Archives

Bye Bye Captcha, Twitter Bans Made Easy and #Skeletakeover | This Week in Social Media

Google ReCaptchaGoogle takes on Captcha, wins

Let’s face it, NO one enjoys attempting to precisely type out the combination of contorted letters and numbers in a box on the internet to advance on a website or leave a comment – also known as Captcha. Thankfully (mercifully), Google has unveiled a new system that may replace Captcha to prove to a website you’re not a bot. It’s literally as easy as clicking and checking a box that affirms you are not a robot. That’s it. Easy easy easy.

This new system, called “No Captcha reCaptchas,” is simple to use on desktop and only requires a tap on mobile. Don’t think it’s less secure than Captcha, though. Google says that once the system has allowed someone (or something) through, it monitors behavior to ensure that a sophisticated bot did not make it through. It seems to be of to a great start, too. Snapchat, Humble Bundle and WordPress are already experimenting with it!

Twitter banning made easy

Haters are going to hate. There’s little we can do about trolls or bullies many times, however, Twitter is making it easy to block out these kinds of people. New tools are making the experience on Twitter more user-friendly and giving faster access to someone looking to flag inappropriate content or to ban a user.

Twitter also claims some behind-the-scenes improvements will allow for better and faster monitoring to keep the experience on the social network enjoyable and safe. The new changes will be made widely available in the coming weeks – along with more changes in the coming months.

An epic Twitter Takeover from Honda

Your mortal eyes did not deceive you; Skeletor, the arch nemesis of 80’s action figure and cartoon star, He-Man, recently took over the Honda Twitter account. The move coincides with Honda’s holiday marketing campaign using toys of yesteryear and involves some very amusing content.

The tweets from Skeletor are pretty amusing, ranging from trolling He-Man to even teasing other brands using the hashtag #Skeletakeover. While it may not be overtly trying to sell you cars, the takeover has been received incredibly well and directed attention to the brand name and the Twitter account.

Skeletakeover

Google Nanoparticles, Taco Bell #Onlyintheapp and UberKitten! | This Week in Social Media

Google X labsThe doctor is in – your bloodstream?

Google is reportedly looking into technology that would scan the body for illness – just by taking a pill. The technology would work by using nanoparticles to travel through the bloodstream and scan for malignant cells and report the findings back to a sensor attached to a wearable device. Google believes that the nanoparticles could be laced with a tracking antibody that would remain in the blood and allow for continued monitoring over a period of time.

The technology is still in the experimental stage and comes from Google’s X lab, which looks at technology that could be used to improve quality of life. This is the same lab that is looking into contact lenses that can measure glucose in someone’s tears.

Taco Bell says “adios” to social

In what is being called both risky and intriguing, Taco Bell this week removed (more likely, just hid) its social media channels AND website  in favor of a new mobile app. Visiting the website will provide visitors with a message telling them that everything is #onlyintheapp. Stores will soon have a separate pickup lane for those who ordered online. While mobile apps for restaurants and chains isn’t entirely new, Taco Bell IS the first to do dark on social. While some critics have pointed out that this removed the two-way conversation that social media provides, only time will tell if the move is successful.

Kitten delivery provides amusement and delight for a good cause

To celebrate National Cat Day on Thursday, ride-sharing company Uber, the ASPCA and Cheezburger brought back the UberKitten program to promote adoptions. Kitty fans in several major cities were able to order a kitten through the Uber app and have it delivered to their office for some supervised play time. Upon arrival, the kittens were available to play for about 15 minutes while people learned more about where the kitten was housed and how they could adopt. Proceeds went to animal shelters and, as you might imagine, demand was quite high.
UberKittens

Safety Check, Google Doctor and REALLY Fast WiFi | This Week in Social Media

Facebook safety checkIn case of emergency…

A fascinating new feature from Facebook announced this week may help users stay in contact with loved ones in times of crisis. The new tool, called Safety Check, is designed to quickly update your status in case of emergency.

Facebook uses information like your last check-in and Nearby-Friends tracking feature (if it is turned on) to determine if you’re near a disaster. It will then prompt users and ask users if they are both safe and near the disaster. This could be incredibly helpful in letting concerned loved ones and friends know if you’re alright during an emergency.

