Consumers are hardly done “broadcasting” their musings and media to the wider world, but Buzzfeed predicts that the next great digital service will specialize in closed messaging. “Instant messaging is the center of the Internet,” it writes. As such, “nearly every dominant Internet service is either planning to create a new instant messaging service or significantly revamping what they already have.” That includes Facebook (and perhaps Instagram), Google, and maybe even Twitter.
Closer than ever to finding Steve Ballmer’s replacement, Microsoft’s board is reportedly leaning toward Ford Motor CEO Alan Mulally and its own Satya Nadella. “While internal candidate Tony Bates and former Nokia Oyj CEO Stephen Elop remain in the mix, they’re currently considered less likely to be offered the job,” Bloomberg reports, citing sources. “Preferences remain fluid and other people are being considered and could emerge as front-runners.”
TechCrunch marvels at the rapid rise of Upworthy and a number of sites that mimic Upworthy’s winning combination of skilled video production, social shareability, and emotion-rich headlines. “Although there's little more to the stories than something visual … many of the posts are shared by millions of people on social media platforms,” TechCrunch writes. Remarkably, “it’s sneaking up on BuzzFeed, the first publication to really play into people's emotions.”
Twitter is reportedly testing its ability to predict the virality of particular tweets. “When a user tweets something that the service thinks will go viral, [Twitter] favorites the tweet within a few minutes of it being sent,” The Next Web reports. “The functionality that’s being tested here could be a response to Favstar’s service, which allows you to track how far a tweet travels and helps show just how popular a tweet is becoming before it goes viral.”
Few factors have contributed more to the growth of U.S. Web activity -- and, hence, the online ad industry -- than faster download speeds. However, new data from Speedtest.net shows that the United States currently trails behind 30 countries in terms of Internet speeds. “You’d think that in the country that invented the Internet, with one of the world’s most vibrant tech industries, we’d have the fastest Internet,” TechCrunch jokes. “Various reports about Internet speed differ greatly, however.”
Google this week is releasing a new extension for Chrome that will allow for hands-free activation of voice search features. “Google announced the conversational voice search features for Chrome back in May and has been updating it on various platforms since, but previously users had to actually click a microphone icon to activate voice search on the desktop,” 9To5Google reports.
In large part to protect its brand name, Microsoft is stepping up efforts to protect consumer privacy. As The Washington Post reports, the software giant “is moving toward a major new effort to encrypt its Internet traffic amid fears that the National Security Agency may have broken into its global communications links.” Company executives are meeting this week to decide on exactly what measures to take, sources tell WaPo.
CNN is taking readers behind the scenes with Scenes From the Field -- a collection of Instagram pictures taken by journalists around the world. The initiative is a way to “reach a new audience,” and “draw in new material,” Peter Bale, vice president and general manager of digital at CNN International, tells Journalism.co.uk. Not CNN’s first experience with Instagram, the network made use of the service during the Democratic National Convention, last year.
Want a crack at Intel’s digital pay-TV service? All you’ll need is ready access to around $500 million. As sources tell Bloomberg, that’s the asking price for OnCue -- the service that Intel developed before deciding it wanted nothing to do with the TV business. “Intel is seeking to secure a sale by year-end,” Bloomberg reports. One suitor, Verizon Communications Inc., has begun talking with owners of broadcast and cable channels about terms for a streaming TV service, [sources] said.”
Twitter just became a friendlier place for booze brands and other age-sensitive marketers. Yes, the social giant just improved its ‘age gate’ screening process, which helps such brands stay within the law. “Today, it’s streamlined the process in its apps greatly in order to improve the follow rate and therefore the attractiveness of running an active account for those brands,” TechCrunch reports.