BuzzFeed wants to conquer more markets with its viral list posts (among other content), up till now only available entirely in English. Free language learning platform Duolingo recently announced it is using crowdsourcing to solve the problem of adding more languages to its service.
Combine the two of them together, and a win-win solution is born: BuzzFeed gets to export its content in more languages to convert more readers to its list posts (cute cat alert!), while Duolingo will get to monetize its services and language learners will be able to see popular BuzzFeed stories in their lessons.
This arrangement is set to kick in soon, the Wall Street Journal reports, as BuzzFeed will launch versions in French, Spanish and Brazilian Portugese this month. The stories on these sites will be BuzzFeed posts that appeared in English at first, but which have been translated by Duolingo’s services. In theory, the crowdsourcing method at Duolingo will ensure that a BuzzFeed post gets translated in hours — and apparently tests say this is doable.
Duolingo previously said its move to crowdsource languages “will enable the inclusion of every language in the world, including fictional languages such as Dothraki and Elvish” — though whether anyone actually knows these languages is another matter entirely. This means that BuzzFeed will likely be able to spread to a whole lot of other markets — fast and furious.
One of the co-founders of Duolingo is Luis von Ahn, who is far from a newcomer when it comes to leveraging the power of the crowd, being one of the creators of the CAPTCHA method of verification. He tells WSJ that BuzzFeed is only the first of many clients paying Duolingo for its translation services, and predicts that the app could earn ”tens of millions of dollars” a year from its translations.
Headline image via Shutterstock
Here is the original post: BuzzFeed is outsourcing its translation work to Duolingo as it seeks to conquer more markets
Claudio Gandelman is the CEO and founder of Teckler. His career began in 1992 working in the financial market at Banco Nacional in Brazil. Since then, he has served as the CEO Match.com Latin America, founder of Keero.com, and has held strategic positions in companies in South America.
Roughly 40,000 years ago, our ancestors made the earliest known cave painting in northern Spain. Their dots and stenciled handprints eventually gave way to fancier forms of communication like writing, which arose in ancient Mesopotamia around 3,200 BC. Paper, first invented by the Chinese in 105 AD, combined with writing, became the king of content storage for roughly 1,900 years. Today, digital repositories of knowledge replace the physical.
But here is irony: That 40,000 year old cave painting in Spain has survived and probably will survive for much longer than anything you write on Facebook, Twitter, and the majority of other social media sites. As far as technology has come, it may in fact be worse at preserving content in a way that matters.
Yes, the Library of Congress is archiving all Twitter feeds and a few select Facebook pages, and yes, your writings are going onto servers.
However, if you have written or created any content of an enduring nature, will it still be talked about years from now?
If today you wrote something so important that it will matter in twenty years as much as it mattered today, if you put your heart and mind into the written word … but you put it on Facebook or Twitter, who is going to find it days, weeks, months, years, decades or centuries later, when it does still matter?
Probably no one, and here’s why.
Historically, written works of importance were hand-copied by scribes, monks, and intellectuals who were willing to commit countless hours of grunt work to insure that future generations could benefit from that wisdom and knowledge. After the invention of printing in China in the eleventh century, and later Germany in the fifteenth century, suddenly content could be preserved more effectively because the same devotees could create thousands of copies of a single work in the time it took to hand-copy one manuscript.
We have a similar mechanism on Facebook and Twitter. When you post something of interest, and people share or retweet it, they essentially reprint this information.
But unlike books, which are methodically categorized and stored within libraries, Facebook posts and tweets will not be curated and probably cannot be curate to that extent. Unless your Facebook page is one of the lucky few chosen for the Library of Congress, whatever you post on Facebook is going to be virtually impossible to recall or retrieve years down the road. Whatever you write in 140 characters is probably not going to be worth finding anyway, unless of course you’re writing haikus.
In other words, the immense efforts you make to document your life, share your opinions, stand up for your values, or create written art ultimately have no more permanence than the wave a pebble makes upon dropping into the river.
That does not mean that your Facebook post and Tweets don’t count. We know from the Syrian civil war, Occupy Wall Street, and the Egyptian revolution that a tweet or Facebook post can change the world. Though if we have healthy egos, we shouldn’t feel compelled to preserve our posts and tweets simply because they are ours. Like a dictator who commissions his own statue, we do not need to erect little digital statues of ourselves.
