Tick Yes Blog

Tag - app

Cold House Warming for Facebook

In April Facebook came out with its app for the Android smartphone that literally makes Facebook the main feature of the gadget.  But a few days into launching and following a lot of negative reactions and a ton of 1-star reviews, this particular online strategy is looking more like a home that smartphone users would rather leave abandoned than enter.
 
The social media’s first major-release app for the Android, Facebook Home, integrates itself into the Android OS, changing your wallpaper and menu to make it appear similar to what you see when you open your Facebook page.
Users immediately complained that while it optimized Facebook for easier to use on their smartphones, it made everything else, including using the features of the phone itself, very complicated.

The main complaint was that, as mentioned above, the app turned Facebook into something like an in-your-facebook.  The app essentially replaces your smartphone’s lock screen with a slideshow made up of updates from your Facebook newsfeed.
Reviews from the Google Play app store started coming.
“Not an intuitive app. Made my phone so frustratingly complicated to use that I uninstalled after just four or five hours. Unless major changes are made including an easy way to get to my home screen I will not reinstall,” one user laments.
“It was cool at first but needs some tweaking to be more user-friendly. It takes a lot of different moves and clicks just to get to your main home screen. I installed it last night and uninstalled it this morning,” another user said.
“Not intuitive and it makes my phone butt-ugly. Major fail. And Facebook is starting to grow pretty tiresome; I don’t really want to have to look at it every time I pick up my phone. Uninstall,” another user added.
Others were also complaining about how much life the app took out of the battery.
“Kills my battery on my galaxy note 2.:-)  IT’S COOL but I need my phones battery to last the day,” was the reaction of another user.
The apps store ratings also speaks for itself.  As of April 15 only 689 users rated the app 5 stars while an overwhelming 1,864 rated it one star.  A total of 3,930 users rated their experience with Facebook Home.  The total average was a measly 2.3 stars.
While it can be argued that only those people with a particular dislike for Facebook are posting the negative comments, Google Play said it only accepts rating and reviews from users who have downloaded and installed the app, so it’s safe to assume the bulk of negative reviews and comments do come from people who have actually tried the app for themselves.
For now the free downloadable app, which 258 KB, is only available in the US and only for devices that support Android 4.0 and up like the HTC First, HTC One X, HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S3, Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 2.  Facebook’s decision to have the app distributed via Google Play to such a limited number of users has also raised other questions as to whether the app is actually a social media marketing strategy or a mere test to see how receptive users are to such a program.
Facebook recently unveiled plans to release Facebook Home internationally.  And, perhaps eager to patch up its relationship with Home haters, announced that the fist update for the app is scheduled for the second week of May.
 
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Pocket-sized news

A new app could be the final nail in the coffin of traditional media, but it could also be its saviour…
Newspapers, magazines and other traditional news sources now have another reason to be worried. As The Message has previously reported, the impending demise of those news organs has long been anticipated. Now, though, a new social media-inspired iPhone app may have hastened the end.
Summly, created by 17-year-old British whiz kid Nick D’Aloisio, has been called ‘one of the most disruptive apps of 2012’. Why, because it presents news in an iGen and Gen Y-friendly format – in snippets.
The free app proudly boasts that it ‘redefines news for the mobile world with algorithmically generated summaries from hundreds of sources. Innovative gestures, animations and great summaries make reading the news fun: easy to use, easy to scan, easy to read, clear and concise.’
D’Aloisio says he came up with the idea because he didn’t feel his generation engages with news as it should ‘in part because most of our life is digital and existing technologies don’t necessarily do the best job of engaging us with news content. So I was hoping to build something that could’.
So now if you want a pocket-sized, completely mobile, iPhone version of the news all you have to do is select your favourite news source or topic and let Summly do the rest. Simply add a keyword on any topic in the world and the app finds the content and summarises it for you.
With content delivered in 400 characters (‘more than a tweet, but less than a full article’), it’s perfect for the mobile generation.
The Guardian reports that this venture ‘may be viewed warily by the newspaper industry’. However, it may yet be its saviour – giving it renewed relevance in the mobile, social media-centric world. The Summly website invites publishers to submit their content for summary, potentially increasing its reach, and is already working with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation to summarise its content.
Supporters of and advisers to the start-up include such high-profile names as Ashton Kutcher, Troy Carter, Betaworks, Yoko Ono and Stephen Fry, with the latter even lending his presence to promote the app.

