Thursday, 17 May 2012

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Create and Text Original GIFs With MyFaceWhen iPhone App”

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Create and Text Original GIFs With MyFaceWhen iPhone App”


Create and Text Original GIFs With MyFaceWhen iPhone App

Posted: 17 May 2012 04:59 AM PDT


What’s funnier than a video message, more advanced than a photo message and almost as easy to create as a regular text? An original animated GIF message, of course!

Meet the MyFaceWhen iPhone app, a $0.99 (but free for a limited time) offering just released on Thursday. It lets users quickly record videos, then convert the videos into animated GIFs to punctuate previously ho-hum text messages to friends. So, for example, a GIF of yourself emulating Success Kid could accompany a text saying you got that new promotion at work.

The app was created by Rodney Curl and Ethan Diamond, a pair of buddies from Washington, D.C. Although the pair has been developing the idea for the last year, they only started building the app in earnest two months ago. Over the past several months, animated GIFs have exploded in popularity online, so Curl and Diamond’s timing is perfect.

“We think an animated GIF of you laughing at your buddy is more entertaining than typing ‘haha,’ and a GIF of Spongebob dancing is funnier than typing ‘yay,’” Curl told Mashable in an email. “GIFs are a fun new channel for people to communicate with their family and friends.”

MyFaceWhen users can create GIFs from downloaded videos, too, but it’s the capability for original creations that’s really cool. Mashable had a hands-on test drive of the app before its release, and came away very impressed.

SEE ALSO: How to Respond to Any Situation With an Animated GIF


One of the best things about MyFaceWhen is its utter ease of use. Open the app and you’ll see yourself staring right back at you. Then tap the big fat Record button in the middle of the screen, and tap it again when you’re finished acting out the video you want to have looped into a GIF.

The next screen previews your GIF, which you compress by saving. Then the new creation is added to a library of your previously saved GIFs. Tap the one you’d like to send, and it’s automatically copied. Another button takes you straight to iMessage, where you paste the GIF into your text and hit Send. Simple as that.

It’s easy to imagine people tiring of the novelty of sending (and receiving) GIFs with text messages all the time. But for a few laughs and occasional use, MyFaceWhen is $0.99 well spent.

Does MyFaceWhen seem like a cool idea to you? Let us know in the comments.

More About: animated GIFs, apps, iphone, iphone apps


Google’s Knowledge Graph and Two Other Stories You Need to Know

Posted: 17 May 2012 03:23 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.

Google Revamps Search With Knowledge Graph

Google has made perhaps the most significant set of changes to its search engine yet with the rollout of the Knowledge Graph — a set of semantic tools which aim to make your search results more relevant and informative.

Google Search now asks you to point it into the right direction when offered ambiguous terms, and offers informative summaries for terms, with descriptions, photos and related items. The feature is live for users in the US, while other countries will get it in a matter of weeks.

Pinterest Raises $120 Million at a $1.5 Billion Valuation

Pinterest is raising $120 million at a $1 to $1.5 billion valuation, in order to fuel international expansion. Japanese commerce giant Raukten is leading the round with a $50 million investment.

US Smartphone Owners Use 28% More Apps Than Last Year [REPORT]

A new report from Nielsen sheds some light on app usage among US smartphone owners, and things are looking cheery for app developers. On average, a US smartphone owner uses 41 apps, a 28% year-over-year increase.

Furthermore, smartphone owners are spending more time using apps than using the mobile web, about 10% more than last year. As far as individual apps go, the top five are Facebook, YouTube, Android Market, Google Search, and Gmail.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, mattjeacock

More About: features, first to know series, mashable

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Nearly All Rumors Agree: New iPhone Will Have a 4-Inch Screen

Posted: 17 May 2012 01:37 AM PDT

iPhone blueprint 600

After yesterday’s report that Apple has been ordering 4-inch screens (or larger) for its next generation iPhone, Reuters chips in today Saying the same thing.

Citing sources familiar with the situation, Reuters claim the new iPhone’s screen will be exactly 4-inches from corner to corner. It’s still unknown whether the aspect ratio will stay the same (Apple could possibly fit a 4-inch screen into an iPhone 4/4S’ case), and any other details about the device are absent.

“Early production” of these new screens has begun at Korea’s LG Display Co Ltd, Sharp Corp and Japan Display Inc, sources claim, with full production starting as soon as June, which is traditionally the time when Apple unveils new iPhone versions.

We’ve heard all this back in January, when a Foxconn worker allegedly said that Apple is testing several iPhone screens, all 4-inch or larger.

All of this is, as always, unconfirmed by Apple, and the Cupertino giant has been known to surprise us now and then. Still, when the rumors are this aligned (we don’t remember anyone claiming the new iPhone will not have a larger screen), one has to think that there’s some truth beneath it all.

More About: apple, iphone, iPhone 5

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Pinterest Raising $120 Million to Fund International Expansion [REPORT]

Posted: 16 May 2012 09:21 PM PDT

pinterest-pinboard-600

Pinterest is raising $120 million in a funding round expected to be announced Thursday or Friday morning, according to multiple sources. The investment, Pinterest’s third, places the two-year-old social bookmarking site’s valuation in the range of $1 billion to $1.5 billion.

AllThingsD reports that Japanese commerce giant Raukten is leading the round with a $50 million investment. Ben Silvermann, Pinterest’s CEO and cofounder, is reportedly still deciding what other financing offers to accept.

Partnering with Raukten could open doors for Pinterest in Asia. The startup, which is still in invite-only beta, has enjoyed increasing mainstream recognition in the U.S., but has made little headway abroad. Meanwhile, clones are popping up like weeds.

One sign that Pinterest’s focus is growing increasingly international: a recent post to Pinterest’s corporate blog calling for translators for local-language editions of the site. French, German, Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish are the company’s first priorities, it said; Dutch, Greek, Italian, Korean, Malay, Polish, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Swedish and Turkish are next.

Pinterest has left its business model undefined — at least publicly. For a time, the startup was quietly earning money through an affiliate revenue scheme, but quickly shut it down after media caught wind of it. Still, Pinterest seems to have great revenue-earning potential, given that the network is already driving sales for some retailers.

Pinterest has raised $37.5 million in venture capital to date. Current investors include FirstMark Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners, Andreessen Horowitz and Ron Conway.

Rumors that Pinterest was raising a round in the range of $1 billion were first reported by The Next Web Wednesday.

Pinterest could not be reached for comment.


1. Hands




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

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: pinterest, rakuten

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Fab.com Shares What Facebook Friends Are Buying

Posted: 16 May 2012 08:36 PM PDT


Ecommerce shop Fab.com is an industry game changer, deeply integrating social media into its unique way of selling tech gadgets, tailored dresses, innovative kitchenware and extraordinary home decor.

Fab.com rolled out a website redesign, called Fab 3.0, introducing new social shopping features on Wednesday. Updates include a Facebook integration that creates a real-time text-and-photo stream on the site of what friends are buying, sharing and liking.

The update also allows users to filter products by color, price and category. Individual items showcase prices as well as the number of social shares onto Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

Fab.com is reaping the benefits of connecting to social media. So far, 4.25 million consumers have logged into the free online storefront since its June, 2011 launch.

Half of its userbase came to Fab.com from social sharing, according to VP of communications Melissa Klein. Every 30 seconds, there is a tweet on Fab.com.

“By the nature of what Fab is,” Klein says. “People want to talk about it.”

Share buttons allow that interaction. The site’s Live Feed displays updates across the site as they happen. The Pinterest-like feed displays pictures of purchases, customer tweets and Facebook shares. From here, customers can buy products, heart or comment on the posts.

“We've seen 15% of all visits to the Live Feed result in a purchase,” Fab co-founder Jason Goldberg wrote in a blog post. “That's crowd-sourced shopping adding value. Put another way, about 5% of Fab's member visits result in purchases, so having a member engage with Fab's live feed makes them 3 times likelier to make a purchase.”

The carefully curated items show off the company’s humor and spunk. The products are unique, making the site’s content easily sharable.

SEE ALSO: Fab.com Acquires FashionStake to Build Out Fashion Offering

These social features were something Fab’s userbase wanted, Klein says, though it’s useful to note Facebook and Twitter integrations are opt-in only. Fab.com Feed

“We want Fab to be where you can browse, discover and shop for great design,” she tells Mashable.

