Posts tagged Just
Yahoo just acquired Flurry Mobile, a leading analytics and advertising company whose services are widely used among app developers and publishers.
The deal could be a big one for Yahoo. Flurry has long been considered a standout in the business of collecting and interpreting data that show how people use their mobile devices, ahead of other third-party solutions like Upsight, Localytics, Distimo and Mixpanel and even analytics from Google and Apple.
Under CEO Marissa Mayer, Yahoo now thinks of itself as a “mobile first” company and has scooped up many mobile-related startups in the past couple of years to fill out its mobile portfolio. According to its latest earnings statement, Yahoo’s mobile apps and search services have 450 million monthly users.
See also: Yahoo: Destroyer Of Startups
As with any Yahoo acquisition, it’s unclear what Flurry’s long-term outlook might be. Under Mayer, Yahoo has a habit of buying startups and closing them down while keep the employees and the intellectual property.
Yahoo clearly thinks Flurry can help grow its mobile advertising business. Announcing acquisition on Yahoo’s corporate Tumblr account was Scott Burke, the company’s senior vice president of advertising technology.
“After the transaction closes, the Flurry team will remain in its present locations, where their vision, mission, and focus will stay the same. Flurry’s products will continue to operate and innovate with Yahoo’s support and investment,” Burke wrote.
Yahoo is purchasing a window into everything that’s going on in the world of mobile apps. Flurry has a massive trove of data on just about every app category; roughly 170,000 developers currently use its analytics. Flurry sees 5.5 billion app sessions (the act of opening an app, performing an action and closing an app) a day and is on 1.4 billion devices across the world. In his statement, Burke said that Flurry analytics are on an average of seven apps on any individual smartphone.
Flurry’s pile of data has made it one of the best spotters of mobile trends across the industry, whether noting the rise of mobile apps over use of the open Web or that the craze for dating apps was extremely popular with men. Flurry’s mobile data reports have been seen as go-to reading for anybody interested in what is happening in the app economy for several years.
Terms of the acquisition weren’t disclosed, but reports indicate that the deal is between $300 million and $1 billion.
Lead image of Simon Khalaf at ReadWrite Mix by Madeleine Weiss for ReadWrite
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Bare-bones messaging is all the rage, because, let’s face it, actually composing a message made up of original words you think up in your head is a lot of work.
The sheer fatuousness of these apps has riled people up. While others pondered why anyone would sully the world by creating Yo and its ilk, we had a different question: How hard is it to code a simple messaging app that just sends a predetermined phrase?
There was only one way to find out.
We had to build our own annoying messaging app.
I used text messaging rather than push notifications because text is a universal, sure-fire way to annoy your friends without requiring them—as Yo does—to download an app.
I wrote the app in Python, an English-like programming language ideal for beginner developers who want to make something silly while working with Python. It took all of 29 lines of code.
Here’s a tutorial to help you follow along with the process, so you can see how easy it is for anyone to build a simple Yo clone.
One Click Message is a Web app, not a phone app, but it still texts anyone you want. When you build it, you select a word or phrase that you’d like to send in one click. Mine rickrolls people with Rick Astley lyrics.
And when your friends text you back, you can display all their exasperated replies like trophies right there on your Web app. (Note to self: I may need to get a lawyer soon. Or new friends.)
There’s very minimal coding required to get this off the ground. While I’ll walk you through how I wrote the app, you don’t have to redo the raw coding. Instead, you can copy my work—feel free!—by cloning my GitHub repository, where I stored the source code for the very small, simple program.
Want your own? Here’s how to do it in just ten steps.
1) Sign Up For Twilio
Twilio is a company that makes developer-friendly set of tools for creating text and voice applications. Twilio lets you call and text your own phone number for free and charges three fourths of a penny for calls and text messages to any other phone.
When you sign up, Twilio will give you a phone number (this is what our app will use to text your friends) and API credentials (this is what will allow our app to access our account). I’ve blurred mine out because you should never share these with anybody!
