Friday, 15 July 2011

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Thanks to Mashable’s Socially Savvy Supporters”

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Thanks to Mashable’s Socially Savvy Supporters”

Thanks to Mashable’s Socially Savvy Supporters

Posted: 15 Jul 2011 05:15 AM PDT

Thanks to this week's advertisers and partners for enabling us to bring you the latest social media news and resources. Mashable’s sponsors are as social media savvy as our readers!

Advertise with us and get noticed.

Mashable is seeking site sponsors for our large, diverse audience — social media users, venture capitalists, early adopters, developers, bloggers and many more. You’ll receive hundreds of thousands of views per day in addition to weekly recognition as part of our “thank you” to our premium sponsors. Are you interested? Contact us for more information and to receive our media kit and rate card.

This week, our valued sponsors are: Cisco, CBS Interactive, Lenovo, Campaigner®, CITGO and the Fueling Good Campaign, The Ben and Jerry’s Scoop Truck, AceProject, 7MainStreet, LoopFuse, BMW i, Discover Digital Group, Global Strategic Management Institute, Ford,, Sprout Social, Site24x7, IDG, CUNY School of Professional Studies, Oneupweb, SoftLayer, SRDS, Buddy Media, Clickatell, Microsoft BizSpark, MaxCDN and Eventbrite.

The Network, Cisco’s technology news site. The Network features technology news, trends and information on video, collaboration, core networks, mobility, security, data, Cisco culture and social media. To subscribe to The Network, click here. You can also submit your story ideas here.

Cisco supports Mashable’s Buzzword Breakdown Series. Follow Cisco on Twitter and Facebook.

CBS Interactive, which helps brands find the perfect audience with a network of #1 sites like, CBS Sports and GameSpot. To see how our exclusive content, video and mobile can help you engage with your ideal target, visit

CBSInteractive supports Mashable’s Consumer Trends Series. Follow CBSInteractive on Twitter and Facebook.

Lenovo. Lenovo does not just manufacture technology. They make Do machines — super-powered creation engines designed to help the people who do, do more, do better, do in brand new ways.

Lenovo supports Mashable’s Tech Innovators Series. Follow Lenovo on Twitter and Facebook.

Campaigner® email marketing enables small, medium and large businesses to strengthen customer relationships and drive sales by connecting to their customers quickly, simply and affordably. Visit to learn more.

Campaigner® supports Mashable’s Social Marketing Series. Follow Campaigner® on Twitter and Facebook.

CITGO and the Fueling Good Campaign, helping to change the world one mile at a time through contributions to local charities.

CITGO and the Fueling Good Campaign support Mashable’s Stars of Social Good Series. Follow the Fueling Good Campaign on Twitter and Facebook.

In New York City or San Francisco and want a free scoop? Try the

More About: Sponsors

For more Social Media coverage:

QR Code on Tombstone Creates Dynamic Memorial [PHOTO]

Posted: 15 Jul 2011 01:33 AM PDT

When Yoav Medan's mother Judith passed away in June, the Israel-based medical technology executive couldn't decide what he wanted to write on her tombstone. After deliberating with his family, Medan decided to turn to technology for the answer and attach a QR code to the grave in Haifa, Israel.

Scanning the QR code leads visitors to a tribute website that Medan has setup and plans to evolve with stories and photos from his mother's life. "I [didn't] know what we wanted to write [on the tombstone] and it will never be everything for everyone. By having something that is dynamic and can extend over time, we can capture it," he told me this week in an interview at TED Global in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Over time, Medan hopes the QR code and memorial site will help create a lasting history of his mother that will live on for generations. "I was most concerned about 20 or 40 years from now, how will she be remembered … [I wanted to put] what's in our memory into a place that doesn't forget," he said.

The QR code itself is a laser engraving, filled with a black paste, and sits behind a piece of glass on the tombstone. "The guy who built the tombstone, he wants to make a business out of it," said Medan.

He think the idea could catch on based on the feedback he's been hearing. "People identify with this way of keeping the memory of someone and actually making it dynamic and evolving with time as you remember more," he said. The QR code-enabled tombstone adds a new twist to the growing number of services we’ve seen emerge that are designed to help us decide what happens to our online identity after we die and create digital tributes to our lost loved ones.

What do you think of this way of remembering your loved ones? Let us know in the comments.

More About: death, Mobile 2.0, QR Codes, TED, ted global, trending

For more Mobile coverage:

Sorry, Lady Gaga: Rihanna Is Now the Most Popular Woman on Facebook

Posted: 15 Jul 2011 12:21 AM PDT

Rihanna has overcome Lady Gaga to become the most popular woman on Facebook.

Long hailed as the queen of social media, Lady Gaga was the first living music artist to reach 10,000,000 Facebook fans, beating president Obama in that “race” by about 700,000. However, not even Gaga is untouchable; the equally lively account of Rihanna, updated by one or more ghost writers, has lately been growing faster than Gaga’s.

As of this writing, Rihanna has 40,564,950 Facebook fans, some 20,000 more than Lady Gaga‘s 40,543,536.

Lady Gaga still has the comfort of being the most popular user on Twitter. According to Twitaholic, she has more than 11.6 million followers, followed by Justin Bieber who has 11 million. Rihanna is 13th on Twitter with a “mere” 6.1 million followers.

[via @randizuckerberg]

More About: facebook, Lady Gaga, rihanna, social media, social networking, trending

For more Social Media coverage:

Google News Now Awards Badges To Voracious Readers [VIDEO]

Posted: 14 Jul 2011 10:26 PM PDT

Now you can get badges for reading Google News. The company is offering a variety of 500 different emblems, each one for a particular topic.

As you become more well-read, you’ll get a star added to the badge for that topic. There are five different levels of the stars, starting with a bronze star, and as you read more articles you receive a silver, gold, platinum and the coveted blue ultimate star.

Goofy? Maybe, but as you can see in the video, there is a method to this madness. According to the Google Blog, you can keep all this badge mania to yourself by default, or you can brag about it to others, showing off what an newshound you are, and perhaps stimulating social interaction between you and others with like interests around the Google+ sphere.

The badges are interactive, too — if you hover over one and click “add section,” you’ll get more article choices for your chosen topic. Beta-happy Google says that’s not all, calling this a “bronze release,” and adding that “once we see how badges are used and shared, we look forward to taking this feature to the next level.”

To use the new feature, Google News Help shows you how. To make it all work, you must have your web history enabled, and it registers both desktop and mobile clicks.

We can see how it might be helpful for your Google News page to keep track of which types of articles you’re reading, making it easier for you to further customize your personal Google News site. We have badges here at Mashable for using our Follow social layer, and we like them.

What about on Google News, though? Does this matter? Is it important to show yourself how much you’ve read, or have proof of same to lord over others? Or is this just a non-compensated loyalty program that benefits Google the most?

More About: badges, google news, social networking

For more Social Media coverage:

iPhone 4 Video Gives a Fresh Perspective on Guitar Playing [VIDEO]

Posted: 14 Jul 2011 09:14 PM PDT

What happens when you drop an iPhone 4 into the sound hole of a guitar, position it just so, and then pluck the strings? Take a look at this video to find out.

Reminding us of that Les Paul Google doodle we showed you last month, this is not what guitar strings are really doing when you’re strumming away.

The strings look wavy because the iPhone‘s rolling shutter isn’t exposing the entire string all at once, but in a slightly different rate from their vibration. It’s an effect similar to the way spinning wheels look when shot on film — as if they’re spinning backwards.

Want to shoot a video like this yourself? Here are some tips from “justkylevids,” the talented guitarist who shot this video:

  • You must have the strings brightly backlit to get the camera to capture at such a high frame rate (pure conjecture). You can see how the effect fades when the buildings come into view.
  • Use a pencil [to position the iPhone inside the guitar]
  • This was used with the front facing camera, try the back camera, it may capture better!

More About: guitar strings, iphone 4, Rolling Shutter, Science, video

For more Tech & Gadgets coverage:

Gojee Is Like StumbleUpon For Recipes

Posted: 14 Jul 2011 08:18 PM PDT

The Spark of Genius Series highlights a unique feature of startups and is made possible by Microsoft BizSpark. If you would like to have your startup considered for inclusion, please see the details here.

