Take a Peek

We have experienced an explosion of photo and video sharing with the success of apps such as Instagram, and more recently Snapchat, the platform that lets users send 10-second messages that disappear after they’ve been viewed. PeekInToo, a new app from Greece, offers a real-time, virtual glimpse into an anonymous person’s life for just 12 seconds.

Taking “people-watching” to the next level, PeekInToo is a global social network that lets users be nosy for a short amount of time. Using a map to navigate, users select a location nearby — or on the other side of the world, if they wish — and pick another user who is accepting requests. The recipient receives a notification that someone wants to ‘Peek’ and they can accept or decline, before holding up their camera to let the other user see what they’re seeing in real time. The video exchange service can be used to simply satisfy a curiosity, but also to see what’s going on near them or in a specific location. If video from a location of interest isn’t currently available, users can also use the PeekShout function in order to request a feed. Viewers can also rate others’ video.

Why I’m Curious:

While most people hop on the social media trends and partake in sharing tidbits about their lives, many are also particular to who they share with and use privacy settings. Do you think there would be enough people that would be willing to share their lives with strangers?

Android Kit Kat hosts 3D-printed ‘Chocnology’

To promote Android’s latest Kit Kat OS, Kit Kat South Africa partnered with Google and Native VML to create the world’s first 3D printed chocolate exhibit: Chocnology.  Described as an intersection of chocolate and technology, the designs were created by South African artists using the Android OS and online 3D modeling tools.

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“To produce the artwork, a 3D printer that traditionally uses a plastic-based filament was manipulated to use chocolate as its raw material, allowing the creation of intricate, three-dimensional sculptures” – CreativityOnline.

Chocnology works are on display from Thursday November 7 until Sunday November 10 at the Museum Of African Design (MOAD) in Johannesburg. Fans can follow the gallery opening and tweet their own experiences at @KitKatSA using #Chocnology.

Why I’m Curious

The Android Kit Kat relationship is clever in itself, but bringing it to life in a tangible (and delicious) way is incredibly creative and buzz-worthy. This could have easily felt gimmicky for other OS’s, but the stretch in 3D technology is a great fit here, given this is a new operating system named after a beloved chocolate bar.

Mess up you’re prfect Facebok status with a tpyo or 2? Just edit it.

Here’s a feature a lot of people have been waiting for, especially grammar nerds like me. Starting yesterday, you can edit your already-published Facebook status updates. Sometimes it’s a typo, or maybe a “they’re” instead of a “their.” We’ve all had it happen. You craft a clever update, post it, and let the likes and comments flow in. And then, OOPS! Until now, you would either have to live with the public humiliation of letting everyone know that you’re a human capable of mistakes or delete the status and lose all that precious engagement. According to TechCrunch, the feature is now available on the web and on Android, with an iOS update coming soon.

Why I’m Curious

While this update is a long time coming, I understand why Facebook was hesitant to make the change. They didn’t want people to make a status that says “Like this if you think puppies are awesome” to bait people into engaging with it and then edit the post to say “Everyone who likes this post owes me $100.”

I’m interested to see if this will also extend to brand pages as well. The ball is in your court, Zuckerberg.

Facebook Testing Auto-Playing Videos in the Mobile News Feed

Facebook is testing auto-playing video in your mobile News Feed. These videos are similar to the auto-playing videos on Instagram, except they start playing silently.

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Facebook said in their Newsroom:

“…we’re starting to test an easier way to watch videos on Facebook. Now when you see a video in News Feed, it comes to life and starts playing. Videos initially play silently, and if you want you can tap to play with sound in full screen. Scroll past if you don’t want to watch.”

For now, the only videos that will auto-play are posts from individuals or musicians and bands. Facebook says over time they will explore how to bring this feature to marketers.

Why I’m Curious:

While Facebook is billing this is as “an easier way to watch video,” I think most people had the same reaction when hearing this news. Everyone assumes this is just opening the door for in-stream video ads. It will be interesting to keep an eye on how Facebook develops this feature to create an experience that can both benefit brands and provide a seamless, non-distracting experience for users.

Android’s next version: KitKat

Google announced yesterday that the next version of its Android mobile operating system will be called “Android KitKat,” after the chocolate brand that is owned by Nestle globally and controlled byHershey Co. in the U.S. The moniker continues Android’s tradition of giving sweet-themed names to Android releases, beginning with Android “Cupcake” in 2009, continuing in alphabetical order through “Jelly Bean.”

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Kit Kat’s website has been transformed to a technology parody where KitKat 4.4, ‘The Future of Confectionary’ is treated like a device itself.  The site also features a video that pokes fun at Apple’s product reveals/demos to show off the new high tech specs of the famous chocolate bar.