2) Upgrade Your Twilio Account
In my previous tutorial, My Fish Just Sent Me A Text Message, we used Twilio for free, because I was just sending texts to myself. But for a messaging app, we’re going to want to be able to text other people too, so we’re going to have to upgrade our Twilio account by paying for it.
Twilio uses a credit card on file to bill you, but if you add $5 to your account, that’s enough to send and receive about 666 texts on your app—plenty for an experiment like this.
Why pay for texts? Twilio is one of the easiest ways I’ve found to integrate messaging into your development projects, and carriers charge for every text message anyway. It’s hard to find a similar service that’s both free and flexible.
I promise this is the first and last time you’ll have to fork over money for this tutorial. Let’s move on to another tiered free-to-pay tool, of which we’ll be using just the free part…
3) Sign Up For Nitrous.io
There are a lot of options for spaces where you can build and host your own online app. When I built a random non-sequitur Twitter bot, I used Heroku. This time I’m using one of Heroku’s competitors, Nitrous.io. They’re both development environments and online hosts for apps. This means you don’t have to think about setting up your own server—you can just run your code and go.
Why choose one Web-based app builder over another? In this case, I chose Nitrous because it launched with Twilio functionality already built in. Using a different service might mean having to write more code, and I wanted to do the least amount of work possible here.
Sign up with an email and wait for Nitrous.io to email you your confirmation.
4) Create A New “Box” For Your Code
On Nitrous.io, you build and host apps by putting them in different repositories, or as Nitrous calls them, boxes. A free account earns you one box. That’s plenty.
Once you’re signed up with Nitrous, go to your dashboard and click the orange button that says “New Box.” Ours is a Python app, so select “Python/Django.”
Don’t worry about the unusual name Nitrous.io will assign you. It does so to make sure every box has a unique name. Because it’s so easy to create new boxes, Nitrous has to make sure it has lots of names available and they don’t repeat.
Finally, at the bottom where it says, “Download a GitHub repo,” you’ll want to select my One Click Message repository by typing in https://github.com/laurenorsini/one-click-message.git.
Take a moment here, if you like, to look at my code. I use Flask, a microframework for Python, which adds new usability to Python in a number of different ways. For the purposes of this project, we’re focusing on Flask’s ability to simplify integrating Web-based forms with the Python language. In this case, it’s a form that collects your friend’s phone number and passes it on to Twilio, which in turn sends out your designated annoyance text.
Why use a microframework instead of just writing it all myself in Python? Because it’s another opportunity to write less code than we have to. Instead of writing lines of code to bridge the gap between Web forms and Python functions, we just call Flask in to do our dirty work.
When you’re done, it should look like this:
5) Set up the Integrated Development Environment (IDE)
When your box is created, there will be a new orange button below it that says IDE. An IDE, or integrated development environment, is just a place where you can work on code. Click it. You’re now in the part of Nitrous that lets you examine and edit your app’s code.
There are a couple of panels here. To the left is the file hierarchy. If you click on “Workspace,” you’ll see the GitHub repository “one-click-message” populated beneath it. To the right is the chat. I usually just close that, because I’m working on this myself rather than with coding partners.
In the center is where you edit files. And the entire bottom half of the screen is the console, where you test and deploy programs.
Let’s go down to that bottom screen now. First, we need to install the Twilio API like this:
pip install twilio
This is one of the benefits of using Nitrous. Because we selected its Python option, pip, a program which helps install new Python code, is already installed.
Next, we’re going to install Flask, the framework that adds additional functionality to Python programs. Remember how our finished app allows you to input a phone number? While Twilio is adding messaging functionality, Flask makes it possible to build responsive Python forms.
pip install flask
Now you’ve got all the tools you need in your IDE to get this project going.
6) Add Your Twilio Identication to App.py
If you look inside the one-click-message folder, you’ll see that there are six files in it, not counting images. Two of these, form.html and messages.html inside the Templates folder, make up the visual Web pages that you see when you interact with the app. The cascading style sheet, form.css, is what makes them look pretty.
But the glue holding the entire project together is a Python script named app.py. This is the only part of the project you actually have to alter in order to get it to function.
