Samsung Galaxy S4 Debut, Google Reader Gone, Pinterest Analytics, & Social Media on Wes Welker

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Top Story: Samsung Galaxy S4 Debuts . . . Literally

Last night in NYC, Samsung unveiled latest offering, what it calls a “Life Companion for a richer, simpler, and fuller life.” In a move polar opposite to its biggest rival, Apple, Samsung launched the Galaxy S4 at “UNPACKED 2013,” an extravaganza attended by 6,000 at Radio City Music Hall featuring live music and actors in a stage show. Time Square was also packed and 500,000 watched the event live online.

Samsung GS4
Images of the stage and actors at UNPACKED 2013.

A bit much, right? Especially because the cool new features of the S4 will sell itself. The S4 features:

  • Very similar look and feel to its predecessor, with a thinner body, with a slightly larger 5-inch screen.
  • 13-megapixel rear-facing camera and 2-megapixel forward-facing camera. Features dual-camera function – you can capture video from both cameras at the same time.
  • Smart Scroll” feature allows you to scroll through websites by tilting your phone.
  • “Smart Pause” feature allows you to control the screen (wait for it) – WITH YOUR EYES. This feature can stop and start video play based on whether or not you’re looking at the screen.
  • S Translate” feature helps you translate your email or text messages into one of nine different languages, using text or voice translation. The feature can translate from both speech-to-text and text-to-speech.
  • Temperature and humidity sensors.

Pretty innovative stuff. We’re really looking forward to having one in the office! And, even more excited to see Apple’s response.

 

Under the Radar: Death of Google Reader: Alternatives?

google reader

Say bye to the Google Reader. This week, Google announced their decision to discontinue the reigning web-feed content aggregator as of this July. “While the product has a loyal following, over the years usage has declined,” Google Senior Vice President Urs Holzle said in a post on the Google blog.

This is just one in an array of changes from Google’s massive “spring cleaning” movement, which started in 2011. “It’s been a long time since we have had this rate of change — it probably hasn’t happened since the birth of personal computing 40 years ago,” Holzle wrote. “To make the most of these opportunities, we need to focus — otherwise we spread ourselves too thin and lack impact.”

The announcement sent the internet into an uproar. Devastated users who rely on the service to pull together their favorite web content into one place turned to their Twitter and blogs to chastise Google’s decision. Within hours, several online petitions to save the Reader acquired thousands of signatures. More than 50,000 petitioners joined forces on petition site Change.org to sign “Google: Keep Google Reader Running.”

Even the Hitler meme, which circulates during tough times, came out to exert his frustration. “Why on Earth do they need to destroy all things good?” Hitler says at one point. “How dare they take away Google Reader. I have over 300 feeds in there. Have they any idea how much effort I’ve put in?”

Devastating as it is, the death of the Google Reader does drive users to test out alternatives. Rival content aggregator Flipboard was quick to offer a tablet or mobile solution, pointing out that users can directly import their Google Reader content into its platform.

Flipboard

Feedly is another popular choice, also offering seamless switch-over from Reader.

 feedly

Other cloud-based options include Taptu, Pulse, and NewsBlur.

How do you feel about Google’s decision to nix the Reader? Will you make the switch to an alternative news aggregator? Try out these alternatives, and let us know what you think.

 

Tool of the Week: Pinterest Analytics

pinterest analytics

We all know that Pinterest is now one of the best sources for referral traffic, but we often want to know more about how exactly it’s driving out business. For instance, what content on our website or blog are people pinning the most? And how successful are those pins when they land on Pinterest? Pinterest has finally launched their own analytics dashboard that can help prove the platform’s results. While it’s not nearly perfect, it’s a great start and is integrated into the platform, which makes it extremely easy to use.

You must have a Pinterest-verified website in order to start using the analytics dashboard. Once you do, you’ll be able to get information about what Pinterest users are pinning from your website or blog, how many other users are seeing these pins, and, most importantly, how many people are actually visiting your website from Pinterest.