 
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Safe sext

A new app could stop risqué content from coming back to haunt its creators
Ask Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton or Colin Farrell – leaving video or pictorial evidence of your naked body with a scorned lover generally ends up with far more people than said scorned lover being able to access the material.
Of course, no one intentionally leaves footage or photos with a scorned lover – they send it to devoted, starry-eyed paramours who would never, ever betray them. And then they do. Because the sad fact is that behind every devoted partner, there is a scorned lover waiting to happen; and with every sexy pic or video you send, you run the risk of that video being seen by everyone from your boss to your parents to your next-door neighbour.
While public nudity may have ultimately aided the careers (and we use the term loosely) of the aforementioned celebs, unwanted exposure can have devastating results on the lives of mere mortals who make the same mistake. Just a few weeks ago Canadian teenager Amanda Todd took her own life after years of stalking and bullying, spawned by a decision to ‘flash’ for a webcam when she was 12 years old.
A new app could be set to change the potentially negative repercussions of images that should best not be kept on file. SnapChat is a photo-texting app that can be used to send images that self-destruct after an allocated number of seconds. While it’s far from fool-proof (recipients can still take a quick sneaky screenshot of the pic while it’s on their screen, although the app will alert you if this happens), it is at least a safety measure to be put in place for photos that are best left… impermanent.
While the app developers insist it is not a ‘sexting’ service (using the admittedly valid argument that a steamy photo that lasts just three seconds doesn’t really fulfil its purpose), chances are that the majority of people drawn to it will think of it as exactly that. But if that stops a few creeps having access to ill-advised photos after the flame of love has been extinguished, it can’t be a bad thing.
 
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21st century fire fighting

Can content delivered through an app save lives this bushfire season?
With Hurricane Sandy currently occupying the world’s attention as it dances destructively across the United States, it is easy to overlook that, here in Australia, we are entering the bushfire danger season.
Authorities have already been experimenting with using social media and online content to keep people informed if/when natural disasters strike (with, it has to be said, varying degrees of success). But the new FireReady app from the Victoria Country Fire Authority’s is the most advanced attempt to turn technology into a fire-fighting, lifesaving tool yet.
Already downloaded by 70,000 users, it provides notifications of fire dangers and lets users photograph bushfire activity (with GPS coordinates and time stamp) and submit it to authorities. It’s a kind of crowd-sourcing (or ‘community intelligence gathering’ as the CFA’s digital media manager, Martin Anderson, puts it) that, hopefully, prevents the sort of ‘information vacuum’ that cost lives during Black Saturday in 2009 occurring.
Granted, this crucial service is not presented in as entertaining away as Canada’s ‘zombie preparedness week‘, but if it does what it’s meant to, that’s all that matters.
 
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Content case study

The Commonwealth Bank’s mobile money app is a great example of content evolution
We’ve brought you news that apps are increasingly being viewed as the next big things in content marketing, and we have explained how mobile money may (or may not) be about to revolutionise daily transactions. But we haven’t pointed out that it is an Australian company that is leading the charge on both counts.
Since its launch in December, the Commonwealth Bank’s Kaching app – the first of its kind in the world – has received over 120,000 downloads, according to a report by ITWire.
For those of you who haven’t heard of it, we’ve created a cheat sheet to let you in on what the app does, how it works, and what it means for mobile banking.
What is it?
Kaching is an app that allows you to access your social contacts through your email address book, your iPhone contacts list, or even your Facebook friends list. In conjunction with a custom NFC-enabled case called the iCarte ($54.95), it can also be used for contactless payments at any establishment that accepts Mastercard PayPass.
Here’s a video released by the bank that explains it in plain English (albeit a little condescendingly).

What does this mean?
Basically, this iPhone app in conjunction with the custom contactless payment case is ushering in a new era in mobile banking. While this sounds like hyperbole, it’s not – it’s the 2012 equivalent of online banking. While it may take a while to catch on in the mainstream, the fact that Smartphone use is still growing and more people need access to their funds without needing access to cash make Kaching the perfect product for an increasingly online world.
Is it secure?
Commonwealth Bank says: ‘We recognise having appropriate security measures in place is vital for an application like this to be successful, and for our customers to feel comfortable using it.  That’s why Commbank Kaching incorporates a range of measures which in combination deliver high standards of security and provide customers with peace of mind when making mobile payments. These include:

strong customer authentication procedures;
device-level security controls;
robust monitoring; and
the backing of our security guarantee.

