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When Square launched a few years ago, they changed the mobile payments market overnight with their little white plastic device that you to plug in your smartphone or tablet. Now Square is setting its sights on the online marketplace as well and is attempting to compete with Etsy, Amazon, and eBay by launching its own online marketplace called Square Market.
While the step from a mobile payment gateway to a online marketplace may seem a bit odd to some, this is actually part of Square's push for the company to deliver a product that answers each aspect of online commerce. At the moment, the company has a mobile wallet for consumers, a payment app for businesses, a $300 stand that turns your iPad into a point-of-sale system and it even has a project in the works that will compete with PayPal known as Square Cash.
"Creating an online marketplace is our next step in making commerce easy for everyone," said Ajit Varma, Square's director of discovery, in a statement. "The idea behind Square Market is to make local businesses accessible to Square users nationwide. Creating a storefront on Square Market is free, and sellers can manage list items, add product photos, manage inventory and create an online profile for their businesses that the company hopes will essentially eliminate the need for sellers to have standalone websites."
The online storefront itself is free, but transactions aren't. Square will take a 2.75 percent cut of revenue off each item sold, which is much less than what Amazon or eBay charges. It is even less than the $0.20 Etsy charges to list an item.
This morning, Twitch.tv is pushing out an update to their Android app that will finally allow users to log into their accounts which will give them much easier access to their personal favorite streams. Unfortunately, the list is still limited to the top 300 live streaming channels.
A search feature and a chat function are both still missing from the app, but community manager Jared Rea has mentioned that chat and search features for the app are in the works and will be released at some point in the future. While that sounds promising, you need to keep in mind that until three months ago, the app went an entire year without an update. However, the recent launch of the OUYA is being seen as "another incentive" to push development forward on the app.
Snapchat isn't just popular among teens and kids. According to Nielsen data, the app saw around eight million unique US users over the age of 18 during May. Furthermore, these weren't just one-off users. According to the same data, each user accessed the app an average of 34 times during the month of May, indicating that many users used the app more than once per day.
Of course, Snapchat won't share user numbers but instead prefers to share engagement numbers. On that front, Snapchat has seen the number of daily snaps go from around 60 million in February to around 200 million. Perhaps this wide popularity among both teens and adults explains why investors were willing to provide the company with $60 million and a valuation of $800 million, despite the company having no revenue.
This morning, Google launched its new Google+ photos app for the Chromebook Pixel. Some of you may remember seeing this back when the Pixel was first launched. The app integrates with your Google+ account and will automatically upload photos from any SD card plugged into the device. This is similar to how Google+'s app works on Android phones and tablets.
The new photo app allows users to upload photos at full resolution or at Google's de facto 2048px wide resolution. The app is available via the Chromebook Pixel owner's portal, and for the moment, only those with Chromebook pixels are allowed to play. Google did allude to the app becoming available on other devices in the future but did not specify timeline for when that would happen.
The app appears to provide a seamless way to browse the photos uploaded to your Google+ account and I am betting that the amazing screen on the Chromebook Pixel really shows off the photos like no other device before it. The app also offers up basic editing tools that work in conjunction with Google+'s built in image editing software.
Google are stepping in a new direction with their latest announcement, in that they're accepting submissions for their Google Play for Education platform which will provide education- and age-appropriate applications to schools.
Google Play for Education will fall under the Play Store, but will allow bulk purchasing and content curation for apps, books and movies for K-12 schools. If a developer has an age-appropriate application, they can now mark it for inclusion, which will see a third-party group of educators review it.
This third-party of educators will review each and every app, reviewing its subject, grade level and whether or not it meets a set of development guidelines that have been set in place for the education system. Part of these guidelines see that the app must not collect personally identifiable information or use student data for noneducational use.
Snapchat seems to be doing very well for itself. It has experienced massive growth and is a major player in the mobile app market, despite Facebook's attempt to kill the app with Poke. The app boats 200 million "snaps" daily, meaning it's pushing quite a bit of data. For right now, the app doesn't seem to have a way to make money, so seed funding is important.
The company has confirmed that it raised $60 million in funding and saw itself garner an $800 million pre-money valuation. If you'll recall, Facebook bought Instagram for not much more than that. The company has raised a total of around $75 million since it debuted back in September 2011.
In order to continue scaling while developing the Snapchat experience, we needed to build a bigger engineering team and figure out how to pay our server bills. Long story short -- we're committed to building a big company around an innovative and fun product.
Imgur has finally joined the mobile revolution by creating its first app. The Imgur app is available on Android and will make it easier for Imgur users to browse the site, upload new pictures, and share or comment on existing photos. A native app will be much better than a mobile site or third-party app.
Imgur is often used in conjunction with Reddit. The mobile app offers all of the same features and a very similar experience as the main website. "We wanted the app to work just like the main site. We've been working on this six months and collecting feedback," said Imgur founder and CEO Alan Schaaf.
Imgur also has an iPhone app in the works, though Apple has rejected the app on multiple occasions. The first time was for DMCA issues, however, Imgur noted they are DMCA compliant. Apple then rejected the app on the grounds that it was too easy to find adult content. Imgur has made it more difficult to find such content in hopes that this will get the app accepted.
Less than a month after China Mobile launched their Skype competitor, Jego, they've shut down registrations to it. China Mobile International, who is a global-focused China Mobile subsidiary, announced the closure of new account registrations for Jego.
They've also disabled Jego-to-Jego video and voice calls for customers who registered with a mainland China number and are located in mainland China. The company have posted up a message to the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store stating that new registrations for Jego have been suspended so that they can do "optimization" to the product and system, and will inform users of any changes.
Why the closure? Well, it could be because China Mobile have disabled Jego's new registrations because the service begun from its overseas subsidiary and not the mainland China company itself. This may have caused problems with regulations and the Chinese government on Internet-based telephone services in China.
I was a big Flipboard fan, that was however, until I found Feedly. But, it looks like Facebook are working on a new dedicated story browser which is going by the codename or "Reader", according to the Wall Street Journal.
There aren't many details on Reader just yet, but it is reportedly important enough that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is closely involved. The social network aren't talking about their plans, but there is more truth to this rumor than usual as the social network recently added hashtag support as a "first step" toward helping users track topics.
This would make sense, if in the near future they do release a mobile reading app, hashtags are a perfect way to let users track important and current topics.
Big brother is watching you - Heard, a new iOS app that lets you record what you heard five minutes ago
Heard is a new iOS app that constantly records audio, allowing you to take snippets out of what you truly think is important - anything else you need, you can just ask the NSA anyway.
When Heard is opened, it will begin recording anything and everything that your iPhone's microphone hears. Instead of creating one super large audoi file, Heard records into a constantly rotating buffer. If something happens that you want to record, then you would open Heard and tap a single button, recording it.
If you don't do anything, the buffer is erased and that audio just disappears (or does it). Heard will continue to record audio even if the application is running in the background, displaying a huge "RECORDING" banner at the top of your screen - you know, in case you forgot it was recording. Heard clips can be named, tagged, e-mailed or shared through Facebook.