Ello, Ello? Is there anybody NOT on there?

images

By now you’ve probably at least heard about Ello. It’s the new “Anti-Facebook” social network. No ads, no name policies and well, no privacy either.

The simple platform is still in beta but over the past few days, the site has exploded, as users hand out invites to pretty much everyone. I signed up about a 16 days ago and there weren’t too many users at the time, relatively speaking. Very few that I knew, and a couple of celebs. It’s always interesting to see celebs post on a new network and have NO comments. However, Ello gained a
ton of traction following Facebook’s latest push to ban people not using real names. The drag queen nation led the march out of town, as most don’t use their birth names for performing. Following in their high heeled footsteps, were many other performers and people who feel safer using a pseudonym. Ello has no rule (as of yet) about what name you choose, so many people started going there.

What you find when you get there, however, is nothing like Facebook. It’s very bleak, very simple, and a little clunky at this point. There are no “Likes” or hearts or anything to indicate your agreement with a post, other than a comment box. The other thing to remember when you post – EVERYTHING YOU POST IS PUBLIC. You have a friend list and a “Noise” list, but what you post doesn’t go to just one list or the other, it goes to everyone who can look up your username. Ello has released a notice that more privacy settings are coming, including ways to block, and flag people. Also private messaging is supposedly on the way.

Something else that’s a little foreign to people who are used to the Facebook comment threads, is the way you’re notified (or not notified) when someone @’s you. You get an email. There doesn’t seem to be a way to find your mentions any other way, apart from reading every comment and post. And speaking of email notifications.. Ugh. My inbox over the past few days, has been nearly nothing but “so and so is now following you” messages from Ello. Most are people I don’t know, and I’m assuming a ton of them are spam or bots already.

But it’s not all bad. You can post large images (which I like), you can post animated gifs (which some people won’t like) and do some formatting with your text.  The simplicity is also sort of nice, compared to the million settings in Facebook and things Google makes you opt out of if you don’t like it on G+. The thing to keep in mind, is that Ello is still very new, and not even public yet. We’ll see if it survives liftoff or dies before the engines even fire.

You can find me at @thelangley on Ello.

Massdrop Raises $6.5 million

Massdrop LogoMassdrop have announced that it has raised $6.5 million in a Series A round of financing, led by Mayfield Fund. This new funding brings the company’s total funds raised to about $8 million, which includes existing investors Kleiner Perkins, First Round Capital and Cowboy Ventures. Massdrop will use the cash to fuel its rapid growth and deliver on its vision for a new wave of community-driven commerce.

If you haven’t come across Massdrop before, it’s a bit like a social version of GroupOn. Massdrop supports a range of communities from automotive to in-vogue vaping. A poll product category is put forward and enthusiasts suggest different models in the product category, before everyone votes on their preferred one. For example, there might be a poll for external battery packs with models from Anker, NewTrent, Mophie and Satechi put forward and then voted on. Once there are some top choices, Massdrop approach the vendor(s) to see if they would be interested in a bulk sale, potentially with a range of price points based on volume. If agreeable, the product is put on sale with the different points shown thermometer-style. Purchasers can either buy regardless of price point or else commit to buy when it reaches a particular point.

It’s a cool idea that seems guaranteed to get savings. There are some downsides, the main one being that you have to wait until you get your hands on the product. First, the purchasing window has to close, then the whole shipment is delivered to Massdrop who finally re-ship the individual items. Definitely not for goods you want in hurry, but where it scores is that you potentially get the best product in the class at a good price.

On this basis, it’s not hard to see why Massdrop could be big. It combines the benefits of a crowd-sourced product recommendation site with the power of group purchasing to reduce prices while keeping quality up. For vendors, it’s no longer a race to the bottom; there’s an incentive to make good products.

Further, unlike Kickstarter and Indiegogo, you’re buying a real, existing product and not gambling on the design and manufacture of an unknown product which takes months to deliver.

I think that the financiers have made a canny investment in Massdrop as there’s lots of potential here and I’ll be looking out for a bargain on the site too. What do you think?

Your old Google Buzz data is coming to Google Drive

google buzz logoOut of the blue I received an email from Google Buzz support which, needless to say, was a surprise. In fact, I felt like a time traveler when I saw it land in my inbox — the service began mercifully shutting down back in October 2011. Well, it is not officially dead yet, it seems, but life-support is about to be disconnected.

