Social Bento: 30th May 2014

Google: Smart Drive Car:

This week Google unveiled their smart drive car, a project the company has been working on for a number of years and is finally becoming a reality. The car looks very similar to other cars such as the Fiat 500, but missing one important detail, the steering wheel! There’s also no accelerator or brakes, but there is a big stop button just in case. The lack of these features means that it has more sensors in strategic spots than regular cars.  With some (rather brave) testers, they said it felt like riding a ride at Disney. With a current speed of 25mph, Google are hoping for a 100mph speed once it’s passed safety tests to travel safely at that speed. Google are hoping to have these on the road within a couple of years, and they’re hoping the Google self driving car will be safer than human drivers.

Apple & Google’s Smart Home products:

It seems that Apple and Google are moving into the Internet of Things more rapidly than what we thought.  This week, it was revealed that Apple are in talks with smart home device manufacture’s to develop software that would turn Apple devices such as the iPhone into a remote for household appliances. In addition, Google is also said to be planning to get into home security. Google have apparently been in talks with Dropcam to kick start plans. Whilst there’s not much info out at the moment about either product, we are excited to hear more, as we love the idea of using our phones to check on our homes and power our appliances!

#PizzaOnATrain

Did you hear about this week’s #PizzaOnATrain? No? Okay let me fill you in, Geordie comedian Chris Ramsey was on a train journey and fancied some pizza. After sending out a tweet about whether it would be possible to get a pizza delivered to a train the previous night, Dominos replied to his tweets, and started to DM the funny guy to arrange a delivery the next evening. With Chris’s 292,000 followers waiting with baited breath, through a series of tweets and screenshots, it wasn’t long before #PizzaOnATrain was trending. With followers tweeting words of encouragement, Dominos even told Chris they would be throwing in some extra pizza for fellow passengers on the train! When the train stopped at Doncaster at 10:45pm, there was Chris’s pizza. Of course a selfie was taken, as well as Chris proudly showing off his tower of Dominos boxes. What started off as a joke was made a reality and a very clever thing for Dominos to jump on board with. After writing this though, all we want is some pizza. #PizzaInAnOffice?

Is Snapchat the new marketing tool for brands?

Snapchat is increasing in popularity, and not just with millennial’s but brands too. The ephemeral messaging site is adding brands to its user lists, and brands are seeing the platform as a perfect way to capture the youth audience. The story feature is popular for brands, to post out several stitched together pictures and messages to promote new products and campaigns. The stories then disappear in 24 hours, leaving users with an urgency to read the stories before they expire. Brands have also used the 10 second self-destruct feature to tease new products, to give users a sneak preview and get them excited. Successful brands on Snapchat are; Victoria Secrets, McDonalds and Taco Bell. Will you be adding Snapchat to your social media strategy?

Uber to replace drivers with self driving cars?

One of the most successful apps in recent times, is car/taxi service Uber. As well as Google unveiling their new smart drive car, Uber revealed at Code Conference this week, that in the future they will be replacing drivers with self driving cars in a bid to decrease costs. CEO Travis Kalanick was quoted saying, “The reason Uber could be expensive is because you’re not just paying for the car — you’re paying for the other dude in the car.” However this won’t be happening in the near future. Rumours have also circulated this week that Uber have announced a new deal with American phone network company AT&T which would see Uber’s app pre loaded onto 50 million Android phones. How would you feel about being picked up in a driverless car? We’re not too sure here in the office, but we wouldn’t be surprised if in a few years this is the norm!

 

Social Bento: 23rd May 2014

Google Celebrate Rubik’s Cube’s 40th Birthday

On Monday, we had to try not to procrastinate as Google gave us an almighty temptation by creating a digital Rubik’s Cube on their homepage. To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the first prototype of the coloured square puzzle, that always leaves us scratching our head. Google Doodle executed this perfectly, and we had to stop ourselves from spending all day playing with it.

