You Can Finally Vote on the New Emoji You Want to See Next

You Can Finally Vote on the New Emoji You Want to See Next

The Internet’s obsessed with new emoji: pitching them, petitioning for them, arguing about their exact designs and details. But regular users have rarely had a way to be part of the notoriously complicated emoji-proposal process – at least until now.

Tuesday, the app maker EmojiXpress launched a website called EmojiRequest, which’ll serve as a sort of “We the People” for emoji fans. The site lists a number of oft-requested characters and invites users to up-vote their favourites; if enough people vote for a character, EmojiXpress will sponsor a full, technical proposal and submit it to the Unicode Consortium on their behalf.

As far as PR stunts go, this one’s pretty great – certainly it brings your average user closer to the process of creating new emoji. The consortium, which is in charge of standardizing and approving computer texts, doesn’t act on every proposal it receives, but it does review every proposal with the potential of passing them up/on. And EmojiXpress proposals will theoretically have a leg up, because the votes serve as a demonstration of future use and the company is itself a member of the consortium.

You don’t need a middleman to petition Unicode, of course – anyone can submit a proposal. But the process is complex and technical, typically too involved for your average dino lover. The proposal must explain point by point, for instance, what makes the proposed emoji distinctive and how it fits into the existing set, as well as document the multiple meanings of the character and quantify how many people are expected to use it.

Once all that’s in, the screening process has only just begun: It usually takes years for a proposal to make its way through Unicode’s various committees and working groups, and from there to the latest version of the Unicode Standard, and from there – maybe, eventually! – to your phone.

For the record, the EmojiRequest front-runners as of this writing are “hush” face, “fingers crossed,” “in love” face, “swearing” face, “exploding” face and “hungry” face. Also near the top are some perennial favorites, like the marijuana leaf, frowning poop, giraffe and pancake.

If any of those seem essential to your online communications, you can vote for them atwww.emojirequest.com. EmojiRequest is also taking submissions via its contact form, with plans to introduce more voting options in the near future.

Instagram Opens Snappy New Events Channel

Instagram last week announced a new Explore video channel that gives users an easier way to find and watch events.

Instagram Opens Snappy New Events Channel

The channel aggregates videos from concerts, sporting events and more, and its personalization features flag events that might be a good match for users’ individual interests.

The new channel initially will be available only to U.S. users.

“One of the fundamental limitations of Instagram is that you only see content from people you explicitly follow,” said Jan Dawson, chief analyst at Jackdaw Research.

“The timeline is strictly limited to people you’ve chosen to see — with the exception of ads,” he noted.

“One of the challenges is always how to get people to see and engage with content from additional users,” Dawson told. “The Explore tab has always been a way for Instagram to do this, and adding event-driven content to the tab provides new ways for people to find additional content they might be interested in.”

Instagram Events

Similar to Snapchat

To social media watchers, Instagram’s event channel looks very familiar.

“With the rollout of the event channel, Instagram is once again borrowing a page from Snapchat’s playbook,” said Andreas Scherer, managing partner at Salto Partners.

“This feature is eerily similar to Snapchat’s Discover channel,” he told TechNewsWorld.

Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, has been open about its attitude toward Snapchat, noted John Carroll, a mass communications professor at Boston University.

“Instagram has been open and transparent about the fact that they’re ripping off Snapchat, “. “It isn’t something Instagram is trying to hide or run away from.”

Fighting Brand

Facebook has influenced Instagram’s copycat strategy, maintained Salto’s Scherer.

“Previous attempts by Facebook to buy Snapchat failed. Now it is using Instagram as a fighting brand, copying the most successful concepts of Snapchat’s platform,” he explained.

There are significant differences between the event features in the two platforms, though, noted Jackdaw’s Dawson.

“There’s some overlap with Snapchat’s featured Stories, so you could argue there’s a little homage being paid here,” he said, “but both the implementation and motivation are different.”

By adding features similar to Snapchat, Instagram is protecting its user base of 500 million monthly users, observed Michael Inouye, a principal analyst at ABI Research.

“Instagram doesn’t want its users leaving because of features it doesn’t have,” he told TechNewsWorld.

Better Personalization

One area where Instagram’s event channel may have a leg up on Snapchat is in personalization algorithms.

“Events highlighted to users will improve as the user interacts with videos, specific people posting them, or locations,” explained Gerrit Schneemann, a senior analyst with IHS Markit.

“Instagram is then able to surface content it thinks will match the user’s interests better, making it easier for the user to find content they are likely to like,” he told TechNewsWorld.

The introduction of the event channel is part of a larger Facebook strategy, Schneenann added.

