Monthly Archives: July 2015

Instagram Continues to Benefit Businesses in a Big Way

Social media truly changed the way people, across all industries, do business, and Instagram is an exceptional tool for any company that benefits from visuals. Perhaps one industry that benefits the most is food service and restaurants. We all have those friends that post way too many pictures of what they eat for dinner every night. Imagine what Instagram does for professional chefs!

Before visual social media sites existed and powerful cameras were housed in our phones, the only way chefs could reach food fame was through critic reviews, daily specials, and slaving away over a hot stove. Well, they’re still slaving away, but now they are more interconnected than ever and are able to show off their skills to millions of people without having to leave the comfort of their restaurant.

Currently, #food and #foodporn are some of the most popular hashtags on Instagram. Professional chefs can communicate with fans and new customers, inspire each other, and have their masterpieces exposed to the world. For some, this is worrying, but for most, it’s a much-needed injection into a larger market of food-obsessed fans. Now, instead of creating beautiful and delicious food in the hopes that someone will try the special, chefs use Instagram to instantly share their ideas with the world. Instagram is a trend-setting social media app. After all, how many fashion trends started with one single fashion blogger?

As more and more entrepreneurs voice their love for Instagram and its ability to get your brand name into the global market, we should expect more changes to come down the line to make it even more useful to businesses. We already know that Instagram is vital for those in the fashion, food, and fitness industry, and Instagram Business already gives business owners a streamlined environment to promote their brand. It will be exciting to see what new changes are around the corner and how Instagram will continue to grow as a popular marketing tool.


Apple Announces Amazing iOS 9 Features

There are quite a few new iOS’s being released this year. This week, Apple announced the new features of iOS 9, coming to the market later this year. In an effort to compete with major changes hitting Google I/O, Apple added some interesting new features to iOS 9.

Mobile Changes
Apple changed the way OS searches in order to make Siri and Spotlight more intelligent. To do this, apps will now deliver core data to the two search engines. The data will no longer be strictly linked inside the apps and will now be accessible, so Siri and Spotlight can search better across all devices.

Also, Siri will be able to search through the photo roll for specific dates and locations. So, when you want to see photos from last year’s camping trip in Maine, all you have to do is ask Siri through voice command. In addition to smarter searching, Siri will finally be able to take requests for specific songs and playlists. For example, you can ask her to “play the top songs from 2001.” According to Apple, Siri will also be faster and return more accurate results, though that is yet to be seen.

Desktop Changes
The changes to the desktop search assistant, Spotlight, are profound as well. Spotlight will be able to understand us the way we naturally speak and deliver accurate results. Searching with a keyword on your phone will return results within apps now, too. Apple announced that it would allow third party apps to link to spotlight through API, so searches will be incredibly deep-linked.

The main goal here is to increase the intelligence of search engines using the additional data pulled from apps. Because apps are the new way we use technology, both iOS and Android take giant steps to make them smarter and more integrated. Hopefully, this means that, in time, our phones will immediately know what we’re looking for so we don’t have to spend time searching for it.


Windows 10 Delivers Much Needed Changes

Windows 10 seems to be the answer we’ve all been waiting for because it is a great PC operating system. After the outcry against Windows Vista and Windows 8, we are about to see some much needed changes. Microsoft plans to release the new OS on July 29th, and it has some pretty great features.

It’s Interface Gets a Facelift
Microsoft designed Windows 10 to be used by both novices and experts. Even though the touch screen of Windows 8 didn’t get amazing reviews, Windows 10 will stay true to its touch screen capability. Microsoft simply changed and evolved the interface.

One of the biggest problems with Windows 8 was the task switching on the left-hand side of the screen, which was confusing and cumbersome to use. Windows 10 fixes that issue by utilizing thumbnails for open apps. Now, swiping left or hitting WINKEY+TAB will bring up thumbnails of all open apps and desktops, so you can easily select the one you want to use.

The Start Bar Returns
Another great addition to Windows 10 is the return of the Start bar. Loyal Windows users were outraged when the Start bar disappeared with Windows 8. Many people detested the use of “tiles” to navigate through programs and apps. But, Windows 10 has returned to its roots and reinvented the Start bar, which will once again be the main way to navigate the OS. The sub-menus still feature tiles, but they are resizable and unobtrusive.

Universal Apps
Windows’ new apps integrate across all platforms. Called Universal apps, they will be transferrable from desktops and phones to tablets and servers. Also, they completely redesigned their app store and consolidated it into one giant superstore featuring Universal apps. Older Windows store apps will still work with Windows 10.

Enterprise Features
Microsoft voiced their desire to make the OS appeal more to businesses and enterprises. In addition to improving the user interface and streamlining other features, they also added other enterprise capabilities. These include a customized store and security for corporate data.


Send Money to Friends Through Facebook’s Messenger App

Facebook has been introducing a lot of changes in an effort to get a leg up over its competition across the market. What was once a simple social media site used to communicate with long lost friends has finally started to grow up and become a useful tool for consumers worldwide. Since Facebook announced its video chat feature in 2011, there have been consistent changes to infrastructure and usability features. It won’t be long before Facebook joins in on the newest trend: mobile payments. In fact, it already has its foot in the door.

In March of this year, Facebook announced a peer-to-peer payment feature inside the messenger app. While messaging friends, you can send money to a friend in need by clicking the dollar sign, entering an amount, and inputting payment information. This past week, Facebook unveiled a new, easier way to send money to friends. Dollar amounts are hyperlinked into messages, and all the user has to do is hit the dollar sign. Additionally, the Messenger payment app now allows users to send money to an individual in a group conversation without having to open a separate, private conversation.

It seems Facebook is jumping on the mobile payment bandwagon crusading across the nation. Aside from Apple Pay and Google Wallet, social media sites have been developing their own virtual payment systems. Snapchat and Square recently teamed up to create Snapcash, which functions similarly to the new Facebook Messenger payment system. If Facebook’s Messenger pay catches on, it could be a huge deal: the Messenger app already has roughly 600 million users as it is.

The Messenger payment update comes after a slew of Facebook improvements designed to make the social network site usable for a wide range of communication, including Wi-Fi video calling, social media shopping, and sending money to friends. Not only is this a game changer for the mobile payment market, but it opens up a whole new path for small business e-commerce.