App developer Hyper is preparing to launch its self-titled photo-sharing app on iOS devices. The Hyper app is described as a hybrid of Instagram and Reddit, as users post pictures to the platform, which are then voted on by others. Instead of focusing on following other users, the Hyper app allows users to subscribe to their favorite hashtags, in a similar fashion to bookmarking a thread on a Web forum.
A major difference from Instagram and other photo-sharing apps, Hyper allows users to share multiple images in a single submission. These aren’t required to fit a theme, if their associated hashtag is general enough (say, the basic photography hashtag), but users can also isolate locations or events in each individual post they create. When posting, users can choose a preexisting hashtag or create their own, and are also encouraged to add a description to their content.
In addition, users aren’t limited to posting content from their camera rolls, as users can also search the Web within the app, and post the resulting photos.
While browsing photos, users swipe left and right to move between images, and tap up or down arrows to rate them. Users can also post comments on each photo. Each submission is listed alongside its point total, and while the username of the poster is also available, tapping on this only shows their total points earned across all posts. In other words, the Instagram-style profile features are missing from Hyper, with the focus being on featuring the best content from all users, and not singling out any one poster.
During beta, Hyper users have, on average, opened the app five times per day, with over one million votes registered during the beta period. Over 60,000 images have already been shared to the platform, with posts being viewed 800,000 times each week.
The Hyper app will launch out of beta on May 5. Hyper is available for free on the iTunes App Store.
Article courtesy of SocialTimes Feed
The company raised its first institutional round from lead investor Blumberg Capital and U.S. Venture Partners after picking up seed investments from a who’s who of the technology community, including BlackBerry CEO John Chen; Ken Goldman, the Yahoo CFO; and former Oracle COO Terry Garnett.
“The world has changed quite a bit with the financial service meltdown, and regulatory compliance is the resulting fact in today’s world,” said Strevus Chief Executive Ken Hoang in an interview.
Think of Strevus as a monitored and managed networking tool to ensure compliance with new regulations for financial services firms that are going to start taking effect this year.
“Compliance is not a competitive advantage today. The government is picking off [financial services firms] institution by institution,” Hoang said.
The first market that Stevrus is looking to address within the alphabet soup of new and updated compliance requirements being issued by the federal government is the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act.
FATCA targets tax evaders in the U.S. who aren’t properly reporting overseas financial accounts, and foreign financial institutions who bank for U.S. taxpayers or foreign entities in which U.S. taxpayers hold a majority stake, according to the IRS’s website.
San Francisco-based Strevus is currently working with a handful of banks on its managed platform, which operates as a networking tool and an industry Rolodex — as well as a compliance offering. “It’s similar to Box with a LinkedIn functionality,” said Hoang. “We’re enabling customers to reach out to others and bring their data in.”
Strevus will sell its service to both buy-side and sell-side firms. On the buy side, the company is targeting banks and financial services firms with assets ranging from $250 million to $1 billion. On the sell side the customer base is the top 20 banks, said Hoang.
A subscription to the Strevus service costs a sell-side customer between $100,000 and $200,000, according to Hoang.
Photo via Flickr user Bloomsberries.
Article courtesy of TechCrunch
Stack Overflow, the coding-focused Q&A site that’s proven to be an essential tool for professional and amateur programmers alike, had an approximately hour-long outage Sunday morning that affected a number of users.
According to Stack Overflow’s parent company Stack Exchange, the cause was a DDoS attack against its network provider. The issue has been “partially mitigated” and the site is back up and running now, Stack Exchange says.
Reports of Stack Overflow’s outage started to hit Twitter and Hacker News at around 11am Pacific Time Sunday, and continued for about an hour. The panicked (and often humorous) notes of programmers who were unable to access the site during their planned Sunday coding sessions show just how valuable the service is for so many people:
Well, stackoverflow is down. Might as well pack it in and take the day off.—
In many cases, when a developer-focused company launches an app, it’s done as a proof-of-concept: “Hey, look what you could do with our technology!” In this case, however, co-founder Jeff Boudier said this was built to address an honest-to-goodness consumer need, using a lot of the video technology that Stupeflix had already built.
“Even the biggest oversharers will only share 10 percent of their photos,” he said. “The rest will die in the camera roll. We want to fix that.”
So with Replay, you can bring your photos and videos together in a single video. If you do it right, it’s like a slideshow, but flashier and more fun. The concept is similar to the Animoto mobile app, which has the company says been downloaded more than 1 million times, and which it’s still working to simplify.
I haven’t tried Animoto on my iPhone, but Replay is certainly easy-to-use — you just choose the items you want to include, and the app opens a single menu where you can choose a filter, choose music, and rearrange the order of the photos and videos. When I tried Replay, I only had five photos on my camera roll (and two of them were of receipts), so the resulting video wasn’t worth sharing (trust me), but the results in the “featured” section of the app are pretty impressive.
“Our vision has always been to make it easy and quick for them to express themselves through video,” Boudier added. “This is really the accomplishment of our vision.”
Replay is currently available for iOS. Boudier said he’s planning to release an Android version in the second or third quarter of next year — for now, he said he’s focused “on exploiting 100 percent of the capacity of the iPhone.”
Article courtesy of TechCrunch
LifeStreet Media carved a nice niche for itself in the Facebook application ecosystem, with more than 3,500 developers using its self-service publisher portal to add display adds to their apps. Starting Monday, the company is looking beyond the social network, expanding the use of its platform to all mobile apps.
