Posts Tagged ‘facebook’

Ditch the Wristbands: For Next Generation of Wearables, Dumb Clothes Get Smart

November 27, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

As much excitement as there may be about wearable sensors, most of the activity tracking devices today are pretty lame. That’s because they’re often restricted to a certain body part — usually the wrist — and have limited access to what’s going on with the rest of the body, like heart rate, specific muscle activation, calorie intake, or even what the legs are doing. The fiery activated threads are a visualization; the Athos clothing won’t literally turn the wearer into a girl on fire. The next step in wearables may be for devices to move beyond jewelry and onto the rest of our bodies. But what’s gained in accuracy may be dampened by higher prices and lower convenience. There’s also the simple challenge of the washing machine. After all, physical activity leads to sweating. A company called Athos that launched this week had hoped to make garments with electronics embedded in them. When I met the company more than a year ago, the prototype had spiderwebs of wires glued onto it. Each shirt was going to cost something like $300. So the team revised its vision to make a wireless module that can be slipped into pockets on custom apparel so it lies flat on the skin. That’s not cheap either. Preorders for delivery to U.S. customers in the summer of 2014 cost $99 for tops, $99 for bottoms, and $199 for the Athos Core Module. “We are targeting individuals who are committed to fitness, ones who go out of their way to schedule in a workout, a ride or a yoga session,” said Athos founder DJ Jayalath, via email. “With regard to the price — it can be compared to being less than the price of five sessions with a personal trainer, or hundred dollars more than a Nike FuelBand and a pair of compression shorts.” The Athos workout gear has sensors throughout that pick up on muscle exertion from the chest, shoulders, arms, back, quads, hamstrings and glutes, plus heart rate and breathing. The module insert transmits that info over Bluetooth to iPhones and iPads (no Android yet)

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Facebook Testing Instapaper-Like "Save for Later Reading" Feature

November 27, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Facebook wants you to spend more time reading news on Facebook. The company is testing a feature that would allow users to save links shared inside Facebook to a list for later reading, according to recently surfaced mobile screenshots. The functionality is quite similar to the popular apps Pocket and Instapaper. “We’re constantly testing new features, but we have nothing further to share at this time,” a Facebook spokesperson told AllThingsD . The feature, which was pointed out to AllThingsD by the technology blog MyTechSkool , comes in the form of a small iBook-like bookmark button attached to stories shared in the News Feed. Click the button, and the link will be set aside in a “saved” menu inside a user’s Facebook apps menu. Photo courtesy of MyTechSkool Facebook has made it clear that it wants to play more of a part in how people use the social network to discover and read articles from third-party publishers. In a redesign to its News Feed over the last year, more prominence and visibility has been placed on articles shared on Facebook (though this redesign, for whatever reason, has not yet rolled out widely to all users). “We want to give everyone in the world the best personalized newspaper in the world,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said at an event earlier this year . The company is also reportedly building its own newsreader-like feature, according to The Wall Street Journal — a further attempt to make Facebook a destination for media content and discovery. This recent test is apparently the second iteration of a “save for later” feature, though earlier efforts were less visible and not as easy to understand and use .

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Facebook’s Teen Angst (Comic)

November 25, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

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We Still Don’t Know Snapchat’s Magic User Numbers (But Here’s a Bunch of Other Interesting New Stats, Including About Norway!)

November 24, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Asa Mathat / AllThingsD.com Evan Spiegel is certainly enjoying his time in the limelight. The 23-year-old CEO of Snapchat is happy to talk about the success of his ephemeral messaging app, which he said last week at a private investment conference now has more than 400 million messages received every day. But despite all the buzz around Snapchat, we still don’t have a clue about the company’s most important statistic: Just how many people are regularly using the app? That’s one of the deets he did not share at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference earlier this week. It was closed to press, but a few insiders slipped us some more info from Spiegel’s talk, to add to some that had been previously reported. Here are a few new tidbits of info from the talk: Monetization is certainly on the near-term horizon, although Spiegel said the startup plans to start “modestly.” First on the list, a number of “value-added services.” Ideally, he said, those could be a subscription service, instead of a la carte, one-off purchases. After that, he said Snapchat could look at how best to insert advertising into the service. As has been reported, in part, the app’s core audience is the age group from 13 to 25 years old, with 70 percent of those members being women . Half of Snapchat’s daily active users are using his new Stories product, which was unveiled last month . About 25 percent of smartphone users in the United Kingdom use Snapchat monthly, he said, although it’s unclear how this number was measured. He also said 50 percent of Norway smartphone owners actively used the app. Go Norway! Snapchat now has 30 employees. Half of those are engineers, 25 percent are dedicated to product and the remaining 25 percent are in other various positions, said Spiegel. Spiegel said he isn’t interested in leveraging his emerging social graph. In that vein, he downplayed the importance of network effects, or the value derived from the number of people using the service — something Facebook cares about and regularly uses to its advantage. Instead, he said, the power is “all about product leadership.” Snap that, Mark Zuckerberg. Spiegel very much admires China’s Tencent , which has seen tremendous success in its WeChat mobile application. (TenCent, by the way, is also a big fan of Snapchat.) Interesting stuff, for sure, but all this should come with one giant caveat: Without an exact active user count, we have zero perspective on how much any of these numbers mean in terms of company scale.