‘Our 100% security guarantee means the Bank will cover any losses should someone make an unauthorised transaction on a customer’s account provided customers protect their PIN and password, and immediately notify us of the loss, theft or misuse of their PIN and password and of any suspicious activity on the account.’
At a time when the big banks aren’t getting much by way of public trust or good press, a differentiator like this is surely a smart move. Although the Commonwealth Bank won’t yet divulge its metrics regarding activity on Kaching, it’s surely only a matter of time before the other banks follow suit.
 
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Is your brand app-ropriate?

Apps are being plugged as the Next Big Thing in content marketing. But here are some questions to ask before taking your brand down that path…
In meetings all over the world, brand managers are doubtless hearing one refrain repeated over and over again by countless zealous, evangelical digital marketing agency account managers: ‘We could make an app for that!’
Of course, there is no doubt that the mighty app has burst onto the mobile scene and changed the way we process and organise the information we need. Smartphone use and the downloading of apps is still on the rise (and is expected to peak in 2014), but is this a good enough reason for your brand to develop one?
A study by Localytics found that one in four apps is downloaded, used once and then discarded – a statistic to keep in mind when you’re subjected to the massive overall download figures that are invariably quoted by mobile enthusiasts trying to persuade your brand to develop an application of its very own.
That’s not to say an app cannot be a game changer. Indeed, the purpose of this post is not to dissuade you from exploring the app option, but to help you decide if an app is going to add real value to your offering.
Key content questions
With that in mind, here are a few questions you should ask yourself before heading down the app route with your brand:

How will the app differ from the website? (Note: an app is different to a mobile website)
Where is your target market? Are they likely to find you via your app?
How will your app drive sales?
How much revenue would the app have to drive for it to be financially feasible?
What are your competitors doing in terms of app development?
How are other industry apps being used?
How often will your app be used by those who download it?

These questions are a great starting point for any brand looking to explore the wonderful world of apps. Apps have worked wonders for some brands, but there are many more that have rushed into the space and created something costly, irrelevant and essentially pointless.
If you do decide to invest in the creation of an app for your brand, the next step is deciding what to include, who to choose for the design job and how to market the end result… but more on that to come!
 
 

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Oops!

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney gets the content blues
One of The Message’s very first posts, back in March last year, highlighted the importance highlighted the importance of creating mistake-free and grammatically correct content in order to help engage the audience. Unfortunately, it would seem no-one on new Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s campaign team read it.
Hot on the heels of his success in the primaries, Romney has been selling his vision of ‘a better America’ – even producing a With Mitt iPhone app to show that, like Barack Obama (whose mastery of social media has been credited in playing a significant part in his 2008 victory).
Unfortunately, whoever made the app misspelled the country’s name…

Which has of course led to countless Angelina-style mickey takes. Here are some of our favourites:

 

 

 

 
 
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Instagram announces Android app

DIY content producers now have another reason to be ’appy!
In a highly anticipated move that has whipped non-iPhone users into a frenzy not seen since the announcement of the Angry Birds android app, popular photo sharing and editing app Instagram will soon be available for android.
In the words of Christina Bonnington for Wired Magazine: ‘The Instagram party is about to go from a few cocktails with friends into a raging kegger.’
Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom recently confirmed the app was fast-approaching, sharing glimpses of the new technology, which is still in beta-testing mode.
For the many Android users, who have thus far been excluded from the app that everyone’s talking about, the news is very welcome.
Alison Foreman, a former iPhone user who has switched to the Android system, says that Instagram is the thing she misses most about her old phone: ‘As far as functionality and ease of use, my Android matches my iPhone pretty closely. I used to love Instagram though, and really miss it, so I’m thrilled it will be available for me to get re-addicted!’
With Android users still outnumbering iPhone users by a decent margin, Instagram’s latest move could potentially double or even triple its fan base. iPhone users, be warned: your days of smugly chatting about the latest shots on Instagram in front of jealous Android friends are numbered!
 
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Starbucks’ Christmas App

Starbucks brings a touch of augmented reality content to the festive season…
Few companies have their fingers as firmly on the pulse of commercialising holiday cheer as Starbucks. Even here in Australia, the coffee mega-chain releases themed flavours to coincide with the Christmas season, and we’re so hopped up on the sugary goodness and caffeine we forget to notice that hot sweet heavy beverages don’t blend too well with 40º days!
Cynicism aside, however, Starbucks’ latest app offering is pretty cool. Using augmented reality technology, users in the US and Canada can point and shoot their iPhone or Android at a specially-branded Starbucks coffee cup and lose themselves in a world of sledding dogs, ice-skaters and other Northern Christmassy images.
Can’t wait to see it in Australia some time soon. Until then, check it out for yourselves here:

 
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