Snapchat launches new chat function
Similar in format to Apple FaceTime, Snapchat has launched a new chat function that allows users to chat with each other in real time, with all record of the conversation disappearing as soon as the user exits the screen.
“Until today, we felt that Snapchat was missing an important part of conversation: presence,” the startup said in a statement. “There’s nothing like knowing you have the full attention of your friend while you’re chatting.”
The new feature increases the usability of the platform (that has previously seemed a bit like a one trick pony) – and rather than being brand new technology, it increases the stickability, encouraging users to stay within the Snapchat platform when they want to make free face to face calls with their friends.
Snapchat is becoming increasingly relevant to the teen market and it’s time for brands wanting to target this increasingly difficult bunch of influencers to consider if it’s time to sign up.
Amazon launches new twitter tool #amazonbasket
Customers who reply to a tweet containing an Amazon item, using #amazonbasket will find the item waiting for them in their shopping basket on the online retail website the next time they log in. “Add it now, buy it later” is the slogan Amazon is using on a promo video explaining the new feature.
Those who have connected their Twitter and Amazon accounts will be able to receive a reply from @MyAmazonUK and an email from the retailer confirming that the item has been successfully added to their basket. Ker-ching!
Competing against Amazon on pricing is a challenge for most retailers – but a new service from Boomerang Commerce wants to give these companies their competitive edge back by providing them with a dynamic pricing engine that takes into account over 100 factors, including their competitors’ prices.
Boomerang Commerce CEO and co-founder Guru Hariharan, who previously worked at Amazon and eBay, told Techcrunch that he and his team noticed how the analytical divide between Amazon and the rest of the retailers was growing in recent years. A few years ago, many legacy brick-and-mortar retailers were just trying to keep up by getting their e-commerce operations going, but now they also need the competitive intelligence and analytics to keep up with Amazon and other large competitors. Boomerang Commerce fits the brief.
Clients of the Boomerang service include Staples, Groupon and Sears.
The Facebook developers conference this week was themed around a “Stable Mobile Platform” – changing the mantra of the platform from “Move Fast And Break Things” to “Move Fast With Stable Infra”.
The big news for brands considering in investing in their own Facebook app, is that it promises not to scrap any core API without giving at least two years of notice. This means that – assuming your developer is up to date with the status, you can be confident that the investment will have greater longevity.
One to mention is the launch of the mobile ad network that allows advertisers to use personal data to target both standard banners and custom native ad units on third party publisher apps. Facebook takes a cut, but developers can now monetize their ads. The obvious win for game developers makes sense – but this could also represent an opportunity for a number of smaller brands to club together and co-promote to a specific audience.
Location based services – the good and the bad
Near enough to meet up? Or heads up to avoid? The latest proximity tools from Foursquare (Swarm) and Facebook (nearby friends) help to tell you if people are in your vicinity allowing you to make the decision to contact them and arrange a spontaneous meet up, or simply head the other way.
Swarm effectively splits the original Foursquare app in two. The new ‘proximity’ tool creates a feed of your best friends lumped into groups based on how far away they are – from around 500 feet to about a mile. The act of “checking in” at locations, which Foursquare popularized, will move to Swarm. The app will also function as a heat map of your friends’ activity, and users will be able to share their location in a non-specific way, such as revealing what neighborhood you’re in.
The original ‘discovery’ tool will be revamped in the near future.
For those who have opted in to the Facebook tool, they can see fellow opt ins that are 1/2 a mile or 1 mile away.
No location tool has every really taken hold – and it’s hoped that the proximity tool takes some of the ‘Big Brother’ feeling away from revealing your location at all times. Watch this space ….