There’s an App for Everything, Including YouTube’s Capture

It seems that today there’s a mobile app for just about everything. If you don’t believe me, take a look at these statistics about mobile apps:

46 million mobile apps are downloaded from the Apple App Store each day.
The average number of apps owned by a smart phone user is 41, a 28 percent increase in the past year.
The iOs App market sales run rate is $4 billion a year.

YouTube today unveiled its newest mobile app for the iPhone that allows users to create and upload videos quickly. The app, called Capture, also allows users to share video via social media networks, such as Facebook, Google + and Twitter.
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What makes this app desirable is the fact that as soon as it opens, users can start recording – there’s no messing around trying to get ready to record. The app also offers the ability to color-correct, trim, stabilize and add music tracks to the video. Pretty neat, huh?

The free app is available for download in the App Store, but here’s the catch: if you don’t have a Google + account, you’ll need to create one since users must sign in via that platform once the app is downloaded. And the app isn’t available for Androids yet. Google, the owner of YouTube, plans to make it available in the “near” future.

Think you’re interested in the app? Read Blogger Christopher Zibreg’s review. He notes, “I like the refined look and feel of YouTube Capture that’s reminiscent of Google’s design language evident in the recently updated Gmail, Maps, Chrome, YouTube and Google+ apps.” Also, check out this video about the YouTube Capture app.

Interestingly, the first “official” YouTube app debuted in September after Apple dropped YouTube as a pre-installed app with the launch of iOS 6. The app had been pre-installed since 2007 when the iPhone debuted.

Over the next few weeks, watch downloads of this app closely. It probably will collect quite a following since it simplifies the process of creating, recording and editing videos. Let us know what you think if you decide to download and use it.

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Sometimes All This Big Brother Stuff Can Be Scary

So the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is again concerned about the type of information apps gather and share about children. Anyone surprised by this? I’m not; just consider how much information is captured and available today about each of us.

In February 2012, the FTC issued a report showing that little or no information on privacy policies are available to parents prior to an app download. The report called on everyone involved in the app industry – stores, developers and others – to provide greater disclosure about the apps. The FTC indicated in that report it would revisit the subject in six months to determine what progress – if any – had been made.

Today, the FTC has released the findings of its second report, concluding once again that parents are not receiving enough notice about how apps are collecting and distributing information about children. This report cites the continuing exponential growth of mobile technologies as cause for concern:

Since the first kids’ app report was issued, the market for mobile apps has continued to grow at an explosive rate, providing many benefits and conveniences to consumers. As of September 2012, there were over 700,000 apps available in Apple’s AppStore, a 40% increase since December 2011, and over 700,000 apps available in Google Play, an 80% increase since the beginning of 2012. The rise in the number of apps corresponds to the increasing number of U.S. adults who own devices capable of using apps.

Consider this research conducted as part of the Pew Internet & American Life Project that shows parents are concerned about technology, privacy and their children. The data clearly shows children and youth are some of the biggest users of digital technologies, but not necessarily as technically savvy as we think. Included in Pew’s research is some surprising information about teenage use of mobile technologies, including that 77 percent of teens have a cell phone; of these, 26 percent a smart phone; and most teens are 12- or 13-years-old when they get their first phone.

Given this information, it is understandable why parents and the FTC would be concerned about the type of information being collected and shared about their children; however, this blogger argues we should all be concerned about the information gathered and shared about each and every one of us. From QR codes to rewards programs to custom-tailored online advertising, emerging media has made it easy for our every move to be tracked.
big brother
In fact, I heard this week that all cars, starting in 2013, will have black boxes to track our driving. Sometimes all of this Big Brother stuff can be a little scary…anyone else feel the same way?

Immersive Storytelling Revitalizes The Music Video

It’s ironic that MTV greeted the world in 1981 with The Buggles’ “Video Killed the Radio Star” since the oft-maligned cable network has killed any substantive musical content.

Go ahead and play this while you read on. It isn’t a death knell, I promise.

Free Internet content on sites like YouTube, SonyBMG, Yahoo! were certainly a component of this disruption to MTV’s content. 2008 saw the end of Total Request Live (TRL) and MTV observers voiced concern that the music video might have lost its relevance to pop culture and music marketing.

Thanks to Google and other innovative companies like Twitter, music videos are still an evolving and relevant form of entertainment and music marketing.  August 2010  saw the release of a new album by Arcade Fire, a live show that streamed on YouTube and allowed at home viewers to pick which cameras to watch, and the very first Twitter @EarlyBird promotion of a band. Then The Wilderness Downtown launched.

The Wilderness Downtown is an immersive music video created as a Chrome Experiment to highlight the possibilities of HTML 5. There is a link at the end of this posting where you can see it and another new project like it that will draw you in even deeper. A word of caution: you need to view these videos in the Chrome browser.

Seth Godin taught us that “All Marketers Tell Stories.” That’s what a music video does, too. The innovative aspects of the Arcade Fire promotion takes the story and the experience to another level entirely: immersive storytelling. The audience is immersed, the experience is interactive, channels are integrated, and the impact plays out in the real world of emotions and psychology. Think of it as the 4 I’s of immersive storytelling.

Start out with the first link to experience this firsthand. If you like it, try 2012’s 3 Dreams of Black.

The Wilderness Downtown

3 Dreams of Black

I’m just glad that nobody killed the music video. I think its even better now. What do you think?

— Guest Blog by Daniel Gillaspy, from Digital Qi. A man who saw that very first video on MTV and loves Google for what the video has become. Cheers!

above the bench

Guest Blog on digital qui

Welcome readers! This week I authored a guest blog about Facebook opening up proposed changes to its privacy policy for user vote. This guest blog is definitely one you will want to pay attention to:

Up for vote is the right vote. Use it or lose it forever. If less than 30 percent of all Facebook users cast their votes, the social media site can do as it pleases.