Name: GoJee

Quick Pitch: GoJee curates recipes from blogs and makes them searchable by ingredient.

Genius Idea: Beautiful photos and a personal touch. has about 5,000 recipes for cookies. Gojee has just about twice that many recipes total. And you can’t search for “cookies.”

What you can search for using GoJee is “chocolate,” “caramel” or “butter.”

“One thing that makes us different from all of the other recipe sites is that they serve up every solution,” says Gojee CEO and co-founder Michael Lavalle. “We’ve found that a lot of people buy the same 20 ingredients and they make the same 20 dishes with them, and they’ve been doing that for five years. We’re not going to convert a chicken eater into a beef eater, but what we can do is give that chicken eater some really fun stuff to make that he hasn’t really thought about before.”

The site taps into the collection of personalized recipes that bloggers make available online — if you can find them. Every recipe on the site was handpicked by GoJee’s staff, and the startup asked 71 different bloggers to supply the page-sized food photos that distinguish the site’s look.

Users search for what they’re craving. They can influence results by what they have in their pantries (in some cases they can set up their loyalty grocery cards to automatically update this) and what they dislike. Where other food search engines like Foodily aptly strive to give you what you’ve asked for, GoJee’s goal is to introduce you to something you hadn’t thought about.

Since it launched last week, 50,000 users have signed up for GoJee. Lavalle says one of its biggest draws is that the site, which displays search results as giant photo slideshows instead of tiny listings, is simply so darn beautiful.

“It’s so fun to use and it’s so pleasing as an experience,” he says. “Whether or not you like food or hate food or whatever, it’s just a happy hour of your day. ”

To read recipes, users need to visit its creator’s website, which Lavalle says keeps bloggers happy, too.

Before launching GoJee, Lavalle and his co-founders spent about a year in the food space. First they worked on a project he describes as “ for food.” Next they moved on to “Twitter for food.”

Now, in what amounts to something like StumbleUpon for food, it looks like they’ve finally landed on food’s ideal online format.

Series Supported by Microsoft BizSpark

Microsoft BizSpark

The Spark of Genius Series highlights a unique feature of startups and is made possible by Microsoft BizSpark, a startup program that gives you three-year access to the latest Microsoft development tools, as well as connecting you to a nationwide network of investors and incubators. There are no upfront costs, so if your business is privately owned, less than three years old, and generates less than U.S.$1 million in annual revenue, you can sign up today.

More About: bizspark, Food, Foodily, GoJee, recipes

For more Startups coverage:

Google+ Users Are Nearly All Male

Posted: 14 Jul 2011 07:26 PM PDT

Already using Google+? Follow Mashable News for the latest about the platform’s new features, tips and tricks as well as our top social media and technology updates.

Here’s an interesting tidbit from the Google+ stats trackers: Three quarters (or more) of Google+ users are male.

SocialStatistics, a third-party site that gathers data from select profiles, pegs the percentage of male users at 86.8%, while FindPeopleOnPlus, which curates information from about a million users, says men constitute 73.7% of Google+.

FindPeopleOnPlus also discovered that 95% of the Google+ users who say they are “looking for love” on the site are male. Some 25,000 users in their sample identify themselves as single, versus 19,000 married and 12,000 in a relationship. The vast majority of the million users sampled don’t say what they are.

With around 60% of users identifying themselves as web developers or software engineers, that paints a fairly stereotypical picture of Google+’s userbase: nerdy guys who have deep understandings of technology and who don’t mind killing some time setting up Circles of friends.

It’s true that the early adopters of any new technology are usually male. But Google+ will have to appeal to a mainstream audience if it’s to reach mass adoption anytime soon. Consider the gender breakdown for Google+’s biggest competitor, Facebook. The social network is close to a 50-50 split between men and women. And some of Facebook’s most addicted, most enthusiastic users are women.

Meanwhile, Google is about to stop requiring users to input their gender — meaning we may get less accurate stats as time progresses.

Screenshots: Inside Google+

Google+ Logo

This is the Google+ logo.

Google+ Icons

The Google+ icons. Starting top left and circling to the right: Circles, Hangouts, Home, Sparks, Profile, Photos.

New Google+ Navigation Bar

All Google sites will sport the new Google+ navigation bar. It includes notifications, profile information and content sharing options.

Google+ Stream

This is the Google+ Stream, where users share content and see what their friends are sharing. It is similar to the Facebook News Feed.

Google+ Circles

Google+ Circles is Google's version of the Facebook friend list or the Twitter List. Users can select multiple friends and drag-and-drop them into groups. This makes it easier to send stuff to friends, family or the entire world.

Google+ Circles Editor

This is the Google+ Circles editor in action. Google has created unique animations for adding and removing friends through HTML5.

Google+ Sparks

Google+ Sparks is Google's content recommendation and discovery engine. Users can search different topics and find relevant articles, videos and photos. Users can then share that content with their friends.

More About: gender, Google, Google Plus, sausagefest, trending

For more Social Media coverage:

Celebrity Couple Names Newborn Baby “Bing”

Posted: 14 Jul 2011 06:37 PM PDT

Poor newborn baby Bing. Little does he know — celebrity parents Kate Hudson and Matt Bellamy are likely none the wiser either — that he now commands the same name as the third most popular search engine in the U.S.

Bingham “Bing” Hawn Bellamy, born 7 pounds, 12 ounces on July 9, “popped out after 4.5 hours of intense pushing,” proud papa Bellamy tweeted Thursday.

Bellamy also disclosed the real reason why the couple bestowed the uncommon name on their newborn son. “For those wondering, Bingham is my mum’s maiden name and Bing Russell was Kurt’s dad. Family connections all round!,” he tweeted.

Family connection or not, little Bing may suffer from years of mocking in his teens should Microsoft’s Bing search engine gain enough market share to enter the mainstream consciousness.

But at least Bing won’t be alone — perhaps he’ll make friends with Like, Facebook and Google.

[via People]

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, ScantyNebula

More About: baby, bing, celebrities, microsoft

For more Social Media coverage:

Can Google+ Sustain Growth Beyond Early Adopters?

Posted: 14 Jul 2011 05:27 PM PDT

Already using Google+? Follow Mashable News for the latest about the platform’s new features, tips and tricks as well as our top social media and technology updates.

The Social Analyst is a column by Mashable Editor-at-Large Ben Parr, where he digs into social media trends and how they are affecting companies in the space. You can follow the author on Twitter and Google+.

Give credit to Google: Its strategic and orchestrated launch of Google+ has been nearly flawless.

Early reviews were positive but reserved, thanks to Google’s failure with Google Buzz. Like clockwork though, technology celebrities like Robert Scoble and Kevin Rose starting flooding Google’s social network and singing its praises. Taking a cue from Gmail, Google released invites in small bursts, sparking a clamor for invites across the web.

The result of Google’s carefully planned campaign is an estimated user base of 10 million in just two weeks. More importantly, engagement on Google+ is extremely high, with many reporting they get more responses on Google+ than they do on Twitter or Facebook. It’s clear that Google+ has momentum.

That’s nice, but the momentum is starting to blind Google+ users and the press to reality. Here’s the truth: Google+ is dominated almost entirely by early adopters. And early adopters, while important, are not great predictors of the success of a social network.

Let’s take a trip down memory lane and revisit some social media services that have been embraced by early adopters. What has happened to them and what it might mean for the future of Google+?

The Technology Adoption Lifecycle

Image courtesy of Wikipedia, Natebailey

Many of you have probably heard of the technology adoption lifecycle and Rogers’ bell curve. It is a sociological model developed in the 1950s to predict the normal distribution of technology adoption. Innovators and early adopters make up the first 16% of any given population that accepts a new technology. They are more risk-oriented, tend to be community leaders and aren’t afraid to try new things. However, that still leaves 84% of the population to adopt a new technology.

Let’s put these percentages in the context of Facebook and Google+. Zuckerberg said last week that he believes Facebook has hit critical mass. He also announced that Facebook has 750 million users. For the sake of argument, let’s assume that’s the potential market for the adoption of a social media service. If we do the math, that means that the first 120 million users are early adopters for social networking. That’s a long way from the current 10 million.

Whether you agree with my math or not, it’s clear that Google+ is dominated by an early-adopter crowd. Only early-adopter crowds could make Robert Scoble, Leo Laporte and Kevin Rose among the top ten most popular users on Google+. I even have a term for this phenomenon: The Robert Scoble Effect.