The email informs former customers that all of their old Buzz data is heading for Google Drive and will be arriving this summer. “On or after July 17th, 2013, Google will take the last step in the shutdown and will save a copy of your Buzz posts to your Google Drive, a service for storing files online”, the  message reads.

It goes on to inform users that two types of files will be stored:

  1. The first type of file will be private, only accessible to you, containing a snapshot of the Google Buzz public and private posts you authored.
  2. The second type of file will contain a copy of only your Google Buzz public posts. By default it will be viewable by anyone with the link, and may appear in search results and on your Google Profile (if you’ve linked to your Buzz posts). Note,any existing links to your Google Buzz content will redirect users to this file.

If you left comments on the posts of other users, then those will only be stored in the files of that customer. Comments that were deleted will not be saved. The files will be treated as all others in your Drive — you can share them, keep them private or simply delete them. For now, you can view the Google Buzz posts you have authored here.

Busy Week at Instagram

Social photo service Instagram just had a big week, although not as big as the week of the billion dollar buyout, but it’s all relative.  This week the mobile app company released a slew of updates, including ones to their Android and iOS apps, as well as to their web site.  There were bug fixes and new features for everyone, and with the power and financial backing of Facebook behind them, they will likely be moving even faster with their updates and upgrades.

Updates to the android app included:

  • Improved search functionality
  • Support for location data taken from Gallery images when geotag is selected
  • Fix for HTC Sensation 4G freezing using tilt shift
  • Improved support and bugfixes for devices using the Instagram advanced camera
  • Addresses tilt shift issues on lower resolution images

iOS users can expect similar improvements.

  • Revamped profile tab
  • Search for users and tags in the Explore tab
  • Improvements to commenting
  • User search autocompletes based on people you follow
  • Visual improvements
  • Speed optimizations
  • Optionally share likes to Facebook (enable in your Profile > Sharing Settings > Facebook)

If you want to access the service from a computer then you got the biggest update of all.  Instagram has finally allows you to follow, comment and like from your web browser.

Instagram, now a property of Facebook, is the number one photo sharing service right now and they continue update and innovate in an effort to stay relevant in today’s ever-changing tech world.   Like other social networks, it’s free to use.

Jolicloud Launches Public Profiles

Cloud storage hub Jolicloud today announced the launch of their new Public Profiles for users.  If you aren’t familiar with Jolicloud, it’s a service that grabs all of your various data from different social services like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, Picasa, and Tumblr and places the data into neat files in one single location that users can then easily scan.  For instance, you’ll find all of the photos you posted on different networks all grouped together in a convenient Photos folder.  The same for music, links, videos, and documents.

The new Public Profiles allows users to more easily share content with friends straight from Jolicloud.  Users can invite and follow friends and give them access to your media stored there.  Jolicloud only shares the data users have made public.  The new update is for both the web and iOS versions, but they hinted that Android would be coming next week, possibly with even more features.  Their official annoucement stated, “We’ve heard a lot of feedback about Jolicloud over the last few weeks, and now we’ve decided to bring some of the most requested features to you with an update to our iPhone and web apps.”  They went on to hint that, “Rumors among robots mention a major event for next week.  But you know, those are only rumors..”

Jolicloud is still officially in beta, but the service is stable and so far seems secure.  It’s also free to use, and there are mobile apps for both iOS and Android.  You can get a view of the main screen below.

The New Bing Not Ready for Primetime

Bing I was sent an email invitation to try the new Bing this morning. My default search engine is Google, but I am willing to try something different if it is better. So I clicked on the Try the new Bing. First in order to get the full Bing experience you have to sign in either by using your Windows Live or your Xbox Rewards account and you also have to connect Facebook. I signed in with my Windows Live account and connected Facebook. Now when I search for something using Bing on the left hand side of the window is a grey tab which shows if any of my friends on Facebook have posted anything on the subject on Facebook. It will only show likes, post and photos that they posted publicly. You can also send a question to your friends on Facebook from the same tab.

To be honest the new Bing is a little disappointing, since it only connects to Facebook directly. If you do a search and your friends don’t use Facebook than none of their suggestions show up. There is a limited connection to Twitter, but not surprising there is no connection to Google Plus If you do a general search for movies, then you get two sections Friends who might Know and People who Know. Under People who Know you see tweets from people like Roger Ebert on the subject. So far the subject movies is the only search that has brought up People Who Know section. I hope that is just a temporary situation, because I am more interested in what Roger Ebert thinks about a specific movie rather than what he thinks of movies in general. This would be true of any subject and expert. Most other searches I tried have been fairly weak on the social connections. Part of the problem I will admit is I don’t have a lot of connections on Facebook, however based on my reading I am not the only one that ran into this problem.

