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Net Briefs - Jan '15

Posted on 12.31.2014

2015 The Year of Social Commerce?

2014 was a good year for social commerce, but 2015 may be even better. Months after Twitter and Facebook announced they were testing “Buy” buttons within their newsfeeds and streams, Tumblr jumped on the bandwagon by unveiling a set of new calls-to-action for certain content posted on its platform (wsm.co/tumblrsoco). Twitter also released a feature dubbed Twitter Offers in November, which enables advertisers to create card-linked promotions and share them in the newsfeed (wsm.co/twittersoco). “Not to be out done,” Snapchat made progress with its monetization initiatives by launching a feature called Snapcash (wsm.co/snapchatcash) that allows users to send cash to friends directly through the application.


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SKYPE ARRIVES IN THE BROWSER

Skype is making it easier for users to connect with friends and colleagues around the world, as the telecommunications company (owned by Microsoft) unveiled a new product called Skype for Web (Beta). Users can now leverage the Skype for Web platform directly from within their browser to send instant messages, and will be able to make voice and video calls after installing a plugin. Members can even go directly to Skype.com and sign in to see their contacts and conversation history.

AOL Bets Big On Video

AOL’s recent acquisition of Vidible will likely position the media company to become a leader in the video content management and syndication space. Vidible is a cross-screen video management and exchange platform for digital media buyers and sellers. The company offers a set of self-service tools and exchange capabilities for content creators and publishers, who can leverage the platform to expand distribution reach and increase the monetization options of their video content. The acquisition adds more than 300,000 videos to AOL’s existing library of 1 million videos.

The Winner of .BOOK is…

One of the most sought-after new generic top-level domain extensions, .book, is now under the control of Amazon. The e-commerce juggernaut was competing against eight others for the domain name, but apparently ended up outbidding the rest at auction. While the final price won’t be made public, many are speculating that it may be one of the most expensive extensions that has gone to auction.

Improving MOBILE SEARCH

Google is taking steps to enhance the mobile browsing experience. The search juggernaut announced that it is now displaying “mobile friendly” labels in its mobile search results as well as including additional product information in mobile SERPs. “The new labels will show up on websites that meet specific criteria, such as sites that do not use software like Adobe Flash as well as sites that do use text that is readable without requiring users to zoom-in. In addition, mobile-friendly product information will show up when users search for specific items on their smartphones.” This additional data appears on an expandable product card that includes information like product reviews and specifications.

’Tis the Season of Acquisitions

AOL isn’t the only company making acquisitions during the holiday season. Microsoft also made headlines with its purchase of mobile email app Acompli. Available for both iOS and Android devices, Accompli offers access to a variety of email services including Gmail, iCloud, Yahoo and Microsoft Exchange. The app’s most noteworthy feature, however, is its Focused Inbox that learns users’ habits over time in order to prioritize messages. According to Acompli’s CEO, the company’s team and products will become part of Microsoft’s ambitious effort to “reimagine productivity for the mobile era.”

Mention & Pin at G+

Google+ may be a virtual ghost town, but the network has launched two new features it hopes will encourage users to engage and interact more often. Google released a “Mentions” tab which enables desktop users to see when a page or personal profile is mentioned, as well as released a feature which enables users to “pin” specific posts to the top of their feed. While neither new feature is a game-changer, they should prove useful to businesses that are interested in keeping track of conversations about their brand and those that want to highlight their most interesting content.

The Future of Tech?

EBay is ready for the future, as the popular e-commerce platform launched a new website to help the public discover (and buy) innovative and unique products. According to the company, the Innovators Collective site features cool and cutting-edge products of tomorrow, including a Wi-fi enabled, multi-colored, energy-efficient light bulb and a Bluetooth gramophone.

MORE ‘NET NEWS

See what’s trending on the Web today at wsm.co/NetFeatures

DoubleClick Broke The Internet: wsm.co/broketheweb

Yahoo Increased Search Share with Mozilla Deal: wsm.co/yahoomoz

Manage Negative Social Media Comments (Infographic): wsm.co/negcomm

Google Offering Ad-Free Internet: wsm.co/gadblocks

WEB TECH WATCH

The ‘Net moves pretty fast and if you don’t tune in to the latest technology releases once in a while, you’ll be left behind – and not just in a virtual way. Website Magazine recently launched a new weekly series profiling some of the most interesting technologies, digital tools and ‘Net services available to Internet professionals like you – and we’re bringing it to the print edition too! Search for “Web Tech Watch” at Website Magazine and discover a few reader favorites from December 2014 below:

+ Front:
Shared inboxes for virtual teams to manage email, Twitter and SMS

+ KillBill:
Open-source subscription billing and payment platform for websites

+ CrowdCast:
Analytics, chat and voting for Google Hangouts

+ Flare:
A customizable sharing bar for websites

+ Batch Insights:
Track mobile push notifications of your competitors

+ WithOomph:
A simple logo generation solution

+ Synup:
Online marketing software for local, geo-focused businesses

+ Instapage:
Build and A/B test landing pages

+ Precursor:
A collaborative idea tool for sketching, prototyping and note taking

+ Publitas:
Upload PDF’s to publish clickable catalogs, magazines and brochures


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