A History of Early Adoption

There’s nothing wrong with early adopters — you need them to test and evangelize your products. Every product starts with early adopters, though some start with a different crowd than others (remember, Facebook started out as a social network for college students).

However, early adopters shouldn’t be used as an indication that a technology product is destined for success. Let’s look at what has happened to a couple of technology products that either are or were once hot with the early adopter community:

FriendFeed: In 2008 and 2009, FriendFeed was all the rage. Its real-time stream and long comment threads were the precursors to the technology now standard on Facebook and Google+. The tech press wrote about it constantly, predicting that it would beat out the competition.

FriendFeed gained a cult-like following, but it never broke out into the mainstream. In 2009, Facebook acquired FriendFeed for $50 million. It was a nice exit, but with companies like Groupon and Zynga filing for IPOs that could be worth more than $20 billion, FriendFeed never turned early adopters into a mainstream audience.

Quora: At the end of last year, nobody could shut up about Quora, the social Q&A startup co-founded by former Facebook CTO Adam D’Angelo. It was in the middle of a perfect storm.

Since then, discussion of Quora has dropped off tremendously, and so has usage of the Q&A site. Follower growth has stalled since May. It also suffers from the Robert Scoble Effect, as the technology enthusiast is still Quora’s most followed user.

Let’s be clear: it’s still too early to make a final judgment on Quora, but the Q&A site is a good example of the fickleness of early adopters.

Twitter: On the other hand, Twitter is a good example of how an early adopter product can go mainstream. Twitter was dominated by early adopters for the longest time. It wasn’t until Ashton Kutcher, Oprah and Shaq joined that the social media service’s growth shot to the moon.

Now Twitter users generate more than 200 million tweets per day, and its most popular users aren’t Robert Scoble or Kevin Rose: it’s Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and Barack Obama.

Buzz: Let’s not forget that Google launched a social product last year, one that received a ton of accolades. We all know how that turned out.

Google Plus

Image courtesy A. Stiffler

Google+ Hasn’t Truly Been Tested

Let’s be clear: We’re not trying to predict the future of Google+ after just two weeks of use. Overall, we like Google+ and think it brings some new ideas to the table. In fact, we’ve been surprised by the engagement we’ve received on Google+ thus far.

Still, all of this can be attributed to the early adopter effect. Is your mom using Google+? Is your sister using Google+? Have your friends in finance or medicine joined the Google+ revolution yet? We bet the answer is a resounding “no” in the vast majority of cases. At least your grandma has heard of Facebook.

So while Google+ may be riding a tidal wave of momentum at the moment, it’s still a toy of the early adopter. And until it can prove that it has a place in a world dominated by more mainstream networks, we suggest not abandoning your Facebook profile just yet.

The Google+ project: A quick look

Google provides an overview of the entire Google+ project.

The Google+ project: Explore Circles

Google+ Circles is Google's take on the friend list or the Twitter list.

The Google+ project: Explore Settings

In this video, Google explores the different settings available on Google+.

The Google+ project: Explore Mobile

Google+ will launch with an Android app. In this video, Google explores the app's features.

The Google+ project: Explore Hangouts

Google+ comes with a group video chat feature called Hangouts. This video explains how it works.

The Google+ project: Explore Sparks

In an attempt to get users to share more content, Google+ includes a feature called Sparks. It provides recommended content based on keywords or topics.

The Google+ project: Circles

In this video, Google talks about the impact of friends and social groups.

The Google+ project: Hangouts

Google talks about spontaneous hangouts in this video.

The Google+ project: Huddle

Google introduces Huddle, the company's group-texting feature.

The Google+ project: Instant Upload

Google+ for mobile includes an instant upload feature for photos and videos. They're uploaded to a private album where they can then be shared from the desktop.

The Google+ project: Sparks

Google talks about exploring interests through Sparks in this video.

More About: Column, facebook, Google, Google Plus, social network, social networking, The Social Analyst, trending, twitter

For more Social Media coverage:

Google+ Users Share 1 Billion Items Per Day, Says Larry Page

Posted: 14 Jul 2011 04:19 PM PDT

Already using Google+? Follow Mashable News for the latest about the platform’s new features, tips and tricks as well as our top social media and technology updates.

Google+ already has 10 million users who share 1 billion items every day, and Google’s +1 button is being hit 2.3 billion times per day, Google CEO Larry Page said Thursday.

Page, speaking to analysts during Google’s second-quarter earnings conference call, also said that 550,000 Android-enabled phones are activated every day and 160 million people use Google’s Chrome web browser.

Page was careful to put those stats, some of which had already been reported, in perspective. Since Google draws the vast majority of its revenues from advertising, products such as Android, Chrome and Google+ are viewed as long-term investments. They can “generate huge new businesses for Google in the long run,” he said.

Nikesh Arora, senior vice president and chief business officer for Google, said that Android’s growth has acted as “an accelerator to our mobile [advertising] efforts.”

Page slices Google’s business into three categories including search/advertising; products that are having strong consumer success, like YouTube, Android and Chrome, and new products like Google+ and Commerce and Local.

Somewhere outside of that are products that Page calls “speculative,” like driverless cars. “We may have a few small speculative projects happening at any given time, but we're very careful stewards of shareholder money,” said Page. “We're not betting the farm on this stuff.”

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, sx70

Screenshots: Inside Google+

Google+ Logo

This is the Google+ logo.

Google+ Icons

The Google+ icons. Starting top left and circling to the right: Circles, Hangouts, Home, Sparks, Profile, Photos.

New Google+ Navigation Bar

All Google sites will sport the new Google+ navigation bar. It includes notifications, profile information and content sharing options.

Google+ Stream

This is the Google+ Stream, where users share content and see what their friends are sharing. It is similar to the Facebook News Feed.

Google+ Circles

Google+ Circles is Google's version of the Facebook friend list or the Twitter List. Users can select multiple friends and drag-and-drop them into groups. This makes it easier to send stuff to friends, family or the entire world.

Google+ Circles Editor

This is the Google+ Circles editor in action. Google has created unique animations for adding and removing friends through HTML5.

Google+ Sparks

Google+ Sparks is Google's content recommendation and discovery engine. Users can search different topics and find relevant articles, videos and photos. Users can then share that content with their friends.

More About: android, Google, google chrome, Google Plus, trending

For more Business & Marketing coverage:

Google+ Mentions Beat Buzz, But Not Facebook Or Twitter [STATS]

Posted: 14 Jul 2011 02:49 PM PDT

If you think the buzz around Google+ is bigger than it was for Google Buzz, then you’re right. But if you think Google+ is monopolizing social media conversation, you’re way off.

That’s the gist of new research from Sysomos, a social media analytics firm. At Mashable‘s request, Sysomos compared the social media chatter for Google Buzz when it launched in February 2010 to Google+’s introduction this summer.

There’s little comparison between the two launches, according to Sysomos. Google Buzz’s social media mentions peaked at 150,00 while Google+ surpassed 250,000 mentions.

Since its launch a couple of weeks ago, Google+ has garnered more than 106,000 mentions in blogs, close to 30,000 news stories, and 1.9 million tweets. Some 85% of those combined mentions were positive. Those findings were published on Sysomos’s blog on Thursday.

Now for the bad news. Google+’s mentions are nowhere near as prevalent as Facebook’s and Twitter’s. Each of those services gets more than twice as many mentions per day as Google+.

Sheldon Levine, community manager for Sysomos, says he was surprised at the findings. “From my perspective, it seemed like everyone was talking about Google+ a lot,” says Levine. “But it could just seem that way inside the social media world.”

Screenshots: Inside Google+

Google+ Logo

This is the Google+ logo.

Google+ Icons

The Google+ icons. Starting top left and circling to the right: Circles, Hangouts, Home, Sparks, Profile, Photos.

New Google+ Navigation Bar

All Google sites will sport the new Google+ navigation bar. It includes notifications, profile information and content sharing options.

Google+ Stream

This is the Google+ Stream, where users share content and see what their friends are sharing. It is similar to the Facebook News Feed.

Google+ Circles

Google+ Circles is Google's version of the Facebook friend list or the Twitter List. Users can select multiple friends and drag-and-drop them into groups. This makes it easier to send stuff to friends, family or the entire world.

