lunes, 31 de marzo de 2014

Lawsuit Alleges That Early Pinterest Investor Stole The Idea, Pinterest Says Suit Is ‘Baseless’

A lawsuit filed yesterday by Theodore F. Schroeder claims that Pinterest investor Brian S. Cohen stole the idea for the social sharing service.

The suit, which was first reported in AllThingsD, claims that Schroeder "originated the ideas that led to the popular, ever-growing Pinterest website." It presents a fairly detailed account of the development of a site called, and its spinoff, The products were developed by Schroeder and two of his Columbia Law School classmates, who eventually brought on Cohen as the company's chairman and CEO, according to the suit.

Eventually, the company stalled, which Schroeder blames on Cohen's alleged efforts to claim more ownership and push one of the Skoopwire founders out. Meanwhile, the suit claims that Cohen struck a "Faustian deal," giving Schroeder's idea to the team that then launched Pinterest.

Asked for comment, Pinterest sent me a brief statement: "The lawsuit against Pinterest is baseless and we will fight it aggressively."

So what are the big ideas that Schroeder is claiming Cohen stole? Here's how the lawsuit describes the similarities between Rendezvoo/Skoopwire and Pinterest:

  • RDV's Version 2 provided a website for users to post their interests for their friends and the other users of the site to see. This concept was noted in RDV's business plan, made part of its business model and evidenced by a functioning web application that had thousands of users.
  • The goal of RDV was to connect things that mattered to a user with other users (i.e. show a user's identity via photos, hyperlinks and text descriptions of things that matter to them to their friends) while providing a place for a product or event promoter to gain visibility for its product. Pinterest is nearly an exact match of this same concept.
  • Skoopwire, the off-shoot of RDV designed by Plaintiff, focused particularly on product discovery through socially networked product launches. The goal was that any new product launch would be covered on Skoopwire by its users and shared with friends of that user, thereby igniting word of mouth about the product launch. Pinterest's primary business model as described in the media is product discovery through friends.
  • The user interface of RDV Version 2 adopted a user interface technique called the "infinite scroll" much before the technique was used by any mainstream website. Pinterest uses the infinite scroll technique, which has proven extremely successful in enticing users to remain on the website.
  • In RDV Version 2, the main user interface (the "Board") and each user's profile page (that user's "Board") adopted a concept that is now central to Pinterest. (Rendezvoo user's posted to the Board and their board, while Pinterest users "pin" photos and descriptions to their virtual corkboard.)
  • Recognizing the value of female users, RDV Version 2 adopted a pink and purple color scheme to attract female users. Pinterest's user community is predominantly female because of practices that target females.

Now, I'm neither a technical expert nor a lawyer, but I was struck by how broad some of those ideas are — if they were the kind of thing you could sue over, I'd imagine that the flood of Pinterest clones and "Pinterest for X" websites would be in trouble.

As for why Schroeder waited several years to sue, the suit claims that after Pinterest launched, a number of people pointed out that it was similar to Rendezvoo, but he "had no idea and could not have known that Cohen was in any way involved in Pinterest." He became aware that Cohen was an investor after reading a Mashable article about him that was published in March of this year. (In fact the suit, which I've embedded below, includes what might be the most detailed parsing of a Mashable article that I've ever seen.)

I've also contacted Schroeder's attorney and Cohen for comment, and will update if I hear back.

Now You Can Ask Your Smartphone About The Past, Present Or Future: Android’s Siri-Like Assistant Iris Gets Integrated With Activity-Tracker Friday

Dexetra, the company behind the Siri-like Android app Iris and the activity-tracking app Friday, is merging the two apps to work together more seamlessly on Android devices. Giving Siri a run for its money, Iris users can now search the data archive generated by the Friday app, following the recent updates to these mobile applications rolled out over the Thanksgiving holiday here in the U.S.

For those unfamiliar, Iris is one of many "personal assistant" type applications for Android – a space that has exploded since the launch of Apple's Siri. Using voice control, Iris lets you perform common tasks like setting reminders, sending texts, playing music, asking about movie reviews and more. It can also serve up answers to other questions via its ChaCha integration. (Which caused a bit of controversy in the past, we should note.)

Meanwhile, the Friday application, launched earlier this year, is like the flip side to Iris. Where one might talk to Iris about future events (is there a sushi restaurant nearby? what movies are playing?), you can ask Friday about things that have already happened. The app records a history of your communications, including calls, texts, emails, and photos, as well as changes in the phone's status and activity taking place on third-party services like Facebook, Foursquare and Twitter. That means you can ask Friday questions about things in the past, like "who called me Tuesday afternoon?" or "where was I when I last spoke to Jim?" for example.

However, until now, the two apps were standalone entities. If you wanted to look back in time, you used Friday. To ask questions or talk to a virtual assistant, you needed Iris. But with the update, you no longer have to think about which app contains the information you need. Friday can simply run in the background creating the personal journal of your life's activities, and you can query against it using Iris.

Dexetra CEO Narayan Babu says that since Friday's launch in April, over 100 million documents have been created by the app, and to date, Iris's millions of users have asked over 250 million questions.

The company is now beta testing more "applets" – the optional, context-aware mini-programs that work with Friday. For example, an applet called "Trails" lets users create a travel diary where all your activities (photos, checkins, tweets, etc.) are plotted on a map. New applets will include a battery monitor and an alternative dialer. With the battery monitor, Friday could alert a user when the phone is low on juice and there's a charger nearby, while the dialer app would show not recent calls or favorites, but those numbers you're most likely to call, based on previous behavior and your current context. In short, these apps make your phone aware of its surroundings and own functions in a way that hasn't really been possible before, then tie that data together with a virtual assistant interface.

Dexetra isn't the only company thinking about how our personal devices can help us record our life's activities. However, a recently revealed Apple patent indicates that it might also be looking into integrating some sort of event-tracking at the OS level in the future.

Android users can download the updated Iris app on Google Play here and Friday on Google Play here.

Hey Amazon, What Are You Doing With The ‘Firedock’ Trademark?

For most geeks, uttering the word "Firedock" conjures up images of this Kindle Fire-friendly speaker dock that was announced back in March.

But something interesting happened last month — Grace Digital released that very same Kindle Fire speaker dock under a different name on July 17. That by itself isn't much to write home about, but The Digital Reader points out that Amazon now owns the FireDock trademark. A little digging reveals that Grace Digital transferred the trademark to Amazon Technologies (an subsidiary based in Nevada) just a few days earlier, on July 11.