Facebook to release their own Snapchat

So this week, we heard some news that Facebook are reportedly bringing out their own version of Snapchat. After trying and failing to acquire the picture messaging app, they are set to be developing their own version entitled Slingshot. Mark Zuckerberg is personally overseeing development of an “ephemeral messaging” app and it could be released as soon as this month! With Snapchat’s rising popularity it’s not surprising that Facebook want a piece of the action. They even recently removed their ‘poke’ app, which was a clone of Snapchat, coincidental no?

Put your Instagram snaps on your trainers

Later this summer, Adidas are going to make both Instagram and fashion lovers very happy, as they are releasing an app which allows you to put an instagram photo onto a pair of trainers. The Adidas Photo Print app, will use pictures and print them onto the ZX Flux Trainer. Adidas posted the launch on Instagram (of course) and said “ “Print your favourite photos straight on to one of 2014′s hottest silhouettes and make a statement on your sneakers like never before… the possibilities are endless.” No prices have been released yet, but for trainer lovers, this is a unique chance to get create your very own pair of trainers, that no one else will have. One thing though, we maybe wouldn’t recommend selfie trainers.

London named as the capital of selfies

Whilst we’re on the subject of selfies, this week it was announced in a new set of research, that London is the city where the most selfies are taken! It beat cities such as New York, who came in second place and third place went to Amsterdam. Tourist landmarks such as Big Ben, The London Eye and Buckingham Palace are the most tempting places for selfies to be taken. According to the report, 14% of all selfies taken are taken in London! Are you guilty of taking a selfie in London? We usually just stick to Southampton.

Facebook releases new Shazam like feature:

Facebook have been at it again, and have released another new feature for the platform. This week it’s all about a new Shazam like feature, which listens to what you are watching/listening to and automatically adds it to your status. You used to have add what you were up to yourself, but you don’t even have to type anymore. This new feature is in the new update for Facebook, and the official name is audio recognition. The feature brings up selections to what you’re watching/listening to within just five seconds. It is similar to other apps such as Shazam. Facebook have said that the app won’t hear background noise or conversations, and that sounds are only matched and never stored. Also the app will only listen when you’re writing a status, and not all the time you’re on Facebook! The only problem now is that we will have to make sure we are listening to cool music before posting a status. Or our secret cheesy music taste will be exposed!

The new whistle camera

Android users no longer have to worry about getting the perfect picture, as they can now take a picture using their mouth. Whistle Camera is a new app that allows users to take pictures by whistling! Features of the app include auto focus, the easing of holding you phone with one hand to take a picture and of course whistle detecting camera. The app which can also control both your front and rear facing camera. How do you feel about this new hands free camera? Will it be the new app to take the perfect selfie?

Save The Children Looking for a Vlogger:

Charity Save the Children has jumped on the YouTube bandwagon, by advertising for the face of a yearlong campaign, and they don’t just want anyone. They want a vlogger. They want someone who’s going to be able to host videos and think of exciting content for Save the Children to post out to a wider audience. The vlogger will get a yearlong contract, media training, and will travel with their role. The role is even paid too, with YouTube influencers becoming very successful for brands marketing strategies, it’s no wonder that Save the Children want to develop their YouTube channel further. Think you’re up for the challenge? You can apply here.

Google gets on that Instagram thing:

This week Google joined Instagram, their first post was the google doodle of the Rubik’s cube, and so far two posts later they have 44,000 followers. Their bio is slightly genius though “Google unfiltered-sometimes with filters.” Have you followed Google yet?

Twitter to acquire Soundcloud?

This week it was reported that Twitter may acquire Soundcloud, the audio sharing service. As described on Venture Beat, Soundcloud is YouTube but for audio. It has over 250 million users, and it’s been reported that Twitter could bring a lot to the table for Soundcloud. Especially with Twitter’s last attempt with a music app failed. Soundcloud could use Twitter’s contacts to secure contracts with big music labels. However if Twitter were to go ahead and acquire Soundcloud, it wouldn’t be cheap; the last valuation of Soundcloud was $700 million. Better dig deep in those pockets Twitter!