Google+ Circles Editor

This is the Google+ Circles editor in action. Google has created unique animations for adding and removing friends through HTML5.

Google+ Sparks

Google+ Sparks is Google's content recommendation and discovery engine. Users can search different topics and find relevant articles, videos and photos. Users can then share that content with their friends.

More About: google buzz, Google Plus, sysomos

For more Social Media coverage:

Foursquare’s Engineering Lead Takes Your Questions, Courtesy of Reddit

Posted: 14 Jul 2011 01:57 PM PDT

Foursquare‘s Employee Number Three, Head of Server Engineering Harry Heymann, took to Reddit Thursday to answer questions about all things related to Foursquare and coding.

Heymann opened himself up to a barrage of queries from Internet nerds who want details on everything from Foursquare’s homebrewed dev solutions to the worst thing about working at the company.

Here’s the condensed highlights of the thread. You can go to Reddit to quiz Heymann on other topics — say, last fall’s epic bout of downtime and the post-mortem that involved an engineering all-nighter and a statement from MongoDB.

What were some of the major technology decisions you made, both good ones and bad ones, which have had the largest impact on Foursquare’s growth?

Harry Heymann: My four biggest technology decisions:

  1. Scala. Nearly our entire server codebase is written in Scala (if you haven’t heard of it, it’s a programming language that is basically what you would get if Java + ML had a baby). This has worked out super well. It enables us to write concise easy to deal with code that is typechecked at compile time. It’s also been a big help with recruiting.
  2. MongoDB. Nearly all of our backend storage is on MongoDB. This has also worked out pretty well. It’s enabled us to scale up faster/easier than if we had rolled our own solution on top of PostgreSQL (which we were using previously). There have been a few roadbumps along the way, but the team at 10gen has been a big help with thing.
  3. Amazon Web Services. Kind of a no-brainer: It’s the default hosting environment for startups these days. Mostly great. I wish the IO (disk) situation there was better.
  4. Lift. A web framework written in Scala. This one is the trickyest. Lift has a lot of cool features we really love but hasn’t seen super wide adoption and it has some rough edges. Still not certain how this will work out in the long run.

What are the best and worst things about working for Foursquare?

HH: Totally cheesy to say, but the best thing about working at Foursquare is the team. We really do have a great group of folks here that are very good at what they do and are all working incredibly hard to help the company succeed.

The worst thing is that Foursquare has invaded my life 24-7. I never stop thinking about it ever. Not being able to turn that off sucks sometimes. Also the pressure to meet our potential is pretty big. Scary sometimes. Don’t want to screw it up.

What kind of internal tools has Foursquare built?

HH: Jason [Liszka] and Jorge [Ortiz] wrote a nifty query DSL that we open sourced a while back called Rogue.

What is your favorite use of the Foursquare API by a third party developer?

HH: 4squareand4yearsago!

Having been involved since the beginning, do you feel there were any disadvantages to being based outside Silicon Valley?

HH: No, not many disadvantages. We had everything we needed for the early stages of our company in NY. We’ve expanded to San Francisco to increase our capacity to bring on great engineers (of which there are many in the Bay Area), but that was only after we grew to a certain scale.

Is it friendly rivalry between you and Gowalla, or more heated than that? I was just wondering.

HH: I think having them around pushed us to build a much better product much faster. Competition keeps you on your toes.

More About: AMA, developers, engineering, foursquare, reddit, server engineering

For more Dev & Design coverage:

Google Shares Soar On Record-Breaking Revenues

Posted: 14 Jul 2011 01:48 PM PDT

Google set a new record for revenue in the second quarter of 2011, beating Wall Street estimates and boosting its share price by double digits.

The search giant earned $9.03 billion in Q2 2011, a 32% increase from Q2 2010. Operating income also increased by 32% to $2.88 billion. Google garnered $2.51 billion in net income for the quarter, up from $1.84 billion in Q2 2010. The numbers are also up from Google’s Q1 results of $8.58 billion in revenue and $2.8 billion in operating income.

69% of the company’s revenue came from Google-owned sites ($6.23 billion), while 28% of Google’s revenue came from AdSense ($2.48 billion). 54% of total revenues were from international business. Google now employs 28,768 people full-time, up from 26,316 in Q1 2011.

At the same time, Google’s overhead is exploding. The company’s costs grew from $4.46 billion to $6.15 billion — an increase of 39% from Q2 2010 to Q2 2011.

Still, investors are very happy with Google’s numbers, with shares rising by 58 points in after hours trading, an increase of 11%. We’re on Google’s investor call, so stay tuned for more details about Google’s record-breaking quarter.

More About: earnings, Google, Google Plus

For more Tech & Gadgets coverage:

Emmy Nominations Showcase Digital Disconnect, Lack of Social TV

Posted: 14 Jul 2011 01:42 PM PDT

The nominations for the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards were announced Thursday, with the HBO miniseries Mildred Pierce and AMC’s Mad Men leading the pack in nominations.

While many of the nominees, like Dexter and Mad Men are Emmy veterans, five of the 12 series nominated for Outstanding Comedy or Outstanding Drama are first timers. For the 12th year in a row, HBO led in nominations, garnering 104 total nods.

And here’s what’s really notable about that: almost none of the nominated shows are viewable on Internet-based TV services, unless you happen to have a cable subscription. Hulu Plus viewers can watch Modern Family or Glee, and Netflix viewers can enjoy Downton Abbey, the PBS/BBC show that won 11 nods. But that’s about it. The division is especially stark in the drama category.

HBO has embraced digital in a big way in 2011 with its HBO Go apps and its HBO Connect social layer. As a result, it’s one of the few networks that can tout the ability for subscribers to watch its Emmy-nominated programs online, on TV or on an iPad. But you still need a cable subscription to access HBO Go.

Where’s the Social Connection?

Looking through the list of nominees, we wanted to see the correlation between what the Academy picks and the most social shows on TV. The only show to cross over onto both lists is Glee.

We’re just now starting to see more large-scale plays for social TV, so perhaps in the future the disconnect won’t be as great.

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences might not have a social TV category (yet), however a number of different social and digital initiatives were recognized in some of the technical categories.

The category, Outstanding Achievement in Interactive Media nominated ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy Sync iPad app,’s Team Coco digital website and the Oscar Digital Experience.


The full list of Emmy nominations is available online, but here are the nominees for Outstanding Drama, Outstanding Comedy and Outstanding Miniseries.

Outstanding Drama Series

  • Boardwalk Empire, HBO
  • Dexter, Showtime
  • Friday Night Lights, DirecTV
  • Game of Thrones, HBO
  • The Good Wife, CBS
  • Mad Men, AMC

Outstanding Comedy Series

  • The Big Bang Theory, CBS
  • Glee, Fox
  • Modern Family, ABC
  • The Office, NBC
  • Parks and Recrecreation, NBC
  • 30 Rock, NBC

Outstanding Miniseries or Movie

  • Cinema Verite, HBO
  • Downtown Abbey, PBS
  • The Kennedys, ReelzChannel
  • Mildred Pierce, HBO
  • The Pillars of the Earth, Starz
  • Too Big to Fail, HBO

What do you think of the 2010-2011 Emmy nominees? Any surprises? Let us know in the comments.

More About: emmy awards, emmy awards 2011, Emmys

For more Media coverage:

Spotify Sound-Off: Users, Celebrities React to Launch

Posted: 14 Jul 2011 01:12 PM PDT

Spotify Users' Reactions

People in the U.S. got their hands on Spotify Thursday — and it didn’t take long for them to post their thoughts about the European music service on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.

Today isn’t the first time celebrities have weighed in on Spotify, which was available in Finland, France, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the UK before the U.S. launch.

In 2009, for example, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg changed his Facebook status to “Spotify is so good.” And in 2010, actress Demi Moore tweeted, “Spotify is the sh*t!”

Below is a sampling of reactions from celebrities, media and other users. How do you feel about Spotify so far?

More About: ashton kutcher, britney spears, celebrities, entertainment, music, spotify, trending

For more Social Media coverage:

Zynga Offered $1 Billion for PopCap, Was Turned Down [REPORT]

Posted: 14 Jul 2011 12:48 PM PDT

On Wednesday, we reported the confirmed acquisition of casual game company PopCap by EA, the gaming giant.

