Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “How Weather.com Is Building a Social Meda Weather Alert System”

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “How Weather.com Is Building a Social Meda Weather Alert System”


How Weather.com Is Building a Social Meda Weather Alert System

Posted: 02 May 2012 05:04 AM PDT


Forget the screeching emergency tone that interrupts TV and radio shows during severe weather. The Weather Channel wants to build a weather alert system base on social media, and it’s started laying that framework with a site redesign that launched Wednesday.

The redesign, among other updates, lets users tweet weather warnings or post them to Facebook.

Weather Channel VP of Web Products Mike Finnerty calls this social media implementation “phase one.” The channel is working with Facebook on “phase two,” which involves incorporating weather warnings into Facebook’s open graph.

In the future, Finnerty says, you’ll be able to see weather warnings that affect family members or friends in your Facebook network while you’re on the site. You’ll be able to post those warnings directly to their individual Facebook walls.

“It takes that annoying tone you get on radio or TV and makes it really, really personal,” Finnerty says.

While the National Weather Service (NWS), Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have traditionally relied on television and radio to broadcast severe weather warnings, websites such as Weather.com could play a big part in pushing those warnings out through the most recently mainstream form of media.

According to comScore, The Weather Channel’s website, Weather.com, is the 20th most trafficked website in the United States — ahead of Twitter, LinkedIn and Yelp.

In March, it had about 54 million unique visitors. The next biggest weather site, WeatherBug, had about 22 million unique visitors in the same month.

Meanwhile, social weather reports are becoming something of a trend. Startup weather apps such as Weathermob and Ourcast, for instance, focus on social aspects. Both allow users to share, comment on and report the weather.

In August 2011, the Weather Channel partnered with Twitter to launch 220 local weather Twitter feeds for cites with populations of more than 100,000. Though Twitter is not currently involved with the Emergency Broadcast system, Finnerty says, “that may change.”

In addition to taking its first steps toward social media weather warnings, Weather.com also revamped its website. Its forecasts now tell you when it will rain or stop raining in your area within 15-minute increments.

Personal features — such as suggested activities from Weather.com’s content partners based on your interests and the weather — also make their debut, and you can now change The Weather Channel logo to read “[Your Name]‘s Weather.”

How would you prefer to get your weather alerts? Let us know in the comments.

More About: the weather channel, Weather, Weather.com


Crowd-Funding Video Platform Launches, But Would You Pay?

Posted: 02 May 2012 05:04 AM PDT


Have you ever wished you could show video creators your appreciation in a more tangible way than a “like”?

A new partnership between video platform Dailymotion and social micropayment startup Flattr lets you show filmmakers some love with a bit of cash. Flattr buttons will begin appearing next to Dailymotion content Wednesday, giving you the opportunity to donate to your favorite creators.

“We’ve been looking for alternative revenue streams,” Roland Hamilton, Dailymotion U.S. managing director, told Mashable. “We have very talented creators who have very robust communities built around them. This is a great way for us to tap into these fan communities and for them to flatter these content creators by helping fund their projects.”

The partnership with Dailymotion is the largest since Flattr’s 2010 launch. The startup works to get online content creators, including bloggers, educators and video makers, paid for their work.

SEE ALSO: Pay a Blogger Day Hopes You'll Pay for the Content You Love

Each time a registered Flattr user presses the green Flattr button next to a video, they allocate a portion of their monthly donations to that particular creator. To date, about 1 million Flattrs have been given to online content makers. The average value per Flattr is .80 euros, a bit more than $1.

“This will be the first time online creators will have a way to receive revenue from their audiences,” Linus Olsson, Flatter co-founder, told Mashable.

Hamilton anticipates a wide adoption of the button by its regular users. The two companies think one day amateur artists could finance record production through these microdonations, receiving Kickstarter-like fan funding.

The success of the Flattr button comes down to the audience. Would you donate to the artists and content creators you love? What’s the best way to express your appreciation online? Sound off in the comments.

More About: crowdfunding, dailymotion, flattr

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Today’s Top Stories: Facebook IPO, Mozilla vs. CISPA

Posted: 02 May 2012 03:26 AM PDT

Social Media News

Welcome to this morning's edition of "First To Know," a series in which we keep you in the know on what's happening in the digital world. Today, we're looking at three particularly interesting stories.

Facebook IPO Set for May 18 [REPORT]

Facebook's Initial Public Offering is happening in just two and a half weeks time, the Wall Street Journal reports. Facebook is expected to begin its IPO roadshow on Monday, May 7, with the IPO itself set for May 18.

Mozilla on CISPA: It Infringes on Our Privacy

Mozilla is one of the first major internet companies to openly criticize the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, which recently passed the House of Representatives.

“The bill infringes on our privacy, includes vague definitions of cybersecurity, and grants immunities to companies and government that are too broad around information misuse,” claims Mozilla.

Apple Rejecting Apps That Use Dropbox SDK; Dropbox Working to Resolve the Issue

Developers using the Dropbox SDK have recently been complaining about Apple rejecting their apps due to links to an external purchase option. Dropbox is working with Apple to resolve the issue.

“Apple is rejecting apps that use the Dropbox SDK because we allow users to create accounts. We’re working with Apple to come up with a solution that still provides an elegant user experience,” said Dropbox in a statement to AppleInsider.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, mattjeacock

More About: apple, CISPA, Dropbox, Facebook, features, first to know series, ipo, mashable, mozilla

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Rimac Concept_One Electric Supercar Can Be Yours for $980,000

Posted: 02 May 2012 02:43 AM PDT

rimac

Croatian automaker Rimac Automobili has unveiled its electric supercar Concept_One back in September 2011, but now you can actually buy it — if you can spare $980,000.

For that kind of money one would expect some other-wordly specifications, and Concept_One delivers.

With a battery capacity of 92 kWh, this supercar delivers 1088 hp which can take you to 62 mph in 2.8 seconds, with a top speed of 190 mph.

As far as autonomy goes, Rimac claims the Concept_One can travel a solid 372 miles on a single charge.

Rimas has recently showcased the car in Monaco, announcing a limited run of 88 vehicles — for those who can afford to spend nearly $1 million on a (very, very fast) car.

Check out the video below and tell us how you like the Concept_One in the comments.

[via Autoblog]

More About: Concept_one, electric cars, Rimac

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How One Actor Used an iPhone to Land a Role in the ‘Star Trek’ Sequel [VIDEO]

Posted: 01 May 2012 09:00 PM PDT


Now here’s something straight out of the future: A British actor used his iPhone to land a role in the J.J. Abrams-directed sequel to Star Trek.

Benedict Cumberbatch is a 35-year-old actor who has appeared in a number of films including War Horse, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Atonement .

Cumberbatch got word last December that Abrams wanted him to audition via videotape for a role in the much-anticipated Star Trek sequel, The New York Times reports. Only problem? Cumberbatch was vacationing in England at the time, and couldn’t locate anyone to properly film his tryout.

