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Networld Interactive Top News Stories
Airbnb released an update to its Android app today to help property owners and hosts better manage their listings. With the release, hosts can handle all the steps prior to selecting guests for their home, while also keeping track of when it’s available.
Previously these mobile features were only available for iOS devices. However, with only 5 percent of its total active hosts using Android devices, Airbnb could be hoping that because of this update, existing Android users will find it more appealing and new device users will sign up.
Airbnb says that when it tested these features on iOS, it resulted in “amazing” engagement. The company tells us that users who have downloaded the iPhone app are 83 percent more engaged and 78 percent more responsive than they were before. Take these percentages with a grain of salt as specific numbers were not provided.
In the update, hosts will now be able to manage all their pre-approval options, including denying reservations or requesting more information. Additionally, it also includes a calendar management feature that lets hosts choose when their listings are available.
Prior to its arrival on Airbnb’s mobile apps, users needed to use the company’s website to manage all of these features.
Photo credit: Thinkstock/iStockphoto
We knew it was coming this month, but Amazon has finally made its new virtual currency available to customers in the US.
Back in February, we reported that Amazon was gearing up to launch its new ‘Coins’ virtual currency for Kindle Fire app purchases.
This is all part of Amazon’s plans to help app developers monetize their Appstore submissions, enabling Kindle Fire owners to purchase apps, games and make in-app purchases on their tablet.
For launch, every Kindle Fire owner will be given $5 worth of Coins, which in effect is 500 coins. This is consistent with what Amazon announced a few months back, saying it would be dishing out “millions of dollars” worth of Amazon Coins for free.
“Today we are giving Kindle Fire owners $5 worth of Coins to spend on new apps and games, or to purchase in-app items, such as recipes in iCookbook, song collections in SongPop or mighty falcon bundles in Angry Birds Star Wars,” says Mike George, Vice President of Apps and Games at Amazon.
“And with discounts of up to 10% when you buy Coins, this is a great way for customers to save money when they buy apps, games and in-app items,” he continues. “We will continue to add more ways to earn and spend Coins on a wider range of content and activities—today is Day One for Coins.”
Amazon Appstore developers will earn the usual 70% revenue share when consumers make purchases using Amazon Coins. But from a consumer perspective, introducing credits is designed not only to make it easier for people to purchase content, but it also alters the consumer mindset so that they’re not thinking directly in terms of ‘money’.
Previously, Amazon only allowed credit cards to be associated with a Kindle Fire device, so with credits now in tow, this also plays into the hands of parents looking to keep a tab on how much their kids are spending. If they only want them to spend, say, $10 a month, then that’s the amount of credit they load.
Feature Image Credit – Thinkstock
If you’re a student and aspiring startup founder, you’re going to want to pay close attention to the following.
Startup Dream Team, started by Paris, France-based student organization Silicon Students, is actively looking for 45 young aspiring entrepreneurs from all around the world who are interested in joining a 9-week summer program in Silicon Valley.
Startup Dream Team essentially wants to offer young people the chance to discover what startups are all about, focusing intensely on the aspect of team creation in particular.
From June 14th to August 18th, the second edition of the program will put together 45 students from all around the globe in one house in Silicon Valley whilst they complete a full-time summer internship, in order to stimulate teamwork with like-minded wannabe entrepreneurs.
On top of that, there will be weekly pitch sessions with a host of mentors, obligatory startup visits and regular talks from top entrepreneurs and investors from the Bay Area.
The first edition of the Startup Dream Team program featured Dropbox CEO Drew Houston and Robert Scoble as speakers, and About.me founder Tony Conrad and Rap Genius co-founder Mahbod Moghabad are already on board for the next one.
Pierre-Simon Ntiruhungwa, a co-founder of Silicon Students who came up with the idea of the program while he was himself interning in a startup in Silicon Valley, says:
“Last year, we did an ‘alpha’ version of the program with 20 participants living in the same place. Great friendships came out of it and we had great talks from inspiring entrepreneurs.