Now, we’ve learned that Zynga may have made a bid to acquire PopCap, as well, and quite a competitive bid, at that.

As EA revealed yesterday, the deal to buy PopCap had a rather complex structure that left PopCap taking home $650 million in cash and up to $550 million in stock and earn-outs. Zynga, on the other hand, reportedly offered PopCap $1 billion upfront in cash.

Now Forbes reports that Zynga, a huge name in social gaming, was planning to take out a line of credit from investor Goldman Sachs to meet the $1 billion offer, according to a source close to the matter.

The startup had only gathered $1.5 billion in cumulative revenue since 2007, according to its recent IPO filing. And since its founding, the company has taken $1 billion in funding, about half of which came in a mammoth round last February and left Zynga valued at around $10 billion.

Zynga has actually been on something of an acquisition spree, snapping up smaller gaming studios at a rate of one per month for the past year or so. However, PopCap was definitely a lofty target, even for one of the biggest successes in casual gaming. We’ll see where this defeat leads Zynga next.

More About: acquisition, popcap, report, Zynga

For more Business & Marketing coverage:

How 9 Food Trucks Use Tech To Drive Business

Posted: 14 Jul 2011 12:24 PM PDT

The Social-Savvy Food Truck Series is supported by the Ben and Jerry’s Scoop Truck. For more information on the scoop truck and where it stops, click here.

We know food trucks are embracing social media, but there’s more to running a food truck than marketing on Twitter and Facebook.

There are trucks all over the country that are going high-tech to launch, build and manage their businesses.

Here’s a look at how food trucks are innovating with marketing tools, productivity apps and the truck design itself.

1. Evernote: Rice Paper Scissors

Friends and street-food vendors Valerie Luu & Katie Kwan founded Rice Paper Scissor, a pop-up food cart in San Francisco. Dealing with the logistics of finding locations, planning a menu, marketing and finance means they need to stay organized, and they use notetaking app Evernote to do so.

On the Evernote blog, they write, "We snap photos of potential locations with Evernote on our iPhone — we can then review and discuss potential locations later." The women also create shopping checklists on the app and religiously check off items and tasks to stay on top of things and within their budget.

"The cool thing about Evernote is that it's this amazing business tool for us, but it's also a place to store and track all sorts of ideas. We keep track of ideas for home decor, writing projects, and conversations with interesting people,” they say.

2. Square: The Meatyballs Mobile

In the world of merchant processing, Square has quickly become a rising star. Just ask the team behind one of the many food trucks that employ the credit card reader on their mobile devices. “We use Square over a traditional POS because it’s simple and we don’t need anything else,” says Angus Gorberg of The Meatyballs Mobile. “The ubiquitous nature of the smartphone means that we don’t have to train new drivers on how to use the app because it’s easy to learn.” Plus, Gorberg says the fact that there are no monthly fees or commitment guidelines and that Square has “tremendous” customer service means Meatyballs won’t be switching from Square any time soon.

As gourmet food trucks knock down the preconceived notion of “street meat,” digital tools like Square make running a mobile business much easier and more efficient, since you don’t have to waste time counting cash or getting change from the bank. “It adds a great tech element to the experience, and we would be super disappointed if we couldn’t get our balls into the mouths of the cashless,” says Gorberg.

3. Intuit GoPayment: Chi’Lantro BBQ

Korean BBQ joint Chi’Lantro went digital just in time for this year’s SXSW conference. Like Square, Intuit‘s GoPayment offers a free card reader (with no monthly fee) that works on more than 40 mobile devices. Intuit worked with the popular Austin food truck, which hit up various SXSW hotspots, offering 25-cent tacos to those who followed the truck on Twitter and paid by credit card.

Jae Kim, owner and founder of Chi’Lantro BBQ, says the promotion was a win-win and is proud that his food truck uses iPads and Androids as credit card machines, which is convenient both for the business and the customer.

4. Mobile Meteor: Frying Dutchmen

Mobile Meteor is a company that helps businesses create mobile websites. The rise of the food truck, though, has expanded their business, and now it has functionality that works with a food truck's existing Twitter account. Food trucks, such as New York’s Frying Dutchmen, for example, send a tweet to @Mvendor with "#open" plus the truck's address, and a pin automatically appears on a map on the business's mobile website. Tweeting with “#closed” removes the location on the map. Truck owners can also use a web app and their smartphone’s internal GPS to update the truck map, without having to log in to Facebook or Twitter. Click here to see a Prezi that explains how Mobile Meteor works.

Since Twitter and Facebook are blocked at a lot of businesses (especially at financial firms in neighborhoods like Midtown Manhattan), Mobile Meteor provides another way for trucks to share their ever-changing locations with hungry customers — on their smartphones.

5. Paperlinks: Austin Food Carts

Another SXSW food truck and tech integration came from QR-code startup Paperlinks — apparently digital-food partnerships happen when digital natives are crammed into a food truck mecca for a week. By scanning a branded QR-code sticker for Austin Food Carts, SXSW-goers could access a list of truck locations, a Twitter feed and information about the Austin food truck scene.

Paperlinks provides QR-code marketing solutions for individuals and businesses — the company has a self-serve online platform for creating a QR-code, a QR-code scanning app (although the codes scan with any QR-code reader) and design and printing services for designer QR-codes and large-scale campaigns, like the one at SXSW. Paperlinks is in talks with other food carts in L.A. and San Francisco.

6. Make Your Own App: Schnitzel and Things

Looking to order your favorite food truck dish? There’s an app for that. In fact, some food trucks make their own app for the customer’s convenience. Digitally savvy New York food truck Schnitzel and Things has an app on which you can place your schnitzel order and find out where to pick it up, since the truck location changes daily.

Looking to make your own app? Here are some tools to help you do so.

7. Mobi Munch: Nom Nom Truck

Mobi Munch is a one-stop shop for would-be food truck entrepreneurs. They can purchase mobile food infrastructure, learn how to use social media tools, design a menu, have access to human resources tools and get tips on how to scout and reserve locations. The package has a $125,000 price tag, which is apparently a reasonable price for a food truck concept. Like we said, it’s a one-stop shop, and several prominent food trucks were built on the structure, including Nom Nom Truck, one of Los Angeles’ most popular snack mobiles.

8. Digital Menu Board: Jack in the Box

While many food trucks keep it simple and write a chalk menu each day — perhaps even changing menu items daily — one food truck has the deep pockets to finance something a bit snazzier. Fast food chain Jack in the Box has a 34′-long Munchie Mobile food truck that boasts a 47-inch digital menu board. Obviously the advantage of a digital menu board as opposed to a chalk one is that the images can change. So what does Jack’s digital display show? Spokesperson Brian Luscumb admits that it’s pretty static and lists menu items, pricing and food shots. However, if the Munchie Mobile is at an event or running a promotion — like when the truck team was giving away free tacos at a March of Dimes event — then screen can be updated to reflect the offerings.

There’s a lot of potential for digital menu boards, as a food truck can display Twitter feeds, YouTube footage, truck locations and photos of the staff and consumers — it’s a blank canvas on which food trucks can get really creative and ramp up branding efforts.

9. Tapviva: La Cocina

Tapviva’s three co-founders lived in the Bay Area when they got fed up with waiting in line for ten minutes at Starbucks. It occurred to them: Why can’t we order and pay ahead of time on our phones, pick up our coffees and go? Basically, they wanted their food to wait for them, not the other way around.

Tapviva is currently running at La Cocina, a non-profit that helps mostly low-income Latina women start food businesses. Beginning next week, the Tapviva mobile ordering solution is going live at several La Cocina-affiliated carts and kiosks in the San Francisco area. The Tapviva platform will be onboard a grilled cheese cart that’s opening in Central Park this summer — Manhattan yuppies can have their grilled cheese prepped for them without having to pause their frisbee game. Tapviva’s pre-ordering system is reminiscent of the Zingle text-message ordering service, which will also be launching on New York food trucks later this year.

What other digital integrations have you seen on tech-savvy food trucks? Let us know in the comments.

Series Supported by Ben and Jerry’s Scoop Truck

The Social-Savvy Food Truck Series is supported by the Ben and Jerry’s Scoop Truck. In New York City or San Francisco and want a free scoop? Follow @BenJerrysTruck and @BenJerrysWest for details!