So, the story goes, an “agitated and weary” Cumberbatch simply recorded his audition using an iPhone.

“I was pretty strung out,” Cumberbatch tells the Times, “so that went into the performance.”

Cumberbatch sent the clip to Abrams, only to be hit with a cruel bit of irony — Abrams, too, was on vacation and couldn’t immediately check out the recording. But he eventually got a look at it and told the Times that Cumberbatch’s iPhone-recorded performance was "one of the most compelling audition readings I'd ever seen."

SEE ALSO: How George Takei Went From Star Trek to Social Media Superstar

Cumberbatch got the part, although his role has not yet been officially announced. The film blogosphere, however, appears fairly certain Cumberbatch will play the villain Khan.

Numerous stars including Justin Bieber have gone from unknown to discovered via YouTube and other tech platforms, but an established actor using a consumer gadget to land a major role appears to be a first.

Could well-known actors using iPhones to land major roles become a trend in the future? Let us know in the comments.

Thumbnail image courtesy iStockphoto, clearviewstock

More About: iphone, Star Trek

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Access Your Thumb Drive Using Your Voice [VIDEO]

Posted: 01 May 2012 08:27 PM PDT


USB thumb drives are so convenient because of their tiny, portable size — also making them easier to lose. A new voice recognition thumb drive keeps your data safe, even if it makes its way into someone else’s hands.

Made by Hammacher-Schlemmer, the 8GB thumb drive uses a built-in microphone and voice-activation software that “detects the specific frequencies and nuances of its owner’s voice” notes the product description, to access your sensitive data. What if you have a cold, you ask? Simply enter a secret passcode to bypass the voice recognition part. The USB drive has a lifetime guarantee.

Would you buy this? Why or why not? Sound off in the comments.

More About: Hammacher-Schlemmer, thumb drive, USB drive, voice activation


Screenleap Aims to Make Conference Calls More Like Social Media

Posted: 01 May 2012 08:00 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: Screenleap

Quick Pitch: Share your computer screen on the web with one click.

Genius Idea: No software is needed to use Screenleap. The site allows anyone to share screens via a handle page, a link or nine digit code. It incorporates a social aspect by allowing users to create personalized pages and the ability to broadcast publically to the entire web or select individuals.


Computer screen sharing has become second nature for many businesses, but what about the average person?

Screenleap, a Palo Alto startup, wants to make screen sharing more social and common in everyday life beyond the office. The company offers services for businesses, but is putting a particular emphasis on how screen sharing could improve online social interactions.

Screenleap users can get their own personal domain name and choose to share their screen with select people or anyone on the Internet interested in viewing. The user handles cut out the need to share conference links or numbers, although Screenleap still offers that option as well. When a user wants to share his or her screen, viewers can see what the user is broadcasting from their URL in the form of http://www.screenleap.com/username.

In two weeks, Screenleap will add a friends list to make sharing easier for logged in users. Users will be able to send invites to join a screen share by email or text message.

“We want to make screen sharing as frictionless as possible,” said Tuyen Truong, founder and CEO of Screenleap. “We have made screen sharing super simple and without clunky software.”

Screenleap requires no software download, unlike many other teleconferencing platforms. In less than 20 seconds, a user can share a screen on Screenleap with anyone from his or her Screenleap handle. With a few clicks, users can share from a computer, smartphone or tablet.

“Screen sharing can and should be as easy to use as email,” Truong said.

Professionals, companies and brands can find value in using the site to broadcast how-to seminars, Truong said.

“If you’re a videographer, other people might find value in what you’re doing online,” Truong said. “You can show other interested videographers how you edit or create things you’re doing.”

Screenleap founders Truong and Lawrence Gentilello were college roommates at Stanford and founders of the Stanford social network Steamtunnels, also know as the “Forgotten Social Network” in the late 1990s. Administrators at Standford shut the site down citing copyright infringement and privacy concerns.

Screenleap, which started in October 2011, has received $167,000 in seed funding from Y Combinator, Andreessen Horowitz, SV Angel and Start Fund. The service is free for consumer user. The premium version will cost more. Screenleap also plans to develop an API, so businesses can integrate screen sharing into their products. The startup also is considering advertising and allowing brand pages to promote their channels.

To get a Screenleap account, users have to refer five friends. But Mashable readers can bypass the referrals and claim their Screenleap handle by signing up for a free account here.


Image courtesy of iStock, alexsl


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


2012: Year of the Online Political Ad [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted: 01 May 2012 07:38 PM PDT

The 2012 race to the White House is shaping up to be the most expensive in history — and an ever-increasing amount of campaign spending is going towards online advertising and social media.

So far, presidential candidates have spent seven times the amount of money spent in 2008 on digital ads. Online ad spending has doubled as a percentage of campaigns’ budgets over the same time period.

How’s that money being spent? Mostly on campaign emails, but also on display ads, sponsored search terms, audio and video ads.

For more, check out the infographic below, created for TheDigitalCampaign.com, a blog dedicated to covering digital strategies for political campaigns.


Thumbnail image courtesy of iStockphoto, franckreporter

More About: 2012 presidential campaign, Advertising, Politics, US


Fire Extinguisher Punched by Knicks Player Tweets Taunts

Posted: 01 May 2012 07:06 PM PDT


In an all-time classic bonehead NBA moment, New York Knicks star Amare Stoudemire lacerated his hand while punching a fire extinguisher’s glass case following a playoff loss Monday night. The self-inflicted injury will force Stoudemire to miss the series’ third game and likely its fourth as well — all but sealing the Knicks’ fate for a winless first round playoff exit.

Stoudemire later took to Twitter to express his remorse:

By that time, however, the fire extinguisher in question had already launched a counter propaganda campaign of sorts, taunting Stoudemire, the Knicks and their fans via Twitter. @AAAExtinguisher (Stoudemire botched his post-loss therapy at American Airlines Arena in Miami) tweeted this challenge to Stoudemire about an hour before the player’s public apology:

Later, the extinguisher answered a fan’s question to shed some light on how the one-sided altercation got started:

Tuesday morning, it responded to Stoudemire’s apology with a dig at his offensively-minded (to put it mildly) teammate Carmelo Anthony:

@AAAExtinguisher has spent the rest of Tuesday tweeting bon mots and bantering with media members. But it’s just one of many fake Twitter accounts from the periphery of the sports universe. The moustache of Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville has its own account, as does the burly beard of San Francisco Giants pitcher Brian Wilson — not the mention the dozens of accounts parodying people and organizations in sports leagues and media.

Do you think the fake fire extinguisher Twitter account is funny, or in poor taste? Let us know in the comments.