However, like the monks, scribes, and intellectuals of old, we do have a responsibility to pass on our collective memory, knowledge, stories, and wisdom. And each time we create great content and place it somewhere like Facebook, we fail in that responsibility.
My aim is not to bash Facebook or Twitter – they are incredible tools for social connectivity and the distribution of news. My aim is to make it clear that they are not the proper place for meaningful content. We owe the richness of our literature, art, science, philosophy, and history to people who created content before us and transmitted it to others in long lasting forms. We owe future generations that richness too.
As much as this is a warning about the impermanence of most social media content, this is also a call to remember that just because digital content can be deleted, copied, pasted, emailed, or linked to, that does not make it inherently less valuable than the content that appears in a 1,900-year-old manuscript or 40,000 year old cave painting.
The danger of purely putting content on Facebook and Twitter is that we come to devalue our own word. We post in comfort because we know our words may – or may not – pop up on a newsfeed before they quickly flow downstream to a vast and infinite digital ocean.
Perhaps content goes to die on Facebook and Twitter. However, I believe that content really goes to die wherever we write it or create it under the assumption that it is going to disappear on a server and ultimately not matter.
When the monk, scribe or intellectual sat down to pen something, they probably did so in hopes that someone would read it, find it worthwhile, and add it to the collective stream of knowledge.
So next time you write something, write like it matters. Keep your own blog, write a guest post for a blog that has steady readership, self-publish an e-book, or put your thoughts in social media sites that actually make content permanent and searchable rather than ephemeral. Publish somewhere your words can matter today and hopefully matter 40,000 years from now.
Read more from the original source: Your social media obsession won’t make an enduring mark on the world
After a public face plant regarding the release of its operating system update to developers, Microsoft today announced that applications built for Windows 8.1 will be approved no more than five days following their submission, once the new build of Windows becomes generally available.
That means that come October 18, when Windows 8.1 becomes downloadable by all, apps submitted to take advantage of its improvements won’t be tied up by a long line, harming developers who want to stay ahead of the curve.
It’s an interesting gambit. The Windows Store on Windows 8, as Microsoft will tell you, has more than 100,000 applications. The real number, though, is north of 115,000. Whatever the case, if even a decent slice of that app set were to submit an update at once, it would flood Microsoft’s approval staff.
Microsoft previously announced that developers would not be given access to the final build of Windows 8.1 before its general release. That was greeted with a giant raspberry from the coding cohort, and Microsoft later recanted its take and promised the code a month early.
However, even with that recantation, Windows 8.1 applications cannot be submitted before the general availability of the operating system. That’s why this matters: Microsoft is forcing developers to wait until 8.1 is fully baked and out in the wild before they can hit go on their apps. By promising that submitted apps, even given the restrictions in place, will be filed in short order, Microsoft is extending a tentative kiss to developers it recently razzled.
What this also means is that there will be all but zero Windows 8.1 applications available for download on the day that Windows 8.1 hits the masses. Here’s Microsoft on the matter (emphasis mine):
The RTM versions of tools, services, and platform are required for store submissions which will open up for new Windows 8.1 apps beginning at general availability on October 18.
So, no Windows 8.1 applications at launch, but likely a goodly number a few days after.
Top Image Credit: Dell Inc.
April 4, 1974
Microsoft, founded in 1975 by Bill Gates and Paul Allen, is a veteran software company, best known for its Microsoft Windows operating system and the Microsoft Office suite of productivity software. Starting in 1980 Microsoft formed a partnership with IBM allowing Microsoft to sell its software package with the computers IBM manufactured. Microsoft is widely used by professionals worldwide and largely dominates the American corporate market. Additionally, the company has ventured into hardware with consumer products such as the Zune and…
This week Amazon introduced Kindle MatchBook, “an innovative new program which enables you to offer your Kindle book at a discount when readers purchase your print book,” to quote its email sent to authors. About time, too; but we expect a certain amount of innovation from Amazon. The truly astonishing thing happened on Thursday, when Oyster, a “Netflix for books,” launched — complete with the participation of HarperCollins.
