28 May 2010

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Pete Cashmore: Travelocity Gnome Now Roaming on Foursquare

Already moonlighting on Chatroulette, the beloved Travelocity Roaming Gnome has decided to participate in the location-sharing movement as well, and will be updating followers about his exotic whereabouts on Foursquare.

The move rounds out the Gnome's social media portfolio - which, in addition to Chatroulette, includes a very active presence on Facebook and Twitter.

Fans can look for the gnome to check in at various locations across London over the course of the weekend, says Travelocity representative Joel Frey.

Frey also tells us that the Gnome's foray into Foursquare was timed with Virgin Atlantic's first seasonal flight from Chicago to London yesterday. In fact, Gnome lovers can check out photos from the glamorous first-class trip on his Facebook Page.

Which brings us to the bigger picture. Location-sharing isn't exactly an activity that can be completed behind a desk. I asked Frey whether or not the Gnome would be open to meeting up with fans during his worldly treks, to which he replied, "We'd love to run into Fousquare friends and will also being do a tweetup on Tuesday evening."

"To have an icon like the Gnome at our disposal to engage with travelers on all of these new communication channels is an amazing opportunity and we'd be foolish not to play," Frey concluded.

We tend to agree and find social media to be the perfect vehicle for the Gnome to spread the Travelocity message. Bon voyage!

[img credits: Travelocity]

For more social media coverage, follow Mashable Social Media on Twitter or become a fan on Facebook

Tags: foursquare, MARKETING, roaming gnome, travelocity

28 May 2010 10:59pm GMT

Richard MacManus: Digg's New Social Following and Publishing Tools [VIDEO]

In an interesting nugget of Friday afternoon news, Michael Arrington of TechCrunch has posted an article featuring a preview of the upcoming fourth version of the social news site Digg. Founder Kevin Rose has published a glorious 1080p video to YouTube aimed at explaining the new features to publishers. Among the most interesting features is the inclusion of social network contacts into the Digg ecosystem, as well as the ability for publishers to auto-publish stories to Digg via an RSS feed.


Just like when joining most Web services these days, users will be asked to search their Facebook and Twitter accounts (among others) to follow friends and contacts via Digg. The Digg homepage will then default to a page consisting entirely of stories dugg by the users they choose to follow. When browsing articles either on the social "My News" section, or on the more traditional "Top News" tab, users will be able to see which stories their friends have dugg, as well as view their friends' comments directly in-line with the story.


Rose says these new features play into the hands of publishers because the viral aspect of sharing stories with friends will help stories achieve higher digg counts. If one person diggs a story, it shows up on the homepages of their followers, and if they digg it, the process continues. To make the process of getting articles online even simpler, publishers can now claim their RSS feeds and automatically publish their content on Digg without having to visit the site.


These changes and additions may be just what the doctor ordered for Digg which has had to continually delay these updates. Personally the preview looks pretty slick, and may actually bring me back to using Digg on a more regular basis. Check our Rose's video below and let us know what you think in the comments.


28 May 2010 10:50pm GMT

Tech Crunch: leena

The first TechCrunch Disrupt conference kicked off with a bang this week in New York, with Charlie Rose interviewing renown venture capitalists John Doerr, and Yuri Milner. Highlights of the conference included a colorful exchange between TechCrunch editor Michael Arrington and Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz; Sean Parker and David Kirkpatrick discussing the past, present and future of Facebook, and VCs Fred Wilson and Ben Horowitz debating the virtue of the lean vs. fat startup. We also heard from Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber's managers and celebrated the winner of the startup battlefield competition: Soluto. Here's a comprehensive list of all of our coverage of the event.

Session One: Disruptive Ideas & Marketplaces

UJAM: UJAM Turns Whistling, Humming, And Even Tone Deaf Singing Into Musical Masterpieces (link), Chris Sacca Singing On UJAM (link)

Off & Away: Five Star Hotels At Motel Prices: Off & Away Is Swoopo For Hotel Rooms (link)

Fluidinfo FluidDB Aims To Become The Wikipedia Of Databases (link)

Soluto Soluto Figures Out What's Bogging Down Your PC (And Tells You How To Fix It) (link)

Betterment Betterment Wants To Be Your New, Higher-Yield Savings Account (link)

Session Two: Disruptive Apps & Services

Audioo: A "Blippy For Voicemail," Audioo Is A Fun Privacy Disaster Waiting To Happen (link)

