Posts tagged wants

Speaker Profile: Built.io’s Neha Sampat Wants To Connect The World—Using Drag And Drop

Wearable World Congress, ReadWrite’s signature annual conference in San Francisco on May 19-20, will feature the key players who are shaping wearable technology and the Internet of Things. This series profiles some of the experts who will be speaking at the conference.

Nearly two years ago to the date, Neha Sampat spoke to ReadWrite about a new company she was launching called Built.io. She described it as “plug and play” software for enterprise app development that could be used without expert assistance.

Today, her app-building technology not only survives, but thrives. Built.io counts increasingly large companies among its users, including McAfee and VMware, the latter of which used Built.io to develop an app that can scale to 2,000 application programming interface requests per second. Those APIs, which allow developers to connect their applications and services to others, serves as the lifeblood for the company’s next play, Built.io Flow. 

Buy tickets now: Wearable World Congress, May 19-20

With this new service and set of tools, Sampat wants to do for Internet of Things (IoT) what Built.io did for enterprise—make their applications simple, compatible and flexible, no matter what sensors and devices users want to connect. The company likens Built.io Flow to a high-powered IFTTT (“If This Then That”)—a service that easily links up consumer apps and services for automation—but designed with companies in mind. 

Sampat herself has not escaped notice, either. A tech executive without a traditional technology background, the CEO has been named one of the 50 women in technology dominating Silicon Valley, as well as a 2015 San Francisco Business Times “Top 40 Under 40″ honoree.  Next month, Sampat will join ReadWrite at Wearable World Congress, where she and others who are building the foundation for IoT, brick by brick, will weigh in on its greatest challenges and opportunities. 

In the meantime, I reconnected with her and Chief Operating Officer Matthew Baier to discuss our connected future, the crucial role of APIs in it and how Built.io will address them. 

How did Built.io Flow get its start?

Sampat: When we think about the Internet of Things, it’s essentially an extension of what we’re already doing today around mobile. The physical device isn’t necessarily important, whether it’s a phone or a watch or a sensor in a city. It’s really about the data and how that data is consumed. From our perspective, we’ve claimed the term “Internet of APIs” because that’s what matters: connecting the data and making it powerful. In order to do that, you need to create purpose-built connections between APIs. 

Baier: The goal for Built.io Flow is to make the integration that’s necessary for the Internet of Things to be useful and very, very accessible. Whether it’s a device or a sensor or a beacon or an appliance, as long as it has an API, it’ll work with Built.io Flow. We see this as essentially democratizing integration, allowing any user to participate, and making connections between APIs to do something useful with the data.

See also: What Happens When Almost Anybody Can Build A Mobile Business App?

How could IoT companies make use of the new tools? 

Baier: Today if I want to connect an enterprise system’s API with a beacon, I need to hire an integration expert, and that’s expensive and slow. With Built.io Flow, a visual designer can connect your endpoints using drag-and-drop technology. There are some platforms that do this in a consumer space, like IFTTT. They have a very simple rules engine that says, “If this happens, do something else.” What we’re looking at with Built.io Flow is the enterprise use case—where rules aren’t that simple. 

They need to be able to work with multiple “ifs,” multiple “thens,” multiple “thats,” that connect with multiple systems. We’re allowing enterprise [customers] to get the same convenience with tools that are a lot more powerful and better tailored to business needs. More importantly, it’s not a million-dollar process; it’s a five-minute drag-and-drop operation.


Screenshot of Built.io Flow in action

So what do the results look like in the real world?

Sampat: If you look at our infrastructure costs in our Mumbai, India office, 70 percent of the costs were tied to our air conditioning units, and there’s a shortage of energy in the area. We used Built.io Flow to cut costs significantly and do our part to conserve energy.

Baier: People would turn on the AC full blast and then overcorrect by opening the windows, and then start the cycle again. Some of our junior developers used Built.io Flow to hack together a solution in a weekend that connects to the AC unit and a motion sensor. When it senses people in the office, it levels to a reasonable temperature, and when it senses that people aren’t there, it shuts off. We’ve seen a 30 percent cut in our energy bill and made employees more comfortable without trying very hard. 

