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Facebook Confirms Gowalla Hire

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Facebook confirmed on Monday (December 5th) the rumored acquiring of the Texas-based online location service Gowalla.

The plan behind the deal is to hire the talent behind Gowalla and shut the service down completely. They have not purchased the Gowalla technology or service, but rather have hired the team.

Facebook said in a statement, “Gowalla co-founders Josh Williams and Scott Raymond, along with other members of the Gowalla team, are moving to Facebook in January to join our design and engineering teams.”

Neither company would say how many employees Gowalla has or how many would be joining Facebook. They also didn’t comment on what they would be working on together, but from Williams comment in his blog post, signs are pointing to the Facebook Timeline.

Williams said, “The Gowalla Passport has become a record of all the places we’ve visited, the people we were with, the photos we took, and the stories we told. Many of you even use Gowalla like a scrapbook of sorts — a place to keep all those memories.”

What are your thoughts on this announcement? Did you use Gowalla?

StumbleUpon’s Major Site Redesign

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StumbleUpon is saying bye bye to the green and blue logo we are all familiar with and have introduced a new orange logo. Not only did they go through a logo change, but the entire site has been redesigned. The update was just rolled out today.

As you can see from the photo above, it looks nothing like the old StumbleUpon design. Here are a few key pieces that have changed:

The logo – The green and blue “SU” logo is gone and has been replaced by an orange one

New StumbleUpon bar – The bar has fewer buttons and a cleaner look. The bar now includes the Stumble button, voting buttons, simple share as well as the new Explore Box the company introduced back in August.

Stumble Channels – There are currently over 250 channels and that give users a way to directly explore content from sites, celebrities and brands.

StumbleUpon CEO Garrett Camp told Mashable, “Users had the expectation that they would see an individual acting on good will to share a piece of content rather than a for-profit company promoting a piece of content for selfish reasons. Now we have a place where it’s ok for users to publish their own things.”

Do you use StumbleUpon to discover new content? If so, what do you think of the new redesign?

comScore: Mobile Shopping is on the Rise

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Have you ever made a purchase from your Smartphone? If you answered yes, you are among the 38 percent of smartphone owners who have used their mobile device to purchase something.

A new study done by comScore shows that mobile shopping is on the rise.

The most popular products purchased on a smartphone includes digital goods, clothing/accessories, tickets and daily deals. Maybe that’s one reason Daily Deal sites have exploded so much this year. It’s easier than ever to purchase a deal right from your phone and according to these stats, people are doing just that.

“Fueled by smartphone adoption, mobile is becoming a central part in the shopping funnel for many consumers,” said Mark Donovan, comScore senior vice president for mobile. “In September we saw two-thirds of all smartphone owners perform shopping activities on their phones, including comparing products and prices, searching for coupons, taking product pictures or locating a retail store. Considering there are currently 90 million smartphone owners in the U.S., retailers without a well-developed mobile strategy are not only missing a tremendous opportunity with these customers but also risk becoming obsolete in the minds of these digital omnivores.”

The chart pictured above shows where people are when they purchase something via their smartphone. Home came out on top at 56%, with Out Other Places (restaurant, school) and Work tying at 42%.

Mobile shopping is changing the way businesses do business. The retail world is changing and businesses need to jump on the smartphone bandwagon to snag a piece of the mobile sales.

Do you frequently purchase items from your mobile phone? If yes, what?

A Look Back at Daily Deal Sites in 2011 (Infographic)

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As most of you know, Daily Deal sites exploded in 2011. As of now, there are 800 daily deal sites in the United States alone. In 2010, there were only 20.

The site 8Coupons.com put together this fantastic infographic which gives us a look back at daily deal sites in 2011. From the acquisitions and those reborn, to name changes and those that died off. Facebook is among 3 that “Died”.

Groupon has been in the news lately for its funding, which the infographic says is “like a billion dollars”, or $950 million to be exact. Falling behind Groupon in funding, is Living Social, who raised $400 million.

Daily Deal sites that went public include Groupon, Yelp, Angie’s List and Living Social.

It was back in August when Facebook announced the end of their daily deals after just four months of testing, which many said would open the doors for sites like Groupon. Whether Facebook got out because they didn’t see it as a viable business or because they just weren’t successful, is still up for debate.

Do you use a daily deal site and if so, which one(s)?

Viral Video of the Week: Dancing With An iPod In Public – Christmas Edition

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What does it take to create a viral video on YouTube? For one young man named Preston Leatherman, it took an iPod, a tacky Christmas sweater and three hours of shooting video at their local mall. If this video doesn’t get you in the Holiday spirit, I don’t know what would.

Here’s last week’s viral video of the week, which currently has 302,910 views and growing. It’s called “Dancing with an iPod in Public – Christmas Edition”.

If you’ve seen Justin Bieber and Mariah Carey’s latest Christmas music video “All I Want for Christmas is You”, then you know this is a parody of it. Or at least I think it is. In the video, Justin is walking around the mall doing some shopping, while singing in a red sweater. In Preston’s video, he’s dancing around the mall with an iPod, in a red sweater.

What’s almost as much fun as watching Preston dance, is watching the mall goers reactions to him. Some gave him high-fives, while other dissed him. He made people laugh, people shake their heads and people stare in bewilderment.

Here’s what Preston had to say about the video:

You know what they say! The best way to spread Christmas glee, is by dancing in public for all to see!

It’s that special time of year again! Santa’s elves are hard at work, Rudolph and the gang are prepping for flight, and I am hard at work making sure every boy, girl, and disgruntled shopper get their Holiday shopping disrupted by a man dancing in a Tacky Christmas Sweater.