Images courtesy of Flickr, Patrick Giblin, and Jack in the Box

More About: evernote, facebook, GoPayment, intuit, mobile apps, paperlinks, Social-Savvy Food Truck Series, Square, tapviva, twitter

For more Tech & Gadgets coverage:

Why a Startup Visa Category Would Create U.S. Jobs [OPINION]

Posted: 14 Jul 2011 12:00 PM PDT

This post reflects the opinions of the author and not necessarily those of Mashable as a publication.

money imageBill Clark is the CEO of Microventures, a securities broker/dealer that uses crowdfunding to allow investors to invest between $1,000 and $10,000 in startups online. You can follow him on Twitter @austinbillc.

Every day around the globe, ideas are generated, startups are conceived, and founders want to come to the United States to launch their companies — it's the proverbial American dream. However, our current immigration policies have prevented many foreign-born startup founders from remaining in the U.S. And as they leave, they take innovative ideas and jobs with them.

But there’s a movement underway for a “startup visa” — a classification that would make it easier for foreign entrepreneurs to establish businesses in the U.S.

How a Startup Visa Classification Would Work

The legislation, originally proposed in 2010 by Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), and reintroduced this past March, would allow a foreign entrepreneur to receive a two-year visa if he can show that a qualified U.S. investor is willing to put money into his startup.

Under the proposed legislation, the entrepreneurs would have three options for which to secure a U.S. visa:

Option One:

Foreign entrepreneurs living outside the U.S. would be eligible to apply for a startup visa if a qualified U.S. investor agrees to financially sponsor their entrepreneurial venture with a minimum investment of $100,000. After two years, their business must have created five new jobs and raised not less than $500,000 in additional capital investment, or generate not less than $500,000 in revenue.

Option Two:

Foreign entrepreneurs currently in the U.S. on a valid H-1B visa, OR foreign entrepreneurs currently residing in the U.S. who have completed a graduate level degree in science, technology, engineering, math, computer science and have an annual income of $30,000 (or $60,000 in assets) would be eligible to apply for a startup visa if they also have a qualified U.S. investor invest a minimum of $20,000. After two years, their business must have created three new jobs and raised not less than $100,000 in additional capital investment or generate not less than $100,000 in revenue.

Option Three:

Foreign entrepreneurs living outside the U.S. would be eligible to apply for a startup visa if they have a controlling interest in a company in a foreign country that has generated not less than $100,000 in revenue from sales in the U.S. during the most recent 12-month period. After two years, their business must have created three new jobs and raised not less than $100,000 in additional capital investment, or generate not less than $100,000 in revenue.

Why It’s Important

More high-tech entrepreneurial jobs will certainly be created in the coming years. The Startup Visa Act aims to ensure that they be created and retained in the United States.

Investor and entrepreneur Brad Feld gives an example of a company called Vanilla, which was a part of his Techstars accelerator program based in Colorado. After the accelerator program concluded, the co-founders of Vanilla we not able to secure the appropriate visa to stay in the U.S. to continue their work. Although U.S. investors were quite interested in the startup concept, they were tentative to invest given the instability created by the founders’ visa statuses.

Because of current immigration laws, the co-founders of Vanilla were unable to secure a visa and departed the U.S., relocating the startup in Canada. Since that time, they've raised $500,000 and created three jobs to support the startup, with a plan to add more as the business grows. Those jobs most certainly could have been filled by U.S. workers, especially since the Colorado accelerator program put time, talent and effort into mentoring and supporting their concept.

Here is a quote from President Obama on foreign entrepreneurs and the prospects of a startup visa classification:

"If we've got smart people who want to come here and start businesses and are PhDs in math and science and computer science, why don't we want them to say? I mean, why would we want to send them someplace else? So those are potential job creators. Those are job generators. I think about somebody like an Andy Grove of Intel. We want more Andy Groves here in the United States … We don't want them starting Intel in China or starting it in France. We want them starting it here."

How to Support the Startup Visa Initiative

So what can you do to help? You can contact your local congressional representative to let them know that you support the proposed bill. You can also sign this letter supporting the Startup Visa Act. The startup visa website also has more information on what you can do, along with updates on the bill.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, belterz

More About: economy, government, immigration, law, legal, Opinion, startups

For more Startups coverage: Helps Food Fans Share What Tastes Good

Posted: 14 Jul 2011 11:13 AM PDT

A new mobile app for iPhone and Android hopes to make it easy for people to share what they are eating, while rating what food is good — and what dishes to avoid. bills itself as a cross between Foursquare and Yelp. The idea behind the app is to allow people to share “what’s good here” at a restaurant they’re visiting. Users can take photos, rate items or dishes, leave additional tips or comments and share their experience with their friends on Facebook or Twitter.

Visually, the app, which is available for Android and iPhone [iTunes link], is similar to Instagram or Path.

You can see a feed of what your friends have shared to the service, including a picture of the dish, its name, a star rating and the name of the restaurant. Tapping on an entry opens up a place to read a caption or review and to see any comments or likes associated with a post.

To share what you are eating, there is a Nosh location button on the app, similar to Foursquare, where users can add in a menu item, photo and review. Nosh already has 150,000 menus, 475,000 restaurants and 10 million menu items in its database. is the first app from the Google Ventures-backed Firespotter Labs. Led by Craig Walker (former co-founder of GrandCentral, which went on to become Google Voice), Firespotter’s goal is to tackle big industry segments (like the restaurant industry) that have been resistant to modernization. “The restaurant dining experience today is essentially the same as it was 50 years ago,” Walker told me.

Recognizing the power of friend recommendations and reviews, as well as our collective love of food photography, was born.

The idea, while compelling, isn’t unique. Forkly has a similar aim. However, despite some early buzz, that product has failed to launch. Moreover, existing startups like Foodspotting are focused on creating visual experiences for food lovers. In an ironic twist of fate, I actually attempted to purchase the domain name in February, for a food app idea that I had.

Still, there is something compelling about not just looking at photos of food, but commenting on and sharing those photos and the quality of the dish itself. As a way to streamline the discovery process, we think has real potential.

More About: Android apps, Food, food photography, foodspotting, iphone apps,, yelp

For more Startups coverage:

How the Web & Daily Deals Have Changed Coupons [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted: 14 Jul 2011 10:44 AM PDT

There’s no denying it: The advent of the daily deal has changed the way bargain hunters shop.

In the tech and social media world, daily deals have become a bandwagon of sorts — something every other startup has been tacking onto their offerings to start generating revenue.

And generate revenue they do. These web-based coupons are the sole business of Groupon, which just saw an astoundingly profitable IPO.

But where did consumers’ love for daily deals come from? After all, we’ve come a long way from our coupon-clipping heyday in the 1960s, when around half of American consumers clipped paper coupons from grocery store circulars.

And although the use of digital coupons, including web, mobile and other innovative media types, has skyrocketed, daily deals have continued to make great strides since their 2004 launch with Woot, the site that started the daily deal craze.

Here’s a look at the changes coupons have seen, along with data on the rise of daily deals.

Click image to see larger version.

Top image courtesy of iStockphoto, webphotographeer

More About: coupon, daily deals, infographic

For more Business & Marketing coverage:

Harry Potter and the Social Media Surge

Posted: 14 Jul 2011 10:26 AM PDT

The Summer Blockbuster Series analyzes the social media campaigns behind major summer movie releases and runs each Thursday.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, the final film in the uber-successful Harry Potter film franchise, opens in the United States on Friday, July 15, 2011.

The film series has generated billions at the box office, and with the eighth installment, Warner Bros. has kicked up its social media marketing game. In addition to the official site at, the following social networks are being used to promote the film.


Warner Bros. has long maintained a solid Facebook presence for the Harry Potter film series. With Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, the studio ramped up its efforts in engagement and in Facebook app features.

Nearly 29 million users have “liked” the Harry Potter Facebook Page, with a big chunk of those users “liking” in just the past week.

The Independent reported on the surge in Facebook “like” activity in the days leading up to the film’s London premiere. In the week before the premiere (which occurred on July 7, 2011), the Harry Potter Facebook Page gained nearly 100,000 new fans per day.

That kind of growth is spurred by a page that frequently posts images, behind-the-scenes tidbits, interviews with stars, links to coverage on other media outlets and movie trailers.