BONUS: 15 Hilarious Sports Parody Twitter Accounts



1. @NotBillWalton




NBA legend and hardcore Grateful Dead fan, Bill Walton is known for his sometimes curious verbiage and his philosophical take on the game of basketball. This account takes full advantage.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: sports, Twitter

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Oxygen Channel’s Social TV Platform Arrives May 18

Posted: 01 May 2012 06:50 PM PDT

Oxygen Media New Social TV Platform


The Oxygen Channel is launching a new social TV platform for fans of its programming this month. The platform — Oxygen Connect — will offer viewers web exclusives, challenges for incentives and a central place to vote during competition shows.

Oxygen Connect (see mock-up above) will initially be woven into the second-screen experience for The Glee Project, a reality show where contestants compete for a role on Fox’s comedy-drama Glee.

More series will eventually use the platform, which will be available as a mobile app and on Oxygen’s website.

Season two of The Glee Project premieres June 5, but viewers can register for Oxygen Connect starting May 18 to watch a web-only preview of the series. To use the platform, users will sign up with their Facebook accounts and create a profile.

"It’s allowing us to further fuel the fans' desire to root for and connect with their favorite contenders, which is what drives the passion for the show.”

Each week during The Glee Project, viewers can participate in missions to earn custom badges and points for a more personalized experience. The points unlock sneak peeks and live chats with contenders, among other rewards. Points also could win users face-to-face meetings with contestants.

Jennifer Kavanagh, SVP of digital at Oxygen Media, told Mashable this interactive initiative supplements the company’s existing OxygenLive.com co-viewing hub.

“Oxygen Connect gives us the opportunity to build on this and more directly reward fans for this level of engagement by giving them more exclusive access to talent and content,” she says. “It’s allowing us to further fuel the fans' desire to root for and connect with their favorite contenders, which is what drives the passion for the show.”

On the platform, Glee Project fans can use Twitter hashtags to vote for their favorite contenders during “Last Chance Performances.” Their votes will be displayed on TV in real time with the top vote-getter winning a featured spot on Oxygen Connect.

“Tuning in live each week and voting is a key way of earning exclusive badges and ensuring their favorite performance gets unlocked online for a full week,” Kavanagh says.

SEE ALSO: I Can Has Cheezburger on TV? Reality Show Planned for Bravo

Oxygen, which has 5.2 million followers across social networks, says the mobile and tablet app also will deliver synced content (polls, videos and ads) based on each user’s location.

More About: Entertainment, GLEE, hashtags, mobile apps, Oxygen, social tv, The Glee Project, TV, Twitter

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YouTube’s 20 Most-Shared Ads in April [VIDEOS]

Posted: 01 May 2012 06:28 PM PDT


1. TNT - Dramatic Surprise


In this ad, TNT delivers on its tagline, "We Know Drama." Curious (and unsuspecting) passersby press a red button in the center of a quiet square and get a real-life dose of primetime dramatic action.

Click here to view this gallery.

It seems like creating advert videos for YouTube is a surefire way for companies and organizations to get an audience’s attention. Whether it’s a short film, an interactive video or a long-form advertisement, people will watch and share compelling content, and the most-shared ads during April prove it.

Check out the gallery above to view last month’s ads, made by companies like Google, Nike, Tipp-Ex and more. You’ll find many of these videos to be inspiring, funny, tear-jerking, socially conscious and visually stunning. Thanks to our friends at Unruly Media for compiling the list.

SEE ALSO: 10 Funniest Sketch Comedy Channels on YouTube

Which of April’s most-shared ads are your favorites? Let us know in the comments.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, ozgurdonmaz

More About: ads, Advertising, Business, features, Video, YouTube


Put Your Live Event on Facebook, Get Paid With Evinar

Posted: 01 May 2012 06:00 PM PDT

Want to perform for your friends and family and make some extra money while you’re at it? A new service called Evinar allows artists, musicians, performers and speakers to host online concerts and events directly on Facebook.

Evinar allows users to create an event via the platform’s dashboard. After adding a headline and providing details about the event, start time and ticket prices you can send Facebook friends invites to the virtual show.

“Performers can provide live performances for fans directly on Facebook and even monetize their fan base by turning likes into tickets,” Mark Boswell of Evinar told Mashable.

“It’s great for fans too, as they can attend live concerts and shows from their favorite bands, musicians or comedians without leaving Facebook.”

The platform also allows users to chat with others in the room during the show.

SEE ALSO: Band to Take Requests via Text During Upcoming Concert

“We have already hosted a few shows with over 300 people attending live,” Boswell said.

Not only is this an innovative concept to help up-and-coming artists spread the word and grow their brand, it could also be used among mainstream recording artists, as well. Can you see a major recording artist offering a private, exclusive concert to the first 1,000 fans to purchase tickets on Facebook?

Would you support a friend by watching a live concert or event on Facebook? Would you attend a live show of one of your favorite artists through the service? Let us know in the comments.

More About: Facebook, Music


With BlackBerry 10, RIM Is Fighting the Wrong War

Posted: 01 May 2012 05:32 PM PDT

RIM-thorsten-heins-600

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

ORLANDO — So far at BlackBerry World, there hasn’t been much talk about the “enterprise refocus” that Research In Motion CEO Thorsten Heins made headlines with at the company’s last earnings call.

At all the meetings, panels and keynotes I’ve attended so far, it’s been clear the siren call of the consumer market still commands a large portion of RIM’s attention.

Take one example: The way-cool time-shifting camera functions in BlackBerry 10 that Heins showed off in his keynote.

Although other hardware companies are doing impressive stuff with camera phones (notably HTC), RIM’s approach is novel and innovative. Still, it’s difficult to see the feature being spectacularly useful in a corporate boardroom, or even a factory floor.

The hypothetical situation Heins gave was when someone — specifically a family member — closes their eyes during a shot. Sounds pretty consumer to me.

You can hardly blame RIM for these continued consumer overtures. After all, companies its size don’t turn on a dime. BlackBerry 10 has been in the works for almost three years, and Heins has only been CEO for a couple of months. And many mobile features have crossover appeal between business customers and the consumer on the street.

However, the downside to operating with consumer-focused strategies means RIM inevitably plays the role of underdog. Just look at what it’s doing on the developer front: RIM is showering developers with love here at BlackBerry World, doing its best to elevate its software tools by giving app designers access to core device functions they might not get on, say, iOS.

They also make it super simple to create apps, throwing lots of weight behind the platform-agnostic standard of HTML5.

But wait, there’s more! At Tuesday’s BlackBerry 10 Jam developer keynote, RIM said it would guarantee that anyone who makes an app for BlackBerry 10 (and it’s approved) would make $10,000 minimum.

If the app falls short of making that much, RIM will write a check for the difference.

SEE ALSO: RIM's Secret Weapon for Reviving BlackBerry: HTML5

This why it’s so clear RIM is still fighting the war of consumer platforms with Apple and Google. Writing $10,000 checks to developers is one way to boost its relatively miniscule App World selection so it can compete with the big boys.

