Microsoft on Friday announced it has once again expanded Bing’s Facebook integration. Not only can you see relevant Facebook posts in the search engine’s social sidebar, but you can now comment on them and Like them as well.
Bing has included Likes, photos, and profile information from Facebook for a while in its social sidebar. At the start of the year, Microsoft added status updates, shared links, and comments for more context. Now it’s letting you interact with said content, all without leaving the Bing search page.
Here’s the commenting feature in action:
Nektarios Ioannides, Bing’s Program Manager, offers an example to explain how this could potentially improve your search experience:
Let’s say I’m searching for Beyoncé tickets because I know she is coming to town soon. I can see that my friend has recently posted that she has an extra ticket to the show. Now without leaving the Bing results page, I comment directly to her post letting her know that I’d love to join her for the concert. I’ve gone from simply browsing to attending a concert in just a few easy steps – all thanks to Bing.
All of this will only work if you connect your Facebook account to Bing. Microsoft has previously promised to “honor all of your existing Facebook privacy settings, nothing is shared automatically, you only see what your friends give you permission to see (though their Facebook settings) so you only share what you want to share.”
Unfortunately, Microsoft hasn’t shared data in regards to how many Bing users have actually gone and connected their Facebook account to Bing. Either Microsoft is extremely confident that its social search strategy will pay off, or users are actually taking advantage and the company is finding it worth the engineering resources to keep adding more and more Facebook features to Bing. Time will tell.
Top Image credit: Leszek Nowak
Here is the original post: Microsoft’s Bing adds Facebook commenting and Like actions to its social sidebar
Built as a tool for chronicling your life, Days is a free, just-launched iPhone app with a mission to become your visual diary. The app fits somewhere in-between Instagram’s role as a spontaneous sharing utility and Backspaces‘ niche as a storytelling network. The idea is that, in many ways, our lives are more interesting than we think, and there should be a way to tell our daily stories with as little friction (and filters) as possible.
Just to be clear, Days isn’t a blogging platform — at least, not in the traditional sense. On Days, you use your camera to share what you’re doing, like walking to work, going out for drinks and meeting up with friends. You’re supposed to add photos throughout the day as you experience your life, but here’s the catch: you only get one post a day.
This limitation makes sense, but it certainly threw me off at first. Still, it’s one of the reasons why Days doesn’t fall into the dreaded “photo sharing service” category. A day, says Fisher, is one of the most natural units of time, and by constraining your posts, your result is a nicely packaged story recorded from 5AM to 5AM the following day. Plus, the capturing process is much less stressful when you’re not uploading constantly.
After you’ve gone through the signup process, you’ll quickly see the app’s well-designed, but unusual interface. You’ll be dropped into the “everybody” feed, which highlights past days from you and your friends. To the top-right you’ll see a tab which says “my days,” followed by a gear settings icon.
Down below from left to right, there’s the notifications tab, a drafts tab and a camera button. The camera’s there for you to jump right in and post a photo.
Since there’s no photo importing, you’ll have to try using this app as your default camera (your photos will save to your camera roll). That’s one of the toughest habits Days will have to try to break — the impulse to open your phone’s built-in camera — but it also ensures that users stay tightly within the app’s time constraints.
Days packs a number of interesting features, like if you’re taking a series of photos within a ten second time span, the app will turn those photos into an animated Gif (shown above).
For social features, you can leave comments on your friend’s days, including badges which have randomly generated text attached to them. Clicking, for example, the “rock on” button (shown below) may pre-populate your comment field with “Awesome” or “Rad.”
Fisher claims that the top-right icon in the image above, which auto-generates comments like “fail,” is chocolate ice cream, because he hates chocolate ice cream. We’re not so sure.
The app itself is nicely designed, but I also have my gripes: navigating back from viewing comments and changing settings requires me to tap a bold “X” instead of a back button, making me constantly feel like I’m about to delete something.
Additionally, I became so focused on posting my day that I found myself not spending enough time viewing my friend’s days. That may change if and when more of my friends join the app now that it’s live.
Asking users to take tons of pictures a day is an intense request, especially when most of them are likely already glued to services like Instagram. After a brief debate with Fisher on the matter, however, I looked up the total number of pictures i’ve taken with my phone, versus the number I’ve uploaded to Instagram. Only 440 pics out of 2,835 had been uploaded — less than 16 percent.
“What’s going to happen to those photos?,” asked Fisher. The obvious answer is “that’s where Days comes in.”
➤ Days (free, iPhone-only)
The upgraded version, called Plus Friend Home, is only available in Korea at the moment but points to a larger shift towards e-commerce and business-targeted user engagement features.
Plus Friend was launched in October 2011 as a way of helping users follow and interact with their favorite brands, celebrities and media companies. It’s yet to take off on an international level though; K-Pop acts such as Super Junior, Exo-K and Wonder Girls dominate Kakao Talk’s immediate search results.