The creative-focused site sees its connectivity with consumers and designers as its secret to success. Another important interactive aspect of the site is the Inspiration Wall — where users can upload design inspirations. Photos can be uploaded from desktops, Instagram and Google.

“It’s one of the things Fab did early on, which speaks to the fact that social has always been what we do,” Klein said. “That early inspiration wall was a way to engage our members and demonstrated Fab was always going to be more than a place to purchase items. It’s a place to engage, discuss and smile about great design.”

Do friends’ purchases affect your online buying habits? Let us know in the comments if you buy items you’ve seen shared on various social networks.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, tetsuomorita

More About: Business, Fab.com, Social Media, social networking

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Create a Designer Room With New Site ‘Project Decor’

Posted: 16 May 2012 07:58 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: Project Decor

Quick Pitch: A home decorating platform where users can browse and buy items.

Genius Idea: Interactive design boards let users upload photographs of their room or furniture and easily combine it with favorite designer rooms to create their own personal design.


Want a place to design your perfect room? New website Project Decor lets you pull pieces from different top-notch designers to create your dream room.

Project Decor is a home decoration platform, launching on June 15, where users can discover curated rooms by designers and find their own inspiration.

“It’s very difficult for consumers to put together a room,” co-founder Andy Appelbaum told Mashable. “Rather than tearing out pages from ELLE Decor or a design magazine only to find out the manufacturer doesn’t sell to consumers, this way users can buy the products in curated rooms.”

Say, for instance, you visit your favorite designer’s website. As much as you may love their products, it’s likely you’ll want to mix-and-match those items with products from other designers, too. Project Decor is like Pinterest for your high-end home design needs. Not only can you find your inspiration, but all the products on the site can be purchased from the site — even if the items are from different manufacturers. Find lots of decorating inspiration but unsure how to make it all match? Project Decor users can also connect you with interior decorators for start-to-finish or a la carte design services.

“It’s a collaborative way to exchange ideas,” said Saralyn Bass, vice president of digital marketing for Project Decor.

With 40 mid-level to high-end designer brands, including Knoll, Johnathan Adler and Kosta Boda — plus just under 10,000 products on the site and more being added — Project Decor is a designer home decor lover’s dream.

Simply click “tear” to add a piece of furniture to your inspiration board. The site also encourages users to upload photographs of items he or she is trying to incorporate into a room. Appelbaum said the ability to share your inspiration on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest will be woven into the site.

“The platform is meant to be collaborative,” he said. And, since decorating takes time, he said, users will be able to work through the design process with their social networks. The site is also beneficial of the designs who sell items through it.

“What were building here is a mechanic that allows them to access and monetize customers that are downstream and would have never hired them to begin with,” Applebaum said. For example, if a designer who puts together a baby room inspiration board then a user pulls an item to their own inspiration page and purchases it, that designer will be compensated.

So far, Project Decor has a staff of 15 in two offices, one in New York and one in West Port, Connecticut. The founders are Appelbaum, Cliff Sirlin and Aaron Wallace.

What do you think of Project Decor? Would you use this site? Tell us in the comments.

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto, evirgen


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, decorating

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Couple Dead After Bad Cellphone Connection Foils Chance of Rescue [VIDEO]

Posted: 16 May 2012 07:24 PM PDT

A couple whose car fell down an embankment in the Catskill Mountains tried to make rescue calls on their cellphone but shoddy reception prevented help from reaching them in time.

Arthur and Madeleine Morris’ car was stuck when it fell down an embankment near their driveway of their vacation home. Five times they tried to call 911, their son and a neighbor, but the calls failed due to bad reception in the rural area. Investigators say Arthur Morris tried to climb out of the car, but became wedge between the door and the ground. He soon died of asphyxiation. His wife was able to get out of the vehicle and again attempted to use the cellphone. She went to a neighbor’s house, but realized they weren’t home. She covered herself with a tarp and died in the night due to hypothermia.

It was reported that the Morris’ son had purchased the cellphone for his parents and signed a contract with the nation’s largest carrier, AT&T, with the belief that it offered the best signal in that area.

CNET reported AT&T said:

“Our thoughts and sympathies go out to the Morris family during this extremely difficult time. Wireless coverage in mountainous and remote areas is an industrywide challenge, and AT&T, along with other carriers, are continually striving to improve service levels in those areas."

Should AT&T be held responsible in any way for the Morris’ deaths? Tell us in the comments.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, PashaIgnatov

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Is Total Gadget Immersion Good or Bad for Kids? [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted: 16 May 2012 06:55 PM PDT

Gadgets such as smartphones and tablets are becoming more and more embedded in kids’ lives. From middle schoolers with smartphones to babies who are comfortable with an iPad but can’t work a magazine, many children today grow up as true digital natives. And parents are catching on that gadgets can help control and distract their little rugrats.

According to one study, nearly a quarter of parents have given their kid a smartphone, iPod or iPad to keep them busy while they take care of business. Nearly 40% of kids aged eight and under have used tablets or smartphones in some capacity. And tablet usage by kids aged 12 and under rose nearly 10 percent from last summer to fall, according to another survey.

But can so much tech immersion ever replace human supervision and interaction for young humans? The online education portal Schools.com pulled statistics from a variety of news and research sources to compile an infographic showing just how much technology modern kids grow up around.

Many parents seem to think gadgets don’t just keep kids occupied — they can also help them grow and learn. 77% of parents think tablets are beneficial to kids, and 77% think they help develop creativity, according to Schools.com’s findings. More than a quarter of parents have downloaded apps for their kids. The top genres? Fun, at 46%; education, at 42%; and creative, at 28%.

Check out the infographic below for the fuller picture on just how much trust parents put in gadgets.

Do you think smartphones and tablets do more to help or hurt the development of kids today? Let us know in the comments.


More About: infographics, smarthphones, tablets, Tech


NFL Prospect Ignites Controversy With Concussion Tweet

Posted: 16 May 2012 06:26 PM PDT


Former Ohio State linebacker Andrew Sweat has a real shot at the NFL, if he wants it. But Sweat won’t risk head trauma by living out the dream of millions of kids across America — and he used Twitter to confirm his decision not to chase an NFL contract.

The Columbus Dispatch originally reported that Sweat told the paper his choice on Friday in a text message. On Sunday night, Sweat told the rest of the world with this tweet:

The next day, posts on the popular sports blog Deadspin and legal blog Above the Law chewed up and spit out Sweat’s decision to forego NFL riches, where a rookie minimum contract commands $390,000. Above the Law called it “the biggest mistake of his life.” By Wednesday morning, CNN had picked up the story as well.

Sweat‘s statement takes on added significance following the suicide of NFL legend Junior Seau earlier this month. News of Seau’s death spread rapidly on Twitter, as fans, players and media commentators debated the role that a career of high-impact collisions may have had on Seau’s mental health (see gallery below).

Over the past couple years, the NFL has been increasingly framed by some as a blood sport that has become too dangerous for humans to play and fans to not watch with a free conscious. In that context, Sweat’s decision probably makes perfect sense to many. But Above the Law and Deadspin both argued that a dragging economy in the law field means Sweat is unlikely to land in a desirable spot without an elite education.

Fittingly, Sweat went back on Twitter to rebuke that assertion:

Do you think Sweat is making the right decision, or a huge mistake? And do you think Twitter was an appropriate place for him to discuss the choice? Let us know in the comments.


BONUS GALLERY: Twitter Mourns Junior Seau, Questions Pro Football



1. @DeionSanders




NFL legend Deion Sanders expressed disbelief when he first heard the news.

Click here to view this gallery.

Thumbnail image courtesy of iStockphoto, LUGO

More About: nfl, sports, Twitter

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In Facebook’s First Article, Zuckerberg Admits ‘Friendster Was a Model’

Posted: 16 May 2012 05:22 PM PDT


How many articles have been written about Facebook in its eight-year history? Impossible to tell — by the time you came up with an estimate, no doubt, another dozen would have been added to the list.

It is, at least, easy to pinpoint the very first story written about the social network. It appeared in the Harvard Crimson on February 9, 2004, five days after Zuckerberg launched thefacebook.com from his dorm room. The headline says it all: “Hundreds Register for New Facebook Website.”

Nowadays, of course, hundreds of new users sign up for Facebook every minute. But in those first few days, 650 signups across the university was a huge deal — and Zuck wasn’t shy when it came to crowing to the Crimson:

"Everyone's been talking a lot about a universal face book within Harvard," Zuckerberg said. "I think it's kind of silly that it would take the University a couple of years to get around to it. I can do it better than they can, and I can do it in a week."

