Facebook Messenger for iOS Gets Groups and Forwarding

Facebook has upgraded its Messenger for iOS to version 4.0, bringing several important features, most notably the ability to create groups and message forwarding.

The groups feature is simple: you can create groups, add people to them, name them and set group photos.

Message forwarding lets you send a message or a photo to someone who isn’t in the conversation — just tap to forward it.

Other improvements include the regular stability and speed upgrades.

Source : Mashable

Posted in Mobile

Facebook Paper: The Inside Story Is Not What You’d Expect

For starters, the standalone app took the company nearly 30 months to build — a lifetime by Facebook’s “move fast and break things” standard. When Paper was finally unveiled, many users were pleasantly surprised by the app’s design, which is image-heavy and — with the exception of a few buttons in the upper righthand corner — looks next to nothing like the Facebook app with which we’ve grown familiar.

While not unexpected, the app was still uncommon. Facebook has built five other standalone apps over its 10-year-existence, including the traditional Facebook app. That group includes one app you’ve probably never heard of (Facebook Pages Manager is just for Page admins), and another Facebook hopes you never will (Poke, a Snapchat look-a-like intended for the general public, hasn’t been updated since its release in December 2012).

Which brings us to Paper, an iOS app with a restructured news feed and multiple reading sections intended to surface new content on Facebook. Though it seemed like a hit at first, Paper has since dropped on the App Store charts. Users are still trying to figure out exactly where Paper fits in with their social media use, if at all. By making Paper a standalone app, Facebook is betting that users will find it useful despite similar competitor apps already available.

But Facebook sees the app differently than most of us do. It’s not supposed to be a newspaper — it’s supposed to be the printing press.

The real purpose of Paper is not about news

Paper has been widely labeled a news reader by the media, but that’s not actually how Facebook intended it.

On Paper, users can flip between sections they choose to follow, like tech or sports or food; the app surfaces relevant articles from Facebook. One of these sections is the news feed, and users can post to their Facebook profile from within the app.

The sections are what drew comparisons to other news readers like Flipboard and LinkedIn’s Pulse — but it was the publishing aspect that the Paper team intended to build out, says Paper Product Manager Michael Reckhow. Paper wasn’t just built for consuming; it was built to offer users better tools for sharing and creating their own content.

In fact, the developers didn’t even begin creating the sections within the app until late 2013, nearly two years after the idea for Paper took shape.

The “news reader” label surprised the Paper team — but it wasn’t a disappointment, says Reckhow. The group succeeded in creating something unexpected. “I think it’s a sign that we’re doing something different and new that people try to map it onto something that exists,” says Reckhow, who joined the Paper team as product manager in late 2012. Read More…

Source : Mashable

Posted in Mobile

Ethics in the Design Field

Every profession has its own set of ethical guidelines most of its members adhere to.

And while the design industry’s code of ethics might not be as crucial as, say, the medical industry, there are still some important ethical considerations every design professional should think about.

Here are some of the most prominent ethical considerations designers deal with, mostly specific to the design industry and similar creative professions.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on them, and what other ethical dilemmas you feel designers face on a regular basis in the comments!

 Spec Work

The ethics of doing spec work have gotten a ton of attention in the past couple of years in the design world. Designers have mostly come down firmly on the side of not doing spec work. And for good reason. There are a number of disadvantages to doing work for spec, and it’s not just bad news for the designer. Clients can suffer from spec work, too.

First, lets look at the arguments for doing spec work. There are a few, and on a purely superficial level, they seem like good ideas. New designers will often be willing to work on spec to build their portfolios. Sometimes they can pick up more prominent clients by promising the client that they’ll only pay if they like the design, or by entering design competitions for bigger companies or organizations.

Companies requesting spec work often feel like they’ll get better designs, since they’ll have a variety of designs to choose from. They feel that by making it a competition, they’ll somehow get better work.

Source : Web Designer Depot

Posted in Web Design

What Is Oculus Rift — and Why Should You Care?

I visited a stunning Tuscan estate today occupied by a brick building that looked like it had been there for centuries. I climbed through one of its many windows and stood near a running fountain. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and I was delighted to hear birds chirping as they flew by me.

This all happened as I sat at a desk in my office in New York City, while I played with the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. Its parent company, Oculus VR, was just acquired by Facebook for $2 billion.

The headset displays a fully immersive 3D experience that makes you feel like you are actually in the game. By moving your head from side to side, and depending on the game’s premise, you can see inside an airplane’s cockpit while you’re flying or dodge bullets during a battle scene.

Amid projections that the headset will truly change the way we play video games, some say the deal was a steal and huge win for Facebook, especially after shelling out $16 billion for WhatsApp just a few weeks earlier. But others are unsure of the purpose of Oculus and why there’s so much fuss surrounding it.