So what gives? What is the Firedock? Looking at the goods and services that the trademark encompasses doesn't provide too many concrete hints just because there are so damned many of them, but they do seem to point to an actual, physical product rather than a service. Still, it seems unlikely that Amazon would take control of the Firedock trademark just to push out something like a run-of-the-mill speaker dock (sorry Grace Digital, I'm sure your Matchstick is a real sweetheart).

Given some of the rumors about swirling around the new Kindle Fire (which may or may not have just passed through the FCC) and the stiff competition in the low-end tablet space, I wouldn't be at all surprised if the Firedock turned out to be an accessory to bolster Amazon's play for the living room. You pop the new Kindle Fire into a Firedock (naturally), run it into a television and maybe a sound system, and voila — you've got a tablet that doubles as a video and music hub.

Hear me out on this one. It's no secret that the low-cost Kindle Fire is something of a Trojan horse for all of Amazon's media services — that's music, television shows, and movies in addition to just books. Users get a free month of Amazon Prime and its related video service when you buy a Kindle Fire (a promotion that I doubt is going anywhere), and Amazon still hopes that the trial is enough to entice people into ponying up the annual fee. What's more, recent rumors have pegged the forthcoming Kindle Fire 2 with an HDMI-out port, which would finally allow Kindle users to display all that content on a bigger screen.

Sure, there's no shortage of televisions and discrete video boxes that could deliver Amazon's Prime content to a television — there's the Boxee, Roku's line of cute black boxes, etc. — but that requires a commitment to the concept of streaming video. Not everyone is going to have that particular impulse, but for new Kindle Fire owners (who, don't forget, have access to plenty of free premium content for a while), the ability to pick up an accessory that extends the use of a gadget they already want doesn't seem like much of a leap. Once those components are in place and the setup's value is seen, it may become even more difficult not to pay the $79 for continued Prime service. That's what Amazon is really after.

Beyond the revenues generated from new Prime subscriptions, a move like that could help poke at Amazon's search-focused rival. Google's own low-cost tablet may well exceed the company's sales expectations, but their living room-oriented media streamer wasn't quite ready for prime time. Still, the company is clearly making what plays it can, and Amazon may be able to throw a wrench into things. If we take the new Kindle Fire to be Amazon's Trojan horse, and the living room to be Troy, then the Firedock may well be the guy who knocked on the gates.

Tweetbot for Mac is the TweetDeck replacement you have been waiting for

Posted 03 August 2012 10:06am by Maximilian Tatton-Brown with 0 comments

It was a dark dark day for marketers when Twitter bought TweetDeck and closed the old development path in favour of releasing a stripped back and simplified new version.

Since then, many have chosen to stick with the old download of TweetDeck available from sites like Old Apps, myself included. Others will have made the leap to HootSuite, thanks to its close 'column-based' similarity.

But these options leave you stuck in the past, clinging to a client that has buttons for sharing to Google Buzz and MySpace (!)

What hope is there on the horizon for a new tool that lets marketers post to and monitor different accounts quickly and easily from a native app?

Today, the latest upgrades to the alpha of Tweetbot have suddenly burst it into the running as a potential candidate. Anyone who has used the iOS apps will be right at home with the interface but this desktop equivalent has now added the ability to pop out columns and build a custom 'deck' from different accounts.

You can in fact create various lineups pinned together to give you different levels of detail or lump different topics together - even handier with OS X's multiple desktops.

Any marketer will know that it's these columns that are essentially to monitoring the vast range of searches, accounts, mentions and suchlike that our jobs require today.

It also really makes the most of what separates a native app from web apps, integrating with Mountain Lion's notifications center and including little interface touches like swipes on tweets to see the full conversation.

Perhaps best of all, we're looking at version 0.6.3 of the software here -an alpha offered for free to all Mac users. With that in mind, and the knowledge that the designer of the previous best Twitter app Tweetie (which was bought by Twitter and became the official iOS and Mac app) has now left the company, it's hard to see many apps out there with a brighter future.

What would I like to see next? I know it's Tweetbot but adding extra networks would be the icing on the cake. It would also be great to have more options to pass a tweet on via e.g. email. But I can wait for those, it's worth your time to give it a try today.

Now we just have to hope Twitter doesn't buy it and ruin it...

Facebook Spent $24 Million On Acqui-hires, $633 Million On Patents During The First Half Of 2012

Facebook has become known for making a good number of talent-focused startup acquisitions, aka acqui-hires — but the cost of each deal is normally kept under wraps. In a regulatory quarterly filing the company made today with the Securities and Exchange Commission, though, it put an aggregate pricetag on all those "non-material" sized deals it made in the first half of this year: $24 million.

Here's the wording from the document:

"During the six months ended June 30, 2012, we completed business acquisitions for total consideration of $24 million. These acquisitions were not material to our condensed consolidated financial statements individually or in the aggregate."

From January through the end of June, Facebook made six acquisitions, two of which — Instagram and — were of material size. That leaves Tagtile, Glancee, Lightbox, and Karma as the buys on which Facebook spent $24 million total.

It bears mention that this does not mean that there was a $24 million cap on what the founders of these startups received as part of their decision to join Facebook. Salaries, bonuses, individual stock grants to employees, and the like are not included in this figure.

Facebook also issued new shares of its stock pursuant to some acquisitions, the filing said — 40,000 shares of Class A stock were issued on the day of the Tagtile buy, 36,828 Class A shares were issued the day of the Glancee buy, and 1,099,986 shares were issued the day of the Karma buy.

Here's the breakdown of where that money went (click to enlarge):

And the bit about the stock issued (click to enlarge):

And the bit about the stock

The patent and IP pricetag

Facebook also broke out the exact amount of money it spent on acquiring patents and IP, that it was pretty significant: $633 million. The bulk of that — $550 million — went to its purchase of hundreds of AOL patents from Microsoft. Facebook spent $83 million total buying 750 patents from IBM . The remainder was spread across other deals. The company detailed the spending in the document like this:

"During the six months ended June 30, 2012, we acquired $633 million of patents and other intellectual property rights. We completed the largest of these acquisitions in June 2012 under an agreement with Microsoft Corporation pursuant to which we were assigned Microsoft's rights to acquire approximately 615 U.S. patents and patent applications and their foreign counterparts, consisting of approximately 170 foreign patents and patent applications, that were subject to an agreement between AOL Inc. and Microsoft entered into on April 5, 2012. We paid $550 million in cash in exchange for these patents and patent applications."

Josh Constine contributed reporting to this article.