Textingly: Textingly Lets Companies Manage Their Text Messaging Efforts (link)

VideoGenie: VideoGenie Aims To Help Brands And Consumers Connect Through Video (link)

Publish2: Publish2 Wants To Disrupt The Associated Press With An Online News Exchange (link)

Audience Choice: Live Intent: LiveIntent Turns Static Social Media Sharing Buttons Into Dynamic Ones (link)

Session 3: Disruptive Streams

Geotoko: Geotoko Allows Businesses To Set Up Location-Based Marketing Campaigns (link)

ChompOn: ChompOn Is A White-Label Platform For Groupon-Like Deals (link)

Tickreel: Tickreel Aims To Add A Powerful Filter To The Realtime Web (link)

keenkong: Keenkong Manages The Social Media Overload For Marketers (link)

WeReward: WeReward's iPhone App Lets You Earn Cash For Check-Ins (link)

Compass Labs Compass Labs Tries To Pinpoint Purchase Intent On Twitter (link)

Session 4: Disruptive Entertainment

NoiseToys: Jai Ho! A Rockstar Team Brings Social Gaming To Music With NoiseToys (link)

Live Matrix: The Entire Web Gets A TV Guide With Live Matrix (like)

MOVIECLIPS: Movieclips Wants To Drink Other Movie Clips Sites' Milkshake With Mashups (like)

Art.sy: Screw The Gallery, Discover The Next Great Picasso At Art.sy (like)

Audience Choice: Plantly: "Plantly Is An Investment Tool That Aims Not To Suck" (like)

Panels and Presentations:

The Hackathon:

Over 300 Battle At Disrupt Hackathon (link), Inside Disrupt Hackathon [Video] (link), Future Mario, Twitter Demographics And Worst Phone Ever Win The #TCDisrupt Hackathon (link)

Day One:

The Big Picture: Tectonic Shifts in Technology, Special Series with Charlie Rose
John Doerr, Partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (link)
Yuri Milner, CEO & Founding Partner, Digital Sky Technologies (link)

TweetUp (link)

Hollywood-Flavored Fireside: Funny or Die Disrupts (link)

Evolve or Die: The Evolution of Music, TV, Games and Publishing (link)

Tunerfish (link)

Fireside Chat With Carol Bartz (link), Carol Bartz To Michael Arrington: "F*ck Off!" (link), Video (link)

Fireside: Social Networks & Online Content: Where's it Going? (link)

Does The IPad Change Everything For News, Or Is It Still All About The Web? (link)

Day Two:

Scribd HTML5 Presentation (link)

The Mobile Disruption-What's Next? (link), Google's Gundotra On Apple, The Fight For Developers' Hearts [Video] (link), Facebook, It's OK To Want To Make Money [Video] (link)

Social & Local Demo by Yext (link)

Mayor Bloomberg Calls For More NYC Startups At TechCrunch Disrupt (link)

Fireside: Local Content, Local Ads, and Everything in Between. How is AOL Changing? (link), AOL Now Employs 4,000 Journalists (But Only 500 Are Full-Time) (link)

The Lean vs Fat Startup Debate (link)

Fireside Chat With Steve Case (link), Steve Case Recalls When AOL Almost Bought Yahoo For $2 Million (link)

Digital Crowds into Dollars (link), Help GE "Avoid The Lame" For Their Next Digital Advertising Campaign (link)

Exits: The 2010 Outlook (link)

Day Three

Success Strategies for Musicians in the Digital Era (link)

Mobile & Commerce Demo of Square by Jack Dorsey (link), Video: Jack Dorsey Shakes Down Arrington, Calacanis, And Google In Seconds (link)

Social Advertising Demo of Clickable (link)

Fireside Chat: Online Advertising (link)

Social Networking & Social Change (link)

Getting it Built (link)

Venture Capitalists Get Grilled (And Pitched At Urinals) At #TCDisrupt (link)

The Facebook Effect (link), Wirehog, Zuckerberg's Side Project That Almost Killed Facebook (link), Sean Parker: Credits Poised To Make Up 1/3 Of Facebook's Income In The Next 12 Months (link)

The TechCrunch Disrupt Final Five: Betterment, MOVIECLIPS, Publish2, Soluto And UJAM (link)

Measurement Demo: ComScore (link)

Hack Day Finalists (link)

Art.sy Wins The TechCrunch Rookie Disruptor Award (link)

Startup Battlefield Finale (link)

The Winner: Soluto (link)

Checkout all the photos from the conference here. And in case you missed it, you can also watch videos from the event here.