This year we will really focus on having them build solid startup projects. And most importantly, every single fellow should be able to come out of the program with the ability to identify how they fit into a startup team and what type of people they like to work with.”
The goal is to make the program as international as possible. Thus, the number of participants from the United States who are allowed in will be limited to 15 out of 45. Ultimately, Silicon Students aims to extend the program to more cities next year, including several of Europe’s main hubs.
As it’s a student organization doing a program for students, Silicon Students uses crowdfunding to finance its program and you can support them until May 31st on Indiegogo.
For the record: participants actually don’t have to pay for the program, although they do have to cough up some dough to cover the house rent.
And now, probably the reason you clicked through: you can apply for the program here. Be fast, because the deadline is this Thursday, May 16th.
Important note: you don’t necessarily still have to be a student. If you’ve graduated in the past two years and are under 25, you might still be able to get in, according to the rules.
Image credit: Thinkstock
If you’re attending Google I/O this week, you will be a part of an experiment from the Google Cloud Platform Developer Relations team. On its blog today, the team outlined its plan to gather a bunch of environmental information happening around you as you meander around the Moscone Center.
In the blog post, Michael Manoochehri, Developer Programs Engineer, outlines his team’s plan to place hundreds of Arduino-based environmental sensors around the conference space to track things like temperature, noise levels, humidity and air quality in real-time. This was spawned due to a fascination with wanting to know which areas of the conference were the most popular, so it will be interesting to see what the information the team gathers actually tells us.
At first glance, this seems a little bit creepy, but it’s no different than a venue adjusting the cooling system based on the temperature inside at any given moment. As with anything that Google does, this could have implications for tracking indoor events or businesses in the future, as Manoochehri shared:
Networked sensor technology is in the early stages of revolutionizing business logistics, city planning, and consumer products. We are looking forward to sharing the Data Sensing Lab with Google I/O attendees, because we want to show how using open hardware together with the Google Cloud Platform can make this technology accessible to anyone.
Notice the wrap-up of wanting to show people how open hardware combined with Google’s Cloud Platform benefits everyone. Ok, sure. What could data like this mean for businesses, though? Well, a clothing store would be able to track how many people came in and browsed, which areas of the store were hot-spots for interest and then figure out how their displays converted. It’s like real-world ad-tracking. It makes sense, but still seems a long way off.
What will be interesting is not each dataset that is collected, but what all of them tied together tell us about our surroundings:
Our motes will be able to detect fluctuations in noise level, and some will be attached to footstep counters, to understand collective movement around the conference floor.
Of course, none of this information is personally identifiable, but the thought of our collective steps, movements and other ambient output being turned into something usable by Google is intriguing to say the least…and yes, kind of creepy.
If this particular team can share all of the data it collects in an easy to digest way, then businesses will be clamoring to toss sensors all over their stores and drop the data on whatever cloud platform that will host it the cheapest. Google would like to be that platform.
During the event, the team will hold a workshop on what it calls the “Data Sensing Lab,” so if you’re interested on learning more about what the team is gathering as you walk around, this would be the place to go. You’ll also be able to see some of the real-time visualizations on screens set up throughout the conference floor.
We’ll be covering all of the action as we’re being covered by Google.
There are lots of ways to finance your latest business venture, but one of the funnest ones remains offering a product or service in exchange for money, and people paying for it.
You should totally employ that strategy for your startup!
We kid, we kid, but not really. It’s no secret monetizing a digital service can be tough, but all too often ‘advertising’ – rather than charging users – is the answer to the vital question “so what’s your business plan?”.
And yet it’s almost never the right answer. But then, what is?
Or in other words, what could you charge for? What can you offer that could make people want to open up their wallets?
The folks over at Board Of Innovation have put together a slide deck with a collection of useful money-making techniques and tips (which will be continuously updated based on feedback from the global startup community), and it may just answer those questions for you.
It’s been getting a ton of views on SlideShare (you can also download the PDF), but it hasn’t really started making the rounds outside of it yet.
It’s filled to the brim with examples, so don’t miss it:
Top image credit: Thinkstock