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Huawei Just Made The Best-Looking Android Wear Watch Yet

The slickest, watch-iest Android Wear device so far made its appearance Sunday yesterday at Mobile World Congress. Made by the Chinese company Huawei and set for a June release in 20 countries around the world, the simply named Huawei Watch (say that 10 times fast) might be Android’s best Apple Watch competitor yet.

If, that is, it weren’t for one small problem.

Powerful Shortcomings

The Huawei Watch’s specifications aren’t that different from those of other Android watches. But a few of its features could make a big impact in the watch’s overall performance:

  • 1.4-inch AMOLED sapphire crystal display with 400 x 400 pixel resolution at 286 ppi
  • 4GB of internal storage
  • 512MB of RAM
  • Qualcomm APQ8026 1.2GHz processor
  • Heart rate monitor, 6-axis motion sensor, and barometer
  • 300mAh battery

The main difference  here lies in the higher resolution screen—which Huawei says makes it the “highest resolution Android Wear watch”—the heart rate monitor, and the 300mAh battery. That’s one of the smallest batteries featured in any Android watch so far—and it’s paired with some power-hungry features.

The Huawei Watch’s unveiling at MWC in Barcelona.

For comparison, the Moto 360—which has taken grief for its underwhelming battery life since its release last September—has a slightly larger display, heart rate monitor, and a 300mAh battery (despite a spec sheet that lists 320mAh). The G Watch R has a slightly smaller display, heart rate monitor, and a 410mAh battery.

Style Over Substance

What the Huawei Watch might lack in terms of battery, it could redeem with pure style. A sapphire crystal display means it will resist the scratches that come with everyday wear and tear. There have been more than a few regretful bumps on my Asus ZenWatch as I reach into the fridge to grab the milk, so the Huawei Watch’s tougher display could be one of its best features. It doesn’t hurt that the Huawei Watch’s round design simply looks great, and will come in gold, silver, or black style choices.

In addition to the silver version pictured above, the Huawei Watch will come in gold and black, with plenty of band choices.

There are still a few months between now and the supposed June release window, so maybe Huawei could swap in a more powerful battery. That’s not terribly likely, of course.

More important, until we actually try one out, we won’t know how well the battery holds up under normal use. I’m hopeful that Huawei manages to squeeze every ounce of efficiency out of this watch. It’d be a shame for something this good looking to go dark just past lunch.

Images courtesy of Huawei; MWC photo by Adriana Lee for ReadWrite

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Don’t Look Now, But Deep Linking Just Got Hot

Suppose the only way to get to this article—yes, the one you’re reading—was to first visit and then trust that you could locate it using the site’s navigation tools. Odds are good that you’d be somewhere else right now.

Instead, you probably followed a link shared on Twitter, passed along in email or even displayed here on ReadWrite. That “deep link” made it possible for you to zip right to this page, the same way you can visit just about anywhere on the Web with a single click. Deep links make the Web what it is; they’re so deeply ingrained in our online understanding that we take them for granted.

At least on the desktop, that is. Mobile is a different story. Most mobile apps live in their own silos, and offer no way to directly access photos, stories, messages and other information to which they control access. Instead of letting you tap through to a relevant page, mobile links generally direct you to the app’s own home page—leaving you to search around the app, often in vain, for whatever you’re really looking for.

See also: Facebook Still Thinks It Can Make Apps Work More Like The Web

It’s a problem that leads to increased user effort and frustration, and mobile app developers consider solving it a high priority. Suddenly, deep links in mobile are a hot topic.

Button Me Up

Right now, Button SDK is the development world’s most prominent open source solution to the mobile deep linking problem.

Out of hundreds of thousands of iOS repositories on code storage community GitHub, Button has trended in the top five most popular for weeks. That means a huge number of users are watching it, downloading it, and using it to integrate deep linking into their mobile apps. Recently, Button added ridesharing service Uber as one of those companies.

Chris Maddern, cofounder at Button, said the company built the SDK as a tool for its own app integration needs, but made it open source when they realized so many other developers were experiencing the same problem.

“From app to app, it’s all about taking a user’s intent and most closely matching it to the user’s action,” he said. “If I’m looking at an item and want to buy it in an app, why would you throw me on the home screen? I want to land on the item page so I can buy it.”