This is classic young Zuckerberg; the same cocky punk who handed out business cards that read “I’m CEO, bitch.” Still, there’s one very humbling detail further down the article:

Just as with the popular website Friendster, which Zuckerberg said was a model for his new website, members can search for people according to their interests and can create an online network of friends.

That’s it — no mention of the Winklevoss twins, whom as we all know had been hoping to build a similar Harvard-based site with Zuckerberg’s help just weeks previously. But a very clear pointer to the primacy of Friendster, the only widely-known social network at the time (save, perhaps, for the up-and-coming MySpace).

In 2004, Friendster was at the height of its powers, but also frustrating its users with slow load times, and on the edge of imploding. Some months after this article, it would begin a dizzying succession of CEOs that would hasten its decline (and eventual transformation into a Malaysia-based social gaming service).

If only someone had alerted Friendster’s founder (and then CEO) Jonathan Abrams to this genius coder at Harvard who had created an homage to his site, the future of social media might have turned out very differently.

Even then, however, it might have been too late. One week later, a second Harvard Crimson article on Zuckerberg revealed that the site had shot up to 4,300 users — or 55% of the student population. Facebook was well on its way.

Does the Facebook founder owe a debt of gratitude to Friendster? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

More About: Facebook, friendster, Harvard, mark zuckerberg, trending

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Wireless Rechargeable Retinal Implants Could Help Restore Sight [VIDEO]

Posted: 16 May 2012 04:56 PM PDT

Researchers at Stanford University are designing a new device that could help people with degenerative eye diseases restore their vision — by implanting a photovoltaic silicon chip beneath their retinas.

With degenerative eye diseases, the retina’s light-sensing cells die off, though the rest of the eye remains healthy.

Photovoltaic devices (and the retina) work by generating an electric current from light energy. This new type of retinal prosthesis would work by injecting that current into the retina. You’d wear a specially designed pair of goggles containing a miniature camera, connected to a pocket PC. The goggles would take the images you’re seeing and display them on a liquid crystal microdisplay (LCD) embedded in the googles.

It’s similar to the way video goggles for gaming work, except that the images would actually be beamed from the LCD into the photovoltaic silicon chip implanted beneath your retina using near-infrared light. This helps create the current necessary to stimulate the nerves — thus allowing you to see.

As stated in the Stanford Scope Blog, it’s this use of the near-infrared light that sets Stanford’s product apart from others on the market:

“While similar devices require coils, cables or antennas inside the eye to transmit power and information to the retinal implant, the Stanford device uses near-infrared light to deliver images, making the device thin and easily implantable.”

So by using the near-infrared light, any external power supply is actually unnecessary. The implants will be able to continuously recharge using the energy provided by the incoming light. According to Daniel Palanker, PhD, associated professor of opthalmology and senior author of the paper covering the study of the device, it’s analogous to solar energy:

“It works like the solar panels on your roof, converting light into electric current,” Palanker said. “But instead of the current flowing to your refrigerator, it flows into your retina.”

Ambient light alone is not enough to recharge the implants, though — that’s why researchers are envisioning the laser beam and the PC-embedded goggles.

It will take a few years for the device to go through clinical trials. Stanford is currently completing safety testing.

More About: research, Science


11 Top Celebs to Follow on Viddy

Posted: 16 May 2012 04:34 PM PDT

Viddy, the social video editing and sharing app du jour, isn’t just racking up millions of ordinary users, but a whole host of celebrity participants, too, including Justin Bieber. Swoon.

From sports stars to TV presenters to rappers, these well-known personalities love sharing 15-second bursts of video with their fans. We have gathered our selection into one digestible list, complete with a sample clip from each user.

SEE ALSO: How to Get Started With Viddy

Take a look below for our roundup, in no particular order, of celebrity Viddy accounts you can follow. Let us know in the comments about any other well-known Viddy users we may have missed.


1. Bill Cosby (@billcosby)


Everyone’s favorite dad is on Viddy. Bill Cosby offers some nice 15-second anecdotes, including this Oreo-flavored treat. We’d stare at his sweaters and listen to him speak for more than 15 seconds, if given the opportunity.


2. Mark Zuckerberg (@zuck)


Zuck made a stir early in the year when he signed up to the service, somewhat anti-climatically, however, since he has only uploaded one video. Take a look at his adorable pooch, Beast, attempting to eat his sofa.


3. Justin Bieber (@justinbieber)


Will The Bieb’s presence on Viddy have the same effect as it did on Instagram? Only time will tell. Meanwhile, here’s a 15-second clip in which he appears to have lost his shirt. Someone get that poor boy some clothes!


4. Terrell Owens (@TO81)


Terrell Owens shares clips from his training sessions, as well as more personal moments. Here he is actually strapping himself down to perform training jumps. Yep, normal gravity just isn’t enough of a challenge for Owens. Hard core.


5. Snoop Dogg (@snoopdogg)


Mr. Dogg is an avid user of Viddy, where he has over 160 clips to-date. Most of them are quite sweary and, shall we say, somewhat smoky? This one’s pretty clean, though.


6. Linkin Park (@linkinpark)


Linkin Park isn’t just on Viddy; the band is in it. Linkin Park offers its very own special effect filter pack. In this informal clip, two members of Linkin Park mess around with their gee-tars like they’re just a couple of ordinary Joes. Bless.


7. Jimmie Johnson (@jimmiejohnson)


If you like race car driving, then heads up! Jimmie Johnson is on Viddy. Here you can watch his helmet for 15 glorious seconds.


8. SouljaBoy (@souljaboy)


Judging from his uploads, SouljaBoy enjoys the MySpace mirror move.


9. Katie Couric (@katiecouric)


Who knew Katie Couric has such an adorable pair of puppies?


10. Giuliana Rancic (@giulianarancic)


Wait! Before you hit play, did you look at the still above and think that top might be Marc Jacobs? Then you are totally going to love Giuliana Rancic’s clips!


11. Michael Strahan (@michaelstrahan)


Finally, Michael Strahan shows us he’s about more than just football sacks; he captures a tranquil moment on Viddy.

More About: apps, celebrities, features, iphone apps, iphotograhy, photography, trending, viddy, Video


Twitter: Here’s How to Hide Your Tweets from Google

Posted: 16 May 2012 04:13 PM PDT


Want to keep your tweets among your tweeps and hidden from any old Google searcher? Twitter has some tips for you.

The microblogging company’s @Support account on Wednesday tweeted out a link to a help center page for Twitter users want to keep their posts a bit more anonymous on Google. Given Twitter’s high rank in Google Search, it’s likely that your profile there will be among the top results for your name.

The first suggestion for more anonymity? Change your username or listed actual name on Twitter. So, for example, if you use a profane @ handle, but your given name is listed in your profile settings, that could be a problem during your job search as recruiters Google you to see what comes up.

You can also protect your tweets in your accounts settings but that may not be a perfect fix, as Twitter points out. All tweets posted before you went private will still remain public in search engines (including Twitter’s own search).

Additionally, Google caches old search results, meaning that your old information can still hang around there — even if it only links to an error page.

Eventually, Google will update its search index and refresh to your new privacy settings. But if you want certain posts removed sooner, Twitter does suggest another option. First, copy the URL for the dead status page you would like removed. Then go to this Google page, which explains how to create a removal request for an outdated link or page. You’ll then be directed to another page, where you can paste in the link and submit your request, but you may need a Google account to do so.

Check out Twitter’s full list of tips for demurring from Google Search here.

Twitter and Google have been feuding ever since Google’s integration of Google+ into its regular search results back in January, which Twitter called “bad for people” — since news increasingly breaks on Twitter before being reported on other outlets.

Is it better to have your Twitter profile and activity be a prominent Google Search result, or to protect your anonymity? Let us know in the comments.

Thumbnail image courtesy of iStockphoto, sodafish

More About: Google, Twitter


Lawmakers Want High-Tech Foreigners to Stay in the U.S.

Posted: 16 May 2012 03:34 PM PDT


Top American universities attract some of the planet’s brightest minds to pursue graduate and doctorate degrees in the U.S. But thousands of those best and brightest head for the exits almost immediately after they complete their academic programs.

Why? The American student visas only allow foreigners to stay in the U.S. for the duration of their education program and no longer.