 

Headstream’s Social Bento : 4th April

Best of the April Fools:

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This week saw April 1st happen, which is of course known as April fool’s day. With a bevy of hoaxes being thrown around, we’ve picked the best ones from Tuesday. Tesco brought out ‘cudl’ a tablet connection that means that couples can snuggle up on the sofa even if one’s watching YouTube and the other is browsing Twitter. Virgin Active released pants that promise to tone your bum with a built-in pedometer, and of course Google Maps Pokémon feature. With many more to choose from, our timelines were full of April foolery, what was your favourite joke?

Storytelling through What’s App

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WhatsApp this week was turned into a story telling platform. A creepy ghost story called “Annie96 is typing” has been created though the medium of WhatsApp. Using the enter button, the story updates line by line, which makes  you feel like the story is live which makes it that even more creepy and nerve-wracking, and makes you wonder what’s coming next after pressing enter! The way that the story is written and the execution means that people are kept engaged and drawn to the story. Using the WhatsApp format is a new way of telling stories, it’s an innovative new way of writing fiction and we’re sure it’s another way that WhatsApp will be used and will maintain its popularity.
On a side note, WhatsApp also revealed this week that they had 20 billion messages sent and 44 billion messages received in just 24 hours! You go WhatsApp!

What happens every second online…

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This week a really interesting study by Fractl was released about what happens on the internet every second. With so much content being posted online, it has created its own phenomenon known as media convergence. The study shows just how far the internet has come and just how much content we post online every day, and the results really are mind-blowing. Did you know that 18,144 novels worth of content are created every day on WordPress? Or that over 1.3 million spam emails are sent every second? And selfies? UK users post 13.5 per second.. We’re not quite sure where that .5 comes in though! For more crazy facts, check out the study!

Spotify gets a makeover

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This week Spotify rolled out a new design.On Wednesday the new design for desktop player, web player and iphone app was released, the re design boasts a new colour scheme, fonts and icons. It has a more consistent feel across the different platforms. The main focus of the design is around content and discoverability. Spotify have made it easier for users to browse and manage their music collections, and have eradicated the faff of having to have albums on playlists to add them to your collection. So that’s the new spotify update, are you enjoying the new look?

Text and walk

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So we’ve all done it, the old walking and texting thing. It usually ends in walking into someone or a lamppost, which is never a good look. So apple are building a patent so you can avoid accidents whilst sending a text. So how does it work? Your phone background will show display images of what’s going on around you captured by the rear facing camera. The new transparent text patent looks to be part of the new update, but one thing we wonder, is do we have to hold the phone in front of our face to avoid those awkward bumping into people situations?

Line reaches 400 million users

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Japanese messaging app Line, has surpassed 400 million users! An app that isn’t that well-known here in the UK is growing rapidly across the rest of the world including, north America, Spain and Southeast Asia. The app offers free messaging and calls, as well as voice calls. Currently Japan has the highest amount of users with 50 million using Line daily. Line is trying to target the US and European market with an assault of tactics, and its popularity soared after WhatsApp downtime in February. With Line’s CEO saying their target for this year was 500 million users, it seems that Line do not have far to go.

Facebook still dominates the most time spent on apps 

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This week, new stats were released that Facebook still dominates in terms of time spent on iPhone and Android, however, the average US time of 2 hours 42 minutes per day spent on devices, meant that Facebook accounted for 17% of that time. This means that Facebook leads the way in terms of the most used app. The time spent is slightly down from last year which was 18% in 2013. ‘Flurry’ a research agency who carried out the stats, found that app usage was up from 24% to 28% which means that time is being spent on other online apps. This may be a reason why Facebook have recently bought WhatsApp, and Instagram, which are two apps that are growing in terms of user time and member growth.

Gmail’s snooze button

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Ever read an email and then thought ‘oh I’ll reply in the morning’. Then once the morning comes and another flurry of emails pushes it down into the depths of your inbox to never be uncovered again? Well now we can stop this happening, if Google’s new plans come into action. Google are reportedly trying out a new snooze feature on their Gmail accounts. You could press snooze on an email and then have it resurface in a few hours so you don’t forget about that all important reply. Google are also trying out other cool features including, more tabs for emails, and email pinning, where emails stay at the top of your inbox till you say so. Sounds like Google never want us to forget about replying to emails ever again.

