Posts tagged Edge

Sharpen Your Edge With Workshops At SMX Advanced

Everyone attending SMX Advanced expects (and gets) an intensive two-day experience learning cutting edge tactics and techniques conducted by the foremost experts and thought leaders in the industry. Take the experience to the next level, by attending one of the full-day immersive workshops covering…

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I Tested The Cutting Edge Of Taxi Innovation, And Things Went Awry

This post first appeared on the Ferenstein Wire, a syndicated news service; it has been edited. For inquires, please email author and publisher Gregory Ferenstein.

Uber is systematically wiping out taxis in San Francisco. Between March 2012 and July 2014, average monthly trips per taxicab plummeted 65%, to 504 from 1,424. In an effort to save the industry, the startup Flywheel has begun outfitting taxis with technology designed to provide Uber-like convenience via smartphone hailing and payments.

But after testing the competitor’s latest innovation, it’s clear that Uber’s counterpart is having trouble keeping up. (though maybe that’s unsurprising, since Uber has pulled in 150 times the investment Flywheel has managed so far: $5.9B vs. $35M.)

Uber-fying Taxis

I was excited to test out Flywheel’s latest feature, in which its app syncs automatically identifies when you’ve climbed into a Flywheel cab, allowing you to pay with your phone without further fuss. This seemed like an impressive innovation. Indeed, Fortune just hailed the feature as evidence that perhaps taxis could still compete with Uber and its ilk.

Unfortunately, the execution was rather frustrating. Not only did the app fail during my trip; so did other aspects of the process that have long since been solved by other ride-hailing startups.

Here’s how it went:

  • I went outside to grab a cab. But, waiting for an open cab in San Francisco during the busy post-dinner rush hour near Russian Hill took about five times longer than e-hailing an Uber from the comfort of the restaurant.
  • When I eventually snagged a Flywheel-enabled cab, the app didn’t recognize I was in a Flywheel car. So I had to exit the cab, paying $4 for a mere five second trip.
  • Eventually, I trekked up to a series of hotels where I knew I could find a Flywheel-branded cab. Success! The app’s prompt switched on as soon as I walked up to the Flywheel cab.

  • Midway through the ride, though, the app stopped working and gave me a notice that there was a fatal error.
  • The driver called in the problem to a rather disinterested dispatcher, who informed the driver in no uncertain terms that this was not something he could fix.
  • So I asked the driver to stop so I could exit the cab and start over. But when we pulled to the side of the road, Flywheel couldn’t find a nearby address, and I spent five minutes trying to name locations near the area with a known landmark.

  • After we found an address and eventually made it to the location, I had to negotiate with the driver how to apply the tip from the first part the ride. It took us some time before we figured out that he should charge me a certain amount and I shouldn’t give a tip.

Less Than Friendly Service

Only part of this was a Flywheel problem, although it should certainly be able to make its app and its address-finding technology work better. In other respects, though, the company is simply making the best of a bad situation.

In particular, Flywheel’s latest feature aims to solve a problem created by government-mandated scarcity. Local governments limit how many licensed cabs they allow on the road. As a result, it’s often quicker to hop in a cab that happens to drive by, rather than wait a few minutes for a smartphone-hailed cab to show up. (Hence, Flywheel’s newest feature.)

But, it can take a long time for e-hailed cabs to arrive precisely because the taxi licensing system restricts the number of cabs on the road. Uber is adding drivers at a crazy pace and wait times have shrunk to a few minutes or less.

Flywheel’s latest feature is an artifact of a legal system that Uber could soon dismantle. Flywheel is making taxis better than their former selves, but not better than the competition.

Lead image by Nathan

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Microsoft’s New Enhancements Could Put the “Edge” Back Into Voice Search

At its Build conference, Microsoft unveiled its new browser, Edge, as a follow-up to the recently defunct Internet Explorer. The new browser boasts faster speeds and better features, which could enhance the search experience for users.

View full post on Home – SearchEngineWatch

Microsoft’s Edge Will Let You Scribble On The Web—And That’s Awesome

When Microsoft’s new Internet Explorer replacement, officially dubbed Edge, arrives with Windows 10, it will offer users some new features, including the ability to annotate webpages and share notes. 

Baked-in annotation features could be one area that sets Edge apart, considering most Web browsers can’t handle them without third-party plug-ins or extensions. In fact, it’s somewhat unbelievable that this hasn’t become a standard feature in Web browsers yet. 