Visit my guest blog at digital qui to learn more — and be sure spread the word to help get out the vote!

This Thanksgiving’s sales winners are…

It appears this shopping season is already off to a strong start for three technology companies – Nintendo, Samsung and Apple – and their latest gadgets.

Nintendo
According to the Los Angeles Times, Nintendo sold 400,000 Wii U’s last week during the system’s launch at a cost $50 higher than its predecessor. It appears, however, the Wii U is getting mixed reviews from users – particularly since its interactive television and video features were not available at the product’s launch. At a cost of $299, Wii U offers users high definition graphics and a controller with a touch screen.

Engadget’s Ben Gilbert reports that Nintendo’s Wii U sales were only a portion of strong sales for the company. “That’s just part of a 1.2 million hardware sales week that Nintendo’s enjoyed across the past seven days – which include the crucial Black Friday — where Wii saw 300kk units sold, and portables dominated. Nintendo’s 3Ds sold 250K, while the aged DS moved 275K – not too shabby for an eight-plus-year-old console!”

Samsung
Samsung reports, according to the Washington Post, that its Galaxy Note II has sold more than 5 million units since its debut two months ago, with 2 million units sold in November alone. As reporter Hayley Tsukayama notes, “The success of the Galaxy Note II and its predecessor, the Galaxy Note, may show an appetite for larger phones that also function as smaller tablets for Web-browsing, video and reading. The Note line, with its stylus is more in the vein of the personal data-assistant of old, though obviously updated for a sleeker, more connected age.”

Additionally, a Samsung official told PCMag that sales of its Galaxy Note II have clearly surpassed those of the original Galaxy, which took about five month to reach sales of 5 million units.

Apple
Industry analysts are all buzzing about Apple’s performance over Thanksgiving weekend. The company’s iPhone 5 and iPad (mini, iPad 2 and new iPad) products dominated the market. Brian Blair of Wedge Partners explains, “The iPad Mini was sold out in every channel we checked proving that the $329 price point holds tremendous appeal to consumers. … Strong sell-through data of all things Apple over the weekend and through the holiday should act as a continued catalyst for Apple’ stock as we move through the shopping season and we remain positive on the stock from current levels.”

Cyber Monday Underway
With Cyber Monday taking place as this article is being written, expect some other technology companies to join Nintendo, Samsung and Apple in scoring some strong sales. In fact, look for some great deals from T-Mobile and Sprint today. Both companies are lowering prices on several phones with two-year agreements.

Coming Next Week
Now You Know has a special treat for you next week! Blogger Daniel Gillaspy will bring the insights and knowledge he shares with readers of his blog, Digital Qi, to our audience as a guest blogger. Daniel will share his expertise on immersive storytelling. It will definitely be an interesting blog – one you will not want to miss!

Windows 8 Sales Lackluster; Rumors Tie Poor Performance to Sinofsky’s Departure

Looks like Microsoft’s sales of its new Windows 8 are falling below what the company projected. According to renowned industry blogger, Paul Thurott, sales of Windows 8 are slow and disappointing, so says a trusted inside source.

“But here’s the catch: The software giant blames the slow start on lackluster PC maker designs and availability, further justifying its new Surface strategy. But Windows 8’s market acceptance can be blamed on many factors,” says Thurott.

He offers several reasons for the lackluster sales of Windows 8, including lingering questions about the unexpected departure of Windows Chief Steven Sinofsy, an attempt to create a hybrid device that serves all needs and a disconnect between product offerings (Windows 8 versus Windows RT).

In fact, Computerworld’s Preston Galla raises this question about Sinofsky’s departure, “If Windows 8 fails, will Sinofsky become the scapegoat?”

Galla elaborates by explaining that Sinfosky’s resignation came shortly after the product launch of Windows 8, drawing speculation that the two are related. Specifically, “Gartner analyst Michael Silver told Computerworld that Microsoft’s silence about the sales of Windows 8 and the Surface tablet, ‘could be an indication that they did not meet expectations’,” reports Galla.

Clearly, no one really knows why Sinofsky left Microsoft, but Mashable’s Lance Ulanoff hits the nail on the head in his Nov. 13 article, “Sinofsky Exits Microsoft: No Good Can Come of This,” when he says:

…you and I both know that we don’t know the full story.

I know, I can’t agree more. It should be interesting to see what comes out about Windows 8, Microsoft and Sinofsky in the next few weeks. Stay tuned.

Facebook Testing New Features

Facebook is testing a new feature that places the most engaging comments higher up on subscriber and brand pages. It also is letting users comment on comments, further broadening their ability to engage in two-way conversations.

Mashable’s Samantha Murphy explains that the first feature is similar to how Reddit users can rank posts, while CNET’s Yahn details how it works:

“The new format puts the comments that have more Likes or replies at the top of heap, adding to another, more fundamental change — the ability to directly comment on other comments with the introduction of a reply button.”

It appears these new functions are only being tested on 30 pages.  And while it isn’t clear if these new features will roll out anytime soon, they definitely heighten the ability to engage in two-way conversations on posts that receive hundreds or thousands of comments.

This news from Facebook comes at a time when the company is also experimenting with another feature – alerts with sound.

Fox News reports that Facebook users who have been piloted to test alerts already find the new functionality “annoying.”

That isn’t surprising, given how much today’s technology uses sound – beeps, pings, dings and buzzes – to catch a user’s attention. But don’t take my word for it, check out this YouTube video and decide for yourself.