Two lawmakers are fed up with that rule, arguing that kicking highly skilled, entrepreneurial people out of the U.S. and back to countries such as China and India is costing jobs and hurting the American economy.

Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) introduced the SMART Jobs Act, which stands for “Sustaining our Most Advanced Researchers and Technology,” on Wednesday. If passed, the bill would create the F-4 non-immigrant visa, which allow foreigners working on advanced degrees in the STEM fields — science, technology, engineering or math — to stay in the U.S. for up to 12 months after graduation while they search for employment in the country.

Should such a person find (or create for themselves) a job during that period, they can swap their student visa for a “STEM green card.” That card wouldn’t count against a country’s green card quota (the U.S. tightly manages how many foreigners are granted green cards on a per-country basis).

The bill will have to overcome the toxicity of immigration reform, a particularly volatile topic during an election year. Some states, including Arizona and Alabama, have passed controversial laws born of fear that illegal immigrants are taking jobs which would otherwise be filled by American citizens.

Sen. Alexander, however, considers the bill a common-sense measure to help keep talented workers and potential job creators in the U.S.

"It makes no sense to attract the most talented scientists and engineers from other countries to our schools to educate them, only to send them home to compete with American companies and create jobs -– perhaps even the next Google -– in other countries,” said Alexander.

Sen. Coons echoed Alexander’s concern over sending intelligent workers overseas.

"Many of the best and brightest young minds in the world are educated at American colleges and universities, and instead of sending them home after graduation, we should be encouraging them to stay in the U.S. to pursue their innovations and create jobs here," said Coons. "When we send off these graduates to pursue their innovations in India and China, we are literally subsidizing our competitors.”

Immigrants have founded nearly a fourth of venture-backed companies in the U.S. over the past 15 years. Additionally, they make up approximately half of the masters and doctorate-level students studying STEM fields at American universities, according to a study cited by the bill’s authors.

Steve Case, co-founder of AOL, CEO of investment group Revolution and member of President Obama’s jobs council, has thrown his support behind the bill, which he calls an important and bipartisan step forward. Case acknowledges that immigration is a highly volatile issue in American politics, especially during an election year. However, he stressed the key to getting the bill passed would be isolating the discussion about high-tech immigration from that of illegal immigration.

“A lot of the emotion is around illegal immigration, and it’s important to separate that debate,” Case told Mashable. “There’s fairly broad bipartisan support for changes in high-tech immigration.”

Other similar bills are being considered in Congress, including Sen. John Cornyn’s (R-Texas) proposed STAR Act, which would increase immigrant visas for foreign-born STEM students.

Could you get behind a bill that lets immigrants with advanced degrees stay in the U.S.? Sound off in the comments below.

Read the text of the full bill as introduced below:

Smart Jobs Act

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, selimaksan..

More About: immigration, Politics, US


Here’s How Bad Android’s Fragmentation Problem Is [GRAPHIC]

Posted: 16 May 2012 02:53 PM PDT

android-fragmentation-640

When Google first launched Android, the open-source operating system came with the promise that it could power almost any device. That’s created a proverbial cornucopia of mobile devices that consumers have to choose from, but it’s also led to the issue of fragmentation — there are so many devices running different versions of Android with different capabilities that can alter experience.

Just how bad is the problem? The site Open Signal Maps studied fragmentation in detail, gathering data from 195 countries, and it put its findings in easy-to-discern graphics. The main takeaways: Yes, fragmentation is huge, with 3,997 devices, but it’s also a blessing that has led to the platform becoming the No. 1 mobile OS in the world by far.

From the graphic above, it’s clear Samsung is the king of the mountain among Android devices. The company’s Android phones and tablets make up 40% of the devices Open Signal was able to discern through its methodology. HTC is next, followed by Sony Ericsson, Motorola and LG.

The graphic below shows that the Samsung Galaxy S II smartphone is the most popular device, making it the world’s most popular Android phone. If you’re a developer, you’d do well by ensuring your apps are optimized for the S II first.

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 Highlights Android's Tablet Problem [REVIEW]

For the Android OS itself, a little more than half of Android devices run the most recent version of Gingerbread (Android 2.3.3). About 5.7% of devices are tablets running some version of Android 3.0 “Honeycomb,” and 8.5% are phones or tablets running the latest version of Android, version 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich.”

In conclusion, the study notes, “API and screen fragmentation is probably going to get worse. Android has, however, shown commitment to make it easier to target multiple screen sizes — by introducing the (perhaps ironically named) fragments APIs in 2011 which makes it easier to turn view elements into modules.”

What’s your take on Android fragmentation: blessing or curse? Check out the full study at Open Signal Maps, and share your thoughts in the comments.

android-device-fragmentation-640

More About: android, Google, Samsung Galaxy S II


The Beginner’s Guide to Facebook

Posted: 16 May 2012 02:33 PM PDT


Against all odds, you likely know someone who still hasn’t succumbed to the lure of Facebook. Maybe you're a beginner yourself. Or perhaps you just haven't had the gosh darn time to explore every last corner of the world's most expansive social network.

Below, we offer a refresher course for those eager to learn more about the basics of Facebook. Let's take a social stroll through the network's main features, policies and culture norms.

Even if you're a pro, it's fun to look at the platform through a beginner's eyes. If you were a Facebook virgin, what would you think of the social network?


1. Timeline


Before you begin searching for friends, it's important to complete your Timeline (aka your personal profile), which includes everything from uploading a profile picture and cover photo to outlining your employment history to determining your relationship status (OK, that's optional). It's called a timeline because you can include information, important milestones and memories spanning your entire life. Timeline is incredibly nuanced, and encourages you to include as much detail as possible, and many, many people do — so, don't be shy!

Check out these additional resources for building the best Timeline:


2. Friends


Once you've filled out a healthy portion of your Timeline, start searching for and adding "friends." Trust us, you won't be at a loss. Chances are, many of your co-workers, family members, classmates and neighbors are already on the network. Search for them in the search box that appears on the top of the site.

As you accumulate friends, Facebook will be able to suggest additional contacts as its algorithm generates connections among your growing network. You'll see a list of suggested friends on Facebook's homepage, in the "People You May Know" sidebar.


3. News Feed


Finding friends on Facebook is incredibly important, not simply to connect for connection's sake, but to stay up to date on their latest news, thoughts, activities, whereabouts and tastes. And the place to access that information is the News Feed.

Once you've logged into Facebook, the first thing you’ll see is the News Feed. There you'll view friends' status updates, new photos, links to articles, etc. One of the most recent changes Facebook made to its News Feed is the order in which updates appear. Facebook's algorithm and your own activity determine what "news" is most important, and thus, whether it makes the top of your News Feed. Think of it like the front page of a newspaper, determined by an algorithm rather than an editor. Therefore, you won't necessarily see updates in the order they're posted, but in order of timeliness and "importance."

If you prefer to see things in chronological order, simply click the “Sort” option at the top of your feed and select “Most Recent.”

Facebook Most Recent Stories

Here are some more ways to customize your Facebook News Feed.


1. Top Stories or Most Recent




The quickest and easiest edit to your news feed is to be found at the top of your home page.

Click on "Sort" and you get the option to see just "Top stories" or "Most recent."

"Top stories" means you're letting Facebook's algorithms decide what's most important.

Facebook says this is decided by "lots of factors," including your relationship to the person who posted the story, how many comments and likes it got, what type of story it is, etc.

The "Most Recent" option will return to your news feed to a more chronological order.

Click here to view this gallery.


4. The Status Update


A status update is anything important to you at a particular moment in time that you deem shareable with Facebook friends. Through a status update, you can communicate your present activity or whereabouts (via a "check-in"), post a link to an interesting article or site, share photos and videos, and even create a poll.

Create a status update either from the News Feed or from the top of your Timeline.

However, I recommend first taking a look at many of your friends' status updates before launching into your own. Each person has his or her own style and frequency, but many newbies aren't aware of typical Facebook "etiquette" when it comes to updates. In general, Facebook users resent “spammy” updates — in other words, sharing every single activity on your schedule and thought in your brain ("I just boarded the 6:05 train"). Boring. These days, Facebook is a space for sharing valuable information and fostering conversation. It’s not a platform for minutiae.

Check out these additional resources on statuses and status etiquette:


5. Brands


Although a major part of Facebook, friends are not the only entities with whom you can interact. Most major brands and a growing number of small businesses use Facebook to engage with, share deals and seek feedback from consumers and fans. Companies like Coca-Cola and Disney have tens of millions of fans interested in the latest company news and culture.