The new Bing does have somethings going for it, first the social interaction is to the side and it doesn’t interfere with normal search. Second you can close or open the search column by hitting the arrow on the top right side. I suspect despite these good points, I will continue using Google as my main search engine.

Peel Recommends TV Shows For You

Peel on iOS and AndroidIn the “old days” finding enjoyable TV programmes relied on three sources – in programme advertising for another show, flicking through the channels or your friends saying, “Did you watch xxxx last night? It’s brilliant!” At CES, Andy and Courtney discover Peel, a fourth way of discovering great new TV shows.

Peel is an iPhone and Android app which offers show recommendations based on your viewing habits and the shows that your friends and family are watching.

The app offers “Top picks” based on what you watch and you can rate shows as favourites or as “guilty pleasures” – I think we all know what that means! The app also gives “Friends’ favourites”, the shows that everyone else is watching, so you can catchup with what’s hot.

It’s not clear whether Peel is US-centric or not, but it’s a free app, so there’s nothing to lose.

Interview by Andy McCaskey and Courtney Wallin of SDR News and RV News Net.

Support our Show Sponsor:
30% off your new order @ GoDaddy: gnc30
1.49 .com New or Renewal geek149
$1.00 / mo WordPress Hosting with a free domain! Promo Code: press4
$1.00 / mo Economy Hosting with a free domain! Promo Code: geeks12
GoDaddy Promo Codes always save you money, check out my Promo Codes Today
PlayPlay

Quirky – Social Product Development

I love these entrepreneurial websites such as Kickstarter. It’s a vicarious pleasure in seeing other people’s ideas and helping these people succeed by investing in their products. I found a new one today – Quirky – which I think takes the idea development to the next level. Quirky refer to it as a “A Socially Developed Product (TM)” and they help you take a product from the idea through product development to production and sales.

Here’s Quirky’s product development process.

The Quirky Process (courtesy of Quirky)

What seems to be unique about Quirky (and to be fair, I haven’t exhaustively researched the topic) is that part of the process is to encourage feedback from Quirky members to improve the product. They call it “community curation”. It’s a great idea especially if it leads to better products.

Taking it further, Quirky has this notion of influence. You earn influence by submitting ideas or commenting on products, and influence converts into a proportion of the profit from those objects that you worked on. The explanation is a bit opaque in places and I’d be interested to see what sort of money people make but it seems to be way to reward everyone who helped make the product a success.

There are some really interesting products on the site and the one that currently has my eye is the Converge docking station. It’s probably less docking station and more charging station but it looks great and solves a problem that many of us have.

The Converge is in pre-sale and so far it looks like it has garnered only 69 orders out of the 1300 needed to put it into production, so I don’t know how many products actually make it from pre-sale to production.

Overall, I like the idea and I’ll be following along but with all of these things, exercise caution. If you’ve got a great idea, it might be an excellent place to get a product into the market. But you need to read the small print and understand ownership of the intellectual property and design, your portion of the profit and so on – I haven’t delved into any of these things yet. If you aren’t happy, walk away.

Smyle Social Collaboration App

James Sim and Ilya Braude discuss the debut of a new social collaboration app for Android and the web called Smyle, enabling users to form collaborative groups. Features include chat, location sharing, white boarding and image exchange.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central and Tom Newman of The Fogview Podcast.

Please Support our CES 2011 Sponsors.

Save 25% on 4GH Hosting 1yr Subscriptions Save 25% Promo Code CES2.

Flixwagon Mobile Video Broadcast and Social Networking Platform

Arie Offner and Roy Ginat present Flixwagon (http://www.flixwagon.com/), a mobile video broadcast and social networking platform. The product is aimed at business and corporate users. Verizon will be soon launching the Flixwagon Android application for selected Verizon Android phones.

Interview by Esbjorn Larsen of MrNetCast.com and Jeffrey Powers of Geekazine.Com.

Please Support our CES 2011 Sponsors.

Save 25% on 4GH Hosting 1yr Subscriptions Save 25% Promo Code CES2.

[flowplayer src='http://blip.tv/file/get/Techpodcasts-CES2011LiveFlixwagon361.m4v' width=480 height=270 splash=http://www.geeknewscentral.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/flixwagon.png]