28 May 2010 10:35pm GMT

Richard MacManus: iPhone Dropped in Toilet? There's an App for That

cracked_iphone_may10.jpgStarting June 6th, iPhone purchasers will be able to insure their precious devices through AT&T for just $13.99 a month, according to documents leaked to Boy Genius Report today. The insurance, which is purchased through the AppStore, intends to counter-act the pain and suffering caused by those "whoopsie", butterfingers-induced moments that send iPhones to an early grave on hard pavement or, even worse, in a toilet. The documents, which are either real or extremely high quality fabrications, also back up the assumption that Steve Jobs will be introducing the fourth generation iPhone June 7th at the WWDC keynote.


bgr_att_may10.jpgFor just under $170 a year, iPhone users can save themselves the trouble of paying several hundred dollars to replace their phone if they irrevocably damage it. However, the insurance plan also comes with a deductible that ranges from $99 to $199 depending on which iPhone you have. So if you buy a 32GB 3GS and break it a year later, the cost of a new one would be roughly $370, which is far better than the full price of $699, but still expensive.

The insurance plan apparently only applies to new purchases after June 6th, and must be activated within 30 days of purchase. To make the process simple, the insurance can be purchased through the phone via the AppStore, which will bill the credit card on file with Apple. AT&T was careful not to spill the beans on the upcoming fourth generation iPhone, and left out what the cost of the insurance plan might be for a new device.

So why is AT&T insuring the iPhone all of a sudden? According to the leaked documents, 16% of low scores from customer feed back are "attributable to customer dissatisfaction with insurance/warranty replacement options." While they certainly want to fight back against unsatisfied customers, AT&T is also likely offering this plan to help maintain customers in their ecosystem.


By making it cheaper to replace an iPhone, it's more likely that bereaved users will buy another iPhone, and more importantly, stay with AT&T. Just last week, AT&T hiked up their early termination fees for all smartphones all the way up to $325 dollars. Break your iPhone and think it's a great opportunity to leave the network at join Team Android on another network? Either pay AT&T $325 plus the costs of a new phone and contact elsewhere to leave, or slightly less (depending on how long you've had your phone) to replace your iPhone thanks to the new insurance policy.

What do you think of AT&T's new iPhone insurance? Will you buy it with your next iPhone purchase? Let us know what you think in the comments.

Photo by Flickr user magerleagues.


28 May 2010 10:30pm GMT

Pete Cashmore: PostRank Brings Real-Time Social Monitoring to Your Blog

PostRank Analytics, a service that captures social engagement and traditional metrics in one dashboard, in launching a new beta feature called PostRank Activity Streams. PostRank describes Activity Streams as "FriendFeed for content." In other words, an ever-changing overview of what is happening with all your content all across the web.

PostRank Analytics has always offered an aggregated report for individual articles, noting how many tweets, bookmarks or comments a post received, but now that data is displayed in real time in a single view on your PostRank dashboard. You can now see when someone shares a link on Buzz, comments on a post that has been shared to Reddit or bookmarks a post in Delicious. Rather than having to search through posts manually and filter by activity, you can see the activity as it takes place.

This is a really compelling tool for publishers who are looking at measuring the types of engagement they are getting across social media channels. These sorts of measurements can be really helpful in identifying trends and figuring out where to focus your social strategies. For instance, if if a user sees that he is getting lots of interaction on Facebook or on Google Buzz, that might be an indication to be more active in those channels.

PostRank Activity Streams monitor Facebook, Twitter, Google Buzz, FriendFeed, Delicious, Reddit, Digg and more. The feature is still in beta and it will be improving over time, but it looks like a really great addition to the social publisher's toolkit.

If you don't already have a PostRank account, you can sign-up for a 30-day free trial here. How do you monitor the social activity taking place around your content? Let us know!

For more social media coverage, follow Mashable Social Media on Twitter or become a fan on Facebook

Tags: activity streams, postrank, postrank analytics, social media tools

28 May 2010 10:25pm GMT

Pete Cashmore: HTC EVO 4G to Get Video Calling… For a Price

There's good news and bad news for future HTC EVO 4G owners: Skype should come to the smartphone before the end of the year, as will mobile video app Qik - but you're going to have to shell out $5 per month for the latter if you want to take advantage of its video chat functionality.

