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Canva introduces video editing, has big plans for 2020

December 7, 2019 No Comments

Canva, the design company with nearly $ 250 million in funding, has today announced a variety of new features, including a video editing tool.

The company has also announced Canva Apps, which allows developers and customers alike to build on top of Canva. Thus far, Dropbox, Google Drive, PhotoMosh and Instagram are already in the Canva Apps suite, with a total of 30 apps available at launch.

The video editing tool allows for easy editing with no previous experience required, and also offers video templates, access to a stock content library with videos, music, etc. and easy-to-use animation tools.

Meanwhile, Canva is taking the approach of winning customers when they’re young, with the launch of Canva for Education. It’s a totally free product that has launched in beta with Australian schools, integrating with GSuite and Google Classroom to allow students to build out projects, and teachers to mark them up and review them.

Canva has also announced the launch of Canva for Desktop.

As design becomes more important to the way every organization functions and operates, one of the only barriers to the growth of the category is the pace at which new designers can emerge and enter the workforce.

Canva has positioned itself as the non-designer’s design tool, making it easy to create something beautiful with little to no design experience. The launch of the video editing tool and Canva for Education strengthen that stance, not only creating more users for the platform itself but fostering an environment for the maturation of new designers to join the ecosystem as a whole.

Alongside the announcement, Canva CEO Melanie Perkins has announced that Canva will join the 1% pledge, dedicating 1% of equity, profit, time and resources to making the world a better place.

Here’s what she had to say about it, in a prepared statement:

Companies have a huge role to play in helping to shape the world we live in and we feel like the 1% Pledge is an incredible program which will help us to use our company’s time, resources, product and equity to do just that. We believe the old adage ‘do no evil’ is no longer enough today and hope to live up to our value to ‘Be a Force for Good’.

Interestingly, Canva’s position at the top of the design funnel hasn’t slowed growth. Indeed, Canva recently launched Canva for Enterprise to let all the folks in the organization outside of the design department step up to bat and create their own decks, presentations, materials, etc., all within the parameter’s of the design system and brand aesthetic.

A billion designs have been created on Canva in 2019, with 2 billion designs created since the launch of the platform.


Enterprise – TechCrunch


Telegram introduces a feature to prevent users from texting too often in a group

August 12, 2019 No Comments

Telegram, a popular instant messaging app, has introduced a new feature to give group admins on the app better control over how members engage, the latest in a series of interesting features it has rolled out in recent months to expand its appeal.

The feature, dubbed Slow Mode, allows a group administrator to dictate how often a member could send a message in the group. If implemented by a group, members who have sent a text will have to wait between 30 seconds to as long as an hour before they can say something again in that group.

telegram slow mode groups

The messaging platform, which had more than 200 million monthly active users as of early 2018, said the new feature was aimed at making conversations in groups “more orderly” and raising the “value of each individual message.” It suggested admins to “keep [the feature] on permanently, or toggle as necessary to throttle rush hour traffic.”

Tech platforms including WhatsApp are grappling with containing the spread of misinformation on their messaging services. Though Telegram has largely been immune to such controversies, it has its fair share of issues.

WhatsApp has enforced limits on how often a user could forward a text message and is using machine learning techniques to weed out fraudulent users during the sign up procedure itself.

Shivnath Thukral, Director of Public Policy for Facebook in India and South Asia, said at a conference this month that virality of content has dropped by 25% to 30% on WhatsApp since the messaging platform imposed limits on forwards.

Telegram isn’t marketing the “Slow Mode” as a way to tackle the spread of false information, though. Instead, it says the feature would give users more “peace of mind.” Indeed, unlike WhatsApp, which allows up to 256 users to be part of a group, up to a whopping 200,000 users can join a Telegram group.

On a similar tone, Telegram has also added an option that will enable users to send a message without invoking a sound notification at the recipient’s end. “Simply hold the Send button to have any message or media delivered without sound,” the app maker said. “Your recipient will get a notification as usual, but their phone won’t make a sound – even if they forgot to enable the Do Not Disturb mode.”

Telegram has also introduced a range of other small features such as the ability for group owners to add custom titles for admins. Videos on the app now display thumbnail previews when a user scrubs through them, making it easier to them to find the right moment. Like YouTube, users on Telegram too can now share a video that jumps directly at a certain timestamp. Users can also animate their emojis now — if they are into that sort of thing.

In June, Telegram introduced a number of location-flavored features to allow users to quickly exchange contact details without needing to type in digits.


