Google Maps for iOS is already a success

In case you missed it (and I doubt you did, but anyway), according to a Google+ post from Jeff Huber, he SVP of Geo and Commerce at Google, the Google Maps app for iOS was downloaded more than 10 million times in the first 48 hours of its launch, making it a huge success already! In fact, it became the top free app in the App Store just hours after debuting. I’m not going to lie, I downloaded it as soon as I found out.

“We’re excited for the positive reception of Google Maps for iPhone around the world. Congratulations to the Maps Team on the recognition for the passion and hard work they poured into it, for this release and over the last 7+ years.”

The Google Maps app made its debut after several months of rumors about a forthcoming app after it was removed from iOS 6 and replaced by an Apple-made mapping program that was not popular with users. Personally, I had no issues with it aside from the lack of public transportation integration, but Google’s app seems just as polished as the Apple-integrated one. What do you think? Have you downloaded the new Google Maps on your iPhone already? I know everybody at this particular social media agency has.

Marketing via Instagram

Personally, I love reading how brands interact with their customers, and there’s tons of ways to do so with all of the social networks people are on these days, but one I never would have thought of?

You probably know what Instagram is, but if not, it is a photo-sharing mobile app that allows you to put vintage filters and effects on your photos. You can follow others, gain followers, “like” photos, and even hashtag them, making them searchable, just like hashtagging tweets. There are a few companies that are capitalizing on the uniqueness and flexibility of Instagram and using it for their marketing and branding, but letting users make it their own.

Tiffany & Co.
Last year, Tiffany’s launched an Instagram campaign that has the bonus of gaining three new filters for following them – Tiffany’s blue, peach, and black and white. This campaign also calls for users to post pictures of themselves with their significant other, tagged with the hashtag #TrueLovePictures.  Tiffany & Co has also set up a website that gives a live-updating website called True Love in Pictures that shows a selection of pictures from Instagram. Not only is this allowing Tiffany & Co. fans to take part in the experience, but it always gives them relevant content.

Comodo
A Latin American restaurant in NYC’s Soho, Comodo, has made the dining experience a social one, too, by inviting diners to take photos of their meals (as Instagrammers are wont to do) and tag it with #ComodoMenu, allowing their guests to “see” dishes and help them decide what they want, and seeing what their friends recommend.

There are a few other companies taking the relatively untouched marketing territory of Instagram, but a social media agency could do a lot to engage fans of a brand by making it interactive and letting fans engage creatively like this.

iPhone 5: iOS 6 Changes Worth it?

On September 19th, Apple pushed its new iOS 6 software live. With iOS 6, came five big changes: Maps, Siri, Camera, Mail, and Passbook. Out of these changes, the changes with iOS Maps App is by far the one that has the most controversy. Google Maps, which was a pre-loaded feature, has been completely taken off the home screen of the iPhone. Once re-downloaded, the iOS Maps, now controlled by Apple and not Google, is missing points of interest feature, Google transit directions and street images. To say that’s not enough change, the Maps gives inaccurate and incorrect destinations, for instance saying that a farm in Dublin was in fact an airport, which can cause major miscommunication dilemmas for pilots.

Though iOS Maps seems to have the most controversy, the other changes have a more positive note to them. Siri can now tweet, facebook, and make reservations for you. The new Camera feature is by far the most fun to play around with. Now, users can take panoramic shots of different places they visit to the people they are with.

The Mail App now allows you to attach photos and videos straight through the app, which was not possible before. Lastly, a new pre-loaded feature on the iOS 6 software is Passbook, which allows users to be more organized when it comes to storing, boarding passes, tickets, store cards, and coupons. But the Passbook app does not automatically transfer tickets and coupons into its app, users have to download the ticket vendor’s app, the airline company’s app, or the store’s app before they can start storing their information in this app.

The biggest changes to iOS 6, to say the least, give users a mixed feeling about them. Only users can judge themselves, if they like these new features are beneficial to them. It will be interesting to see how these new features affect internet marketing’s fast-paced life.

Why Mobile Payment Applications Like Square Are the Future

Jack Dorsey. If you’re anyone who’s into social media at all, I’m sure you have heard of him. Dorsey is a founder of both Twitter and Square. He currently holds positions as Executive Chairman of Twitter and Chief Executive Officer of Square. If you’re not familiar with the company, Square is a tool that gives merchants the ability use their tablets or smartphones to process customer credit or debit transactions. Currently, Square is used by two million merchants – most of them small businesses. Merchants can swipe a customer’s credit card on the Square device (given free to merchants) or manually enter credit card information. Merchants must pay 2.75% of every transaction to Square in order to be able to use the application. Square says that it will be successful because, overall, its costs are lower than traditional credit card processors.

