Facebook continues its fight for second-screen dominance

Facebook is working on new tools meant to encourage people to discuss the latest TV shows, breaking news, and live events on its service instead of Twitter. How? By making it easier for them to see their musings during broadcasts, making exclusive stickers for certain events, and becoming a polling service through which people can share some of their opinions with TV programmers.
The tools are part of the social network’s long battle to become the premier “second screen” service used whenever something interesting’s on television. (Seriously, these efforts have been ongoing since at least 2014, when the company worked with Fox to promote its apps during that year’s Super Bowl.) Facebook just isn’t content to let all the frenzied chirping happen on Twitter. And on top of that, the TV ad industry’s annual budget is something Facebook wants a chunk of as traditional commercials lose effectiveness.
Not that Facebook wants people to think it’s desperate.
“We highlighted one relevant study on our Facebook for Business blog which found that 85 percent of people who reported visiting a social network while watching TV said they visited Facebook,” its partner engineering director, Bob Morgan, said in today’s announcement. “Our own researchers discovered that Facebook usage peaks in primetime, in every country, and that the maximum daily Facebook audience occurs during maximum TV viewing.” See? Facebook’s already doing great!
But the company isn’t going to be happy until its services pervade every form of media. It wants text to be read via Instant Articles, videos to be watched through its native video player, and photos to be shared via Instagram. Then it wants all those forms of media to be scooped up from those services and shared via traditional outlets to create some kind of perpetual Facebook mechanism.
This is what that process could be like: Someone watches something on the television, so they use a custom sticker to share their thoughts with the world. Then they see that opinion on their television set, so they keep watch to see if other people’s opinions will be shared the same way. While that’s happening broadcasters can ask for viewers’ opinions through quick polls and surveys.
People would never have to leave Facebook — or the couch. Why use another application when anything you could ever want is right in Facebook’s? Want to read? Go for it! Wanna watch something? You can do that, too. Want something to do while something on the television plays in the background? Don’t worry, there’s something you can do for that, too. It’ll be all Facebook, all the time.
That might seem like a dystopian future to some, but Facebook probably just views it as a money-printing machine. This is why it keeps going after Twitter. Every tweet sent, every hashtag typed out, is a threat to Facebook’s dominance. So it’ll keep introducing features like this until people forget that they could ever share their thoughts somewhere else. All it has to do is kill that pesky bird.

Convore is reborn as Grove.io, a chat service for businesses

Group chat startup Convore had pretty good traction after launching out of Y Combinator last year. But in the competitive world of consumer social apps, “pretty good” isn’t enough. So Convore’s founder Leah Culver built a new, business-focused iteration of the group chat service, called Grove.io.

Android Market driven by prolific, active devs

Android Market is paced by a number of very prolific app makers and it also sees more updates per app than the App Store, according to app ratings analytics and discovery firm Mobilewalla. The company found that Android users are also focused more on popular apps.

How Parse wants to make mobile backends easy

It’s been a busy summer for the founders of Parse, a new startup making a software platform that adds a cloud component to any mobile app. Part of Y Combinator’s summer 2011 class, Parse has already launched in beta and is quickly gaining steam with developers.

Did Facebook hijack a developer’s app for its own purposes?

UPDATED: Last week, Facebook and Skype launched a new video calling application, hosted at facebook.com/videocalling. But Samuday Web Technologies says it was at that domain first. Samuday now says its video chat app was unceremoniously kicked off of Facebook to make way for the new Skype feature.

Elance Going Beyond a Job Bid Site

Elance homepageAlthough I haven’t kept a close eye on Elance, my impression has been that it was a basic job “bid” site for freelancer programmers. The site description summarizes their main focus as “outsourcing to freelance programmers, web and logo designers, copywriters, illustrators and consultants.” People with the jobs are the employers or “buyers” and the Web workers with the skills are the “providers” on Elance.

Since launching in 1999, the company has worked to expand their offerings, integrating some features to create more than just a job site and more of a work tool. What interested me beyond the job marketplace is Elance’s concept of a Remote Work System with the goal of creating a remote workspace for freelance workers to provide them with additional incentive to continue using the site after the job match has been made. The features are meant to help service providers manage a part of their work through Elance and give buyer and service provider more ways to connect and transact business.

Read More about Elance Going Beyond a Job Bid Site

Samsung See-N-Search: When New & OldTeeVees Come Together

Earlier this today I stumbled upon this video from Samsung demonstrating how web content can be married to the television signals being broadcast live via their set-top box. They call it See-N-Search.

The set-top box also has the ability to pull multimedia content, aka videos off the Internet and give more context to what you are watching. I think this is an interesting development, because it blurs the line between web video and old TV.

I think if this See-N-Search technology does actually become popular, a lot of people with little time (or interest) in online video will suddenly be unknowingly exposed to it, giving the whole online video industry a nice boost. That said, this little video also reminds us that we need better cataloging technology and better metadata around online video for See-N-Search type contextual systems to be effective.

Not another mobile phone charger, please!

Micro_usb_connectorI don’t know about you folks, but I’ve seen more mobile phone charging types than I care to see. You’ve got your proprietary ones, which I absolutely can’t stand. Yes, I’ve been known to NOT get a phone simply due to a proprietary charger. Mini-USBs are among my favorite as don’t require huge ports on the phone and you can typically charge the phone from nearly any computer with a USB port. Now the Open Mobile Terminal Platform (OMTP) wants us to standardize on another charger form factor: micro-USB. The only good news in all of this is that Nokia appears on board with the new micro-USB format; as much as I like their phones, their chargers have a small and thin plug that’s way too easy to break off. Hey did anyone invite Apple to the OMTP? I don’t see their logo on the member page. 🙂

(via the::unwired)

Voom, Sold to EchoStar

Cablevision has sold off its Voom high definition satellite television service to EchoStar. I had reported on this earlier, and well the news is pretty much along the same lines. I was off by about $50 million. The deal was for $200 million, according to press release. It costs about $250 million to get a bird up in the sky, so in a sense both parties came out even in this deal. Specifically, EchoStar has agreed to purchase Rainbow 1, a direct broadcast satellite (DBS) located at 61.5 degrees West Longitude, together with the rights to 11 DBS frequencies at that location. The satellite includes 13 frequencies, up to 12 of which can be operated in “spot beam” mode. Its not such a bad deal for EchoStar which is pushing HD content pretty hard these days. Denver Post reports that EchoStar will soon launch high-definition digital video recorders and a new line of thin-panel, liquid crystal display HDTVs. With its SBC partnership, and the new 2Wire set-top box, EchoStar could see some near term subscriber bump, even as it competes aggressively with Rupert Murdoch’s DirecTV. The deal is subject to review by the Federal Communications Commission and other regulatory agencies, reports Reuters.