Thursday, 22 September 2011

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Gmail for Mobile Gets Multiple Sign-in”

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Gmail for Mobile Gets Multiple Sign-in”

Gmail for Mobile Gets Multiple Sign-in

Posted: 22 Sep 2011 04:47 AM PDT

Google has upgraded Gmail for mobile with a couple of long-awaited features, including multiple sign-in.

The feature, which has been present in the desktop version of Gmail for about a year, lets users sign into several Gmail accounts at the same time — very convenient for those who often need to switch between one or more personal and business accounts.

To sign into another account, click on the account switcher at the bottom of the app’s thread list. Then you can choose to either sign into an another account, sign out of all accounts, or switch between the accounts you’ve already signed into.

Other new features of note include a vacation auto-responder, which can now be set up from the mobile version of Gmail, and creating a special mobile signature that makes it clear you’re responding to an email from a mobile device.

To try the new features, simply go to on your smartphone or tablet’s browser.

More About: e-mail, email, gmail, Google, Mobile, sign-in

Electric Tron Lightcycle Is Street-Legal & Amazing [VIDEO]

Posted: 22 Sep 2011 12:50 AM PDT

There’s no denying it: every Tron fan pictured himself on one of those amazingly designed, super-fast bikes from the movie. Parker Brothers Choppers turned that dream into reality a year ago, when they created the first Tron Lightcycle, but now they’ve taken it a step further and turned the gas-guzzling beast into an electric bike.

The all-new Electric Tron Lightcycle is powered by a 96 volt electric motor and lithium ion batteries. Its top speed is in excess of 100 mph, and its range is 100 miles on a single range, with a mere 35-minute recharge time.

As for practicality, we’re not experts on motorcycles, but it does seem a bit hard to ride. We guess it’s a small price to pay for the looks you’ll be getting when riding this beauty — especially at night, when the bike lights up just like the one in the movie. .

Pricing and availability are unknown at this point, but as a reference, the old, gas-powered version costs close to $55,000. Check out a video of the Electric Tron Lightcycle in action below.

[Parker Brothers via Gizmag]

More About: electric bike, Gadgets, lightcycle, motorcycle, TRON

Find a Job in Social Media, Communications or Design

Posted: 22 Sep 2011 12:25 AM PDT

If you’re seeking a job in social media, we’d like to help out. For starters, Mashable‘s Job Lists section gathers all our resource lists, how-tos and expert guides to help you get hired. In particular, you might want to see our articles, How to Leverage Social Media for Career Success and How to Find a Job on Twitter.

But we’d like to help in a more direct way, too. Mashable‘s job boards are a place for socially savvy companies to find people like you. This week and every week, Mashable features its coveted job board listings for a variety of positions on the web, social media space and beyond. Have a look at what's good and new on our job boards:

Mashable Job Postings

Community Intern at Mashable in New York, NY.

Graphic Design Intern at Mashable in New York, NY.

Editorial Intern at Mashable in New York, NY.

Tech Reporter at Mashable in San Francisco, CA.

Editorial Assistant at Mashable in New York, NY.

Mashable Job Board Listings

Web Developer at Design At Work in Houston, TX.

Social Media Specialist at Next Day Blinds in Jessup, MD.

Social Media Strategy Director at Likeable in Boston, MA.

Director of Paid Search Marketing at TrueAction Network in New York, NY.

Email Marketing Associate at TrueAction Network in New York, NY.

Social Media Director at Every Mother Counts in Washington, D.C.

Website Editor (Flexible) at Teach For America in New York, NY.

Video Producer (Flexible; East Coast preferred) at Teach For America in New York, NY.

SEO Manager – RetailMeNot at WhaleShark Media in Austin, TX.

Email Campaign Manager at BeachMint in Santa Monica, CA.

Digital Insights Analyst at VML in Kansas City, MO.

Senior Strategist at Euro RSCG 4D in New York, NY.

Art Director – Digital at Edelman in Chicago, IL.

Social Media Manager at Horizon Media in New York, NY.

Project & Content Manager, Business Sales at Williams-Sonoma, Inc. in San Francisco, CA.

Associate Digital Producer – Xbox Social Media at roundhouse in Seattle, WA.

Lead C++ or Java Developer at PayPal in Scottsdale, AZ.

Customer Support Manager at SocialFlow in New York, NY.

Digital Director at Syndicate Media Group in New York, NY.

Senior Account Executive/Digital Strategist at Syndicate Media Group in New York, New NY.

Account Director at David All Group in Washington, D.C.

Web Designer at Straight North in Oak Brook, IL.

Interactive Marketing Director of Social Media at Realogy Coporation, LLC in Parsippany, New NJ.

Software Developer (LA & Seattle) at Hulu in Los Angeles, CA.

Technology Director at World Science Festival in New York, NY.

Director of Analytics at Arkadium in New York, NY.

Associate Games Analyst at Arkadium in New York, NY.

Associate Editor, One Day Alumni Magazine at Teach For America in New York, NY.

Quality Assurance Analyst at The Cimarron Group/ Cimarron Digital in Los Angeles, CA.

Digital Production Manager at The Cimarron Group/Cimarron Digital in Los Angeles, CA.

Senior Software Engineer at in NY.

Vice President – Digital at Edelman PR in Los Angeles, CA.

Front End Engineer – RetailMeNot at WhaleShark Media in Austin, TX.

Social Media Strategist at On Ideas in Jacksonville, FL.

Technical Campaign Manager at in Berkeley, CA.

Release Manager at Synacor in Buffalo, NY.

Systems Administrator, Email Operations at Synacor in Buffalo, NY.

Social Tech Developer at M THIRTY Communications in Toronto, Canada.

Digital Sales Associate at SD Media in Corte Madera, CA.

Assistant Sales Planner at Glam Media, Inc. in Brisbane, CA.

VP Marketing- Member Engagement at Rue La La in Boston, MA.

Head of Product Licensing at Quirky in New York, NY.

Director – Marketing ABC News Digital at DisneyABC Television Group in New York, NY.

Senior Software Engineer (.NET) at Everyday Health in New York, NY.

Freelance Technology Writer at Demand Media Studios in Austin, TX.

Business Intelligence Analyst at Performics in Chicago, IL.

VP / Director, Planning and Insights at Performics in Chicago, IL.

Search Marketing Specialist at EMBANET COMPASS KNOWLEDGE GROUP in Elk Grove Village, IL.

Search Marketing Specialist at EMBANET COMPASS KNOWLEDGE GROUP in Orlando, FL.

Mashable‘s Job Board has a variety of web 2.0, application development, business development and social networking job opportunities available. Check them out here.

Find a Web 2.0 Job with Mashable

Got a job posting to share with our readers? Post a job to Mashable today ($99 for a 30 day listing) and get it highlighted every week on (in addition to exposure all day every day in the Mashable marketplace).

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, YinYang

More About: communication, design, jobs, List, Social Media

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Video-Sharing iPhone App Limits Users to 1-Minute Clips

Posted: 21 Sep 2011 09:52 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: Klip

Quick Pitch: Klip lets users capture, share, discover and view mobile videos on iPhone.

Genius Idea: One-minute video clips.

If mobile video sharing is to follow in the footsteps of its more desirable mobile photo-sharing cousin, which application will users want to use to shoot, share and discover video clips? It’s too soon to tell, but startup Klip joins the fray and is now vying for your video attention.

The startup released its application for iPhone on Monday with a focus on letting users share super-short 1-minute video clips — on Klip or with Facebook, Twitter and Youtube — and helping users discover clips from friends or other users based on topics of interests.

“Klip re-invents the way consumers experience the world by organizing mobile videos in real time and by connecting consumers with the people and the topics that interest them,” the company says.

The iPhone application boasts a few provocative quirks that set it apart from similarly-purposed apps such as SocialCam, Vlix and Viddy. You can fire up the application and shake your phone to get instant previews of all the videos on your homepage view, for instance. Or, you can slide your finger through any clip to fast-forward and take a glimpse at its content.

Klip even repurposes the hashtag concept popularized by Twitter, letting users add tags to videos and filter videos by topic or interest.

The application struggles a bit in rhyme and reason. It’s clear from the get-go that this is an app for uploading, sharing and finding videos, and its user interface is pleasant and intuitive enough. But, it’s lacking a hook — it needs an inescapable quality that grabs the user by his senses. As such, Klip will falter in converting video-sharers already tied to other applications, and it will likely fail to entice those still uncertain about the video-sharing movement.

The nascent startup, launched in April by repeat entrepreneur Alain Rossman, could still find its way. Rossman, after all, has plenty of experience in risky video endeavors — he was previously the longtime chairman of Vudu, a video-streaming service acquired by Walmart.

Klip is based in Palo Alto. The 20-person company has raised $2 million in funding.

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, Klip, spark-of-genius

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Prepare Yourselves: Facebook To Be Profoundly Changed

Posted: 21 Sep 2011 08:54 PM PDT

Facebook is driven by a single, unique goal. Its priority isn’t to gain more users (it already has 750 million of those), nor does it feel compelled to find stupid ways to increase pageviews. Its primary goal right now isn’t to increase revenue, either — that will come later.

No, Facebook’s goal is to become the social layer that supports, powers and connects every single piece of the web, no matter who or what it is or where it lives. On Thursday at its f8 conference in San Francisco, the world’s largest social network will take a giant leap toward accomplishing that goal.