It might be a hard pill to swallow for some, considering Sprint is already going to charge a $10 "premium data" fee per month simply to make use of the phone's data services in addition to whatever monthly voice and data package is chosen. Qik runs the risk of running afoul of the "feeling nickel and dimed" response from consumers who are already shelling out extra fees to capitalize on the "about 10 times faster" data speeds on Sprint's 4G network.

Meanwhile, although Skype had released a Skype Mobile Android client previously, its exclusive deal with Verizon Wireless means that Android users on other carriers can't access the app. A PR representative from the company indicated that before the end of this year Skype will ship a direct-to-consumer app that will be available regardless of the carrier - although it can't yet promise that the app will include mobile video calling as one of its features.

In other words, it may take some time for mobile video calling alternatives to catch up if you're not willing to pony up the extra $5 a month for that feature via Qik. Early tests with competitive app Fring have been so far mixed, with some garnering less than stellar reviews and others faring fairly well (see the video below for a demo). Still, the available options at launch could be a bit of a downer to aspiring HTC EVO owners eager to take advantage of its dual cameras for mobile video calls.

What do you think: Is Qik asking too much for mobile video call service? Will we see reliable free alternatives crop up in short order?

For more mobile coverage, follow Mashable Mobile on Twitter or become a fan on Facebook

Tags: 4G, android, htc evo, HTC EVO 4G, mobile video calling, qik, Skype, sprint, verizon

28 May 2010 10:05pm GMT

Tech Crunch: michael-arrington

[See Update below] Microsoft Bing will replace Google in the next version of the iPhone operating system to be released in June, we've heard from mulitple sources, including a high level source who claims to have been briefed on the matter. We're not calling this more than a rumor yet, but one thing is sure - our sources close to Google in particular are speaking freely about this as fact. In January Business Week reported that Microsoft and Apple were in talks over an iPhone search deal, and the deal certainly would be brilliant for Microsoft.

There's been speculation around Google's future on the iPhone since last year when the first public spat broke out between the companies over the Google Voice app for the iPhone. Android's continued gains in market share only highlight Google's direct competition with Apple, and the fact that so many core iPhone apps, including search and maps, are controlled by Google, has been a sore point with Apple. From that post:

Multiple sources at Google tell us that in informal discussions with Apple over the last few months Apple expressed dismay at the number of core iPhone apps that are powered by Google. Search, maps, YouTube, and other key popular apps are powered by Google. Other than the browser, Apple has little else to call its own other than the core phone, contacts and calendar features.

But Google was rumored to be paying Apple $100 million a year for the search rights to iPhone, along with the ability to serve search ads. Apple would likely have stuck with them unless Microsoft was willing to pay as well, and it certainly wasn't a lock that Google Search would be removed from the iPhone.

There were rumors yesterday that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer would attend the WWDC event on June 7 to announce Video Studio development for the iPhone, although they were quickly retracted. Our sources on this are independent of that story.

Update: Interesting - new sources are saying "It's more complicated than this" and not to expect Google search to be removed from the iPhone next month. Also hearing that Google isn't paying anything like $100 million/year to Apple for the search rights to the iPhone.

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28 May 2010 10:05pm GMT

Richard MacManus: Hotels Test Smartphones as Room Keys

intercontinental logo.gifStarting in June, the Intercontinental Hotel Group is testing out the use of smartphones as room keys. Using an app from OpenWays, patrons at the Holiday Inn Chicago O' Hare Rosemont or the Holiday Inn Express Houston Downtown Convention Center download a distinct audio code into their iPhone, Blackberry or Android. Passing the phone by the door lock will open it and patrons will bypass the front desk altogether. Unless they need towels.

For those who are used to researching, reserving and paying for hotels online, this may be a logical next step. It goes in line with such uses of smartphone-powered tech as United Airlines' mobile boarding passes at airports.


As Marin Perez points out in IntoMobile, it's far from a no-brainer.


"The app has to work consistently or it could lead to a lot of cheesed off customers. Additionally, hotels could lose that personal touch and branding connection with the customer, which is always a problem."

It would also be an expense for the hoteliers, as the system requires a special lock, without either keyhole or keycard swipe, on any room in the program.

