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Monthly Archives: February 2020

Do phones need to fold?

February 22, 2020 No Comments

As Samsung (re)unveiled its clamshell folding phone last week, I kept seeing the same question pop up amongst my social circles: why?

I was wondering the same thing myself, to be honest. I’m not sure even Samsung knows; they’d win me over by the end, but only somewhat. The halfway-folded, laptop-style “Flex Mode” allows you to place the phone on a table for hands-free video calling. That’s pretty neat, I guess. But… is that it?

The best answer to “why?” I’ve come up with so far isn’t a very satisfying one: Because they can (maybe). And because they sort of need to do something.

Let’s time-travel back to the early 2000s. Phones were weird, varied and no manufacturers really knew what was going to work. We had basic flip phones and Nokia’s indestructible bricks, but we also had phones that swiveled, slid and included chunky physical keyboards that seemed absolutely crucial. The Sidekick! LG Chocolate! BlackBerry Pearl! Most were pretty bad by today’s standards, but it was at least easy to tell one model from the next.

(Photo by Kim Kulish/Corbis via Getty Images)

Then came the iPhone in 2007; a rectangular glass slab defined less by physical buttons and switches and more by the software that powered it. The device itself, a silhouette. There was hesitation to this formula, initially; the first Android phones shipped with swiveling keyboards, trackballs and various sliding pads. As iPhone sales grew, everyone else’s buttons, sliders and keyboards were boiled away as designers emulated the iPhone’s form factor. The best answer, it seemed, was a simple one.

Twelve years later, everything has become the same. Phones have become… boring. When everyone is trying to build a better rectangle, the battle becomes one of hardware specs. Which one has the fastest CPU? The best camera?

Gadgets – TechCrunch


DSP Concepts raises $14.5M for its Audio Weaver platform

February 22, 2020 No Comments

DSP Concepts — a startup whose Audio Weaver software is used by companies as varied as Tesla, Porsche, GoPro and Braun Audio — is announcing that it has raised $ 14.5 million in Series B funding.

The startup goal, as explained to me by CEO Chin Beckmann and CTO Paul Beckmann (yep, they’re a husband-and-wife founding team), is to create the standard framework that companies use to develop their audio processing software.

To that end, Chin told me they were “picky about who we wanted on the B round, we wanted it to represent the support and endorsement of the industry.”

So the round was led by Taiwania Capital, but it also includes investments from the strategic arms of DSP Concepts’ industry partners — BMW i Ventures (which led the Series A), the Sony Innovation Growth Fund by Innovation Growth Ventures, MediaTek Ventures, Porsche Ventures and the ARM IoT Fund.

Paul said Audio Weaver started out as the “secret weapon” of the Beckmanns’ consulting business, which he could use to “whip out” the results of an audio engineering project. At a certain point, consulting customers started asking him, “Hey, how about you teach me how to use that?,” so they decided to launch a startup focused on the Audio Weaver platform.

Audio Weaver - AWE Designer

Paul described the software as a “graphical block diagram editor.” Basically, it provides a way for audio engineers to combine and customize different software modules for audio processing.

“Audio is still in the Stone Ages compared to other industries,” he said. “Suppose you’re building a product with a touchscreen — are you going write the graphics from scratch or use a framework like Qt?”

Similarly, he suggested that while many audio engineers are still “down in the weeds writing code,” they can take advantage of Audio Weaver’s graphical interface to piece everything together, as well as the company’s “hundreds of different modules — pre-written, pre-tested, pre-optimized functions to build up your system.”

For example, Paul said that by using the Audio Weaver platform, DSP Concepts engineers could test out “hundreds of ideas” for algorithms for reducing wind noise in the footage captured by GoPro cameras, then ultimately “hand the algorithms over to GoPro,” whose team could them plug the algorithms into their software and modify it themselves.

The Beckmanns said the company also works closely with chip manufacturers to ensure that audio software will work properly on any device powered by a given chipset.

