The New York Times has a lot riding on its forthcoming subscription-based mobile app, NYT Now. Yes, “The Times is betting on its own brand and reputation,” Buzzfeed suggests. “Almost everything about NYT Now feels like high stakes … The app’s support comes from the top of the paper’s masthead and top corporate leadership, and its team of nearly 20 is captained by two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning Times veteran Cliff Levy.”
Medium -- the blogging platform created by Twitter cofounder Ev Williams -- just rolled out its first mobile app for iOS. “The app is read-only and allows users to access a range of published articles by first signing in using their Twitter account … which comes as little surprise since Twitter is a major component of its Web platform,” The Next Web writes. “After signing in, the app … ‘hand-picks’ a reading list based on the people that you follow,” among other factors.
New details have emerged regarding Apple’s ambitious heath and fitness-tracking service, Healthbook. Still in beta, “Versions of Healthbook in testing are capable of tracking several different health and fitness data points,” 9To5Mac’s Mark Gurman reports. Yet, “it is currently uncertain where this data will actually be sourced from,” Gurman notes. “I believe that the data will be sourced from at least one of four possibilities: the iPhone itself, third-party App Store apps, third-party devices, or a future Apple wearable device (iWatch).”
As is Tinder wasn’t salacious enough, the mobile dating app plans to add a verification program so celebrities can authentically mix it up with other singles. “High-profile users make few matches because people assume they are fake,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. With or without celebrities, “the app quickly has become part of the pop culture lexicon and today boasts more than 750 million profile ratings and more than 10 million new matches a day.”
Google wants everyone using its Apps for Business offerings, and it’s got the money to make it happen. The search giant this week is rolling out an Apps Referral Program that pays a $15 bonus for each new user that businesses sign up, GigaOm reports. “Google’s app suite, which includes Calendar, Docs, Drive, Gmail, Sheets and Slides, among other tools and services, is currently used by over 5 million businesses.”
With a focus on convenience and accessibility, the increasingly mobile-focused travel services industry has never been hotter. “Travelers want the ability to book lodging, transportation and experiences -- simply and immediately -- all from their mobile devices,” TechCrunch reports. As a result, “despite the popularity of travel booking sites like Kayak, TripAdvisor and Expedia, venture capital firms are still investing in companies selling consumers a better way to travel.”
Consumers’ increasing preference for mobile apps is challenging Google’s bread-and-butter business model. “The company was built with the help of an army of ‘spiders’ deployed to crawl the Web and sophisticated algorithms to rank the value of pages,” The Wall Street Journal reports. “But in the mobile age, those spiders can't easily navigate the apps where users are spending most of their time, threatening Google's roughly $50-billion advertising business.”
Foursquare saw its revenue rise by 600%, last year, CEO Dennis Crowley said during an on-air interview with CNBC, this week. During the first quarter of 2014, he said year-over-year revenue growth was on track to exceed 500%. “The app … has shifted its business model from a place to track where your friends are going to the go-to place for people searching for local information,” TechCrunch reminds us.
How big the market for live-streaming video games? Well, one of the more popular platforms, Twitch, just surpassed 10 million downloads of its mobile applications on the iOS and Android platforms. The startup has also released a mobile software development kit that “may expand its reach into the on-the-go world,” TechCrunch reports. “Provided that mobile games are as big a draw as traditional video game titles, the company is betting an audience will appear.”
You wouldn’t think Flipboard would need a news-reader app, but that’s what it just bought from CNN for a reported $60 million. “The company says it will capitalize on Zite's personalization technology, which enables the app to deliver results based on the user's interests and social networks and interests,” CNNMoney.com writes by way of explanation. Along with Zite, Flipboard is getting the chance to team up with CNN on the launch of custom magazines for CNN shows.