But if it goes off without a significant hitch, the handful of hotels and couple of months IGH intends to take for the test could turn into dozens of properties and no end of time.

RFID Again

Another hotel chain, Starwood, is one of many experimenting with radio frequency identification, or RFID. At their Lexington, Massachusetts property, the Aloft Hotel, they are equipping guests with RFID cards.

Visitors interesting in giving RFID a try are given a "Starwood Preferred Guest" card specific to the Aloft. The day of their check-in, they are sent a text with their room number. The RFID card is programmed to open that door automatically.

Although far from common, RFID keying systems are more common than audio-based ones.Even phones equipped with near-field communication, which reads RFID codes in door locks, have been used since 2006.

As long as both indie and chain hotels and resorts are struggling for traveler dollars, expect their experiments to closely pace, and occasionally outstrip, their visitors' personal technology choices.


28 May 2010 10:00pm GMT

Pete Cashmore: Mashable’s Ben Parr Discusses Privacy on Russian Debate Show [VIDEO]

Mashable Co-Editor Ben Parr appeared on Russian TV network RT's debate show, CrossTalk, yesterday to discuss internet privacy and the user backlash leading up to Facebook's revised privacy controls.

In the interview, Parr says that technology has changed the way the world thinks about privacy. He also gets into a somewhat heated debate with fellow guest Ann Cavoukian on the nature of societal attitudes toward privacy.

The panel of guests also debates whether or not governments should regulate Facebook and other social networking sites, and discusses whether privacy should ultimately be Facebook's responsibility or the user's responsibility.

The full interview is an interesting discussion on Facebook and online content sharing in general. You can check it out in its entirety below.

For more perspective on Facebook and the new privacy controls, watch what Mashable Founder and CEO Pete Cashmore had to say yesterday on PBS.

For more social media coverage, follow Mashable Social Media on Twitter or become a fan on Facebook

Tags: Ben Parr, facebook, privacy

28 May 2010 9:35pm GMT

Tech Crunch: michael-arrington

The video above, which we believe will be shown to publishers to promote the new Digg, gives a never before seen look at the new version of Digg, version 4, that the company has been working on for over a year - founder Kevin Rose first spoke about it in April 2009.

The new version of the service is designed to get publishers, currently enamored with the viral spread of content on Twitter and Facebook, to start focusing on Digg again. As Rose says in the interview, only the top headlines on Digg - 100 or so stories a day - actually get much traffic. So publishers, including us, have focused more on promoting sharing on Twitter and Facebook, where it isn't an all or nothing outcome.

Key changes:

Users will only see links to stories that are popular and that their friends are promoting, says Digg, and there's no clutter from status updates and other content you see on Twitter and Facebook. It's a pure place for linked content that people and entities you follow are promoting.

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28 May 2010 9:10pm GMT

Pete Cashmore: How Open Data Applications are Improving Government

Capitol Building Data ImageGeoff Livingston co-founded Zoetica to focus on cause-related work, and released an award-winning book on new media Now is Gone in 2007.

Open data is the big trend these days when people talk about "Government 2.0." In reality, the open data movement has just begun, with governments finally starting to release data en masse in an effort to promote transparency. While projects like Apps for Democracy have received significant media attention, we are just at the dawn of the government open data app movement.

"Open data apps are becoming ever-more effective, but insofar as they have actually had a dramatic 'effect' on the systems that most influence our lives, we still have a long way to go," said Jake Brewer, engagement director for the Sunlight Foundation. "I always say that until my mom or dad in Middle Tennessee are actively using open data apps that our community creates, we haven't gotten there yet. At this point, it's clear open data applications are in their infancy from the relatively low number of new apps being produced and the usage stats of those apps once the initial buzz factor dies down."

Here's a look at how public sector open data apps are evolving.

Transparency Fosters Better Citizenship

Real Time Congress Image

Citizens often get frustrated with their local, state and national governments, but they rarely understand how much demand the system faces. Lack of transparency into governmental departments and processes can leave the average American bewildered. Apps can change that with transparency.

"This transparency makes it possible to track how well the city is keeping up with requests, their performance over time, which neighborhoods are getting help first, etc.," said Jennifer Pahlka, founder and executive director of Code for America. "[W]hen you see the other requests in the queue and realize that your issue is one of thousands in your community, it's not just the government who becomes accountable; you start to be held accountable as a citizen as well.

