories-Like Feature in its Mobile App

Netflix is currently testing a new feature in its mobile app that helps users stay connected with shows via trailers, alerts, videos and photos. Those who are in the test group will see an “Extras” tab positioned between Search and Downloads at the bottom of the screen. Rather than the vertical scroll of the current Coming Soon section, users navigate through the Extras feed horizontally, similar to the Instagram Stories model. Videos will play automatically, but require pressing a button to activate sound. Netflix has confirmed testing the new feature, but not whether it will become a permanent addition. Continue reading Netflix Tests Instagram Stories-Like Feature in its Mobile App

Google Redesigns its Wear OS, Streamlines the Smart Watch

Google is readying the release of its new, third version of Wear OS, which has been updated to be a speedy, inconspicuous platform rather than “Android on a smart watch.” It doesn’t feature any obvious improvements to battery life, but that’s an overall problem in the industry, not a Google shortcoming. According to Wear OS director of product Dennis Troper, users who are connected all the time will be able to be more present in the real world, similar to the goals of the company’s Digital Wellbeing initiative. Continue reading Google Redesigns its Wear OS, Streamlines the Smart Watch

New Tools Help Users Limit Time on Facebook and Instagram

Facebook will soon unveil new tools that tell the user how much time he’s spending on its site and Instagram, part of chief executive Mark Zuckerberg’s 2018 vow to “fix” the platform’s problems. In addition to protecting the community from hate speech and abuse, Zuckerberg mentioned, “making sure that time spent on Facebook is time well spent.” According to Facebook, the company did its own extensive research and got feedback from users in addition to relying on “leading mental health experts and organizations, academics.” Continue reading New Tools Help Users Limit Time on Facebook and Instagram

Apple Watch Not Perfect, But Some Say Best New Smartwatch

With the Apple Watch release date only weeks away, the reviews for the new wearable continue to roll in. The Watch, Apple’s first new product in nearly five years, is already being coined by many as the best smartwatch on the market. While reviews have been largely positive, there also seems to be a steep learning curve. Some early testers have said it takes time to get familiar with all of the Watch’s functions and features, but that eventually it becomes as simple to use as any of Apple’s other devices.  Continue reading Apple Watch Not Perfect, But Some Say Best New Smartwatch

Aftershokz Headphones: Stay Connected Through Your Bones

Aftershokz showed its newest version of direct bone conducting Bluetooth headphones at the 2015 International CES this week. When maintaining situational awareness is necessary, these devices allow natural sounds to travel unimpeded through your ear drums and use the alternative path of passing tiny vibrations through your cheek bones physically to your inner ear. One touch access to calling on any attached smartphone is possible along with equalization presets to maximize them to your preferences. Continue reading Aftershokz Headphones: Stay Connected Through Your Bones

Songkick Service Now Sells Concert Tickets to Fans Directly

Concert discovery service Songkick will now sell concert tickets directly to music fans. The London-based startup — which, over the course of seven years has gained 10 million active users — will now potentially earn 20 times as much revenue. While the service previously referred users to other sellers, clicking away to another service to purchase was a nuisance and could be impacted by conversion rates. Now, by adding payment information, users can purchase tickets without leaving the site.  Continue reading Songkick Service Now Sells Concert Tickets to Fans Directly

Guggenheim Museum Testing Beacon Technology for Exhibits

The Guggenheim Museum, a premier art museum in New York City, is making its exhibits more interactive by integrating beacon technology. The beacons are small, box-like sensors that use Bluetooth technology to detect when a smartphone is in proximity. The museum will use its 20 to 30 beacons to track traffic flow through the building. In the future, the beacons may transmit informational alerts to visitors’ phones as they approach a painting or sculpture. Continue reading Guggenheim Museum Testing Beacon Technology for Exhibits

New Software Can Detect Breaking News Leads on Social Media

Dataminr is a software tool that can find patterns in the millions of tweets posted every day to help news organizations spot leads for breaking news. CNN, BBC, and Gannett had already been testing Dataminr before the software was officially released on Tuesday. The new “Dataminr for News” includes a new mobile app, which will send alerts to notify journalists of developing stories. Dataminr is one of several technologies that media companies are using to mine social media. Continue reading New Software Can Detect Breaking News Leads on Social Media

Apple to Add Security Alerts Following Celebrity Photo Leaks

Apple CEO Tim Cook confirmed that the hackers responsible for recently leaking nude photos of celebrities were able to break into the celebrities’ iCloud accounts. The company plans to add additional security alerts to help prevent future security breaches. In the next two weeks, Apple users will start receiving notifications when someone tries to change an account password, restore iCloud data to a new device, or when a new device logs onto the account for the first time. Continue reading Apple to Add Security Alerts Following Celebrity Photo Leaks

Beacon Market Projected to Reach 60 Million Devices by 2019

Beacons, hardware devices that can be detected by mobile apps, have seen interest from fields other than just retail. According to a new report from ABI Research, retail is one of the smallest markets for iBeacon and Bluetooth Low Energy-powered devices. While stores can better communicate with customers via apps — through special offers, alerts and ads — even more interest has developed in asset tracking, personal location, and connected home markets. Continue reading Beacon Market Projected to Reach 60 Million Devices by 2019

Android Wear Is Promising Software for the Future of Watches

The first Android Wear smartwatches will enter the market next week. The Samsung Gear Live and the LG G Watch will both run Google’s Android Wear operating system, which requires an Android smartphone with the companion app to work. Users with an Android Wear smartwatch can check their smartphone’s notifications from a quick look at their wrist. The most notable feature of the new software is Google Now, an online personal assistant. Continue reading Android Wear Is Promising Software for the Future of Watches

Connected Home: Google’s Nest Agrees to Acquire Dropcam

As part of its push to become the dominant OS for connected devices in and around the home, Google’s Nest Labs will purchase Dropcam for $555 million. Dropcam’s Web-connected video-monitoring service streams live to mobile apps and sends alerts based on activity in the home. Google acquired Nest, founded by Apple designers Matt Rogers and Tony Fadell, earlier this year for $3.2 billion. The acquisition of Dropcam is expected to generate privacy concerns. Continue reading Connected Home: Google’s Nest Agrees to Acquire Dropcam

Macy’s is First Major Retailer to Use Apple’s iBeacon Tech

When Apple released iOS 7 in June, the company incorporated a proximity-based service called iBeacon that is now being used in retail stores. Mobile retail app developer Shopkick recently announced a service called ShopBeacon that uses iBeacon technology to track customers when they enter and move around the store, and allows the business itself to interact with the customers as they shop. ShopBeacon’s first official trial partner is Macy’s. Continue reading Macy’s is First Major Retailer to Use Apple’s iBeacon Tech