Alas, it’s not going to work. RIM is trying to date developers that are already married to iOS and Android. Sure, they might hang out with BlackBerry a little — if you’re a developer, why not be on as many platforms as possible?

But there’s no way they’re turning their back on their sugar daddies. Apple and Google’s stores are where the big money is — enough potential cash to dwarf that $10,000 guarantee.

That’s why it’s perplexing to hear RIM backtrack on the enterprise angle. Being the mobile choice for business is the BlackBerry brand’s clear differentiator, but it appears to be taking a lot of its enterprise relationships for granted.

It shouldn’t, for many reasons — one being Windows Phone.

While RIM has been focusing on fighting Apple and Google, Micorosoft has been making headlines with its Windows Phone hardware, such as the Nokia Lumia 900. Around the same time BlackBerry 10 launches this fall, so will Windows 8, along with (presumably) Windows Phone 8.

If Microsoft follows its present course, Windows 8 will finally unify Windows as a platform, with all devices — PCs, tablets and phones — running the same software. And that’s going to present a huge opportunity for Windows Phone as a go-to mobile platform for business.

After all, if you’re already using Microsoft products on the PC side of your workflow, why wouldn’t you integrate them in mobile as well?

That strategy take a while to get going, since Microsoft still hasn’t put all the pieces in place. Once it does, businesses tend to upgrade to the next version of Windows at a snail’s pace. Still, it represents a long-term challenge for RIM on the business side, one that Microsoft has been readying for years.

That’s the war RIM needs to start prepping for — not just with Microsoft, but with Apple and Google encroaching on its territory via the “consumerization of IT” phenomenon. RIM still has a shot with BlackBerry 10, but it needs to stop playing by others’ rules (such as the app count of your store).

It also needs this reminder: trying to compete for every single mobile customer is exactly what got the company into trouble in the first place.


BONUS: BlackBerry 10′s Best Features



Glance Back




Saying BlackBerry 10 is all about the "flow" between apps, RIM CEO Thorsten Heins showed how users could quickly see other apps running by "glancing back" via menus that peek out from the side.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: blackberry, BlackBerry 10, enterprise, research in motion, RIM, windows phone, Windows Phone 8


Gmail Now Translates Emails Written in Different Languages [VIDEO]

Posted: 01 May 2012 04:47 PM PDT


Gmail‘s automated message translation is no longer an experiment. Now Google’s popular email platform can automatically translate emails from one language to another. So, for example, you can get an email in Japanese and have it translated instantly into English, or communicate with a friend in French without ever knowing the language.

Automatic Message translation was originally introduced in Gmail Labs in May 2009, where it became a hit with a variety of different Gmail users — particularly business users who work with people around the globe.

"Some people just wanted to easily read newsletters from abroad. Another person wrote in telling us how he set up his mom's Gmail to translate everything into her native language, thus saving countless explanatory phone calls (he thanked us profusely)," Jeff Chin, Product Manager for Google Translate wrote in a blog post. "Since message translation was one of the most popular labs, we decided it was time to graduate from Gmail Labs and move into the real world."

The service will be gradually rolled out to Gmail users over the next few days. When you receive an email in a language that is not your own, clicking the “Translate message” button on the header of the email will translate it instantly for you.

Bilingual users have the the option to turn off the feature, and those who regularly receive messages that need translation can opt to have Gmail always translate messages they receive.

Are you already using automatic message translation? What do you think about the service being added to Gmail? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

More About: gmail, Google, translation


Netscape Founder: We Should Have Built Payments in the Browser

Posted: 01 May 2012 04:22 PM PDT


“We should have built payments in the browser,” Marc Andreessen said on stage at Wired‘s business conference in New York City Tuesday morning.

Andreessen cofounded what was once the world’s most popular browser, Netscape, and now heads up one of Silicon Valley’s most successful venture capital firms with cofounder Ben Horowitz. He also sits on the boards of Facebook, eBay and HP, among others.

The statement was made in response to an audience question about magazines’ future as an industry. Chris Anderson, Wired‘s editor-in-chief, held up his iPad. “The tablet has been the first media platform that came with an ecommerce engine attached. The big problem with the web is that we couldn’t take payments,” he said.

“It was essentially impossible to do,” Andreessen replied. “We tried. We talked to credit card companies, banks, we weren’t able to do it. Microsoft wasn’t able to do it.”

“The web would have turned out differently, perhaps much better, perhaps better business models [would have emerged],” Andreessen added. “Maybe you would have lost a lot of free content and ad-based business models.”

SEE ALSO: Twitter Is Exploring a Premium Version, CEO Suggests

He makes a good point. It’s hard to argue that the online publishing landscape would have evolved identically if payments were built in to the Internet’s earliest browsers. Perhaps print companies would have been able to glean more revenue from the web and thus dedicated more resources to it early on. Perhaps the new fleet of online-only media companies — think The Huffington Post and Gawker Media, among thousands of others — would have pursued subscription-supported rather than ad-supported business models.

How do you think the web would have evolved differently if a browser-based payment system had been introduced in the late nineties or early aughts?

More About: marc andreessen, Media, Netscape

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Facebook IPO: It’s Set for May 18 [REPORT]

Posted: 01 May 2012 03:58 PM PDT


Facebook’s long-awaited Initial Public Offering is happening in just two and a half weeks time, the Wall Street Journal reports Tuesday.

Citing the usual anonymous sources familiar with the matter, the Journal says Facebook will begin its IPO roadshow on Monday May 7. That’s when companies traditionally make the rounds of mutual funds, large banks and other major investors looking for multi-million dollar stakes. (We’ve reached out to Facebook for official confirmation.)

The name of the IPO roadshow game is to explain why your stock will be such a good buy, although in Facebook’s case that shouldn’t be too hard. (Our advice: just show them this video, and you’ll be done in 150 seconds.)

Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg will only be present for some of the roadshow, say the sources; COO Sheryl Sandberg will handle the rest, along with CFO David Ebersman. (We’re hoping Sandberg still gets to finish work at 5:30pm.)

SEE ALSO: Facebook: Here Are the 35 Things That Could Kill Our Company

The roadshow will wrap up pretty quickly, and then it’s on to the IPO itself, apparently set for Friday May 18. As we’ve written before, the IPO should shift $10 billion worth of Facebook stock, leaving the social network with an overall valuation of $100 billion — and turning Zuckerberg, who owns a controlling stake of voting shares, into one of the world’s richest men.

Someone else who will be watching the IPO closely: Kevin Systrom, founder of Instagram. We’ve already noted that the $1 billion Facebook purchase of his app made Systrom worth $400 million on paper, but we’ve since learned that much of that $1 billion deal was for Facebook stock.

A wildly successful IPO could theoretically make Systrom a billionaire, albeit at a much lower level than Zuckerberg.