The device, which has roots on Kickstarter, is not yet on the market, but the surrounding hype has been unprecedented. Oculus VR put the product on Kickstarter about a year and a half ago — and on Tuesday, turned its a pipe dream of becoming a real product into a $2 billion acquisition offer. It’s a three-way win — for Oculus, Kickstarter and Facebook — and could also revolutionize the way people interact with others online.

While other virtual reality headsets already exist on the market, many have extremely high price points or are reserved for specific communities like the military. Pricing for the Oculus Rift has not yet been announced, but it will be competitively priced to fuel consumer interest and adoption.

Developers can currently purchase the Oculus Rift and the developer kit for $350, so they can build software and games that will work with the device.

Beyond gaming

The Oculus Rift’s main sights are set on video games, but it also plans to impact the way we consumer all media, including movies. Just consider watching Avataras though you’re running through the rainforest and dodging explosions.

Video tech startup Condition One is currently working on a documentary calledZero Point about virtual reality headsets made specifically for the Oculus Rift. Although the production was announced last year, the company recently released its first interactive trailer, which gives a fascinating taste of what we might see.

The Oculus Rift supports 3D movies and a 360-degree viewing experience —Zero Point will take advantage of both — but the trailer is limited to 180-degree angles for now. The two-minute clip, above, lets you move your mouse in different directions to see different perspectives, likening the experience to moving your head while wearing the Oculus Rift.

Source : Mashable

Posted in Mobile

Google Experiments with New View for Promotional Emails

Promotional emails may soon be taking on a different look to some Gmail users.

Google is experimenting with a new way of displaying promotional emails that emphasizes photos.

The new look, which Google is calling grid view, puts the photo-filled messages from the Promotions tab of your inbox into a grid that emphasizes the images within the messages.


“With only subject lines to go on, it can be a challenge to quickly pick out the deals and offers that interest you most,’ said Google product manager Aaron Rothman in a blog post announcing the experiment. “To help you find what you’re looking for faster, you can now sign up for a new field trial for Gmail that lets you view the Promotions tab in a more visual way.”

To make it easier to find all your emails, grid view comes with infinite scrolling. The feature can also be disabled altogether at any time.

The feature is still experimental so it’s not yet clear if Google has plans to make it a permanent addition to Gmail and it’s currently only available to a limited number of Gmail users. Those interested in trying out the new look can sign up with Google for a chance to be selected to trial the new feature.

Google also added a support page for developers detailing how developers can best take advantage of the new feature.

Source : Mashable

Posted in Tech News

Apple Engineer Reveals the Secret History of the iPhone

Apple senior engineer Greg Christie was part of the team that conjured up theiPhone back in 2005. Now, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal — preceding the next chapter in the legal battle between Apple and Samsung — he reveals some of the fascinating details about the device’s early history.

Christie, who is credited with a patent for iPhone’s “slide to unlock” feature,describes the original team behind the iPhone as “shockingly small.”

As Christie and the rest of the team were mulling over several ideas and concepts about how the device — then dubbed “project Purple” — would look and feel, an impatient Steve Jobs gave them two weeks to figure it out, or else he would assign the project to another team. This lead to the earliest concept for the iPhone, which was envisioned as a mix between a touchscreen phone and an iPod, without a physical keyboard.

Bits of Christie’s story were already made public in a New York Times story fromOct. 2013, but the WSJ piece does reveal many new and interesting details.

Highlights include Steve Jobs’ determination to keep the project a secret, which included having employees encrypt early images of the iPhone, as well as his obsession with details, including stepping in and changing the email view on the iPhone right before launch.

Source : Mashable

Posted in Mobile

Facebook Acquires Oculus VR for $2 Billion

Facebook announced Tuesday that it acquired Oculus VR, the company behind the Oculus Rift gaming headset in a cash and stock deal valued at $2 billion.

The terms of the deal include $400 million in cash and 23.1 million shares of Facebook common stock.

The Oculus Rift project gained prominence on Kickstarter, raising over $2 million in the summer of 2012. The company went on to raise more than $91 million in venture funding in 2013. With this exit, the Oculus Rift is easily the most successful Kickstarter project of all time.

“Oculus has the chance to create the most social platform ever, and change the way we work, play and communicate,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement.

Although the Oculus team was never committed to bringing a consumer version of its VR headset to the market, more than 75,000 developers had already ordered developer kits for the technology — and the early prototypes we’ve seen look amazing.

Facebook says that Oculus will remain headquartered in Irvine and will continue developing the Oculus Rift platform.

This is Facebook’s second major acquisition in less than two months. Last month, Facebook acquired WhatsApp for a staggering $16 billion.

On an investor conference Tuesday evening, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg discussed why he was so interested in the Oculus team and the Oculus Rift.