Other modules include TalkTo, which is designed to give voice assistants like Alexa “super-hearing,” so that they can still isolate voice commands and cancel out all the other noise in loud environments, even rock concerts. (You can watch a TalkTo demo in the video below.)

DSP Concepts has now raised more than $ 25 million in total funding.

 


Enterprise – TechCrunch


Ecommerce SEO: Optimizing and Ranking Category Pages

February 22, 2020 No Comments

Category pages tend to contain the least content, thereby making them difficult to optimize. Here are some tips & examples of how best to optimize them.

Read more at PPCHero.com
PPC Hero


VPN and SEO: Why professionals should care

February 22, 2020 No Comments

Virtual private network (VPN) is a technology that stretches a private network across a public network. It helps you build a secure connection to another network over the World Wide Web. In other words, it shields your browsing activity from almost all kinds of investigation on a public network.

VPN is prevalent nowadays, but not for the reasons it was originally invented for. Initially, VPNs were set up to link different business networks together safely over the internet or allow people to access their business networks from home or any remote place.

Today, the virtual private network has been used for a variety of purposes, ranging from hiding/changing IP addresses, accessing blocked websites, encrypting data, and more. In this article, we will learn about how a VPN works and how you can use it for SEO purposes. However, before that, let’s have a quick look at the VPN market growth over the years.

VPN global market and users

According to stats by Statista, 26% of global internet users accessed the internet through a VPN in the first quarter of 2018. While in North America alone, 18% of people used VPNs and proxy in the first quarter of 2018.

In 2018, the global market for VPN was worth $ 20.60 billion that has constantly been increasing with each passing year.

How does a VPN work?

A virtual private network routes your device’s internet connection via your selected VPN’s private server instead of your internet service provider (ISP). For that reason, when your data is transferred to the internet, it comes from a VPN rather than your own device. In other words, VPN acts as an intermediator when you connect to the World Wide Web. It hides your IP address and safeguards your identity.

A virtual private network builds a secret “tunnel” from your device to the internet and keeps your crucial data protected through encryption.

Why should you use a VPN service as an SEO expert?

1. Search results across the globe

One of the most significant advantages of a VPN network for SEO experts is, it helps them see what search results look like in different countries. Although there are plenty of tools that can help with the same, nothing is like a VPN. It allows you to appear as a local, surfing the internet from the location of your VPN service. So, if you need to see the search results of a specific location for SEO purposes, you can choose the VPN provider having a server in that particular location.

2. Mask your real IP address

As an SEO professional, you have to work with sensitive accounts. If you don’t have that proper protection, the security of your client will be at risk. Luckily, a VPN can help with this situation.

With a VPN, it’s easy to change your IP address and stay anonymous online. Since a virtual private network gives you a provisional IP address from the chosen VPN server, it hides your real IP address. Therefore, people can’t track your internet activities. VPN allows you to surf the internet in absolute anonymity. Moreover, you can bypass filters and unblock websites. This is something that can be very handy when SEOs are up to research, especially competitor research.

3. Safe remote control

As an SEO expert, you might have to work away from your desks many times a day, which may result in security risks. Therefore, you must connect to a secure network that lets you access the information securely from any remote location.

A virtual private network helps remote users connect to their work network without revealing their work computer system to the entire internet. With a VPN, you can access your drives, email servers, and more safely because it creates an encrypted path for you to communicate with a server or other devices.

4. Improved internet security

Security is one of the biggest challenges most small SEO companies deal with. If you think cyber-attack is a big-business issue, you’re mistaken. According to an article published in Forbes, around 58% of cyber attack victims were small businesses in the year 2018.

Therefore, you must connect to a safe network when surfing the internet for performing different SEO activities. When you connect via a virtual private network, your data is kept encrypted. Thus your browsing information is kept protected from hackers. You won’t need to worry about as no one can track your internet and data activities. After all, VPN gives you a temporary IP address from your chosen VPN server and hides your original IP address. Therefore, you can transact sensitive information and other essential schedules for your business without worrying about hackers.

