Headlines & Stuff August 1, 2014

Written by: Christy Wise
Bookmark and Share
Bookmark and Share

Here are some cool things we read about this past week:

LinkedIn rolled out an update to its app this week, unveiling a completely redesigned user profile that focuses on adding additional contextual information.  Profiles now have a new “In Common With…” section that displays contextual information about experiences, connections, or groups you share with other users – including those who are not part of your connections.
Instagram’s latest app is Bolt – a disappearing message app that first leaked last week – and it’s launching in three countries: New Zealand, Singapore, and South Africa. It isn’t clear yet when it will roll out to other countries.  The app borrows features from both Snapchat and Facebook’s Slingshot.
Facebook Gifts will shut down on August 12 and will stop selling gift cards for businesses like Starbucks and iTunes. Most of the Gifts team at Facebook will be reassigned to other commerce initiatives – including the Buy button for making e-commerce purchases within Facebook, Auto-Fill for auto-populating your billing info in other shopping apps, and Custom Audience that lets brick-and-mortar merchants retarget Facebook ads to existing customers.
Amazon’s new “Video Shorts” site launched a couple weeks ago without much fanfare. The site features short video clips framed by various items for sale related to the content in the video. So far, the videos cover a wide range of categories including movie trailers, actor interviews, music videos, concert performances, books, sports, home and garden tips, technology reviews, food recipes, how-to’s, and beauty tips. Each video is from companies with their own Amazon channels.  The site’s offerings reveals a powerful pairing of free content and contextually-relevant e-commerce potential. For example, when a user clicks on a video trailer for the video game Destiny, visitors can also move their cursor over  to the right and purchase the game, as well as special edition Xbox and Playstation 4 consoles. In other Amazon news, the retailer recently launched an on-demand marketplace for 3D printing.  Users can select and customize products that are 3D printed and delivered.

Global Social Media

85 percent of the 5 billion people living without Internet simply can’t afford data plans. So this week, Facebook’s accessibility initiative Internet.org launched its Android and web app for the developing world with free data access to a limited set of services including Facebook, Messenger, Wikipedia, and Google Search. It also provides local health, employment, weather, and women’s rights resources.  Internet.org’s app is launching in Zambia before coming to other developing countries.

Noteworthy Campaigns

A few months ago, Jamie Oliver launched Drinks Tube, a dedicated YouTube channel for all things mixology – with Bacardi as the exclusive sponsor. Now the duo are celebrating ‘summer cocktail month’ with Cocktail Request Week – a five-day event where expert bartenders turn cocktail enthusiasts’ requests into delectable drinks. Drinks Tube has set up a pop-up studio for the week inside Old Street underground tube station in London, where top bartenders Simone Caporale and Rich Hunt – along with special guests from Food Tube – are responding to viewer requests. Fans send their inspiration to the team using #CocktailRequest via Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Throughout the day, five requests are chosen to be translated into customized drinks.
Following in the footsteps of Starbucks, Coca-Cola on Monday began letting friends send Cokes to each other via Twitter. The Tweet-A-Coke promotion lets you tweet a link to a friend that, once opened, lets them order a Coke at a participating Regal Cinemas location.