Inside app.py, I’ve inserted comments about what certain parts of the program do. The part you need to pay attention to right now is:
client = TwilioRestClient ('ABC', '0123')
twilio_number = "+1234567890"
Fill in your Twilio credentials on the first line, and your Twilio phone number on the second. With these lines, we’re telling the program how to talk to Twilio’s application programming interface, and whose account to use.
7) The Fun Part: Add Your Message
Maybe it’s a stupid joke. Maybe it’s a really long string of words you text to people frequently and are tired of writing out. Maybe it’s a really long stupid joke. Either way, you’re going to want to put it in on this line in app.py:
client.messages.create(to=formatted_number, from_ = twilio_number, body = "Message of your choice.")
As you can see, it’s easy enough to change the message by going back into app.py and adjusting this line. So just put something fun for now.
Note to out-of-United-States tutorial readers: This is also where you would want to customize the program with your country code.
formatted_number = "+1" + number
I’ve told the program to add “+1” to any number inputted in the app because I’m in the US and so are the people I plan to text. But it may be different for you.
Finally, don’t forget to save the newly edited app.py!
8) Run Python
OK, we’re getting close to finishing up! Go back to the console at the bottom and navigate to the folder where app.py lives like this:
cd is a command that stands for “change directory.” We’re changing from our main directory to the one where app.py is so we can run app.py.
Here’s how you actual run it:
If you are in the right directory, the IDE should spit back something like this:
* Running on http://0.0.0.0:3000/
* Restarting with reloader
9) Preview Your App
With Python still running, go to the navigation bar at the top of the IDE and select Preview: Port 3000. We want the public port 3000, not the SSL (secure socket layer) option.
Your app should open up in another window, like this!
10) Get Texting!
Try out your new app by texting your own phone number. Don’t forget, you need to put it in like this: 1234567890, not like this: (123) 456 – 7890 for it to work. (It wouldn’t be hard to add a few more lines that match patterns by using a library like python-phonenumbers, but for simplicity, I skipped that.)
After you hit send, try sending a reply text, and refresh the page. This will probably be the least-irritated response you’ll get!
Text your friends, or share the app’s address with them and trick them into texting themselves.
Have fun! And if you get somebody to invest a million bucks in your obnoxious one-click messaging app, that’s just icing on the cake.
Lead photo by Jhaymesisviphotography
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Filmmakers behind “America: Imagine the World Without Her” have accused Google of keeping their movie’s showtimes and locations from appearing in search results. As it turns out, “America” isn’t the only film not getting fair play from the search engine. Based on…
Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.
As I entered the Anaheim Convention Center last Thursday, the first noise I heard was the bellowing of hundreds of teenage voices. I was here to learn the latest about YouTube at VidCon, the video site’s largest annual event, but I was surrounded by thousands of fans who had a different goal: to catch just one glimpse of a YouTube personality.
I was late to the party. Lines of fans had already gathered early that morning, waiting to get inside. They interrupted their quiet, anxious buzzes of chatter with piercing shrieks whenever a YouTube creator casually strolled by and waved at them.
“Creator” is a catch-all term that includes everyone from webcam videobloggers to keyboard-cat uploaders to the increasingly professional stars whose channels have attracted millions of subscribers. At VidCon, the latter meaning prevails: Insiders and fans alike use “creator” to call out the particular class of celebrity whose work and fame have become an intimate and singular part of the YouTube experience.
In this case, the creators who set off a particularly loud uproar right as I walked in were Jack and Finn Harries. As soon as the twin brothers from the UK set foot in the convention center, it was like they set off a sonic boom.
There was the silence right before chaos. First one teen turned around and gasped, then hundreds of others whipped their heads in that direction. Then, the rising wave of screams—primal, animalistic, unbridled emotion.
If you think of YouTube as a place for music videos and funny animal hijinks, VidCon will forever change your views. The annual convention, first held in 2010, is the beating heart of YouTube—a niche community so passionate and alive, but so committed to the nuances of visual storytelling that it struggles to explain itself through bare text.
