Facebook Messenger Will Roll Out Voice-to-Text Capabilities

Facebook will continue to improve its Messenger app this year. The standalone app already has more than 500 million monthly users, but the company is hoping to get to a billion users by the end of the year. One attractive new feature will be the voice-to-text transcription. A release date has yet to be announced, but the company is already testing it. Also, Facebook will experiment with ways to generate revenue and give people a way to communicate with businesses on the Messenger app. Continue reading Facebook Messenger Will Roll Out Voice-to-Text Capabilities

Economists Question Claims of Facebook Global Impact Study

A study commissioned by Facebook found that the social network currently accounts for $227 billion in global economic impact and has helped create 4.5 million jobs. The company claims that its social network drives smartphone purchases and creates job in both tech and non-tech industries. However, independent economists believe those numbers may be overstated because Facebook and Deloitte, the company that prepared the report, may have used incorrect assumptions. Continue reading Economists Question Claims of Facebook Global Impact Study

Facebook Aims to Make Social Media a Tool for the Workplace

Facebook is launching a new service designed to be appropriate for the workplace called Facebook at Work. The service is almost identical to the regular social network, except for a white color scheme that replaces the iconic blue layout. The difference in colors is to help employer’s distinguish when someone is using a work account as opposed to a personal one. Facebook at Work will allow users to connect with colleagues to become more efficient around the office. Continue reading Facebook Aims to Make Social Media a Tool for the Workplace

Advertisers Opting for Pinterest Influencers Over Pinterest Ads

With nearly 70 million visitors per month, Pinterest is becoming a popular destination for advertisers to reach new audiences, except not in the way that Pinterest intended. Instead of advertising directly through Pinterest via “Promoted Pins,” advertisers have found success in partnering with an array of “Pinfluencers,” individuals that have accrued millions of followers. Advertisers see the influence these individuals have over followers, and are discovering new ways to leverage them as effective marketing tools.  Continue reading Advertisers Opting for Pinterest Influencers Over Pinterest Ads

Samsung Launches New Phone Powered by Android Rival Tizen

Following earlier setbacks, Samsung has launched its Tizen mobile operating system in New Delhi, India with the entry-level Samsung Z1, priced less than $100. Tizen joins the likes of Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS systems that collectively hold over 95 percent of the market. Samsung is initially focusing on India’s population of mobile phone users since many of them still own basic phones. Samsung hopes to build from the market in India, gain momentum and incentivize app developers to build for Tizen. Continue reading Samsung Launches New Phone Powered by Android Rival Tizen

Apps for Apple Watch Have the Potential to Break New Ground

With the Apple Watch expected to debut as early as March, anticipation has been building in regards to the many exciting apps that will undoubtedly be designed to work with the new device. The tech behind the watch allows users to access information — photos, emails, text messages and Web-based content — with a simple glance, similar to our interaction with phones, only much more efficient. Apple released its SDK in November, and hundreds of companies are working to have apps ready for the product’s launch. Continue reading Apps for Apple Watch Have the Potential to Break New Ground

Pew Research Study Says U.S. Adults Using More Social Media

According to a new Pew Research study, American adults are increasing their use of traditional social networks, while teens are spending more time with messaging services such as Snapchat. Facebook use has leveled off, but Pew points to increases in the use of Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Twitter. Pew found that adult Facebook users log in at least once per day, while almost half of Instagram users visit daily, and 36 percent of Twitter users visit daily (a drop from 46 percent in 2013, which Twitter refutes). Continue reading Pew Research Study Says U.S. Adults Using More Social Media

IK Multimedia Showcases iRig Mic Field for Audio and Video

IK Multimedia is shipping its $100 iRig Mic Field — a tiny stereo condenser field microphone that faces two ways. The company says it is the first such ultra-compact solution for field recording on the iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. The iRig Mic Field is an easy way to record high quality interviews or video. It features a rotatable enclosure that works in landscape or portrait mode, especially useful for video with Lightning connector equipped devices. Additionally, the iRig Recorder app is available on the iTunes Store. Continue reading IK Multimedia Showcases iRig Mic Field for Audio and Video