Business Insider gives four reasons as to why businesses should be using Square instead of conventional credit card readers:

  1. The middle man is eliminated
  2. Flat fee – 2.75% per swipe or $275 a month
  3. Analytics are provided
  4. Fast processing

Personally, I think Square is an excellent use of the tablets and smartphones that most businesses and the digital marketing company already have. Using Square is even eco-friendly! Customers have the option of receiving an electronic receipt, which can cut down of vast amounts of paper. Using a tablet or a smartphone as a tool for making payments is a use for these devices that I would not have considered previously. Are there any other uses of tablets or smartphones that you can think of that are unexpected, but have worked out well?

HOW TO: Watch the 2012 Summer Olympics Online

New this time around for the Olympics is online streaming–where anyone with a computer can log on and watch the Olympics right from their laptop or home computer! This may seem like a minor change, but in fact, it just adds to the increase in communication that the world has experienced since the last summer Olympics in 2008. The entire way the game’s highlight events and key moments have been shared is changed, and much faster at that! The combination of online streaming, twitter, facebook, and youtube has made the Olympics seem much closer to home than they actually are–halfway across the the world in London!

Now that the Olympics have all-around become a more digital and global experience, it seems only appropriate to put together a guide to streaming the Olympics, so that you too can be in the loop with the eventful (no pun intended) Olympic games!

Here are some guidelines to (legally) streaming the games live online or on your phone or tablet!

You need to have Cable!

Most online content in the US is only accessible if you have subscribed to cable or satellite. NBC streaming of the olympics is no exception. The good news? NBC has managed to work with almost all cable and satellite providers out there, so there should be no hitch in getting access!

If you don’t have cable, have no fear! You can always access the highlights on the NBC Olympics YouTube page.

If you’re in the US

In the US, NBC is the official broadcast partner of the Olympics. Therefore, NBC will air the Games on NBC and NBC-owned cable stations as well as stream more content online in real-time than they ever have before. But as usual, there’s a catch. You not only need to be a cable subscriber, but also you need to get MSNBC and CNBC. If you meet this criteria, then all you need to doo is head to NBCOlympics.com/LiveExtra and click on “Click here to get ready”. Then, follow the instructions, and you’ll be set to go!

If you can’t get to a computer, there’s always the option to watch the live streams from your iOS or Android device with the mobile NBC Live Extra app for iOS and Android. The great thing about this app is that you can use a four hour “guest pass” to the Games in case you don’t know the username or password for your cable provider.

If you’re in London

BBC is providing livestreams of the Games via the BBC Sport website and mobile apps. If you’re in the UK, you have access to every sport for up to 24 live HD streams!

BBC also has apps for iOS and Android to watch these livestreams. In addition to the livestreams, BBC will also feature results, news stories, and daily highlights for users to look over when in a hurry.

If you’re in another part of the world

Freecast.com has a streaming and TV guide for olympic coverage in over 150 countries! Also, the IOC has an official Olympic channel on YouTube that will be broadcasting the games live in territories in Asia and Africa that lack broadcast partners. This channel will also offer clips, replays, and highlights of the events.

Turns out that no matter where you are in the world, you too can be a part of this year’s “digital games”!

 

 

 

 

 

The Best of Both Worlds

Pinstagram, a free service that displays your Instagram photos in the Pinterest waterfall format. Since Instagram did not have a web or iPad application, this is the perfect pair. Pinstagram combines two of the hottest social networks into one easy to use application available on the web or iPad.

Personally, I love this new application, it makes it a thousand times easier to view your Instagram pictures. Once you sign in with your current Instagram account, your pictures are automatically displayed in the waterfall format that every Pinterest user in a costume too. This layout allows users to view more pictures at once.

Pinstagram also offers additional views of pages. For example there is your home page, most popular page, your profile page, and a page which displays the photos you have liked. Additionally Pinstagram allows users the ability to search for a specific tag.

If you have been waiting for Instagram on your Ipad, this new application offers the best of both worlds. I love that the digital world is always trying to think of the next best thing, and I think the creators of Pinstagram have found it. Everyone loves Instagram and Pinterest, so why wouldn’t you love them as one, I know I love it!

Lookout’s Mobile Threat Tracker Shows Where All the Android Malware is

Malware exists everywhere. It exists even to attack your Android phone. It’s even been seen in the Android Market at one point or another. But how big is this issue? Lookout, a company specializing in software for mobile security released a new app called Mobile Threat Tracker that allows Android smartphone users to see the location of every malware incident happening around the globe.

Lookout’s app shows streak upon streak strike with the three-dimensional spinning globe. The attacks displayed are shown close to real time as the date and time is displayed at the bottom of the screen. It gives us a good representation of how phones are becoming ideal targets for malware creators on a daily basis. Lookout also included information of the top three threats for that day and spyware vs. malware percentages.

With all this talk about the threats of malware, it looks like the ideal time to start installing a security app for your Android smartphone. Lookout might just be your solution.