Not only does will this help you produce Pinterest reports for yourself or your clients, but it will help you get a good understanding of what content is most popular on your site… So, you can produce more of it!

According to the Pinterest Blog, they’ll likely be launching new analytics metrics soon, which means we’ll be able to put together even more extensive reports. We think this is an incredibly smart move on Pinterest’s part as they’ll actually be able to prove their value to businesses. What do you think of Pinterest’s new analytics tool?

 

Around the Hub: A Social Media Eulogy for Wes Welker

weswelker_socialmedia

When Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) first broke the news that Wes Welker was meeting with the Broncos, and followed it up with the fact that he agreed to terms, I was in shock. I went from confusion to anger, back to confusion, and finally to resolved sadness.

What was interesting to watch though, was the extremely varied responses and views on him leaving that could be found throughout social media. I has assumed, wrongly, that like myself, everyone would be saddened by him leaving, and frustrated with the patriots for not matching what seemed like a fair contract (2 years, 12 mil). While in fact, some people were happy he left, whether because they were mad at him for thinking of leaving, or still held a grudge for the Super Bowl drop he had against the Giants. The responses on Facebook to a post by the Boston Herald show perfectly the contrasting opinions of Bostonians.

Some have even went as far as to start burning his jersey, or simply cutting the price from $80 to $25. The only thing we have really been able to discover is that loved or hated, Wes Welker was a polarizing figure in New England, and will not be soon forgotten.

 

 

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The Pope Joins Twitter, The Daily Gets the Ax, mTicket App Expands, & SantaCon Takes Boston

 

 

 

 

 

Top Story: Pope Benedict PPXVI Joins Twitter: @pontifex

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pope Benedict PPXVI is officially on Twitter! You, along with his quickly growing 140,000 followers (at the time of publishing) can find him under the handle @pontifex, though he won’t officially start tweeting until Monday December 12. And yes, believe it or not, the tweets on the account will all be coming right from Pope Benedict himself.

There was lots of chatter about what the Pope’s Twitter handle would be and we were putting our money on @BenedictusPPXVI. But instead, he and his team have chosen @pontifex, which means both “pope” and “bridge builder.” The Senior Media Advisor to the Vatican, Greg Burke, has stated that the Pope will be coming up with Twitter content himself, but that you won’t likely hear what he’s having for lunch; he’ll be tweeting mainly spiritual updates. Something tells us this account will be similar to the Dalai Lama’s and that the Vatican’s main goal is to get a lot of re-tweets and have the Pope’s name and messages reach the masses that are hanging out on Twitter.

Because the Pope wants everyone to hear him, it looks like he’s launched several other twitter accounts that will duplicate content, but in various languages like French, Spanish, and more. These are currently the only accounts he’s following on Twitter.

We have so many questions like, who exactly is on the Pope’s social strategy team and how much did he explore the platform before agreeing to jump in? We get that he launched his Twitter account a week before tweeting in order to build up his follower count before spreading the good word, but think he should have tweeted a simple “hello and welcome” message to let his followers know that tweets are coming soon. But then again, the media has certainly been taking care of that for him.

In all seriousness, we think Pope Benedict’s joining Twitter signals something important about the future of Twitter. Not only is the President counting Twitter has a viable place to spend time creating awareness, but now religious institutions are taking it seriously and realizing that it’s an ideal way to reach the masses. So, how do you think the Vatican is measuring ROI?

Under the Radar: iPad Only Newspaper, The Daily Gets The Ax

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When News Corp released The Daily in February of 2011, it received many mixed reactions. Some praised it as an innovative approach that could help them make a shift into the mobile and tablet world, while others thought it was doomed to fail with too small of an audience because there would be no Web-based version to compliment it.

I believe that both opinions were correct. News Corp took too big of a risk putting together a whole team to work on a very limited audience (they laid off 1/3 of its staff 6 months ago), but they also were innovative and showed they were willing to push the envelope in the constantly changing business of digital media publications.