See also: Windows Wants Apps! Specifically, Android And iOS Apps

For anyone who conducts a lot of online research, for work or for fun, the ability to scribble all over webpages can be extremely handy. These days, that’s a lot of people—including me. 

I Annotate, Therefore I am

Currently, people have a few primary options when they want to save information online: They can bookmark websites, save webpages for offline access, or download PDFs and other documents across an array of Web browsers. Some people even print things out on paper, and use pen and ink to take notes. 

With Edge (formerly known as “Project Spartan”), Windows 10 users can keep track of what is and isn’t useful within each webpage or document without extra steps. They can underline, place arrows and circle specific parts directly on webpages as they browse. 

See also: Now You Can Skype From Your Browser

Saving annotations either locally on your machine or to the cloud, Edge alerts you when you come to a webpage that you’ve previously marked up, and ask if you want to open the annotations. (Though, it’s not clear how long online annotations will remain saved.) You can also share the marks as images with other users. And since there’s no reliance on third-party plugins, there’s less fear that the feature will suddenly break whenever the browser gets updated.

For me, as a writer, those benefits look extremely tempting. I do a lot of Web research, regardless of whether I’m writing about technology or long-dead gangsters. The first step usually involves a lot of online searching and making sense of the results, followed by a frenzy of bookmarking and downloading PDFs, before I can actually mark up the pages. 

See also: Microsoft May Launch A New Browser That Supports Extensions Like Chrome

Edge promises to streamline all these tasks for me, as well as anyone else who has to parse a lot of information—including students, teachers, market researchers and other professionals. 

Go ahead, tell that online menu how you feel.

Other ways I find online annotations handy: I cook a lot, and I have a bookmark folder for recipes. Easy annotations would let me record notes about alterations and substitutions on the fly. That would offer the same flexibility and versatility as old school recipe cards—only they’d be as accessible as the Web, where I could easily share them with friends (and wow them with my impressive cooking skills). I’d find that helpful for shopping too, jotting down notes and sharing impressions of products with loved ones. 

Reaching For The Edge Of Glory

Adobe also offers annotation tools for PDFs, but launching Acrobat can feel cumbersome and interrupt your workflow. 

Adobe’s program and Web plugin look most suited for computers whose primary input devices are a mouse and keyboard, but less so for the sort of touch and gestures many Windows 10 devices will feature. The effort may be worthwhile when you need advanced tools, but not when you just want to underline something quickly, know that it’s saved, share it, or just move on. That’s where Edge looks like it’ll have, well, the edge.

Microsoft also folded in a few other things to make Edge annotations more useful and appealing—including stylus support, to make scrawling with a “pen” easier. 

Adding the ability to draw on webpages on devices with touch-based input is a brilliant move on Microsoft’s part.

Since Microsoft built the browser from the ground up, it also boasts Cortana integration, letting people highlight text on a page and get answers or related information from Microsoft’s digital personal assistant. A new Reading Mode feature will deliver a more magazine-like Web experience, which should work well with its reading list feature. Altogether, the features give users of all sorts of Windows 10 devices the ability to browse and take notes—from full PCs, to tablets and smartphones. 

Microsoft also tried to keep things simple for developers. Like Chrome and Firefox, Edge will (eventually) support extensions built using JavaScript and HTML. Microsoft’s Windows 10 boss Joe Belfiore told Build attendees that Chrome and Firefox extensions would “only require minimal coding to work in Edge.” Though extension support won’t be there on day one, it’s in the works. 

See also: Internet Explorer Struggles To Outrun Its Bad Reputation

All of those features could make Edge a serious contender in the competitive Web browser landscape—assuming, of course, Windows 10 gets the adoption Microsoft hopes for. The changes on the way look promising, but success is still not at all certain at this point. 

Windows users, skittish about glitchy or confusing updates, often stick with older software until new versions prove themselves. For instance, right now, more people still use older versions of Internet Explorer than the current one, according to NetMarketShare, with version 11 holding 24.22% of the desktop browser market, and versions 8, 9 and 10 collectively making up 30.88%. As for operating systems, version 7 may beat all other versions of Windows, at 58.07% of the desktop OS market, but more than 33% hang on to their older Windows. That’s a sizable chunk. 

Of course, Microsoft’s hopes to go beyond desktops to include mobile, where it’s still trying to catch up with iOS and Android. Windows 10 aims to bring it all under one roof, and Edge (and its annotations) might just be the cherry on top. Altogether, it makes for a pretty intriguing Windows 10 package. 

Edge’s annotations are great, but that fugly shoe should not inspire smiles.