"If you could see a list of all the lights that weren't fixed in your city, and see that a dozen people had complained that there had been a spike in crime under another broken light in another part of town and that people were really suffering because of it, you might you think to yourself 'hey, it's more important to fix that light than my own,'" explained Pahlka. "This is a moment of citizenship, when the needs of the larger group take precedence over the individual's needs."

Improving Application Access

See Click Fix Image

Some apps, like SeeClickFix, have been wildly successful, but in general, open data applications don't always make the impact that designers would like. Not every American has an iPhone - far from it. Ad Mob statistics show only 10.7 million units in the United States. Pragmatic accessibility for the average citizen can be a difference maker.

"A lot of people started to make iPhone apps with this public data, which is great, but for many cities there isn't a high overlap between bus ridership and iPhone use," said Christopher Csikszentmihalyi, Director, MIT Center for Future Civic Media. "We are currently deploying a public/private initiative called LostInBoston which includes a cheap LED sign that shows real-time estimates of when the next MassDOT bus is coming.

"If government were to do this, it would probably take many years and be incredibly expensive. We are looking at a couple of hundred dollars for a sign placed on private property, in the window of a restaurant or corner shop," said Csikszentmihalyi. "Business owners get customers coming in because pedestrians know they have a few minutes … Bus drivers are excited because an informed rider is a less hostile rider." While this is a relatively narrow application, it shows that not all open data applications have to be "Web 2.0″ for citizens to really benefit.

The Secret Sauce for a Better App

EcoFinder App Image

Given what's already been released, some best practices are starting to emerge. For example, two-way engagement has become a critical success point for some applications. Pragmatic use for real needs is another important factor.

"The best applications are those that are built with cross-cutting teams of data providers, community users, and app makers," said Lucy Bernholz, president of Blueprint Research & Design. "Ecofinder in [San Francisco] is very cool - it solves the problem of knowing where to recycle various household goods at the point in time when you need that info."

"While much of the open data initiative has been about making government data public, getting citizen data to the government and to the rest of the public - whether complaints or other information - is also important," said Csikszentmihalyi. "The state of Ohio has no online way to complain about a well that is leaking, nor does it keep a record of complaints by citizens. A new family can move into a house with a well on the property, but have no way of knowing if that well had previously blown out or exploded."

How Can Government Help?

data.gov Image

As local governments ban together to create data standards via Open311 and as the Federal Government's data.gov initiative continues, we are seeing more data hit the market. Local, state and Federal Governments alike are early in the process of providing open data. One thing is clear - government's role should be about enabling data application development and facilitating improved processes from the public sector to increase transparency and open data.

"Government's role really should fall on the 'enabler' side when it comes to apps, by releasing all their public data online and in real-time," said Brewer. "Once data is released, citizen developers and designers - 'civic hackers' - can go to town with the released data, innovating and creating utility for the public."

"Think about how technology companies launch platforms," said Pahlka. "They employ a small army of developer relations professionals who seed the market and enable an ecosystem around their technology. Developer relations isn't a function government is used to providing, but they are learning how to do it."

For more technology coverage, follow Mashable Tech on Twitter or become a fan on Facebook

More government and tech resources from Mashable:

- How Social Media is Changing Government Agencies
- How the U.S. Engages the World with Social Media
- 5 Ways Government Works Better With Social Media
- How Social Media Can Effect Real Social and Governmental Change
- Why Open Source is the New Software Policy in San Francisco

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, DHuss

Reviews: Facebook, Twitter, data.gov.uk, iPhone, iStockphoto

Tags: apps, citizenship, data, development, government, open data, public, social good, Web Development

28 May 2010 9:05pm GMT

Richard MacManus: Chrome Extensions Get Desktop Notifications

chrome_logo_may09.jpgExtensions for Google Chrome can now send out desktop notifications. Google just announced the availability of a notifications API for Chrome extension developers. Until now, only websites were able to deliver non-model messages with the notifications API, which was first introduced in Chrome 4 for Windows. Now, extension developers will be able to make use of the desktop notifications API to deliver notifications that appear outside of the browser window as well.


gmail_notifier_alerts.jpgOne of the first extensions to make use of these system-wide notifications is the popular Gmail Notifier add-on for Chrome. After installing the extension, you will receive a notification whenever a new email arrives in your inbox. The advantage of this system is that you will see this notification, even if you are not looking at your browser.

