Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Facebook Sponsored Stories Boost Engagement

How Facebook Sponsored Stories Can Boost Engagement

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Goodbye Android Market, Hello Google Play

Google’s Android Market has undergone some tremendous changes over the last year or so. What started as just a standalone app store has quickly grown to encompass e-books, music, videos, and now Google feels like the “Android Market” moniker is getting to be too restrictive, too constraining for what they’re really trying to deliver to their users.

That’s why Google is officially putting the Android Market name to rest. Starting today, all of Google’s digital media services have been rebranded to fly under a brand new banner: Google Play. That’s right gadget buffs, despite some delectable new rumors Google Play isn’t a new tablet from the folks at Mountain View, but rather a unified brand that seeks to tie the company’s digital media services together.

According to Google Engineering Director Chris Yerga, the rebranding was something Google has been contemplating for quite some time, but the company felt that this was the “natural time” to pull the trigger.

Google has spent months and months building out the Android Market into a digital media hub, but constantly invoking the Android name seems to have led to a sense of exclusion for some users. There’s nothing about the process of renting movies, purchasing music, or skimming through e-books from Google that requires anyone interested to actually own an Android device. All of a user’s pertinent media is stored in Google’s considerable cloud and accessible from run-of-the-mill web browsers, and Google wants to drive that point home with the new Google Play brand.

Putting all the content under the same name should enable the company to showcase all of its offerings equally, and potentially bring in new customers in the process.

Promotional videos for Google Play drive home that the service is cloud-based, much like Apple’s iCloud can be used to view content on one of your devices, and then pick up where you left off on another. For instance, if you purchase a book to read on your Android phone, you can pick up where you left off on your tablet later on.

Movies can be downloaded and viewed on your computer, but also viewed on your tablet or phone while you’re traveling.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Can We Fix Young America With Technology and Entrepreneurship?

With youth unemployment at a 60-year high and student-loan debt nearing the $1 trillion mark, can anything be done by the technology sector to help young Americans struggling to find work? Yes, says the #FixYoungAmerica campaign, launching Monday.

#FixYoungAmerica is seeking to address a single, nagging question in the U.S.: How do we overcome the twin epidemics of youth unemployment and underemployment?

To that end, #FixYoungAmerica campaign is releasing a book designed to help fix those problems. It’s chock full of ideas from some of the country’s top intellectuals, nonprofit leaders, philanthropists, educators, politicians and entrepreneurs.

Several of the ideas put forward involve technology: teaching kids how to code, requiring technology education in public schools and sparking innovation through entrepreneurial competitions.

The campaign is led by the Young Entrepreneur Council. The YEC has formed a coalition of partners to tackle youth unemployment, including Codecademy, MassChallenge, Venture for America and more.

#FixYoungAmerica is asking supporters to help fund the movement via a crowdfunding effort on IndieGoGo, a popular startup-funding platform. But according to YEC founder Scott Gerber, the campaign doesn’t want to try to solve youth employment by throwing money at the problem. Instead, it’s looking for “actual solutions” and to serve as the “beginning of a conversation” about the economic conditions facing American youth — and how to fix them.

A media campaign launching this week alongside events in 10 cities will spread the word about the campaign’s mission. For social outreach, #FixYoungAmerica asks supporters to “pass the baby” — an image of a tool-belt-carrying toddler meant to represent the idea of fixing the nation’s youth.

The #FixYoungAmerica book releases in May — just in time for graduation.