The doctor will see you now

The future is now. Google is testing a Talk to a Doctor feature within medical search results. It allows people to directly speak with a verified doctor through chat.

For now, the service is free while Google experiments and analyzes the effectiveness of the function, but it’s likely to cost something if and when it becomes widely available. While Google is not the only one experimenting with this type of feature, if implemented, it would easily be the largest. Not only would this open up a new form of revenue for Google, but it would allow doctors to avoid patients from self-diagnosing themselves based upon information they find online.

WiFi game changer?

If Samsung has its way, internet speeds will get much faster. The South Korean company has developed 60 GHz WiFi technology that would be FIVE TIMES faster than anything currently available. This would mean a 1G movie could be transferred between devices in as little as three seconds. It would also mean uncompressed high-definition videos could be streamed from mobile devices to a TV in real time.

This isn’t some far-off technology you may need to wait years for, either. Samsung believes it could start to commercialize the new tech as early as next year!

 

Facebook Ad Network, Pass on Google+ and Shellshock | This Week in Social Media

New Facebook Ad NetworkFacebook vs. Google advertising

Facebook’s cross-platform ad network could be rolling out as early as next week. Facebook’s goal is to provide marketers with more accurate data about who interacts with ads on both Facebook, its third-party apps and websites. This new network will also be a “demand side platform” allowing bidding for impressions on third party sites. This could pose a threat to Google’s Display Network due to the vast amount of data Facebook has on its users. Perhaps most interestingly, the new platform could be a cookie-less cross-platform dimension. We’ll have to wait for the unveil to see just how helpful it can be to marketers and how big a threat it might be to Google and Yahoo. Facebook is currently in second place when it comes to global digital ad revenue – right behind Google.

The beginning of the end of Google+?

Good news for those not entirely thrilled with Google+. Google will no longer require a Google+ account with the activation of a new Gmail address! While Google claims the social network has more than 300 million users, those numbers have been in doubt as some insiders claim that a user doesn’t necessarily have to navigate to the Google+ tab to be considered active. This news has led some to wonder about the future of Google+, which was originally touted as a major contender to Twitter and Facebook.

Worse than Heartbleed?

A computer vulnerability worse than Heartbleed has some concerned about the risk to thousands of unpatched systems. Called Shellshock, it (very) basically leaves unpatched systems vulnerable to malicious and remote attacks. Why could it be worse than Heartbleed? Because it affects Bash, a command-line interface that allows a user to talk to a Unix-based system in such a vast number of networks it may never be (fully) fixed. To protect yourself, be sure to update your computer the next OS X security update comes around (probably quite soon).  More information may be found here.

Twitter Tinkering, the New Foursquare, Barnes and Noble Parters with Google | This Week in Social Media

Twitter TinkeringTwitter tinkering

Even though you don’t follow Donald Trump, Buzzfeed or Lebron James it doesn’t mean you won’t start seeing their tweets in your feed. That’s because Twitter is experimenting with a new algorithm designed to make popular content accounts you follow visible to you. Think of it as the same way viral content is spread and made more visible on Facebook.

This isn’t the same as sponsored posts or ads, these are genuine tweets that include the option to follow the accounts. While this may be helpful for those new to Twitter, those that are well-versed in the social network may find it irritating and even frustrating as you may not have any interest in seeing an account someone you follow is following. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do if you don’t like it – besides just ignoring irrelevant content for now.

Look out, Yelp, Foursquare isn’t playing around

That new and “improved” Foursquare we recently told you about is now live. Gone are the days of the Foursquare check-in. Now, the app is hoping to take a bite out of Yelp’s business. This video gives an overview of the changes and purpose of the new Foursquare. Suffice it to say, its essentially revamped itself to become more intuitive to search recommendations to help you find where and what you might be looking for. The new slogan even reads “find your place.” Only time will tell if the changes will be enough to unseat Yelp as users’ go-to app for ratings, reviews and recommendations.

Google, Barnes and Noble join forces

In an effort to take a bite out of Amazon’s business, Barnes and Noble has partnered with Google to provide same-day delivery to Manhattan, San Francisco and West Los Angeles from local Barnes and Noble stores. Google normally charges $4.99 for this type of delivery, but seems to have waived the fee – for now.