Social – TechCrunch


HTC introduces a cheaper blockchain phone, opens Zion Vault SDK

May 11, 2019 No Comments

Happy Blockchain Week to you and yours. HTC helped kick off this important national holiday by announcing the upcoming release of the HTC Exodus 1s. The latest version of the company’s intriguing blockchain phone shaves some of price off the Exodus 1 — which eventually sold for $ 699 when the company made it available in more traditional currency.

HTC’s being predictably cagey about exact pricing here, instead simply calling it “a more value-oriented version” of the original. Nor is the company discussing the actions it’s taking to reduce the cost here — though I’d expect much of them to be similar to those undergone by Google for the Pixel 3a, which was built by the former HTC team. There, most of the hits were to processing power and building material. Certainly the delightfully gimmicky transparent rear was a nice touch on the Exodus 1.

Most interesting here is the motivation behind the price drop. Here’s HTC in the press release:

It will allow users in emerging economies, or those wanting to dip their toes into the crypto world for the first time, easier access to the technology with a more accessible price point. This will democratize access to crypto and blockchain technology and help its global proliferation and adoption. HTC will release further details on exact specification and cost over the coming months.

A grandiose vision, obviously, but I think there’s something to be said for the idea. Access to some blockchain technology is somewhat price-prohibitive. Even so. Many experts in the space agree that blockchain will be an important foundation for microtransactions going forward. The Exodus 1 wasn’t exactly a smash from the look of things, but this could be an interesting first step.

Another interesting bit in all of this is the opening of the SDK for Zion Vault, the Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) product vault the company introduced with the Exodus 1. HTC will be tossing it up on GitHub for developers. “We understand it takes a community to ensure strength and security,” the company says, “so it’s important to the Exodus team that our community has the best tools available to them.”

Mobile – TechCrunch


Google Play pilot test in U.S. introduces a “free app of the week” section

March 27, 2017 No Comments

 Apple began offering a “free app of the week” back in 2012 as a means of highlighting some of the App Store’s best titles, and encourage users to start downloading. Google, belatedly, is following in Apple’s footsteps with its own newly launched “free app of the week” section on Google Play. However, we understand that Google has not yet committed to make… Read More

Mobile – TechCrunch


Google Introduces a Social Where Next Suggestion Patent

February 4, 2017 No Comments
Jellyfish
Jellyfish from the Birch Aquarium

Google was granted a patent this week on offering recommendations or suggestions for places to go for members of social groups.

A social group, such as a meetup group that may get together for social events, may use the internet to communicate and interact, and look to for recommendations on where to go next. The patent from Google looks like it might be useful in providing a framework for such a group to make it easier for them to meet at locations and check in at those places and tag one another in photos to associate them with locations that they may travel to.

I could see an offering like this being built into an existing social network such as Google+, and wouldn’t be surprised if it was introduced at Google+ by Google.

The patent that describes this recommendation system for a social group goes under the name:

Social where next suggestion
Inventors: Matthew Nicholas Stuttle, Sebastian Dorner, and Alexandra Gherghina
Assignee: Google
United States Patent 9,558,242
Granted: January 31, 2017
Filed: October 15, 2013

Abstract

A group recommendation provides end users in a social group a set of recommended destinations based on the combined personal preferences of the members of the social group. Members of a social group are identified using a combination of location based signals and social graph information in response to receiving a recommendation request. The group recommendation may be determined by combining the personal preferences associated with each member of the group into a master preference profile. Alternatively, the group recommendation may be determined by first calculating an individual recommendation list for each member of the social group and then calculating a composite score for each recommendation on the individual recommendation lists.

I could see a group that liked visiting places together discussing going someplace together, such as the Birch Aquarium in La Jolla, California. Members of the group could “check-in” at the location when they arrive. People in that social group could tag photos of the location or of people at the location with the location name, so that they could see each other there. A group recommendation for places to go to for lunch or dinner could then be shared among the members of that social group. This would be the “Social where next” described in the patent’s name.

This sounds like it could be a fun element for a community that might involve people who are near each other, or who may do things together at specific locations. Would you use a “social where next” recommendation system if Google introduced one?


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Twitter introduces 360-degree video live streaming

January 2, 2017 No Comments

twitter-360 Twitter is taking another step into getting into live video by introducing 360-degree live streams through Periscope. Anyone on Twitter and Periscope can watch 360-degree live video, though currently only select partners can go live in 360 via Periscope, the company announced in a blog post. While it’s only available for a limited number of partners for now, it makes sense that Twitter… Read More
Social – TechCrunch