Splitting your bottomless brunch bill will soon be made easier with the introduction of person-to-person payments through Facebook Messenger in the UK. This feature was first launched in the USA earlier this year and was later enhanced by allowing payments to be made in a group chat. The service is free to use and does not require a password, however it does ask a couple of security questions before you can proceed with the payment. Furthermore, the payments are fully secure, protected and private.
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At first glance, Vero might seem like every other social network - users can share music, photos and videos as normal. However, so many social networks have complicated sharing policies - often deterring users from sharing anything at all. Vero aims to combat this with simplicity, where users can share content with different specific groups, ie. close friends, friends and acquaintances.
Recently apps have taken a turn for simplification, no surprises that the slightly over-complicated Google+ is being cut up and shut down right now. These privacy controls aren't the only good feature on the network. Users are also able to share content which they may want to 'recommend' and start chatting with other users based upon the content.
For business development, the social network plans to generate revenue by charging users a subscription fee after their first year of free service. The subscription-based content model being increasingly popular with new apps. We'll be keeping a close eye to see if Vero is popular or not - share your own thoughts by tweeting us @battenhall.
June 1, 2015 — Published by: Charlie Sharpe
A clear problem is emerging with social media; it doesn’t tell us what we want to know. On Facebook we only become friends with people we know and like pages that fill our timeline with vaguely irrelevant spam about the Kardashians, on Twitter we follow users we find interesting but they don’t post the content we want to see - too often I will follow somebody I found interesting only for them to start retweeting generally uninteresting content. The key problem appears to be that social media platforms are people focused not content focused, or at least that’s how the creator of BBC iPlayer Anthony Rose saw it. People need to be able to go onto a social media site and look at content they find interesting and then go on to meet new people who share their interests.
Rose saw this issue as a mere challenge to overcome and his (I think excellent) response is the topic-based social platform 6Tribes, which launched at the end of May. 6Tribes is currently only available on IOS in the UK but will be released to a wider audience soon. The app collates posts from a variety of users based on the groups or “tribes” they follow. If users can’t find a tribe that interests them, then they can also create their own; this will allow the creator to manage all content in the tribe and assess what is or isn’t relevant through the “bump” system.
Tribes are small communities on the platform dedicated to a certain topic (e.g. sports, films, television, music, tea), within each tribe people can post relevant content for other followers to see with a “bump” system (similar to Reddit’s voting system) to filter the content. Once users have joined a variety of Tribes all posts will come through on the user's’ feed to provide a completely content focused and personalised news feed. At first glance, it’s great. The feed is specific to any topic you choose and provides interesting and relevant updates and overall the app is really smooth, very simple and good looking.
“Close to launch we have close to 100 tribes” said Rose, however alongside of new Tribes run by the platform users can also create and manage their own Tribes, sharing content on any topic that takes their interest. The beauty of this new platform is not only in the content but the way you can meet other users. Because all of the groups are topic-based and not user based it’s a good way to interact with new people who share your interests. I think it has to be said, Mr Rose has done a good job. With the potential for serious expansion over the coming months 6Tribes could be a promising guide for social platforms to come.
This month, a new social network called 'SUPER' launched, created by Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter, Inc and also helped to create and launch Xanga, Odeo, The Obvious Corporation and Medium. In 2013, Biz Stone launched Jelly - a visual app that focused on users asking and answering questions. Whilst the app received quite a bit of initial hype, it never really took off.
SUPER's feed is much like any other social network - comparable to secret, but without the anonymity. Users add content or updates into the feed by answering the question of 'WHAT'S UP?' - proceeded by text options like 'the best', 'crazy', 'I'm thinking' and 'OMFG'. Users sign the update as they'd like to and then add a background picture. No surprises that you can edit the text style and filters on the photo.
When launching the app, a user can find nearby friends, or those from Facebook, Twitter and their phone book. Other users can comment with similar style content, or even just 'heart' your content, which results in an animated flurry of red hearts.
For even more artistic license, it's possible to create as many different profile pages as you want - with different images and shades to match.
Fun and colourful, the app is clearly meant to be a mix of other social network - and whilst for some (including our own Creative Manager) its a colourful headache, for others it might prove to be the next best thing. Super is available to download for iOS and Android now.
February 7, 2014 — Published by: Drew
It seems the Angry Birds might have another reason to be riled - as another bird seems to be the top fowl in the mobile gaming roost.