I have seen what Facebook is launching on Thursday, and it’s going to change the world of social media. And while I won’t talk about the mind-boggling things Facebook will be launching, I will say this: The Facebook you know and (don’t) love will be forever transformed. The news that will come out of Facebook during the next few weeks will be the biggest things to come out of the company since the launch of the Facebook Platform.

For Facebook, it all boils down to one problem: emotion. Facebook has hundreds of millions of users and spectacular levels of engagement, but it is a platform that has lost its emotional resonance over the years. More and more people visit Facebook out of necessity rather than desire. It’s a platform people prefer to hate, but won’t leave simply because all their friends are there.

It’s a relationship gone stale. After years of dating, the magic between Facebook and its users has dissipated. It’s a natural evolution in any relationship, but now there is another suitor vying for Facebook’s users. And a lot of people think this suitor is easy on the eyes.

That’s why Facebook launched three recent changes: revamped Friend Lists, a real-time news ticker, and the subscribe button. Friend Lists lets you share content with just your closest friends (with whom you have the strongest emotional connection), and the ticker lets you have real-time conversations with your friends as soon as they do anything. Subscribe lets you fill your News Feed with people you admire and respect, fostering a different type of emotional connection.

But these changes are just the beginning. The changes Facebook will roll out on Thursday are designed to enhance the emotional connection its users have to each other through Facebook. These changes will make Facebook a place where nearly everything in your life is enhanced by your social graph. These changes will make it so you know your friends better than you ever thought you could.

On Thursday, developers will be elated, users will be shellshocked and the competition will look ancient. On Thursday, Facebook will be reborn. Prepare yourselves for the evolution of social networking.

While we wait for Facebook’s big reveal, here’s a look at the changes to the News Feed that the social network already rolled out that have lots of users talking:

1. Top Stories

Facebook's new design highlights posts that you'll likely find important, and prioritizes them at the top of your feed when you log in. The top stories are designated by a blue tag in the upper left corner of the post. From what we can see, however, top stories don't regenerate much throughout the day -- especially if you keep Facebook open in your browser like your Twitter ticker.

2. New Posts

Above your top stories you'll find the option to expand more recent posts, much like Twitter's "47 new tweets" real-time notification bar.

3. Recent Stories

However, the new post notification bar doesn't refresh as often, but instead automatically expands new stories much like the older version.

4. Hide Posts

In the drop-down tab on the upper right of every post, you still have the option to hide posts (whether to delete the individual story or to hide that person's updates altogether). In the new version, you also have the option to mark a post as a top story, thus increasing the likelihood that that type of post or friend will appear in your Top Stories feed.

5. Ticker

The new ticker on the upper right of your homepage condenses real-time posts. Hover over any story to expand and view likes and comments.

6. Ticker / Chat

If you expand your chat sidebar (whether or not you're online), the ticker attaches to the top. That way, any page you navigate away from the home feed will still display real-time updates. Adjust chat/ticker proportions by hovering over the gray bar between chat and the ticker.

7. Album Layout

Last but not least, Facebook has made album design a bit more aesthetic. Albums that appear in your newsfeed stack three photos for a more creative viewing experience.

More About: f8, Facebook

Million Moms Challenge Launches Educational Alternative to Farmville

Posted: 21 Sep 2011 08:24 PM PDT

Wednesday at the Social Good Summit, ABC News correspondent Juju Chang announced a new Facebook game aimed at educating people about maternal health.

The game, which is a piece of the larger Million Moms Challenge initiative launched earlier this week by ABC News and the UN Foundation, is called 1000 Days and guides players through a series of educational mini games that teach about things such as proper diet, breast feeding and government regulations. Throughout the game, users are presented with opportunities to connect with outside organizations in the maternal health space for additional information.

Chang described the game as an alternative to popular casual games such as Farmville and a better way for people to spend their time.

The goal of the game and the larger initiative is to increase awareness about important global health issues affecting mothers and children. According to Chang, better nutrition in developing nations can boost economic productivity by 3%. Beyond the Facebook game, the Million Moms Challange brings together hundreds of so-called “mommy bloggers” and connects them with NGOs working on improving maternal health to help spread awareness and raise money for the issue.

In the first three days since the initiative’s launch, said Chang, they’d already raised over $17,000, in large part via social media channels.

More About: casual games, Facebook, farmville, Social Good, social good summit

5 Tips for Improving Product Photos & Video on Your Ecommerce Site

Posted: 21 Sep 2011 08:03 PM PDT

This post originally appeared on the American Express OPEN Forum, where Mashable regularly contributes articles about leveraging social media and technology in small business.

In product-focused small businesses, photography plays a vital role in both sales and marketing. The products or services that a site posts to its site must not only be visually appealing, but also relatable.

Basic photographic techniques can ensure that an otherwise worthy product isn’t overlooked. Furthermore, capturing the details of a product, like food or fabric, for example, can mean the difference for a sale.

In terms of marketing, photos and videos can enhance user experience and set the tone for a business. They communicate consistency and professionalism, if coordinated effectively. To that end, we’ve collected five tips to ensure your ecommerce photos and videos perform fantastically.

1. Make Photos/Graphics Professional

Whether you operate an ecommerce plugin from your own site or use a hosted ecommerce platform like Etsy or Amazon, it’s important to recognize the power of the visual. For instance, check out Etsy’s homepage; their “handpicked items” nearly always appear polished and professional. They’re not going to feature sloppy or amateur-looking photography on their homepage — and neither should you.

In order to take professional photos, you don’t necessarily need to hire a pricey photographer. Depending on the size and nature of your product, consider investing in a light box. If you can’t spare the cash, try a DIY solution. Especially if you don’t own a high-performance DSLR, a light box will help soften shadows and distribute light evenly for minimal photo editing.

2. Editing for Consistency

Even with the best light box and gear, some basic photo editing may help communicate the true colors and textures of a product. In Photoshop or other editing software, compare the image on the computer screen to the item itself. For instance, women want to feel confident that the nail polish on a screen will match its color in real life. Addressing such discrepancies will prevent product returns and customer dissatisfaction. Try following a Photoshop color effects tutorial for guidance.

3. Scaling for Accuracy

How often do you read the measurements of an item for sale online and break out the ruler? Unless it’s crown molding from Home Depot, I’m guessing never. Especially for those of us with mathematically challenged brains, it’s important to visually contextualize an item for sale.

Scaling in photography is relatively simple, depending on the product. Jewelry and clothes should be photographed on the body or a dress form, for instance. Photographs of clothes lying flat or 2-D will leave people guessing about the fit. Customers are very sensitive to gadget size as well, so include an image of a model holding a mobile device, or better, a demo, à la Apple (seen above).

4. Details

Usually, I would say the more details the better. For businesses with digital products or services, however, things like programming, capacity and usability can be difficult to photograph — and screenshots only go so far. That’s where demos like the iPhone video above really shine. If you market a game, show someone playing it. If you sell an app, film someone using it.

In addition to posting photos that frame products in their entirety, include additional pictures that zoom in on a product’s wood grain, its steaming bacon or its silky texture. Detailed photographs can literally make a consumer’s mouth water. Take food bloggers, the likes of whom have recently made headlines for their photographs just as often as their recipes. For inspiration, scroll through sites like What Katie Ate, which won Saveur’s Best Food Photography award this year.

5. Make It Personal

Especially for small businesses, creating a dialogue with customers can humanize and localize a brand. Main Street marketing tugs at consumer heartstrings quite effectively. Even if you provide a global product or service, include a section that profiles the people behind your business. If appropriate, picture them in a relatable environment or activity.

For example, Mast Brothers Chocolate sells to hundreds of wholesalers, but the company strives to maintain a local sensibility. Their homepage presents a friendly, casual image of the chocolate family, and further down, a video interviewing the Mast owners. The clip was edited to include bloopers and good-natured goofs during filming. A humanizing approach like theirs might be the right move for your business as well — the trend is certainly making waves in the business community.

Business-to-consumer ecommerce relies on ample amounts of information to communicate product and service details. Photography and video are strategic tools that will not only help make a sale, they’ll improve the overall professionalism and functionality of an online business.

Images courtesy of Flickr, Jeff the Trojan, renwest

More About: e-commerce, features, Marketing, photography, Small Business, Video

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W Magazine Tests App Market Ahead of Its iPad Magazine Launch

Posted: 21 Sep 2011 07:17 PM PDT

W is testing the iOS app market ahead of the release of the iPad version of its magazine, due to launch in the first quarter of next year.

The Conde Nast-owned fashion and lifestyle title released two free apps leading into and out of New York Fashion Week. One, W Front Row [iTunes link], is an iPhone app positioned as a shopping and lifestyle guide for Fashion Week attendees. The other is an iPad app called The Daily W [iTunes link], designed to be a “daily dose” of W magazine.

Neither app, admittedly, is as strong in content nor design as we’d hoped it would be — particularly in light of W‘s outstanding reputation in both areas.