Take stock of the brands you'd like to follow, search for their timelines and "like" them on Facebook. You'll start seeing their updates appear in the News Feed right alongside those of your friends. Feel free to interact with brand updates.

For more on how brands use Facebook, see these resources:

Check out what some creative brands have done with Facebook’s Timeline.


1. Red Bull




Not only has Red Bull taken advantage of Timeline, it has also created a scavenger hunt with prizes to get fans interacting with the company's history.

Click here to view this gallery.


6. The "Like" Button


One of the most powerful tools on Facebook, the "like" button not only communicates your support of activities, brands, articles and products to fellow users, but also to Facebook and third parties. The "like" button lives on nearly every piece of Facebook content: status updates, photos, comments, brands timelines, apps and even ads.

However, you've probably also seen Facebook "like" and share buttons on external sites: shopping, news publications, mobile and social apps, and ads. These sites are utilizing Facebook’s social plugins. When you "like" something outside of Facebook.com, it appears on your timeline, where friends can comment on the activity.

When Facebook expanded this functionality outside of Facebook.com, it opened up a rich social layer that most social networks had never before imagined. On the other hand, keep in mind that Facebook keeps track of your "like" activity and uses it to "improve the quality" of ads on the site. If sharing that kind of data makes you nervous, you're not alone. Just be mindful that Facebook can share this behavioral data with third parties. For more information, see Facebook's full data use policy.


7. Tagging


Facebook Tagging

Facebook tagging means you can mention and directly link to another Facebook user, whether in photos, status updates, check-ins or comments. For instance, when you tag someone in a photo, that user will receive a notification, and the tagged photo will appear on his timeline — that is, unless he has disabled the tagging feature.

The tagging tool fosters conversation and creates additional connections among users. If I want my mother to see an article I posted on Facebook, I’ll tag her in the update by typing her name — Facebook autofills with friend suggestions for easier tagging (see above). “Hey Anne Warber (a.k.a. mom), I thought you’d like this article about pandas!”

Check-in and photo tagging work a little differently. When you check in at a location, you can add Facebook friends who are with you by searching for their names, and thus, tagging them. Tag friends in photos by selecting the “tag photo” option at the bottom of the selected image.

Facebook Photo Tagging

It’s important to remember that everyone has a different preference when it comes to tagging. Some people will instantly view content they’ve been tagged in and subsequently remove it, for any number of reasons: They don’t like how they look in a photo, they don’t like people knowing where they are, etc. Be aware of their concerns for privacy and your own.

Head to Privacy Settings > Timeline and Tagging to adjust your own settings, should you wish to review tags before they’re posted or control who can see your tags.


8. Privacy


Facebook Privacy

Frankly, we could write an entire book on Facebook privacy. But in the interest of time, we'll mention the major types of privacy you need to be aware of as a Facebook user.

  1. Inter-user privacy: Friends with your boss on Facebook? Consider adding him or her to a "list." Then you can choose what updates they can view. You may also choose to limit certain lists from viewing posts other people tag you in by visiting the basic privacy settings.
  2. Public profile: You can control the information non-friends can see on your public profile. Almost every feature of your profile has an edit option, which allows you to select who can view that information (public, friends only, only you, etc.). Learn more here.
  3. Third-party access: In order to use Facebook Open Graph apps like Spotify and Pinterest, those companies need to access certain information on your profile. They'll ask for permissions before you begin using the app. Be aware that each app has different privacy risks. If you don't want that information to be accessible through Facebook's APIs, learn how to turn off access. Similarly, you can also opt out of Facebook social ads — the ads that appear to you based on brands your friends like.

Facebook privacy can be complicated. See our additional privacy guides for more detailed information:


9. Facebook Apps


Built on the social network’s Open Graph (a collection of your preferences, likes, interests and activity on Facebook and from around the web), Facebook apps allow you to personalize and enhance your participation on the social network. They can add anything from games (FarmVille) to photo albums to quizzes to music (Spotify). Most of Facebook's apps come from outside developers that use Facebook's API. Many represent strong partnerships and add additional social layers, like Washington Post Social Reader and Foursquare.

Enabling each Facebook app means granting that app permission to access data on your profile and post on your behalf. This often means sharing on your Timeline how you interact with that app. For example, when you use the Spotify app, the company will share songs you listen to on your Timeline for your friends to see and interact with — unless you choose to hide that activity. (Keep in mind many of these sharing options can be customized.)

A word of caution: Well-made apps can add a fun and engaging layer to your Facebook experience, but using too many of them or requesting others to join might annoy your friends (and in the worst cases, compromise their privacy). You should only use apps recommended by friends you trust, or provided by reputable companies.


1. Fab.com




Fab.com has integrated social shopping features with Facebook Timeline. You can add your purchases on Fab.com to your Timeline, and you can also opt to have your Fab username present or hidden. If you don't want every purchase shared on your Timeline, you can filter specific categories, such as gifts or adult purchases, so that they don't appear on your profile.

Image courtesy of Flickr, cloud_nine

Click here to view this gallery.


10. Subscribe


When enabled, Facebook Subscribe reveals certain features and updates on your Timeline to the public. (Don't worry, you can control what information people see.)

The feature is especially useful for celebrities and journalists and other public figures who wish to interact with fans or followers without granting them access to their private profiles. It’s similar to Twitter's very public and transparent nature. If a person has enabled Subscribe, you’ll see the button on the top-right of his or her Timeline.

Many users opt out of Subscribe, choosing simply to interact with approved friends. But keep in mind that the tool may be useful for specific cases, such as making yourself a little more transparent when applying for a job (assuming everything is appropriate). You're automatically subscribed to all your friends, but try searching for celebs or personalities who have enabled the feature — more are participating every day.

For more tips of getting the most out of Subscribe, check out these resources:


11. Facebook Mobile


Facebook Mobile Image

Facebook created a mobile app to supplement your desktop browsing. The app presents a scaled-down News Feed and simplified Timeline, but still offers a surprising amount of features. You can chat, use Facebook apps, add photos, view activity by list and, of course, post status updates.

The major distinguishing feature of Facebook mobile is the “check-in.” While you still have the capability to check in via desktop, mobile users use Facebook's location feature far more frequently, for obvious reasons. Visiting your favorite restaurant or taking your kids to a theme park? Let everyone know your whereabouts, and even tag friends who are with you.


This guide really just scratches the surface of Facebook’s core features and culture. There’s a lot more to explore, but this primer should get any Facebook newbie up to speed.

How would you teach Facebook to a first-time user? Share your strategies and resources in the comments below.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto/gemenacom

More About: Facebook, features, How-To, Social Media, trending


6 Educational Android Apps for Adults

Posted: 16 May 2012 02:13 PM PDT


1. Speed Anatomy




If someone asks to see your calcaneum, get your mind out of the gutter and show them your heel bone. The calcaneum is one of many bones you can learn about as you play the Speed Anatomy quiz app. You'll earn points for every question you get right and graduate to more difficult biological systems. Soon you'll be able to point to your mental protuberance without hesitation. Price: Free or $.99 without ads

Click here to view this gallery.

There are hundreds of Android apps to help kids learn shapes, numbers, letters, and colors. But what about adults that want to continue their education?

Whether you need to brush up on a skill like a foreign language or dive head first into a new topic, there are plenty of great educational apps that can get you started. Here are six we like.

Is there an educational adult app you really like? Share it in the comments below.

More About: Android Market, contributor, features, Google Android, mobile apps


NBA Star Uses Twitter — And a Platypus — to Prank Sports Media

Posted: 16 May 2012 01:28 PM PDT


Around the sports media scene, Denver Nuggets center JaVale McGee has a certain reputation: Quirky, unique, a bit out there, something of a laughingstock at times.

Reporters and fans love to chuckle at his on-court goofiness. Examples abound, but here’s the best one: a legendary GIF of McGee throwing up a wild shot and then earnestly running back on defense — except his team still has the ball.

This week, however, McGee decided to turn the tables on those who love to poke fun at a young millionaire basketball player just trying to do his best. On Monday afternoon, he posted this tweet to his 57,000 Twitter followers:

He followed that up with this picture:

McGee’s NBA coworker Marreese Speights was duly intrigued. So McGee continued hyping his new pets:

Fans also took a lot of interest in McGee’s platypus, sending him congratulations, criticism and tweets of admiration. McGee continued to tweet about the trials and tribulations of a platypus owner. He named his pets Peter and Paul, he said. But apparently, the platypus is a dangerous and poisonous animal that turned his hand “Barney purple.”

