Google maps introduces ads
It was only a matter of time before Google Maps, the most popular online map service, implemented advertising. Google basically runs the entire Internet; the majority of the flashing ads you see as you browse your favourite websites are from Google. With the introduction of ads on Google Maps -- specifically when using an iPhone, iPad, or iPod -- searching for a store results in ads from similar stores appearing at the top. If you click the advertisement, you can view the store's hours, locations, reviews, etc. If a user clicks on an ad, then decides to begin navigating to the store, the company that purchased the ad will be charged twice. If you run a local business and are trying to attract new customers, buying ads with Google for mobile maps is incredibly valuable. It's a total game-changer.
Founders of YouTube create MixBit
YouTube is one of the most popular websites on the Internet and the two creators are incredibly smart. The co-founders of YouTube, Steven Chen and Chad Hurley, have released a new venture named MixBit. MixBit is a mobile video app similar to Instagram video and Vine. Instagram allows you to record videos for 16 seconds, and Vine allows for six seconds -- MixBit has no time limit. MixBit allows you to take several clips and edit them right on your iPhone. You can then end them to popular social networking sites like Facebook, Google+, Twitter and, of course, MixBit. The coolest feature of MixBit is you can choose any videos from YouTube and mix them together. I think this new service is really cool and is a great app for people who enjoy taking mobile video and sharing it. On a side note, this week, Instagram also announced you could now upload pre-made videos. To upload an Instagram video, you no longer have to take it with your smartphone camera --you can edit it, send it to your phone, then share it with your friends. This is a huge feature for brands because they will now produce incredibly professional content that will engage users even more. I'm really excited video is becoming such a social thing -- a picture can speak 1,000 words, a video can speak a billion.
Back to school tech - the basics
I know it is sad to talk about going back to school but it's something that has to be done. Technology is such a powerful way to enhance learning, and people are now looking to buy tech that will improve efficiency and make learning more fun. When I think of tech I carry with me day-to-day in a classroom, I break it down into a few essential items: smartphone, laptop and backpack. That's what I want to start with this week, and in the weeks to come leading up to the beginning of school I will continue to feature cool new products that could be useful in the classroom.
So, what smartphone would be the best to have in your pocket for school? I think it's quite simple: iPhone 5 or Samsung Galaxy S4. These are the two kingpin phones right now and if you picked either one you would be very satisfied. I would say in 2013, a smartphone is an absolute must. Sure, you could use a flip phone to text your mom to tell her you need to be picked up at 3:30 p.m., but when she is late, having a smartphone is useful so you can check the apps you've installed to remind you of your homework due tomorrow (not), or, more importantly, you can check Instagram and Twitter to see what your friends are up to.
What kind of laptop? MacBook Airs are really hot right now because Apple has priced them well and they are super light to carry around from class to class. I'm not a PC guy whatsoever, so I wouldn't be able to properly pick the best one.
And what you are going to want to carry your laptop and books in come fall is a Herschel bag. They are designed very well, have great pouches for laptops and are incredibly durable. I used a Herschel all last year and it's still in good enough shape to use again this year. If you have any questions on what tech you need or would like to learn more about for back-to-school, send me an email and I will do my best!