Bloglovin, a site where readers can follow blogs about fashion and other lifestyle topics, is getting what CEO and co-founder Mattias Swenson said is its first major redesign.
Until now, Swenson said Bloglovin has been adding new features in a more incremental way. This time it’s getting a new look and new social capabilities that the Bloglovin team hopes will please both the hardcore users and more casual visitors.
Bloglovin raised a Series A from New York City-based incubator betaworks and others last summer, and at the time, Swenson emphasized the devotion of the Bloglovin community. For example, he said that the average Bloglovin user follows 37 blogs. He told me yesterday, however, that the team has become aware of a more casual audience, one that doesn’t follow any particular blog or author, but instead is looking for the latest content on topics that interest them.
To improve the experience for those users, Bloglovin has redesigned the page featuring “popular” posts on a given subject. Looking at the old and new pages, I wouldn’t say that it’s a dramatic change, but it allows Bloglovin to pack more stories onto the page without making things feel crowded — I’d say it looks more magazine-y. (It will probably remind some people of Pinterest, and while I think that description gets a little overused nowadays, Swenson doesn’t back away from the comparison.)
Each post on those redesigned pages also displays how many Bloglovin users have “liked” it. Visitors can expand that number into a full list of users. For bloggers, that can provide a much better sense of who likes their content, and for readers, it’s an opportunity to identify users with similar tastes, who they can then follow to find more interesting content: “So we’re turning our users into curators.”
Swenson also compared Bloglovin to Tumblr, where many users don’t produce original content but simply re-post photos that were taken and shared by others. That kind of sharing becomes a way to “express yourself,” he said, and “Bloglovin is going to be the ultimate platform for doing that,” in part because users aren’t limited to following publications on a specific platform (like they are on Tumblr).
“In the beginning, some of our investors were skeptics [about the redesign], but then they showed it to their wives and daughters, and they said, ‘Yeah, let’s do this tomorrow,” he said. I asked why they were skeptical, and he replied, “I think it was more in connection with Google Reader shutting down. … But they realized now is the right time to do these big changes.”
Swenson added that after Google Reader’s demise, the other RSS reading apps are going to be stuck in a “feature war” as they go after the tech-centric audience, whereas Bloglovin could eventually encompass everything and everyone else. For one thing, even though Bloglovin allows users to follow the RSS feeds of their favorite blogs, it doesn’t really market itself as an RSS reader. And the increased emphasis on “discovering the best content” should push the site further in this direction, Swenson said.
Ultimately, he predicted that Bloglovin’s audience, which has grown to 4.7 million monthly active users, will consist of 10 percent “heavy-duty users” and 90 percent visitors “who just have interests that they’re passionate about, like fashion, and they just want to know what’s popular.”
Barnes & Noble has updated its NOOK for iOS app today with over 8,000 comics and graphic novels, available through the NOOK store, as well as a new ‘Zoom View’ feature to help readers hone in on specific the panels and follow creative page layouts.
Users can download a copy of the DC Comics 2013 Superman Sampler, which include excerpts from Superman: Last Son of Krypton, Superman: For Tomorrow, Superman: Earth One, and Justice League Volume 1: Origin, for free as part of the app update.
All of the top comic and graphic novel publishers will be available through the new iOS app, including superhero giants DC Entertainment and Marvel, as well as IDW and Dark Horse.
Barnes & Noble says it will be updating the store on a monthly basis with new titles, which can also be downloaded through its NOOK HD and NOOK HD+ tablets, as well as on Android and Windows 8 through the respective apps.
The iPad is a popular device for buying and reading digital copies of popular comics and graphic novels. The difference in size means that app developers have had to be creative with how they display individual panels on a tablet; readers want to be able to zoom-in on some of the detail, but also see the entire page with a single glance when needed. For artists that pull artwork across a double-page spread, this is particularly important.
The new Nook for iOS app also includes animated page turns, which should add to the experience and immersion associated with reading a good book. The ‘Zoom View’ feature has also been adapted for other book types that feature illustrations, such as textbooks and children’s novels, so that readers can enlarge specific drawing at anytime.
Barnes & Noble has also given its Nook Newsstand section, which organizes periodicals in customers’ libraries, a bit of a spring clean so that particular titles are easier to find.