The iPhone app, which contains a Twitter feed, show schedule and list of hand-picked stores in fashion’s four major capitals, fails to offer content we can’t find in existing iPhone apps. For example, Conde Nast’s city guides [iTunes link], or Fashion GPS Radar [iTunes link] lets attendees view not only full schedules, but also manage their RSVPs and quickly reference show venues on a map. The app is also targeting a very small audience — that is, attendees of Fashion Weeks in New York, London, Milan and Paris — who might, at best, use the app for a month and not again until the next set of Fashion Weeks rolls around.

The iPad app is better. The Daily W mixes original content with content from the magazine and, but with a focus on shopping.

Most of what the app offers is visual: think collages of fashion goods, spreads pulled from the magazine and smartly edited video interviews with celebrities. Unfortunately, what is intrinsically beautiful imagery isn’t well-formatted in the app; spreads and videos can’t be viewed at full screen size (see above right), and most pages can only be rendered in portrait mode.

Text is limited primarily to descriptions of the items featured, with links to buy through an in-app browser. (In many cases, the items featured are not available online and so you end up on the front page of a brand’s website, which is often rather frustrating.)

Interestingly enough, W isn’t earning any affiliate revenue for sales it generates through its app, so readers needn’t worry that this is an advertising play. The entire app, in fact, is underwritten by Calvin Klein, whose logo adorns the bottom of every slide. Click on the logo and you’ll be treated to a sexy 30-second spot for the brand.

The iPad app, W editor-in-chief Stefano Tonchi tells us, provided an opportunity for the magazine to create something that wasn’t just a duplication of the magazine or its website, but a way to extend and tailor the W brand for a new audience of iPad readers.

In developing the app, Tonchi adds, it was important to create something that would bring readers back again and again. “We wanted to create something addictive that pulls people in every day — not just once a month when the new issue comes out,” he said. “The Daily W combines exclusive, high-level celebrity content with the functionality of a shopping app and all the cutting-edge fashion content readers have come to expect from the W brand.  And we do this every day, seven days a week.”

The concept is promising and so is the roster of content coming to the app, including the digital premiere of Loic Prigent’s new film about former French Vogue editor Carine Roitfeld, and more intimate celebrity interviews with Lynn Hirschberg. We can only hope that W will continue to build out the functionality and design aspects of both apps to match the quality we know and expect from the W brand, and of the content that is set to debut on the app.

More About: conde nast, ipad, iphone, Media, w, w magazine

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8 Tech Tools for Better Business Management

Posted: 21 Sep 2011 06:27 PM PDT

Scott Gerber is a serial entrepreneur, internationally syndicated columnist and TV host, and the founder of the Young Entrepreneur Council. He is also an active angel investor and author of the book Never Get a “Real” Job.

As someone who utilizes tech and software every day to run, communicate and oversee my businesses, I can attest that the right tech tools are worth ten times their cost. The right tools can help business owners cut overhead, automate systems and, most importantly, save time and increase productivity.

But let's not forget the essential keyword: the right tools.

Finding the best available technology amid app store clutter and backlogged review sites can be a real challenge. Often, to discover one solid product, one must test ten or more in the first place — a frustrating time drain, to say the least.

Does that mean you should abandon your search? Absolutely not. It does mean that relying on trusted sources and opinions from other business owners in your field is all the more crucial.

I asked a group of successful young entrepreneurs to tell me about their favorite technology products, apps and software of 2011, and how their picks can help entrepreneurs build, operate and grow similar businesses.

1. Manage Network Contacts

I really like Hashable 2.0. The app (iPhone & Android) allows you to forward your contact info, set reminders (which go on your calendar and send you an alert email), take notes and introduce your contacts to each other. It’s a great way to cut back on paper and to help with the trouble so many have with remembering to follow-up.

Ambassador Bruny,

2. Track Expenses

I like anything that’s functional and time-saving.

Expensify and apps like it help entrepreneurs stay organized and save time at the end of the month and at tax time.

Lisa Nicole Bell, Inspired Life Media Group

3. Share Files

Dropbox has been a huge help with our business … we can easily send files to each other and our customers. Using Dropbox you don’t have to go through a ton of USBs or numerous emails, and [you aren't] limited to using only one computer to edit a file.

Ashley Bodi, Business Beware

4. Expedite Payment

One of the biggest challenges of running your own business? Getting paid on time. Enter Square, an awesome and ridiculously easy-to-use application for accepting payments via credit card. We use it religiously. Not only has it expedited receiving payment from clients, the processing fee is lower than PayPal. Download it now and save yourself those “Where’s my money?” emails.

Matt Cheuvront, Proof Branding

5. Secure Your Servers

For all of the Internet entrepreneurs out there, website security and keeping 100% up-time for your site is a must. With CodeGuard, you get to automatically backup your servers from any previous point in time. Best of all, it’s inexpensive and well-worth the monthly price.

Logan Lenz, Endagon

6. Gather Feedback and Information

It actually came out in late 2010, but Quora has been very useful to me to this year. It’s a great way to pull together a wide variety of information, as well as find experts in new fields.

Thursday Bram, Hyper Modern Consulting

7. Track To-Dos

As a CEO I have a ton of to-dos, and Wunderlist allows me to track all of these from my computer, iPhone or iPad. Their design is clean and fresh, with the best part being that you can organize your to-dos by categories, such as personal, businesses, etc. This is a must-have app for any entrepreneur.

Derek Johnson, Tatango

8. Manage Social Media

I came across Arkli, which is a social media campaign manager, and I’ve been working closely with creator Mike Potter on its usability. Arkli lets you schedule out your blog posts, tweets, YouTube videos, etc. and share the entire campaign with affiliates, colleagues, joint venture partners, etc. so they can instantly schedule their own social media updates too. One word: AMAZING!

Erin Blaskie, BSETC

More About: apps, Business, contributor, features, List, tool

Gore’s Loose Lips Let New iPhones Slip

Posted: 21 Sep 2011 05:50 PM PDT

al gore image

Apple is well known for being a tight ship, but apparently one of its board members forgot to batten down the hatches. That would be the most famous member of the board: Nobel laureate and former U.S. Vice President Al Gore.

Speaking at the Discovery Invest Leadership Summit in South Africa, Gore interjected the following aside into his speech: “Not to mention the new iPhones coming out next month. That was a plug.”

That may not sound like a huge blunder — after all, the fact that the iPhone 5 is going on sale at some point next month currently ranks as one of the world’s worst-kept secrets. But take note: nobody at Apple has officially confirmed it yet. Even the October 4 unveiling, leaked to AllThingsD Wednesday morning, is still just a report. Nary an invite has been seen.

Note also the plural in Gore’s aside. It is possible that he was referring to multiple copies of the iPhone 5, but that seems unlikely — especially as we’ve been hearing rumors for months of a lower-cost, lower-memory version dubbed the iCloud iPhone.

Gore has been an Apple board member for more than eight years, and this is the first time we’ve seen him let slip even the slightest detail on an upcoming product. Given the company’s code of secrecy, such an unwarranted statement in a prepared talk — he wasn’t even being interviewed — counts as a major breach of discipline.

If this were an Apple employee, or even any other board member, we’d fear for his future at 1 Infinite Loop. Gore, of course, is a heavy-hitter at the company who’s done a lot of work on making Apple products more sustainable and reducing his carbon footprint. We’re guessing he gets a pass this time. But Tim Cook, take note: Your ship is not as tight as you might like.

[via TheNextWeb]

More About: al gore, apple, iphone

Social Good Summit Recap: Day 3 [PICS]

Posted: 21 Sep 2011 05:01 PM PDT

Summit recap image

A jam-packed Day 3 has wrapped at the Social Good Summit. It was another exciting day featuring a Head of State, surprise guests such as Richard Gere and more insightful discussions.

There were great highlights from Day 3, which we’ve summed up for you here. If you’re interested in following what’s happening at the Summit, be sure to join us online at our livestream.


The day started off with the UN Foundation awarding Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete the Social Good Award for his innovative attitude toward new technologies. Kikwete spoke about the need for social media in his country before being joined by two First Ladies sending their first tweets.

Dr. Ida Betty Odinga, the wife of the prime minister of Kenya and Thobeka Madiba Zuma, the first lady of South Africa, came onstage to reiterate the power of social media and to announce they were joining Twitter.

The One Day on Earth project, a crowdsourced and professionally produced film depicting the world’s diversity, announced that it was greenlit to make one such movie every year until 2015 and told the audience that its entire store of raw footage is available to download online, enabling everyone to piece together their own global movie projects.

Speaking of announcements, Richard Gere made a surprise appearance, taking the stage to speak about how social media is having an impact on the way people relate. A confessed Luddite, Gere went on to say that technology can be a great way to promote non-violent protest and make a difference: “All you can be sure about is your own motivation and a basic trust that things are going to work out,” Gere said. “And it’s something that we all have to do — reacquaint ourselves with the fact that the universe is a good place.”

Talking Points

Wednesday’s sessions were all about doing more with what we have. Best-selling author Peter Sims took the stage to talk about how great ideas are developed from small gambles. He said ideas are not developed instantaneously but require little mistakes and modification before they take off.

Dr. Muhammad Yunus, best known for reinventing micro-loans through his Grameem Bank, spoke about the need to invest in people, not just ideas. He focused on the success his micro-loans have had in the developing world and that he’ll be doubling-down his efforts to bring micro-loans to the U.S. with several projects already in motion in New York.