Some users will surely complain that OSX and Linux already have perfectly good system-wide notifications systems. This new notifications API, however, allows developers to create their extensions without having to think about the desktop platform and Google's own developers won't have to interface with multiple third-party desktop notifications platforms either. Chances are that we will see a variation of these desktop notifications in Google's Chrome OS as well.


28 May 2010 8:54pm GMT

Pete Cashmore: Meet the Cast of “If I Can Dream” [VIDEO]

What's it like to live on camera 24 hours a day? The cast of If I Can Dream, Simon Fuller's direct-to-Hulu reality television series, is uniquely qualified to answer that question.

We had a chance to visit the Dream House - nestled in Beverly Hills and outfitted with more than 60 video cameras - and sit down with the show's five Hollywood hopefuls.

We've previously written about If I Can Dream as one of the more interesting projects at the intersection of entertainment, social media and the plugged-in landscape we now inhabit. The technology powering the show is notable enough in its own right (check out our exclusive tour of Dream Studios for a glimpse at behind-the-scenes production), and as all of the cast members discuss in the video below, the series is also a unique opportunity to allow an audience in on the process of becoming a successful artist.

See below for the cast's thoughts on what it's like to live entirely in public at all times, their favorite aspects of social media integration with the show, whether or not the series represents their actual lives, and the lessons they've learned from the project thus far. And if you're a fan of the show, stay tuned next week for our tour of the Dream House and the technology that makes the world's largest 24/7 live event possible.

For more entertainment coverage, follow Mashable Entertainment on Twitter or become a fan on Facebook

Reviews: Facebook, Twitter

Tags: entertainment, facebook, hulu, If I Can Dream, IICD, music, myspace, reality tv, Simon Fuller, social media, television, tv, twitter

28 May 2010 8:44pm GMT

Tech Crunch: jason

Last week at the Founder Showcase, a quarterly event put on by Adeo Ressi's TheFunded, Evernote CEO Phil Libin gave a presentation discussing some of the startup's key revenue numbers and strategy. During his talk, Libin outlined some of the ingredients in making the freemium model work, and how long-term users actually become more valuable over time.

Evernote, for those who haven't used it, is a great service for quickly storing and organizing ideas, photos, documents and other information that you encounter both online and in the real world. This is actually one of the secrets to the service's success - as people add more of their content to the site over time, it becomes increasingly valuable to them. Libin has previously shared similar information during his mentorship at Ressi's incubator The Founder Institute

Here are some of the main points Libin covered during his talk:

28 May 2010 8:28pm GMT

Tech Crunch: not

Google Chrome has been my primary browser for a few months now. And since it became fully stable, it's the only browser I use. It's fast, lightweight, and awesome. And it keeps getting more awesome.

One of the best things about Chrome is extension support. There are already nearly 5,000 of them despite only launching this past December. And the extensions continue to get more powerful. Today, on the Chromium Blog, Google has announced that desktop notifications are now available to third-party extension developers.

Previously, the only way to notify Chrome users of an update by way of extension was to do so by badging an extension icon itself. Now, full messages can pop-up on the desktop (assuming you allow them, of course). A great example is the Gmail Notifier extension, which gives you Growl-like notifications of new emails as they come in.

As of Chrome 5 (the latest stable version), these desktop notifications are available to all extension developers. And Google says they'll be looking for the best ones to feature in the Extension Gallery.

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28 May 2010 8:21pm GMT

Tech Crunch: leena

PostRank is a nifty tool that measures different ways that readers engage with online content. The ranking is based on how many times a particular post has been linked to, voted up on Digg, shared on Google Buzz, commented on, Twittered about, bookmarked on del.icio.us or viewed through feed readers like AideRSS and Google Reader. Today, the startup is adding a new feature that actually stores and shows you these activities.

As PostRank says, the activity streams feature similar in theory to a FriendFeed, but for a blog or site's content. Previously, PostRank aggregated and reported activity events but the new feature aggregates Tweets, votes, distributed comments and more in a single view. Publishers simply have to insert their RSS feed into PostRank Analytics and the startup will aggregate and filter activity into a dashboard.

PostRank analytics is free for the first thirty days and only costs $9 per month after that. PostRank aggregates over 10 million daily activities from over 20 different social hubs, so it's fair to assume that you'll get a healthy snapshot of the different types of interactions that are taking place with your content.

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28 May 2010 8:20pm GMT