In the meantime, Amazon recently expanded its same-day delivery to six more major cities. There’s no telling just yet if the move will cut into Amazon’s business or help boost a struggling Barnes and Noble. For the rest of us outside of these metropolitan areas, the best thing to do is just bite the bullet and wait for our goods to arrive whenever they do, pay more for quicker shipping, or just wait until the service comes closer.

Google Pigeon Update, Snapchat’s worth, Bloom vs. Bieber = Social Gold | This Week in Social Media

Google-Pigeon-updateGoogle’s “Pigeon” update

Google recently rolled out what is being called its “Pigeon” update. While there aren’t a lot of details on what Pigeon entails, the update is meant to provide better and more relevant search results. While this is a non-penalty update, many webmasters are reporting it impacting their local rankings in search results.

There is a great explanation breaking down how Pigeon may impact your website, but there are three takeaways you may want to be aware of:

  • Local listing packs disappear for a large number of keywords
  • Rankings are expected to depend more on website authority
  • Yelp and other local directories are seeing a ranking boost

How much is Snapchat worth???

A new report out shows Snapchat may have been right to scoff at Facebook’s $3 billion offer. Alibaba Holdings Group is reportedly talking with the company about raising funding for a $10 billion valuation, putting it on the same price level as Dropbox and Airbnb.

Reps for both companies are staying quiet at this time, though Snapchat’s popularity continues to grow with more than 700 million snaps being sent and disappearing each day.

Orlando Bloom vs. Justin Bieber fight excites the masses on social

A tussle between Orlando Bloom and Justin Bieber lit up social media this week after Bloom is reported to have taken a swing at the singer after a less than cordial greeting. While some say the fight is making Bloom relevant again, others are chastising Bieber for his behavior and praising Bloom for doing what so SO many have thought of doing, but few have actually done.

As usual, the brilliant (demented?) minds on the internet had a field day with the scrap. Mashable has a glorious roundup of some of the better quips.

Amazon Zocalo, Google Orkut, and Twitter Analytics | This Week In Social Media

ZocaloAmazon Zocalo

Move over, Google Docs, there’s a new player in town. Amazon announced its own document storage and sharing tool this week, Zocalo.

Like Docs, Zocalo allows users to store and sync documents across devices – but it also allows allows users to offer feedback on content and place comments in specific areas of a PDF or webpage (see the image to the right). However, the real difference that may attract more corporate networks is Zocalo’s ability to be set up with existing corporate credentials.

To use Zocalo, it will set you back only $5 per month for 200GB of storage, but customers with Amazon WorkSpaces get 50GB of free storage  – or pay $2 per month for the full 200GB. Zocalo is available now for limited preview.

Google kills Orkut

Google is killing off its first venture into social media…no, not Google+.

Orkut gained limited success in the U.S. since it launched in 2004, but gained much more popularity in Brazil and India where it was a top contender for Facebook as the dominant social platform for quite some time. However, fending off Facebook is like trying to hold back the ocean, with Orkut slowly losing popularity and users.

Google told user this week it would end Orkut in September, but wi Google has said it would preserve an archive of all Orkut communities that will be available from September 30

Twitter analytics are here

We knew it was only a matter of time, but Twitter has officially unveiled its own analytics measurement. Users can use the Twitter Analytics tool to track mentions, follows, and unfollows in 6-hour increments; view favorites, retweets, and replies for recent tweets; and display best (top 15% engagement) and good (top two-thirds engagement) tweets. In the “Followers” tab, users can access more detailed information on their followers’ locations, interests, and genders, as well as viewing the top accounts that their followers also follow. Data!

A Boost in Facebook Engagements, Reverse Yelp and Google Cardboard | This Week in Social Media

like message on keyboard button, social media conceptsFacebook’s best year ever?

It’s good to be a brand on Facebook right now – IF your content is popular. That’s according to a recent study that says the algorithm change so many brands and companies dreaded may actually be helping to give brands a boost in Facebook engagements.

That algorithm works to place higher-quality content in front of more people, meaning the days of posts reading “LIKE FOR X OR COMMENT FOR Y” and generating thousands of interactions are mostly over. The study indicates that more brands seem to be aware of the algorithm change and are focusing on better content to engage their fans – and it’s paying off.