Vyclone Turns Your iPhone Video Into a Multi-Camera Masterpiece

Shooting an iPhone video with your fiends just got a lot more interesting. Meet Vyclone, a social video creation, collaboration, and sharing app for the iPhone and iPod touch.

Available Thursday, the app lets two or more users create a collaborative video with others who are also shooting an iPhone video in physical proximity to them even if you're not friends with or even aware the other people are shooting a video.

The result is an almost instant multi-angle video of an event that you'll swear was created by a professional video editor.

"Working as a musician for years, I noticed that people were always taking video of their favorite
moments of each concert, but there was no way for them to share their different viewpoints with
each other," said co-founder and chief creative officer Joe Sumner. "We created Vyclone to
solve that problem and the result is something that goes far beyond concerts to finding a new
medium for expression."

To do its magic, Vyclone uses the GPS in your iPhone to determine your location. If you're recording a video with the app at the same time and place as another person, then the app will automatically edit together your two videos into one ultimate video mix. Bring four people together in the same spot and Vycone will combine all four video streams into a single synchronized mix.

Filters such as sepia and black & white can be added to videos while you're shooting them to give them a unique look.

Once you're done recording -– videos are currently limited to one minute in length — you'll have the option to make the finished product available for just your crew (people you're linked to on Vyclone), the Crowd (people who were around you when the video was recorded), or Everyone.

Finished videos can be shared in one tap on Facebook and Twitter as well as saved to the camera roll on your iPhone or iPod touch.

You can upload your video clip with tags or a comment. Uploads can be done right after you're done shooting over your phone's data connection, but can also be saved within Vyclone to upload later when you're connected to a Wi-Fi hotspot or have a more reliable data connection.

Once uploaded Vyclone will find people who were near you at the time of shooting and automatically edit together your videos into one multi-shot completed video. If you don't like the automatic edit, you can also manually adjust it with Vyclone's built-in video editor.

Much like you can with other video and photo sharing apps, Vyclone also has a gallery of videos created by others on the app you can browse through, allowing you to see at a glance what videos are popular at the moment, as well as what videos Vyclone has decided to feature.

All public videos can be re-edited by alone. So, if you see a video and think you could do a better job, you have the option to do so.

If you're at a concert or event, a nearby feature on the app will let you see what other Vyclone movies have been created near the space you're in. The feature could also come in handy if you're traveling somewhere new and want to get a sense of what's going on around you.

Vyclone is currently available for iOS only, and is available now for free from the App Store.

You can check out some of the amazing videos people have already created by visiting Vyclone's website.

What do you think of Vyclone? When could you see shooting a multi-camera video useful? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

In mobile design, is failure really inevitable?

Posted 11 July 2012 20:16pm by Patricio Robles with 1 comment

Mobile design brings with it numerous challenges. From performance to form factor to platform/OS fragmentation, there are numerous barriers companies must leap if they want to build a successful mobile app.

But is mobile design failure an inevitable fact of life? According to Dave Morin, the founder and CEO of Path, the answer is yes.

Speaking at VentureBeat's MobileBeat 2012 conference, Morin recounted Path's early days and stated "The way you should think about mobile is that your first version's probably going to fail. Path today has some 2m-plus users," despite an embarrassing privacy flub earlier in the year, but according to Morin, "The first version of Path was 70 percent a failure."

There were several reasons for this. For one, Path's designers were apparently more fluent in web than mobile, and they designed a complex app sporting numerous features spread across multiple tabs and screens. That, perhaps not surprisingly, didn't work, and 20 iterations later, after collecting feedback and focusing on what users were actually using their app for, Morin and his team had a much more focused and simple version of Path.

There's a difference between FAIL and room for improvement.

Path's launch-and-iterate approach is not an uncommon one. Designing the perfect application is difficult, if not downright impossible -- whether on mobile or the web. But does that mean one should expect a mobile app to essentially fail at first? Fortunately not, as there's a huge difference between a design fail and a design that simply requires improvement.

In the mobile realm, many companies make the same mistake as Path: they design their mobile applications like they would web applications. And for plenty of reasons, including the fact that there are a lot more designers out there with significant web design experience than mobile design experience.

But that doesn't mean that Path's initial path is one that every company must follow. Mobile design best practices are being established, there are a growing number of designers with mobile chops, and trying to build a sophisticated app that does a lot of things and requires complex interactions (instead of a simple app that does one or two things really, really well) is a mistake that can be avoided.

Put the right people of the job and avoid basic mistakes and designing a good mobile application becomes a lot like designing a good web application: you can't expect you'll get it 100% right the first time, but doing more things right than wrong is an achievable goal.

GoPollGo Puts Polls in Your Twitter Feed

Startup GoPollGo has become the first polling company to integrate with Twitter's newly launched expanded tweets feature. Now entire polls can be viewed in the details of Tweets.

"Before, you tweeted out a question and didn't have space for all possible options," Ben Schaechter, founder of GoPollGo, tells Mashable. Now, "GoPollGo will give users a preview of all the options."

Seeing those options have increased clicks to companies' polls hosted on GoPollGo. "The people who are running the polls typically see three-to-four more times engagement," Schaechter said.

The startup's clients include ESPN, AppleInsider, The Weather Channel and

Schaechter highlights the site's analytics as a one-of-a-kind feature for Twitter polls. GoPollGo can segment the users who took the poll by a myriad of descriptors: age, gender, region, OS, browser and how influential other people on Twitter were in pointing that person to take the poll.

"When you ask a question, you get unstructured responses back. With GoPollGo you can see what your followers responded plus analytics," he said.

"You're not only getting the answer to your question, but you're also getting a lot of data behind the voters who are voicing their opinion."

This Twitter functionality is not available to all just yet. The expanded tweet option has rolled out to about 10% of Twitter users so far; the rollout will continue in the coming weeks.

SEE ALSO: Twitter's Expanded Tweets Now Show More Interactive Content

Offensive polls will likely be taken down, Schaechter says, but "we're pretty lenient." The company doesn't want to create "overarching rules," he said. So for more adult-themed polls, the team at GoPollGo will likely request the user mark the poll "private."

A chat area on the right side of the screen lets users expand on the reason behind their vote for a particular idea or brand.

For many, the go-to site for Twitter polling is TwtPoll. Schaechter says GoPollGo offers more features than the competition, such as detailed real-time analytics. Plus, it's free.

Unlike their competitors, Schaechter says GoPollGo will not charge by the number of people allowed to participate in the poll. However, companies that want a GoPollGo branded page will have to shell out some cash.

