Speculation ran wild approaching Instagram’s mystery press event this morning in New York City. Mashable had a laundry list of potential features: robust chat functionality, captioning, self-destructing pictures à la Snapchat, and more.
Instagram’s previous feature update, the introduction of sponsored posts, left 150+ million monthly active users with lukewarm feelings at best. Many of us had high hopes that Instagram’s latest unveil would be something users were clamoring for.
What we hoped for wasn’t exactly what we got with the launch of Instagram Direct. Instagram users now have an inbox (viewable from the home screen) where we can send and receive photos and videos from individuals and groups of up to 15, essentially giving us more control over what we share and with whom we share it. Once a picture or video is shared, we can see who has viewed and liked it, and if someone we don’t follow sends us a picture or video, we must approve the request to view it.
One common theme heard across the Internet today is that Instagram is reinventing the wheel. How is this going to compete with iMessage, Whatsapp, or BBM, the last of which has seen surprising success with iPhone users? That’s not to say that reinventing the wheel is a bad thing. Why not introduce successful features from other social media platforms that are actually useful to the Instagram experience? Here are some features we’d love to see:
We follow a lot of folks on Instagram, and wading through every post can be a chore, even on a daily basis. And forget about remembering to check users we don’t follow! As any Twitter user would agree, lists could go a long way in helping us stay organized and engaged.
How often do we come across pictures we’d love to share with our own followers, but the thought of taking a screenshot, cropping, and posting stops us? Imagine regramming with the tap of a button.
The “Explore” tab is populated by Instagram’s own formula, but there often seems to be no rhyme or reason to the pictures and videos displayed. Giving users the option to favorite hashtags to help curate the explore content would make for a richer discovery experience.
Only time will tell how Instagram Direct will measure up against competitors, and how Instagram will respond. For now, what’s on your Instagram wishlist?
The cliché “taking a mental picture” may just go literal with the Neurocam, a prototype out of Japan. The project is in an experimental phase, and the camera system attempts to read the users emotions and then capture whatever’s in front of the lens causing that feeling. Think Google Glass sans commands.
The device is created by a professor out of the University of Keio and codeveloped with the Neurowear team. It takes an existing smartphone (the iPhone in this case) and turns it into a mind-reading machine that captures 5 second GIFS based on the brains interest level. The project site explains that user interest is quantified on a scale of 0 to 100, and the camera is triggered when interests reaches 60+.
The hardware incorporates “Neurosky’s Mind Wave Mobile and a new customized brainwave sensor with the newest BMD chip” along side the everyday smartphone to analyze the brainwaves before firing the camera into action. You may be doubtful right about now, so check out the video below for a visual:
If this piques your interest like it did mine, here is an article that explores this pretty amazing concept further:
Prototype Camera Uses Your Brainwaves To Snap Pics
Today’s Google Doodle pays tribute to computer scientist Grace Hopper. She was born in New York City, and donned the nickname ‘Amazing Grace.” Happy 107th Birthday Grace Hopper!
Grace Hopper was a remarkable woman. She was a rear Admiral in the United States Navy and was honored by a number of awards for her service to the country. Along with her impressive military resume, Grace was a force in the world of computer science and critical in developing the first compiler. A compiler takes source code and translates it into a simpler assembly language or machine code. She is recognized for the philosophy behind COBOL (COmmon Business-Oriented Language), a modern programming language that is independent from machine code and is still in use today (next time you use an ATM, say thanks Grace!)
Grace is credited with coining the term “debugging,” which is used when fixing a computer glitch. Oh, and there are more fun facts about Ms. Hopper where that came from, check out this list.
I’ll leave you with a few parting words from the wise Grace Hopper, “It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to get permission.”
As we gear up to usher in the new year, let’s check out the trends that shaped digital marketing during 2013. It’s no surprise that multi-platform engagement is rapidly growing — consumers now expect a consistent personal engagement with brands across all media. Überflip has created a visual of these details—have a look below! You’ll notice SEO is highlighted in the infographic — no, SEO is not dead. Great content is now is key to a site’s success, along with these 5 ways to drive traffic.
Fresh from the take two cool things and put them together in hopes of making one cooler thing department, Russian smartphone company Yota has announced that they’re getting their phone, the aptly named YotaPhone, in consumers’ hands.
YotaPhone bring brings a new and interesting concept to smartphones with its two-screen approach – calling the YotaPhone the first dual-screen, always-on smartphone. The device sports a main 720×1280 color LCD and a secondary 360×640 grayscale e-ink display. The always-on, e-ink display is what sets the YotaPhone apart from other Android devices – so much so, that Yota believes this is fundamental flaw in current smartphone designs. The culprit? The screen – it’s dark. It can’t provide the information you need unless you wake your phone; in the words of Yota, “You need to help your phone before your phone helps you.”