“Video is central to Facebook’s road map — the company has said so repeatedly,” he pointed out. “Instagram is another part of Facebook where video can increase the time users spend on the platform, opening the stream of videos as a the perfect vehicle to integrate video advertising.”

Built on Video

Social media is all about engagement, and “video is more engaging than simple updates,” BU’s Carroll noted.

“This is all about keeping people on your platform, engaging them with content, and delivering them to advertisers. Social media and mobile media are really built on video at this point,” he said.

“In the last six months, Instagram has seen video viewing increase by 150 percent,” Carroll pointed out, and “in the next six years, mobile video viewers will double to 2 billion. This is a huge growth area for these platforms.”

The What and Why’s of Cloud Computing

What is cloud computing and why would anyone want it? That is the question of any professional wondering why they should place their important files in external sources via an intangible are known as the cloud. Cloud computing stores files and programs online rather than on a desktop. Users can locate those files and programs in an online environment. There are three major benefits to this setup.

Savings

Cloud computing saves money. With a typical computer setup, you’re paying for the computers, servers, backup servers, programs and technical support. Those charges start the minute you set up an office space. You may even buy extra, getting prepared for every possible minuscule amount of growth. Compare that to the setup costs of a cloud computing environment: you pay for computers and the programs and storage you need. Backups are handled off-site. You can get technical support for the software from the provider. There’s less equipment, less possibility for damage and off-site backup. You receive this these benefits with a smaller start up cost.

Reliability

Off-site servers store multiple copies of the same information so nothing gets lost and you are always connected. This is called redundancy, and cloud computing has made redundancy an art form. If one server goes down, a user is sent to the next server and life goes on. Different services provide different levels of redundancy. Look at a cloud computing services to get an idea of the resources available. ExpoTechInc.com also outlines the different types of cloud service.

Scalability

Cloud computing grows with your company. Think of the earlier example of a startup company buying extra in preparation for growth. Maybe it’s because they expect to grow quickly or are buying in bulk. Whatever it is, they are spending more money on something they don’t currently need. Cloud computing is scalable. You can buy what you need and then buy more without having to rework your current setup. Your needs can drop again, and your cloud computing service – and cost – can drop too. These changes to your service can happen in minutes.

Cloud computing offers more technology and more professionals while requiring less space and less money. That is cloud computing, and that’s why many want it.

Retrieve Saved Documents from Hard Drives using EaseUS Data Recovery Software

Losing data from disk drives or flash drives can be a difficult experience, because in today’s technical age, everyone has a sizable digital footprint and there, our data is what defines us at a very basic level. If you lose all your data in a hard drive, while you may lament the loss of your movies or music, the fact is that they can be acquired again. What cannot be acquired at any cost are the documents and pictures that you yourself created which were stored in your device. It is the loss of this data that hurts most users the most, as it might be the product of years of hard work.

Fortunately, there have been software available on the internet for quite a while now that allow you to retrieve data from secondary storage devices that might seem like they’re gone forever. One such software that has gained excellent reviews in the recent past is EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard. The software allows for a very usable and simple graphic user interface that can be used even by untrained professionals to retrieve data.

Lost data can be of various types, and the way of retrieving them varies in accordance. Here are a few varieties of lost data and how they can be recovered. The good thing about word files is that they are easily recoverable, compared to, say, a large MPEG or AVI file.

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  1. Word documents saved over

This has happened to all of us at some point in life; accidentally writing over an important Microsoft word document and saving it, and then realizing that the information in the original file is gone. You’ll be pleased to know that EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard has a simple mechanism which, when utilized, can recover word document saved over.

  1. Recover files from flash drive

If you are in the habit of storing your documents in a flash drive instead of a hard disk drive – indeed, many of us prefer this as a medium, since it’s more portable and allows us to access our data from various sources. However, given how prone they are to viruses and corrupt drivers, everyone who uses a flash drive has faced data loss at some point. The EaseUS data recovery software allows you to recover files from flash drive, not just from hard drives. This is a rare functionality, since flash and magnetic storage are completely different devices for memory storage.

To go a bit further on recovering your files from a flash drive, the process is quite simple and easily done. You simply have to insert your flash memory in a USB socket on your computer; now, whether you lost your data because of a formatting or an accidental deletion or a virus infection, chances are that your data is still there, with just the memory code tables being deleted. With EaseUS, USB data recovery is simple and efficient and can be done at the expense of a few clicks. A basic version of the software is available for free.

Google’s new invention to make wearing specs easier

google-glass-foldable-enterprise-edition

Wearing spectacles and keeping them in place, especially while doing physical work such as running, would be much easier now — thanks to Google’s latest patent.

