I’m a teen living in New York. All of my friends have social networks — Instagram , Vine , Snapchat , etc. Facebook used to be all I could talk about when I was younger. “Mom, I want a Facebook!” and other whining only a mother could put up with.
But now, at 13, I’ve been noticing something different. Facebook is losing teens lately, and I think I know why.
Part of the reason Facebook is losing my generation's attention is the fact that there are other networks now. When I was 10, I wasn’t old enough to have a Facebook. But a magical thing called Instagram had just come out ... and our parents had no idea there was an age limit. Rapidly, all my friends got Instagrams.
Now, when we are old enough to get Facebook, we don’t want it. By the time we could have Facebooks, we were already obsessed with Instagram.
"Facebook was just this thing all our parents seemed to have."
This leads me into my next point: Although I do have a Facebook, none of my other friends do. My friends just thought it was a waste of time. I decided to get a Facebook just to see what it was all about. I soon discovered that Facebook is useless without friends. My only friend is, like, my grandma.
Teens are followers. That’s just what we are. If all my friends are getting this cool new thing called Snapchat, I want it, too!
"We want what’s trending, and if Facebook isn’t “trending,” teens won’t care."
All of our parents and parents' friends have Facebooks. It’s not just the fact that I occasionally get wall posts like, “Hello sweetie pie!” But my friends post photos that get me in trouble with those parents.
Let's say I get invited to a party, and there’s underage drinking. I’m not drinking, but someone pulls out a camera. Even if I’m not carrying a red Solo cup, I could be photographed behind a girl doing shots. Later that week, the dumb-dumb decides to post photos from that “amazing” party. If my mom saw I was at a party with drinking, even if I wasn't participating, I’d be dead. This isn’t Facebook’s fault, but it happens there.
Facebook is also a big source of bullying in middle school. Kids might comment something mean on a photo of you, or message you mean things. This isn’t Facebook's fault, but again, it does happen there. If my mom heard I was getting bullied on Facebook, she would tell me to quit right away.
When I was younger, my mom had a Facebook. I would always go on it. I would take quizzes, play games, etc. Facebook used to be its own, unique thing. It was kind of big but at the same time, cool.
As the years went on, I always wanted a Facebook I could call my own. But once I got it, everything started changing. There's too much going on. The change from the old Facebook to the Timeline was very all of a sudden.
Look at something like Twitter , where it’s four buttons — people like the "simple" design better.
It also became a huge marketing mouthpiece. Facebook takes your interests based on what you’ve "liked" and put ads on your feed. No offense, but when I’m looking through my News Feed I don’t really care about Pantene’s new product.
It wasn’t the Facebook it was when I was seven. It got complicated —
"it was just kind of like, "We liked it the way it was. Why are you changing it?"
In the end, Facebook has been trying too hard. Teens hate it when people try too hard; it pushes them away. It’s like if my mom told me not to do something — I immediately need to do it. When she forces something on me, I really don’t want to do it.
Teens just like to join in on their own. If you’re all up in their faces about the new features on Facebook, they’ll get annoyed and find a new social media.
Facebook needs teens, because we’ll be the people keeping it going very soon. And teens can see that, which freaks them out.
I love Facebook, really I do. I hope they can make a comeback and appeal to my peers. I think it's a great idea for a website, and I wish Facebook the best of luck.
Over a year after the announcement Of Google Glass, many folks I talk to still seem to be misunderstanding what Glass can actually do.
“It’ll be great for Augmented Reality!” they say, assuming that Glass can render objects directly into your full view of the world (it can’t.) “Ooh! It’ll be like Minority Report!”, expecting Glass’ camera to pick up your every hand wave (it doesn’t.)
Then they try on a pair and realize that… well, that’s not what Glass is. But it’s what Meta is aiming to be — and their first (read: still a bit rough) version is going on sale to the public starting today.
To picture the Meta, picture a pair of glasses — or, more accurately in its current stage, a pair of safety goggles. Put a translucent, reflective surface in each eye piece, displaying images on top of your field of view as piped out of a tiny projector built into each arm of the frames. Take a couple tiny RGB/Infrared cameras — essentially a miniature Kinect — and strap them to the frame. That’s the Meta.
The Meta then plugs into another device to help it with the data crunching; right now, that’s a laptop. Moving forward, it’ll be your phone.