LifeStreet Media announced Monday that it is targeting the more than 2 million mobile apps available via the Apple App Store and Google Play with its RevJet monetization engine, which uses what the company calls “universal object serving” technology to tap visual objects (texts, images) and logical objects (ad placements, targeting algorithms) for advertising opportunities within the flow of apps.
Those visual objects and logical objects are incorporated into landing pages, which are created, tested, and optimized so that apps can extract the most revenue from the resulting ads.
Developers can install LifeStreet’s software development kit or link directly to ad exchanges including AdMob, Burstly, and MoPub.
LifeStreet Media said 50 mobile app developers have already been using RevJet via a private beta, adding that its self-service publisher portal provides developers with benefits including 24/7 customer service, customizable real-time reporting, and an intuitive user interface.
Founder and CEO Mitchell Weisman said in a release announcing the launch:
LifeStreet strives to be a developer’s best friend. For advertisers seeking high volumes of new customers, LifeStreet has long been their secret weapon. For social developers seeking to monetize their Facebook apps, LifeStreet has long been the market-leading option. Today, with the launch of our new self-service mobile portal, we hand the monetization power of the RevJet platform directly to mobile developers. Finally, mobile developers truly can make money — lots of it — through highly effective display advertising.
Facebook developers: Are any of you currently LifeStreet Media RevJet users?
Article courtesy of Inside Facebook
When I first started visiting Central Europe about seven years ago, the response was dismal. The first meetup we held in Warsaw, for example, consisted of five dudes who thought I was selling Amway. Now, however, folks like Open Reaktor, Aula Polska, and Bitspiration are bringing together some of the coolest startups I’ve ever seen, and I’m pleased to introduce you to a pair of great companies. Two weeks ago we held another great startup event in Warsaw and the resulting pitch-off was pretty amazing.
Let’s talk about the winners. First there’s Allerad. Founded by Jakub Musiałek, this company aims to employ radiologists who then bid on X-Ray readings online and perform them faster and more efficiently than the current mash of services and service providers doctors currently use.
The runner-up is OLVTeam, a unique video-based learning platform for creatives. It’s not a new idea, but it’s well implemented and quite clever.
Other standouts include the code review system CodeBrag, sleep monitor IntelClinic, and some dude with two Rolexes. In short, it was a lot of fun and the scene is growing every year — a great sign in the middle of post-recession Europe.
Article courtesy of TechCrunch
Twitter is nearing an agreement with Viacom to host TV clips and sell advertising on the site, reports Bloomberg. It is also reportedly discussing a content partnership with Comcast’s NBCUniversal, and one or more of the deals could be reached by mid-May.
According to sources cited in the article, the partnerships would let Twitter stream videos on its site and split the resulting ad revenue with the networks. Twitter already has agreements in place with ESPN, Weather Channel LLC, and Turner Broadcasting System.
If the partnerships come to fruition, it would be the latest step in Twitter’s moves to branch out from being a microblogging platform to a multi-faceted media platform in a bid to increase user engagement and reap more advertising revenue. Engaging with television networks is a logical step for the company: a third of active Twitter users tweeted last June about something they saw on television, up from 26 percent last year, according to a Nielsen report (Twitter has also partnered with Nielsen to measure how much of chatter on the site is prompted by television programs).
Other recent moves by Twitter to build tools allowing users to share content within the platform instead of relying on third-party providers include the launch of its music app last week after it acquired music discovery service startup We Are Hunted, and the introduction of Vine.
Article courtesy of TechCrunch
You may not have noticed yet but Twitter added line breaks yesterday. This change clearly hasn’t fully sunk in yet — at least, not to my Twitter stream (which is two-line business as usual this morning). But expect a few inflated tweets to start floating through your feed soon.
Adding the ability to view line breaks is a pretty subtle change on the surface — yet a few hard returns can spread 140 characters an awful long way:
Twitter won’t let you tweet giant blocks of emptiness (I checked). But you should be able to space your tweet text over around 70 lines if you ration it one character per time (and want to be really irritating):
One of the huge advantages (in my view) of Twitter is the brevity of tweets, and the resulting density of Twitter streams. Twitter is now allowing the latter to break up. Which is a pretty big deal, in one sense. But hopefully won’t be as disruptive to Twitter users as it could be — ie if everyone you follow suddenly turned into a five-year-old child.
Why is Twitter adding line breaks? Officially the company hasn’t said much — beyond suggesting it will be “fun”:
It’s possible Twitter is responding to advertisers hoping for more ways to make their promoted tweets stand out — ie by occupying more of your stream. But since anyone can pepper their tweets with extra padding it may not always be such a big differentiator.
Line breaks are supported by the Twitter web client and Twitter’s official apps. But third party clients are likely to need time to catch up. (You can imagine some will tout lack of support as a feature.)
I can see two main Twitters emerging post-line breaks (assuming Twitter doesn’t get cold feet and spike the feature). One version where users interested in using Twitter as an information service carry on tweeting their standard two-lines’ worth of wisdom while gleaning lots of useful knowledge from what is a quasi-RSS feed reader.
And another Twitter, where the kids hang out, swapping song lyrics and tweeting emoji-style graphics at each other — spread out over as many lines as possible like so much digital graffiti.
In other words: