Monthly Archives: September 2014

Could Pinterest Play Matchmaker?

Pinterest is still in its infancy compared to social networking big guns like Facebook and Twitter, but the company has a lot of potential when it comes to how they can capitalize on making a niche for Pinterest users. Traditionally, Pinterest appeals to females when it comes to the pin board site’s arts and crafts nature. But if the company were to add dating as an option, could it drive more traffic to its site?

When searching Pinterest, tons of dating sites show up, such as Match.com and eHarmony. Pinterest users can pin their dating profiles from some sites or make their profile public if someone is looking for them by name. Presently, the site doesn’t have features specific to dating, but would it be a hit to post galleries with photos of available singles?

Earlier this year, the company got in some hot water with its single female users when it sent out a blanket email stating the recipient’s name and the headline “You’re Getting Married!” The email was sent to invite pinners to look over stationary and other special collections geared toward brides-to-be. Pinterest was quoted by ABC News as saying, “We’re sorry we came off like an overbearing mother who’s always asking when you’ll settle down with a nice boy or girl.” Due to the number of singles who were offended by the message, maybe Pinterest could have seized the opportunity by following up with a promotion for a dating site?

One dating site that launched earlier this year called itself the “Pinterest of Dating.” Dreamcliq creator Melissa Jones thought inspiring photos would be better bait for attracting a potential mate than being forced to write a bio and post one picture online. Dreamcliq, which uses the tagline “see who you cliq with,” is a platform where users put together any types of photos that they like to best illustrate who they are and what their interests are. Will Pinterest eventually evolve into more than artsy pin boards and a community that shares likes? The potential is there, but it’s still too soon to say what’s in Pinterest’s future.

Sources:
http://racked.com/archives/2014/02/20/meet-dreamcliq-the-new-pinterest-of-dating-sites.php
http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/single-women-irked-pinterest-push-altar/story?id=25251901

Read Any Good Books Lately? Goodreads Unites Print Books with Technology

In this modern era, technology continues advancing every day across all fields. People hunger for engaging and interactive experiences. They are no longer content to sit and watch a screen; they want every detail of what’s on that screen to become as real as possible for them.

High-definition television and surround sound increase the sensory experience of one’s favorite television shows. Movies in 3-D make viewers feel part of the scenes they’re watching in theaters. Computer games and other activities now carry sophisticated features, such as three-dimensional, highly verbal characters and realistic music or sound effects. However, some classic pastimes are tougher to translate into a technological world. For instance, how can an author or reader make a paperback book more interactive?

Nooks, Kindles, and other e-readers only partially answer this question. The e-reader is a valuable tool for Web 2.0 in that it allows readers access to thousands of books in one machine. However, e-readers don’t solve the problem of how to make books interactive on the Web. Fortunately, Goodreads fits the bill.

Goodreads is affiliated with several big-name booksellers including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-a-Million. Readers can search for favorite genres and create their own “shelves” based on what they have read and what they want to read. Lists of new and upcoming releases in specific genres are always available and frequently updated. The site also provides interactive recommendations based on readers’ previous choices and reviews.

Goodreads’ most compelling and interactive feature, however, is its ability to connect readers and authors across states, countries, and continents. Several authors of many genres have Goodreads blogs, and many others regularly set up live chats with readers through the site. Readers can ask their favorite authors questions, discuss their favorite features of books, and anticipate new releases. Readers can also participate in interactive discussion groups or try activities related to their favorite books. For instance, some book pages contain author-made quizzes or puzzles. Other pages use links to the authors’ personal websites, which contain other interactive activities.

Web 2.0 technology provides many enhancements in our daily life. Now, in combination with Goodreads, that technology takes even our favorite books to the next level.

Wibbitz: A Startup Hopeful is Capturing the News

With the unfathomable success of internet giants such as Google, Facebook and Amazon, just what is left to be discovered or created? It could seem the multi-billion dollar web-based companies are all accounted for, but smaller companies are keeping the web economy abuzz as they try to tap into the market. One startup that’s aiming to make an impact on the web market is Wibbitz, a company that focuses on re-packaging news to make it more mobile-friendly and better organized for news junkie consumers.