After flying under the radar for a bit over a year, Meta debuted itself to the world on Kickstarter back in May. By the end of their campaign, they’d nearly doubled their original goal of $100,000. They promised to ship those units to their backers by the end of this month, and they say they’re on track to meet that deadline — so now they’re opening up pre-sales of the next iteration to everyone.
To be clear, the hardware they’re launching today is still quite early. It’s perhaps a bit past the “Developers Only” level, but it’s still mostly meant for the hardcore early-adopters and tinkerers. Hell, its early state is reflected in its very name; this model is called the META.01, suggesting many a revision to come. The META.01 units are going up for sale at $667, with plans to begin shipping in November.
The company has pulled in a few hardware designers since their Kinect-taped-to-glasses days, allowing this iteration to be considerably more svelte than the Kickstarter variant that came before it. The Meta.01s will still be a bit more cumbersome than the final hardware they’re hoping to ship, but it’s a step in the right direction.
Here’s a render of what they’re aiming for with this next iteration (a design which they assure me they can pull off by November, though it’s not done yet):
I’ve met a number of companies that promise to do this sort of thing. Each time, I expected to be blown away. Each time, the company showed up more or less empty handed. One showed up with a pair of 3D-printed glasses with a basic camera built in, but no display of any sort to speak of. One showed up with nothing but a folio full of concept sketches and promises of grandeur.
Meta, meanwhile, showed up with multiple pairs of functional (though again, early prototype) glasses, and a bunch of working (if rough) tech demos.
Check out their concept video:
The second I put on the glasses, a number hovering in front of my eyes told me the distance between me and whatever I looked at. I held up my hand, and a floating rectangle appeared in space, following my palm wherever it went, expanding and closing as I opened and closed my fist.
“How well does it do Augmented Reality?”, I ask.
They grab a piece of paper off my desk — standard, blank printer paper, sans any sort of QR code or tracking marker. They punch a few buttons on the laptop, and a movie trailer starts playing on the paper. It’s not rendering perfectly edge to edge, mind you, instead sort of floating in the middle — but it’s still tracking this featureless piece of piece of paper remarkably well as they wave it around our office, crappy overhead fluorescent lights and all. Tracking blank white objects — be it a piece of paper, or a big blank wall — is one of the hardest computer vision challenges around.
Yet here they were. He bends the paper, the video bends with it. He crumples up the paper and unfolds it; the video starts playing again, now contorted to the crumples. What.
“How about hand gestures?”
They tap a few buttons. A 3d mushroom pops up, seeming to float about 2 feet from my view. “Poke it”, says Raymond Lo, the company’s CTO. I do, clumsily jabbing at where my brain perceives the mushroom to be. It takes a few seconds for me to “find” the ethereal fungus — but when I do, it’s immediately obvious. The mushroom changes shape around my finger like a glob of clay, completely intangible but seemingly somehow there. Meta hopes that people will someday be doing full-fledged 3D modeling with this technology, sending their creations directly to their 3D printer.
The demo eventually lost track of my hand and wasn’t able to get it back — forgivable, given the early state of the project — but for a few fleeting seconds, I was finally getting a glimpse of AR tech that so many teams had promised me before. It’s early. It’s rough. But damn, is it cool.
And I’m not the only one impressed, even in these early days. Steve Feiner, one of the world’s leading AR experts and head of the AR research department at Columbia University, is signed on as their lead advisor. Steve Mann, oft dubbed the “father of wearable computing “, is their Chief Scientist. They breezed into Y-Combinator, and I hear that investors have been knocking ever since.
The META.01 glasses are on sale beginning today at Meta’s newly acquired (and hilariously self-aware) domain, SpaceGlasses.com .
Friendship comes with a set of rules. It's practically required to treat your friend to a fun night out after her bad breakup, "lend" her a few bucks without expecting anything in return and alert her when she has spinach in her teeth.
IRL friendships are a lot of work, but Facebook friendships might be even more.
There are guidelines when it comes to friendship on Facebook. If this were still 2007 and the word didn't feel horribly outdated, we'd call it "netiquette." For example, you should never ask about a messy breakup on someone's public Facebook Wall, but if he wants to vent to you via Facebook Chat, you'd better be there.
In order to stay on your friend's good side, check out the 14 dos and don'ts to being a good friend on Facebook. Your friends will thank you.
- 1. DO like and comment on all your best friend's profile pictures
2. DON'T fight on Facebook
That's just awkward for everyone.
