What's Hot in Tech - December 02

New trivia app quickly collects over 2M users

 QuizUp trivia app

QuizUp trivia app

QuizUp is a trivia app for iOS that places players into one-on-one competitions of seven questions based on a chosen topic. Topics include TV shows, movies, logo recognition, and more. Each question must be answered within 10 seconds with awarded points diminishing as the clock ticks down. Players can be randomly paired or can challenge fellow Facebook friends by connecting their account. Games are played in real-time or players can challenge friends who will play their turn when they're available. The app launched on November 7 and has already amassed over 2 million players.

Hands-free Google search on your computer 

 Google voice search extension for the Google Chrome browser

Google voice search extension for the Google Chrome browser

Google recently added a "hotword" feature to its Search app for iOS, allowing users to open the app and speak the phrase "OK, Google" followed by a search query. Google has now brought the same functionality to its desktop browser, Google Chrome, through an installable extension in the Chrome Web Store.

What if you could recommend just one book?

That's the question Just One Book has set out to answer with a collection of book recommendations from readers and writers. Recommendations are accessible on the website and shared on Twitter (@justonebookrec). The site launched with a set of 12 recommendations and promises to release more. 

Google continues to add to trove of Street View imagery 

 Google Street View: Lake Louise in Banff National Park

Google Street View: Lake Louise in Banff National Park

Google continues to add to its impressive service, Street View, within Google Maps. Recent additions include 16 international airports, 50+ train and subway stations, museums, and even a cable-car station in Hong Kong. Also offered are virtual tours of 40+ national parks in the United States and Canada including the Alamo, Mt. Rushmore, Grand Teton, and Joshua Tree. Check out the Street View gallery to view all available points of interest. 

Print your Instagram photos ... on marshmallows 

 Boomf - Instagram pictures printed on marshmallows

Boomf - Instagram pictures printed on marshmallows

That's right. Boomf has launched its service, based in the UK, allowing users to upload photos from their Instagram account for printing on a collection of 9 bite-sized marshmallows. The marshmallows are just over 1.5" square and are delivered in a specially designed box. The company currently ships to Europe and North America and hopes to expand worldwide next year.

Mobile devices drive sales during Thanksgiving 

While physical stores opened their doors earlier than ever this year, online sales on Black Friday were up 7% over last year according to data from IBM. Over 20% of total sales came from mobile devices, more than half of which were tablet devices and the rest smartphones. iPhones and iPads drove over 80% of sales on mobile devices compared to just over 18% on Android. Walmart reported 53% of its 400 million page views on Thanksgiving came from mobile devices and the number of new mobile shoppers increased 3x over last year with a peak traffic time of 7pm ET on Thanksgiving day.

A mobile management app for independent business owners 

Promptly is a mobile app offering scheduling, promotion, and payment tracking for independent service providers (e.g., personal trainers, plumbers, tutors). The app is currently in a closed beta phase, meaning interested users must sign up and be provided access until the app publicly launches. The service will offer both free and paid membership tiers. 

Quick Hits

  • The Google+ app for iOS now includes location sharing to keep friends informed of your whereabouts.
  • HotelTonight now releases its last-minute hotel deals at 9am instead of 12pm. The service is currently available in 200 destinations worldwide.
  • Instagram is rumored to be adding a private and group messaging feature by the end of 2013 to compete with the likes of SnapChat and other popular messaging apps.

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As a tech enthusiast, early adopter, and avid reader, I come across a lot of gadgets, apps, websites, and more. Few things excite me more than sharing and discussing these finds with others. Follow me on Twitter where I share even more tech news and trends.  

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