If you’re into any online business that requires the transmission of sensitive information or money, you must invest in good VPN software. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that it is one of the tools for startups to grow their business successfully. After all, until you have a safe network, you can’t create successful SEO Strategies.

5. Safe file sharing

An SEO expert has to share files with their clients and co-workers many times a day. As a result, it is crucial to look for a safe way to share important data.

Nowadays, there are plenty of ways to share files online. However, not all are safe. Most SEO experts feel paranoid when they share an important file that they can’t afford to get into the wrong hands.

Fortunately, a virtual private network can help you stay relaxed while you can share your files safely with a VPN connection. VPNs are commonly used for folder and file sharing. It helps you access files and folders stored on a network computer securely, regardless of where that computer is physically located.

Final thoughts

Considering everything together, we can say a virtual private network is an ideal way to mask your internet protocol address, so all your SEO activities are almost untraceable. It establishes a secure and encrypted connection to offer great privacy. Unlike most web proxies and hide IP software, VPN helps you access both websites and web applications in complete anonymity. If you’re also planning to set up a VPN, it is advisable to choose the one that is renowned and reputable. After all, not all VPN providers are equal when it comes to performance and security.

Roman Daneghyan is the Chief Marketing Officer at Renderforest. He can be found on Twitter @roman_daneghyan.

The post VPN and SEO: Why professionals should care appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


How encryption can enhance your SEO ranking

February 21, 2020 No Comments

Two of the biggest continuum any business faces are how to rank high and how to maintain the ranking. Incidentally for both, you are indirectly dependent on search engines and hackers. However, the question is, for how long do you want to continue being dependent? 

On one hand, you have both on-page technical best practices and off-page methods to enhance your ranking, while you can use encryption to fight cybercriminals.

Search engine optimization (SEO)

SEO for all intents and purposes shouldn’t be about only performing on-page technical best practices. You also need to come up with out-of-the-box ideas that will enhance your website’s visibilities.

In as much as social media is a means of communication, it shouldn’t ordinarily improve organic search rankings. But be as it may, you need social media platforms to share your content since your website alone cannot give you the required reach.

You need social media platforms to boost traffic to your site as well as to enhance the profile. While the business world is still grappling with whether Google looks at social signals when determining the rank of a web page, the fact remains that if a large number people are able to share your content on social media, then it’s expected that more people will link to it, and links are a hugely important SEO ranking factor.

On the other hand, Google according to an article, as of October 2019, Google dominated US search queries but Bing was also able to achieve more search in a fair share. This should be interesting to marketers because according to Bing, social media plays a role in today’s effort to rank well in search results.

Whether you are grappling with on-page technical best practices or off-page methods to increase your website’s visibility in order to enhance SEO and ultimately your ranking, the most important thing is ensuring that your website is up and running. One thing that can bring your website crashing faster than any other thing is the activities of cybercriminals.

Encryption

As you plan to use social media to enhance your ranking, it’s important you know that cybercriminals earn nearly $ 3.25 billion per year violating social media. This is a good reason for you to consider encryption which is a surefire means of converting information into secret code thereby, hiding the true meaning.

The technology involved in encryption and decryption of information is called cryptography.

While your unencrypted data can also be referred to as plaintext, the encrypted one is known as ciphertext in the computing world.

You make use of encryption algorithms or ciphers to encode and decode messages. Before an unauthorized person can make any sense out of your encrypted message (if it is intercepted), such an entity has to guess which cipher you used to encrypt the message and also work out what keys were used as variables.

While it may sound outlandish to you, the simple truth is that the task can be very herculean and frustrating. This is why encryption has become such a valuable security tool.

The following are two of the best methods of encryption you can use to secure your website and enhance your SEO rankings.

1. End-to-end encryption (E2EE)

E2EE is a means of ascertaining that data being transmitted by you to another party cannot be viewed by an attacker that may probably intercept the means of communication. However, ordinarily using an encrypted communication circuit, as provided by Transport Layer Security (TLS) between the web client and web server software, is not always an assurance that you have an E2EE. The actual information you are transmitting must be by client software before being passed to a web client and decrypted only by the recipient.