So now that it’s finally happening, what are your thoughts on the Facebook IPO? Will the social network be wildly overvalued, or find its true level? Let us know in the comments.


Additional Facebook IPO Coverage



2004: First Offers Turned Down




Facebook launches with humble beginnings that most people have seen dramatized in The Social Network by now. It was a small social site backed by only a little money, and limited just to the undergrads at Harvard. Right out of the gate, Facebook turned down offers from an unknown investor and Friendster, each offering $10 million. This was, of course, when the company was still called TheFacebook.

Image courtesy of Flickr.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: Facebook, ipo, mark zuckerberg

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HTC One X May Be The Best Android Phone Ever [REVIEW]

Posted: 01 May 2012 03:01 PM PDT


The HTC One X rests at the top of HTC’s lineup of Android smartphones. Set to come to AT&T’s LTE network on May 6, the handset comes rocking a 1.5 GHz dual-core processor, and is the first HTC phone on AT&T running both Ice Cream Sandwich and HTC’s proprietary software layer Sense 4.0.

The One X’s design stands out from the crowd, and the phone’s spec-sheet screams high-end before you even pick it up.

So does the HTC One X live up to the hype? Is it worth $199 with a new year contract? Could it be the best Android phone ever?


Design


While the One X has a fairly large footprint — 5.3 x 2.75 – the phone is a mere .36" thick and weighs just 4.6 ounces, making it very easily pocketable. The phone has a polycarbonate finish reminiscent of Nokia Lumia 900, giving it a slick feel without making you feel like it might slip out of your hands.

Rounded edges help you grip the handset without having sharp corners cut into your hand when you do.

I’ve been attached at the hip to the white version of the phone for the past week. While white is certainly eye-catching and pretty to look at, over the week I was toting it around it also picked up quite a bit of dirt and grime and started to look pretty dingy on the back.

AT&T is also offering the One X in grey, and if you’re someone who tends to throw your phone in a purse or lay it down on what might not be the cleanest of surfaces, you may want to opt for the grey model over the white.

The camera on the back of the phone –- much like the One S — sticks out from the device, so when you sit your phone down you are literally sitting it down on the camera. There’s a small ring around the camera to prevent it from getting scratched or dirty.

The phone has a unibody design which looks great, but also means you can’t remove or replace the battery. Non-removable batteries certainly aren’t anything new, but both LTE and the phone’s display are going to be huge sucks on your battery life and may having you wishing for a replacement option.





While the One X has a fairly large footprint -- 5.3 x 2.75 – the phone is a mere .36" thick and weighs just 4.6 ounces, making it very easily pocketable.

Click here to view this gallery.


Display


The One X has a 4.7" 720 x 1280 Super LCD screen which is easily one of the nicest screens I’ve ever seen on a smartphone. The screen displays colors perfectly, and the screen is easy to read from any angle.

The screen is a welcome upgrade from the One S, which has a 4.3-inch qHD AMOLED 960 x 540. Put these two phones side by side, and you’ll definitely notice a difference.

See Also: HTC One S Is Lightweight, Takes Dazzling Photos


Camera


The camera is one of the places the HTC One X really shines. Much like its T-Mobile sibling the One S, the One X has a rapid-fire 8-megapixel camera with a dual-LED flash. Rapid-fire means you can snap a shot as soon as you press the shutter button, and you can hold that button down to take several pictures in succession.

The One X also has a number of built-in Instagram-like effects that you can use to give the pictures you take a unique look. Built-in filters include Distortion, Vignette, Depth of Field, Dots, Mono, Country, Vintage, Vintage Warm, Vintage, Cold, Grayscale, Sepia, Negative, Solarize, Posterize, and Aqua.

The One X can capture 1080p video at 60fps as well, and allows you to snap shots simultaneously while you’re recording that video.





Click here to view this gallery.


Operating System


The One X is running the latest version of Android — Ice Cream Sandwich — as well as the latest version of HTC’s software, HTC Sense. The One X is the second phone from HTC to hit the market in the U.S. running ICS and Sense 4.0.

If you’re not familiar, Sense is a special HTC-specific software — commonly called a skin –that the company puts over Android. Each cellphone manufacturer has its own skin it uses. For those who are familiar with previous HTC phones, Sense 4.0 is a refreshing update that eliminates some of the things that bogged it down.

If you’re new to HTC or new to Android in general, Sense can help make your phone experience more intuitive and pleasant.


Worth the cash?


The HTC One X is one of the best Android smartphones to date. The handset has a fantastic camera, amazing display, and a brilliant design that sets it apart from the competition. The phone is not only one of the best Android handsets in AT&T’s lineup, but rests at the top-of-the-line for Android smartphones as whole.

The HTC One X will be available at AT&T on May 6 for $199.99. You can pre-order the handset now in white and grey.

More About: android, htc, ice cream sandwich

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Who Googled You? This Website Knows

Posted: 01 May 2012 03:01 PM PDT


After a date, a pitch or a job interview, there’s a good chance you’re going to get Googled. Online reputation manager BrandYourself now helps you figure out who is searching for your name.

The startup, which helps individuals control Google results for names through SEO, launched a new feature on Tuesday that shows users where visitors to their BrandYourself profiles work and where they’re located.

BrandYourself built a database of organizations’ publicly-available IP addresses in order to create the feature. They use it to match IP addressees of profile visitors with the companies that own those addressses.

Visitors most frequently reach BrandYourself profiles through Google, but the feature works the same way if visitors reach a user’s profile from another search engine or website.

The system isn’t foolproof. While it’s easy to track down IP addresses for large organizations, many smaller companies won’t be listed. The feature is more a way for BrandYourself to keep users engaged than it is a core part of its product.

“They are being Googled,” BrandYourself co-founder Patrick Ambron tells Mashable. “It gives them an idea of who is looking them up, and it motivates them to update their profile and make sure they're putting their best foot forward.”

Ambron’s free product is a step-by-step dashboard that helps users optimize up to three links they want to push up in search results for their names. Because linking out and in are factors in how Google ranks pages, part of this process includes creating a profile page where users can link to all their other online profiles.

Since launching in March, Ambron says the site has signed up 25,000 users — 80% of whom have set up profiles. About 1,000 users have subscribed to a $10-per-month premium product that allows them to optimize unlimited links.

BrandYourself competitors such as Ziggs and Naymz also track the geographic locations of profile visitors, but they don’t provide the names of the organizations.

Career sites such as LinkedIn show exactly who visited your profile along with their work history.

“[It's] similar to how LinkedIn and MyLife do it between their internal users,” Ambron says of the comparison. “Except, applied to the entire web.”

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, Maravic

More About: BrandYourself, online reputation, SEO

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Want to Claim a Foursquare Venue Right Now? That Will Be $10

Posted: 01 May 2012 02:59 PM PDT


Foursquare introduced a new process for claiming venues on Tuesday that cuts down on the wait time — for a price.