Sampat: The use cases can be endless, but some of the apps we’re going to launch with involve improving cities. If you’re able to connect the various data points in a city and make them smart, you can improve the people’s lifestyles. 

To hear more from Neha Sampat and other innovators and experts, register for Wearable World Congress 2015, May 19-20 in San Francisco. 

Photos courtesy of Neha Sampat and Built.io

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Google Wants Beta Testers For New App Indexing Features

Are you an Android developer who has apps with App Indexing enabled? Google wants you to beta test some new features.

The post Google Wants Beta Testers For New App Indexing Features appeared first on Search Engine Land.



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SearchCap: Mobilegeddon Is Coming, AdWords Campaign Reporting, France Wants Open Algorithm

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

The post SearchCap: Mobilegeddon Is Coming, AdWords Campaign Reporting, France Wants Open Algorithm appeared first on Search Engine Land.



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France Trying To Force Disclosure Of Google Algorithm, Wants To Regulate the SERP

Not waiting for the European Commission’s Statement of Objections (antitrust charges) to run its course, France is taking action to regulate Google’s search results and also compel revelation of its search algorithm. TechCrunch reported on a bill now working its way through the French…



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France Trying To Force Disclosure Of Google Algorithm, Wants To Regulate SERP

Not waiting for the European Commission’s Statement of Objections (antitrust charges) to run its course, France is taking action to regulate Google’s search results and also compel revelation of its search algorithm. TechCrunch reported on a bill now working its way through the French…



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NPM Wants To Push JavaScript Developers To Make Lego-Like Web Apps

For all its virtues as the lingua franca for developing Web apps, JavaScript hasn’t always lent itself to modern and efficient programming practices. Not long ago, for instance, shortcomings in the language led many developers to write JavaScript programs as huge, monolithic entities instead of building them from common and reusable software building blocks, also known as “modules.”

JavaScript is more amenable to such Lego-like modularization than it used to be, but the practice still isn’t as widespread as some would like. So NPM, a startup mainly known for eponymous open-source software that installs and manages JavaScript programs, has decided to give things a nudge in the right direction.

Its new initiative is called Private Modules, and at first glance it mainly looks like a premium code-repository service, similar in many respects to GitHub’s services. NPM already offered a free Javascript-only repository service for open-source code. Private Modules introduces a paid option for developers or companies that want to keep their JavaScript private.

But that’s not the interesting element here. Where GitHub’s paid options limit users to a specific number of proprietary-code repositories—$7 to $50 a month gets you between five and 50 private code repositories—NPM has gone, well, unlimited. A flat fee of $7 a month for individuals, or $5 a month per person at an organization, gets you as many private JavaScript-storage buckets as you want.

Why unlimited? Because, NPM CEO and founder Isaac Schlueter says, it will encourage companies to build and use individual JavaScript code modules, each of which can now live in its own repository.

All Mod(ule) Cons


NPM CEO Isaac Schlueter

“There’s a broad trend where people are switching from building monolithic apps to small modules that can be pieced together,” Schlueter told me in an interview.

Such modules vastly simplify the process of both building and updating programs. Much the way it’s far simpler to replace a light fixture than to completely rewire your house, it’s much easier to pull out and replace an old code module with a new one than it would be to rewrite a much larger monolithic program.

See also: How Node.js Stays On Track

NPM’s move here basically reinforces the notion of modularity at the repository level. It’s an idea you might even sum up in a slogan: “One repo, one module.”

Edmond Meinfelder, director of Web and mobile engineering at DocuSign, uses NPM Enterprise to manage the company’s massive—and monolithic—JavaScript codebase. 

“We have a huge legacy code base, but we’re just starting to refactor it and break it down into small modules,” he said. “Modules are easy to understand, easy to write tests for, and make creating new functionality much easier.”

While Meinfelder said DocuSign will continue to use the Enterprise option since it’s tailored to large companies, he plans to use Private Modules as an individual. Furthermore, he said that NPM’s move in this area helped DocuSign realize that it’s worth the effort to break its JavaScript programs down into modules:

On Private Modules, you could host all the modules of an app without worrying about going over your pricing plan. Private Modules shows companies and individuals that its within their price range to build apps the right way.