The global theme was picked up by Kate James, the Chief Communications Office for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Ms. James spoke about how organizations and non-profits need to think of the people they help as partners. She pushed entrepreneurs and activists to not just to help those in need across the world, but to engage them in dialogue and bring them into the solution as well.

Co-operation was another theme, thanks to a session about the impact of social media on Israeli-Palestinian relations. Rather than focus on controversy, the panel spoke about how real change will come from the people. “The greatest social movements of our time have come from the bottom up … for rational thought rather than superstition,” said Ronit Avni, founder of Just Vision, an organization that promotes non-violent peacebuilders.

Interesting Stats

Skype CEO Tony Bates shared some information about Skype’s impact on global education. In just six months, the program, Education.Skype.Com, has attracted more than 16,000 global members with more than 11,000 connection requests. The program is a digital forum where educators from around the world can meet and make simple requests, such as one educator Skyping with a beekeeper to teach his students.

The stats weren’t all good news. Exposure to indoor smoke pollution from coal stoves is the fifth largest killer in the developing world, said Radha Muthiah, Executive Director, Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves,citing a World Health Organization study. She was joined by chef and ambassador Jose Andres who has started two clean tech projects, ThinkFood Group and World Central Kitchen Resources. Food and energy issues hit home for Andres. “Food is the most important fuel, not gas,” he said. “Gas moves my car. It moves cars. But food moves all of us. Food needs to be at the heart of these energy talks”

Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Former President of Ireland Mary Robinson came to speak about their project, Girls Not Brides, which combats forced marriage. Robinson said 10 million women worldwide are forcibly married before they’re 18. She added that 64% of illiterate adults are women and that girls under 15 are five times more likely to die in childbirth. “Every single issue in the Millennium Development Goals is affected by child marriage,” Robinson said.

Quote of the Day

“We hold on to the fact that people are fundamentally good, and each one of us has an instinct that allows us to hone in on goodness… People at my age, the revered, aren’t usually the powerful, the macho. You could say a lot of things about Mother Teresa, but macho would not be one of them.” — Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Pictures from Day 3

Take a look through these selected pictures from Day 3 at the Summit.

SEE ALSO: Social Good Summit: Day 2 [PICS]

Tony Bates Skypes a Classroom

Sharon Feder, Dr. Ida Betty Odinga

President Jakaya Kikwete

President Jakaya Kikwete Receiving His Award

Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Dr. Ida Betty Odinga, Madame Tobeka Madiba Zuma

Matthew Bishop, Dr. Muhammad Yunus

Bloggers and Attendees

Rob Skinner, Brandon Littman, Boaz Paldi

Jose Andres, Radha Muthiah

Backstage with Dr. Richard Bresser, Juju Chang

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Mary Robinson

Richard Gere

Richard Gere

Kate James

Preview of the Summit

On Thursday, Mashable CEO Pete Cashmore interviews CEO and Co-Founder of Global Health Corps Barbara Bush. Go to our Summit page to find out more about upcoming speakers, see detailed agendas for each day and even watch along on our livestream.

Event Details

Date: Monday, September 19, 2011, through Thursday, September 22, 2011

Time: 1:00-5:00 p.m. ET

Livestream: Join us online for the Livestream

Hashtag: Follow the hashtag #socialgood to keep up with the latest developments at the Social Good Summit.

Sponsored by Ericsson

For more than a century, Ericsson has seen communications as a fundamental human right. Today, it is the leading provider of technology and services to network operators. Its networks connect 2 billion people and almost half of the world’s 5.5 billion mobile subscriptions. Now, Ericsson intends to do for broadband what it did for the telephone: make it mobile, available and affordable for all. Ericsson's vision is to be the prime driver of an all-communicating world, where information and communications technologies (ICT) come together to create a networked society. A networked society will bring many opportunities and challenges. As Ericsson works in the world, it aims to apply innovative solutions together with partners to make a real difference to peoples' lives, to business and to the economy, enabling change toward a more sustainable world. We call this Technology for Good.

Sponsored by Ericsson

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Microsoft Says Sit Tight, Mango to Arrive In “a Week or Two”

Posted: 21 Sep 2011 04:07 PM PDT

Windows Phone OS 7.5, Microsoft’s upcoming smartphone operating system code-named “Mango,” has been in its final release to manufacturing (RTM) stage since July 26.

Now almost two months later, in a post on the official Windows Phone blog, the company reminds users eager to upgrade to the final Windows Phone version 7.5 to sit tight for “a week or two,” and to avoid installing “unofficial or leaked copies of Windows Phone software” in the meantime.

In that blog post, Microsoft’s Eric Hautala cautions specifically against bootleg firmware updates and homebrew tools that might prevent the software from working properly with the phones. He pleads with over-eager users to “please hang on – we’re almost there.” Hautula added that each phone manufacturer will be rolling its own specific update, paired with firmware that’s been carefully tuned to each individual handset.

In that same post, he reminded users that they’ll also need to download the newest versions of Windows Phone 7 Connector for Mac and the Zune software for PCs (the newest version is 4.8 ) to accomplish this Mango update.

Let us know in the comments: Do you think this Mango release will arrive within a week or two?

More About: mango, Microsoft Windows Phone, OS 7.5

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10 Handy iPhone Apps for Home Improvement

Posted: 21 Sep 2011 03:16 PM PDT

Like closets of clothes that go out of style, houses need updating too. But embarking on a home improvement project can entail anything from painting a wall to adding a second floor. Regardless of how big or little the project, choices need to be made every step of the way.

The following 10 mobile apps won't select your ideal paint color or tell you where to put the chaise lounge, but they can help you plan your home improvement projects more efficiently.

1. Houzz Interior Design Ideas

If you like looking at pictures of beautiful rooms and exteriors, you're going to love Houzz. It's a free photo bank app that contains more than 150,000 images of kitchens, bathrooms, kids' rooms, porches, patios and pools. There are also tabs with product suggestions, inspiration from professionals and design ideas galore. With the sheer amount of photos and information on Houzz, it's hard to believe it's free.

Price: FREE

2.ColorSmart by BEHR Mobile

ColorSmart by BEHR lets you browse the brand's full array of paint colors. The app has a "color match" feature that allows you to take a photo, tap on the color you'd like to match and pull up the most accurate BEHR suggestion. There are also pre-designed rooms in the app that you can redesign with different colors, simply by tapping and choosing new palettes. It's also available for Android devices.

Price: FREE

3. iHandy Level Free

Successful completion any kind of wall hanging project requires patience -- and a level. The iHandy Level Free app is a simple, but highly effective tool that provides a precise measure for alignment. You can use the level in landscape, portrait or face-up mode to help with any kind of home improvement project. Also available for Android devices.

Price: FREE

4. Home Space Planning Design Tool - Mark On Call HD

The Mark on Call iPad/iPhone app helps you realize your vision for a room by mapping everything out on the small screen beforehand. With this app, you can create rooms with accurate dimensions, lay down flooring, add furniture, and even look at different paint colors and fabrics. It was created by interior designer Mark Lewison as a complement to his book, What Would You Do With This Room? My 10 Foolproof Commandments to Great Interior Design.

Price: $5.99 (iPad); $2.99 (iPhone)

5. Carpet & Floors Calculators

This very simple flooring calculator app will price carpet or tile floors based on square footage and price per square foot. Carpet & Floors Calculators asks you to input specific figures, thus removing the guesswork.

Price: FREE

6. I.D. Wood

There's nothing like a beautiful wood floor, but choosing the right kind of wood can be confusing. I.D. Wood is like a visual floor dictionary, providing information about more than 160 kinds of wood, their durability and sustainability.

Price: $4.99

7. Feng Shui Bagua Map

Are your rooms designed to maximize abundance and prosperity or career and life purpose? The app teaches you how to use feng shui to enhance your interior spaces. It contains descriptions of each of the nine feng shui sectors, as well as an option to superimpose a photo of your room onto the map to ensure maximum alignment.

Price: $1.99

8. Home Design 3D by LiveCad

When designing the house of your dreams, you'll make decisions on everything from bolstering the foundation to selecting a kitchen backsplash. This Home Design 3D app is a perfect complement to the planning process. It maps out a 2D or 3D rendering of your vision, allowing you to generate each room and its windows, doors, furniture, flooring and more.

Price: $5.99 (iPad); $4.99 (iPhone)

9. Photo Measures

Most home improvement projects require taking measurements. Rather than fumbling around with pencil and paper, Photo Measures lets you take a photo of a room or an object and directly draw in its measures. There is a similar app for Android devices called My Measures.

Price: $4.99

10. Moodboard

The Moodboard iPad app is a repository of inspiration, letting you save photos of anything and everything that inspires you, all in one place. You can import photos from your library or use the built-in web browser to grab photos from the Internet, then compile those images to create simple or elaborate inspiration boards. Color palettes and other effects (like tacks and tape) can be added to help bring any creative endeavor from dream to reality. Then share your boards via email or with your social circles on Facebook and Twitter.

Price: Cost: $9.99

Thumbnail image courtesy of iStockphoto, pagadesign

More About: apps, features, ipad, iphone, Mobile

Why Burberry Is Now as Much a Media Company as a Fashion Company

Posted: 21 Sep 2011 02:52 PM PDT

A detail shot from Burberry’s Spring/Summer 2012 runway show on Monday.

