What's Hot in Tech - July 15
Apple shows off revamped software for iPhone, iPad
Apple held their annual developers conference to announce the latest version of their mobile operating system, iOS 7. The biggest reveal is a ground-up redesign of Apple's mobile software, a welcome change long called for within the Apple and design communities from those growing tired of Apple's aesthetics. Other big features include an new notification center, vastly improved organization and sharing of photos, improvements to the personal assistant Siri, and a new method for multitasking. You'll be able to update your iPhone or iPad "this fall", but Apple has yet to provide a specific release date. History says we'll see iOS 7 released alongside a new iPhone model sometime in September.
Nextdoor neighborhood network endorsed by New York City
The social network space has slowly seen a move away from general social networks like Facebook toward more focused, niche networks such as Path (close friends), Instagram (photos and video), and SnapChat (short-term photos and video). Nextdoor is a private social network for neighborhood communication including community updates, recommendations (e.g. best dry cleaner), and safety issues. New York City has embraced the platform in order to provide city updates and eventually content from the NYPD and utility companies. New York City continues to find new ways to stay in touch with its population in light of Hurricane Sandy and other impactful events requiring updates on transit, trash collection, safety notices, and more.
Lift brings its habit tracking to your web browser
Lift is one of my favorite mobile applications and has helped me develop healthy habits. The app is straightforward in that it allows users to check off completed activities on a daily basis to build multi-day streaks and establish habits. You can enter any desired habit or take advantage of existing habits within the Lift community including "Call Mom/Dad", "Floss", "Work on blog", or "Drink a glass of water in the morning". Lift started as an iPhone-only app and has now expanded to be accessible through your web browser for tracking habits when at your desk.
Facebook joins the hashtag party
You're likely familiar with #hashtags at this point as they have reached mass adoption thanks to Twitter and their ability to coordinate discussions around television shows, movie releases, sporting events, and much more. Facebook has finally rolled out support for hashtags on their own platform, providing context for status updates and much improved discovery of similar content.
Facebook app gets updated with actions and emotions
In April, Facebook started allowing people to share their emotions and actions (reading, watching, listening to, drinking, eating, and playing) when using Facebook in a web browser. Emotions and actions allow people to supplement their status updates with "feeling happy" or "watching Sharknado". Facebook has now released this feature for users of its Apple iOS and Android apps making it easy to share in the moment how you're feeling or what you're enjoying.
Facebook releases graph search for all
In January, Facebook announced a new feature called Graph Search and it's now available to all users. Graph Search allows Facebook users to execute specific searches for people and content across all friendships and public content including useful searches like:
- "Photos of New York City taken by my friends" -- great for viewing NYC through the lens of your friends ahead of your visit
- "People who went to Clarkson University who live in New York City" -- for finding fellow alumni who live in your city
Instagram introduces 15-second videos
Instagram isn't just for photos anymore. No doubt due to the pressure of Vine, the short-form video app from Twitter, Instagram has come to the table with their own video capabilities. Video for Instagram allows users to create 15-second videos comprised of multiple clips, or one single clip, along with useful features including clip deletion and footage stabilization. Video for Instagram is available for Apple and Android devices by simply updating your Instagram app.
Vine sharing on Twitter drops in light of Instagram video release
Vine's rise in popularity has been exhibited over the past couple months by the number of videos being shared on Twitter. That growth has come at the apparent expense of Instagram as photos shared on Twitter have dropped significantly. Instagram reversed that trend with the announcement of video for Instagram. From day one, market data has shown a marked drop in Vine videos shared on Twitter whereas Instagram content shared to Twitter has made a strong comeback. Sharing on Twitter is an indication of general usage and the battle is on for the creation of visual content.
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.