Verious, the mobile component marketplace which launched out of TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2011, is today debuting a new service which it calls a “code recommendation engine” for developers. The service aggregates the code and content from 10,000-plus sources, including around 3 million dev and design resources. This means that the engine scours a much larger database than the 2,000 mobile app components Verious.com previously offered.
“Last fall, as we were refining our product roadmap, we spoke to a number of developers who told us that they were constantly searching for content to help accelerate their programming efforts – beyond pre-built components,” explains Verious founder and CEO Anil Pereira. He says that sometimes the content they were looking for was more for planning purposes, while other times it was to serve a more immediate need.
“These activities spanned mobile, web and all other platforms, and what we found in every case is that developers started by searching and then ended up with fourteen browser windows open with content from various sites to determine what was the best path forward to solve their immediate coding challenge,” Pereira says.
Pre-built mobile app components, like those that Verious today offers, were only one part of the equation, so developers would turn to Google search instead. Pereira says the company realized they could help fill this need, by bringing all programming content into one search service.
In fact, Google once served this very same vertical with its Code Search Engine, but announced back in 2011 that it would shut that service down. However, code.google.com still lives today, though others have reported encountering 404′s at times. Whatever Google’s intentions, it doesn’t sound like it will actively develop Code Search going forward. This has led developers to turn to several alternatives, many of which are listed here, and some which offer larger databases than what Verious does today. However, many of those services are focused on narrower verticals – like open source code, for example.
To build its new engine, Verious used APIs from sources like YouTube, Scribd, GitHub, Slideshare, Stack Overflow, and others, while also going after the long-tail of development and design-related content from blogs, online tutorials, and other niche programming sites.
The challenge in building such a resource wasn’t only the size of this database (as detailed above), but the other efforts that had to be made in order to scrub and normalize the search results, index listings, assign tags to content, and make the system capable of fetching new content from feed sources daily, while also being able to add new sources on a regular basis.
Because of the value the team saw in this type of research tool, Verious also made a key decision about the company, too: it decided to move beyond being a “mobile only” service, and instead attempt to include every possible programming language, platform and framework. Pereira says Verious now has over 170 of these.
The new product launched into private beta this December, allowing users to save items found in search results to their collection on Verious. These online collections can either be kept private, or shared with others on a developer’s team. Other content, such as personal links and bookmarks, can be saved to these collections, too.
The final piece was building the recommendation engine. This proprietary technology looks at several factors, including popularity, usage, downloads, views, followers, favorites, and/or ratings, etc., as well as how “finished” a code snippet may be.
“The closer a piece of content is to helping a developer find code they can use, the higher a weighting it is given,” Pereira explains. “Since every item has attributes that have it fall on a particular scale, we then translate each scale into a common scale and that is how we output ‘top 10′ recommendations for each query.”
Something of a by-product of all this work is another feature that works like an “About.me” page for developers. Because Verious had been pulling in blog and website feeds for the search engine, they were able to create developer profiles along the way, linking to all of a developer’s content and code-related activities on places like GitHub, YouTube, StackOverflow and more. Of the 200,000 active developers Verious has spotted, it has managed to manually create over 1,000 of these profiles to date, and is now automating the process for the rest.
The updated version of Verious.com, which has now been revamped to showcase its new focus, is live now for everyone.
To make up for pesky competition from the Internet, the owner of an Australian retail store is charging patrons $5 for “just looking”, in order to offset losses from shoppers who browse and then buy online. “If you’re going to be asking bucketloads of questions, you’ve got to pay for the information,” said Celiac Supplies owner, Georgina, to the Brisbane Times, who asked that her last name not be published, after her store’s policy inadvertently went viral and led to Internet infamy.
On her window, she posted the following notice:
“As of the first of February, this store will be charging people a $5 fee per person for “just looking.”
The $5 fee will be deducted when goods are purchased.
Why has this come about?
There has been high volume of people who use this store as a reference and then purchase goods elsewhere. These people are unaware our prices are almost the same as the other stores plus we have products simply not available anywhere else.
This policy is line with many other clothing, shoe and electronic stores who are also facing the same issue.”
According to the Times, 4 people have coughed up the $5, meaning her policy has earned a solid $20, which I’m sure is more than enough money to make up for harassing most of the customers who walk through her door.
Watch the full interview between the shop owner and the Brisbane Times below, complete with awesome Australian accents.
NewsCred, a company that licenses content from publications like The New York Times and The Economist to use in brand marketing campaigns, announced that it has raised $15 million in new funding.
The company was founded by Shafqat Islam, Iraj Islam, and Asif Rahman in 2008, and it has shifted focus a number of times, from a credibility rating score for publishers, to a “Ning for newspapers,” to a content licensing service. Licensing is actually still a big piece of the NewsCred business, but instead of selling that content to other publications, the company sells it to brands like Pepsi, Toyota, and Johnson & Johnson for use in their advertising campaigns.