Burberry staged a “Tweetwalk” earlier this week during which the London-based fashion house premiered every look on Twitter moments before the models hit the runway.

Not surprisingly, the initiative generated a huge amount of interest on Twitter — so much so that both “#Burberry” and “Christopher Bailey” trended worldwide on the platform. Conversation about the brand peaked shortly after the show began at 4 p.m. ET, hitting number two on global trending charts and breaking Burberry’s personal mentions-per-minute record.

Mentions peaked shortly after 4 p.m. ET, via Trendistic.

Part of the initiative’s success was driven by a series of “Twitter Takeovers” on Burberry’s regional accounts, a spokesperson for the company tells us. Among the participants were Işın Görmüş, editor in chief of Elle Turkey, who tweeted on behalf of @Burberry_Turkey; Daria Shapovalova of Vogue Russia for @Burberry_Russia; and Julia Juyeon Kang, editor in chief of Elle Korea who tweeted for @Burberry_Korea.

A snapshot of Burberry mentions an hour after the show, via Trendsmap.

An image gallery featuring the tweeted looks received more than 50,000 views within 30 minutes of the show collectively, the spokesperson said.

Burberry: As Much a Media Company as a Fashion Company

A Twitpic uploaded by Burberry after the show.

When Burberry debuted a 3D holographic runway for a show in Bejing earlier this year, Chief Creative Officer Christopher Bailey said that “Burberry is now as much a media-content company as we are a design company” — something, we feel, became even more apparent at the runway show Burberry staged this week.

The event was not so much a private showcase for press and buyers, as it has been in the past, but a stage from which Burberry was able to broadcast its own story directly to consumers on multiple platforms.

A live stream — an elaborately produced affair featuring red carpet interviews and shots from multiple panning angles — was developed and distributed by Burberry on its website, to its 8.4 million Facebook fans and 20,000 YouTube subscribers, and at more than 45 of its retail locations. Those present — a cast of celebrities and industry figures including actresses Sienna Miller and Rosie Whiteley-Huntington, American rapper Kanye West and Vogue Editor in Chief Anna Wintour — were as much a part of the performance as observers of it, featuring prominently in the live stream and on red carpet interviews.

Burberry’s front row.

The company even distributed a backstage lookbook on Twitter before any press had the opportunity to photograph it — much less, upload and share it. Photographer Mike Kus maintained a real-time photo feed on Burberry’s Instagram account for the duration of the show.

Christopher Bailey on Burberry’s Evolving Role in Media

A backstage snapshot captured with my iPhone.

We spoke with Bailey backstage after the show about what it means that Burberry can potentially reach a larger audience directly through its own distribution channels, rather than through the press.

“A brand is not just about product, it’s about experience as well, and experiences need to come from the center of a community,” he said.

He said that the online experience Burberry has developed on its own behalf doesn’t detract from or diminish the role of traditional media, but provides another channel for consumers to experience the brand. “A brand is not just about product, it’s about experience as well, and experiences need to come from the center of a community,” he said. “I get excited about using all of those platforms to communicate to all of our different communities around the world about what we’re doing.”

When asked if there was any clear brand benefit in positioning Burberry as a digital pioneer, Bailey said that it had little to do with positioning. “Digital communication and technology are part of the way everybody lives. We’re a 155-year-old company, but a very young team. It would almost be weird if we didn’t do it,” he said.

You can watch Bailey further discuss the show’s digital integration beginning at 2:15 in the video below.

More About: burberry, fashion, Feature, Media, Social Media, Twitter

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Gates Foundation Pushes for More Global Conversation, Less Paternalism

Posted: 21 Sep 2011 02:31 PM PDT

Charitable organizations and social media mavericks need to rethink the way they deal with the world if they want to create real change, said Kate James, Chief Communications Officer for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Wednesday at Mashable‘s Social Good summit. James addressed the subject: “Social Media for Global Good: It’s Not Just Who You Know.”

Even though social media has a global reach, those conversations are often limited to our social circles. James pushed entrepreneurs and activists to not just to help those in need across the world, but to engage them in dialogue and bring them into the solution as well.

“There’s a huge potential for social media to connect with the actual people on the ground whether it’s a small dairy farmer in Kenya or the person suffering from disease,” James said. “It is possible to build a global constituency of support and create a global conversation.”

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is practicing what it preaches thanks to a three-year partnership with the football (soccer) club FC Barcelona. The foundation is leverage FC Barcelona’s enormous global popularity to produce PSAs and raise awareness about the fight to eradicate polio. The hope is that the partnership won’t only appeal to international fans, but also draw them into pledging their support as they build a truly global movement. (Melinda Gates wrote earlier Wednesday that she would be joining Twitter to help further spread the word.)

The announced initiatives hew closely to traditional social media campaigns, however, the approach refigures developing communities not as just as recipients of aid but as crucial partners in crafting solutions.

What do you think of making the social media conversation more global? Let us know in the comments below.

More About: bill and melinda gates foundation, bill gates, non-profits, Social Good, social good summit, Social Media

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3 Ways to Improve Your Company’s Social Media Architecture

Posted: 21 Sep 2011 01:48 PM PDT

Joshua-Michéle Ross (@jmichele) is SVP and director of digital strategy, Europe with Fleishman Hillard and an O'Reilly Radar blogger. His free ebook on social media architecture is available here.

While the pressures on large organizations to use social media have gone up, creating a social media presence has reached one-click simplicity. The result is a sprawling mess.

Take one look at the social media footprint of any large brand and you find dozens of social sites that lie abandoned with no active engagement. Many are redundant, fracturing the same potential audience into separate, so-called "communities." And the bigger the organization, the bigger the problem. In one recent project, my company found our client had close to 150 Facebook pages, more than 65 YouTube channels and 100 Twitter feeds. Recent data from the Altimeter Group confirms the issue, with the average organization maintaining 178 social accounts.

This is unsustainable and counterproductive.

The solution is a "social media architecture" — a structure that brings harmony, utility and durability to the diverse elements of an organization's social media presence. Here’s how to build it.

1. Visualize Your Social Media Footprint

A proper footprint uses a few data points (site name, platform, size, recency of moderator activity) to visualize your social media presence. Below is a generic example of an organization's social media footprint on Facebook. The graphic below shows community (by page name), size (by size of dot) and recency of moderation (green is recent, yellow is not very recent and red is inactive).

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Without diving into details, big green dots at the center are good, indicating larger communities with active client moderation. Red dots anywhere (no moderation activity in 60 days) are bad.
Immediately, this allows the organization to begin having serious discussions that no Excel sheet will provoke. Any spread of red dots creates a conversation: Are we abandoning our customers with on/off campaigns? Are we fragmenting the same communities across multiple resource-intensive efforts? Are there big green dots in the center that can represent best practices or serve as great places for valuable content from other parts of the organization? Are there any patterns to the successful sites?

Visualization is the first step in recognizing you have a problem.

2. Creation, Consolidation & Closure of Social Media Properties

The social web is driven by groups of like-minded people gathering together to connect and share information — “communities,” as they are commonly known.

Whenever a company assumes its own organizational structure is the defining logic for what constitutes a community, you see the problem right away. Every product line warrants a Facebook page, every marketing campaign deserves a Twitter account, a new YouTube channel and so on. As a result, an organization's social media presence becomes a mirror into the structural divisions of the organization itself.

The current explosion of corporate social media accounts splinters like-minded communities into dozens of smaller groups, which in turn decreases the potential of that community to generate value through sharing and connection. Instead, a company should create a clear, prescriptive checklist that answers these three questions:

  • What warrants creating a new social account?
  • What minimum resource commitments are required to service a social account?
  • What are the criteria that will govern closure of a social media account?

The effectiveness of your checklist will be derived from adhering to the principles above and developing it in a spirit of cooperation within your organization. No one appreciates being handed a checklist and told that this is his new measure. Employees will be much more willing to own a checklist when they see it as a result of fair process and their valued input. Cross functional workshops are a great way to get this done. If you put these three questions above into a structured conversation, you might be amazed at the agreements (and the checklist items) that come out of the discussion.

3. Formalize Your Link & Like Structure

Envision the social web, with its constellation of sites and platforms, as one distributed website (albeit a more dynamic one), where your brand is spread across a vast, disconnected set of pages. Establishing your link and like structure is a basic exercise in information architecture that defines how people will navigate (link) to find the communities where they belong (like).

A proper link and like structure formalizes the purpose of each property (the community you are serving, the audience needs you are addressing, and content you are producing) and its relationship to other properties (i.e. how content will flow between sites). A proper link and like structure allows your organization to make the most of its content — repurposing it across formats (text, video, tweets, etc.) to optimize its utility and lower your operating costs.

We Need Social Architecture Now More Than Ever

The decentralized nature of social media is its greatest strength. Anyone can participate. Everyone has a voice. This is also the greatest challenge for brands that must manage the inherent conflict between empowering their own organization to participate while still maintaining continuity and quality of customer experience. The current sprawl represents a great waste of energy and resources. As organizations continue to invest in social media, and the market continues to demand a "social media strategy" articulated in every board room and annual report, the terms of success will move from isolated pages and campaigns to connectedness and coordination. For that, we need social media architecture.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, ineskoleva

More About: Business, contributor, features, Social Media

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10 Quotes From the Google Senate Hearing

Posted: 21 Sep 2011 01:28 PM PDT

Google Chairman Eric Schmidt just testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee about whether Google serves customers or threatens competition.