To plunge into the chaos and charm of VidCon, to embrace YouTube’s community in the crowded, sweaty flesh, to surround yourself with 18,000 community members in one gargantuan yet impossibly packed convention center, may be the only way to understand it. Like YouTube itself, the experience at its best is visual and visceral.
If you’ve seen historic footage of the Beatles’ 1965 tour in America, it’s like that—but add smartphones, selfies, and social media. I watch as fans of YouTube personality catrific, known for comedic vlogs about her life, snap selfies in unending rotations with the star.
Here’s the fundamental difference between Beatlesmania and VidConmania: Like YouTube itself, fame on the site is two-way and participatory. Unlike the gated-off crowds of A Hard Day’s Night, fans are playing paparazzi with the YouTube celebrities, and putting themselves in the picture. They’re not just trailing behind their favorite creators, desperate for a glimpse. They’re running in front of them, face to their own cameras, framing themselves in the center of a selfie. The YouTube stars are just there to photobomb.
Five years in, this behavior has led to absurdities, like cardboard cutouts of YouTube stars, which seem to defeat the whole point of VidCon’s meet-in-the-flesh appeal. These cutouts of creators—hardly less virtual than the interactions fans and creators have on YouTube itself—stand in front of booths like the one for AwesomenessTV, an operator of multiple YouTube channels.
While setting up an interview with YouTube creator Joe Penna, his management warned me that “VidCon is huge and chaotic so we need to make sure this [interview] is either in one of the green rooms or someone’s hotel room or Joe will get mobbed.”
Penna’s channel, mysteryguitarman, showcases amazing editing and musical skills, and has amassed close to 3 million subscribers since his start on YouTube in 2006.
“Doing videos that involve my audience is important to me,” Penna told me. “Here at VidCon I’m printing out 700 frames of my next video and letting them draw all over it. It’s important to keep your fans involved.
“It’s building a club, basically. It’s cool to be a part of the mysteryguitarman fan club.”
The trick of the new YouTube celebrity is keeping your fans feeling like they’re in the club as their sheer numbers grow ever more overwhelming.
As I prepped for an interview with Brittani Louise Taylor, a comedian and DIY expert, her reps told me they couldn’t get ahold of her. Then we got word that Taylor had been swarmed by fans and was now trapped in her hotel room.
Escorted by a 7-foot-tall bodyguard, I rode up a hotel elevator in search of Taylor. (He wasn’t worried about me, but he wanted to make sure she could get out of her room after the interview.) Despite the fracas in the convention center, she was as sparkly in person as she is in her videos, and said she still adored her fans, even when they gathered in overwhelming throngs.
“It’s way crazier this year,” said Taylor. “Just getting out of the car outside of the hotel took 45 minutes.”
And yet Taylor wouldn’t go without the close-up interaction.
“I always go home feeling so loved because you get so many hugs throughout the day,” she said. “And they hug you. It’s like a ‘you’ve been my friend throughout all these years’ hug.”
The Perils Of YouTube Fame And Fandom
I heard similar stories of VidCon mania from other YouTube creators. I also heard echoes from the people who surround and support them—the executives, managers, and community members. They’re the ones who are making and remaking YouTube into a place for 21st-century celebrity.
No one could stop talking about YouTube personality and heartthrob Connor Franta, who is best known for his comedic, topical vlogs and for melting the heart of every teen in radius. With wide, terrified eyes, attendees told me stories about getting caught in a Franta-fangirl stampede, snagging and ripping their toenails after being caught in the crowd. (Never wear open-toe shoes to a convention.)
VidCon is about much more than fan meet-and-greets for the teen set. Attendees on the “industry track,” who include salespeople, marketers from big brands, and YouTube and Google employees, are steered toward panels extolling the selling power of YouTube stars.
They’re hardly necessary. One experience of being in the midst of a stampede of con-goers chasing a passing YouTube star, and you’re a believer.
Even Internet-video insiders are taken aback by this side of the business. “It is absolute fandemonium,” said Wadooah Wali, head of communications at Fullscreen, a multi-channel network (MCN) that signs YouTube creators to their management, with a blank face. It was her first VidCon experience, and mine too, and we both felt a sense of awe.