Reverse Yelp

Are you an all-star diner, or your server’s worst nightmare? Good and bad behavior may not have had an impact on your dining experience from place-to-place before, but now some restaurants in Australia are using its version of OpenTable to rate and track its patrons.

What’s more, restaurants can add information about you to the network, like allergies, birthdays, anniversaries, what you like to eat and drink – as well as what kind of diner you are. This means things like frequent complaints and bad tips will also be documented, so don’t be too surprised if you’re constantly sitting near the bathroom if you aren’t terribly kind!

Cardboard is in right nowGoogle Cardboard

Forget watches and glasses, Google wants you to engage with cardboard! Kind of. This week, at Google I/O  the company handed out something called Google Cardboard in the last few minutes of its keynote to attendees. In an Ikea-like packaging, the “device” resembles a cardboard Viewmaster once assembled. You then place your phone in and are able to view 2D images in 3D with the aid of the Cardboard app. Fun fact: this type of technology (stereoscopic imagery, not apps; those are new) was made popular around the time of the American Civil War.

 

Google Mail, Plus Changes and the Oscars Will Stream Live | This Week in Social Media

Google+ for Android phones gets photo editing funness

Android users with Google+ accounts just got a nice upgrade to that app and its use of pictures. The updategives users a variety of new editing options with their photos, including: filters, cropping, rotating, and Snapseed-inspired enhancements (like Drama, Retrolux, and HDR Scape). The basic layout has changed too, giving users a simpler view of all photos in their library – unless you’re one of those people with thousands and thousands of photos. You’ll have to wait a bit longer to see everything at once…or start deleting those extra photos of Grumpy Cat you keep around.

Unsubscribe made easy

If you’re sick and tired of those marketing e-mails you signed up for in college to get a free pizza and could never figure out how to get them to stop coming – you’re in luck. This week Google announced a change to its Gmail program to give users a simple and easy way to unsubscribe to those pesky e-mails. Instead of combing the message for the unsubscribe like you will now be given the option to unsubscribe from the e-mail with a link at the top of the e-mail. While it may be a nice change for consumers, some businesses that rely on e-mail marketing may not find the change as helpful.

Who needs TV to watch the Oscars? Not you.

If you won’t be near a television on Sunday night to watch the 86th Academy Awards – or just feel like being extra fancy – you can watch the show through a live stream on your tablet or smartphone.

ABC will stream the Oscars through its Watch ABC app and WatchABC.com. Of course, you will still need to have a TV subscription service to watch the show. The Academy Awards being at 8:30 P.M. EST on Sunday.

Facebook Tweaks Liking, Google Field Trips, Intergalactic Gaga and TWTR goes Live | This Week in Social Media

Like as we Know it has Ended

Facebook altered its famous Like button this week. The first time in, well, ever. The social networking giant unveiled its newly redesigned Like and Share buttons with a bluer background and Helvetica font. The iconic thumbs up icon is also no more (aw). While it may seem a simple to many, Facebook says it took about six months to design and the approval of numerous people at Facebook (including founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg) to finally sign off on and move forward with the redesign.

Google Hangouts Make Field Trips Fun Again

Let’s face it, after you’ve seen your town’s local museum for the fifth time by the third grade, field trips just aren’t that much fun – or educational – any longer. However, a new initiative by Google called “Connected Classrooms” means to change all of that. Google is encouraging teachers to utilize Google Hangouts to bring students to places they normally wouldn’t be able to go to (affordably). Multiple organizations have partnered with Google to offer the inside looks at their facilities and connect with educators hoping to bring exciting content into the classroom.

Gaga in Spaaaaaace!

Boldly going where no celebrity performance has ever gone before: space; the final frontier. In 2015, Lady Gaga will be the first artist to perform in outer space. The “Applause” singer will be aboard a Virgin Galactic shuttle and entertain as part of Zero G Colony high-tech musical festival in New Mexico. Despite only performing one song, she’s bringing her entire entourage with her and has, reportedly, taken out a ridiculous life insurance policy. Way to play it safe, Gaga.

Oh yea, Twitter Went Public

You didn’t really think we’d forget, did you? Yesterday, Twitter stock appeared on the New York Stock Exchange and, despite some reports calling it overpriced, shot up from $26 a share to more than $45. Before you go thinking you’ll get rich off of Twitter, you may want to do a bit of research.