Messaging apps such as Facebook’s WhatsApp and Open Whisper Systems’ Signal provide E2EE. It is also possible for Facebook Messenger users to get E2EE messaging with the “Secret Conversations” option.

2. Quantum cryptography

What could be more heartwarming than knowing that your website and social media account can’t be messed with? This is what quantum cryptography can do for you.

Based on the quantum mechanical properties of particles, your data is protected. The Heisenberg uncertainty principle postulates that the two properties you can use to identify a particle, both its location and its momentum, cannot be measured without changing the values of those properties.

This means that once you quantum-encode your data it cannot be copied and if an intruder attempts to access the encoded data, the data will change. Since you will be alerted by any attempt to copy or access the data the aim of the intruder is roundly defeated.

With encryption, you are secured from SEO spam-infected sites that typically redirect visitors to spam pages. The motivation behind this method for cyber attackers is simple – its ease.

One thing attackers won’t be able to do to your website is to gain access and steal your hard-earned SEO ranking as they consider it a big task to start from scratch to build up their own new rankings from the ground up. You are also protected from damages to your SEO rankings and brand reputation that will definitely lead to loss of traffic from SEO spam.

Access to your website for the purposes of SEO and comment spam which can be very tricky to detect is checkmated. Usually, hackers tend to inject spammy links on a website knowing fully well that they are visible only to Search Engines and visitors, whereas, you may not even be aware of it.

The end result would have been that malware will steal your domain authority and tarnish your reputation to boost their own.

Being an entrepreneur or a decision-maker, encryption is surely something you should get started with to safeguard your business from losing its reputation, credibility, and dollar bills. Feel free to share your queries in the comments section.

John Ejiofor is the founder and editor in chief at Nature Torch. He can be found on Twitter @John02Ejiofor.

The post How encryption can enhance your SEO ranking appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Here’s our pick of the top six startups from Pause Fest

February 21, 2020 No Comments

We’ve been dropping into the Australian startup scene increasingly over the years as the ecosystem has been building at an increasingly faster pace, most notably at our own TechCrunch Battlefield Australia in 2017. Further evidence that the scene is growing has come recently in the shape of the Pause Fest conference in Melbourne. This event has gone from strength to strength in recent years and is fast becoming a must-attend for Aussie startups aiming for both national international attention.

I was able to drop in ‘virtually’ to interview a number of those showcased in the Startup Pitch Competition, so here’s a run-down of some of the stand-out companies.

Medinet Australia
Medinet Australia is a health tech startup aiming to make healthcare more convenient and accessible to Australians by allowing doctors to do consultations with patients via an app. Somewhat similar to apps like Babylon Health, Medinet’s telehealth app allows patients to obtain clinical advice from a GP remotely; access prescriptions and have medications delivered; access pathology results; directly email their medical certificate to their employer; and access specialist referrals along with upfront information about specialists such as their fees, waitlist, and patient experience. They’ve raised $ 3M in Angel financing and are looking for institutional funding in due course. Given Australia’s vast distances, Medinet is well-placed to capitalize on the shift of the population towards much more convenient telehealth apps. (1st Place Winner)

Everty
Everty allows companies to easily manage, monitor and monetize Electric Vehicle charging stations. But this isn’t about infrastructure. Instead, they link up workplaces and accounting systems to the EV charging network, thus making it more like a “Salesforce for EV charging”. It’s available for both commercial and home charging tracking. It’s also raised an Angel round and is poised to raise further funding. (2nd Place Winner)

AI On Spectrum
It’s a sad fact that people with Autism statistically tend to die younger, and unfortunately, the suicide rate is much higher for Autistic people. “Ai on Spectrum” takes an accessible approach in helping autistic kids and their families find supportive environments and feel empowered. The game encourages Autism sufferers to explore their emotional side and arms them with coping strategies when times get tough, applying AI and machine learning in the process to assist the user. (3rd Place Winner)