The NOOK Store is yet to really take off on mobile platforms outside of its own dedicated tablets. Part of the problem is that Apple’s iBooks and Newsstand apps are already pretty robust on iOS, and come pre-installed with every iPhone and iPad.
Likewise, Google has made great strides to improve the storefront experience in the Play Store, giving users fewer reasons to check out third-party alternatives such as the Amazon Appstore or NOOK for Android app.
Comics is a small, but welcome addition to the NOOK Store on iOS. It’s unlikely to be enough to sway users from dedicated comic apps such as Comixology, but at this point every little helps.
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Image Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images
Read the original here: Barnes & Noble adds Zoom View tool and over 8,000 graphic novels to its NOOK for iOS app
Microsoft’s Azure Infrastructure as a Service and Platform as a Service cloud computing tool today turned on support for Hadoop. Or, in Microsoft-speak, HDInsight is now a go, enabling “you to easily deploy and manage Hadoop Clusters.”
That warming sensation you are feeling is natural.
As ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley noted in a post on the matter, “Microsoft has made three private previews of the HDInsight Service on Azure available to select testers.” Today’s release is the very first publicly available Hadoop-On-Azure experience, however.
TNW has written about the coming inclusion of Hadoop on Azure, so anticipated has it been. Its boss, Satya Nadella, explained to TNW that while progress on Hadoop is perhaps nascent, it has promise:
Not all of Microsoft’s needed work on Azure is inside-facing, however, as its efforts on Hadoop have shown. “What I preach inside my team is, look, every billion dollar starts first with being a million dollars.”
Also out today from the Azure team is support for Windows Phone 7.5, mobile HTML5 clients, Mecurial, PhoneGap, and Dropbox integration. Dropbox, the massively popular file sharing service is a natural fit for Azure; it has your stuff, and Azure will calculate on it for you. For a technical dive on the new capabilities, head here.
While all the above features are now live, Microsoft notes that “some of the services are still in preview.”
Azure competes with Amazon’s AWS suite of service, and Rackspace’s cloud offerings as well. It’s a crowded, yet growing space. For more on Azure and how it fits into Microsoft’s ‘devices and service’ paradigm, head here.
Top Image Credit: Robert Scoble
Bootstrap, the highly popular front-end framework originally built at Twitter by @mdo and @fat, is quickly approaching its next major release. As of today, the release candidate preview site for Bootstrap 3 is now up, revealing an early look at what to expect.
We’ve had a basic summary of what to expect for Bootstrap 3 since December. In short, the creators shared that the framework will ”drop legacy code, improve responsive CSS, and centralize community efforts.”
Much more has changed, however, namely that Bootstrap 3 is now “mobile first.” According to the release candidate site, the upcoming launch has been rewritten “to be mobile friendly from the start. Instead of adding on optional mobile styles, they’re baked right into the core…Mobile first styles can be found throughout the entire library instead of in separate files.”
This growing emphasis on mobile devices is far from surprising (other popular Web frameworks have already taken note), but is still immensely important for the future of the Web, and is thus worth keeping an eye on.
You may have already noticed on the release candidate site that Bootstrap has reverted to a flat design — but fear not, gradient lovers; it hasn’t. Hacker News user benoitg discovered a statement from mdo: “gradients and other embellishments have temporarily been removed while I focus on other things. It has nothing to do with skeuomorphism or anything like that.”
For fun, be sure to also check out this gallery of impressive sites built on Bootstrap.
Here is the original post: Here’s an early look at Bootstrap 3, rewritten to be ‘mobile first’
Bill Gates is currently hosting an AMA session on Reddit. An AMA, short for ‘Ask Me Anything,’ is an informal text-based interview with the social website’s userbase. As Reddit’s size has grown, so too has the level of celebrity of individual that can be attracted to spend time on the site. Famously President Obama took the time to answer a handful of questions during his last campaign.
In a new turn, Bill put together a short, animated video clip answering three popular questions. Given his immense wealth, it’s not a surprise that two involved money: how much do you have in your wallet, and can I have $1 million?
Enjoy the clip, and if Bill posts anything eye-popping in his AMA session, we’ll bring you the highlights.
Go here to read the rest: Bill Gates takes to Reddit for an AMA: Only has $100 in his wallet, will not give you $1 million