3. DO RSVP promptly to event invites
Sure, we're all guilty of neglecting the event invites section of Facebook. But when no one RSVPs to your birthday party, and you're sweating over the unconfirmed number, don't say we didn't warn you.
4. DON'T post vulgar status updates from your friends' accounts.
An obvious and amateur move. Besides, if he were really that enthusiastic about it, he would've "liked" said vulgarity's Facebook Page.
5. DO wish happy birthday to friends, family, coworkers and acquaintances (even if you've already said it IRL).
6. DON'T like or comment your friend's picture from 2009.
Especially if the photo is embarrassing. Every time someone's photo gets new activity, it will reappear in your friends' News Feeds. Leave the past behind!
7. DO let them know when they've been hacked.
8. DON'T be nosy when someone's relationship status changes from "In a Relationship" to "Single "
The "you deserve better" or "screw that guy!" message is a private part of the healing process. If that person wants you to know the messy details, he'll tell you offline.
9. DO post photos in a timely manner
No one wants to be that girl who comes off narcissistic because you took a really good picture of her at brunch last weekend. Just upload the photo -- she needs new profile pic!
10. DON'T Poke people you don't know very well
Or people you do know. Just don't do it. Seriously, stop poking people -- it's creepy.
11. DON'T friend-request people you don't know very well
12. DO make sure everyone looks good in your new profile or cover picture -- not just you
13. DON'T post embarrassing things on your friends' Walls, especially if that activity could get them in trouble while looking for a job or applying to college
14. DO respond to Facebook messages promptly, especially when they're important
Cheap airline tickets, complex equations, and endless baseball statistics are not the domain of Google's far-reaching search juggernaut.
On July 8, Yahoo! shut down 18-year-old search engine AltaVista. Its servers were switched off, its algorithms silenced, its web crawlers laid to rest. Back in 1997, a year before Google first appeared online, AltaVista raked in two million hits per day. AltaVista was one of the most successful search engines to launch in the mid-90s. That success didn't last long in the age of Google, and AltaVista was purchased by Yahoo! in 2003 and eventually relegated to obscurity.
AltaVista's death is a reminder that, pre-Google dominance, there were a ton of search engines with their own quirks, specialties, and varied indexes of the web. Searching one wasn't guaranteed to deliver the same results as the others. The World Wide Web didn't quite feel like a wholly interconnected web, just yet--each search engine or web crawler was a nexus into a unique corner of the Internet.
AltaVista also established a precedent of branching out from search that Google would later build upon. Long after it had lost popularity as a search engine, AltaVista's Babel Fish was the go-to online language translator. And while Google now serves as our general purpose search tool, and makes the operating system for millions of smartphones, and runs the most popular email platform on the web, and dominates Internet advertising, there are still those quirky, speciality search engines out there that do things Google Search can't.
The World Wide Web is far more interconnected and searchable than ever, but it's also bigger than ever. In AltaVista's honor, we've hunted down some of those search engines that still fill a special niche, gotten advice from some Tested readers and highlighted a few old favorites that once seemed amazing and have now been one-upped by the all-consuming Google.
The Wayback Machine : Archive.org's Wayback Machine is the ultimate search tool for things Google can't find--because they no longer exist. According to Archive.org's FAQ, the Wayback Machine hosts more than 350 billion pages, taking up more than two petabytes of storage. Popular websites will often have hundreds of entries archived over years of Wayback crawls, but it's amazing how many obscure Geocities fansites are preserved within the Wayback Machine.
Baseball-Reference : There's no sport with a greater emphasis or appreciation for stats than baseball. Baseball is as much about history as it is the current season's games, and players are often famous more for their RBIs or home runs or strikeouts over a dozen seasons than they are for individual game-winning plays. Baseball-Reference.com has made all those records and statistics searchable since 2000. And we mean all the records. Just look at the immense amount of detail on Hank Aaron's page , for example.
Wolfram Alpha : The "computational knowledge engine" doesn't search the web like Google, but it's definitely smarter--or at least better at math--than our go-to engine. Wolfram Alpha's ability to spit back direct answers to questions still feels a little bit like magic, and it offers a more scientific approach to search results. The results page for Tony Blair , for example, lists notable facts about the British politician, his governmental role, and one physical characteristic. Google has begun to integrate Wolfram Alpha-like results into its search engine by showing similar data for famous people (pulled from Wikipedia), showing weather conditions, and so on.