While this is certainly going to be looked at overall as a failure, they learned valuable lessons about running a digital publication over the last 2 years that they will be able to apply to other outlets that they start to develop digital-only content. This should bode well for the future of News Corp’s digital endeavors, and we may see some of The Daily’s team leading the charge on other projects soon.

Tool of the Week: MBTA mTicket

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In another nod to our shift as a society to mobile banking, the MBTA expanded its smartphone offerings last Wednesday to include mobile ticketing and ticket purchase on commuter rail (from South Station) and commuter ferries.  This is the first in a series of “mTicket,” rollouts that the MBTA is planning and is a step towards paperless commuting.

Not only does the app save trees, it also saves time – patrons will be able to board their train and purchase tickets using the app, allowing them to skip the sometimes overwhelming commuter rail ticket lines. The service will allow for purchase of one-way, 20-day, round trip, and monthly passes.

And, according to T director of innovation, Joshua Robinson, the launch has been successful. “We could not be more excited,” Robinson told BostInno last week. “We have had a lot of positive feedback so far.”

Around the Hub: Boston SantaCon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s officially that time of year; Santa Clause is coming to town! Boston Santacon is taking place this Saturday, December 8th at 12pm in the Fenway area. Hundreds are expected to gather for this all day, all night pub crawl. Santacon occurs in numerous cities around the world and consists of people dressed in Santa Clause costumes parading publicity through the streets and in bars. Some cities also encourage goers to dress up in other Christmas related costumes like elves and presents.

This year Boston Santacon is collecting new toys and sporting goods to donate at the first stop in Game On Fenway. The route begins at Game On and travels to Cask’n Flagon, The Landsdown, Bleacher Bar, Dillons, McGreevy’s, Solas Irish Pub, The Rattlesnake Bar, Coogan’s Bluff Restaurant, Jose McIntyre’s, Black Rose, Sissy K’s and the Kinsale Pub & Restaurant.  Live location updates are released spontaneously during the event on the SantaCon Boston Facebook page and the @BostonSanta Twitter page. Be sure to come prepared to the event with your costume, tpass, and cash/credit cards. Remember this is a long event, make sure to pace yourself so you don’t miss out on any fun!

 

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Instagram Hits the Web, Foursquare Adds Ratings, PageLever Now, & Hailo

 

Top Story: Instagram Finally Announces a User-Functional Web Presence

One of the biggest complaints of Instagram users has been the lack of Web presence from the photo-sharing app. While the mobile experience has always been one of the most intuitive and beautiful, there was a lack of any Web presence until fairly recently – when Instagram allowed for individuals to like and comment on photos on individual pages for each image. This did not allow for viewing users image galleries or any other actions. This is what the newest update will fix.

Instagram announced that this week they will be rolling out their Web edition of Instagram, complete with cover photo and profile photo that looks exactly like Facebook’s.

It is surprising that this took as long as it did, mainly because this is a huge amount of shareable and quality content that was unable to be distributed to anyone not on Instagram (still only iOS and Android), which leaves out a huge amount of the population. Allowing Web profiles will allow more people to view the millions of photos, as well as more easily share to other networks, extending Instagram’s overall reach.

Although this was a necessary step forward for Instagram, it still does not take it as far as it should have. The Web will not allow people to see who other users are following and who is following them, which limits the ability to explore and find others to follow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Under the Radar: Foursquare Adds User-Generated Ratings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How often do you use your phone’s Yelp app to find the best restaurants in your area or to figure out where to get a last-minute haircut? Well, it sounds like Foursquare is interested in competing with that and they’re urging you to open their app instead. Yesterday, they came out with an update that now includes user-generated ratings with locations. Kind of like Yelp, but in a way they think is much smarter. In fact, they claim they’re offering ratings in a way that’s “a lot different from the other types of ratings you see today.”