Flappy Birds, the increasingly popular app on Android and iOS, has become one of the most downloaded apps this year in America and China. Despite being released in May 2013, the gaming app, which involves using a touchscreen to navigate a bird through frustratingly difficult obstacles, experienced a huge surge in popularity in the New Year. According to an interview with the game's creator Dong Nguyen, the app now earns an average of $50,000 a day from in-game ads.
The huge popularity of simply designed mobile app games such as Flappy Birds is further evidence of the growing dominance of apps on iOS and Android versus declining interest in traditional hand-held consoles like Sony's PSP and Nintendo's DS. According to data intelligence group App Annie, in 2013 both the Apple store and Google Play surpassed handheld consoles in sales.
Despite the greater processing power and flashier graphics on handheld consoles, it seems casual gamers would rather spend their mobile gaming time being frustrated by cartoon birds and colourful candy on their smartphones.
January 20, 2014 — Published by: Fereshta Amir
Living in the always-on world of mobile Internet in which the first question holiday-goers ask for is the hotel's Wifi password, we don't just want good mobile Internet, we want the fastest.
So far, LTE offers us around 75 Mbps and LTE-Advanced boosts it up to 150 Mbps (which is pretty fast already!). The Next Web reported today that South Korea is planning to launch 300 Mbps mobile internet this year with 3-band LTE-Advanced.
This means users will be able to enjoy incredible speed on the go - like no other: an 800MB movie will download in 22 seconds, compared to 43 seconds using regular LTE-Advanced, 85 seconds using standard LTSE and 7 minutes and 24 seconds over 3G. This new ultra-speedy technology will be showed off at the 3GSM event in Barcelona next month, so anyone attending - keep your eyes peeled for the SK stand to experience the fastest mobile Internet to date!
January 8, 2014 — Published by: Drew
Today we saw the launch of Jelly, a mobile app that's a hybrid of a search engine and a Q&A service - founded by none other than Biz Stone, coincidentally one of Twitter's co-founders.
Jelly allows mobile users to pose questions through the app and their question is shared with the users' social networks. Other individuals from those networks will then provide answers to the question. Users can upload their own queries with a picture attached, and can also answer questions uploaded from others within their networks.
This 'human search engine' has an obvious appeal to mobile users, particularly in an age where consumers trust the opinions of friends and third parties rather than brands and businesses. More interestingly will be how brands decide to adopt the app and utilise it for their business. Might brands showcase a new product publicly on Jelly and ask its consumers what they think?
It's too early to tell if Jelly will be an instant success with mobile users but, considering Biz Stone's credentials and the app's interesting USP, it may just be the new app to kickstart 2014.
September 18, 2013 — Published by: Drew
Three or possibly even two years ago, depending on how you look at it, Apple was unquestionably the champion of the smartphone industry. By 2011, it had left Nokia in the dust to claim the title as the largest mobile handset by revenue in 2011. Poor Nokia never recovered and ended up being gobbled up by a giant named Microsoft. IPhone was the undisputed king of the smartphone mountain.
But as Game Of Thrones illustrates, every king will be challenged for his leadership. Enter worthy challenger Samsung and its Galaxy S range. Before you could say “Candy Crush”, Apple found its dominant position in the balance as Samsung outsold Apple handsets globally. To add insult to injury, Apple was being accused of no longer being innovative or, even worse, cool. When the iPhone 4s and the iPhone 5 were met with less furor than their predecessors, one had to wonder if the late Steve Jobs’ company, once the epitome of cool technology, had lost its Midas touch.
Yet it seemed Apple were unperturbed about all this-as if they had something hidden that would cement their position as the quintessential smartphone. In its recent announcements, Apple may just have revealed its trump cards.
This year, Apple announced two new additions to the Apple familia: the wallet-friendly iPhone 5c and the slick iPhone 5s. Additionally, Apple also announced a brand new operating system; the iOS 7, which gives the usual Apple interface a much-needed makeover. Whereas consumers were indifferent towards the gimmicky addition of Siri, the fingerprint identity sensor - the Touch ID for iPhone 5s - has been hailed as a truly revolutionary feature that will change the way consumers use their iPhone.
So far, reviews for the iPhone 5s have been unanimous: the iPhone 5s is glorious. Like most great Kings, Apple may have successfully fought off those who wish to usurp it. Then again, the smartphone industry is one that is constantly innovating and we have no idea what Samsung, Microsoft (and Blackberry, yes, I am serious) have brewing in their kitchens. Only time and astronomical sale figures will determine if Apple still sits on the throne.