Con-goers will wait hours in line to meet their favorite YouTubers in person. Some stars, like the Epic Meal Time crew, a team best known for their extreme cooking show, will organize signings at set times and locations. (What does a YouTube star sign? Posters, hats, body parts—anything you want.)
Other YouTube stars will find a random corner in the convention space to hold an impromptu signing, somtimes tweeting out the location to their fans or just letting them gather.
The Anaheim Convention Center is across the street from Disneyland, and that’s somehow a fitting backdrop to the VidCon experience. The whole routine brings to mind Disney characters standing in a section of the theme park to sign autographs, smile brightly, and pose for photos.
I was witnessing a cultural phenomenon that has touched billions of people around the world, yet somehow stayed completely below the radar of other media.
YouTube’s challenge is to replicate this fandom offline, beyond the teens and tweens who roved the halls of VidCon. The site is already rolling out billboard and video advertising campaigns to expand their stars’ reach, and to make them more than just Internet famous.
When I wandered just a few steps outside and spoke to food vendors or hotel employees, I found no one had heard of stars like Meghan Tonjes or Tyler Oakley—the kind who drew crowds inside the convention center.
For VidCon attendees who grew up with YouTube, the distinction between “YouTube famous” and “famous famous” may be meaningless.
With them, YouTube has a different challenge: to hold their loyalties as competitors like Yahoo court the creators they adore with better financial terms and promises of more promotion.
If YouTube is to keep its lead, it will have to keep that magic connection between fans and creators alive. Even as YouTube channels grow to millions of subscribers and some turn into very successful businesses, fed by all the ads Google sells, there’s something peculiarly intimate about the link between YouTube viewers and the personalities who beam themselves onto the screens of their laptops, tablets, and smartphones.
That may explain the intensity of YouTube’s fan culture on display at VidCon. But it doesn’t give many clues on how YouTube’s rivals might replicate it—or how YouTube itself will preserve it.
YouTube’s transformation from a collection of bedroom webcam videos into full-blown celebrity machine seems nearly complete. With thumbs-up and clicks on that big red Subscribe button, they turn niche performers into stars.
Next thing you know, stampedes of teens are obliterating a walkway in Anaheim just to try to touch them. Finally these fans have a chance to see their favorites. In that moment, they realize that these creators are really their creation.
Images by Stephanie Chan
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Why I Left Doing Just SEO
Business 2 Community
Nobody what anybody tries to tell you, SEO is, by its very nature, a reactive industry. Traffic goes down, you react. Links disappear, you react. Google changes their algorithm, everybody reacts. It's not the only industry like this, but it was …
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If we’ve learned anything from the numbers tech companies like Google, Facebook and Yahoo have revealed about their workforce diversity over the last month, it’s that there clearly aren’t enough women and minorities working in technology.
As if we didn’t know that already.
The male-dominated tech culture has become a parody, with television shows like HBO’s Silicon Valley highlight the “brogrammer” culture portrayed by men in hoodies. On the other side of things, commercials like Verizon’s “Inspire Her Mind” earnestly focus on the importance of empowering young women to take up science and technology projects, instead of priming them to become lip gloss-wearing girly-girls.
In order to bring more diversity into the technological workforce, tech companies are releasing employee data that shows just how true-to-life these stereotypes can be. With any luck, the increased transparency will help change those numbers and encourage more women and minorities to pursue careers in technology.
Facebook is the latest technology corporation to release data on its workforce detailing gender and race information, following Google’s lead last month. Yahoo and LinkedIn have also released workplace diversity numbers.
Globally, many more men than women work in tech companies, and in the U.S., white employees vastly outnumber other minorities at work. The imbalances are even more striking in leadership positions. Let’s take a quick tour of what the companies have released so far.
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg is known for her outspoken Lean In campaign, encouraging women to strive for leadership within their companies while balancing their professional and private lives in a healthy, but successful, way. Of course, Sandberg has her critics, but her organization has empowered women to take control of their own careers.