HiveKeeper
Professional bee-keepers need a fast, reliable, easy-to-use record keeper for their bees and this startup does just that. But it’s also developing a software+sensor technology to give beekeepers more accurate analytics, allowing them to get an early-warning about issues and problems. Their technology could even, in the future, be used to alert for coming bushfires by sensing the changed behavior of the bees. (Hacker Exchange Additional Winner)

Relectrify
Rechargeable batteries for things like cars can be re-used again, but the key to employing them is being able to extend their lives. Relectrify says its battery control software can unlock the full performance from every cell, increasing battery cycle life. It will also reduce storage costs by providing AC output without needing a battery inverter for both new and 2nd-life batteries. Its advanced battery management system combines power and electric monitoring to rapidly the check which are stronger cells and which are weaker making it possible to get as much as 30% more battery life, as well as deploying “2nd life storage”. So far, they have a project with Nissan and American Electric Power and have raised a Series A of $ 4.5M. (SingularityU Additional Winner)

Gabriel
Sadly, seniors and patients can contract bedsores if left too long. People can even die from bedsores. Furthermore, hospitals can end up in litigation over the issue. What’s needed is a technology that can prevent this, as well as predicting where on a patient’s body might be worst affected. That’s what Gabriel has come up with: using multi-modal technology to prevent and detect both falls and bedsores. Its passive monitoring technology is for the home or use in hospitals and consists of a resistive sheet with sensors connecting to a system which can understand the pressure on a bed. It has FDA approval, is patent-pending and is already working in some Hawaiin hospitals. It’s so far raised $ 2m in Angel and is now raising money.

Here’s a taste of Pause Fest:


Startups – TechCrunch


How to make the most of Google’s “People also ask” results

February 21, 2020 No Comments

Google’s “People also ask” boxes are widely discussed within the SEO industry as they take a lot of SERP real estate while providing little to no organic visibility to the publishers’ sites.

That said, “People also ask” listings are probably helpful for Google’s users allowing them to get a better understanding of a topic they are researching. Yet, whether they do send actual clicks to publishers’ pages remains a huge question.

While we have no power over Google’s search engine page elements, our job as digital marketers is to find ways to take any opportunity to boost our clients’ organic visibility.

Is there any way for marketers to utilize this search feature better? Let’s see.

1. Understand your target query intent better

One of the cooler aspects of “People also ask” boxes is that they are dynamic.

When you click one question, it will take you in a new direction by generating more follow-up questions underneath. Each time you choose, you get more to choose from.

The coolest thing though is that the further questions are different (in topic, direction or intent) based on which question you choose.

Let me explain this by showing you an example. Let’s search for something like – “Is wine good for your blood?”

Now try clicking one of those questions in the box, for example, “What are the benefits of drinking red wine?” and watch more follow-up questions show up. Next, click a different question “Is red wine good for your heart and blood pressure?”. Do you see the difference?

Understanding search intent through Google's people also ask

 

Source: Screenshot made by the author, as of Feb 2020

Now, while this exercise may seem rather insignificant to some people, to me, it is pretty mind-blowing as it shows us what Google may know of their users’ research patterns and what may interest them further, depending on their next step.

To give you a bit of a context, Google seems to rely on semantic analysis when figuring out which questions fit every searcher’s needs better. Bill Slawski did a solid job covering a related patent called “Generating related questions for search queries” which also states that those related questions rely on search intent:

Providing related questions to users can help users who are using   un-common keywords or terminology in their search query to identify   keywords or terms that are more commonly used to describe their intent.

Google patent on generating related questions for search queries

Source: Google patent

For a deeper insight into the variety of questions and types of intent, they may signal, try Text Optimizer. The tool uses a similar process of extracting questions Google does. For example, here are intent-based questions that refer to the topic of bitcoin.