The new system has two options. Users can either cough up $10 for the instant verification or wait 10 to 15 business days for snail-mail verification.

Previously, everyone who wanted to claim a venue submitted their Foursquare user ID, the URL of their venue and a link to the venue’s online contact page. Foursquare staff reviewed the information, sometimes following up with a phone call to the venue, and made a ruling of whether the claim was valid within seven to ten days.

Now companies will start the process by submitting a phone number. Foursquare makes an automated call to the number and records the caller’s name and the name of the business. Those who opt for instant verification are then prompted to enter their credit card information online. Everyone else is instructed to watch the mail at their venue for further instructions on completing the verification process.

Anyone can create venues on Foursquare. The advantage of claiming your business is that you can use Foursquare’s marketing tools, which include the ability to edit the venue profile, view analytics and offer specials. Foursquare says that about 175,000 businesses have signed up to use these tools, which will remain free for everybody.

The startup, which recently surpassed 20 million users, relies on marketing programs for income and has partnered with big brands such as American Express. The $10 fee is meant to discourage fraudulent claims, not factor into a new business plan. But that doesn’t mean Foursquare won’t make instant verification more expensive in the future.

It’s currently advertising the new $10 price fee fir instant venue verification as a “Limited Time Price!”

More About: foursquare, Marketing

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Beyond Craigslist: 10 Sites for Apartment Hunters

Posted: 01 May 2012 02:38 PM PDT


1. Hotpads




This map-based search engine is great for anyone who likes to see where a potential apartment lies in relation to neighborhood landmarks and points of interest. It includes rentals, condos and homes for sale.

Bonus: Stay connected to your search with apps for Android phones and tablets, iPhone and iPad, and a mobile-optimized site.

Click here to view this gallery.

If you’ve ever looked for an apartment to rent online, chances are you’ve had a go at Craigslist.

Though it’s possible to score a home run on the Internet’s go-to hub for local offerings, you’re likely to be bogged down by Craigslist’s rampant spam and heavy traffic, which rapidly snatches up legitimate listings.

SEE ALSO: 7 City Parking Apps to Save You Time, Money and Gas

While it can get exhausting, there are obvious advantages to house hunting on the Internet, such as avoiding a fee. If you’re interested in keeping your apartment hunt online, but don’t know where to look aside from Craigslist, we’ve got the roundup for you. Here are 10 sites to help you find the perfect home in your neighborhood of choice and your price range.

Have you ever found an apartment online? What is your go-to online real estate tool?

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, querbeet

More About: ecommerce, features, lifestyle, real estate, web


Spitting Lady Interrupts TV News Report [VIDEO]

Posted: 01 May 2012 01:34 PM PDT

Some videos exist simply to go viral.

In the above video, a woman interrupts a taped segment for WCIU-TV, an independently and locally owned, programmed and operated station based out of Chicago, and spits repeatedly on the ground in front of the camera.

SEE ALSO: Secret Sauce — What Does It Take to Create a Viral Video?

Apparently, the woman has a cold, but it isn’t catching.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen on local news? Let us know in the comments.

More About: viral, viral videos


Summer Game Preview: 11 New Releases You Can’t Miss

Posted: 01 May 2012 01:13 PM PDT


May 15: Diablo III




This title has been on gamers' wish lists for the last 12 years, but a lot has changed since a time of dated graphics and slow Internet connections. Since Diablo III was announced in June 2008, Blizzard has continued to stretch development on the title, but hopefully it will be worth the wait. Diablo III takes place about 20 years after Diablo II. A new group of heroes protects Sanctuary in this hack-and-slash fantasy game. There will be five character classes: Monk, Demon Hunter, Barbarian, Witch Doctor and Wizard, and players can use Battle.Net to easily create multiplayer campaigns. The game will be available for Mac or PC.

Click here to view this gallery.

If you’re looking for a way to escape the heat and have fun this summer, check out our list of the biggest and most-anticipated game releases.

While summer isn’t traditionally known to be the best time to buy games (usually that’s reserved for the holidays), plenty of publishers are releasing exciting titles just in time for summer vacation. And just like summer blockbusters, many of these are sequels or revisits to franchises that have large followings and shouldn’t disappoint in sales.

SEE ALSO: 10 Indie Games Worth the Cash

Not everything is a sequel, though. Games like The Secret World and Sound Shapes are representative of new intellectual property.

Check out our list above so you can mark your calendar for this season’s releases. Are you really pumped about any of these games? See anything we missed? Let us know in the comments below.

More About: Entertainment, features, Gaming

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How Twitter Nearly Ruined Obama’s Secret Trip to Afghanistan

Posted: 01 May 2012 12:57 PM PDT


President Barack Obama is on an unannounced trip to Kabul, Afghanistan, to sign a post-war agreement with Afghan President Hamid Karzai — but Twitter almost let the cat out of the bag, causing the White House to scramble to keep the president’s whereabouts secret.

Early Tuesday morning, a local Afghan news station tweeted that Obama landed in Afghanistan aboard Air Force One, according to Buzzfeed Politics.

The problem with the tweet? The journey was supposed to be kept secret for security reasons. If an enemy of the U.S. got ahold of Obama’s itinerary, it could give them advance notice to set up some kind of attack on the president.

The tweet was first noticed in the American media by The Huffington Post‘s Joshua Hersh.

The U.S. Embassy in Kabul quickly tweeted a denial of TOLO’s report, while the White House reached out to members of the press to quell the rumors.

But Hersh kept on the story.

Eventually, The Associated Press broke the story: Obama did indeed land in Afghanistan on an unannounced visit.

The Afghan station that originally tweeted the report, TOLOnews, has since deleted that tweet and replaced it with a report that the original story was false.

Obama will address the nation from Afghanistan at 7:30 p.m. ET Tuesday. His speech can be watched live at WhiteHouse.gov.

Images courtesy of Flickr, DVIDSHUB

More About: afghanistan, barack obama, Politics, trending, Twitter, US, World


Twitter CEO: IPO Is ‘Not Something I Think About’

Posted: 01 May 2012 12:41 PM PDT


Twitter isn’t looking to go public anytime soon, if Twitter CEO Dick Costolo’s comments at Wired‘s business conference in New York City Tuesday are to be believed.

“You IPO because you want to finance the growth of your business,” said Costolo. “Our business is growing on its own organically. We have plenty of money in the bank from private financing. [An IPO] is not something I worry or think about.”

“We financed the growth of the company the way we wanted to finance it last year,” Costolo added, referring to the funding the San Francisco-based startup raised from Digital Sky Technologies in August 2011.

Costolo also talked about what he’s achieved since becoming CEO in October 2010. Much of his focus has been on scaling. Costolo said he’s worked to “organize the company in a way that allows [Twitter] to build and deliver products more efficiently.”