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Five Questions About Basketball, Tech and Kickstarter for Vantage Sports’ Cameron Tangney

November 23, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

You could call it the Bill James effect. Or maybe sports technophiles such as Mark Cuban deserve the credit. Whatever you call it, more and more professional sports teams are utilizing technology in day-to-day operations. The kind of advanced statistical analysis that revolutionized baseball and pushed the term “Moneyball” into the mainstream has spread into other professional sports in recent years. Last year, half the teams in the National Basketball Association used SportVU cameras in their arenas to log every movement on the court to track the positioning of players to better assess specific plays and situations. This year, all 30 teams in the NBA will have the $100,000 cameras, as Grantland’s Zach Lowe reported earlier this year. That means the information gap between fans and professional sports teams is shrinking fast. A recently launched Kickstarter project wants to further bridge the gap. Vantage Sports’ latest project, ProScout , hopes to track 16,000 different data points per game, with the goal of producing more complete, contextual insight. Fans would be able to follow specific players or teams for $1-$3 per player, per month, although the final cost has not yet been set. (A model player page featuring Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors can be found here .) Cameron Tangney, Chief Technology Officer at Vantage Sports and a former Googler, spoke to AllThingsD about the project and the future of technology and sports.

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Kids Aren’t Reliable Tech Predictors

November 18, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

I believe the children aren’t our future. Teach them well, but when it comes to determining the next big thing in tech, let’s not fall victim to the ridiculous idea that they lead the way. Yes, I’m talking about Snapchat. Read the rest of this post on the original site »

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Facebook Goes Ahead With Updates to Data Use Policy

November 16, 2013  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Facebook went ahead Friday with edits to its data use policy that the social network says really changes nothing about its advertising and policy practices. The language changes, proposed in September as a result of a class action settlement, were meant to clarify that a Facebook user's likes, pictures and comments, may be used in ads.

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The Heartwarming Adventures of #SFBatkid and the Thrill of the Hunt for Carmen Sandiego

November 15, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Patricia Wilson When done well, blending fiction with reality is one of those things that makes social media worth all the hype. In San Francisco today, a Make-a-Wish campaign to turn a five-year-old with leukemia into a superhero was been widely publicized by local outlets , drawing crowds of thousands to see his adventures in person, and is blowing up on Twitter and Facebook today with the hashtag #SFBatkid. (It’s crazy; look at the tweets fly by. Internet phenomena seem to get more viral by the day.) So far, Batkid (a.k.a. Miles Scott) saved a damsel in distress on the cable car tracks and helped apprehend the Riddler with the help of Batman and local police, all the while being cheered by crowds. Now, a flash mob has alerted Batkid that Penguin kidnapped the Giants’ Lou Seal at AT&T Park, and then Batkid will head to City Hall where the mayor will give him a key to Gotham. You can follow the heartwearming adventure on Storify and via live video coverage . If you’re not in San Francisco, or if you tune in after the festivities have finished, there’s another caper you can follow online. This one requires less Kleenex. The social media team at PBS has revived Carmen Sandiego, the fictional international criminal, for a weekly geography game on Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram. It’s all tied together by the hashtag #CatchingCarmen and a RebelMouse page that aggregates the clues and the winning responses. Sandiego starred in a boxed computer software geography game in the 1980s and 1990s as well as a televised kids’ game show. For nerdy kids who grew up in that era watching public television, this is a major nostalgia trigger. PBS is playing up the nostalgia by tying into the Internet tradition of posting old photos on so-called #ThrowbackThursday.

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Facebook Hooks Up With PlayStation 4 to Link Identity to Gaming

November 15, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

As Sony’s PlayStation 4 gaming system launched Friday morning, Facebook said it will allow players to connect to the console using their Facebook accounts. Users can share their real identity with others they select in the hopes of establishing a bond of trust that will serve to combat online gaming abuse between anonymous players, long a problem on similar services like XBox Live.

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Facebook Says It Has Learned Important Android Lessons From Building Home

November 13, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Facebook’s mobile image took a bit of a beating in the weeks that followed the April launch of its Home software for Android . Ondrejka, right, with Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer But, more than six months later, Facebook mobile engineering VP Cory Ondrejka said that the company learned a lot from the experience — knowledge that is going into both improving Home and into developing other mobile products. “We will keep iterating on Home,” he said during an interview at this week’s Techonomy conference near Tucson, Ariz. “We really have a better understanding of where to take Home in the future.” One of the most recent changes is the capability to add photos from other services to be part of the Facebook Home experience (Home replaces the standard Android lock screen and home screen). That and other improvements mean that those who try Home now may have a more favorable impression than those who did so in its early days. “Most people have never seen Home,” Ondrejka said

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