Sports media — including a Washington, D.C., Gannett affiliate — eventually picked up the story.

Then McGee closed his trap with a Wednesday tweet reading, “Jokes up!!!!!!!” Next, he chastised the media with these tweets:

Boom! Better luck next time, media. But Denver area sportscaster Vic Lombardi spoke for many when he replied to McGee’s Twitter scolding with this tweet:

Do you think McGee’s prank was a good use of Twitter? Let us know in the comments.

More About: NBA, platypus, sports, trending, Twitter

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Register Now to Join Mashable and Partners in Brazil for Rio+Social

Posted: 16 May 2012 01:04 PM PDT


Registration is now open for Rio+Social, the historic meeting of social media, technology, global development and sustainability leaders during the UN’s Rio+20 conference.

Policy makers, journalists, technologists and environmentalists are now invited to register and apply for accreditation to the free conference.

Ten exciting new speakers were added to the Rio+Social lineup Wednesday, including entrepreneurs, UN leaders and philanthropists.

Former president of Ireland Mary Robinson and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation chief communications officer Kate James are among the just-announced speakers. You can view the complete list of speakers added Wednesday on the Rio+Social website.

Rio+Social will be hosted by the founders of the annual Social Good Summit: the United Nations Foundation, Mashable and the 92nd Street Y. The conference is also made possible with generous support and innovative leadership from Ericsson, Energias de Portugal and LiveAD.

Leading up to the conference, you can join in the discussions of technology, social media and sustainable development on Facebook and Twitter.

The following speakers are confirmed to be sharing their insights on leveraging digital tools for social good. Stay tuned for more exciting updates on speakers and programming!

  • Pete Cashmore, founder and CEO, Mashable
  • Ted Turner, founder and chairman, UN Foundation
  • Hans Vestberg, president and CEO, Ericsson
  • Leonardo Tristao, business director, Facebook Latin America
  • Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland; former UN high commissioner for human rights; member, The Elders
  • Kate James, chief communications officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Fabien Cousteau, ocean explorer and founder, Plant a Fish
  • Luciano Huck, TV host and president, Instituto Criar de TV, Cinema e Novas Mídias
  • Florian Jürgs, co-founder and CEO, and Thorsten König, co-founder and CMO, KUULUU
  • António Mexia, CEO, EDP
  • Maura O'Neill, chief innovation officer, USAID
  • René Silva, founder, Voz das Comunidades
  • Fabio Barbosa, CEO, Abril Group
  • Dr. Gro Brundtland, former prime minister of Norway; director-general emeritus, World Health Organization
  • Michelle Bachelet, executive director, UN Women
  • Ertharin Cousin, executive director, World Food Programme (WFP)
  • Sergio Fernandez de Cordova, founder, Public Foundation; developer of Public-Private Partnerships
  • Ricardo Guimarães, CEO and founder, Thymus Branding
  • Anthony Lake, executive director, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
  • Ronaldo Lemos, creator, Over Mundo
  • Matthew Shirts, editor in chief, National Geographic Brazil

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, luoman

More About: developing countries, Events, Rio plus social, Social Good, sustainable development

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Thirst App Will Change The Way You View Twitter

Posted: 16 May 2012 12:53 PM PDT


A new iPad application called Thirst might reinvent how you look at your Twitter stream. Using its own natural language processor, Thirst filters, organizes, and presents your Twitter stream in an engaging way, helping you find the tweets you want to read quickly and in context.

"I wanted to make an app that no matter how often you check Twitter, these are the things you need to see, " Thirst Co-Founder and CEO Anuj Verma told Mashable. The app is designed so it can be useful for people who check Twitter constantly throughout the day, as well as those who might only check Twitter a few times a week.

The News tab in Thirst displays topics you’ve told Thirst you’re interested in. You can follow companies like Apple or Google, sports teams, people, or literally anything else you can think of that gets discussed on your Twitter stream.

As tweets come in, Thirst will sort them based on topic. So, if your friend Bob is talking about Facebook then his avatar will show up under your Facebook topic. If your buddy Dave is chatting about beer, then his avatar would show up under a beer section. The more people who are talking about a topic, the higher up it will appear on the screen and the larger its icon will be.

The language processing is what helps Thirst really shine. The app, for instance, will be able to tell that a friend is talking about Apple the company, not the red delicious they had for lunch.

Tapping on a topic icon in the news tab will not only bring up all of the tweets associated with that topic, but also recent news stories to give you a quick idea on what everyone’s talking about. News stories can be read directly from within Thirst, and can also be shared on Twitter or via email.

A Trending tab within Thirst will do the same thing as the News tab, except focused around the topics that are currently trending on Twitter. Tapping on a trending topic will provide you with news, tweets, and context on why that topic is trending. So, if movie star is currently trending you can tell immediately that their newest role is what’s creating the buzz, or if a state is trending due to a recent storm you can instantly read news stories about the devastation.

You can also send out new tweets from the app and reply to others.

Thirst is currently only available for the iPad. The company plans to release an iPhone version next, and potentially an Android version in the future.

What do you think of Thirst? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

More About: App, ipad, trending, Twitter


The Facebook IPO Timeline

Posted: 16 May 2012 12:32 PM PDT

If the Facebook IPO were a real person, we certainly wouldn’t blame it for posting braggy status updates. This infographic, created by our friends at mbaonline.com, imagines the road leading up to the decade’s most-anticipated initial public offering, as if it were documented on its own Facebook Timeline.

As a Facebook user, give yourself a pat on the back for helping the company make it this far. You are one of 900 million, and you spend an average of 20 minutes per day surfing the network. That means Facebook’s usership logs 16,000 years of combined time on the platform per day.

SEE ALSO: Facebook Users: 13 Ways the IPO Could Affect You

Over time as a Facebook user, you’ve become worth an average of $100 to the company. Not too shabby, considering Instagram and Twitter users amount to only $30 and $70 each, respectively.

And once you realize that the price per Facebook share will cost about the same as an all-you-can-eat buffet for two at Sizzler ($28-$35), you might consider celebrating your hand in Facebook’s unprecedented success.


More About: Facebook, facebook ipo, infographics, Social Media, trending


Facebook Fans Get to Pick Bonus Levels in ‘Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD’

Posted: 16 May 2012 12:06 PM PDT


Activision is polling fans via Facebook on which levels will be included as additional downloadable content on Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD is a rebuilt version of the classic games. It features seven levels from the original Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, released in 1999, and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2, which came out in 2000. Players will be able to skate all over classic levels such as "Warehouse" and "Mall" that have been rebuilt using the old maps.

Starting Wednesday afternoon, fans will be asked to pick which of their favorite Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 levels will be available as DLC by commenting on the official Facebook page.

The game contains some of the classic skaters, objectives and music as the original titles, but also adds new pro skaters as playable characters. It will also feature four-player online multiplayer and leaderboards. It is being developed by Robomodo, who originally worked on Tony Hawk: Ride.

This is the first DLC Activision has announced for Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD, which will be released sometime this summer.

Tony Hawk turned to social media last year when the game first began development to find out which levels fans most wanted to see in the game. A representative said Hawk will make the final decisions this time, as he did then, on what levels to include, but the fans are a large part of the process.

SEE ALSO: Why Tony Hawk Always Tweets for Himself

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD will cost about $15, and will be available from PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade.

Are you excited for Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD? What were your favorite classic levels from the original games? Let us know in the comments.


The Warehouse




Eric Koston performs an Indy in the Warehouse.

Click here to view this gallery.

All images courtesy Sandbox Strategies.

More About: activision, DLC, tony hawk, tony hawk's pro skater

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Facebook IPO Gets a Boost: 84 Million More Shares For Sale

Posted: 16 May 2012 11:15 AM PDT


Just days away from launch, Facebook is continuing to make last-minute changes in its IPO plans.

On Wednesday, Facebook announced that an extra 84 million shares will be added to its stock pool for sale. The extra shares will come entirely from insiders and early investors, according to the Associated Press.

Facebook and its current stockholders will offer more than 421 million shares in the IPO. The company has raised the price range of its stocks to $34 to $38, up from $28 to $35. If the shares trade on the higher end, Facebook could raise $16 billion when it goes public.

