Headlines & Stuff June 11, 2012

Written by: Digitally Approved
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Here are some cool things we read about this past week

Facebook Launches App Center
Facebook has launched its own app center for Android and iOS devices. The app center will also be available on the mobile version of Facebook itself.  The app center launched with more than 600 social apps, including Nike+ GPS, Ubisoft Ghost Recon Commander, Stitcher Radio, Draw Something, and Pinterest. According to Facebook, you will only see high quality apps in the App Center, based on user ratings and engagement.

Twitter Confirms Facebook Integration of Usernames, Hashtags and Photos
Twitter has quietly tweaked the way usernames, hashtags, photos and more are cross-posted to Facebook. Twitter users have been able to post links to Facebook for some time, and now it appears that Facebook is adding links for hashtags and usernames. The feature is identical to the way that it adds previews for URLs included in status updates. Additionally, the links will provide context to updates that are automated from Twitter.

Pinterest Rolls Out Curated Newsletter for Users
Users on Pinterest typically have to seek out interesting content for themselves, but a new feature quietly rolled out this week that drives them to even more personalized content.  The site’s new weekly email newsletter, will make it easier for users to find great pins and help keep tabs on how their own pins are doing. Mimicking the website’s pinboard style, each pin or board in the email is linked to the website, but users are unable to pin or re-pin a post directly from the newsletter. The newsletter lists a few popular boards, pins from friends that might be of interest and a useful feature for brands especially: the most popular pins of the week. Consider: If your brand content receives a lot of pins one week, you may extend your reach beyond those who pinned it, to those that receive newsletters as well. This should give you more motivation to ensure that content you post to Pinterest is engaging to the audience..

Foursquare Launches New Version
This week Foursquare launched a new version of its app that takes years of data mining and algorithm refinement and stuffs it into a tiny blue-green app. The new app is much cleaner and more vibrant. It features a photo-centric newsfeed, ergonomically re-placed Check-In button, and colorful profile pages. But the real meat is the revamped Explore tab that pulls data on every Foursquare user in real-time and creates relevant recommendations.  When you tap “Explore,” the app populates what sandwich places you might like (if it’s lunch time) or what bars are worth hitting (if it’s late on a Saturday night). Explore provides recommendations based on massive amounts of data points, like which sandwich shops you’ve been to before, what time it is, where your friends have been, where there are deals, if you’re new in town, if you’re outside your neighborhood, and where people like you hangout.

E-Commerce in the Middle East Grew 300% in the Past Year
According to global transportation and logistics company Aramex, the Middle East has seen e-commerce grow by 300% this past year. For Aramex, this translated into a 70% increase in shipments.  But while e-commerce continues to grow in the region, it’s still doing so with the safety net of COD transactions. Only 30% of these purchases are actually being bought using online payment options, while the remaining 70% are COD.  Also to note, the countries shelling out the most cash in the region include:  Jordan, Bahrain, Oman, UAE and Qatar. The most popular e-commerce purchases are apparel and gadgets.

P&G and Walmart Team Up to Promote Mobile Shopping
Walmart has had a tough time cracking New York City and other urban centers. There are various reasons, ranging from neighborhood opposition to land use restrictions. But the retail giant has teamed up with P&G on a month-long marketing effort in NY to promote online and mobile shopping and its free delivery service. Now, urban dwellers can order from Walmart even without a store nearby. The @PGMobile initiative kicked off this week and centers on a truck that will visit a dozen popular locations around NYC. It features QR codes for several P&G/Walmart products, including Bounty paper towels, Head & Shoulders shampoo and Iams dog food. Passersby are invited to use their mobile phones to scan the codes to instantly buy products from Walmart.  In addition to the QR code scanning, the @PGMobile promotion also includes a Twitter component that enables people to get information and request the truck in their neighborhood. P&G and Walmart also plan to give out 200,000 sample packages. Beyond New York, P&G and Walmart are running a similar promotion in Chicago focused on bus shelters that feature QR codes for mobile shoppers.