A key part of that effort: uniting the design and engineering practices, so that the two teams develop projects jointly from the get-go.

Costolo also spoke about the development of Twitter’s revenue model. Because Twitter has long supported tweets on devices of varying sophistication, from basic feature phones to desktops, the company knew it “needed a monetization model that went wherever the tweets went.” Consequently, the company realized “the unit of monetization had to be the tweet, that the tweets would be ads themselves,” Costolo recalled.

It was also important that those tweets wouldn’t irritate users. Twitter wanted to create a system where “companies [would be] less motivated to deliver ads that were annoying to people,” Costolo added.

Looking ahead, Costolo said Twitter was working to “bundle real-world and the Twitter experience closer,” although he declined to furnish further details on the matter. He also said Twitter intends to continue to improve its Discover tool, and even suggested that the company is looking into developing a premium version of its service for individual users.

More About: dick costolo, Twitter

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Apple Fights to Keep Steve Jobs Testimony Secret [VIDEO]

Posted: 01 May 2012 12:23 PM PDT


Apple is fighting a request for a deposition given by its late founder, Steve Jobs. The deposition, which relate to Apple’s relationship with Universal Music Group, would unveil trade secrets and cause damage to the company, Apple says.

A class action lawsuit between Universal Music Group and musicians, including Rob Zombie and the estate of Rick James, alleges that UMG has underpaid royalties on digital downloads and ringtones. The artists want such downloads to be treated as “licenses” rather than “sales” — and hence subject to higher royalty rates.

The plaintiffs submitted a discovery request for a 2010 deposition given by Steve Jobs as part of an earlier case against Aftermath Records. That company is a division of UMG, and was sued by F.B.T. Productions, who produced many of Eminem’s songs.

At issue there was how digital music should be treated — either as a sale or a license. The designation had far-reaching effects, since sales and licenses were reimbursed differently under recording contracts, many of which were written before digital downloads in general (and iTunes in particular) became wildly popular.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court ruling and sided with the plaintiff, saying “a contract between the parties should be read as treating digital music as ‘licenses’ rather than ‘sales,’” noted The Hollywood Reporter.

UMG believes that the appeals court ruling applies narrowly, only to that particular case and contract.

Jobs’s testimony was veiled in secrecy from the start. When he gave the deposition, the judge made many people leave the courtroom, including employees of Universal Music Group.

The courtroom was again closed when the deposition was read to the jury. At this point, Apple contends, it doesn’t see why this deposition is needed.

What do you think these sealed documents contain? Sound off in the comments.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, LeggNet

More About: apple, digital music, legal, steve jobs, trending


Celebrate Mashable’s Social Media Day 2012

Posted: 01 May 2012 12:12 PM PDT

Social Media Day 2012

We’re thrilled to share that Mashable‘s third annual Social Media Day will be held Saturday, June 30, 2012!

We launched Social Media Day in 2010 as a way to recognize the digital revolution happening right before our eyes. Whether we’re reporting about new online networks on Mashable or listening to inspiring stories from our readers, we’ve seen how this increasingly connected world is quickly changing lives across the globe — and our community agrees.

In 2010, there were more than 600 Meetups in 90 countries. That more than doubled in 2011 when there were more than 1,400 Meetups with thousands of attendees worldwide. Nine cities and one U.S. state have declared Social Media Day an official holiday.

Attendees have posted thousands of photos and videos on Flickr, YouTube and Facebook. Events have included everything from an alpaca in Cleveland, Ohio, to trampolines in San Francisco.

We invite you to join fellow social media enthusiasts by hosting or attending a Social Media Day Meetup in your area. If you’re interested in organizing a Meetup, watch our how-to video to get planning tips. For updates and to find out what other organizers are up to, follow our @mashsmday Twitter account and like our Social Media Day Facebook page.

Mashable is pleased that Social Media Day 2012 is presented by Motorola Mobility. Like Mashable, Motorola Mobility’s mission is to connect people around the world through innovative technologies and this is exactly what Social Media Day celebrates.


Ways You Can Participate


  • Sign up to attend or organize your own event on the Mashable Meetup Everywhere page.
  • Use the #smday hashtag on Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and any other social network of your choice.
  • Find your Mashable Meetup community:


How Are You Celebrating?


Whether you’ve had your event planned for months or are now inspired to get one started, we want to know: What are your plans for Social Media Day 2012? Share with us in the comments how you’ll be recognizing the connected generation come June 30th.

We look forward to celebrating with you!


Social Media Day 2012 Is Presented By Motorola Mobility


More About: community, Events, smday, social media day

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Republicans Launch Facebook App to Defeat Obama

Posted: 01 May 2012 12:01 PM PDT

When it comes to social media, the oft-heard narrative of the 2012 election season is that the Democrats are the “social party,” and are more adept at using platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare. The Republicans, however, are trying to turn that logic on its head.

The Grand Old Party opened up a new media salvo with Tuesday’s launch of its “Social Victory Center,” billed as a one-stop-online-shop for Republican voters to organize, plan events and volunteer in local, state and national elections.

And it’s all baked directly into a Facebook app, allowing the GOP to capitalize on the relationships that users on the social network have already built with one another.


“With the Social Victory Center, we are revolutionizing the way activists and volunteers participate in Republican campaigns,” said RNC Chairman Reince Priebus in a statement. “We’re breaking down geographic borders and connecting users to a nationwide grassroots network and a wealth of political resources.”

Users first register with a Facebook profile, and input additional informaiton such as their ZIP code and phone number. Then, they’re greeted by the “news” section, which features the latest Republican web ads and an assortment of Republican-friendly news stories, the selection of which depends on users’ location (a voter in Maine is going to see Maine-centric stories).

The three other sections, “events,” “discussions” and “volunteer,” are focused on building a community of active, engaged voters.

“Events” automatically shows nearby Republican events and candidate headquarters in a user’s neighborhood on the easy-to-read and familar Google Maps platform. It also allows users to schedule their own event, such as a telephone drive, and invite local Republican supporters to join in.

The “discussions” section has been designed as a place to get Republican voters talking with one another about the issues that matter to them, whether that’s the economy, gun control or student loans. This page’s goal is to connect voters with similar interests and make them feel their voices are being heard by the campaign and other voters.

Finally, “volunteer” is where the real social meat and potatoes lie. The section is built to get people off Facebook and into a local “Victory Center” (the Republican name for local field offices) to directly engage with a campaign. As with “events,” it builds a map based on users’ ZIP codes and shows them the address and contact information for these local outposts.

But what if a volunteer has an extra 30 minutes in his or her day and can’t make it to a local field office? No problem — users can make phone calls to registered voters through the app and their personal phone.

The Social Victory Center is built around Facebook’s Open Graph technology, the same code that powers apps such as Mashable‘s Social Reader. Any interactions that one user has with a piece of news, video or anything else on the platform will be shared deep into their social graphs, expanding the GOP’s reach and visibility.