Some of the early backers who are filing to sell more shares are PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, Accel Partners and Tiger Global Management, according to a Reuters report. Thiel will sell 16.8 million shares instead of 7.7 million.

Accel Partners has reported 11 million more shares will be sold — totaling 49 million shares from the company and its director James Breyor, according to The Wall Street Journal. Tiger Global will sell 23.4 million shares — a huge step up from the 3.4 million shares it initially reported.

This could to be a solution to reports that the Facebook IPO has been oversubscribed. However, the huge spike in shares also comes despite reports of underwhelming demand for Facebook public shares.

Potential investors have expressed concern and fear that Facebook will not be able to increase its yearly earnings by building a advertising system for its mobile app. Facebook will need to introduce solutions to better reach its 901 million users. Last year, Facebook reported $3.7 billion in earnings.

SEE ALSO: Facebook IPO: The Complete Guide

Not all is rosy in advance of the IPO. On Tuesday, General Motors dropped out of Facebook’s ad program. Facebook lost $10 million in ad revenue from the deal.

The company’s acquisition of Instagram will also Nasdaq with the symbol “FB.”

Has all the hype influenced your interest in the Facebook IPO? Let us know whether you’re planning to buy or sit this one out.


1. Yandex (YNDX) -20.8% from its IPO Price




Yandex, a Russian search engine, raised $1.3 billion when it went public in May, making it the biggest social media IPO of the year.

Click here to view this gallery.

Image courtesy of Katrina.Tuliao and Crunchies2009 via Flickr.

More About: Facebook, facebook ipo, trending

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18 Mashable Family Photos

Posted: 16 May 2012 10:47 AM PDT

What does a family portrait look like when it represents a community of millions of people? For our photo challenge this week, Mashable readers sent us their photos, helping us to create a family portrait of our community.

This past Sunday was Mother’s Day in the U.S. Sons and daughters found time to pick up the phone and call their moms, and many families enjoyed the day together. In honor of Mother’s Day, we asked you to show us a photo that represents family to you.

At Mashable, we loved seeing your photos of family outings, newborn family members and canine best friends. We want to thank you for capturing your meaningful moments and sharing them with us.

SEE ALSO: 7 Heartwarming Digital Projects Parents Made for Kids

Peruse our community’s family photo album below, and get your cameras and phones ready: the upcoming photo challenge will focus on reflection.


Andrew Thompson





"What a nice big sister!"

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: community, Mashable Photo Challenge, photography

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Behind the Launch: A Promising, Yet Controversial Job Candidate

Posted: 16 May 2012 10:31 AM PDT


Discuss the show on Twitter: #BehindTheLaunch

In Mashable‘s new video series, Behind the Launch, we’re taking cameras behind the scenes at Vungle, an in-app video advertising startup. Last week, we met the the founders and saw them bring on Colin Behr to head up business development. This week, they courted big-name startup investors, such as 500 Startups‘ Dave McClure, DFJ Esprit‘s Krishna Visvanathan and AOL Ventures‘ Adam Smith.

But Vungle needs to focus more on the core — developing the product instead of fleshing out press releases and a website update. The team is fielding resumes for iOS developers, and while there are some promising candidates, the Vungle guys quickly find out that there’s always a catch. When Zain is asked to sum up the week in one word, his response is “unpredictable.” Watch today’s episode to see what happens, and join the conversation on Twitter, #BehindTheLaunch.


Missed earlier episodes? Watch them here!



About Vungle


Vungle is a San Francisco-based company that purveys mobile video ads to promote apps. Just last week, Vungle announced that it had raised $2 million from big Silicon Valley and Alley names: Google Ventures, AOL Ventures, Crosslink Capital, Ron Conway’s SV Angel, Dave McClure’s 500 Startups, Charles Hudson’s SoftTechVC's, Maynard Webb, Scott McNealy and Tim Draper. Vungle also has offices in the UK and Pakistan.


Zain Jaffer, CEO and Co-Founder — A successful and zany entrepreneur since age 15, Zain launched his first Internet company and built-up an impressive list of clients, including Google, Mozilla Firefox, MTV and Hilary Duff, before his 18th birthday. British.


Jack Smith, Co-Founder — Self-described lunatic marketer and hacker. Started his career as a freelance web designer at age 13, founded a video startup, MediaRoots, in college. Met Zain at King’s College London University in 2009. British.


Bryant Chou, CTO — Full stack engineer and software architect with more than five years of experience developing mobile apps. He’s an enthusiastic traveler who’ll share his travel tales with you over a cold beer. American.


Marta Bulaich, Chief Yoga Officer — Marta’s first job was with the masterminds behind the TV infomercial legends Chia Pet and Clapper. After a career of working with various startups and venture capital firm, she came to Vungle to do public relations and center their chi in full lotus. American.


Ben Lindsey, Senior Software Engineer — A veteran of four Silicon Valley startups with experience in Internet advertising, large scale databases and agile programming. When not slinging code, you cam find him cooking organic food, listening to electronica, backpacking around the world or running marathons.


Colin Behr, Director of Business Development — Previously founded an Internet company, CyberPlanet Ltd, with Zain in 2004, and then moved to San Francisco to start another venture. Colin eventually went to University but dropped out after speaking with Zain about his new venture, Vungle.


Ray Myers, Software Engineer — 25-year-old Linux geek who loves robotics and has been programming since he was 7. Ray is a Shotokan karate third-degree Black Belt, but you can usually find him at his computer, trying to make robots bend to his will. American.


Series presented by Internet Explorer


 

Behind the Launch is presented by Internet Explorer. Learn how IE is building a more beautiful web through hardware accelerated graphics and modern web standards like HTML5. Get IE9 today or download the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, which features the new IE10 to see where we're headed.

More About: Behind the Launch Series, features, mashable, mashable video, Startups, Vungle

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Billion-Dollar Tech-Testing ‘Ghost Town’ Being Built in New Mexico [VIDEO]

Posted: 16 May 2012 10:16 AM PDT

If a $1 billion ghost town sounds to you like the set of sci-fi movie, think again. A company called Pegasus Global Holdings is constructing a town in Lea County, N.M. as a testing ground for the latest renewable energy technology and terrorism security systems.

It will look like any other city, filled with office buildings, homes and roads, the BBC reports. The only difference from a regular city: no people will live there.

The site could be used to test self-driving cars, smart grids, citywide wireless networks and just about anything else Pegasus’ clients are interested in.

Ground is expected to break on the initial $400 million round of construction June 30. Pegasus estimates the town’s construction costs will ultimately top $1 billion, all of which is contributed by private investors. The site is expected to generate revenue from companies using it as a test facility, create 350 permanent jobs and 3,500 temporary jobs.

More About: energy, mashable video, self-driving car, smart grid, technology

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Google Search Just Got 1,000 Times Smarter

Posted: 16 May 2012 10:00 AM PDT


Search for 'Andromeda' in the New Google Knowledge Graph




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The Google Search of the future is here. Now. Today. The long-talked-about semantic web — Google prefers "Knowledge Graph" — is rolling out across all Google Search tools, and our most fundamental online task may never be the same again.

Starting today, a vast portion of Google Search results will work with you to intuit what you really meant by that search entry. Type in an ambiguous query like "Kings" (which could mean royalty, a sports team or a now-cancelled TV show), and a new window will appear on the right side of your result literally asking you which entity you meant. Click on one of those options and your results will be filtered for that search entity.

To understand the gravity of this change, you need to know about the fundamental changes going on behind the scenes at Google Search. As we outlined in our report earlier this year, Google is switching from simple keyword recognition to the identification of entities, nodes and relationships. In this world, "New York" is not simply the combination of two keywords that can be recognized. It's understood by Google as a state in the U.S. surrounded by other states, the Atlantic Ocean and with a whole bunch of other, relevant attributes.

As Ben Gomes, Google Fellow, put it, Google is essentially switching "from strings to things."

To build this world of things, Google is tapping a variety of knowledge databases, including Freebase, which it bought in 2010, Wikipedia, Google Local, Google Maps and Google Shopping. Currently, Google's Knowledge Graph has over 500 million people, places and things and those things have at least 3.5 billion attributes.

That's a lot of things. According to Google, search users will see these new knowledge graph results at least as often as they see Google Maps in results. In fact, this update will have a greater initial impact than the updates that brought Google Images, videos, news and books, combined. It's big and it's probably going to be everywhere.