More Modules … And Fewer Users?

When the announcement made Hacker News Tuesday, however, some individual developers were less enthusiastic about the new direction. One major concern: Private Modules might effectively limit the number of users who can work on non-open-source projects. GitHub’s premium pay-per-repository model, by contrast, encourages unlimited collaboration on a limited number of repositories.

“Everything looks pretty awesome, except the payment model… With NPM’s model all my collaborators will have to pay for NPM private modules as well,” one commenter noted. Another suggested that NPM’s per-user payment scheme might turn off small companies:

Sounds like a big pain to have to pay individually for each person on a team if your company wants to use private modules. We’re generally willing to throw money at problems like those private modules solve, but if we have to do it a dozen times it probably isn’t going to happen.

Schlueter remains confident that NPM is moving in the right direction by encouraging practices that have been spreading among developers for decades.

“If we want to look back to the historical roots of this decision, even the shift from Multix to UNIX was about splitting up code into independent parts,” he said. “From the GNU Revision Control System to Git, the trend has been for things being broken into smaller pieces. NPM is a really good example of that in practice.”

Lead image by David Hamilton for ReadWrite (via Build with Chrome); photo of Isaac Schlueter courtesy of NPM

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Oculus Rift Is Coming, And Facebook Wants It To Be Your New Reality

A wise man once said that reality is “simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain.” Oculus, the virtual reality harbinger now owned by Facebook, agrees. And it wants you to believe it too, so you can accept virtual reality as a new form of reality.

“VR is more than just another platform,” Oculus chief scientist Michael Abrash said at the F8 conference Thursday. “In the long run it has the potential to create the whole range of human experience. Virtual reality done right truly is reality as far as the observer is concerned.”

Like the series of optical illusions Abrash showcased on stage, virtual reality works because of our brain’s stubborn quest to make sense of the world. Feed a slightly different image into each eye, and it will gladly decide you are seeing depth and motion. It will gladly process virtual images as real, giving you a sense of actual presence. 

It’s this model of the world, filtered through our brain’s limited sensors, that we experience as “real” and trust implicitly, Abrash said. It’s a model built by millions of years of human evolution that is based on assumptions that are almost always right. Virtual reality works because it feeds the brain enough matching information that the brain assumes what it is seeing is real. That’s presence.

Merging The Virtual Into Reality


Oculus chief scientist Michael Abrash speaks at F8. The Crescent Bay prototype is shown on screen.

VR is only in the beginning stages. Abrash said over and over that it just just now reached that minimal level or presence. By adding haptics—physical feedback that corresponds to the virtual world—better screens and improved audio, virtual reality can become even more lifelike. The hardware itself will get smaller, lighter and more powerful.

Abrash also talked about bringing the real world into the virtual. For example, you should be able to look down and see your own body. If you want to reach out and grab your coffee, there’s a virtual representation you can pick up without taking off your mask. It sounded like a hybrid form of augmented reality, a different way of experiencing the real world.

Oculus didn’t make any announcements about the long-awaited release of Oculus Rift. Abrash did say it will be “shipping in quantity before long.” Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer showcased a video game and said, “You’re going to be able to do this this year in VR. You’re going to be doing it in something shipped by Oculus.”

Both Schroepfer and Abrash threw up images of Crescent Bay, the latest publicly-shown Oculus prototype. Schroepfer was quick to clarify on Twitter that he wasn’t talking about an actual Rift release, and never mentioned Gear VR, the mobile headset slated for a broad consumer availability later this year. 

In my reality, I’m going to go ahead and envision a 2015 Rift ship date. 

Photos by Owen Thomas for ReadWrite

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Facebook Messenger Wants To Claim E-Commerce … And Fist Bump GIFs


Facebook’s Messenger app has some big ambitions. It not only wants to give users new ways to communicate via goofy photos, GIFs, video and eventually virtual-reality recordings, it’s also making a big play for e-commerce.

No wonder Facebook now calls it the Messenger Platform, as it announced at its F8 Developer Conference in San Francisco on Wednesday. Now we just have to see who will climb aboard.