The app will also feel comfortable to users, the Republican’s new media team says, because people are already familiar with Facebook and its myriad apps. Republicans built the app on Facebook instead of on their homepage, GOP.com, partially for that reason.

“There’s a huge comfort level there, especially with the use of [social graph] applications over the last couple of months — we saw a spike with things like Spotify and The Washington Post Social Reader,” said RNC digital director Tyler Brown. “People are comfortable with this.”

SEE ALSO: On Twitter, The Primary's Over and It's Obama vs. Romney

The Social Victory Center, Republican leaders believe, will give the party the edge it needs in both the online and offline race to the White House.

“The SVC, which leverages the technology of Facebook and Eventbrite, will give Republicans a distinct advantage in this campaign,” said RNC Political Director Rick Wiley.

Would you engage with a political campaign on a Facebook app? Tell us in the comments.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, PeterPhoto

More About: 2012 presidential campaign, Facebook, Politics, republicans, US


21 Ridiculously Cute Dog and Cat Instagram Pics

Posted: 01 May 2012 11:51 AM PDT


The Best of Instagram Series is presented by T-Mobile. Its 4G Tweet Race, a week-long campaign launching May 3, pits Twitter users against one another in a daily, frantic race for retweets. There are 7 races, and the winners of each heat wins a new HTC One™ S phone with a year of T-Mobile's Unlimited Value service, and the final winner takes home $4,000.

Now that it’s on iOS and Android, Instagram has netted 50 million users — and it’s adding 5 million more every week.

If your Instagram feed looks anything like ours, a scroll through your friend’s pics likely will yield a lot of fluffy animals, mostly cats and dogs. In fact, some Instagram accounts exist solely to share pics of felines and canines, such as @Catstagram and @Dogstagram. A search for the tags “#dog” and “#cat” yield 2.4 million and 2.2 million photos, respectively — and that only includes photos that are hashtagged. That’s a lot of cuteness.

Not wanting to keep the cute to ourselves, we’ve compiled 21 of our favorite dog and cat photos from Instagram. Give them a looks and in the comments, let us know which fluffball is your favorite. Also let us know your go-to source for cute Instagram pics.


Littering




Courtesy of @retsaf

Click here to view this gallery.


Series presented by T-Mobile

The Best of Instagram Series is presented by T-Mobile. The 4G Tweet Race is a week-long campaign starting May 3 that pits Twitter users against one another in a daily, frantic race for retweets. Players register on the official Tweet Race page on T-Mobile’s Test Drive, and each racer’s tweets must contain three elements: #4GTweets, http://t-mo.co/4GTweets and @TMobile, and must be submitted during the race to be eligible. There are 7 races over the course of the week, and the winners of all 7 heats will face off in a final race on May 15th to see whose social graph is quickest. The winner of each heat will win a new HTC One™ S phone with a year of T-Mobile's Unlimited Value service, and the final winner will take home a cool $4,000.

Image courtesy of Instagram, Laura Bell

More About: Best of Instagram Series, cats, cute animals, dogs, features, instagram, mashable

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Pinterest and Flickr Make Photo Attribution Easier

Posted: 01 May 2012 11:42 AM PDT

Flickr Pinterest - 600

Flickr announced on Tuesday that it’s partnering with social networking site Pinterest to make sure images posted from the popular photo-sharing site are always properly attributed.

Pinterest’s popularity has skyrocketed in the past few months as more users upload and post pictures to their virtual pin boards. However, not all pictures are properly attributed to their rightful owners.

To fix the problem, Flickr has launched a “Pinterest” button in the share menu of its site that automatically credits the image when it’s shared. Other sites also getting automatic attribution with Pinterest today are YouTube, Behance and Vimeo.

SEE ALSO: 10 Video Tips for Businesses on Pinterest

For Flickr images, the share menu will be disabled if a photographer doesn’t want their content shared.

“This will make it a lot easier for Flickr users to get the photo attribution on Pinterest,” a Flickr spokesperson told Mashable. “All of the pictures shared from Flickr will be updated retroactively.”

Because the attribution cannot be edited, pins and repins shared through Flickr will always be credited back to the original photographer.

“We want people to feel comfortable about photo-sharing and wanted to take the hard part of attribution out of the equation by making the process automatic.”

Do you think all pictures added to Pinterest should have automatic attribution? Let us know in the comments.


BONUS: 15 of the Most Popular Pictures on Pinterest



1. Hands




Picture by photographer Jorge Rimblas, posted via Edris Kim on Pinterest.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: flickr, pinterest


5 Things That Are Actually Pretty Cool About BlackBerry 10

Posted: 01 May 2012 11:34 AM PDT


Glance Back




Saying BlackBerry 10 is all about the "flow" between apps, RIM CEO Thorsten Heins showed how users could quickly see other apps running by "glancing back" via menus that peek out from the side.

Click here to view this gallery.

ORLANDO — Research In Motion CEO Thorsten Heins gave the world a peek at what the upcoming BlackBerry 10 smartphones will offer customers.

The new system, announced Tuesday at BlackBerry World in Orlando, has some novel features. It emphasizes what Heins calls “flow” between applications, as well as social integration and multitasking. We’ve collected the best new aspects in the gallery above.

One of the key differentiators of BlackBerry 10: how applications interact with each other. Heins said the new OS would let users transition between various activities without having to return to a home screen and completely switch apps.

Instead, users will be able to “glance” at apps that are running in the background by swiping windows and menus from the side.

“No one has time to pop in and out of applications every time they want to change an application,” Heins said. “We want to use a paradigm that is easy and fast. It’s all about the flow.”

Heins also showed off how the camera on BlackBerry 10 devices would work. When a user takes a photo, they’ll be able to “go back in time” (presumably via an image buffer) to select the best shot, even if it happened before the shutter was pressed.

SEE ALSO: Meet the First Round of BlackBerry 10 Apps

The functionality isn’t completely new, but RIM showed off a novel variation — you can limit the temporal shift to a specific area. So if you have the perfect shot, except your drunken aunt had her eyes closed at one moment, you can apply the effect just to her.

With the disaster that was the BlackBerry Storm a distant memory, Heins showed what RIM has in store for onscreen keyboards in BlackBerry 10. While typing, BB10 devices will predict the next word you want to type, presenting it above the letter key it starts with. To type that word, just swipe up.

Although RIM gave out prototype devices to every developer in attendance here at BlackBerry World in Orlando, the features Heins showed will only be available on consumer devices, which are due in the fall. The video below gives an impression of the consumer experience RIM hopes for

What do you think of BlackBerry 10′s abilities? Does RIM have a shot at getting back in the smartphone game with them, or is it too little, too late? Have your say in the comments.

More About: blackberry, BlackBerry 10, research in motion, RIM, trending

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