ARKAMYS Demonstrates 360-Degree Audio-Visual Experience

With the rise of new headsets promising unique augmented and virtual reality experiences, many are anxiously awaiting the first killer product, while others are wondering how we will produce the compelling content — movies, games and other experiences — that will make the technology worthwhile to the public. ARKAMYS is a company that specializes in automotive audio, but at CES this year it is demonstrating how its tech can be used to create a 360-degree experience in which the user steps inside another’s perspective. Continue reading ARKAMYS Demonstrates 360-Degree Audio-Visual Experience

Social: Facebook Acquires Startup with Siri-Like Technology

Facebook has reportedly acquired Wit.ai, a Palo Alto-based startup with an API that allows developers to make use of voice recognition and natural language processing technology for their products. Although Facebook has not yet disclosed any details about Wit moving forward, it seems that the social network’s instant messaging app Messenger will likely be a part of the plan. The voice recognition technology that Wit provides Facebook is in line with that of Apple’s Siri. Continue reading Social: Facebook Acquires Startup with Siri-Like Technology

Shoppable Selfies: Earn Cash and Rewards with Your Images

A new iOS shopping app and social network offers a compelling way to make money from selfies. Stylinity encourages its users to record “Shoppable Selfies,” tag the fashionable items featured in the image — such as clothing, beauty products, and furniture, and then upload it to a marketplace where others can browse and make purchases. When shoppers purchase a brand’s product from one of your selfies, you earn points redeemable for cash, clothing, “exclusive experiences,” or “fun products.” Continue reading Shoppable Selfies: Earn Cash and Rewards with Your Images

Survey Shows Teens Continuing to Lose Interest in Facebook

A new report from Frank N. Magid Associates indicates that Facebook’s popularity with teenagers is continuing its decline. According to the study, Facebook usage by 13- to 17-year-old Americans engaged in social media dropped from 95 percent in 2012 to 94 percent in 2013, and 88 percent this year. During the same time frame, Twitter and various messaging apps experienced an increase in popularity with teenagers. In addition, only 9 percent of respondents described Facebook as “safe” or “trustworthy.” Continue reading Survey Shows Teens Continuing to Lose Interest in Facebook

The Instagram Rapture: Millions of Fake Accounts are Purged

Instagram, the photo- and video- sharing service owned by Facebook, is deleting all the accounts it has identified as “spammy.” As a result, more than 29 percent of Instagram’s own followers disappeared last week. According to software developer Zach Allia, stars such as Justin Bieber and Kim Kardashian also lost millions of followers. The purge was intended to combat fake accounts, a problem that leads to hijacked hashtags, artificially inflated follower counts, and increased advertising costs. Continue reading The Instagram Rapture: Millions of Fake Accounts are Purged

Virtual and Augmented Reality to Have Major Presence at CES

Virtual and augmented reality tools have been around for at least 40 years. In 2014 the next generation of VR and AR hardware was being energetically developed, beta tested, and discussed by the niche VR community. It was also used to create small-scale experiences as part of the marketing campaigns for other entertainment assets. Expect 2015 to be the year when hardware, software, and content companies work towards consumer adoption of VR and AR resources and experiences. Continue reading Virtual and Augmented Reality to Have Major Presence at CES

Oculus Acquires Nimble VR for its Hand-Tracking Technology

Oculus, the virtual reality company picked up by Facebook in March, has acquired two startups that may bring hand-tracking and better mapping of 3D interiors to the Oculus Rift headset. Nimble VR (formerly 3Gear Systems) is the startup behind Nimble Sense, a camera that connects to the headset and uses Kinect-like technology to track a user’s hands and sync movements to the user’s VR experience. Oculus also bought 13th Lab, a computer vision and augmented reality firm focused on 3D reconstruction. Continue reading Oculus Acquires Nimble VR for its Hand-Tracking Technology

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