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Net Briefs - February 2016

Posted on 2.02.2016

Net Briefs

Bing Now Powering AOL Search

Bing kicked off 2016 in a big way, announcing it is now powering AOL's Web, mobile and tablet search, providing paid search ads and algorithmic organic search results to the company's properties worldwide. According to recent comScore data, the deal now gives Bing close to one-third of U.S. PC Web searches. Does this mean that it is time for Web pros to dedicate more resources to marketing, advertising and optimizing for Bing?

Is Mobile's Momentum Unstoppable?

Mobile usage grew by 58 percent in 2015 according to data from Flurry's annual mobile and application usage study. The data highlights the increasing popularity of phablets (mobile devices with screen sizes between smartphones and tablets), with time spent on this device type growing by 334 percent year-over-year. In fact, 27 percent of all new devices activated for Christmas were phablets. If the current trends hold, Flurry notes that the phablet will become the dominant form factor by October, with small phones on track to become extinct by the second quarter of 2016.

Facebook Messenger Reaches 800 Million

Facebook achieved another significant milestone, reaching 800 million monthly users for its Messenger app. In fact, 2015 was a big year for the mobile-focused offering; Messenger gained video calling functionality, the ability for users to send and receive money, provided enterprises a way to serve their customers with the launch of Businesses on Messenger, tested a digital virtual assistant named "M" and made photo sharing easier with its Photo Magic feature.

WordPress 4.4 Focuses on Embed Support

WordPress version 4.4 (a.k.a. Clifford) is providing greater embed support to administrators. WordPress users will now be able to drop in a post URL into the editor and see an instant embed preview that includes title, excerpt and a featured image if one has been set. Site icons and links for comments and sharing will also be included. In addition to post embeds, version 4.4 also offers support for five new embed providers including Cloudup, Reddit Comments, ReverbNation, Speaker Deck and VideoPress.

Amazon Unveils Kindle Instant Book Previews

Amazon unveiled a new feature that allows third-party publishers to embed Amazon book previews within their website or apps. When leveraged, the Kindle instant book preview feature gives consumers the ability to browse book excerpts without leaving the publisher's website or application. The feature is essentially an extension of Kindle book samples offered at Amazon and could prove very useful for Amazon Associates - online publishers or affiliates who earn commissions for referring users who make purchases on the site.

Something to Talk About

Advertisers have a new way to drive conversations on Twitter thanks to the social network's new conversational ad format. The ad format includes call-to-action (CTA) buttons with customizable hashtags that encourage consumer engagement.


$49 Million

Advertising software company SteelHouse ended 2015 with a $49 million round of funding led by Mercato Partners and with participation from Staley Capital and Silicon Valley Bank.

15 Million

Cloud applications and platform services provider Oracle acquired AddThis for an undisclosed amount. AddThis is a provider of publisher personalization, audience insight and activation tools that power 15 million websites.

$10 Million

Real-time personalization platform provider Evergage secured $10 million in Series B funding in January, which brings the company's total funding amount to more than $21 million.


What type of digital advertising campaign garners the best return for your Web-based business?

To answer this question and possibly be included in an upcoming issue of Website Magazine, visit


12 Design Elements Every Site Should Have

Content is important, but it's not enough if you want your website to convert visitors to leads. With 2016 expected to be the year of more targeted lead generation for businesses of all sizes, your site might need an overhaul.

6 Easy Ways to Speed up a Website

Whether you are running an online e-commerce platform or small business enterprise on your website, you would not want to miss the opportunity of generating more revenue because of slower website loading speeds.

A Beginner's Look at Designing for Corporate Identity

Designers' hands are often tied by those within a corporation trying to maintain a certain image and recognition. There is, however, a list of considerations that should be kept in mind when designing for corporate identity.


+ Screencast-O-Matic: Create and share screen recordings.

+ Quuu Promote: Promote content to influencers with curated content.

+ Placemat: Attractive placeholder images for design projects.

+ Theme.Cards: WordPress themes at THEME.CARDS.

+ Show the most suitable landing page for each new visitor, segmenting based on traits and behaviors.

+ LiveStyle: A real-time editing tool for CSS, LESS and SCSS.

+ Backand: Backend-as-a-service for AngularJS and Ionic.

+ SendBird: Real-time chat and messaging solution for apps.

+ Repuso: Collect social media reviews and showcase on a website.

+ Framer: A prototyping tool that teaches how to code.



Designing social posts can be time consuming. Adobe's new iOS app, however, aims to change that. The Adobe Post app allows users to turn photos and text into attractive graphics and share them on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram quickly. The app offers professionally designed templates, hand-picked fonts and shapes, free high-quality photos, an auto recolor feature and more.

Discover additional apps at

Today's Top Picks for Our Readers:
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