Schaechter says they'll work with companies on finding a competitive price — the startup doesn't want to charge a mom-and-pop store the same as a giant corporation.

Users login with Twitter or Facebook and post the poll to either feed (GoPollGo has full Facebook Open Graph integration). If you Like someone's poll, you'll receive updates on the status of that poll and the responses. The poll creator can see all the action on the poll — who answered, how they responded — and will be updated each time they login.

"It's a fun experience that's going to get you more votes and more views for your poll," he said. "It's fun and engaging no matter how big your following is." is an Idealab-backed startup launched January 2011. The team operates out of San Francisco and Palo Alto, Calif. Schaechter and a staff of three full time developers run the site.

Would you use GoPollGo? Tell us in the comments.

Twitter hits 10m UK users, 80% use mobile

Posted 15 May 2012 20:42pm by Patricio Robles with 0 comments

Facebook may be the subject of all of the headlines with its public debut looming this Friday, but another major player in the social networking space is reminding the world that it's still growing too.

Twitter, which has built a company that one day might go public too on the back of 140 character messages, has waived its hands in the air by announcing that it has surpassed 140m users worldwide.

As reported by The Guardian, 10m of those users are in the UK. That's good enough to make the UK Twitter's fourth largest audience behind the US, Brazil and Japan, and explains why the company has a 30 person strong office in London.

Although Twitter's userbase can't compete with Facebook's, the service's impact on society has arguably been nearly as significant, and in some areas, perhaps even more significant. As The Guardian's Charles Arthur notes, "over the past year [Twitter] has been blamed for inciting riots – a charge that was disproved – and of undermining superinjunctions involving, among others, Ryan Giggs and Jeremy Clarkson." And, as Arthur points out, Twitter has become a key platform for prominent figures, celebrities and brands to interact with the public.

Like Facebook, Twitter has a front-row seat to the mobile revolution. According to the company, some 80% of British users who used Twitter in the past month did so using a mobile phone. Obviously, Twitter's service, which was inspired in part by SMS, is more easily adapted to a mobile experience than, say, Facebook's, but in terms of monetization, which Twitter has taken slowly, the dramatic rise of mobile usage is clearly going to present challenges for Twitter too.

One challenge Twitter is facing that Facebook isn't (yet) is user attrition. The Guardian's Arthur observes that one research firm had pegged the number of Twitter profiles created at around 383m at the beginning of the year, so the 140m figure Twitter is touting hints that the company's service isn't for everybody.

Even with all the question marks, Twitter's growth, coupled with its age and the amount of funding it has received, raises the question: will we see a Twitter IPO in the next year or two? If Facebook's IPO is a success and its share price doesn't sink dramatically in its first six months, it wouldn't be all that surprising to see some of Twitter's investors pushing for a TWIT listing.

FC Barcelona launches 'FCB Alert' app for Facebook

Posted 23 March 2012 10:15am by David Moth with 1 comment

FC Barcelona has launched a Facebook app called 'FCB Alert', which it hopes will allow the club to engage better with the 28m fans it has on the social network.

Designed by MicroStrategy, the app includes exclusive content, news, interactive features and the ability to buy merchandise within Facebook.

Fans can interact with games, polls and a range of other multimedia content which can also then be shared with other Facebook users.

Of course delivering relevant messages to 28m global fans is no easy task, but MicroStrategy's app tailors content specifically for different groups or individuals based on their respective interests, demographics, and geography using the data that exists within Facebook.

FC Barcelona board member for new technologies Didac Lee said Alert would allow the club to connect with its fanbase on a deeper level.

FCB Alert is the perfect way to reach the club's tremendous Facebook following, both locally and worldwide, with exclusive offers and exciting news."

The tailored aspect of the app should ensure that fans don't ignore the posts, and should encourage a higher level of shares.

However, in order to receive relevant information users must first give their permission for the app to access 11 separate categories of personal data.

This includes responding to event requests on the user's behalf, accessing the user's data even when they're not using the app and information other people have shared with them.

The privacy policy reads: "Even if you have not explicitly allowed us access to any of your Facebook Information, we may collect information about you when your friends on Facebook allow access to and use the Service."

While the majority of Barcelona fans would probably be happy to give FCB Alert access to such information, we aren't, and as such can't confirm how user friendly the app is.

However - even if a small percentage of the club's Facebook community sign up to use the app, MicroStrategy will be able to collect a huge amount of data on Barcelona's fanbase - and also their fans' friends.

This information could then be used "to enable third parties to deliver targeted advertising".

As such, FCB Alert could prove to be a fantastic case study for Facebook as it looks to prove its worth as an advertising platform.

David Moth is a Reporter at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter

It's Probably a Bad Idea to Resolve Arguments via Text, Science Says

If your relationship involves a lot of texting, it may not be the happiest of unions.

That's the most significant finding of a study published this week on how serious couples use digital technology to communicate. Conducted by researchers at Brigham Young University, the study found that when men text their female partner frequently, they also find the relationship to be of lower quality.

The setting of the study, though, is a little weird, and not just in a "Western, educated, industrialized, rich, and democratic" sense (although the study's authors explicitly concede that the subjects were overwhelmingly white and highly educated). The study sampled a small group — only 276 18- to 25-year-olds — and of those sampled, this being a Brigham Young study, about a third were Mormon. According to the Pew Research Center, only 1.7% of Americans identify as Mormon. Likewise, 62% of the sampled couples were engaged or married; According to 2012 U.S. Census data, 85.3% of 20- to 24-year-old Americans have never been married. Finally, all of the couples sampled for the study were male-female.

Now, the study doesn't claim to be representative, nor does it claim to be causal. And some of its findings were helpful or cheerful. It found that when one partner sends another an affectionate text message, both people feel good about their relationship, but the sender can feel better. The study also found that couples are much more likely to keep up with one another via text than social networks. More than 80% of those surveyed said they sent more than one text a day to their partner.

It also — stunningly — found that trying to resolve arguments via text was associated with unhappier relationships.

One of the authors, Jonathan Sandberg, wondered if that was partly because texting conveys less information than a face-to-face conversation.

"Reaction to disappointment and reality testing occur more quickly face to face," he said in a release. "There is a narrowness with texting, and you don't get to see the breadth of a person that you need to see."

And ultimately, this paper wasn't written to satisfy the curious zeitgeist at all, but for a class of professionals: It was published in the Journal of Couple and Relationship Therapy. It's written for therapists, in other words, and its final conclusion is sound:

These findings suggest that it is worthwhile for clinicians to assess for types of technology communication in romantic relationships.

