Headlines & Stuff August 14, 2012

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

Facebook Now Lets You Send Photos as Real Postcards
Facebook is testing a feature that allows you to turn your Facebook photos into physical postcards that can be sent to your friends. The feature allows Facebook users to send any of their own photos to friends. You won’t be able to send public photos or photos from Pages (yet). Just like a traditional postcard, the photo will be displayed on the front of the card and you can type personalized messages to friends on the backside. Postcards will allow you to type in your friends address (if you know it), or ask him or her for a physical address (if you don’t). The service is power by Sincerely, the company behind Postagram, the app that lets you send Instagram photos as postcards.

Starbucks Invests $25 Million in Mobile-Payment Provider Square
Starbucks will use Square Inc.’s payment system in 7,000 stores and invest $25m in the startup, making it easier for customers to purchase with mobile phones. Starbucks CEO, Howard Shultz will join the board of Square, which was founded in 2009 by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey. Square’s software lets merchants except electronic payments on their own hardware or through a device that plugs into a phone or tablet. Starbucks is marrying its own mobile-phone payment program with Square’s transaction-processing tools. Starbucks already processes more than 1 million mobile purchases a week in the U.S. through its smartphone app, and has logged more than 60 million since its introduction.

Facebook Now Lets Brands Target Posts by Age & Gender
Facebook last week announced new options for Brand Pages to target their posts. While previously, Page admins could only target by language and location, the company has added new options including Gender, Interested In, Relationship Status, Education, Age, and Workplace.

Pinterest Lets Users Sign In Without an Invite
Pinterest has started open registration this week. This means that users can sign up for an account without having to wait for an invite. Before this week, people had to request an invite from Pinterest or be invited by a friend who already had a Pinterest account. Users can now also sign up using just an email address as opposed to having to use Facebook or Twitter.

Facebook Moves Into Gambling With Launch of A Bingo App in UK
Facebook has ventured into online gambling by approving Bingo Friendzy, the first gaming app that allows members to bet real money. Players have to be 18 to win cash and prizes.  Gambling is very popular and well regulated in the UK. More gambling games are set to launch in coming months, with slot machine games slated to make their debut in coming weeks.  Zynga has also said it will launch real-money versions of its bingo and poker games next year. The move is being seen as a way for Facebook to boost revenues.

American Athletes Tend Weibo Accounts to Connect with Chinese Fans
Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte has joined Sina Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter, along with several other athletes. While Twitter is unavailable to the Chinese, Sina Weibo and its competitor Tencent boast a combined 600 million accounts.  Lochte is among the first wave of foreign athletes reaching out to Chinese fans on the platform, boosting attractiveness to potential sponsors trying to make in-roads in that still-developing consumer market. His Weibo account has about 71k fans. His better known teammate – Michael Phelps, has about 408k fans on his account. His posts appear in both English and in Chinese. The sport with the most number of athletes on Weibo is basketball, which is wildly popular in China. At least 60 NBA players have Weibo accounts including Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul, who are among the most popular with 1.6 million fans each. Other western athletes with Weibo accounts include: Serena Williams, Andy Murray, LaShawn Merritt, Lance Armstrong and David Ortiz.