In a particularly nice touch, Warner Bros. Entertainment has created local Facebook fan pages for a variety of different countries and languages.

The studio also allows fans to rent and watch past Harry Potter films right on Facebook.


The @HarryPotterFilm Twitter account isn’t as active as the Facebook Page (it had 343,000 followers at the time of this writing), but the crew managing the account does a good job engaging with users, sharing links to interview and media articles and posting photos.

At the New York premiere of Deathly Hallows, photos from the even were live-tweeted using TwitPic.

Harry Potter as a brand is very popular on Twitter, with character names and various memes involving the series frequently becoming trending topics.


For Deathly Hallows Part 2, the Harry Potter franchise embraced YouTube big time.

In addition to the assortment of trailer uploads and fan-made spoofs, the Harry Potter YouTube channel has been used as a repository for official clips, TV spots and interviews.

The red carpet from the London premiere of Deathly Hallows Part 2 was livestramed on YouTube, as well as on other video streaming services like Ustream and Livesream.

The YouTube page contains a special highlight reel from the premiere, as well.

The YouTube page was designed in such a way that it shows off not only videos from the channel, but gives fans access to real-time updates from Facebook and Twitter from official feeds, members of the cast, fan sites and the Harry Potter: The Quest web game.

The tool, built by thisMoment is also accessible from the Harry Potter Facebook Page. It’s a great way to keep users engaged with what people are saying on YouTube, commenting on Twitter and posting to Facebook, while also tying in the official feeds.


Online ticketing for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 is being heavily promoted via social channels. Not only do ticket sites like Fandango and have their own Harry Potter campaigns, but Warner Bros. has integrated a slick Facebook ticketing app into the main Harry Potter Facebook Page.

The Harry Potter ticketing app is similar to other Facebook ticketing apps we’ve seen in the past. It allows users to not only find showtimes and buy tickets, but also invite friends and share their ticket purchases on Facebook.

Fan Sites and Pottermore

The success of Harry Potter is due in no small part to its loyal fan base. The fan communities surrounding Harry Potter have been used to help keep the film promoted across the web.

Fan sites like The Leaky Cauldron and MuggleNet post a frequently updated stream of news and information not just to the main webpages, but also to Facebook and Twitter.

These sites also run contests and promotions to keep the masses enthused and engaged. The sites also played a role in hyping another Harry Potter announcement.

Last month, J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter books, announced Pottermore, a fan-centric online experience for the Harry Potter book series. Rowling has started to tweet out previews of the site, which will open to a limited audience at the end of July and to the public in October.

Social media, or at least, social gaming, seems to be a central part of Pottermore and though this network isn’t directly tied to the film, the announcement was obviously timed to coincide with the final film’s release.

Box Office Impact

We won’t know the full impact of the media campaign until the first box office receipts start to pour in, but if past performance is any indicator, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 will be a huge hit.

Let us know your thoughts on the social media campaign surrounding the film in the comments.

More About: facebook, fandango, harry potter, harry potter and the deathly hallows part 2, summer blockbuster, Summer Blockbuster Series, twitter, youtube

For more Media coverage:

Jawbone’s Next Frontier: Improving Your Health

Posted: 14 Jul 2011 10:10 AM PDT

Jawbone, the wireless gadget maker known for its headsets and more recently its speakers, is moving into a new area: health. On Wednesday, the company announced UP, a bracelet that connects to a mobile app to monitor your diet, sleep and exercise and make actionable recommendations.

The company is being coy on the details of the product, which will launch later this year, but Jawbone CEO Hosain Rahman sat down with Mashable at TED Global in Edinburgh, Scotland to discuss the vision behind UP.

Rahman notes the opportunity is largely a result of today's lifestyles, with diseases that we contribute to causing (like diabetes and heart disease) now occurring with more regularity than communicable diseases (at least in the U.S.). The solution, he says, needs to be something that seamlessly integrates into our busy lives. "You have to make it easy. I need something that works in the context of my lifestyle and tells me what to do," he said.

To that end, the UP bracelet will automatically track your sleep patterns, movements and nutrition and provide that data to an app that in turn monitors and makes recommendations for improving your health. The first version, however, will require you to attach your bracelet to your phone to transfer data.

There will also be some social hooks. "To me this is the killer app for social because if you look at the motivation statistics, we get motivated and demotivated by the people around us," Rahman said.

From its description, UP appears to be a competitor to devices like the FitBit, though it would seem the device's form factor — a wristband you put on, wear 24×7 and forget about — as a differentiator. Rahman said, "[I'm] not super familiar with a lot of those products. Our focus [is] how do you get something that someone will always be on and use … not try to replace their watch or change behavior."

The company will have a big warchest with which to go after the health market. Earlier in the week, Jawbone announced a fresh $70 million round of funding from JP Morgan, bringing the Jawbone's total funding to $170 million.

Image courtesy of James Duncan Davidson / TED

More About: fitness, health, jawbone, TED, ted global

For more Tech & Gadgets coverage:

Murdochs To Cooperate With British Phone Hacking Probe [REPORT]

Posted: 14 Jul 2011 09:57 AM PDT

Rupert Murdoch and his son, James Murdoch, will give evidence to a parliamentary committee in Britain next week over phone hacking charges, according to a report.

The two, who are U.S. citizens, had initially decided to skip the July 19 hearing and send former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks in their stead, according to reports. But now SkyNews is saying that the two will appear before the Culture, Media and Sport Committee.

“We are in the process of writing to the select committee with the intention that Mr. James Murdoch and Mr. Rupert Murdoch will attend next Tuesday’s meeting,” a News Corp. spokesman is quoted as saying in the article. James Murdoch (pictured) is the chairman and CEO of News Corp. in Europe and Asia. Rupert Murdoch is the chairman/CEO of News Corp.

News Corp. shuttered News of the World last week after The Guardian reported that NOTW reporters had hacked the phone of a missing girl in hopes of scoops. Since then, other phone hacking allegations have also surfaced, derailing News Corp.’s planned takeover of BSkyB and uniting British public opinion against the company and the Murdochs.

In the U.S., some members of Congress, including Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, and Sen. David Rockefeller, D-W.Va., have called for an investigation of possible misconduct by Murdoch’s U.S. operations. Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., has also called on the FBI to probe allegations that News Corp. reporters hacked the phones of victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

More About: james murdoch, News Corp, News of the world, phone hacking, rupert murdoch

For more Media coverage:

Spotify: A Hands-On Look at the Desktop App

Posted: 14 Jul 2011 09:34 AM PDT

Spotify has finally hit the U.S. — after years of waiting — and as invites roll out and more folks pony up the cash for Premiere and Unlimited, the service is spreading.

Check out the streaming music product that’s had the web buzzing in our walkthrough below.

The gallery only includes the desktop product, which has deeper social integrations and functions than the mobile iteration. Still, that doesn’t mean that the mobile device isn’t a stellar contender in the music subscription space — complete with easy, fast search within its 15 million-song catalog, playlisting and support for offline listening.

We’ll have more on Spotify‘s other device iterations later, but for now check out the hands-on and let us know in the comments: Will you make the switch to Spotify?

Listen To All Your Music In One Place

When you first log into Spotify, you'll be asked to sync all of your MP3s. This means that you can listen to your entire iTunes library within Spotify, which will find and match all tracks within its library for use across devices. You can still listen to tracks that Spotify doesn't have within the service as long as you're using a device on which the track is locally stored.


This process will take a long time if you have a lot of music on your computer.

Facebook Integration

Connect your Spotify and Facebook accounts to unlock the social layer of the service.

Make a Profile

Spotify pulls in your Facebook info to create a public profile within the service.

Determine What People Can See

You can control what people can see on your profile.

Check Out Friends' Music

Here's Christina Warren's profile. I can see what playlists she's created and what artists and songs she's into.

Share To Facebook

Facebook is sure to be a big marketing tool for Spotify, as the service prompts you to share activity to Facebook quite often.

Make a Playlist

Making playlists is extremely easy, reminiscent of the function in iTunes. Simply search for tunes and then drag and drop them into your playlist. Make sure to make playlists available for offline listening on your mobile device.

Share Your Playlist

You can share your playlist to Facebook, Twitter and SMS.

Friends Can See It In Your Stream

Only friends who have Spotify can listen to my playlist.