Unfortunately at Facebook, women are still underrepresented, especially in senior positions.
Globally, Facebook is 69% men, and in the U.S., 57% white. Asians make up 34% of Facebook’s U.S. workforce, and Hispanics and blacks constitute four and two percent, respectively.
Now, about leaning in? Just 23% of senior-level positions across the globe are held by women. And almost three-fourths of senior-level positions in the U.S. are white.
To Facebook’s credit, the company is not pleased with these numbers.
“The challenge of finding qualified but underrepresented candidates is one that we’re addressing as part of a strategic effort across Facebook,” the company said in a blog post on Wednesday. It’s working with organizations like the Anita Borg Institute and the National Center for Women & Information Technology that aim to support women in technical careers, as well as college and educational programs that promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics for underrepresented students.
“We have a long way to go, but we’re absolutely committed to achieving greater diversity at Facebook and across the industry,” the company wrote in its blog post.
Google (Which Started It All)
Google was the first big tech company to release its diversity data, kicking off the transparency trend.
Google’s workforce is 70% men globally, and in technical roles, just 17% women. In the U.S., Google is 60% white, and two and three percent black and Hispanic, respectively.
Like other tech companies, these numbers reflect an unfortunate truth about the technological workforce. But Google is aiming to change that.
At this week’s Google I/O developer conference, the company welcomed more than 1,000 women—or 20% of attendees, up from just seven percent last year. It’s also pouring money and resources into partner organizations that focus on bringing more women and minorities into the workforce, and recently launched Made With Code to get young female students interested in programming.
Soon after Google released its diversity data, LinkedIn followed suit.
The company has a male majority, albeit one a bit smaller. Out of 5,400 employees worldwide, 61% are male, and in the U.S., 53% are white.
To help improve that white, male ratio, the company is working with a handful of women- and minority-focused organizations that provide opportunities for education and jobs in tech, as well as Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, a LGBT organization working to end sexual orientation-based employment discrimination.
Yahoo got on the diversity transparency train just days after LinkedIn, and noted that 62% of its global workforce is male, while 50% of its U.S. workforce is white.
Like other companies, tech roles are made up mostly by men, with just 15% of the jobs held by women. Similarly, the company led by CEO Marissa Mayer has just 23% of women in leadership positions.
Yahoo, like other companies, is working to change this imbalance, and provides resources for employees of diverse backgrounds, and also works with organizations like the Anita Borg Institute (which Facebook and Google also partner with) to promote equality in tech.
Let’s Hope There’s More To Come
These are arguably some of the most visible tech companies both in Silicon Valley and across the globe, and by releasing diversity data, they’re admitting that something needs to be done to bring more women and minorities into the workforce, and are personally taking charge of driving the change to come.
It’s an issue that impacts not just the companies who decide to make an effort to balance the gender and race ratio, but the industry itself. By being transparent about their shortcomings, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Yahoo, are poised to begin a sea change in technology that will—dare I say it?—disrupt the white, male industry.
Lead image by corinnepw on Flickr; other images courtesy of the respective companies
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Google’s Chromecast TV-streaming device now has some new features that will make life even easier for its users.
Chromecast now features a broad swathe of apps—a huge difference from the measly selection it had when it launched last summer. Another 10,000 are on the way. So Google is offering a new way to sift through Chromecast apps by offering a Web page that organizes them.
Users can also connect to nearby Chromecast devices through the cloud. In other words, people can cast to your TV without needing the password for your Wi-Fi network. An opt-in feature, it will roll out to all Android devices this year, although developers can access that functionality through the Google Cast SDK, which Google has just updated.
Other changes include a new “ambient experience” called Backdrop. This allows users to add their own photos directly from from Android devices. You can also select art, places, news or weather to grace your living room screen.
Last but not least, the streaming device will mirror the screen of your Android device to the TV.
Chromecast won’t be the only device getting all this joy, however. All Android TVs integrate with the Cast SDK, which means that all of these features will be available in smart televisions, set-top boxes and other devices as well.
Lead image screencapped by Selena Larson for ReadWrite
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