You may not appreciate how epochal this is. HarperCollins is one of the “Big Five” publishers, all of whom until now have fought subscription model tooth and nail. Granted, they’re only making a subset of their titles available, mostly backlist as far as I can tell; but it’s the principle of the thing that matters, especially since Oyster is reportedly “in negotations” with all the other major publishers. Barring some kind of major reversal, this is the first step down a road that will end some years hence with the majority of all books ever written made available via subscription services. That’s a big deal for everyone.
And so, just as you’ve (presumably) already discarded almost all of your DVDs and CDs, or at least moved them into some kind of musty storage, it will soon be time to jettison the vast majority of your books, since they’ll all be fully available electronically.
It pains me to say this. I grew up in a home with an overstuffed bookcase in every room, and I spent six years of my life as a full-time novelist (published by HarperCollins, in fact.) So let me be the first to say: books aren’t like CDs or DVDs. Books are special. Books are different.
…Well, some of them are.
But let’s face it; most books are really not that special, and not that different. I see both sides of that; I’ve written one or two novels which people genuinely seemed to love and want physical copies of, but also a clutch of crime/thriller novels which were well-received, and a lot of fun to write and (hopefully) read, but probably didn’t much change the course of many lives.
In the same vein, I want to own and keep physical copies of maybe a hundred books — the ones I love, the ones that matter to me, the ones I refer to regularly — but I’ve read thousands, and I’m quite content to leave most of them resident in the electronic ether. I’ll regret the loss of their tangible editions mostly because I enjoyed leaving them on public transit for others to find and read.
I confess to being somewhat disconcerted by the possibility of remote editing/erasing of books controlled by online services, as highlighted by Amazon’s sudden and arbitrary erasure of George Orwell novels from Kindles a few years ago; but, again, keep physical copies of those books which actually matter, and that becomes less of a problem. I’m also slightly worried that Oyster might pay authors as poorly as Spotify does musicians, but since, unlike Spotify, they’re competing with Amazon royalty rates of up to 70%, this seems unlikely.
The presumed growth in subscription-model book servides also means it becomes increasingly advantageous for authors to make their books available for free via a Creative Commons license. I’ve now done that for all of my books (except the Vertigo Comics graphic novel I scripted; they still control its rights.) I don’t know of anyone else other than Cory Doctorow who has CC-released their entire oeuvre, but I expect our number to grow, as authors realize that most readers will eventually wind up using some Oyster-like service, so we’ll receive royalties even though our books are also freely downloadable.
With luck we’re entering a world in which readers have access to any and every book for a flat fee; authors get paid depending on how much they’re actually read; publishers remain a vital but decreasingly visible part of the process; physical books are still available via online print-on-demand and niche physical stores; and zillions of CC-licensed books are freely available to readers in the poor world who can’t yet afford books or subscription services. Call me Pollyanna, but it seems to me that that’s a win for absolutely everyone.
Image credit: Vanity shelf, yours truly.
Read the original post: It’s Almost Time To Throw Out Your Books
Google’s well-known for getting behind efforts to transform the Web into a more immersive experience and this time around, it’s the National Park Foundation’s ‘March on Washington’.
However, it also goes one step further and allows you to record your own version of the same speech, as well as play back other people’s from around the world. Better still, it should work nicely on mobile, tablets or the desktop.
It’s not hard to find the ‘I have a dream’ speech on YouTube – or anywhere else on the Web for that matter – but by blending the recording with stunning monochromatic photos, this really is more than the sum of its parts.
Featured Image Credit – AFP/Getty Images
It might sound unlikely, but flip phones and sliders could once again adorn the shelves of our retailers’ finest emporiums in the near-ish future. Quite why is anyone’s guess.
Since the launch of the first iPhone and its runaway success, all the cool kids have wanted full touchscreen phones. And rightly so, in my opinion. Now it’s not just cool kids, it’s everyone.
While some people bemoan touchscreens for being unwieldy or are overcome by an innate resistance to new technology, the devices do in fact provide a far more fully-featured and user-friendly way of communicating. Providing the battery isn’t dead, which is one thing the traditional candybar will likely have over smartphones for a long time yet.
