Yelp Updates Its App With Several Customization Features

Yelp will now provide recommendations that are more customized, based on users’ stated preferences. Yelp head of consumer product Akhil Ramesh noted that it’s the first time that, “two people with the same context searching for the same thing are going to see completely different results.” The Yelp app will now profile each user’s likes and dislikes to enable this to happen. A user, for example, will have the chance to choose dietary restrictions and preferences as well as list hobbies, pets, children and so on. Continue reading Yelp Updates Its App With Several Customization Features

Samsung’s Next Frame TV Improves Smart Controls, HDR

Samsung announced that its next-gen Frame TV — which doubles as a rotating art display — features an updated artwork UI, expanded art library and additional customization features. The 4K UHD screen has been upgraded from HDR Pro to HDR10+ — and now comes with Bixby so that users can control the TV and compatible home devices by voice. The unit also touts new smart capabilities that make it easier to transfer Wi-Fi and Samsung account info from smartphones to the TV set via Bluetooth Low Energy. The new 55-inch Frame TV is available for $1,999, while the 65-inch version runs for $2,799. Continue reading Samsung’s Next Frame TV Improves Smart Controls, HDR

Brand Strategy for Mobile Apps Is Crucial, Tricky to Manage

Brands need an app strategy, say the experts. Shoppers, especially millennials, are increasingly purchasing goods through their smartphones. Forrester Analytics reports that smartphone purchases in 2018 will reach $118 billion, up from $13.4 billion in 2013. But to be successful with an app, the brand needs to ensure that its performance is superior, as users will quickly rid themselves of apps that are slow, push too many notifications, do not offer exclusive sales or promotions or have a confusing layout. Continue reading Brand Strategy for Mobile Apps Is Crucial, Tricky to Manage

Pandora Takes On Spotify With Debut of Personalized Playlists

Pandora believes it can out-playlist Spotify. The music streaming service has released new personalized playlist options for users, catering to moods, activities and genres. The feature is powered by Pandora’s Music Genome, an information database that “has been in development for over a decade and is capable of classifying music at the song level across 450 different attributes — ‘genes’ that can be as specific as what types of strings are on the guitar,” reports TechCrunch. Pandora’s new feature arrives on the eve of Spotify’s public debut, slated for early April (as a direct listing rather than IPO).

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Instagram Adds Events Channel to Explore Concerts, Sports

Instagram’s Explore tab for displaying personalized content has evolved from a simple algorithm to a more sophisticated discovery platform for photos and videos. Through its “Picked For You” feature, Instagram added custom channels inside Explore for more personalization. Now, the social platform is introducing a new video channel called Events that “will be personalized for each user and feature videos from concerts, sports games, and other live events depending on what’s happening around the world, what types of live events users are interested in, and what type of accounts the user follows,” reports TechCrunch. The new feature could compete with Snapchat’s Discover channels. Continue reading Instagram Adds Events Channel to Explore Concerts, Sports

Google Now Could Introduce Customization with New Feature

Google has tracked specific information since Google Alerts debuted, and several startups have tried to improve the experience. Google Now is the company’s current intelligent personal assistant, integrated into Android and search, and capable of delivering a wide range of information, from sports scores to weather. But it’s not easy to customize Google Now for individual interests; the user relies two not very intuitive or granular tools: on/off switches in the app’s setting or tapping on items to deem them not interesting. Continue reading Google Now Could Introduce Customization with New Feature

The BBC Experiments with TV Shows That Adapt to Personality

The BBC introduced “Visual Perceptive Media,” an experimental project out of its R&D unit in Salford, UK, which allows video stories to adapt in response to individuals’ personalities and tastes. The British broadcaster earlier created the audio-based Perceptive Media project; a radio drama makes adaptations based on the listener’s location, time of day and other factors such as proximity to the device and background noise. The video-based project begins with a mobile app that conducts a personalization process. Continue reading The BBC Experiments with TV Shows That Adapt to Personality

Facebook Introduces Notify, Customizable Push Notifications

Facebook just launched Notify, an iOS mobile app for push notifications of customizable news, information and entertainment. Posted directly on the lock screen, Notify lets the user choose which cities, sports teams, music genres he wants to follow, from among 70 publishers. The feed features a link to the associated site for a 24-hour period. The user can save the content to read later or share through Facebook or other social media platforms. Notify does not, however, offer real-time discussion or feature ads. Continue reading Facebook Introduces Notify, Customizable Push Notifications

Autodesk Stingray, Ideal Program for Mid-Small Sized Studios

Autodesk has launched Stingray, a game engine with design tools targeting for smaller studies that are looking for customization without the need for excessive programming. The engine is equipped with node-based scripting tools, however it also offers Stingray’s C++ source code for companies looking for more customization. Stingray provides quicker feedback, and will be bundled with Maya LT to provide artists with a modeling and animation app. It will arrive for Windows beginning mid-August for $30 a month. Continue reading Autodesk Stingray, Ideal Program for Mid-Small Sized Studios

Amazon Debuts Launchpad: New Marketing and Sales Portal

Amazon unveiled Launchpad this week, a new platform designed to help hardware and physical goods startups market and distribute their new products on Amazon’s e-commerce site. Launchpad, which currently features more than 200 items from a wide variety of startups, will compete with similar services offered by Product Hunt, Shopify and Shyp. Amazon is going big with the new platform, positioning it as a global product with access to 10 international distribution portals, and working with 25 VC firms, accelerators and crowdfunding services. Continue reading Amazon Debuts Launchpad: New Marketing and Sales Portal

Talking Smart Toys to Run on Watson Supercomputing System

Toy-making company Elemental Path unveiled the first connected smart toy to be powered by IBM’s Watson cognitive supercomputing system. A talking dinosaur is the first in the line of smart toys known as CogniToys. The dinosaur has speech recognition capabilities and it can have conversations with children, answering a wide range of their questions. Elemental Path’s Kickstarter campaign has already more than doubled its goal of raising $50,000 to start producing the smart toys. Continue reading Talking Smart Toys to Run on Watson Supercomputing System

Sprint Introduces $12 Wireless Plan for Use of Specific Apps

Sprint is in the process of introducing Virgin Mobile Custom, a cheaper wireless plan that allows users to access only specific websites. For $12, subscribers can choose between sole access to either Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest. For $22, users can have unlimited use of all four. For an extra $5, subscribers can have access to a music app with unlimited streaming. The program is expected to help customers that have less money afford wireless Internet access.

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