Facebook is reportedly building FB@Work -- an “at-work” version of the social network. Yet, as TechCrunch reports, “What’s not clear is whether FB@Work is something being built as an internal enterprise communication platform, or whether there are ambitions to leverage Facebook to drive new business, by giving people a way to interface with the hundreds of millions of people who already use it to market their businesses and themselves -- along the lines of LinkedIn.”
Fingerprint, a maker of mobile gaming apps for kids, just raised $10.9 million led by DreamWorks Animation SKG. “Children are increasingly spending time on mobile devices … at the expense of traditional media sources,” The Wall Street Journal notes. Nancy MacIntyre, CEO and co-founder of Fingerprint, tells WSJ that the company’s strategy is to create a network of apps with a focus on educational quality.
Aviate -- the Android app Yahoo acquired earlier this year -- is coming out of beta, this week. Simply put, the app automatically serves up contextually relevant information to users’ home screens. “It shows music apps when you're driving, news and weather apps in the morning, productivity apps while you're at work, and maybe even a Reddit app right before bed,” The Verge reports. “But with the company's acquisition came a new focus on daily habits, and on showing actual content instead of apps.”
The legend of Yo continues. After receiving a ton of press, the app -- the sole purpose of which is to send others the word “Yo” -- is ready to make some deals. “We’re meeting a lot of people here [in Silicon Valley] who are interested in Yo, not as an application that sends and receives Yo’s, but as a new way of getting notifications,” Yo founder Or Arbel tells The Wall Street Journal. “Our aim is to develop the ecosystem around Yo.”
A new start-UP, social networking app Path is buying business messaging service TalkTo, and launching ]a new standalone messaging app. Over the past year, “The company has seen disappointing growth in many major markets, layoffs, and the departure of some key execs over the last 12 months,” TechCrunch reports. “The main thing that keeps users coming back, that keeps driving engagement is messaging.”
Yo, what’s up with “Yo” -- a hot app that’s sole purpose is to send the word “Yo” to friends and family? According to its creator, Or Arbel, the app represents the essence of “context-based communications,” and the future of messaging. That, or the $1 million in funding for Yo is “an unmistakable sign that we are in the midst of another Internet bubble,” Think Progress suggests.
BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith doesn’t apologize for the site’s signature mix of high and low fare. (And, with 130 million monthly unique visitors, he doesn’t have to.) “I think mostly everybody, except sociopaths, cares about cute animals, and most people want to know what’s going on in the world,” he tells Neiman Reports. What’s more, light isn’t nececcarily easy, according to Smight. “It’s actually really hard to make a great list of Instagrams of cats … Go ahead and try to do one that gets a million views … It’s a very competitive space.”
For a time, it seemed certain that free mapping services from Google and others would put Garmin out of business. Now, however, the personal navigation pioneer is fighting back with Víago -- a relatively cheap, fully functioning GPS app with turn-by-turn instructions. Having yet to test it, The Wall Street Journal calls its interface “nice enough.” For additional fees, extra features include “on-board maps,” which are still available to users out of cellular range.
Seemingly a perfect partner for any CPG brand, grocery delivery startup Instacart could be coming to a town near everyone. To fund its rapid expansion, the on-demand service just raised $44 million in Series B funding led by Andreessen Horowitz. “The new funding comes as Instacart has seen huge growth both in its revenues and also the number of cities it operates in,” TechCrunch reports. “Over just the past nine months, revenue has grown 15x.”
Shamelessly seeking a clearer path to distribute its content and goods, Amazon is expected to debut its first smartphone on Wednesday. The move is part of what The New York Times calls, “a wildly ambitious venture without precedent in modern merchandising.” Specifically, “the phone is the last and most crucial link in this colossal enterprise … It is a singular gamble for a company that, for all its technology components, is still primarily a merchant.”