However, with full touchscreen smartphones now ubiquitous in most developed markets and accounting for most major handset makers product line ups (certainly at the top-end), there is now a sea of uniformly rectangular black screens looking up from any given retailer’s shelf space.
You could argue that “well, they’re all just screens, of course they mostly look alike” and you’d be wrong, or at least partially wrong. Just because they perform the same job and share similar characteristics doesn’t mean they have to look quite as similar as they do.
The problem, however, is that while smartphones are now everywhere, hardware innovation at the high-end is at an all time low, at least in terms of form factor. You’ve pretty much got one option: “One slab of glass please”.
Instead of differentiating on hardware (HTC has even shunned the megapixel wars with the cameras in the One and One Mini) or chassis, phone makers have become software houses in a bid to stand out from the deafening crowds. And then they just make ‘Mini’ and ‘Max’ versions of the same device in the hope of appealing to the masses. That’s ‘choice’ now.
Meanwhile, it seems, no one is happy. Software houses have been forced to become hardware makers too, just think of Microsoft’s Surface, or Google’s $12.5bn purchase of Motorola. Microsoft is actually a pretty good example, its Surface tablets haven’t been the runaway retail success the company would have hoped (certainly not the RT version) but it did its job in terms of forcing other manufacturers to up their game.
Whichever pool you play in, it’s clear you need to know how to do both nowadays.
It’s unsurprising then that devices have reached a middle ground, an innovation plateau in a design sense, that revolves around delivering predictable hardware with differentiating (often gimmicky) software features.
It seems like Samsung and BlackBerry might well have noticed this too.
Recent rumors suggest that Samsung could be working away on an Android powered flip phone, while CrackBerry reports that BlackBerry is working away on a portrait slider, perhaps even two. Indeed, BlackBerry never stopped, provided you’re happy to buy an older version of its operating system that isn’t inter-operable with the apps on the new one.
I applaud both companies efforts if the rumors are true. There hasn’t been enough visible concerted effort going towards different form factors (even if they are old, tried and tested ones) for far too long now, and if Apple had released its first iPhone as a traditional T9 candybar, we might not be where we are now today.
I don’t think either would do particularly well, though.
As noted, both form factors would be a return to old, albeit with a modern spin, and it’s not like there haven’t ever been slider or flip smartphones, they just didn’t do so well. Microsoft’s Kin must be the most notable flop, having survived just 48 days on the market before Redmond pulled the plug.
What the smartphone industry needs is something it doesn’t know it needs yet. It needs a mad-hat inventor with deep pockets, someone that believes in doing things a different way for experimentation’s sake, rather than purely for the bottom line. It needs someone like Elon Musk who can think of something that sounds so implausible, and then can make it happen.
To digress for a second, in a few days, Musk has promised to unveil a vision of mass transportation for the future that’s cheaper, safer, more reliable and much, much faster than anything we use today. He described it as “a cross between a Concorde and a railgun and an air hockey table”. It’s also called hyperloop, which is a pretty cool name.
Now that sounds pretty exciting, right? Now, what was the most exciting innovation you heard about in the smartphone world recently? Essentially, being able to activate Google Now without pressing a button on the Moto X? It doesn’t quite compare.
It doesn’t matter to me whether Musk succeeds or not (though he has a good track record of proving naysayers wrong), what matters is that he can think in that ‘big’ a way. It matters that the conversations take place and the considerations are, well, considered.
Perhaps the closest it does have is Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical, the company looking to deliver its same core Ubuntu platform across tablets, PCs, TVs and smartphones.
This month, Canonical is trying to crowdsource more than one million dollars per day to kickstart development of the first actual hardware that’ll run the platform. Right now, it just looks like any other phone, albeit one that runs Ubuntu for Android alongside plain old Android.
But what it could be is an opportunity for a device maker to strike out against the norm and deliver a phone that quite literally defies expectations. It doesn’t need to be bizarre or outrageous, I just want it to amaze me. How? I don’t know, but that’s really the point.
However, I don’t think that Samsung’s rumored flip phone or BlackBerry’s rumored slider will be the ones to deliver the next evolutionary step in mobile.
Featured Image Credit – Thinkstock