Why We Need Deep Links On Mobile

It’s hard to see the impact that deep linking has on our Internet browsing behaviors until it’s no longer there. Users expect to be able to tap from link to link between apps as easily as they do in their browsers. Deep linking is the one technology that lets them.

See also: Google Has New Targeted Ads That Encourage You Dive Into Apps

URX is another company that helps marketers implement deep linking. Mike Fyall, the company’s head of marketing, told me that until Android and iOS enable HTTP links on their end, mobile apps will need to use deep links to mimic Web browsing.

“Mobile web browsers support HTTP links just fine—it’s apps that are the problem,” he said. “They aren’t built to respond to HTTP links in the same way, so deep links are used to create similar functionality.”

URX takes the technology a step further with a type of deep linking it calls URX Links, previously known as omnilinks. Even deep links have their limits, and URX Links prevent a user’s app ownership from curbing his or her browsing experience.

“If a user clicks on a deep link but doesn’t have the app installed, they will get an error message,” said Fyall. “URX Links route users to the right place whether or not the user has the app installed. If the user has the app installed, the deep link is used and the user is taken inside the app. If the user doesn’t have the app installed, they are taken to the mobile website.”

The Future Of Mobile Deep Linking

Deep linking is becoming a big asset for marketers who want to drive mobile traffic seamlessly from mobile browsers to mobile apps. The next step for URX, Button, and other companies in the deep linking space is to foster deep linking between different apps. For example, if a user makes a table reservation on partner Rezy, Button wants there to be a link within the Rezy app to order an Uber car to the restaurant. 

“We want to build a more connected app ecosystem,” said Maddern. “To create the fluid world of users moving around on the Web, and a standardized way of moving users between apps.”

Right now, the process of deep linking is wildly different between Apple and Google. URX supports both Android and iOS with separate SDKs, and Button supports just iOS for now, (but is working on Android support). Both companies agree that the possibilities for deep linking could change dramatically depending on what Apple and Google do next.

“For the best user experience possible, we will always need to be able to link directly to a specific place in an app,” said Fyall. “Deep links will be the answer for the foreseeable future. However, if the industry agreed on a deep linking standard that worked across platforms and operating systems, they would be easier to implement and use.”

Photo by Yandle

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Group Direct Messaging Is Just Twitter’s Latest Flip-Flop

Twitter direct messages just got more talkative. Now you can have a private conversation with a group, the social network announced Tuesday.

Until now, Twitter’s direct messaging feature has been reserved for conversations between no more than two participants. Now, you can create groups of up to 20 Twitter users at the same time, and they do not have to be following one another to join. Group direct messages will support “text, photos, links, emoji and Tweets,” according to Twitter.

The feature is expected to roll out over the next couple of days to all users.

As Twitter has gotten noisier—and while messaging competitors like Snapchat and WhatsApp grew more significant—users have demanded improvements to its lightweight direct messaging feature, the only way to speak privately on the service. But Twitter has shown anything but a steady hand on the issue. Over the past two years it has lurched back and forth between opening up and restricting new features for direct message.

Here’s a quick timeline.

October 2013: You Can Receive Direct Messages From People You Don’t Follow

Prior to October 2013, two Twitter users had follow one another to exchange direct messages. Then Twitter inserted a new option where users could explicitly opt to receive direct messages from any of their followers, whether they followed them back or not. The Verge speculated the change allowed brands to have better access to consumers.

October 2013: Twitter Removes Link Sharing From Direct Messaging

That same month, Twitter users learned that they were unable to send links inside direct messages. This might have been a side effect of opening up DMs to a wider range of users, since it would have opened the door to spammy link-based advertising.

November 2013: Twitter Direct Messages Get A Makeover

Direct messages got a new look, one similar to iMessages. The feature began suggesting followers with whom users could begin a private conversation. The move was seen as part of a larger overhaul of direct messaging in order to compete with WhatsApp.

November 2013: Twitter Shuts Down Direct Messages From People You Don’t Follow

One short month later, Twitter decided fostering conversations between unverified users who don’t follow one another was a bad idea. The company does not respond to requests for comments, but reminds reporters it is “constantly experimenting.”