Smartphone Usage at Night Stressful

More and more people are adopting smartphones in order to become fully connected to the world through their mobile device. Companies are also making moves to connect with employees by giving them smartphones and developing mobile applications as a way to increase employee engagement. At first glance, it is great to be able to access your work email 24/7, but this continuous feeling of being plugged in can also be draining. In fact, a new study from the University of Worcester has found that the feeling of being constantly connected without the ability to freely disconnect induces stress.

Companies, like Volkswagen, are now starting to react. The German automaker’s employees all use blackberries, and the company has decided to limit the email server to only be activated during business hours. This means that employees are free from constant communication with work once they leave the office. Roger Cohen, a reporter for The New York Times is one of the many who think that this is a smart move. Cohen says people often fall subject to a, “contemporary state of anxiety in which focus on any activity is interrupted by the irresistible urge to check email or texts.”

Remaining plugged in arguably increases employee productivity, but it is important to also address its potential downfalls. In the future, more and more companies will surely address this issue. As an intern, I have yet to feel the 24/7 pressure of having your phone connected to work. However, I have witnessed the poor effects this connection can have. For example, I have experienced many vacations when a family member gets their relaxation time derailed by incoming messages that blow up their smart phone. It is important that employees can be reached in the case of a work emergency while away from the office. On the other hand, I also think that employees deserve to have a feeling disconnect when they leave the office, if they so chose, especially during vacations. I would guess that Volkswagen employees appreciate this move and that the company is well on its way to having great employee satisfaction.

 

 

Starbucks Card Mobile Reaches 3 Million Hits

“Starbucks now offers the nation’s largest mobile payment network,” said vice president of Starbucks, Brady Brewer. In January, Starbucks launched a new iPhone and Blackberry app called Starbucks Card Mobile that revolutionizes the way we buy coffee. Customers are now able to pay for their order via mobile phone by holding up the app’s barcode to the register’s scanner. This application was tested in September and was discovered to be the fastest and most efficient way for customers to pay, understandably. The past financial quarter was the best performing in the 40-year history of the company, according to Howard Schultz, Starbucks CEO. The Starbucks Card app accounts for 22% of all transactions, says Schultz. Schultz also noted that Schultz the Starbucks brand is number one on Facebook, over 20 million fans, and is also a top brand on Twitter and Foursquare.

Many other businesses will most likely follow in Starbucks’ footsteps and create mobile applications for their stores. The app allows for more efficient work on the employees part and allows for a better time efficiency for customers. By allowing customers to use the app, they place their order, scan their phone and receive their coffee. No more rummaging for credit cards or bill and coins, which is a godsend for many. This application will take the business world by storm and be implemented in many businesses

If you would have asked me when I was 10 years old, I would never have dreamed that we would be where we are today regarding technology. It is amazing everything that we have experienced. the iPad, iPhone, wireless computers and applications that do pretty much everything. I remember getting a Gameboy and thinking it was the smallest/coolest thing I had ever seen. Now, we can play games on phones, keep in mind, the phones are half the size of a Gameboy. I am eager to see what kind of technology we will have as I grow up.

Taking a Piece of the Apple Back

Apple announced on Tuesday its new guidelines to App Store for publishers. Applications will be working the same for users, it is the rules for publishers where the changes have been made. There are many apps available that charge subscriptions fees; either weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly, semiannually, and annually; therefore these companies (who have created the apps) are consistently making money off of their content. Since creating the platforms (iPhone, iPad, and the iTouch) in which all the information is communicated on, Apple decided that it should be getting a piece of the funds being made by these companies, I mean after all these companies would have subscribers if is wasn’t for Apple…right? The new policy follows these guidelines, as long as users are purchasing the apps from the App Store, Apple will be taking the 30% cut of the purchases being made to the from subscription applications.

image provided by: zedomax.com

The publishers of the content driven apps are 100% free to make the subscription to their applications available on their own site, and this is where Apple cannot take a cut from the information.  However, according to Apples new app policy, unless a users sign up for the app on the publisher’s site, publishers cannot provide in-app links for customers sign up outside of the App Store. Therefore these companies would have to get users to go directly to their site to avoid losing some of their profits to Apple. Many of the people who currently run these apps are worried they won’t be able to survive, and are also unsure as what Apple will do in the future…who’s to say the won’t try taking a bigger cut from profits made by theses content driven subscription applications.  Has this

It is hard to figure out who do side with on this matter, to me it make sense that Apple would be taking a cut, because without having the technology created by them none of the companies would be able to be gaining profits. Although if you are thinking about it from the perspective of the app creators, who are building content for readers to have daily, weekly or monthly, publishers are the ones creating the content for readers to subscribe in the first place. Maybe you’ll think a little differently next time you are purchasing one of your apps for the App Store or directly from the publisher.