The patent outlines a system built into a wearable device like Google Glass, that uses motors and motion detectors to automatically tighten or loosen the spectacles’ arms depending on what the wearer is doing, Quartz reported. In Google’s idea, the new spectacles would have an actuator — a little motor for controlling movement — in each arm that could bend the arms in or out as needed, rather like the way a bendy straw works.

ALSO READ: Google Glass ‘Entreprise Edition’ to be durable, foldable and waterproof

When the spectacles detect that their wearer is bobbing up and down at an increased rate — while running, for example — the arms contract to grip the wearer’s head. The actuators could also help solve the one-size-fits-all approach that many spectacles have to fitting — if the specs are too wide for someone’s face, the actuators could automatically resize them so that they fit snugly.

Google Reportedly Seeks Access to Documents Held Back by CCI

As the CCI readies to begin its hearing into the alleged anti-competitive practices of Google, the Internet major has demanded access to certain documents held back by the watchdog to prepare a “thorough response” and is believed to have sought more time to make its submissions.

Google, which has been accused of abusing its market dominance in ranking of its Internet search results, has sought two months’ time to make its submissions in this high-profile case, sources said.

The extension has been sought on the grounds that some documents that were used by the Director General’s Office, the investigation arm of the Competition Commission of India (CCI), during the probe have not been provided to the company. Such documents include certain submissions made by third parties, sources said. Google is believed to have been found in violation of certain competition norms by DG in its probe. When contacted, a Google spokesperson said, “As we continue to review this report, we have requested that the CCI provide access to documents and other information referred to in the report but not provided to us, to allow us to prepare a thorough response.”

The CCI has powers to maintain confidentiality with respect to the submissions made in a particular case. With Google seeking more time, the hearings as well as a final decision on this long-drawn case may take even longer. While there has been no official word on the content of the DG probe report, Google had earlier said it is reviewing the report from the CCI’s ongoing investigation.

As per the norms, DG’s report is not binding on the CCI and final decision in this long-running case would be taken by the seven-member Commission headed by Chairman Ashok Chawla. The DG report is believed to contain comments and inputs from a host of entities present in the Internet business including some well-known ecommerce firms and web portals. While submissions from some of them appear to suggest violations on part of Google, others have sided with the US-based global giant.

“We are currently reviewing this report from the CCI’s ongoing investigation. We continue to work closely with the CCI and remain confident that we comply fully with India’s competition laws,” the Google spokesperson had said in August. It has been alleged that Google manipulated its search results apart from imposing discriminatory conditions on advertisers, among others.

Last month, Chawla had said the Commission would take some time before a final decision is taken in this case. “The process is fairly lengthy, it is a quasi judicial process. We have to hear the parties involved and then decide. It will take quite sometime,” he had said.

The CCI, which first received a complaint against Google back in 2011, has been looking into allegations that the company abused its dominant position in the search engine space for well over three years.

Yahoo Marketing Chief Kathy Savitt Leaves for Entertainment Studio

Yahoo said Friday that marketing chief Kathy Savitt is leaving to take a job heading a digital team at television and film industry studio STX Entertainment.

Savitt played a high-level role in efforts by Yahoo chief Marissa Mayer’s to revive the aging Internet pioneer and her departure could signal a larger shake-up taking place at the company.

“We can confirm that Kathy Savitt has decided to leave the company,” a Yahoo spokesperson said in reply to an AFP inquiry.

“We appreciate her contributions to Yahoo over the past three years and wish her well.”

Yahoo declined further comment.

Savitt will start next month as president of a digital team at STX and be responsible for “helping the studio fulfill its ambition of becoming a true creative haven for the world’s top entertainment talent,” the company said in a release.

STX was established early last year and described itself as “a fully-integrated motion picture, television, and digital content studio.”

“Viewers are in control and each film or show has to earn its space in their time on its own merit,” Savitt said in a release.

“What we are doing at STX hasn’t been done before; we are creating a new way for audiences to access meaningful stories, from wherever they are.”

GoDaddy Prevails in Lawsuit Over Oscar Trademarks

GoDaddy Inc prevailed in a cybersquatting lawsuit brought by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which accused the Internet domain registrar of illegally profiting off its trademarks, including for the Oscar telecasts.

In a 129-page decision on Thursday, U.S. District Judge Andre Birotte in Los Angeles said the Academy failed to show that GoDaddy acted in bad faith by letting customers purchase 293 domain names such as academyawards.net, oscarsredcarpet.com, billycrystal2012oscars.com and theoscargoestothehangover.com.