December 2013: Direct Messages Allow Private Photo Sharing

In a possible response to Snapchat’s visual success, Twitter began allowing people to share photos in privately in direct messages. Simultaneously, Twitter moved the direct messaging icon to a more prominent position on the top navigation bar of the homepage.

May 2014: Twitter Direct Messaging Still Has A Learning Curve

A few months after Twitter’s experimentation craze, ReadWrite reporter Selena Larson reflected on several embarrassing direct message mishaps, known colloquially as “DM fails,” in which users blasted messages to the world that they incorrectly thought would remain private. In a world where messaging services like Snapchat and WhatsApp were king, Twitter still lacked quality messaging.

November 2014: Tweet And Link Sharing Return To Direct Messaging

One year later, Twitter revived the ability to include links in direct messages. The social network described it as a secondary feature to the much acclaimed tweet sharing function, where users could take tweets from their timeline and share them privately.

January 2015: Group Messaging Supports Up To 20 Participants

Fast forward to the present, where Twitter is doubling down on direct messaging support. Users can share links, tweets, and emojis with up to 20 other users who may or may not be following one another. The feature includes elements Twitter has backtracked on in the past.

The real question is how long it’ll stick around before Twitter does its usual about face. 

Illustration by Nigel Sussman for ReadWrite

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Apple Supports Charlie Hebdo And Free Speech, Just Not In Its App Store

In what is likely the fastest App Store approval in iOS history, Apple took only one hour to greenlight an app that promotes a free speech campaign for Charlie Hebdo. Of course, Apple would never have approved an actual Charlie Hebdo app had the caustic—even scabrous—French magazine ever submitted one. (Which it apparently considered back in 2010 before learning of Apple’s restrictions and telling the company to “get lost.”) Like much of Silicon Valley, Apple is far more committed to the idea of free speech than it is to its actual practice.

The “Je suis Charlie!” app supports the Je Suis Charlie free speech campaign and Charlie Hebdo, which lost 10 staffers in a terrorist attack at its Paris office last week. The order to expedite review of  “Je suis Charlie!” came courtesy of Apple CEO Tim Cook, 9 to 5 Mac reports. Cook’s assistant responded to an email from Nice-Matin, the French news agency that submitted the app, 10 minutes after it was sent.

Free Speech For Me But Not For Thee

No one should begrudge “Je suis Charlie!” its fast-tracking, even though typical app review takes 10 days or longer. Prospective iOS apps connected to tragedy and the support of free speech are rare events, fortunately.

Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonist Mark Fiore, for instance—whose own app was famously rejected by Apple in 2009—has no problem with the speedy approval of “Je suis Charlie!” He does, however, see some tension in the fact that Apple fast-tracked an app intended to express support of cartoonists whose work would never have cleared App Store guidelines. 

“I’m glad they approved this app so quickly,” Fiore told ReadWrite. “What makes my skin crawl is that most of the stuff Charlie Hebdo does, Apple wouldn’t approve.”

See also: Facebook’s Got Us On Lockdown, Study Confirms

Fiore, whose work is comparatively tame to the majority of Charlie Hebdo’s catalog, ran up against Apple’s licensing agreement in 2009. At that time, Apple guidelines stated it would reject apps apps which “may be found objectionable, for example, materials that may be considered obscene, pornographic or defamatory.”

According to his Apple rejection letter, the offending content on Fiore’s app included political cartoons that referenced torture and White House party crashers. It wasn’t until Fiore became the first online-only political cartoonist to win the Pulitzer in 2010 that the Apple App Store had a change of heart. In the ultimate Apple mea culpa, then-CEO Steve Jobs reportedly responded to one of the many customer complaint about Fiore’s App Store rejection. “This was a mistake that’s being fixed,” Jobs wrote from his own email account.

In the wake of his Pulitzer win, Fiore said, “I received this Deep Throat-sort of phone call from Apple.” The voice the other side of the phone told him, “you might want to reconsider resubmitting this app and give us a call when you do.” Which he did. 