Senators in the subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights grilled the former Google CEO about how much Google favors its own services in search results, how its algorithms affect small business and its role and clout in mobile search.

Schmidt was in rare form — no embarrassing gaffes about privacy or how the Senate should use Google search, but there were still some choice quotes from the hearing. Senators Mike Lee from Utah, Al Franken from Minnesota and Richard Blumenthal from Connecticut were full of their own soundbites.

“We regret what happened and it was a mistake.”

- Eric Schmidt on the illegal pharmacy search results

“I recently Googled myself on Google.”

- Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.

“We have to represent the web how it is and not how we wish it to be.”

- Eric Schmidt on pirated content in search results

“I love Google.”

- Al Franken, D-Minn.

“If you don’t know, who does?”

- Al Franken questioning Schmidt about Google’s knowledge of its own favoritism in its search algorithm

“And ultimately, we bought a company called Zagat to do something similar.”

- Eric Schmidt on Yelp

“Some of my fears have been confirmed by our conversation.”

- Mike Lee, R-Utah

“I would estimate that two-thirds of Android phones come with Google services pre-loaded.”

- Eric Schmidt on Android phones that ship with Google apps

“You run the racetrack, own the racetrack, you didn’t have horses for a while but now you do and your horses seem to be winning.”

- Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., comparing Google to a horse race

“Google might be doping the horses.”

- Al Franken, extending the metaphor

More About: Al Franken, eric schmidt, Google, us senate

Digital Technology & Peace Building in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict [LIVE BLOG]

Posted: 21 Sep 2011 01:02 PM PDT


The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is at the epicenter of discussion during UN Week, as Palestinian Authorities President Mahmoud Abbas is expected to apply for UN membership for the Palestinian state through the UN Security Council.

Ronit Avni, founder and executive of Just Vision (@JustVisionMedia), Helga Tawil-Souri, assistant professor in media at NYU, and Liel Leibovitz, assistant professor of communications at NYU, are discussing the role of new technologies in the conflict and its resolution at the Social Good Summit.

Join us as we live blog the session, and share your thoughts in our discussion:

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One Day On Earth Film Greenlit Through 2015

Posted: 21 Sep 2011 12:47 PM PDT

Brandon Litman, producer of the One Day on Earth project, took the stage at Mashable‘s Social Good Summit to talk about how his film connects people around the world. He was joined by Boaz Paldi, head of Video Unit at the UN Development Programme, whose department helped back the film.

SEE ALSO: How Thousands of Volunteer Filmmakers Captured "One Day On Earth"

One Day on Earth is a film recorded during a 24-hour period throughout every country in the world. The goal is not to just make a movie about diversity but to show real people’s lives by collecting user-submitted and independently filmed scenes in pseudo-documentary style.

Litman said that the project has been greenlit to make a similar film each year until 2015. He has also put a collection of the footage online for free download so that users can not only view the clips but can create their own videos and collages.

The film is one step for One Day on Earth in its mission to explore the world’s cultures and the social ties that bind them.

More About: Film, Social Good, Social Media

Skype CEO: Our Goal Is to Connect 1 Million Classrooms

Posted: 21 Sep 2011 12:28 PM PDT

Skype in the Classroom has signed up more than 16,000 teachers to its social network for educators, since launching a beta version in December. Its goal is to connect 1 million of them.

“Skype has been going on for many, many years, and teachers have been finding each other and they've been finding ways to use the power of Skype in the educational process for a long time,” said Skype CEO Tony Bates on Wednesday at the Social Good Summit. “We really felt that it was time to take this to the next level…moving from grassroots Skype in the classroom to an initiative driven by Skype.”

What has long been accomplished between teachers using Wikis and individual project websites is now getting some organizational help from Skype.

Using the platform, teachers can create profiles that describe their classes and teaching interests. They can also search a directory of teachers from all over the world by student age range, language and subject.

What is perhaps Skype in the Classroom’s most useful feature is a “project” tab that helps teachers find partner classrooms for projects and ideas. One teacher, for instance, used the platform to coordinate a “weather around the world” unit. A middle school in Massachusetts regularly chats with an Afghan youth peace volunteer group. Another was able to host a virtual visit from Barbara Bush.

“It doesn't have to be a famous person,” Bates said. “A busy parent could share their skills from their office in the middle of the day.”

About 900 similar projects have been posted on Skype in the Classroom so far.

Bates announced the 1 million classroom goal on stage after using Skype to video call a sixth grade class in New Jersey.

In a recent small effort to reach it, Skype hosted a virtual panel with five teachers in conjunction with Clorox, which it is partnering with for its “Power a Bright Future” school grant program. It asked them about how they use Skype in the classroom and what kind of features they’d like to see.

Some of the suggestions, such as a Skype in the Classroom widget, are features Skype had already started to work on. The company announced a handful of additional improvements to the platform on Wednesday, including email notifications for projects, a Skype in the Classroom “badge” that can be displayed on a blog, an “I’d like to do this” button on projects that adds the teacher’s avatar to the project page, and an “I’ve done this” button for leaving feedback.

The discussion will continue through two more panels that will be open to about 15 teachers each.

“If Skype can have 170 million connected users in eight years,” Bates said, “can’t we have 1 million connected classrooms?”

More About: education, Skype, Skype in the classroom

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Twitter Begins Accepting Political Ads

Posted: 21 Sep 2011 12:10 PM PDT

Twitter on Wednesday started accepting political ads and announced a sales team dedicated to the category.

The company ran its first such ad today, a Sponsored Tweet from GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney. (See below.) Romney is one of a small group of candidates and national party committees that Twitter is working with on a pilot program for the effort. Those partners will also run ads in coming weeks. The ads will be distinguished from other advertising by a purple “Promoted” icon and a Federal Election Commission disclaimer.

Twitter’s new political sales team will be run by Peter Greenberger, who until recently ran political sales for Google.

The 2012 presidential election has gotten under way in earnest. The FEC estimates that candidates for the 2008 presidential election spent $1.8 billion on ads.

What do you think of Twitter’s decision? Let us know in the comments.

Image courtesy of Flickr, Shawn Campbell

More About: 2012 presidential campaign, Advertising, Twitter

First Ladies Send First Tweets, Tanzanian President Receives Social Good Award

Posted: 21 Sep 2011 12:04 PM PDT


Dr. Ida Betty Odinga, the wife of the prime minister of Kenya and Thobeka Madiba Zuma, the first lady of South Africa sent their first tweets Wednesday at the Social Good Summit.

The two dignitaries tweeted from the accounts of Mashable‘s @socialgood and @UNFoundation.

South African Singer Yvonne Chaka Chaka, known as The Princess of Africa, dynamically welcomed the women on stage in song.

As the two women enter the world of social media, communicating with their constituencies about the importance of improving women’s health is at the heart of their efforts.

“Diseases have cost our countries the lives of women that died prematurely,” said Zuma. “I see social media taking over the medium of communication all over the world,” she said, mentioning the youth’s mastery of Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and blogs.

Her first tweet was sent from the @UNFoundation handle.

Odinga shared Zuma’s enthusiasm for embracing social media. “There’s no better ways to influence policies than at this level,” she said, emphasizing the power of mobile phones in Kenya. “The best way to approach this is with social media to let the world know.”

Her first tweet was sent from the @socialgood handle.

Odinga will tweet from her new @idaodinga handle.

Chaka Chaka reiterated the power of these women to generate buzz with social media. “As a woman, it is important for these first ladies to nudge their husbands,” she said. “You hold the power.”

The UN Foundation also awarded Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete with the Social Good Award Wednesday, for his innovative attitude towards new technologies.

“The award is a recognition of our efforts to lift ourselves from poverty to prosperity,” said Kikwete, upon receiving the award.

Kikwete is a new media innovator, with an “open” phone line for all of his constituents. Anyone with his phone number can call or text the head of state. In addition to open communication, maternal health ranks high on his list of priorities.

“It is not fair for a woman to die while giving birth to another human being. Pregnancy is cause for celebration; it should not turn into grief,” he said.

What do you think of these government leaders’ decision to embrace new technologies to engage their citizens? Let us know in the comments.

Image courtesy of Michael Cummings.

More About: Social Good, social good summit, Twitter, World

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Spotify Surpasses 2 Million Paying Subscribers

Posted: 21 Sep 2011 11:40 AM PDT

Streaming music startup Spotify has added roughly 400,000 paying subscribers since its stateside launch, for a total of more than 2 million paying subscribers across the eight countries it serves.

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek revealed the new figure in a taped interview with CNBC that is set to air in the U.S. Wednesday, a company spokesperson tells Mashable.

Ek will also speak at Facebook’s f8 developer conference Thursday, where he’s expected to reveal details of the company’s rumored music partnership with Facebook.

Spotify announced that it had more than 1.6 million paying subscribers during its U.S. launch in July. The much-buzzed about music startup hit the 1 million paying subscriber milestone in March, meaning it has doubled its paying customer base in just over six months.