The Academy sued GoDaddy in 2010, accusing the Scottsdale, Arizona-based company of letting customers “park” their pages on the Internet and share in revenue collected from advertising on those pages.

It sought statutory damages of $100,000 per infringement, equal to more than $29 million (roughly Rs. 192 crores), court papers showed.

Birotte, however, said GoDaddy “reasonably relied” on its users’ representations that their domain registrations did not infringe any trademarks, including the Academy’s.

He also said GoDaddy always, and sometimes within a matter of minutes, reassigned domains to advertising-free templates after trademark holders filed takedown requests.

“Any inadvertent use by GoDaddy of domain names that are confusingly similar or identical to the AMPAS Marks via its automated processes was unintentional,” Birotte wrote. “AMPAS has failed to prove that GoDaddy had the required specific bad faith intent to profit from the AMPAS marks.”

Birotte ruled after a four-day, non-jury trial in early August.

“We are disappointed at the court’s decision,” an Academy spokeswoman said. “While we appreciate the court’s recognition of the strength of the Academy’s marks, we believe the court should have found that the GoDaddy Parked Pages program improperly uses those marks. We will evaluate our appellate options.”

Nima Kelly, GoDaddy’s general counsel, said the company “has always supported brand owners in protecting their intellectual property rights,” and that the decision supports its efforts to protect the legitimate interests of customers and brand owners.

GoDaddy went public five months ago, and generated $770.8 million (roughly Rs. 5,105 crores) of revenue from January to June.

The case is Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences v. GoDaddy.com Inc et al, U.S. District Court, Central District of California, No. 10-03738.

Google, Twitter and Publishers Seek Faster Web

In a world where many people read everything on mobile phones, a few seconds of load time can mean the gain or loss of millions of readers and advertising dollars. Now Google wants to help publishers – and itself – by speeding things up.

Google is working with the social media service Twitter and major news publishers like The Guardian and The New York Times to create a new kind of Web link and article storage system that would load online news articles and digital magazine pieces in a few milliseconds, according to several people involved in the project. That is a fraction of the 5 to 10 seconds it can take to load a typical website.

The project is still in its early stages, and many details are still in flux, according to the people involved, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the partners had not yet made an announcement.

The goal is to develop a universal standard for publishers – one that could be used to load articles more quickly wherever they appear. But accomplishing that while retaining the look and feel of those pages has proved difficult.

The effort is also an attempt to protect the Web from the onslaught of mobile applications and steer publishers away from the closed, proprietary systems that are being built by companies like Facebook,Apple and Snapchat.

“Google and Twitter are rightly fearful that publishers are going to start doing something specific for Facebook and they will become an afterthought,” said Danny Sullivan, founding editor of Search Engine Land, an industry publication that closely tracks Google and the search industry.

The move is one of several Google initiatives meant to increase its influence with publishers. The company is also exploring ways to use its search engine to increase traffic to high-quality publisher content.

According to the people involved in the project, publishers would have to slightly alter their articles’ Web coding and make it available to be copied, or cached, so that it could be quickly loaded on Web browsers, Twitter or other services, even those that don’t participate. But articles would look and behave like anything else on the Web – complete with banner ads, photos and links to other articles.

Snapdeal Counters Flipkart With 1-Hour Refunds

Snapdeal announced the launch of its Instant Refunds facility, which would help its customers get refunds within an hour of Snapdeal receiving a returned product.

The announcement comes less than a fortnight after Flipkart announced the launch of its instant refund mechanism facility that will help its customers get refunds as early as within 24 hours of returning a product.

Snapdeal said that the system was based on an API-based, real-time secure instant refund transfer system based on IMPS (Inter-Bank Mobile Payments Service) technology used by one of largest private banks of India. According to the company, the system adheres to all banking regulations and security mechanisms, and has a failover mechanism that auto-switches to NEFT transfers in cases where the customer’s bank doesn’t support IMPS.

In an emailed statement, Anand Chandrasekaran, Chief Product Officer, Snapdeal, said that the firm had over 85 percent of the refunds taking place within 30 minutes, and close to a hundred percent of the refunds took place within an hour.

“We hope that customers never want a refund, but we respect that it is a crucial part of the customer return experience,” he said.

Snapdeal and Flipkart, two of the largest-funded startups in India have had a history of countering each other on public forums.

Flipkart seems to be steadfast in its vision of pursuing a mobile-only approach going forward – “If you win on mobile, you win everything; If you lose on mobile, you lose everything!” Sachin Bansal said at the GMIC Bangalore on Thursday. Snapdeal has been outspoken about its string of pearls strategy, and believes in inconveniencing itself over the customer.