Myself and a team of misfits took to the malls of Green Hills and Cool Springs in Nashville, TN in order to film the latest edition of “Dancing With An iPod in Public”. After a quick 3 hour hit-and-run style shoot through these shopping centers on November 27th, 2011, this is the result of our efforts!

Preston Leatherman is a musician and has also been seen Dancing with an iPod in Public to the tune of Footloose. You can read more about him on his website.

Why are people loving this video so much? Probably because we love parodies and watching people do crazy stuff in public.

New Test Shows Amazon’s Browser Silk is Slow

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I’m not sure if this test really shows anything we didn’t already suspect, but nevertheless, a new test shows that Amazon’s browser “Silk” is slower than the iPad’s browser “Safari”. The new Kindle Fire runs off the Silk browser and some are saying it’s slower loading than they had hoped or expected.

Google employee and Web performance expert Steve Souders decided to do a little test on Silk to see how its performance stood up to Safari. He used a tool he built called Loadtimer, which measures page load times. His results? Silk is slow.

You can see all of his detailed data on load times for Silk, iPad and Galaxy here.

The test might have shown that Silk is slow, but it also shows Silk is faster when acceleration is turned off on the Kindle Fire. He does have this to say about Silk, which is a positive: “The browser is sound. It holds its own compared to other tablet browsers. Once the acceleration gets sorted out I expect it’ll do even better.”

For those of you who have a Kindle Fire, what have your experiences been with the Silk browser?

YouTube Debuts Their New Look

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There’s no more need to try and get the new YouTube look by inserting code and all that jazz because it’s officially here for all to see.

YouTube announced and debuted their new look yesterday. The announcement was made via the Google blog with the title “Get more into what you love on YouTube with our new look”.

The new look consists of a new home page, channel design and more. YouTube listed three ways these updates will improve your life on YouTube:

  1. A new homepage
  2. Simpler, customizable Channels
  3. A new overall design

The look is definitely very clean and of course integrates Google+ into the mix. Google’s goal with the new redesign is to help “you discover a broader range of entertainment on YouTube”.

Google has created both a video (see below) and an instruction manual to walk you through the new YouTube. So, take a look around and tell us what you think of their new design.

BlogWorld Sponsor Vanilla Forums Named Among Canada’s Most Innovative Companies for 2011

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For those of you who attended BlogWorld LA 2011 this past November, most likely you know that Vanilla Forums was one of our sponsors. Vanilla is a forum software our BlogWorld forum is run off of.

(Did you know BlogWorld has a forum? We do! Head on over there, introduce yourself and get involved in a great community.)

I’m excited to announce that on November 10th, at the opening bell of the Toronto Stock Exchange, Vanilla was named among the Top 20 Most Innovative Companies in Canada for 2011 by the Canadian Innovation Exchange (CIX).

Here’s some information about the CIX Top 20:

The CIX Top 20 is a unique program designed to showcase Canada’s hottest innovative companies working in Digital Media and Information and Communication Technology.

An expert panel of innovation leaders will select 20 technology companies from across Canada to be featured in a live showcase at CIX 2011, taking place December 1st at MaRS Discovery District in Toronto.

The CIX Top 20 will serve as an elite index of the most forward-looking companies in the Canadian innovation ecosystem, and work to connect the key players driving technology-based business both in Canada and beyond.

As you can see, it is a huge honor to be named among one of the 20 companies. Congratulations to Vanilla Forums!

Introducing the New Drop-Down Google Menu

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Google has been on a six month journey updating their systems to a new look. From Search and News to Gmail, Maps and more, we’ve seen changes across the board.

The team says their goal with these changes is “to create a beautifully simple and intuitive user experience across Google” and they announced yesterday another stage in the redesign process. Introducing the new Google bar.

As you can see in the image above, there is a drop-down style menu nested right beside the Google logo. This allows users to navigate between Google services quickly.

Google says, “Making navigation and sharing super simple for people is a key part of our efforts to transform the overall Google experience, which is why we’re very excited about this redesign.”

Here’s a video showing you how the new Google bar works.

So, what do you think of the changes to the Google bar?

Facebook Game “WeTopia” Links Fun and Philanthropy

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What if you could play a Facebook game for fun and do good at the same time? I know. It sounds too good to be true.

Sojo Studios announced the preview launch of WeTopia, a community-building game where players can develop a better world for children on both Facebook and in real life.

Ellen DeGeneres and The Ellen DeGeneres Show are the first partners for the game. If you watch Ellen, you know how much she is personally involved in Social Good, so this partnership just makes sense.

“I am so proud to be involved with WeTopia,” said DeGeneres.  “You know when you hear about an idea and you instantly fall in love with it?  That’s how I felt when I heard about WeTopia spreading joy to people around the world.  It’s kinda the same way I felt about Pajama Jeans, only more so.”

Here’s more information about WeTopia from their official announcement:

As players build and grow their WeTopia villages and help their neighbors, they earn currency called “Joy” which they can apply toward real-world projects: whether food, healthcare, education or other programs assisting children, both in the U.S. and other nations.  Players can choose specific beneficiaries to receive their Joy and track their contributions through pictures, videos and in-game messages.  WeTopia is free to play – players can also buy Facebook credits to spend in-game – but everyone can have a real-world impact simply by earning and spending Joy through game play.

Money on the game will be made through advertising, with 50% of the net profits going to charity.

Here’s a video introduction to WeTopia.

What are your thoughts on combining social good with Facebook gaming?

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