That doesn’t guarantee success, of course. Edge is Windows-only, and is likely to stay that way for a while to help drive users to Microsoft’s new operating system. It’s possible we’ll get Mac or Android versions sometime down the road. But despite Microsoft’s recent trend of cooperation, signified by releasing Office for iPad or teaming up with Cyanogen, I have my doubts that it wants to go the same route with Edge.

However, as far as the new browser goes, I found that it taps into something fairly fundamental. Maybe it’s the fact that I miss taking notes in the margins of my books. Maybe it’s that my Surface Pro 3’s stylus feels underappreciated. Either way, when Microsoft’s new browser makes its way to my computer, I plan on taking a break from Chrome and taking a trip to the Edge.

Screenshots courtesy of Microsoft

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Microsoft’s New Enhancements Could Put the “Edge” Back Into Search

At its Build conference, Microsoft unveiled its new browser, Edge, as a follow-up to the recently defunct Internet Explorer. The new browser boasts faster speeds and better features, which could enhance the search experience for users.

View full post on Home – SearchEngineWatch

Microsoft Edge to Replace Internet Explorer

At its Build conference, Microsoft unveiled its new browser, Edge, as a follow-up to the recently defunct Internet Explorer. The new browser boasts faster speeds and better features.

View full post on Home – SearchEngineWatch

Samsung’s Galaxy S6 And Galaxy S6 Edge Get Glassy And Curved

Samsung has launched its two new flagship smartphones for 2015 at a special event at Mobile World Congress. The Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy S6 Edge offer a stack of hardware and software improvements over last year’s Galaxy S5, as the company looks to slow down the momentum of Apple’s iPhone.

Samsung ditched the plastic of earlier handsets in favor of a premium metal and glass finish, with the extra curved screen space of the S6 Edge the only major difference between the handsets. Both feature a 5.1-inch QHD (1440×2560) Super AMOLED screen with a pixel density of 577ppi, 3GB of RAM and 32GB, 64GB or 128GB of internal storage.

The S6 and the S6 Edge go on sale on April 10 in 20 countries, with retail prices yet to be confirmed.

The extra screen space on the S6 Edge is used for special functions, such as contact shortcuts. If the phone is face down, the display edges glow various colors so users can tell which apps and contacts require attention without turning it over. The fingerprint-sensing technology has also been upgraded from the S5, with a quick tap required instead of a swipe.

Samsung’s TouchWiz take on Android is stripped down and simplified, with text replacing icons throughout the interface, and the use of bright, clear colors following the lead taken by Google in Android 5.0 Lollipop. The software team is promising a less cluttered and more enjoyable experience for users.

The international versions of the handset will feature the 64-bit octa-core Samsung Exynos processor, snubbing the Snapdragon 810, though there’s no word yet on the CPUs the U.S. versions are going to include. 

Power And Image

The Samsung Unpacked event has kicked off MWC 2015 in Barcelona.

Samsung spent a lot of time dwelling on the cameras and batteries inside these handsets. The manufacturer is promising iPhone-beating image quality from the 16-megapixel cameras, particularly in low light—the F1.9 lenses, real-time HDR filtering and smart optical image stabilization, the company said, combine to create the best pictures yet from a Samsung device.

Samsung also talked up new fast charging for its battery, claiming that 10 minutes of charging time will give four hours of smartphone use. It’s worth noting that such fast charging is usually a matter of pushing more current through a micro USB charging cable, and not of technology improvements in the phone itself.

See also: Samsung Wants To Kill Your Charging Cables

More significant is the integrated wireless charging support that’s compatible with both major standards on the market today: WPC (Qi) and PMA (Powermat), no adapters required. However, unlike previous handsets from Samsung, the battery is non-removable.

Samsung also had time to introduce Samsung Pay, a new mobile payments system based around the company’s recent acquisition of LoopPay, and a new Innovator Edition of its Oculus-powered Gear VR headset. The new kit has been designed specifically for the Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy S6 Edge and offers a virtual reality experience in full HD for anyone with one of the smartphones.

See also: Take That, Apple! Samsung Unveils Its Own Pay-With-Your-Phone System

The real test of the Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy S6 Edge will come when reviewers and consumers get their hands on them, but the handsets have made a good first impression at MWC. On paper at least, they look capable of turning Samsung’s smartphone fortunes around.

Images courtesy of Samsung

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SEO 2015 The Competitive Edge – Pulse

SEO 2015 The Competitive Edge
There are digital marketers/strategists that often portray SEO and online marketing as black magic, as something 'you wouldn't understand'. I don't like that approach and believe the more information and greater understanding that a marketer can bring

and more »

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A Quick Start Guide to Schema – Your Competitive Edge

Rich snippets can make your search results stand out, improving click-through rate and traffic to your site.