Fist Bumps On Messenger

The changes Facebook is making to Messenger are simple in concept, and are aimed squarely at making the service a more fun place to communicate by opening the door to third-party apps of all kinds.

The new Messenger Platform will initially integrate photo and graphics apps like Giphy, FlipLip, Bitmoji and Jib Jab. While the current version of Messenger allows users to send text, video, stickers, location data, and to make voice calls, Messenger Platform will add access to any app that developers decide to bring to the party.


Sending dumb videos to your friends is easier than ever with app integration through Messenger Platform

David Marcus, Facebook’s VP of messaging, offered a demonstration of the new forms of creative communication. In response to a Jib Jab video sent by Zuckerberg, he accessed a list of compatible apps and decided to download Giphy. From there, he was whisked to the App Store, downloaded the app, and found the fist-bump GIF of his dreams. Another few taps later, he beamed the GIF to his boss.

While sending gifs via Messenger may not seem like a world shattering innovation, the easy-to-use app integration offers a lot of potential. As it stands, there are no shortage of ways for people to send files or ideas to each other. Facebook, however, would clearly like to establish Messenger as the go-to place for people to exchange important files, music, restaurant recommendations—you name it.

The big hurdle, of course, is for developers to come up with the ideas that will bring users to the party. And, of course, for users to accept the idea of funneling all their interactions through Facebook’s app.

That may be a hard sell for younger folks who have gravitated more to up-and-coming social apps like Snapchat.


These are Facebook’s Messenger Platform third-party app partners … so far

Messenger Means Business

Then there’s Messenger Business, which aims to streamline the way users shop online.

In his F8 demo, Marcus focused on the numerous emails you get whenever you sign up for store accounts, placed orders, track packages or deal with refunds. Messenger Business is designed to let users communicate with participating online retailers one-on-one, creating one thread with all the necessary information.

For example, if consumers buy products via a participating retailer, they’ll have the ability to open a thread in Messenger to stay up to date with their orders’ progress. The Messenger thread will allow for package tracking, providing feedback, and even reordering or returning items. Because Messenger Business is tied to a user’s Facebook account, there’s no need to log in or verify your identity.


Track a package you ordered via Messenger Business.

The key phrase there is “participating retailer.” Dealing with retailers by email works because email is universal and easy. Having to take the mental effort to figure out whether the shoe store you’re ordering from works with Messenger and then making sure you only manage your order through Messenger could be a lot to ask of users.

It’s also not clear how Facebook plans to combat compromised accounts. We’ve all seen posts on our friends’ feeds that say something along the lines of, “I’m stupid for leaving my Facebook account open on my friend’s computer.” As such, it isn’t hard to imagine the kinds of e-commerce shenanigans that can come up through similar carelessness.

Presumably, Facebook will have more details about e-commerce security as Messenger Platform and Messenger Business roll out within the next few weeks. In the meantime, it’ll be interesting to see what kinds of ideas developers come up with now that they have a new sandbox to play in.

Images courtesy of Facebook

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Google Wants to Help Put Your Business on the Map, Literally by @mattsouthern

According to Google, businesses with complete online listings are twice as likely to be considered reputable by customers. Moreover, Consumers are 38 percent more likely to visit and 29 percent more likely to consider purchasing from businesses with complete listings. Unfortunately, not nearly enough business owners are taking advantage of this relatively easy boost in credibility. Only 37 percent of businesses have claimed a local business listing on a search engine. Google launched an initiative in 2011, called Get Your Business Online, to help businesses capitalize on these missed opportunities. That’s a lot of missed opportunities for small businesses. In […]

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Google’s VP of Display Advertising Wants a Single Standard for Viewability by @mattsouthern

What counts as an ad view? Is it when the ad is technically served, or when the ad is actually able to be seen by a human visitor? No one can definitively answer that question because there’s no standard in the display advertising industry for what counts as “viewability” — which is a problem Neal Mohan, Google’s VP of Display and Video Advertising Products, says needs to be fixed. According to the MRC standard definition of viewability, a ‘viewable ad’ is one that has been rendered on a screen for a person to view. This kind of viewability should be […]

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