The organization’s mission is to create a new experience for mobile content. Wibbitz founders say they seek to change the way users take in valuable news information on mobile devices. Wibbitz takes textual news content and repackages it into informative, interesting video summaries that can be easily watched on mobile screens. The company is backed by Horizons Ventures, a private investment fund of Li Ka-Shing that looks for opportunities in the areas of artificial intelligence and advanced technologies. Horizons Ventures previously invested in Facebook and other web-based successes. Wibbitz’s management team is headed up by co-founders Zohar Dayan and Yotam Cohen. Dayan is the CEO of Wibbitz and developed the first prototype for his company. Cohen is the Vice President of Business Development of Wibbitz and has a background in business and the military.

The business challenge for Wibbitz is to attract followers and news junkies who want to consume a large volume of summarized news at a fast rate. The company’s founders say Wibbitz’s technology can automatically transform and scale news information into short video summaries from a variety of sources including articles and blog posts.  According to the company website at Wibbitz, their technology is “blazing fast” due to the application of “smart natural language processing algorithms and machine learning capabilities to fully capture the essence of a story.”  The company’s news product is then formatted into short videos through an automated process where related information is all tied-together with informative graphics and animation. Most Wibbitz news videos run for about 60-120 seconds.

Sources:
http://www.wibbitz.com/
http://mashable.com/2013/11/09/wibbitz/

Web 2.0: Quick Access to Public Safety and Health Information

Before modern internet technology, organizations such as the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization had to rely on slower methods to inform the public about urgent health news. When there was a viral outbreak or an urgent call for vaccination, it could take precious time to effectively get the word out. In the context of Web 2.0, the world can easily be informed when there is an urgent safety or health announcement. Looking at past worldwide diseases such as smallpox and measles, it is easy to wonder what role the internet could have had in saving millions of lives.

When it comes to public safety, the threats of Mother Nature can easily be communicated via the web. For instance, many of us now rely on our smartphones or other technology sources to notify us if a tornado or another type of natural disaster may be crossing our path. As Web 2.0 has the strength and power of interaction, we now have eyewitness accounts of what is happening in our region and around the world without having to wait for an organization in authority to inform us.

Making public safety and health information reliable should be a concern for Web 2.0 considering the mass volumes of information that is available. With just the click of a mouse or a tap on an internet browser, you have to sort through many options to get to the bottom of what you’re looking for. Savvy internet users know to go to recognized and reputable sources when verifying news and data, but Web 2.0 leaves a lot of room for saturation from virtually any source.

When it comes to a manmade threat, engaging the public through Web 2.0 is the best way to ensure public safety. When a child is kidnapped or endangered, an Amber alert can be sent to millions of potential eyewitnesses in an instant. The potential for keeping the public safe and healthy through Web 2.0 technology is extremely powerful and should only improve with time.

Sources:
http://www.emergencymgmt.com/safety/Engaging-the-Public-With-Web-20.html
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19296777

A New Online Market Is Presenting a Host of New Possibilities

The internet has changed the face of sales and trade. Companies can now advertise and sell their products through online catalogs, and customers can buy just about everything they need without ever leaving home. Online payment sites like PayPal have become common, and eBay and Amazon have become two of the most successful marketplaces in the world, despite their marketplace presence being solely virtual.

A more recent development in the world of online trade is the introduction of Bitcoin. The online payment system was developed in 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto, and facilitates peer-to-peer trade through the use of a software-based unit of payment known as a bitcoin. Bitcoins have been referred to as virtual or digital currency, and can be exchanged for cash like any other money form.

Because payments are made peer-to-peer, there is no centralized regulation of bitcoin purchases. To accommodate bitcoin trading, a new online market has hit the web. OpenBazaar, though currently still in beta testing, is “an open source project to create a decentralized network for commerce online – using Bitcoin,” according to their website. Essentially, the program will allow users to cut out the middleman when making transactions, saving them from the fees Amazon and eBay charge for listing products to sell.

Because OpenBazaar is completely decentralized, the program is downloaded onto users’ private computers. This means trading and exchanges can happen with virtually no restrictions, regulations, or hidden fees. A buyer and seller communicate directly, negotiate a deal, and make that deal. A third party notary supervises the deal and ensures both buyer and seller honor the terms of the negotiation.

OpenBazaar is set to simplify trade in a way that has not been seen since the advent of the internet. The lack of regulation and centralization also means OpenBazaar will last as long as its users need it, and it can be used for whatever users choose to sell. If it surpasses expectations in beta testing, then OpenBazaar will be here to stay.

Sources:
https://blog.openbazaar.org/what-is-openbazaar/
https://bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf
https://bitcoin.org
http://www.cryptocoinsnews.com/news/openbazaar-beta-start-late-august-2014/2014/08/08