Selecting any of these accounts will add the company, group or individual to your contact list with a ‘P’ symbol to next to it. Updates appear in a familiar chat dialog format, normally offering exclusive video snippets, discount coupons and trivial status updates.
Kakao now has over 400 partners operating through the Plus Friend service. Kakao Talk users seem to be taking to it too, with more than 26 million active users following 100 million Plus Friend accounts.
It’s unclear at this point whether the Plus Friend service is free for brands to sign-up to, or if there’s some form or subscription or one-off payment to gain access. Regardless, Kakao has seen an opportunity to expand the service further, increasing user engagement and its value as a marketing tool.
The most notable addition is brand homepages. Now Kakao Talk already offers a homepage, of sorts, within the international version of the app. Tapping on the brand name reveals two options, with the latter prescribed as “Visit Home”. Choosing this option brings up a feed similar to Twitter, but presumably Kakao has replaced or revamped this for Plus Friend Home.
A company spokesperson told TNW that every brand will have its own mobile homepage accesible “directly within the chat room.” It’s designed to be easy to create, edit and manage; after all, brands already have an avalanche of social networks to keep on top of. Users can find it with a single swipe, or by typing the URL into their browser.
“Brands can also link various websites, SNS channels, blogs and other external services to the page,” the spokesperson added. “By supporting a tight social relationship between the brand and the users while providing open links that enables free interaction within and outside the page, the brand home is expected to develop into a mobile hub channel for the brands.”
The homepage will be divided into a few different sections, including ‘mini profile’, ‘chatting room’ and ‘brand home’, which are also customizable using a newly introduced ‘Home Editor’ toolset. Kakao says it will also be introducing intelligent ‘bots’ to the Plus Friend chat rooms as part of the update. It will enable brands to set store finder instructions or a FAQ system so that whenever users ask a question, they’ll receive a response in natural human language.
It’s worth keeping an eye on Kakao Talk. With more than 90 million registered users worldwide and a recently unveiled partnership with note-taking app Evernote, the firm is commanding a growing interface both in its domestic market and abroad.
Image Credit: PARK JI-HWAN/AFP/Getty Images
Brewster launched late last year with a simple goal: Replace your tired old A-to-Z contact list with an address book that actually understands your relationships and, in turn, helps you become a better friend. For some of us, this feels like a hopeless pursuit. We’re overworked, stressed, have terrible breath, and just can’t seem to find enough hours in the day to better manage our personal relationships. It starts in your twenties and gets worse from there.
Sure, Brewster’s mission sounds similar to the one that Plaxo launched with back in 2002, and there are enough smart, mobile address books out there to make your head spin. They’re all trying to simplify contact management, but there isn’t anything out there that’s based on the understanding of the people in your life and how those relationships fit together, which is how founder Steve Greenwood tells us he thinks that the team can actually transform the address book.
Today, Brewster launched its web application to let users enjoy a newly designed, fast Brewster experience on your phone, tablet or laptop. The app also introduces easier and faster contact sharing so that you no longer have to open your address book only to realize you’re missing a close friend’s number or have forgotten to update their work email.
See the original post here: Brewster Brings Its Personalized, Mobile Address Book To The Web With Easy Contact Sharing
My calendar is mostly filled with Facebook birthdays, these days, and at best those notifications will prompt me to post on someone’s wall once a year. Gftr, a project from TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2013′s Hackathon, wants to use those birthdays to power more meaningful gift-giving, thanks to crowdsourcing and the one day every year when people have the most goodwill directed towards them.
Other companies have created crowdsourced gifting platforms in the past, but Gftr wants to make it possible to not just split a hugely expensive thing equally between a group of friends, but also to pull in contributions of varying amounts from your entire social graph. Currently, Gftr works with Facebook, meaning that maybe your friend from grade school who you haven’t seen in 15 years throws in $2, but your significant other offers up $300, all with the goal of getting you a brand new DSLR, for instance.
The team behind Gftr includes Anthony Guidarelli, Vishal Gupta, Andrew Emerson, Aaron Lu, Cyrus Rahman, and Pat McCreary, and is composed of designers and hackers from Avenue B Labs, a New York-based group of entrepreneurs. They say they plan to actually build Gftr into a full product, and will work on extending it across other social media platforms, including Twitter.
There’s also a charitable angle, as Gftr says they could build in a function where any contributions to a group gift above the total required value would go towards a charity of the gift-giver or gift-receiver’s choosing. This could help people with huge social media followings not only get gifts they actually need, but also use their considerable influence to do some good at the same time.
Getting gifts is nice, but the power for any one person to get somebody something they genuinely need and will enjoy is greatly diminished compared to a group pooling their resources. No other startup in this space has really become a runaway success yet, so it isn’t clear that people are all that interested in coming together to get someone something awesome, but the way Gftr tries to make the investment required negligible could help it succeed where others have failed.