What's Hot in Tech - December 09
Tumblr's 2013 Year in Review
Foursquare completely redesigns app, makes it even smarter
Foursquare, the location-based discovery app, has rolled out a complete redesign for iPhones running Apple's latest software, iOS7. In addition to a beautiful new look and improved user experience, the app is a heck of a lot smarter when it comes to knowing where you are and making recommendations without even opening the app. Based on location, the app can recommend the best entrée to order or point out the money-saving deal at the restaurant you just walked into. Foursquare has been focused on using its data to provide recommendations in real-time, before users ask for them, and it's starting to come together.
Google wants to help you remember passwords by eliminating them
You likely have hundreds of username and password combinations for all the websites you use yet none of them are strong enough should a hacker decide to access your accounts. Google is looking to solve the password problem with a USB drive known as YubiKey. The tiny USB drive plugs into your computer's USB port and, combined with your entering of a username and simple PIN, provide the authentication necessary to login to your various website accounts. Google has been testing the product internally and receiving positive feedback. A rumored release of the product is set for 2014.
Facebook updating news feed to surface more articles, interesting content
Facebook is full of cat photos, silly viral videos, and other low-value content. The social network recognizes some of its content isn't the most interesting or engaging and it's looking to solve that by making adjustments to the content it shows in the news feed. Facebook has updated its news feed algorithm to show more articles, resurface articles commented on by friends, and present related articles you may also be interested in reading.
An automatic journal app to truly capture all your experiences
Heyday believes social media is too curated – a display of the parts of life we choose to share and therefore not a complete picture of all the places we go and photos we take. With their app for iOS-only (for now), Heyday builds a journal of users' lives based on places visited and photos taken, automatically selecting the best photos, applying stylized filters, and assembling them into collages. Users can then fine-tune their journal by listing friends they were with during each moment, tweaking collage layouts or photo filters, and more. Photo collages can be shared to social networks if you so choose, but the app is focused on self-reflection and rediscovering memories.
A great looking magazine for iPhone and iPad – it sounds good too
Offline magazine is a digital magazine for iPhone and iPad containing five articles a month across culture, comedy, and opinion. The brilliant part of Offline is its audio component. Each article is available in audio form which can be listened to from the beginning or triggered at any point while reading by tapping and holding on a sentence and selecting "Tap to Play". As the audio plays, the corresponding text is underlined making it easy to follow along. Monthly issues are just 99 cents.
A running app to keep you topped off so you can finish strong
There are endless apps for tracking running statistics – distance, time, pace – but there are few to none taking responsibility for keeping runners properly hydrated and fed throughout, especially on long training runs. Fuel My Run, an app from marathon runner Mark Kennedy, tracks typical statistics but, more importantly, reminds you when to refuel with food and fluids. Before setting out for a run, select the distance you'll be running and which types of energy gel/bar and sports drink you'll be consuming along the way. Knowing the nutritional content of what you've selected, the app alerts users when it's time to consume more food and fluid to keep you energized and running strong. The app also lets you sync your run statistics with RunKeeper, one of the leading running and stat tracking apps.
New York Times Twitter bot analyzes NFL coaching decisions in real-time
The New York Times launched a Twitter account (@NYT4thDownBot) analyzing every 4th-down call from every NFL game. The account uses years of historical data from plays matching down and distance to share analysis in real time and disagreements with coaching decisions.
Former Wall Street Journal reporter launches new source for tech news
Jessica Lessin – former reporter for the Wall Street Journal – launched The Information, a subscription publication for tech news focused on quality over quantity. The Information points to the race for page views and ad dollars being responsible for publishers focusing on quantity instead of quality. The Information is aimed at professionals in technology and industries being disrupted by technology. A monthly subscription is $39 / month or $399 / year.
VSCO Cam photography app arrives on Android
VSCO Cam is a wonderful photography app chock-full of filters and editing tools combined with a dead-simple interface and has become the preferred app of photographers with iPhones. VSCO Cam is now available for Android devices, containing the same editing tools as the iOS version.
Apple launching location-based technology in its own stores
Apple is launching its iBeacon technology in its stores to send notifications to iPhones regarding products, events, discounts, and more based on where customers are in-store. To experience the tech, download the Apple Store app and visit your nearest Apple Store. I covered iBeacon technology – and its anticipated use by Major League Baseball – back in September.
- Any.do Cal, a simple, well-designed calendar app once iPhone-only is now available for Android devices. I covered the initial launch of Any.do back in June.
- The newly re-designed Google Maps has restored its handy short URL feature for sharing short map links with others.
- Medium, the blog publishing platform from Twitter co-founder Evan Williams, launched version 1.0 with new features including more photo placement and layout options and the ability to insert full-bleed photos throughout posts.
- Tumblr is launching sponsored content within the trending results displayed in their Explore section – initial participating companies include Calvin Klein, Delta, Sony Pictures, and Fox.
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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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