Fun news: emoji

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This week’s fun social media news is that emoijis are now available to see on twitter’s desktop and web versions. Being the emoji fans that we are (or maybe just myself) we are excited that you can now see the crying laughing face or the salsa dancing lady on your computer. Phew, we didn’t know how people really felt before this.

Headstream’s Social Bento : 21st March 2014

Carlsberg happy hour with Instagram

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Beer Company Carlsberg brought a brand new meaning to the term ‘happy hour’ this week with their new Instagram campaign. Urging visitors in participating bars to post a picture to Instagram with the hash tag #HappyBeerTime , they‘d then get a Carlsberg or Tuborg beer for half price. The bars were fitted with a dongle which streamed the photos to a TV screen meaning that staff and participants were updated on new content in real time. Carlsberg said this campaign would benefit everyone, the punters as they get cheap beer and the bars because they would receive word of mouth buzz over Instagram. The campaign is going to be trialled in Denmark, but could extend to other countries such as the UK. When asked if they thought that the promotion was encouraging binge drinking, Carlsberg’s vice president of group digital, media and content said “We’re extending the time-frame people can drink beer [at a discounted price] so they are not under pressure to drink excessive amounts in a short period. When combined with the social media mechanic, ‘Happy Hour 2.0 is much more about promoting the time people are social and happy together versus drinking.” Well that’s us told.

Twitter make a faves list

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Do you follow hundreds of people on Twitter and miss out on those all important tweets from your favourite people? Fear no more, Twitter has introduced a new favourite list where you can tap a star next to a user and have them popped into a favourites list. You can even go that step closer to be a stalker by choosing to get alerts when they send out a tweet. Of course it’s all very similar to the list option that Twitter currently have, but we now have a little star. The feature is currently being tested on a small group of Android users, and when asked for a comment Twitter, kept their mouths closed, but we all know that Twitter likes to regularly test out new features on the down low. The sneaky scamps. Who will you be adding to your favourites list? It better be Headstream or we’re not friends anymore.

YouTube to make a kids friendly version?

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YouTube is rreportedly going to be making a kids friendly version for under 10’s. Free of adult themed videos and comments, the site is to eventually become a platform that parents can trust. The goal is for parents to be able to access a special app on their devices or TVs that just shows children friendly videos. Hopefully there will be content created just for children too. If this excites you, then maybe don’t get your hopes up just yet. The project isn’t anywhere near to being finished yet, but with internet users becoming younger, this could well be a platform that would be very popular with not only under 10’s but parents too.

The new anti- social app:

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Ever had that awkward situation where you’ve bumped into someone you know when you’re doing your weekly food shop, and then crept round the rest of the shop like a burglar so you don’t see them again? Or when -this one is for the girls, you pop out and you have no makeup on, and you’re wearing food stained clothes *not a pretty sight I tell you* you always bump into at least one person you know. Why is this? Well thanks to new anti social app Cloak, we can now avoid this happening.  The app pulls in location information from our friends social networks connecting with Foursquare and Instagram, and then provides you with a map that tells you where certain people are. You then flag the person you want to avoid and then the app will alert you when you are in close radius of that person. At the moment the app is just connected with Instagram and Foursquare but will be connecting with other location services in the future.  So if you want to avoid that certain someone make sure they are using those two networks, or you still run the risk of bumping into them whilst buying loo roll.

Twitter removing its mentions?

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This week the word on the street was that Twitter is once again making some more cheeky changes, by possibly getting rid of @ mentions on the android app. Twitter’s head of news Vivian Schiller recently told a media event that “hashtags and @ mentions are arcane” and hinted that they may be reworked to create a new streamlined look for twitter. This means that @ mentions may be scrapped in favour of a similar Facebook commenting system. It’s said that the change is happening due to new users being put off by the sites scaffolding conversations. How would you feel if Twitter went through with this change? We personally don’t know why Twitter would want to change this, how would this impact our timelines? Would we just be able to comment on other people’s tweets? Something we’d be interested to hear Twitter discuss further.