YotaPhone’s e-ink rear gives users access to information at a glance, and an ever-evolving list of use-cases, such as receiving social media updates, having an ever-present calendar, quick-glance access to SMS messages, and reading e-books, is already taking shape. For the customizers out there, the second screen can display a custom wallpaper, giving every YotaPhone the opportunity to be unique. It’s also much less battery-intensive than a traditional LCD, able to provide up to 50 hours of reading time using the included e-reader application.
Under the hood, YotaPhone’s tech specs aren’t mind-blowing, putting the YotaPhone behind the leading current smartphones. It comes Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, a whole two versions older than the latest Android 4.4 KitKat OS, and it’s running on a less-than-stellar dual core 1.7 GHz Krait CPU. At €499 ($678 US dollars), its price is higher than more powerful smartphones such as the Nexus 5 ($350 US dollars) and even the iPhone 5s ($649 US Dollars).
The YotaPhone is already available in Russia, Germany, Austria, France, and Spain; and it will be rolling out to many other countries within the next few months – with a focus on Russia, Europe, and the Middle East.
Check out YotaPhone’s official trailer below, or proceed to see the full launch event right here.
Amazon Prime Air. That is not the name of a new airline, well at least in the traditional sense, but of a new delivery service in the works to receive FAA approval. Amazon R&D lab has created package carrying drones that will fly Amazon goods up to 5 lbs., like something straight out of a sci-fi movie. These unmanned aerial vehicles have the potential to get packages to customers doorsteps in 30 minutes or less, depending on location. There has been some backlash from certain outlets, calling this nothing more than a marketing stunt, but given that drone delivery is already a thing, we’re pretty certain this will take off.
It’s amazing to see the developments already being made from cars that drive themselves to self-reconfiguring robots, and Prime Air will be a major step in the direction of an automated world. Imagine the day when a smart pantry recognizes when the coffee was low, proceeds to auto-order more from Amazon Prime, and Prime Air has it on your doorstep next to the morning paper when you wake up. Crisis adverted.
See the Amazon Prime Air drone in action below:
We hope that you recovered from the food-coma typically associated with the holiday last Thursday, enjoyed the time with loved ones, and perhaps snagged some great deals shopping over the weekend.
Every year Punchkick Interactive has a tradition of bringing the families of our team together for an Urban Family Thanksgiving. This year we set up a photo wall and recorded some of the fun. It’s a great time of year to celebrate family, friends, and coworkers!
Finnish smartphone company Jolla Oy is releasing its first smartphone, the aptly named Jolla, today. What’s so special about a new phone, you ask? Well, the Jolla is the first phone to ship with Sailfish OS, a new mobile operating system designed by Jolla Oy.
Here Comes a New Challenger!
Sailfish OS is a fork of MeeGo, a Linux-based mobile operating system developed by Nokia and The Linux Foundation, but later canned in favor of Tizen and, our new friend, Sailfish OS. Taking Finnish market share away from Android, iOS, and Windows Phone won’t be easy for Sailfish OS, as the aforementioned operating systems hold roughly 95% of the market in Finland.
All hope is not lost for the Jolla and Sailfish OS, as the team behind Jolla Oy includes many former members of Nokia, some of who had a hand in creating the award-winning Nokia N9. The N9 team’s influence can immediately be seen at both the hardware and software level with the Jolla’s modern, minimalist design.
The Jolla also has a trick up its sleeve, as its Linux based OS lets it run Android apps alongside its native Sailfish OS apps. While this is a strong selling point for Sailfish OS platform, it begs the question: Does Jolla Oy believe in its own OS? BlackBerry is trying a similar tactic and, judging by BlackBerry’s market share, the results have been underwhelming.
The phone will retail at 399€, sports a 4.5″ screen, and is comparable with mid to high end modern smartphones. Check out the teaser below to see it in action.
Google Maps is at it again — expanding beyond the traditional directional guide. The newest update has taken street view to a different level, and very much off the street. Google’s Maps Engine now is an interactive map that includes major transit stations, airports, and points-of-interest. Don’t let a door stop you though, the “street views” will take you inside these particular locations.
These views might be used familiarize yourself with the train stations or airports when planning a trip to a foreign country, or when you want wander around a museum hundreds of miles away without the travel fees.
Hello, Porsche Museum…all the way over there in Germany:
Virtual journeys aren’t new to the Google maps team, in August Street View Treks took e-travelers on adventures to some of the most gorgeous vistas across the 7 continents. We can’t wait to see where Google takes us next!
Punchkick threw its annual Urban Thanksgiving this weekend, and once again it was a success. Punchkickers and their loved ones mixed and mingled before a night of delicious food, hilarious games, and karaoke (where some hidden talents were unveiled.)
We have a lot to be thankful for in 2013, and are looking forward to another great year in 2014!
Check out the full album from the night on our Facebook page!