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

Image: Stephan Geyer

This article originally published at The Atlantic here

Stats: internet privacy and responsibility among consumers

This month the latest edition of our Internet Statistics Compendium includes the usual updates across its 12 data documents – including mobile, ecommerce, online advertising and all areas of digital marketing.

Our Demographics and Technology Adoption report has seen some particularly interesting data added to the internet security sections, thanks to freely available research from TRUSTe.

Online privacy is a huge subject of debate at the moment. Recent discussions surrounding the EU Cookie Directive, Edward Snowden's PRISM leaks and David Cameron's moves to ensure ISPs block certain content by default, have filled newspapers and digital forums alike.

But what are consumer attitudes to privacy in 2013? And who do they think are (and should be) responsible for their protection?

UK consumers appear less concerned about privacy in 2013

46% of UK consumers agree that privacy is 'a really important issue which I think about often,' down from 51% in 2012. The same proportion of people consider privacy 'a somewhat important issue which I think about sometimes,' with a further 8% admitting they 'hardly ever think about it.'

Despite this decline in numbers of people deeming privacy 'really important,' of those in the UK who are concerned, 53% say they are more concerned now compared to how they felt a year ago. 

The latter findings are more in keeping with what one might expect – i.e. that concerns would increase, the more online privacy issues are discussed in the press. But at the same time, more consumers are choosing to push privacy issues to the back of their mind.

UK consumers do not feel as responsible for their own online privacy protection

When it comes to who is in charge of the protection of our online privacy, there are a range of parties UK consumers consider responsible. 

Overall, UK users put website owners/publishers and social networks ahead of themselves. 77% say website owners/publishers are a lot or wholly responsible for an individual's online privacy and 74% say the same for social networks.

70% think it is up to the consumer instead and 67% put it down to government/regulation.

This is particularly striking when compared to TRUSTe's data from the US, where consumers feel they are far more responsible than anyone else.

Comparatively, 81% say individuals are a lot or wholly responsible for protecting an individual's online privacy.

Faith in government to protect internet privacy increases slightly, but still a minority view

The question of who is responsible for privacy protection and who consumers would rather be responsible leads to quite different answers, however. 43% of UK consumers would trust themselves the most to protect their own privacy, but this percentage is down significantly from 60% in 2012.

By comparison, 15% would rather trust governments and regulation the most and 8% have the most faith in independent privacy organisations.  It's interesting to note that the preference for government to be responsible for consumer privacy has increased (if only slightly) from 11% in 2012.

Online privacy is clearly a complex area to analyse and opinions of consumers can be seen to change significantly from year to year.

While users are perhaps not as confident in their own abilities to safeguard their privacy themselves, currently it seems there is yet to be another option with whom the majority would rather have their privacy protected by.

domingo, 30 de marzo de 2014

Your Nosy Boy/Girlfriend Can Unlock Your iPhone 5s With Your Thumb While You Sleep

The passcode can't die yet. The iPhone 5s's Touch ID fingerprint security system can be unlocked with your finger even if you're asleep. That means a jealous lover could hold your phone to your thumb while you slumber and read all your texts, call logs, emails, and more.

Apple confirms that a dead thumb won't work. Chloroforming the victim might, but international spies will have no luck cutting off a Prime Minister's thumb to access their secure files / selfies. Apple also doesn't send a copy of fingerprints back to its servers, and instead stores them in a "secure enclave" in its A7 processor designed to be inaccessible by hackers or other apps.

TOuch IDApple worked hard to make the the Touch ID security system easy to use. So easy a 5s can be unlocked by a cat, your toe, or even your…member, if it's registered with your phone. The real issue, though, is that Touch ID has no way of telling if someone is passed out.

Frat dudes, heads up. You could wake up from a night of drinking to find your bros messaged all your exes and creatively rewrote your Facebook profile. Yet the biggest threat is likely that of misuse by significant others.

It's common to hear the story of a suspicious girlfriend or boyfriend who went through their guy/girl's unlocked phone while he was asleep, found them flirting with someone else, and dumped them. Numeric passcodes would prevent this.

But Touch ID is vulnerable to "sleephacking."

As long as someone knows what finger[s] you've registered with Touch ID, they can pick your phone up off the nightstand, press it against your sleeping finger, and voilà, the phone unlocks.

If you have shady personal stuff in your phone, you should…not have shady personal stuff in your phone. And if your significant other will rifle through your phone while you sleep, you've got bigger problems. But if you're stuck sleeping by someone unscrupulous, you might want to go into your settings, enable passcode lock, and delete the fingerprints you have on file.

Really this all boils down to the idea that no password that humans have developed yet is both convenient and 100 percent secure. Not long strings of characters, not facial recognition, and not fingerprints. The lack of perfect digital security has become part of our culture — a risk and inconvenience no one is above for now. On that note, I'll leave you with this touching painting/poem by graffiti artist Banksy:


Started by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne, Apple has expanded from computers to consumer electronics over the last 30 years, officially changing their name from Apple Computer, Inc. to Apple, Inc. in January 2007. Among the key offerings from Apple's product line are: Pro line laptops (MacBook Pro) and desktops (Mac Pro), consumer line laptops (MacBook Air) and desktops (iMac), servers (Xserve), Apple TV, the Mac OS X and Mac OS X Server operating systems, the iPod, the...

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Y Combinator-Backed FanHero Helps YouTubers Sell Branded Merch To Their Fans

There are a lot of new YouTube stars out there, dudes who have a bunch of subscribers to their channels, watching their videos and whatnot. But sometimes it's tough to make a ton of money from YouTube. I mean, advertising isn't everything it's cracked up to be, and then you share some revenue with YouTube and the next thing you know there's not that much left.

They've got a lot going for them. I mean, it's cheaper than ever to buy a camera and get started and edit your stuff together and, man, there are a ton of people on YouTube. But they just wish they could make a little more money, you know. It's hard out there being a YouTube creator.

I mean, you've just gotta keep churning out the videos. You know, feed the beast.

So anyway, there's this company called FanHero. It's all about helping those YouTube guys make money in, like, non-advertising ways. Giving the community ways to support them through commerce — you know, selling stuff. It's like the classic merch model, like how you go to your favorite band's show and you buy a t-shirt or a CD.

But with this you don't have to go anywhere. You're just on the Internet and then — BOOM — you can buy their t-shirt right there. Oh yeah, and you can pay what you want. Like, it gives you a suggested amount to pay for a t-shirt or a poster, and it tells you how much your favorite YouTuber gets from that.