For Zuckerberg, it’s all about the future. If mobile is the current computing platform, vision and virtual reality could be platforms of the future. Zuckerberg described buying Oculus as “a longterm bet on the future of computing.”

This is a sentiment echoed by Chris Dixon, an investor at Andresseen Horowitz, the company that led Oculus VR’s $75 million Series B funding round. On his blog, Dixon described his research into virtual reality and Oculus as a company. He writes, “the more we learned, the more we became convinced that virtual reality would become central to the next great wave of computing.”

The idea that Oculus represents the future of computing isn’t relegated to just investors. Shane Hudson, a London-based web developer, says he thinks that Oculus has the ability to offer up a ” fully immersed experience.” Hudson thinks that experience could extend from tasks such as “playing a game, watching a film, reading a book or even chatting your friends ‘face-to-face’ despite being on the other side of the world.”

Hudson works with data visualizations and he sees the Oculus Rift as giving an entire new way of working with that kind of data. “It’s a very interesting technology that could go in any number of directions, much as the web did,” Hudson says.

That’s what Zuckerberg thinks too. He sees Oculus’s current focus around games and entertainment as just the beginning. Read More…

Source : Mashable

Posted in Tech News

BrandVerity Offers Feedback From Google, Bing On Paid Search Trademark Complaints

Brands aiming to protect themselves from trademark infringement in paid search are often met with white noise after they submit complaints to the search engines. They typically aren’t told if any action was taken — and even more frustrating, if no action was taken and/or why.

To help solve this problem, BrandVerity has added a process to its paid search ad monitoring system to give clients direct feedback from Google and the Yahoo Bing Network on trademark violation complaints.

After reporting a violation, BrandVerity clients will be alerted when an infringing ad has been disabled. If an ad is not taken down, the support teams at Google or Bing will respond with an explanation of why the ad is allowed to keep running.


“We’re very excited to have Google and Bing involved here. With their feedback, our clients can really close the loop on trademark abuse. Having the assurance that an ad was truly taken down—and knowing when it was taken down—provides some much-needed visibility and transparency into the trademark complaint procedure. We look forward to seeing an ever clearer boost to our clients’ paid search campaigns because of this new feature,” BrandVerity CEO, Dave Naffziger wrote via email.

The functionality is live globally with Google and in the US and Canada with the Yahoo Bing network, with plans to expand coverage.

Source : Search Engine Land

Posted in Search Engine

Google May Develop a YouTube For Kids

With over 6 billion hours of video watched each month, YouTube is an incredibly powerful platform for video consumption and sharing. It’s even beating Facebook as a social media site among teenagers. Now it seems like Google will be looking to reach a much younger demographic.

YouTube is reportedly developing a new kid-friendly website that will feature programming for children under the age of 10. While YouTube currently has safety features that block inappropriate content, the filters aren’t 100% accurate. A new stand-alone site would guarantee a safe browsing experience for the young ones.

To learn more about this developing story, check out the video above. Host Lamarr Wilson discusses this topic and more on his new Mashable showYouTube Weekly. Lamarr also discusses the end of the YouTube/Viacom battle, as well as his pick for channel and video of the week. Make sure to subscribe toMashable on YouTube so you don’t miss an episode. Also, catch Lamarr’s other show, Socially Awkward for some of the week’s funniest stories.

Source : Mashable

Posted in Tech News

2 Accused of Pirating 1 Million Android Apps Plead Guilty

The two leaders of a piracy group that offered an alternative market for counterfeit Android apps have pleaded guilty to copyright infringement charges, according to a prosecutors’ press release.

The two men are the first to be convicted for distributing pirated mobile apps, prosecutors said on Monday. Nicholas Narbone, 26, and Thomas Dye, 21, were part of the piracy group AppBucket, which allegedly distributed one million pirated apps from Aug. 2010 until Aug. 2012.

Prosecutors celebrated the guilty plea, saying Narbone and Dye “trampled on the intellectual property rights of others.”

“Copyright infringement discourages smart, innovative people from using their talents to create things that the rest of society can use and enjoy,” said Sally Yates, U.S. Attorney of the Northern District of Georgia. “Theft is theft — whether the property taken is intellectual or tangible — and we will continue to prosecute those who steal copyrighted material.”

The FBI shut down AppBucket and SnappzMarket, another similar pirate market, in August 2012. Prosecutors charged Narbone, Dye, and two others with criminal copyright infringement on Jan. 24, 2014.

Both AppBucket and SnappzMarket were alternative Android markets, allowing users to download pirated versions of paid apps for free. The two marketplaces basically replaced the regular Google Play market, offering similar features like notifications updates, search and top apps lists. The one million pirated apps had a retail value of $700,000, according to prosecutors.

Narbone and Dye face five years in prison and will be sentenced on July 8, 2014, and June 12, 2014, respectively.

Source : Mashable

Posted in Mobile