#Nomakeupselfie

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This week we saw a sudden influx of makeup free selfies pop up on our Facebook and Twitter timelines. This trend which was sparked off by author Laura Lippman showing support for actress Kim Novak who was criticised for her looks, has now transformed into an awareness campaign for Cancer Research. Although the campaign didn’t come directly from Cancer Research themselves, they sent out a tweet saying ,“We’re loving your #cancerawareness #nomakeupselfie pics! The campaign isn’t ours but every £ helps #beatcancersooner.” It’s been reported that the charity has seen a surge in donations and have even raised more than £1 million pounds through 800,000 text donations. Although it wasn’t an official campaign, the no makeup selfie has raised a great deal of money for Cancer Research and the website has had a huge surge of traffic, which to us means that a simple no makeup picture has raised a huge amount of awareness for a great cause.

Android Wear

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Wearables have started creeping up on us within recent years. But earlier this week Google showed us that they were really getting into wearables. Android Wear is a system specially designed for smart watches.  With LG reported to be the first brand to manufacture the watches, other brands such as HTC, Motorola and Samsung have also been working with the company to bring out versions as well. The wearable will have many key features including fitness being a main one. Adding  ‘real time speed, distance, and time information on your wrist for your run, cycle or walk,” say Google. Other features include Google Now, which brings you all the information you need at the right time, whether it’s the weather, directions or reminders; it’s all ready for when you need the information. The watch will also be connected to your android phone (if you have one obviously) so any notifications from apps that you have on there will come through on the watch too. There will also be voice command so you can do voice searches (make sure if you’re searching for something dodgy you do it in private though!) You can even get a song to play from your phone using your voice. You can say ‘OK Google’ to do things such as order a taxi, send a text or reserve a table in your favourite restaurant. Google hope that the first Android watches will be out later this year. Exciting times, we can’t wait to see these start to be rolled out as we love the idea of having the world on your wrist!

Google ChromeCast

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Google’s Chromecast Wi-Fi dongle is officially available to buy in the UK! The dongle which can stream music, videos and games through your TV went on sale on Wednesday.

Priced at £30, the dongle which is connected through the HDMI port, acts as a receiver for media such as videos and games, sent from Android smart phones and tablet apps, including Apple devices as well as computers via the Chrome browser. We love this little dongle, the hassle of connecting many wires or downloading apps just to watch YouTube or Netflix on your TV is now solved. Phew. Now where’s the popcorn?

The Lunchtime Watch

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This week’s lunchtime watch is one of the videos we all enjoyed this week in the office. Our resident Superman aka Creative Director Darren found this funny video of what it would be like to spend the day flying round like Superman. Wearing a GoPro we see him rescue ladies from burning buildings and chase bad guys. The only thing is now is that we really wish we could fly :(

Social Brands 100 case study: Kiss FM

What is it about cats? According to Kiss FM Web Editor Karen Campbell, pictures of cats along with other funny pictures, competitions and funny games and tasks requiring listener response are the most engaging forms of content for its social media community. Continue reading

News: Electronic Arts’ game title No. 1 in Social Brands 100 2013

Video game Battlefield has taken the number one spot in Social Brands 100 – the annual report of brands leading the way in social. The ranking is dominated by the Retail industry this year, making up 25% of the list overall, however Travel brands have made their mark, with four featuring in the top ten.

The research has found that brands are starting to make the most of social for their customer care with scores slightly higher for those metrics. Scores were on average lower for engagement metrics, suggesting more could be done to better connect with people and create long-term loyalty. Continue reading

From ASOS to Waitrose: Retail brands dominate Social Brands 100 shortlist

Retail brands make up a quarter of this year’s Social Brands 100 shortlist. Brands from sixteen industries appear on the list with Charity, Travel, FMCG and Publishing & Media the most represented after Retail – the same five industries that led the shortlist last year. Over 700 brands from 23 industries were included in Social Brands 100 this year, more than twice that of 2012. Continue reading