Finding intent based questions for people also ask using Text Optimizer

 

Source: TextOptimizer’s search screenshot, as of Jan 2020

2. Identify important searching patterns

This one somewhat relates to the previous one but it serves a more practical goal, beyond understanding your audience and topic better. If you search Google for your target query enough, you will soon start seeing certain searching patterns.

For example, lots of city-related “People also ask” boxes will contain questions concerning the city safety, whether it is a good place to live in and what it is famous for:

Finding important search patterns through Google's people also ask

Identifying these searching patterns is crucial when you want:

  • Identify your cornerstone content
  • Re-structure your site or an individual landing page
  • Re-think your site navigation (both desktop and mobile)
  • Create a logical breadcrumb navigation (more on this here)
  • Consolidate your multiple pages into categories and taxonomies

3. Create on-page FAQs

Knowing your target users’ struggles can help in creating a really helpful FAQ section that can diversify your rankings and help bring steady traffic.

All you need to do is to collect your relevant “People also ask” results, organize them in sections (based on your identified intent/searching patterns) and answer all those questions on your dedicated FAQ page.

When working on the FAQ page, don’t forget to:

  • Use FAQPage schema to generate rich snippets in Google search (WordPress users can take advantage of this plugin). If you have a lot of questions in your niche, it is a good idea to build a standalone knowledge base to address them. Here are all the plugins for the job.
  • Set up engagement funnels to keep those readers interacting with your site and ultimately turn them into customers. Finteza is a solid option to use here, as it lets you serve custom CTAs based on the users’ referral source and landing page that brought them to your site:

Screenshot on Finteza

 

Source: Screenshot by Finteza, as of July 2019

4. Identify your competitor’s struggles

If you have an established competitor with a strong brand, their branded queries and consequent “People also ask” results will give you lots of insight into what kinds of struggles their customers are facing (and how to serve them better).

When it comes to branded “People also ask” results, you may want to organize them based on possible search intent:

  • ROPO questions: These customers are researching a product before making a purchasing decision.
  • High-intent questions: Customers are closest to a sale. These are usually price-related queries, for example, those that contain the word “reviews”.
  • Navigational questions: Customers are lost on your competitor’s site and need some help navigating. These queries can highlight usability issues for you to avoid when building your site.
  • Competitive questions: These queries compare two of your competitors.
  • Reputation questions: Those customers want to know more about your competitor’s company.

Identifying competitor challenges through people also ask

Source: A screenshot made by the author in January 2020

This information helps you develop a better product and a better site than those of your competitors.

Conclusion

With the changes in search algorithms over the years, the dropping and adding of key search elements, the evolution of Google’s SERPs, navigating digital marketing trends seems almost treacherous.

Yet, at the core of things, not much has really shifted and much of what we do remains the same. In fact, some of those changes have made it even easier to make an impact on the web than ever before. While we may welcome or frown upon each new change, there’s still some competitive advantage in each of them.

Our job, as digital marketers, is to distinguish that competitive advantage and make the most of it.

I hope the above ideas will help you use “People also ask” results to your advantage.

Ann Smarty is the Brand and Community manager at InternetMarketingNinjas.com.

The post How to make the most of Google’s “People also ask” results appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


When Facebook Ads is NOT a Viable Strategy for Clients

February 20, 2020 No Comments

It’s only human nature to try things that other people are doing because it feels like a good idea and/or the right thing to do. In many instances, the outcome is either neutral or positive. However, in today’s online marketing world, just because someone is doing it, doesn’t make the outcome “good”. In contrast, it could actually backfire (both financially and reputation-wise). Let me explain.