Giphy : Just a few months ago, Google added an option to narrow Image Search results down to "animated," aka GIF search. Giphy is a brand new startup that offers its own database of searchable GIFs, and each image is tagged. A search for Metal Gear Solid, for example, brings back the kinds of GIFs you'd expect, but a search for something more general--like the word joy --returns very different results. Memes and more expressive GIFs pop up than in a similar Google search. Giphy also tells you how many frames are in each GIF, which is pretty cool.
TinEye : Reverse image search is another tool Google has recently added to its arsenal. But before Google added the ability to search by an existing image, TinEye was an invaluable tool for finding out where a video screencap came from, or to find a larger version of an image, or to track down a mystery artist. TinEye doesn't search by image metadata, but rather through recognition algorithms to identify similar or identical pictures. Also, Google and TinEye present their findings differently. TinEye is extremely focused on its database of 3 billion images, but Google actually uses an image to, first and foremost, return web page results that host a similar image.
Creative Commons Search : Here's a simple one. When you search for a photograph on Flickr or Google Images, often the photographer hasn't' given permission for that photo to be used elsewhere online. So you trudge off, sullen, to find something else. With a Creative Commons search, you can set narrow search results for images, music, or other media that's shared under a CC license.
Can I Stream It : Just a couple years ago, if a movie or TV show wasn't on Netflix or Hulu, you probably wouldn't plan to stream it online. But those days are past--there are now so many competing popular video delivery services with different movie studio deals that it's hard to keep track of what is available where. Can I Stream It is awesome because it searches all of them--streaming options like Netflix and Amazon Instant and Epix, rental options like iTunes and Vudu, even cable services like HBO and Comcast Xfinity. With an account you can also set up notifications to be messaged when a movie becomes available.
Duck Duck Go : This search engine made a name for itself in 2012 by promising not to track its users--Google's privacy issues over the past couple years have been one of the unfortunate side effects of its massive web reach. But the engine also highlights a ton of "goodies" or instant feedback tools akin to Wolfram Alpha--doing matematic calculations, generating random passwords, providing instant recipes. Google can do some of those things, but not all of them, and Duck Duck Go offers a very clean, simple interface.
Google Flights : This may be one of Google's least-known search acquisitions, but it's a great tool. Back in 2010, Google Purchased ITA Software, which ran the airface search system QPX. Never heard of QPX? You've probably used it--the engine was behind travel sites like Kayak, Orbitz, and CheapTickets. Now that data is fed raw into Google Flights, without the annoyance of a travel site trying to sell you hotel rooms or rental cars alongside your plane tickets. We know including a Google site on the list is cheating, but ITA Software built the technology before Google bought them up--that counts, right?
Flightfox : On the subject of airfare searches, Flightfox is a pretty awesome person-driven flight tool. It's not a search engine, exactly, but a pay-for service that draws upon the expertise of frequent flyers and travel agents to net you the best possible deal on airfare.You can go in pre-armed with knowledge about cheap flights and pay a few bucks for the experts to find something cheaper, or describe a desired trip and let them do all the work for you. While paying for Flightfox for short or cheap domestic flights doesn't make much sense, you could potentially save hundreds on major international flights by crowdsourcing the kinds of people who know exactly how to snag the best airfare.
It's NOT Augmented Reality – SOURCE: Layar Blog
Photo by The Verge.
The following is a post by Layar’s R&D lead Ronald van der Lingen and CTO Dirk Groten.
Two weeks ago we got our hands on Google Glass, and we have not been sitting idle. We started hacking right away to see what we can do with Layar and this hot new piece of technology. Here are our findings from these initial experimentations.
Glass runs on Android, we have an Android version of Layar. Piece of cake?
When we learned that Google Glass is “just” an Android device with a custom interface on top of it, we of course wanted to know if the code base of Layar for Android would work. We were already skeptical about the usability of “true” augmented reality (AR) on Glass, but you never know for sure until you try. “True” augmented reality is when you see your reality modified by the digital layer that’s added to it. You look at a page in a magazine through your AR glasses or AR-enabled smartphone and the page appears different than in reality: an image in the page comes to life, a 3D car model is shown instead of the flat picture of the car or a “Buy” button is added on top of an ad for a perfume bottle.
“Layar just runs on Glass.”
While Google Glass is running Android, it is not really easy to launch android apps from the user interface. Currently, you need to enable debug mode, which allows you to sideload applications and launch them. To our surprise, clicking “launch” in our development environment resulted in a correctly functioning AR display showing the full camera preview with attached augmentations in the corner of our eyes.
