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Monthly Archives: February 2018

Remember Google+? While many of us have ditched the platform in recent years, Google has put a lot of time into improving it for those who are still big fans of the service. Now, Google is preparing to launch a “brand new version” of Google+ for Android.


The best gifts for Android users

Posted by Leo Deegan yesterday afternoon, Google is preparing to launch a new version of the Google+ app for Android devices. Leo says that, while the app might not look all that different, Google is rebuilding it from the ground up.

It’s unclear exactly what Google has in store, but we’re assuming we’ll be seeing a version of Google+ that is faster and more up to date with Google’s various standards. Leo mentions a few changes we can expect in his post:

During the rewrite, we were able to build in some subtle updates. For instance, stream rendering and scrolling have been improved, the photo lightbox has been redesigned, comment options slide up from a bottom sheet, and grey-spammed comments are now viewable by post authors.

Since this is a rewrite, there are a few known issues that we’re working through. For instance, leaving a comment on a post causes a full refresh of the post to include your comment. Take it for a spin if you get the chance, and we hope you don’t mind the dust.

There’s still a lot we don’t know about this coming update, such as if it will require an update from the Play Store to be “enabled,” but we’ll find out soon enough. Leo says that the changes will be available “over the next several days.”


Check out 9to5Google on YouTube for more news:

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Left to right, Evonne Heyning. CEO, Light Lodges; Danny Gordon, CEO, Auredi; Raffaelle Camera, NA Go-to-Market Lead, Accenture XR; Joel Vasquez, Solution Architect, Tailspin.

Interest in AR and VR is on the rise in the local space, as brands as well as the agencies and digital marketing companies that serve them aim to take advantage of cutting-edge technology to boost customer experiences.

Mike Boland, Street Fight’s analyst in residence, sat down with four players in the space at Street Fight Summit West in Los Angeles Wednesday afternoon to get their takes on the latest in visual technology and digital marketing.

The conversation centered on rates of customer adoption, evaluating the return on investment in visual technology, and how AR and VR can improve customer experiences.

One of the clearest returns on investment in AR and VR is time, said Joel Vasquez, solution architect at Tailspin.

VR and AR can be used for employee training, an innovative practice that can make the training process both quicker and more effective.

For example, a home-services company could simulate the job of fixing up a home that has been struck by a leak. This sort of practice saves the employer time and also allows it to simulate the exact conditions for which it would like its employees to be prepared, Vasquez said.

VR-enhanced employee training can also be rewarding. “People shy away from the word ‘gamified’ … but work should be fun,” Vasquez said.

Evonne Heyning, CEO of Light Lodges, has experimented with visual technology as a way of bringing geographically distant people into a room together and enabling a meeting to happen, another move that saves time and money.

Restaurants are using Auredi’s visual technology to enrich customer experiences, showing them exactly what their food will look like.

“We want to please the restaurants and we want to please the users,” Auredi CEO Danny Gordon said. “It’s unbelievable the amount of excitement we see when we show customers dishes that look exactly like they do in person.”

“Snapchat brought AR into the public perception … but those still look very cartoonish,” Gordon said. “With the images we create, it looks realistic down to the details.”

The panelists agreed that businesses should refrain from turning to visual technology simply for the sake of doing something new.

For one, the technology needs to correspond to the goals of the brand hoping to deploy it.

“We have to figure out what the story we’re trying to tell is, and does it work with virtual reality,” said Raffaelle Camera, NA go-to-market lead at Accenture XR.

Companies also need to consider the adoption rates of consumers, who may not be ready to adopt at scale the technological solutions high-tech companies are prepared to roll out.

Mobile, for example, will continue to be the primary channel for customer experiences for at least the next year or so.

“For the next couple of years, mobile is still going to drive,” Heyning said. “When I’m working with design teams, I love smart glasses and I design for them now thinking of two years from now, but for now the phone needs to be the driver.”

Gordon was even more cautious.

“I don’t think smart glasses are mainstream for another seven to ten years,” he said. “Even the iPhone took about four years.”