When Facebook rolled out their advertising platform, everyone wanted to get in on the action. After a few years of “trial and error” trying to figure out the algorithm, it became clear that this was a potential money-making machine for advertisers. However, it didn’t take long for these same advertisers to see that their Ad dollars increasing while their Cost/Conversion skyrocket. It was this outcome, that started everyone to second-guess the benefit of this new PPC alternative to Google Adwords (now Google Ads)

Personally, many of my clients over the years wanted to try Facebook ads and frankly who wouldn’t? It was an amazing feeling where an advertiser could target pretty much anything they wanted. (Men 55+, Divorced, like Fine Scotch, NY Yankees and watches CNN). However, that honeymoon didn’t last very long. It was not based on strategy or setting inaccurate expectations, it was simply not cost effective and actually started to hurt their reputation. Clients would take a hit based simply on comments given by competitors and/or disgruntled people. It was this experience that quickly changed the minds of not only myself, but also the client. It was this combination of poor performance along with reputation issues that made them feel even more skeptical this new platform. However, over the years there’s been (1) one silver-lining and that is identifying which clients could benefit the most from this hyper-targeting platform.

In conclusion, as an Agency or Freelancer it is entirely OK to say to a client NO to Facebook Ads or at the very least say we should do a “test” to evaluate it’s potential. In candor, it all depends on the advertiser’s audience along with sensible strategies and agreed upon success metrics.


PPC Marketing Consultant | Google Ads Agency


Twitter acquires Stories template maker Chroma Labs

February 19, 2020 No Comments

Is “Twitter Stories” on the way? Or will we just get tools to send prettier tweets? Well now Twitter has the talent for both as it’s just acquired Chroma Labs. Co-founded by Instagram Boomerang inventor John Barnett, Chroma Labs’ Chroma Stories app let you fill in stylish layout templates and frames for posting collages and more to Instagram Stories, Snapchat, and more.

Rather than keeping Chroma Stories around, Twitter will be splitting the Chroma Labs squad up to work on its product, design and engineering teams. The Chroma Stories iPhone app won’t be shut down, but it won’t get more updates and will only work until there’s some breaking change to iOS.

“When we founded Chroma Labs in 2018, we set out to build a company to inspire creativity and help people tell their visual stories. During the past year, we’ve enabled creators and businesses around the world to create millions of stories with the Chroma Stories app” the Chroma Labs team writes on its site. “We’re proud of this work, and look forward to continuing our mission at a larger scale – with one of the most important services in the world.”

We’ve reached out to Twitter for more details on the deal and any price paid. [Update: Twitter confirms this is an acquisition, not just and acquihire of the team as it first appeared, though Chroma Stories is shutting down. It refused to disclose the terms of the acquisition, but said all seven employees of Chroma Labs are coming aboard. The team will be working on the Conversations division at Twitter, and the deal is meant to boost its talent, leadership, and expertise for serving public discussions. A Twitter spokesperson also confirms that Chroma will shut down its .business and future versions of the app will not be available.]

Founded in late 2018, Chroma Labs had raised a seed round in early 2019 and counted Sweet Capital, Index Ventures, and Combine VC as investors. Barnett’s fellow co-founders include CTO Alex Li, who was an engineering manager on Facebook Photos and Instagram Stories; and Joshua Harris was a product design manager on the Oculus Rift and Facebook’s augmented reality filters.

With Chroma Stories, you could choose between retro filters, holiday themed frames, and snazzy collage templates to make your Storie look special amidst the millions posted each day. Sensor Tower estimates Chroma Stories had 37,000 downloads to date. That tepid reception despite the app’s quality might explain why the team is joining Twitter.

By snatching up some of the smartest talent in visual storytelling, Twitter could give its text-focused app some spice. It’s one of the few social apps without a Stories product already, and its creative tools are quite limited. Better ways to lay out photos in tweets could make Twitter more beautiful and less exhausting to sift through. That might make it more appealing to teens and help it boost its user count, which now lags behind Snapchat.

Twitter has become the world’s public record for words. The Chroma Labs talent might make it the real-time gallery for art and design as well.

[Update 3:05pm Pacific: Twitter confirms that this is a full acquisition of the Chroma Labs company, not just an acquisition as we originally printed.]


Social – TechCrunch


How the Pink Princess and the Pink Congo Scam Flourished Online

February 19, 2020 No Comments

The pink princess philodendron is the ultimate Instagram plant, with three-digit price tags to match. The following it cultivated was also ripe for deception.
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