Promotion for the Hershey-branded mobile OS will include a tactic made famous by fictional chocolatier Willy Wonka: Hershey will distribute 50 million Kit Kat bars bearing the Android logo and a few of them will have winning tickets redeemable for a limited number of Nexus 7 tablets, as well as Google Play credits, according to a Google+ update from Android. – via AdAge and Creativity-Online

 

Why I’m Curious

This is such a clever and unexpected partnership between Google and Nestle, even more so because no money has been exchanged in the process (apparently).  In this sweet tech barter, Android gets a sweet new buzz from Kit Kat packs and Kit Kat’s tech savvy and credibility will see an immediate lift. I’m curious to see how the partnership continues to unfold and if Kit Kat’s 4 bars will translate to great reception…

Omate TrueSmart Smartwatch

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Omate Truesmart has hit its crowdfunding target on Kickstarter to develop and produce a smartwatch that is a standalone device and can work independently from your smartphone or act as a companion.  They have raised over $100,000 in Kickstarter funds and are moving forward with production.

Why I’m Curious:

The Omate TrueSmart’s features are truly impressive.  Not only does it act as a phone and will run your Android apps smoothly it also has a five megapixel camera and is water resistant.  Some other functions include, voice call, text messaging, tracking, GPS, gesture control, and is event connected to 2G/3G data.  This smartwatch is ready for production and with Omate reaching their Kickstarter goal they can push it into full gear.

The market for smartwatches is becoming very competitive.  There are already designs for Pebble and the Samsung smartwatch out and Hyetis is planning on developing a luxury smartwatch that has a 41 megapixel camera.  Although, name brands like Samsung and Google are pushing forward with plans Omate seems to be the company to set the standards high.  The fact that the TrueSmart will be water resistant is a huge factor in the game.  Even the Nike Fit Band cannot track swimming laps because it is not waterproof.  But I think the most impressive thing about the TrueSmart is its capabilities to standalone and omit Bluetooth capabilities.

The retail price for the device is looking to be $299 and will hopefully be out in October for customers.  I wonder if it will be all the rage like Google Glass considering it is much less invasive and a multifunctional wearable technology.  And with a price like $299, I am going to put my order in now.

Omate TrueSmart Kickstarter

Keep Your Notes With Google Keep

There is a new app for the Android 4.0 that allows you to keep notes, voice memos, checklists, and photos organized and easy to retrieve.  Google Keep lets you quickly jot down notes, search through your archives, and even syncs with your Google drive.  The app is simple to use and great for that on the go thought you can’t be without.

Why I’m Curious

Google Keep is the next favorite in note-taking.  It includes the options to create a note, checklist, audio note, and snap photo that are all available in the Icon menu located at the top of the app.  You can color coordinate your notes and check lists and can either view your notes in grid form or scroll menu.

Some of the coolest features are that you can transcribe audio notes to texts and add text to your photo note.  All notes and checklists can be archived or deleted when finished and if you want to recall a note you can conveniently search for them or look in your archived notes.  Maybe the greatest thing about Google Keep is that all of your content is stored through your Google Drive.  Your content is stored in the cloud so if you are not on your mobile device you can fetch it without difficulty.

Android becomes wearable with i’m Watch

The Italian designer tech company i’m has recently debuted its i’m Watch, currently marketed as “the first real smart watch.” The i’m Watch can run nearly anything on its customized Android interface and tethers to your current smartphone (including BlackBerry and iPhone) to handle phone calls, SMS, music and a host of apps. The i’m is just as focused on beauty as technological practicality — and certainly seems to be marketed to design focused women, just as much as your early adopter. tech-focused men.

Now on the market in Europe — but with a burgeoning office in Silicon Valley and a vendor slot at CES 2012— an aluminum-bodied i’m Watch will run a minimum of $322. For those who are looking for a fancier model, the i’m Watch also has a titanium-encased version at a steeper $644, a carbonium-made product at $1291 and an ultra-luxurious gold watch with optional diamonds at nearly $13,000.

Why I’m Curious

It will be interesting to see if this catches on to successfully carve out a niche consumer following in the smartphone market. Since it currently only works by tethering with your existing device, it’s still really an add on at this stage. But if the user experience stands up to what it promises, it might one day serve as a viable alternative to the current smartphone build, broadening into other forms of wearable smartphone designs. Either way, from the POV of a rather unabashed consumer, it looks like something I’ll be adding to my wish list. Tempted?

Work/life balance via AT&T and some thoughts on video UX

– Sarah

It’s quite dismal out in Chicago today, so I pulled together two things in case of the normal one.

First up, AT&T announced Toggle this week. Toggle is a new app for Android that does exactly what it says: allows users to toggle between their work and personal accounts on one device.

Next is a long-form video.

Take some time out of your day to watch Adam Lisagor (some of you may know him as @lonelysandwich on Twitter) bridge the gap between what he does as a videomaker and the user design experience profession. You might be surprised to learn that the relationship between the two is not too far apart at all. This talk was part of UX Week.

Why I’m Curious

Toggle: so convenient and necessary that it’s hard to imagine it took so long to be invented, no?

Video as User Experience: we’re all in the media and content business, and I appreciate parallels being discovered in the ways our respective disciplines within media not only intersect, but have the opportunity to influence as well.