So let's say a t-shirt costs $13 and it suggests you pay $23. I mean, you don't have to, you can pay less. Maybe you're waiting for your paycheck from Hot Topic and you're short on money this week. You can pay $15, NBD. Just remember to pay more next time, you know, so these guys get SOME MONEY. I mean, what kind of fan are you, anyway?


Oh yeah, there's also a leaderboard and a place to show who's buying the most stuff, not to show off or anything just to show everyone how awesome the community members are, and like, a list of who's going above and beyond. Like that dude who paid $50 for a $13 t-shirt. That's a whole $30-some dollars, I guess almost $40, that went to that YouTube guy. Every little bit helps, man. Every little bit.

Anyway, if you're on YouTube and have a bunch of fans, it's really easy to set up. Just make an account and upload an image and FanHero will put it on stuff. Posters, t-shirts, iPhone cases. You know the drill. And then you tell your millions of subscribers about it and they buy your stuff and you get a check, as long as you've made $100 or more that month.

It's that easy. Maybe you don't have time to make a new video this week, but hopefully this'll give you a little spending money in the meantime, I mean, until you can upload something new and get those views up.

The guys behind FanHero are these Stanford CS undergrads Kevin Xu and Charlie Guo, who like, grew up on YouTube idolizing YouTubers. These guys don't remember a time when the world's biggest stars weren't on it. They're in Y Combinator now because that's where all the cool kids go to learn about the Internet and monetizing and stuff.

For now, FanHero is letting creators keep all the money from the sales of stuff on the site, while it's in beta and testing stuff out or whatever. After September they'll cut that down to 75 percent because, you know, they should get paid, too.

The creativity at the end of the rainbow

When the dust settles on all the current activity around technology and data, what will be left?

Creativity is the answer. But let us wind back a little.

Creativity is one of the core elements of our Modern Marketing Manifesto. It says "we believe we need creativity just as much as we need technology".

However, most of the energy and activity currently is directed towards data and technology. 

At a recent conference Mark Read, CEO of WPP Digital, described WPP as a 'data, marketing and technology company'. No mention of agency, no mention of media or creative.

Indeed WPP recently acquired Salmon, who specialise in ecommerce technology and related services. Large digital agencies likewise are snapping up capabilities around data and technology. LBi acquired web analytics specialists OX2 a few years ago and more recently they bought Sceneric, an ecommerce specialist. PWC purchased digital analytics specialist Logan Tod last year.

Econsultancy recently polled subscribers to find out which digital jobs were most in demand. When asked which role people would most like to recruit for in their teams, data and analytics roles were most in demand (16%) followed by content specialists (14%).

Marketing Week's 2013 salary survey also shows that those with specialist skills around data and insight were least likely to be facing squeezes on salary. 

So where is creativity amongst all of this? 

As part of Econsultancy's recent Integrated Marketing Week event in New York we surveyed over 1,000 marketers around the world. We wanted to find out how successful these marketers felt they were in integrating online and offline marketing to deliver the joined up (seamless, multichannel, omnichannel, take your pick…) customer experience we all talk about.

There were three notable findings: 

  • Firstly, those organisations who had fewer issues with internal politics and managed to operate without silos, were much further down the journey towards integrated marketing enlightenment.

    No real surprise there, except that it reinforces the point that unless you get the structure, processes and culture right then you are doomed to fail.

  • Secondly, the most sophisticated organisations were good with technology. Again, no surprise, and this is why all the agencies and consultancies are piling into the marketing technology space.
  • The third point was perhaps most interesting. When asked to rank seven criteria for integrated marketing success, those less advanced organisations put creativity as fifth, so low down their list. But for the sophisticated players creativity jumped to second place. 

Econsultancy has just published the Top 100 Digital Agencies guide.  Deloitte Digital ranks seventh. Deloitte a digital agency? The same Deloitte who acquired an innovative mobile agency Übermind in the US last year. The same Deloitte who are sponsoring the D&AD awards. D&AD who claim "all creative life is here."

Agencies who used to champion ideas and creativity seem to be chasing data and technology whilst management consultancies and system integrators are becoming agencies with creative credentials? What is going on?  

I believe many of us are currently busy trying to sort out our marketing technology, our data, our digital capability in terms of people, skills, processes and culture.

But once we've done that, once we are successfully fracking our data, once the tech dust has settled, what then? We will be looking for creativity at the end of the rainbow. The smartest marketers already know this. 

On 10 October this year we will be running an event called Punch, curated by Econsultancy and Marketing Week sister brand Creative Review. We hope to see you there to join the debate.

Motorola Home Finds A New Home At Arris. Google Sells Broadband Unit For $2.35B To Double Down On Mobile

SUWANEE, Ga. and MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Dec. 19, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — ARRIS Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: ARRS), a global innovator in broadband media technology, and Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) today jointly announced that ARRIS and Motorola Mobility, a Google subsidiary, have entered into a definitive agreement under which ARRIS will acquire the Motorola Home business from Motorola Mobility, for $2.35 billion in a cash-and-stock transaction approved by the Boards of Directors of both companies. The acquisition will be on a cash-free, debt-free basis and is expected to be significantly accretive to ARRIS' Non-GAAP earnings starting in the first full year after closing.

Under the terms of the agreement, upon closing of the transaction, Google will receive $2.05 billion in cash and approximately$300 million in newly issued ARRIS shares, subject to certain adjustments provided for in the agreement, representing an approximately 15.7% ownership interest in ARRIS post-closing.

Acquiring Motorola Home will enhance ARRIS' ability to provide next-generation consumer video products and services, supporting a more comprehensive product offering while also accelerating its ability to deliver a comprehensive set of industry-leading new products for broadband to a wide spectrum of customers. The transaction will increase ARRIS' patent portfolio and provide a license to a wide array of Motorola Mobility patents.

"This transformational combination of two complementary businesses will create a leading end-to-end provider of today's video, data, and voice products and tomorrow's next-generation IP-based broadband products," said Bob Stanzione, Chairman and CEO of ARRIS. "Ever-expanding consumer demand for bandwidth will continue to drive growth across cloud and network technologies we provide that enable innovative home entertainment products and services."

"Acquiring Motorola Home builds on ARRIS' rich history, creating a global player with significant footprint, revenue and cash flow. It also adds expertise in video and a larger presence in the home to our core strengths in voice and data, ensuring we are even better positioned to capitalize on and manage the evolution toward multi-screen home entertainment. We look forward to working with the Motorola Home team as we integrate their complementary product portfolio and engineering expertise to accelerate best-in-class end-to-end solutions to a broader customer base and increase value for shareholders," Stanzione continued.