Joe Zappa is Street Fight’s news editor. Photography by Shana Wittenwyler.

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A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal publishing, marketing, commerce, and technology…

User Time on Facebook Declines for First Time Ever (Recode)
Zuckerberg said that “we made changes” in order for that time decrease to happen, and added that “focusing on meaningful connections, our community and business will be stronger over the long term.”

#SFSW18: How Yelp Is Partnering Its Way into the Future (Street Fight)
“We’ve made sure there’s an authenticity in Yelp so that people going to the service for reviews can count on it,” said Yelp SVP Chad Richard in the final conversation of Street Fight Summit West in Los Angeles. Richard called authenticity “the essence of the business.”

State of Hyperlocal: Attribution Is Top Industry Challenge and R&D Priority (Street Fight)
David Card: Companies selling local marketing and technology and services continue to believe that online-to-offline attribution is the toughest challenge facing the industry, and it’s now their top near-term R&D priority. That’s what we’re hearing from a preliminary analysis of our annual State of Hyperlocal survey of Street Fight readers.

Google’s Rivals Say Search-Page Practices Still Unfair (WSJ)
Google continues to stymie competition in online shopping, despite a record fine from European authorities and an order to modify its behavior, rivals say.

#SFSW18: Factual CEO Talks Company’s Top-Notch Approach to Location Data (Street Fight)
Unlike so many location-based rivals, Factual’s goal is not to convert geospatial data into top-notch marketing solutions. The company, founder and CEO Gil Elbaz said Wednesday morning at Street Fight Summit West in Los Angeles, is laser-focused on providing top-notch location data. 

#SFSW18: Closing the Location Attribution Loop (Street Fight)
Cameron Peebles, CMO of InMarket, emphasized that data should not just be used for attribution — to prove past ad placements have worked — but also to predict future consumer patterns and increase long-term marketing success. “Consumers don’t live their lives in points; they live their lives in patterns,” Peebles said. 

Alexa Can Now Send Text Messages to Phones (MediaPost)
Voice devices in the home continue to evolve and expand with new capabilities. Now Amazon has enabled its Alexa digital voice assistant to send text messages through its Echo devices.

Instagram’s Carousel Ads Come to Stories (TechCrunch)
Instagram is announcing plans to bring its Carousel Ads into Stories. That means the ads in Stories are no longer limited to one piece of media (which could be a photo or a video) — they can now include three.

#SFSW18: The Local Ecosystem in Flux (Street Fight)
“Small businesses are people who are gutting it out,” said Andrew Morbitzer, VP of corporate development at GoDaddy. “They’re here to do a service or provide a product. They’re not here to use software. [Our job is] removing the decision to take on another capability.”

#SFSW18: Local’s Visual Future: The Rise of AR, VR, and New Customer Experiences (Street Fight)
“We want to please the restaurants and we want to please the users,” said Danny Gordon, CEO of Auredi, just one company at Street Fight Summit West using visual technology to enrich customer experiences. “It’s unbelievable the amount of excitement we see when we show customers dishes that look exactly like they do in person.”

Ad Tech Vendors Offer Customers Rosy Pictures of GDPR Compliance (Digiday)
Any ad tech vendor clinging to the notion that legitimate interest alone will render them compliant for the General Data Protection Regulation may need to think of a plan B — and fast.

#SFSW18: How Nextdoor Is Building a Business Around Neighbors (Street Fight)
Nextdoor is an app exclusively devoted to the local communities that keep the lights on for small businesses.  Prakash Janakiraman, co-founder and chief architect of Nextdoor, joined Mike Boland, Street Fight’s analyst in residence, at Street Fight Summit West in Los Angeles Wednesday afternoon to discuss Nextdoor’s growth into a billion-dollar local business.

Twitter Is Sending More Clicks to Publishers (BuzzFeed)
Alex Kantrowitz: The development could potentially mitigate the negative effects of Facebook’s News Feed changes on media companies.

Demystifying Agency Data Platforms (AdExchanger)
The major holding companies have each developed data platforms to meet their clients’ needs. The question is: What’s the difference between their offerings?

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