By comparison, Rhapsody hit 800,000 subscribers in July and Sony’s unlimited music product counts 750,000 people as paying customers. MOG and Rdio are also both said to be partnering with Facebook on the music initiative to be unveiled Thursday; they’ve yet to disclose subscriber numbers.

Image courtesy of Flickr, cjsveningsson

More About: music streaming services, spotify

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What the Recent U.S. Patent Reform Law Means for Startups

Posted: 21 Sep 2011 11:16 AM PDT

Nitin Gupta is the co-founder of, an online marketplace for businesses to receive crowdsourced legal advice from lawyers. You can follow LawPivot on Twitter @LawPivot. This post was co-authored by Eric Hutchins, a patent attorney at Kilpatrick Townsend, & Stockton.

On Sept. 8, Congress passed a patent reform bill named the "Leahy-Smith America Invents Act." President Obama signed the act into law on Sept. 16. The most relevant aspect of the act for startups is the switch from a "first-to-invent" to a "first-to-file" system.

The United States has long been the sole nation with a first-to-invent system, which ensures — in theory — that the first person to invent something receives the patent protection for that invention. The rest of the world has long employed a first-to-file system, in which patent rights are awarded to the first person to file an application for the invention, regardless of the date of invention. The America Invents Act will harmonize U.S. patent laws with international standards.

Here are three things startups should do, given the new patent reform.

1. Have the Rights to File Patent Applications on Behalf of Your Employees

Add language to employee agreements that give your company the right to file patent applications on behalf of the inventor. Prior to the Act, the Patent Office required a declaration from an inventor stating under oath that he or she was indeed the first person (to his or her knowledge) to conceive of the invention. While this declaration was of key importance to the first-to-invent system, the Act recognizes the realities of the modern workforce, where inventors migrate frequently between employers, and provides companies with the ability to submit a substitute statement. This statement functions in lieu of an executed inventor declaration. In it, the employer states that it has the legal authority to seek the patent without the inventor’s declaration because the inventor is deceased, legally incapacitated, unable to be found after a reasonable search, or refuses to assign his or her patent rights to the employer in violation of a valid contract to do so.

Startups should review existing employee agreements and revise them if necessary so that they can use these substitute statements to avoid delays when locating a former employee or when obtaining his or her consent proves difficult.

2. Encourage Your Employees to Quickly Report the Inventive Aspects of New Product Features

Emphasize to your teams the importance of quickly reporting inventive aspects of new product features. Rather than leave the process to chance, work with your patent lawyer to have a clear protocol in place to identify inventive features and to prepare a description of the invention that will allow business managers to decide whether a patent makes sense. This will enable the lawyer to quickly prepare the application.

3. Make Rapid Decisions on Whether or Not to File Patent Applications

Once a team member identifies an inventive feature, decisions on whether or not to file a patent application will need to be made quickly in a first-to-file system. More frequent communication with your patent lawyer is key. Rather than hold monthly or quarterly meetings with your patent lawyer to discuss new inventions and the status of pending applications, plan to notify your lawyer of new inventions earlier and more often to avoid being beaten to the patent office.

The first-to-file system will take effect 18 months from now. This gives you time to plan ahead, consult patent attorneys and adjust your processes to account for these changes.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, aluxum

More About: Business, features, legal, patents, Startups

iPhone 5 Countdown: When Can You Actually Buy One?

Posted: 21 Sep 2011 10:50 AM PDT

So it seems we may finally know the day Apple CEO Tim Cook will unveil the iPhone 5 and the lower-cost phones that will likely accompany it: Tuesday, Oct. 4. What we don’t know is when you’ll actually be able to pick one up.

One date is almost certainly out: Tuesday, Oct. 4. Even if Apple could overcome the logistical hurdle of getting all its phones ready on the day of the announcement, that’s just not the company’s style. Its world-class marketing mandarins and PR mavens know all too well the value of building anticipation. There needs to be enough time to get people camping overnight outside Apple stores, for one thing. And this year, if early polling is any indication, the lines could be longer than ever.

So how much longer will we have to wait? AllThingsD, the outlet that leaked the announcement news from its gold-plated Apple sources, suggests the phones will go on sale “within a few weeks.” That would put launch day somewhere between Wednesday, Oct. 5, and Tuesday, Oct. 18. However, as Apple 2.0 points out, iOS device launches seem to be getting closer and closer to the announcement date. The iPhone 4 took 17 days to make it to stores, but the iPad 2 was there in just nine days.

So if we’re on the iPad 2 schedule, expect to see the iPhone 5 in stores on Thursday, Oct. 13. But there are plenty of reasons to think it might arrive earlier. Remember the leaked Sprint announcement blacking out vacation time for store employees in the first two weeks of October? It would be odd if Sprint were to go to that trouble, only to allow employees to take time off after the first two business days of heavy iPhone 5-based foot traffic.

That’s one reason why we’re sticking with the U.S. sale date we predicted two weeks ago: Friday, Oct. 7. Yes, it’s only four days after the announcement event, but bear with us. All indications are that Apple has coordinated this launch more closely than ever with its retail and carrier partners, hence the plethora of leaks from Sprint, Best Buy and AT&T, among others. And with all eyes on Tim Cook’s first product unveiling, what better way for him to wow the crowd than to tell them they can get their hands on their object of desire at the end of the week? (That would fit Cook’s brand, too: he’s renowned as a maestro of inventory management.)

Friday launch dates seem to work well for Apple (see the iPad 2 launch); it can take advantage of the fact that relatively little tech news drops on a Friday, as well as the here-comes-the-weekend carnival atmosphere. Just as long as the company doesn’t encourage Rebecca Black to take any part in the festivities, we’re fine with that.

Want to play the iPhone 5 launch date game? Vote for any of these dates in the poll below, or in the comments share what other date you think it might be.

More About: apple, iphone, tim cook

Google to Mention Facebook, Apple in Antitrust Senate Hearing [REPORT]

Posted: 21 Sep 2011 10:33 AM PDT

Eric Schmidt, Google‘s executive chairman, is likely to mention Facebook, Apple and other competitors outside the search realm as he faces a grilling Wednesday during an antitrust Senate hearing on Capitol Hill, according to a report.

Politico, which got an advanced copy of Schmidt’s testimony, revealed that the former Google CEO is planning to emphasize the hyper-competitive nature of online media.

“"We aim to provide relevant answers as quickly as possible, and our product innovation and engineering talent deliver results that we believe users like, in a world where the competition is only one click away," reads Schmidt’s prepared statement. The Senate plans to stream the testimony at 2 p.m. ET.

The emphasis on competitors is an obvious retort for Google, which is being investigated by the Senate Judiciary Committee’s antitrust subcommittee on the grounds that Google may be using its heft in search marketing to freeze out rivals. If pressed, Schmidt (pictured) is likely to point out that Google competes not only with Microsoft and Yahoo on the search front, but with Apple, Facebook and Twitter. Facebook is now ranked number four in unique U.S. visitors with 162.4 million for August, behind Google’s 183.4 million, according to comScore. Apple, which competes with Google on the smartphone front, claimed 75 million visitors, while Twitter had 33.9 million.

Aside from the competition angle, Schmidt is likely to play up Google’s effect on the economy. The company claims to generate $64 billion in economic activity for small businesses.

Jonathan Rubin, an attorney with Rubin PLLC who specializes in antitrust cases, says that citing Facebook is irrelevant to the conversation.

“I don’t see Google’s search as a direct competition to Facebook,” Rubin says. “It’s sort of semi-competition.”

Nevertheless, Rubin believes the government’s case against Google is weak since the company doesn’t charge for its services, which takes competitive pricing off the table. Rubin says that lacking the pricing angle, the government would have to make the case that Google is sabotaging rival services like Bing. Successfully arguing that Google is favoring its own properties is even murkier ground, Rubin says, since Google’s search product hinges on providing the best results and being an “honest broker” (a.k.a. disinterested intermediary). That case, which the government will advance with testimony from the CEOs of Yelp and NexTag, is also not a clear-cut violation of antitrust laws, Rubin says.

Image courtesy of Flickr, Charles Haynes

More About: Antitrust, apple, Facebook, Google, Senate, yelp

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WATCH: Social Good Summit 2011 [LIVE VIDEO]

Posted: 21 Sep 2011 09:56 AM PDT

Mashable, 92Y and the UN Foundation are excited to get day three of the annual Social Good Summit underway.

Day two featured Elie Wiesel, Geena Davis, Lance Armstrong, Mandy Moore, Serena Williams and Randi Zuckerberg, among other moving speakers. As UN Week continues in New York, we can’t wait for day three.

Today we’ll hear from global leaders and media figures, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Kate James, chief communications officer of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Tony Bates, chief executive officer of Skype. A sold-out crowd of 3,000 will attend the event in New York and thousands more will tune in online.

Join us by watching the live stream of the summit above. You can find today’s itinerary below.

Day Three Lineup

1:00 – 1:05 p.m.