When you check out a spot with Foursquare’s “Explore” function, you’ll now see a rating between 1 and 10. But instead of having of allowing users to go in and give locations their own number ranking, these ratings are generated by Foursquare pulling actual data, including a location’s tips, likes, dislikes, popularity, loyalty, local expertise, and check-ins (according to them, from over 25 million people worldwide!). So, the overall score changes as people continue to check in, like, add tips, and more.  Unlike on Yelp where the overall score could change because someone couldn’t get a reservation when they wanted at a restaurant so they logged on to Yelp to complain and give it one star.

This does seem like a much smarter, more accurate way of generating scores. Of course, the ratings should still be taken with a grain of salt as we’re sure there are some hidden gems not getting the Foursquare check-in love they need. But perhaps this will encourage users to hit the heart on Foursquare locations they love and to be certain to check in whenever they head to the spot.

I’ve been using Foursquare as a means of discovering what spots are near me for some time now and their new ratings system will encourage me to continue to do so. Will you consider replacing Yelp with Foursquare on your smartphone?

 

Tool of The Week: PageLever Now

PageLever is an SEO solution that focuses on the Facebook news feed. According to it’s website, 95% of activity on Facebook happens in the news feed. This is the place where advertisers should be focusing their efforts, and PageLever helps to make that easier.

PageLever Now allows you to view your impressions in real time, as opposed to Facebook Insights which takes 48 hours for you to see your impact. Since the news feed is constantly moving, timing is everything. If one of your posts is getting a lot of attention, you can see it right away – allowing for the opportunity to purchase a Promoted Post to maximize its impact.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monitoring Facebook Pages is made easier PageLever Now, too. The most recently active posts automatically float to the top, and specific posts glow if there are comments you haven’t seen yet. PageLever also lets you know if theres activity on another Page – you’ll see the Page’s name up at the top of the sidebar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PageLever also allows you to schedule posts, much like in Hootsuite, and search for fan-generated content to better engage with your audience.

The 451 Marketing team uses this tool in-house with clients – and it’s definitely one to be looking out for as it continues to grow.

 

Around The Hub: Hailo Providing Free Cab Rides to Your Voting Location in Boston on Election Day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Say goodbye to your favorite presidential commercials and hello to Election Day! Today marks an important day for Americans and what better way to celebrate than a free cab ride to your voting destination. Introducing Hailo: the newest taxi-hailing phone app.  Founded in 2011 by three London taxi drivers and three internet entrepreneurs, the two tap app is both beneficial for cap hopefuls and taxi drivers.  Not only does the app provide customers with the driver’s name and photo, but a traffic update as well. This app is also ideal for taxi drivers because it keeps them safe of fare skipping since the payment is pre-authorized.

In honor of Election Day, Hailo is offering $20.12 off per customer on taxi fares to polling places in Boston, today, November 6. Simply download the smartphone app, enter the promo code “VOTEHAILO,” and the discount will automatically apply. Credit card information is stored with a secure payment option and once registered it only takes two taps to start your taxi reservation.  Hailo works with Boston licensed taxi drivers and approves each driver individually.

In order to utilize your free cab ride today you must first know your voting location. If you’re unsure or just want to confirm your polling location, enter your address here for your election information. Poll hours are from 7am to 8pm. Save your arms the flailing and book your free cab now!

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Social Media & The Debate, Mobile FB Ads, Microsoft Surface, & The Head of the Charles

 

Top Story: Social Media & The Presidential Debates

 

In an age where social media dominates our lives, as well as in a year in which the Presidential election is still too close to call only two weeks away, its no surprise that social media has infiltrated the debate on the candidates and issues.

 

According to Fox News, during the first presidential debate there were more than 10.3 million tweets sent relating to politics. However, it seems as if social media platforms, most notably Twitter, are being used to discuss the insignificant details of the debates, rather than the hard issues.