However, the user experience was terrible.
The problem is that the display of Google Glass is just a small screen in the corner of your eye, that you specifically have to look at by looking up. It is not completely immersive like what you would need for a true AR device. So the experience when running Layar’s vision based AR unmodified on Glass is that of holding your phone above your normal line of sight, looking up and at the same time trying to hold your head as if you’re looking at the magazine or object through the camera lens.
This confirmed our initial expectation that Google Glass requires a completely different mindset from any other platform we operate on. Rather than simply showing the content as we would on phones and tablets, we need to look at other ways of displaying the vast amount of content created for the Layar platform.
Google Glass UI
To figure out what type of user experience would work on Google Glass, a good first step is to look at what Google Glass offers out-of-the-box. Here we see a very simple user interface with big text and not a lot of content. The content is represented as screens (also called timeline cards) on a single timeline. This timeline contains the history of all actions the user has taken and notifications the user has received in chronological order. By swiping back and forth on the touchpad on the side of Glass, the users can easily scroll to the history of cards.
When tapping the side of Glass to enable it, you are first shown the home screen containing the time and the sentence “Ok glass.” Saying this command allows you to start actions like “take a picture,” “record a video,” “send a message,” etc. Triggering these actions will add new timeline cards to the history. Timeline cards can have menu options that are shown when tapping the touchpad. Some common actions include reply, share and delete.
This simple interface is all the user sees on Glass. There is no real concept of apps like you are used to on phones and tablets. Third party apps are really just services that interact with the user’s timeline.
The only official way to develop apps (“Glassware”) for Glass is through the Mirror API. This is a cloud based API, meaning that the software is not running on the device itself, but as a service on the Internet. This service is connected to the Google Mirror API servers, which allows interaction with the user’s timeline.
The possibilities of the Mirror API are quite limited. The most common use case that is covered is allowing services to add notification cards to the timeline with news items, messages or other content (including photos and videos). Glassware is also able to add contacts that can be used for sharing. This allows the user to share photos and videos with third party services.
For Layar, this was sufficient for us to create a simple prototype service that allows the user to take a picture, share it with a “Scan with Layar” contact, perform the visual search on our servers and push back the results to Google Glass.
While this was a nice proof of concept, the user experience is far from ideal. Currently, scanning an image with Layar requires the user to first take a photo, and then explicitly sharing it with Layar. Ideally, this would be a single action “Scan with Layar” that can be triggered directly, but the APIs don’t provide ways to combine taking a picture and sending it to a service.
Another problem with this flow is the fact that the Mirror API by design is asynchronous. The timeline on Google Glass is kept in sync with the Google Servers, but sometimes this synchronisation is slow due to bad connectivity or other circumstances. This is ok for sharing photos to social networks (as it will just synchronize once a connection can be made), but for Layar, the user will expect to see results fast.
Finally, the types of content allowed through the Mirror API are quite limited and static. The rich content created by publishers on the Layar platform is nearly impossible to show in a nice and useful manner.
Glass Developer Kit
At Google I/O, a Glass Developer Kit (GDK) was announced that would allow developers to write Android apps for Glass. While details are not given yet, this is supposed to integrate or at least launch real applications from the standard Google Glass user interface.
We feel that this will open a lot of possibilities for us to create a better, rich experience. The key thing will be to keep the UI very simple, similar to the standard Google Glass apps, and use the extra API possibilities to improve the flow and directness of the interaction with the Layar platform. So for example, you will be able to just look at a page in a magazine augmented with Layar and see a list of web links and videos that belong to that page appear in the corner of your eye.
Another thing that will probably be possible with the GDK will be to expose our big collection of geo-layers in a useful manner using the built-in sensors.
Layar will be actively using the GDK once it comes out and will provide feedback through the Glass Explorer program to make sure that we can make a nice experience, so we will be ready when Google Glass hits the consumer market.
Google Glass is an exciting new platform that will bring some nice new possibilities. Quite a few AR companies have announced that they will support Google Glass. At Layar, we do our research before making bold claims which set impossible expectations. No, true augmented reality is not possible on Glass at the moment. And no, the current Mirror API will not enable an AR platform like Layar (or any other AR platform) to provide a good user experience to enrich the real world. But with some effort and using the new GDK, Layar will be able to create a great experience to enrich the world with the digital content created for the Layar platform.