1:05 – 1:15 p.m.
An award presented to President Kikwete's commitment to further technology and new media solutions in Tanzania

1:15 – 1:25 p.m.
Madam Tobeka Zuma, Founder and Patron of the Tobeka Madiba Zuma Foundation and Dr. Ida Odinga, Managing Director of East Africa Spectre

1:30 – 1:52 p.m.
Dr. Muhammad Yunus, Grameen Bank (@Yunus_Centre), and Matthew Bishop, American Business Editor and New York Bureau Chief of The Economist (@MattBish)

1:52 – 2:00 p.m.
Peter Sims, author, speaker and entrepreneur (@PeterSims)

2:00 – 2:20 p.m.
Tony Bates, Chief Executive Officer of Skype (@Skype) and (@SkypeClassroom)

2:20 – 2:30 p.m.
Brandon Litman, Co-founder and Executive Producer, One Day on Earth (@OneDayonEarth) and Boaz Paldi, Head of Video Unit United Nations Development Programme (@UNDP)

2:30 – 2:45 p.m.
José Andrés, Chef/Owner, ThinkFoodGroup (@chefjoseandres) and Radha Muthiah
Executive Director, Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves

2:45 – 3:00 p.m.

3:00 – 3:30 p.m.
Dr. Richard Besser, ABC News' Chief Health and Medical Editor (@DrRichardBesser), David Muir, Weekend Anchor, ABC World News (@DavidMuirABC), and Juju Chang, Correspondent for 20/20 and Nightline (@JuJuChangeABC)

3:30 – 4:00 p.m.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu (@TheElders), Mary Robinson, Former President of Ireland and moderated by Lisa Witter, Chief Strategy Officer of Fenton (@lisamwitter)

4:00 – 4:15 p.m.
Ronit Avni, Founder and Executive Just Vision (@JustVisionMedia), Helga Tawil-Souri, Assistant Professor in Media, New York University and Liel Leibovitz, Assistant Professor of Communications, New York University (@Liel)

4:15 – 4:25 p.m.
Kate James, Chief Communications Officer, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

4:30 – 5:00 p.m.
Dr. Geeta Rao Gupta, Senior Fellow, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Chrysula Winegar, Mother and Entrepreneur (@chrysula)

Event Details

Date: Monday, September 19, 2011, through Thursday, September 22, 2011

Time: 1:00-5:00 p.m. ET

Livestream: Join us online for the Livestream

Hashtag: Follow the hashtag #socialgood to keep up with the latest developments at the Social Good Summit.

Sponsored by Ericsson

For over a century, Ericsson has seen communications as a fundamental human right. Today, it is the leading provider of technology and services to network operators. Its networks connect 2 billion people and almost half of the world’s 5.5 billion mobile subscriptions. Now, Ericsson intends to do for broadband what it did for the telephone; make it mobile, available and affordable for all. Ericsson's vision is to be the prime driver of an all-communicating world, where Information and Communications technologies (ICT) come together to create a Networked Society. A Networked Society will bring many opportunities and challenges. As Ericsson works in the world, it aims to apply innovative solutions together with partners to make a real difference to peoples' lives, to business and to the economy, enabling change towards a more sustainable world. We call this Technology for Good.

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HP Could Dump Apotheker for Whitman [REPORT]

Posted: 21 Sep 2011 09:52 AM PDT

According to a new report, former eBay CEO Meg Whitman is being considered to take over as CEO at Hewlett Packard.

According to AllThingsD‘s Kara Swisher, Whitman is one name the HP board has been floating as a replacement for current HP CEO Leo Apotheker. Whitman joined the HP board of directors in January.

When reached for comment an HP spokesperson told us, "It's the company's long-standing policy not to comment on speculation.”

Since failing in her bid for governor of California last November, Whitman has acted as a consultant at Kleiner Perkins.

Is Apotheker On the Way Out?

Perhaps the larger news is that it appears Apotheker is on his way out from HP. Since taking the job last year, Apotheker has made sweeping changes across the company, including shutting down the webOS hardware business just six weeks after the launch of the TouchPad. Apotheker also expressed interest in either spinning out or selling off HP’s PC business, a move that would radically redefine Hewlett-Packard as we know it today.

As The Wall Street Journal’s Al Lewis outlined in his scathing indictment of Hewlett-Packard last month, the company is facing real challenges. And Swisher notes that HP’s stock has dropped more than 43% since Apotheker took over.

Could Meg Whitman be the right person for the job? It’s true that Whitman’s run as CEO of eBay was an overall success, but it wasn’t without missteps. Whitman was responsible for the disastrous Skype deal and seemed unsure of how to define eBay as it moved into its second act. With a mature company like Hewlett Packard — one that has already had three CEOs in the last decade — it will be essential that top leadership understands the company’s vision and plans for future growth.

Swisher makes it clear that Whitman “is by no means a done deal.” We’ll continue to watch this story as it develops.

Image courtesy of Flickr, megwhitman2010

More About: Hewlett-Packard, Leo Apotheker, meg whitman

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Facebook’s Latest Changes: A Hands-On Look [PICS]

Posted: 21 Sep 2011 09:34 AM PDT

Facebook announced Tuesday that it would be rolling out new site features and designs. Namely, top stories and a ticker, to name a couple.

Tuesday night Facebook users began encountering a host of new features, the most noticeable of which was “Top Stories,” a feed addition that “clues you into the most interesting stories,” according to the company. The company’s blog says, “News Feed will act more like your own personal newspaper. You won’t have to worry about missing important stuff.”

In case you don’t find Top Stories relevant, however, Facebook allows you to hide or add posts based on your interest level. Just click the top right drop-down menu on the post, much like in the former design.

SEE ALSO: Facebook Subscribe Button: What It Means for Each Type of User

Another major new tool is Ticker, which Facebook touts as a way to “join friends in real-time.” The company’s blog adds, “News Feed often has a time lag … Until now, there hasn’t been an easy way to see and chat with your friends about photos, articles, and other things they’re posting in real-time.” It’s a clear nod to Twitter’s feed, but Facebook allows you to hover over ticker updates and respond instantly.

Apart from Top Stories and Ticker, Facebook has made aesthetic improvements here and there. Take a look through the gallery below for a tour of the new features. Are you on board with the redesign? Be sure to take our poll.

1. Top Stories

Facebook's new design highlights posts that you'll likely find important, and prioritizes them at the top of your feed when you log in. The top stories are designated by a blue tag in the upper left corner of the post. From what we can see, however, top stories don't regenerate much throughout the day -- especially if you keep Facebook open in your browser like your Twitter ticker.

2. New Posts

Above your top stories you'll find the option to expand more recent posts, much like Twitter's "47 new tweets" real-time notification bar.

3. Recent Stories

However, the new post notification bar doesn't refresh as often, but instead automatically expands new stories much like the older version.

4. Hide Posts

In the drop-down tab on the upper right of every post, you still have the option to hide posts (whether to delete the individual story or to hide that person's updates altogether). In the new version, you also have the option to mark a post as a top story, thus increasing the likelihood that that type of post or friend will appear in your Top Stories feed.

5. Ticker

The new ticker on the upper right of your homepage condenses real-time posts. Hover over any story to expand and view likes and comments.

6. Ticker / Chat

If you expand your chat sidebar (whether or not you're online), the ticker attaches to the top. That way, any page you navigate away from the home feed will still display real-time updates. Adjust chat/ticker proportions by hovering over the gray bar between chat and the ticker.

7. Album Layout

Last but not least, Facebook has made album design a bit more aesthetic. Albums that appear in your newsfeed stack three photos for a more creative viewing experience.

More About: design, Facebook, features, Social Media, trending, Twitter

Pandora Unleashes Redesigned Music Player With No Listening Cap

Posted: 21 Sep 2011 08:44 AM PDT

Popular Internet radio service Pandora has unleashed a complete redesign of its web-based player and removed the 40-hour listening cap.

The new Pandora, which we first learned about in July, dramatically speeds up the interface. The new player is built in HTML5, vastly improving the navigation speed over its previous iteration, which was built in Flash.

“We've rebuilt Pandora from the foundation up – starting with a completely new software platform based on HTML5,” Pandora CTO Tom Conrad said in a statement. “This redesign represents years of learning and a deliberate and comprehensive review of every last detail of the experience.”

The first thing most people will notice about the redesign is the bigger, more prominent music player. It now sits on the top of the page, no matter where you go on Pandora. It’s much faster and easier to find. Best of all, it comes with a new shuffle feature that lets you shuffle songs from all of your Pandora stations. It’s an interesting experience going from Mozart to Kanye West, but it adds variety to the listening experience.

Pandora has also added enhancements for finding and discovering artists. The new autocomplete search function is not only cleaner, but it’s more accurate at choosing stations, artists and songs that might pique your interest. The update also comes with more detailed information about artists and adds options for finding music lyrics. The album art size has also been expanded to make for a more visual experience.

One change we like is that the player is now more social. Each station now has its own URL, which can be shared via Facebook, Twitter and Pandora’s new social feed, which provides a stream of likes and comments on different pieces of music. This also makes it easy to email a Beatles Pandora station to your mom.

All of these changes come with one more big change: the removal of the listening cap. Non-paying users were limited to 40 hours of music before Pandora stopped playing and prompted you to purchase Pandora One, its premium subscription offering. Now Pandora will keep playing, although if you hit 320 hours the company will contact you about whether you’re abusing the system.

The redesign was long overdue. I have avoided using Pandora’s website for years because its interface was so terrible (I’m a Pandora One user and preferred the company’s desktop app). The redesigned player is much easier to use though and much more appealing, which will hopefully result in more people adopting the web player. Its new social features should spur new levels of engagement as well.

More About: pandora

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