Summaries of Good Stuff


In addition to the window which will help users find the right "thing," Google will also surface summaries for things, which, again, will try to be somewhat comprehensive by tapping into the various databases of knowledge. A search for Frank Lloyd Wright, for instance, will return a brief summary, photos of Wright, images of his famous projects and perhaps, most interestingly, related "things." People who search for Wright are also looking for other notable architects. It's a feature that may remind users of Amazon's penchant for delivering "people who liked this book also bought or searched for this one" results.

Gomes said that the search results are tailored to deliver information that best relates to the initial search result. So the details delivered about a female astronaut will likely outline her space travel record, because that's what people who search for her are, according to Google, most interested in.

Google Knowledge Graph Example Thumbnail

How the Knowledge Graph Works. Click to see full graph example

Since this is a knowledge graph ("Web" might be a better word), the results are designed to help you dig more deeply into related topics. Google showed us how someone might start by searching for a local amusement park, find an interesting rollercoaster as one of the "things" that relates to the park and end up digging in on details about that coaster and other similar rides. It's a "skeleton of knowledge that allows you to explore information on the web," said Gomes.

There is the potential, Gomes added, of serendipitous discovery. The more you dig into things, the more things you learn about.

Of course, not every "thing" is the right thing. Wikipedia is, for example, a community-sourced encyclopedia that is known for both its breadth and depth of information and the occasional whoppers of misinformation it stores. Google's Knowledge Graph includes an error reporting system. When users find misinformation, Google will share it with the source and the knowledge graph will get just a little bit smarter

For now, though, the Knowledge Graph is not getting any smarter about you. If you search for an ambiguous topic and then guide Google Search to the more defined set of results, the same query later will not go directly to that filtered information — at least not yet. "We don't have anything to announce for personalization," said Gomes.


The Competition


Google's chief search competitor, Microsoft Bing, also has millions of entities, but it’s not aiming for the purely semantic model of search results. Instead, Bing execs told Mashable that it's focusing, in part, on much smaller set of segments that its users typically search on (i.e.: restaurants, hotels, movies) and trying to surface relevant information regarding those segments. A search result for hotels, for example, might include reservation tools. And while Google search now blends in Google+ results, Bing’s latest instantiation has moved social information to the right side of its search results page

It's unclear for now how the Google Knowledge Graph, which pushes aside keyword results in favor of relationships and artificial intelligence, impacts all the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) many web sites have done to push their search rank ever higher. Also unknown is how, if at all, Google's sea change will impact Google+. Gomes revealed that some Google+ changes were coming "independent of this" update and that Google will be talking about them separately.

Eventually, Google's search will get smarter and will stop asking for your help to understand your query and start answering complex questions like "What is the coldest lake in the world in July?" It doesn't matter why you want to know that, just that, someday, the right answer will be a click away on Google Search.

Google's Knowledge Graph will roll out across the U.S. (and on all Google platforms: desktop, mobile, tablet) in the coming days. Eventually, it will go global. Give it a try and let us know what you think of the brand new Google Search in the comments.

More About: bing, Google, Search, Top Stories, trending, wikipedia


Want High Engagement on Facebook? Offer Coupons [STUDY]

Posted: 16 May 2012 09:21 AM PDT




Maybe General Motors should have tried offering coupons on Facebook.

That’s the gist of a new report from Wildfire Interactive. The study looked at 10,000 randomly sampled Facebook campaigns to see which got the highest response rates and earned media. Among the findings were a lack of correlation between the two. The campaigns that got the most earned media were not the ones that got the highest response rates.


If you’re looking for the latter, then coupons, giveaways and sweepstakes are the way to go. If you want people to share your posts, though, then try “pick your favorites” queries, quizzes and trivia contests.


The report speculated about why such campaigns tend to be more shareable. One possibility is that questions let the user discover an aspect of her personality she was unaware of. Another is the show-off factor: Quizzes let users display their knowledge of trivia, and “pick your favorites” challenges let them flout their good taste.

The benefits to creating such widely shared campaigns is that they draw new users into the fold. The chance of a pick your favorites query being clicked by a friend is 27%, while quizzes and trivia contests rate 15% and 13%, respectively. From there, the data is encouraging as well: 82% of friends who click on a News Feed post for a quiz will take the quiz. Some 74% of those who click on a coupon offer in their News Feeds will download the coupon. Overall, the study found that earned media can account for up to a 12% boost in engagement rates.

Though the study highlights broad categories that do well with users, it also advocates adding personality to the offers, getting into the consumers’ heads to see if such an offer might be appealing and working in a gamification element that rewards users for sharing.

The advice comes as Facebook’s ability to monetize its 900 million-strong user base remains an unanswered question. Though investors appear to have shrugged off such concerns, General Motors dealt the company a big blow on Tuesday when it revealed it was pulling its advertising from the network. The move comes as Facebook has been trying to convince such marketers to try a new form of advertising on the network that amplifies status updates and other activities such as quizzes and couponing rather than traditional branding ads.

A full version of Wildfire’s report is available here.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, 4FR

More About: Advertising, coupons, Facebook, Marketing


Why Sharing Is the New Search [VIDEO]

Posted: 16 May 2012 09:05 AM PDT

Jesse Draper is creator and host of The Valley Girl Show, through which she’s become a spokesperson for startups and helped pioneer the way of new media content distribution. Formerly a Nickelodeon star, Draper is now CEO of Valley Girl‚ where she oversees the show and runs technology blog Lalawag.com.

What has a bigger reach than Google on the web? Sharing. We caught up with Tim Shigel (pronounced like “wiggle”), co-founder and CEO of ShareThis, who told us that according to ComScore, his service surpassed Google in terms of reach in January and February of 2012. That’s very impressive for a site that has no real destination but instead works as an aggregator, though he jokes about looking forward to surpassing the company in revenue (it hasn't happened yet).

SEE ALSO: How Google Searches the Entire Web in Half a Second [VIDEO]

ShareThis was founded in 2007 and helps advertisers reach their target audiences through embeddable sharing buttons. The recognizable ShareThis symbol appears on most websites these days — Shigel says even his kids are coming home saying they looked at a website at school with the symbol. That’s no surprise with a monthly reach of 181 million uniques in the U.S.

In this episode of The Valley Girl Show, Shigel also shares the ShareThis theme song, written by his brother, talks about why he believes sharing is the new search, and tells us about the massive opportunity his company has by aggregating large amounts of sharing data.


More Video from The Valley Girl Show


More About: data, sharethis, sharing, Startups, valleygirltv, Video

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Turner Broadcasting Takes a Bite of Funny or Die

Posted: 16 May 2012 08:52 AM PDT


Web comedy powerhouse Funny Or Die announced a strategic partnership with Turner Broadcasting Tuesday, joining forces with television’s top-rated comedy network TBS and Adult Swim. The three major entertainment brands hope to form a multi-platform destination for comedy.

The collaboration is an attempt to ramp up sales for the digital content provider. Turner Broadcasting is taking a minority equity stake in Funny Or Die and Turner’s digital sales team will serve ad sales exclusively for the comedy site.

Turner Broadcasting says that it “promises to enhance the phenomenal growth of Funny Or Die,” a site that launched in 2007 by Will Ferrell, writer/director Adam McKay and writer Chris Henchy.

“We’re thrilled by our acquisition of Turner,” joked Adam McKay, co-founder of Funny Or Die. “We’re now taking a long hard look at Viacom. These are heady days over here at Funny Or Die.”

The site recently aired one of its most well-known series, Between Two Ferns featuring Zach Galifianakis, on television as precursor to the Comedy Awards.

According to Funny Or Die‘s president and CEO Dick Glover, the partnership with Turner is a “fantastic fit.”

“While we are incredibly excited about how this partnership will catalyze our growth and make Funny Or Die an even better place for comedic talent, we are even more excited about the opportunities this will open up to brands and advertisers to create far-reaching, hilariously funny cross-platform content and messaging,” says Dick Glover, president and CEO of Funny Or Die.

The partnership will also focus on providing for second screen users, creating content that reaches across all platforms, including television, mobile and tablets.

"Turner's new strategic alliance with Funny Or Die adds another core asset to our unrivaled digital portfolio that will prove to be very attractive to advertisers looking to associate their brands with great content and an engaged, socially savvy audience," said David Levy, president of sales, distribution and sports at Turner Broadcasting System.

What do you think about this multi-platform media partnership? Sound off in the comments.

More About: comedy, Entertainment, funny or die



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