 

In the first presidential debate, #bigbird became an instant trending topic after Governor Mitt Romney alluded to “getting rid of” PBS. After the second Presidential debate, #bindersfullofwomen became not only a trending topic, but a popular meme and blog topic after Governor Romney made the mistake of saying he was given “binders full of women” to fill his cabinet in Massachusetts. (For a laugh, click here).

 

News also broke about the alleged Google scandal with Mitt Romney. If you go to Google, type in “completely wrong”, and filter to images, what comes up? Numerous pictures of Governor Mitt Romney. Google has stated that the results are completely organic, but some analysts say otherwise.

 

It seems as if the Twitterverse, and other social media platforms, are reducing the important topics of the election to trending topics, memes, and campaigns against firing Big Bird. Although humorous, they don’t have any position on the real issues that should determine this election. For tonight’s debate, I challenge you to balance out your Twitter feed. Follow a mix of credible sources as well as parody accounts – it’s all about being a well-rounded voter, right? Here are some suggestions on who to follow during tonight’s debate, as well as the hashtags to keep track of.

 

Credible                                           

@CNNlive

@HuffPostPolitics

@pewresearch

@Obama2012

@BarackObama

@MittRomney

 

Hilarious

@paulryangosling

@StephenAtHome

 @robdelaney

 

Hashtags to Keep Track Of

#debate2012

#debate

#obama

#romney

#cantafford4more

 

Under the Radar: Mobile Facebook Ads are Clicked 23 More Times than Desktop Versions

 

 

Attention businesses, if you’re not using Facebook mobile ads, you should probably get on it right away. While you may be inclined to think that Facebook users would be more likely to click an ad on their desktop computer than on their mobile device, you’d be wrong. A new report from TBG Digital shows that U.S. Facebook users actually click on mobile Facebook ads 23 more times than on desktop ads. Believe it or not, that pushes average U.S. click-through rates 99% in Quarter 3 (and 81% worldwide).

So why are users clicking on mobile ads so much more than desktop ads?  Well, we hate to be negative, but part of it could be due to user error.  TechCrunch speculates on the same thing we were thinking about when we heard mobile ad click-throughs were so high. Perhaps users aren’t yet used to seeing Facebook ads show up on their phone and thus are click because they don’t realize they’re ads or because they want to see where the ad takes them. If this is the case, we predict a sharp decline in mobile ad click-through rates as the months go on and users get used to seeing them. And furthermore, will Facebook users in other countries show such an affinity to mobile ads that U.S. users do?

While ads are Facebooks primary method of generating revenue right now, they’ve also been busy expanding programs, like selling real-life gifts and allowing individual users to pay $7 to promote their own posts. What do you think will end up being Facebook’s sweet spot when it comes to generating revenue? Or will it continue to change?

 

 

Tool of The Week: Microsoft Surface Release

Microsoft’s new Surface Tablet is now available for pre-order. This is Microsoft’s first attempt at diving into the tablet wars, but how does it stand up against the iPad and Kindle Fire?

This 10.6-inch Windows 8 tablet is only available for Wi-Fi use, unlike the iPad which is available on cellular networks. It has a slightly larger display that the iPad and the Kindle Fire, and better battery life. It’s price beats the Apple iPad, starting at $499 for a 32GB (as compared to $599 for a 32GB iPad), but the Kindle Fire still out-prices both of it’s competitors.

 

The Surface tablet ships with a built-in kickstand, but the attachable Touch Cover keypad is not included in the shipping price.

 

It is up in the air how the new Surface tablet will compete in the already competitive tablet-wars, but for those loyal Microsoft fans who have been anxiously awaiting its arrival, it will be available to ship on October 26th.

 

Around The Hub: The Head of the Charles Breaking Records

This weekend Boston held one of its largest yearly events; the 49th Head of the Charles, featuring rowing teams from around the world for a series of races. Saturday brought the hottest day ever recorded here, with the temperature reaching 76 (previous high was 68), as well as record attendance, which is believed to be just over 175,000 for Saturday alone.