Speed When It Counts (For Apple)

The speediness with which Fiore’s second submission hit the App Store illustrates how quickly a giant company can make things happen once publicity is involved. Fiore made the call to let Apple know. Within two keystrokes Fiore overheard on the phone, his app hit the App Store. “It was pretty much an instantaneous thing,” he said.

The bad PR led to an update of Apple’s rules, which now allow for political content and lampooning public figures, but still reflect some subjective sensitivity concerning satire. Time reported in 2013 that Apple yanked the iOS game Sweatshop from the App Store. The developer describes as “lighthearted” but also “based upon very present realities that many workers around the world contend with each day.”

“It’s the idea that a game intended both as educational and intelligently satirical could wind up banned that’s dangerous,” Time’s Matt Peckham wrote. 

Apple isn’t the only Silicon Valley behemoth to embrace Charlie Hebdo in the abstract. Twitter’s French unit displayed a #JeSuisCharlie banner on its Twitter profile, while Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a tribute post that “different voices—even if they’re sometimes offensive—can make the world a better and more interesting place.” Both social networks, of course, have a documented history of censorship. It’s the price of building a business in countries where free speech is not a priority.

Google, too, is getting headlines for contributing $300,000 toward 1 million copies of Tuesday’s Charlie Hebdo edition. But that cash isn’t coming from the goodness of Google’s heart, or even its couch cushions. It’s part of a $70 million fund Google agreed to set up for French publishers two years ago as part of a settlement with the government over advertising loss. “It’s good that (Charlie Hebdo) got the money, but it’s good PR for Google, too,” Fiore says. 

As for Apple, Fiore says, “They show their support, ‘We’re all for free speech!’ But would you run these cartoons? Uh, no.” 

Apple did not return ReadWrite’s request for comment. 

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Bing’s New Best-Sellers Carousel Helps Readers Find Just The Right Book

Microsoft’s search engine now displays carousel of New York Times best-selling books when searching for specific book genres.

The post Bing’s New Best-Sellers Carousel Helps Readers Find Just The Right Book appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

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Tool Overview: LinkRisk — Not Just For Detoxing Anymore

Link Week columnist Julie Joyce reviews the LinkRisk tool suite, which has added some useful capabilities you may not be aware of.

The post Tool Overview: LinkRisk — Not Just For Detoxing Anymore appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

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Content Marketing Without Marketing Is Just Content

Content marketing without the actual act of marketing is just creating content – it’s simply contributing more noise to the Web. How can you use SEO techniques to market your content?

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Mobile Search: Not Just on the Go

A new study from Yahoo shows that more and more mobile searches are happening in the home, where PCs or laptops are also available. How can marketers take advantage of this?

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HBO Go Cord-Cutting Is Coming, Just In Time For ‘Game Of Thrones’

You won’t need a cable package (or your parent’s HBO Go login) to watch the next season of HBO’s most popular original series.  The cable channel plans to launch its long-anticipated streaming only service in April, according to an internal memo published by Fortune, the same month Game of Thrones returns for its fifth season. 

CEO Richard Plepler said in October that HBO is finally ready to take the money of the 10-million broadband-only homes that don’t subscribe to cable, but he didn’t mention a cost or time frame. Now, because of a memo explaining HBO’s decision move to an outside contractor for streaming service, we know to expect the cord cutting in April, though cost is still up in the air. If you remember those HBO Go streaming outages during Game of Thrones and True Detective episodes, or saw the Twitter meltdowns as they were happening, you get a pretty good idea of why. 

See also: Why The CBS Strike Against Dish’s Auto Hop May Actually Be A Win For Dish

For viewers however, the big news isn’t that HBO is likely contracting MLB Advanced, which provides streaming for the  WWE Network, according to Fortune. It’s that there’s a date on the calendar when HBO Go will be free of its cable package. For entertainment junkies, this is the biggest news since earlier this year, when some of HBO’s original programing became available through Amazon’s streaming service. 

Plepler said in October that the stand-alone HBO Go offering will appeal to viewers who aren’t interested in the full cable package, or even a TV connection at all. CBS All Access currently offers  6,500 episodes on demand as well as live TV for $6 a month. As viewership on mobile devices increases and Netflix and Amazon continue to produce popular programming, more legacy TV outlets feel the pressure to finally cut the cord. 

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