Activity Feed

Spotify features a feed of all friends' and Spotify activity.

New Releases

Check out new releases for listening.

Share Songs

Send songs and albums to friends within Spotify.

Subscribe to Playlists

And check out their musical tastes by subscribing to their playlists, which will appear on your mobile device as well.

Christina Receives the Song

I hope she digs Yuck.

More About: music, music app, spotify

For more Media coverage:

Street Artist’s Participatory Art Project Takes Shape Around the World [VIDEOS]

Posted: 14 Jul 2011 09:23 AM PDT

In the months since TED Prize Winner JR's global participatory art project was announced, nearly 10,000 huge posters created from photos submitted by people around the world have been sent out as the French artist looks to transform urban landscapes with portraits.

Now, JR is starting to document what he calls the Inside Out Project through video uploaded by those that have taken to his call to action and pasted their portraits in the streets.

The YouTube channel, launched Thursday at TED Global in Edinburgh, Scotland, also includes a short film by Director Alastair Siddons, who will be releasing one new video each month documenting the project. The first film in the series shows how the project evolved in Tunisia following the country's recent revolution.

You can see some of the videos below, with projects taking place in locations ranging from Bronx, NY to Lima, Peru:

Los Angeles, CA

New York, NY

Greene Hill, Brooklyn

São Paulo, Brazil

Lima, Peru

Kensington, PA

Paris, France

South Bronx, NY

Warwick, NY

Palo Alto, CA

Manchester, England

Image courtesy of James Duncan Davidson / TED

More About: art, TED, ted global

For more Social Good coverage:

Is Purchasing Power the Best Way To Help Good Causes? [OPEN THREAD]

Posted: 14 Jul 2011 09:16 AM PDT

social responsibility

Since writing about Sevenly on Tuesday, we observed one constant from your comments: People appreciate the integration of social responsibility into business models. Brands gain loyalty from consumers when they see a thoughtful process behind each product.

These socially responsible brands help bring philanthropy into mainstream culture. Wearing a pair of TOMS shoes makes a statement, informing onlookers that you support sending shoes to underprivileged kids. But purchasing shoes or a t-shirt that support a charitable cause is not the same as making a flat contribution. When you spend $24 on a Sevenly t-shirt, only $7 goes to charity.

Through your feedback, you told us about several other producers that integrate social causes into their business models. We learned about Kno Clothing, Rosa Loves, Moral Fibers, Sam Soul, TanQ, I Wear Your Shirt and Shop With Meaning. Given the popularity of these models, we had this to ask:

Question: Are you more likely to buy brands connected with charities, and how much good do those brands really do?

Share your thoughts and join the conversation in the comments below.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, skystardream

More About: brand, non-profit, open thread, sevenly, shopping, social buying, social good, social responsibility, toms shoes

For more Social Good coverage:

5 Chrome Extensions That Improve Google+

Posted: 14 Jul 2011 09:01 AM PDT

Already using Google+? Follow Mashable News for the latest about the platform’s new features, tips and tricks as well as our top social media and technology updates.

Google+ has launched to great aplomb, but its “project” status means some tools have yet to be developed. While Google works on adding more features, some available Chrome extensions can fill the functionality gap.

Whether you want to get better notifications, enjoy improved sharing options, or scroll through your stream more quickly, there’s an extension available — for free — to help.

Take a look through the gallery for five tried and tested picks that will help you be more productive on Plus. Let us know in the comments about other Chrome Extensions you’ve found useful — they may end up in a future gallery.

1. G+ Count in Title: Add a Notification Count to Your Google+ Tab

A simple but useful option, this extension adds a counter to your Google+ page tab so you can see at a glance how many new posts you have to view.

2. G+ Extended: Add Shortcuts

Simple and very unobtrusive, this extension adds more shortcuts, as well as offering one-press "+1" options, when a post is highlighted you can press "e" to expand all the comments or "s" for quick sharing options.

3. Helper For Google+: Get Desktop Notifications

This extension has tweaked search and also lets you share to Twitter. Helper gives you desktop notifications for new Google+ posts with a little pop-up window or an audio alert option. There's also a "translate" button, which some may find useful.

4. +Comment Toggle: Hide Comments

If your stream is busy, then this extension will save you some precious scrolling time. It automatically hides all comments on a post, reducing the on-screen info to a simple comment tally (which you can choose to expand if you wish.)

5. Extended Share For Google+: Share Plus Posts to Other Networks

This handy extension expands your sharing options. It adds a "Share on..." button that gives you the ability to quickly and easily share a Plus post to Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

More About: chrome, Chrome Extensions, Google, google chrome, Google Lists, Google Plus, Google Plus Lists, List, trending

For more Social Media coverage:

What’s the Appeal of Freelancing? [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted: 14 Jul 2011 08:43 AM PDT

Why would you become a freelancer?

Is it the allure of working in your PJs? Of not having any supervisor? Is it working from home or a nearby cafe?

Whatever the reason may be for you, the freelance life appeals to many folks.

In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, 10.3 million workers in the U.S. (around 7.4% of the U.S. workforce) are freelancers, and companies have increased their use of freelance talent by 22% in the past three years, largely due to the influence of the Internet.

SEE ALSO: Designers: Try This Gorgeous Project Management App for Freelancers

In fact, one aspect of freelancing is so attractive that companies are incorporating it into full-time work: the ability to work from home.

Yet another trend supporting the rise of freelancing is the coworking space, a relatively recent innovation that gives freelancers and others a comfortable, convenient and collaborative shared office space without the associated pressures and mundanity of, well, Office Space.

Here’s a look at some survey data showing just why many folks are choosing to freelance, either in addition to full-time employment or as their sole source of income.

Click image to see full-size version.

Top image courtesy of iStockphoto, alvarez

More About: freelance, freelancer

For more Dev & Design coverage:

New Sony Ereader to Hit Market in August [REPORT]

Posted: 14 Jul 2011 08:27 AM PDT

The U.S. ereader market is heating up with a planned revamp by a major player, Sony.

The Japanese consumer electronics giant is planning to launch an upgraded Sony Reader, which will be priced at $180 to $300, “probably” in August, according to Bloomberg. The device, designed to compete with Amazon’s Kindle, will hit the market before Sony’s tablet PCs, which are scheduled to go on sale later this year. Sony plans to incorporate its ebook technology into the two Android-based tablets, code-named S1 and S2.

Update: A Sony rep says the Bloomberg story is inaccurate. “We have not released any pricing, timing or features of a new Sony Reader,” the Sony rep says.

An upgraded Sony Reader would vie with the current category leader, Amazon’s Kindle, but also with Barnes & Noble’s Nook and the iriver Story HD, the first ereader to use Google’s eBooks platform, which goes on sale at Target this week. All those devices retail for $139.

In addition, Barnes & Noble has two tiers of ereaders, including the Simple Touch and its Nook Color, which has the functionality of a tablet PC. Amazon is also reported to be working on a tablet PC, which should hit the market sometime before October.

Image courtesy of Flickr, Ian Muttoo

More About: barnes & noble, ereaders, Google, iRiver, Kindle, nook color, simple touch reader, sony

For more Tech & Gadgets coverage:

Klout Offers Spotify Invites as Perk to Online Influencers

Posted: 14 Jul 2011 08:05 AM PDT

Klout Offers Spotify Invites as Perk to Online Influencers

The people at Klout headquarters recently got a sneak peek at Spotify — the highly praised European music service that launched in the U.S. today — and now they’re giving away 100,000 invites via their Klout Perks platform.

Klout users can check whether they have a high enough Klout score to nab an invite here.

If you qualify for the Klout Perk, you will be dubbed a “U.S Spotify Ambassador” and receive a code to launch your Spotify account. Additionally, if you get five friends to sign up for Klout, you will receive a one-month trial of Spotify’s premium version.

Klout is just one brand boosting Spotify’s profile in the U.S. As one of Spotify’s first advertisers, Chevrolet handed out 150,000 invites on its Facebook Page. Coca-Cola, Sprite, Motorola, Reebok, Sonos and The Daily also are launch partners and will release Spotify campaigns within the next few months.

Not quite sure what Spotify is? Watch this video to learn more about the music service:

More About: klout, music, spotify

For more Social Media coverage:

Back to the top