Together, ARRIS and Motorola Home will have a global presence with over 500 customers in 70 countries, more than tripling ARRIS pro forma combined revenue to approximately $4.7 billion for the trailing four quarter period ended September 30, 2012. The combined entity will offer a wide array of products and solutions and will have an expanded customer base encompassing the full spectrum of broadband content and service providers.

"Our Home business has been a vibrant part of Motorola Mobility's portfolio, innovating while delivering strong financial performance," said Dennis Woodside, Chief Executive Officer of Motorola Mobility, the Google subsidiary that is the parent of Motorola Home. "The industry faces its biggest technology transformation, and together ARRIS and Motorola will be able to accelerate related innovations such as the introduction of the IP Connected Home environments that service providers need and that their consumers crave."

"We share a similar vision and strategy with ARRIS for the industry's migration to IP. The combination of our solutions, expert technologists and roadmaps promises to transform how service providers deliver the smart, simple connected home to consumers throughout the world," said Marwan Fawaz, the Executive Vice President of Motorola Mobility who leads Motorola Home.

Motorola Home is a profitable business that generated revenues of $3.4 billion for the trailing four quarters ended September 30, 2012. The combination is expected to generate approximately $100 – $125 million in annual cost synergies.

The transaction is expected to close by the second quarter of 2013, subject to customary approvals and closing conditions.

The cash portion of the consideration to be received by Google at closing will be funded through debt financing commitments from Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Royal Bank of Canada.

Evercore Partners is acting as lead financial advisor and Troutman Sanders is acting as lead legal counsel to ARRIS on this transaction. Bank of America Merrill Lynch is also advising ARRIS. Barclays is acting as financial advisor and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP is acting as legal counsel to Google on this transaction.

Techie Volunteers Get New Yorkers Online After Sandy

The days of techies hiding in their basements or thinking only about stock options and foosball tables are long gone in New York City. Instead, they are organizing en masse to help small businesses, schools and nonprofit organizations get up and running after the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. And they are spreading beyond the Big Apple to offer assistance in Long Island, New Jersey, Upstate New York and Connecticut.

The efforts could also be the beginning of a regular commitment of technology pros to serve the New York community, as well as a model for the whole country, say organizers.

Much of the effort is coming from the New York Tech Meetup (NYTM), which has more than 28,000 members, including major tech entrepreneurs, investors and coders.

The campaign started taking volunteers the day after the storm (Tuesday, Oct. 30.) and had more than 350 by Friday morning. Most requests have been for getting organizations back online. But the meetup is also offering help with data recovery, backup power systems and temporary websites.

SEE ALSO: New Yorkers Trek to Keep Gadgets Powered in Sandy's Wake

In addition, co-working centers, where freelancers or small companies rent office space, have volunteered to take people in. One of them, New Work City, is in the blackout zone. But the company's co-founder, Tony Bacigalupo, secured a donated space at the Brooklyn Brainery, a continuing education school. There he has provided a space for about 15 people to do their own work and also to organize the volunteer effort.

Others can go to a Web site, called Sandy Coworking, featuring a "crowdsourced" map where people report places that provide free or paid office space, as well as power outlets and Internet access. People can also get help at a Hurricane Recovery web page or by texting a request to 646-392-7353.

Techies are envisioning ongoing programs long after the Hurricane Sandy aftermath. "We are…already starting to build the framework for NY Tech Corps that can be in place to support recovery in future disasters and emergencies, and do other ongoing volunteer work," Jessica Lawrence, managing director of NYTM, told TechNewsDaily in an email.

That would be a continuation of efforts begun a decade ago after the 9/11 attacks. Back then, Andrew Rasiej, chairman of the NYTM and Founder of Personal Democracy Media, organized a similar effort. But he took it a step further, working with Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon on a bill creating a national technology corps called Netguard, the program made its way into the Homeland Security Act of 2002. But neither President Bush nor President Obama has made use of the program, said Rasiej.

While Internet access may seem like a minor concern next to flooding, lack of water and medical needs, Rasiej said that technology is key to fulfilling those needs. "The support mechanisms that are critical to keep those things running are technology based," he said.

Other Ways to Help

Rasiej named other things that technology can do, such as creating a database of residents requesting help. Bacigalupo agreed. "Just making people aware of what's going on has been a big help for folks," he said.

In the near future, the technologists also plan to include relief projects in "hackathons," which bring programmers together for a day or two with the challenge of building a new product, app or Web service. Several that were already scheduled, beginning next week, may now include challenges to create relief tools along the lines of that crowdsourced map of workspaces.

"In a hyper-connected world where the economy and our livelihoods are so reliant on technology, the need for emergency tech support should not be a fantasy," said Andrew Rasiej. "It should be a fact of life."

It’s “D-Day” For Twitter’s “Display Requirement” Changes, And Guess What? Nothing Happened.

It's been exactly one month since Twitter announced the 1.1 version of its APIs and the fact that some things were going to change for third-party developers. A lot of folks, including me, took that to mean that the stuff was about to hit the fan for anyone who has spent time building something cool on top of Twitter.

That really hasn't happened, fortunately, save for a few situations like IFTTT, which I truly believe wasn't Twitter's fault at all. Other than that, things have been pretty quiet.

The deadline for apps and services to get their act together for the "Display Requirements" portion of the API changes was today, October 5th, as outlined by The Next Web. While the company hasn't put up a new fancy page or blog post, the deadline is here. Some developers were surprised by this, as they thought that they had until March of next year to make these changes. The 1.1 stuff about API usage, yes…not display. Regardless, things have been sailing relatively smoothly, with appropriate changes being made by developers, best we can tell.

You see, at tech publications like ours, we get tips about all types of news. Not a day goes by where someone doesn't write in to alert us about something they might seem as an injustice. Sometimes, they're absolutely right, and we jump on it with a story and do the homework by reaching out the companies that are involved.

In Twitter's case, specifically with the latest API changes, we've heard no horror stories about apps being bullied, shut down or otherwise cut off. That's a good thing, because I was really worried about that, and a few other things that had been happening.

I'm not saying that everything is perfect with the way Twitter is ratcheting back its API usage, because well…I've never witnessed a company going from completely open to anything but that. Usually, a company that can't scale just shuts down, and Twitter clearly isn't shutting down.

Having said all of that, we do talk to developers and continue to, and haven't heard any situations to think that these deadlines or changes are affecting anything. If you've heard otherwise, hit us up on the tip line. So far, nobody has "died", nobody has been "cut off" and all is tweeting along.