View full post on Search Engine Watch – Latest

Samsung’s Edge Of Glory: Cool Tool, If You Get A Grip

Samsung may not hang its future on smartphones, but that doesn’t mean it’s totally phoning it in now. Case in point: its new Galaxy Note Edge smartphone with curved glass display. 

See also: Samsung Reveals Its Master Plan To Connect Your Life

There’s no denying that the Edge is a sleek, stunning smartphone. Its beauty comes at a cost, though: a wallet-thumping $400 with a two-year contract, or $700 without contract. The price tops the company’s well-received Galaxy Note 4 by $100 (on contract). That’s a hefty sum for your average smartphone user. Then again, this is not an average phone.

At its core, the Edge is essentially a Galaxy Note 4, but with a twist: a curved display that bends over the phone’s right edge. The bend allows for a thin, secondary screen, which provides extra controls, notifications and other features. 

It’s a thing of beauty. And the ancillary display adds more function too—that is, if you hold it correctly. 

It’s A Beauty … 

Like the Note 4, the Edge features an S-Pen stylus, fast charging, fingerprint scanner, 32GB of memory, microSD card slots, 16 megapixel camera, as well as Samsung’s own stock apps, like S Health, S Note and S Voice. 

See also: Galaxy Note 4 Rolls With An Entourage: VR Headset, Curved Smartphone And Smartwatch

The difference obviously lies in the additional display. Years ago, Samsung experimented with a supplemental screen in the doomed Samsung Continuum. But it appears to have learned a lesson from that flop—mainly, that it’s hard to beat curving glass for sex appeal. 

The Edge’s AMOLED Quad HD technology displays great-looking graphics, and the 5.6-inch size of the main display only shaves a slight bit off the Note 4’s 5.7-inch screen. 

But that’s enough to make room for a bonus display that houses settings, some built-in tools, ticker-style information or a scrollable, customizable list of your favorite apps. You can roll through as many as seven panels. 

The screen also offers some app-specific options. Launch the camera app, and you get camera controls that sit at a comfortable angle, for easy reach. 

Notifications, custom messages and other information can spread out onto that side, so they don’t interfere with whatever app you’re using on the main display. That can include things such as stocks, weather forecasts, Yahoo news headlines, tweets, song info or music controls during playback. You can change the look around, or even slap a teeny Edge-specific game there. 

The device comes with a couple of delightful surprises as well, including a 4-inch ruler on the skinny display, plus a clock perfectly angled to show the time when the device—and you—are in sleep mode.

Samsung intentionally designed the Edge so that a palm resting on that right-hand sliver of screen shouldn’t set off any actions. In my own experience, it worked pretty well. Perhaps once, my palm launched something. Most of the time, the apps and features saved themselves to kick on to intentional finger taps only. 

Then I switched hands. 

… And A Beast

It seems obvious that grabbing an asymmetrical device would pose some challenges. But Samsung adjusted the touch control and designed the screen to flip upside down, so it can work in either hand. 

It’s creative. But make no mistake—it’s not a solution. The topsy-turvy action is a workaround, one that’s not going to work for everyone. 

In my right hand, there were few errant taps. But in left-handed mode, my fingers naturally tended to rest on the inclined glass. Over and over, I set off a cacophony of app launches and other unexpected behaviors. 

A rep stepped in to inform me I was holding it wrong. (Cue Apple joke.) He took the phone from my hand, turned it upside down and handed it back to me, with the home button now at the top. “There,” he said. “This is how you’re supposed to hold it.” In this orientation, with my left palm on the edge, everything worked well again. 

So intentional gripping is apparently key. Too bad I tend to manhandle my phone, often digging it out or pawing at it to answer calls, respond to texts or fire off a quick photo, with whatever hand I have free. I guess that means I’m not exactly the ideal user of this sleek device. 

A Ticker Tape Parade

Even if the Edge is not perfect, at the very least, it’s a refreshing change of pace—one that could get better over time. 

Samsung just released developer tools for the Edge’s ancillary display. With this, app makers may dream up some creative new uses. 

Whether they can overcome the practical reality of grabbing hold of a phone with an angled, touch-enabled edge isn’t quite clear. But based on the number of developers I saw crowding around the gadget at the Samsung Developer Conference this week, it looks like some are very interested in giving this ticker a parade of cool, new uses. 

Photos by Adriana Lee for ReadWrite

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