NewsCred says that it works with more than 2,500 news sources, using technology and an editorial team to choose the right articles, images, and videos, for each advertiser, then distributing them via the web, email, and social networks. For example, NewsCred helped power the Pepsi Now campaign, in which the Pepsi website was taken over by a pop culture-centric news board. NewsCred says that one month after the campaign launched, traffic to Pepsi.com increased 2.4x.
CEO Shafqat Islam said NewsCred’s content marketing business has exploded in the past year.
“At the beginning of 2012, there were zero brand customers who were buying content from us,” he said. “And if you fast forward to now, 60 percent of our customers big fortune 500 corporate or consumer brands.”
There’s been some discussion and controversy recently (sparked in large part by a controversial piece of sponsored content from the Church of Scientology in The Atlantic) about how the lines between online advertising and content can start to blur. Islam acknowledged that that’s a big concern for its publishing partners — for example, he said that signing The Times as “a feather in our cap”, but in order to make the deal work, there were a number of limitations on what content NewsCred could use and where it could use it.
Overall, Islam said that NewsCred operates in “less of a gray area” because it’s not pushing marketing campaigns or advertorials onto its publisher sites. Instead, it’s taking content that was being created anyway and making it available to advertisers.
The new round was led by Mayfield Fund, with participation by new investor Greycroft Partners
and existing investors FirstMark Capital and IA Ventures.
Continue reading here: NewsCred Raises $15M To Build Marketing Campaigns From High Quality Content
Sprout Social, a company that provides a suite of tools to help companies monitor their brands in conversation across the social web, has introduced a new tool this week called #BePresent. The service helps brands track their engagement rates online, rating them against others to provide a percentile grade.
The free service is a scan of Twitter activity. It’s a slice of the sort of thing that Sprout Social provides to its clients, but as the price is right, it could be a fun checkup for any brand, no matter how small.
#BePresent analyzes a Twitter account’s activity, tracking response times, industry average response times – for comparison – and the number of received @ messages that have been received, and returned. Here’s what a report looks like:
The catch to the deal is that you have to tell Sprout Social who you are, and give them an email address. #BePresent is obviously a way for Sprout to find new customers. That said, picking up some basic facts about your Twitter activity is likely worth the extra email or two that will find their way to your inbox.
There are broad overtone similarities with #BePresent and what the Simply Measured crew are up to. Both provide analytics of social data. Though Sprout’s toolset is different, both are working towards the same goal: making sense of the global conversation on social platforms.
Along with the launch of #BePresent, Sprout is rolling out a number of new social media management tools. If you are a Sprout customer, expect some new goodies.
Top Image Credit: veggiefrog
Here is the original post: Sprout Social launches #BePresent, a free tool to help brands track their social engagement
Twitter released the details of a new study about its “primary mobile users,” or those who engage with Twitter more on mobile devices and on the mobile web than on the desktop. The study, commissioned by Twitter from Kantar Media’s Compete, revealed that Twitter’s mobile-first users are more engaged than mobile users in more ways than one, skew younger, and tend to be more receptive to branded content than their desktop counterparts.
Primary mobile users are 57 percent less likely to log into Twitter on the desktop than the average Twitter user, but they check the service much more frequently than most; they’re around 86 percent more likely to be active on Twitter several times a day than the average user. They’re mostly coming in by way of smartphone apps, but a considerable 15 percent of those who are primarily mobile users access by tablet first and foremost.
Users who are mobile-first end up being younger than the average Twitter user, too, the study found. Users in the 18-34 range are 52 percent more likely to log in primarily via a mobile device than other age groups. They’re also more likely to check in with the service as a means of book-ending their day, being 157 percent more likely than average to open Twitter when waking up, and 129 percent more likely to do so when going to sleep for the night. They’re also 160 percent more likely to use Twitter at school or at work, 169 percent more likely to use the service while shopping, and three times as likely to use it when commuting or before or after seeing a movie.
Twitter members who do mobile more than other methods are also 57 percent more likely to create original tweets, 63 percent more likely to click links, 78 percent more likely to retweet and 85 percent more likely to favorite tweets. In general, they’re more willing to engage with the content of others and of brands, since users who are mostly mobile are 96 percent more likely to follow 11 or more brands, and 58 percent more likely ro recall seeing a Twitter ad, according to the data from Compete.
Here’s the uptake: Twitter is clearly looking at increasing its mobile advertising juice, and these numbers provide it with some great ammunition to help with that goal. They basically indicate that in sum, users who prefer to access Twitter mostly on mobile are the perfect demographic for targeted campaigns, since they’re more motivated than most to see and take note of content, to create their own content (user-generated content is a key component of Twitter’s value proposition for advertisers, after all), and just generally prone to having their eyes on tweets whenever they may be posted.