We reached out to Twitter regarding details on how they'd handle these things and so far we haven't heard back. We assume that flying monkeys won't be attacking developers anytime soon.

It's D-Day, and there's nothing to see here folks…please move along.

[Monkey credit: Flickr]

Twitter, founded by Jack Dorsey, Biz Stone, and Evan Williams in March 2006 (launched publicly in July 2006), is a social networking and micro-blogging service that allows users to post updates 140 characters long. Twitter "is a real-time information network that connects [users] to the latest stories, ideas, opinions, and news." The service can be accessed through a variety of methods, including Twitter's website; text messaging; instant messaging; and third-party desktop, mobile, and web applications. Twitter is currently available in...

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Moment.Me For iPhone Creates Shared Albums With Photos, Videos, & Tweets From You & Friends is a new iPhone application that automatically aggregates photos, videos, and tweets from social networks, and then organizes them into multimedia albums it calls "moments." It currently supports Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google+, meaning it sources the content from those networks to create these moments, so you don't have to change any of your current sharing behavior.

The system works using a proprietary "smart-matching" technology to determine which pieces of content should be organized together. When an event is ongoing, a red "Live" banner appears, indicating that updates are still coming in.

"We saw an unfilled void in the social web," says CEO Ronny Elkayam. "Photo and video sharing sites were popping up all over, showcasing people's experiences, while at the same time, people were tweeting to their followers while at live public events – from concerts and parties to political rallies. However," he adds, "there was nothing around that collected all the pics, videos, and tweets from an experience and presented them in a format where people could see 360-degree views of the entire experience."

With, the end result is something which is very much like Flock, the new shared photo albums app from Bump, which lets you automatically share photos you snap at the same location with any of your Facebook friends. And by "share," I mean without having to first post them to Facebook, upload them in the app, or really do anything other than install and configure Flock on your iPhone. (It's brilliant, actually, and I've been evangelizing it to my family and friends.) has a similar idea, but the difference is that it doesn't require others to actually use the app to provide value. "Even if a user is the only one in the room with the app, if they're hanging out with people they're connected with in their social networks, they'll still see great Moments with their friends' content included," explains Elkayam. "We call this the 'empty room scenario.'"

That's an interesting concept, and it could be a big differentiator for, but in practice, I found myself questioning some of the results. For example, discovered my tweets and photos from Thursday at TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2012, but only matched me with one other person, a Facebook friend who was also there. Surely someone else on my Twitter, Facebook, Instagram (etc.) networks was also sharing content? Right??

It sounds like's proprietary matching tech still needs a tweak. Or maybe apps like this just work better when people actually install them on their devices! (So um, please do that.)

In terms of user privacy, complies with everyone's social network privacy settings. That means if you're posting to a select group of friends on Facebook via lists, that photo doesn't (creepily) become available in the app to a Facebook friend in a different group.

The 10-person company was founded in February 2012 in Tel Aviv by Elkayam, Eilon Tirosh, and Boaz Adato. In May, it took in $1.5 million in seed funding from Blumberg Capital and other private investors. Today, the R&D continues in Israel, but there's a small office in New York.

To try for yourself, you can download it here in iTunes.

Best practice tips for market research on mobile devices

Posted 17 September 2012 13:06pm by David Moth with 0 comments

The proliferation of mobile devices has opened up a number of new opportunities for marketers to communicate with their customers.

We tend to focus mainly on m-commerce and mobile advertising as that's where the bulk of the revenue is, but new data from eDigitalResearch shows that mobile is also a great way to conduct market research.

Around 10% of eDigitalResearch's surveys are currently completed on mobile, a figure that has doubled since July 2011.

With this in mind, it interview 649 UK respondents through mobile devices to find out more about how mobile users are taking part in research studies.

It found that almost three-quarters (72%) of respondents had previously completed a survey on a mobile device and 82% said they were likely to take part in survey from their mobile in future.

A further 72% said they 'strongly agree' or 'agree' that it is more convenient for them to complete a survey on their mobile device.

While the results of this survey show that mobile is increasingly important in market research, you need to bear in mind that all the respondents completed the surveys on their mobiles.

This means the results are biased in favour of mobile users and they are likely to be far more positive about mobile surveys that the general population.

Best practice for mobile research

Like mobile shoppers, mobile survey respondents rate functionality and usability above the design, layout, look and feel of a survey. Almost three quarters of respondents (71%) believe that it is 'very important' that pages load quickly.

In comparison, just 15% feel that a survey design that looks appealing is 'very important', and similarly 15% think that it is 'very important' that a survey design reflects a brand.

Feedback from respondents shows that 15% of mobile device users had struggled to complete surveys on mobile because of the use of Flash Player.

To avoid these issues and make mobile surveys more user-friendly eDigitalResearch has published the following tips:

  • Use condensed and unambiguous question text with simple and easy to understand answer set.
  • Make sure the layout has been clearly optimised and fits the screen.
  • Remove more complicated questions, such as drag and drop, from mobile optimised versions of a survey.
  • Use clear, large font that is easy to read, even when the screen is dimmed.
  • Don't use content that relies on Flash Player.
  • Limit the number of text boxes to reduce the amount of typing required by respondents.

Top 10 Comments on Mashable This Week

Between Samsung's losing verdict to Apple, a mysterious 100-year-old package from Norway and the president getting in on all the internet jokes, there were a lot of stories that Mashable's readers commented on this week.

The Reconnect Project, an initiative that aims to spur creativity with an online blackout, left our readers conflicted. Some thought it was a great way to tap back into what's important in our lives instead of staying isolated behind a computer screen, and others felt technology and the Internet aren't the root of the problem.

Google decided to promote advertising directly on its homepage for the first time, which left Mashable's Chris Taylor asking: Has Google jumped the shark? Many of our readers agreed, but also debated whether Google's business practices can really be compared with Microsoft's.

It's no secret that many corporate brand pages can get annoying, but when we posted the ultimate parody, "Condescending Corporate Facebook Page", our readers were delighted that someone felt their pain.

Obama's response on Twitter to a viral Eastwooding meme garnered a lot of comments from our readers; many said they were glad to see the president has a sense of humor.

Our own readers had quite the sense of humor this week when we asked them to guess what might be inside a mysterious 100-year-old mystery package sealed by Johan Nygaard in Norway.

We love to hear from our readers, and encourage you to get involved with the conversation on Mashable. Check out our best practices for commenting on the site, and join Mashable Follow to get involved with the Mashable community. Next week, you might find your comment here.