The weekend impressed the organizers of the regatta so much that they may be planning a 3rd day of events for next year.

Check out some of the best photos we found on Twitter using #HeadOfTheCharles – there were a LOT of great ones. Have some more great shots from the weekend? Tweet them to us @451Heat and we will share!

http://storify.com/maxesilver/head-of-the-charles

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iPhone 5, Boston Time Lapse, iOS6, & FB for History Lessons

 

Top Story: iPhone 5 Preorders Reach 2 million in 24 hours

Apple’s iPhone 5 was announced last Wednesday, with preorders set to begin on Friday, September 14th. Within 24 hours, pre-orders had hit 2 million units. This makes the iPhone 5 the fastest selling device in Apple history – and they haven’t even hit stores yet.

AT&T reported that their customers ordered more iPhones from AT&T than any previous model – shattering the record of the previous iPhone 4S by almost double. The Apple website sold out of their iPhone 5 stock within the first hour of availability, and the shipping times were quickly changed from the original September 21st ship date to later dates in September and October. This delay is projected to create higher demand in-store, which means longer lines and more tents outside your local Apple store on the 21st.

Technology analysts are reporting that the iPhone 5 will not only be the fastest-selling Apple product, the fastest-selling gadget of all time. It is projected that 58 million units – $36.2 billion in revenue – will be sold. This factor doesn’t account for all of the extra accessories that are required for the new phone. New cases will need to be purchased, as well as new speakers, chargers, etc. that fit the new “Lightening” connector.

What do you think about all of the iPhone 5 hype? Is the new gadget really worth what the numbers are conveying?

 

Under the Radar: School’s Use Facebook Timeline for History Lessons

Teachers are always looking for innovative ways to teach their students. As our society becomes faster paced, students’ attention spans for textbooks and lectures are rapidly decreasing. An Amsterdam-based school has found a way to use social media as a tool for learning.

Facebook’s timeline allows the user to see the events of a person’s life in chronological order – as if we are recording our own histories. As a class project, students were asked to create a timeline of 4 different historical events – Magellan’s voyages, 20th century inventions, Fashion history from 1950-present and the rise and fall of the Soviet Union. The benefit of using a social network for this activity? The versatility. Students can post text, photos, audio, and videos to describe the events in the timeline. They can also comment and ask questions about the material presented – allowing for a more interactive experience.

 

This sounds like an awesome way to learn history to me – what do you think?

 

Around the Hub: Boston Time Lapse

Sometimes we get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of city life that we forget to stop and look around at the beautiful city we call home. This time lapse video gives us a little bit of reminder.

 

 

Tool of the Week: iOS6

 

Decided not to upgrade your iPhone? Well, you can at least update your software. iOS6 will be available to iPhone 3GS, 4, and 4S users on Wednesday. This upgrade comes with a range of new features and much needed updates.

What update am I most looking forward to? Definitely Maps. Turn by turn navigation for the iPhone has been long awaited – and patience is paying off! Powered by Tom Tom, Maps is now equipped with spoken navigation and a new “flyover” feature so you can see your favorite cities and landmarks from the air. With a crisper and clearer picture, panning and zooming will have a clearer response.

A brand new App, called Passbook, will also be joining the iPhone family. This app will certainly be loved by your wallet – as it gives you the ability to store boarding passes, coupons, loyalty cards, movie tickets, etc virtually. Just scan your phone and discard them after use – how convenient!

Updates to Phone allow you to choose how you answer your calls (if at all). You can choose the people who can contact  you when you’re in a meeting or taking a nap, and can reply with a text in one click. Also, FaceTime will have the ability to work over cellular networks – so you’ll never miss another call!

Updates to Siri, Mail, Photos, and Safari are also included, as well as an integration with Facebook throughout the software.

I’ll definitely be downloading iOS6 on Wednesday, will you?