Here are some cool things we read about this past week:
Pinterest Acquires Image Recognition Startup VisualGraph
This week, Pinterest acquired VisualGraph, an image recognition startup. Pinterest already offers a search tool on the platform, but it relies on image captions to decipher what’s in the picture. The new technology could help Pinterest build out its search feature to return results that aren’t clearly marked.
Facebook Set to Eliminate Sponsored Stories in April
Facebook will retire Sponsored Story ads starting April 9. After that date, Sponsored Stories will transition to other ad formats. For example – a Sponsored Story highlighting a page Like will simply turn to a ‘Page Like ad.’
Gmail Now Lets You Email Your Google+ Connections
Google announced a new integration between Gmail and Google+ that sees your social connections show up in auto-complete when you’re composing an email. Google says the feature is rolling out “over the next couple of days” to everyone that uses Gmail and Google+. Note: your email address isn’t visible to a Google+ connection unless you send a reply.
Biz Stone Launches Jelly – a New Search Engine That Asks Friends For The Answers
Twitter co-founder, Biz Stone, unveiled his new project – Jelly, a social search engine app that uses your social networks – as well as friends of friends – to help users seek out answers to queries. In addition, it makes inventive use of photos; you and your friends can zoom, crop, annotate and draw on images to make everything more specific.
Google Begins Inserting User Profile Information In Targeted Ads
One month ago, Google announced that it would update its terms of service to allow the company to insert your profile information into targeted advertisements. Starting this week, Google can automatically attach info from your profile – like photos, your name and endorsements – to advertisements aggregated by their system. You can choose to opt out by clicking here.
Global Social Media
E-Commerce Giant Alibaba Integrates Its Payment Service With China’s Twitter – Sina Weibo
Imagine Twitter with shopping and payment options. That’s exactly what China’s version of Twitter, Sina Weibo, is looking like as it steps into 2014. The platform has introduced ‘Weibo Payment,’ which allows users to connect their Aliplay accounts with their Weibo accounts and buy items without having to log in. Aliplay and Weibo are also working to integrate their QR code systems to boost the online to offline shopping experience. In the future, Weibo users will be able to scan QR codes to buy products at vending machines or store registers.
Nissan Lets People Order New Cars Through Amazon
As part of a promotion for the Nissan Versa Note, Nissan promised to deliver three cars in an oversized Amazon box, just so long as shoppers went through a promotional link on Amazon first. The first of those deliveries, which was meant to be kept a secret until this image appeared on Reddit, happened last weekend. The delivery was filmed by Nissan and was supposed to debut as a social media video next week, but the cat is already out of the bag (or car already out of the box).