Nuance has just released an updated version of its free Dragon Dictation application for the iPhone and iPad that brings typeless social networking to the iPhone OS and iOS-using masses. In addition to the previous SMS and email support, Dragon Dictation 2.0 now allows you to post to twitter or update your status on Facebook merely by speaking to your mobile device. The latest version also pastes your dictated text directly into the device’s clipboard and can auto-save text when a phone call interrupts your oh-so-important dictation. So Dragon Dictation users, rest those fingers and start talk tweeting… we all know how difficult it is to type 140 characters. More →
Lost in the hubbub surrounding smartphone powerhouses like the DROID X and iPhone 4 is the fact that the average person simply wants a phone that makes calls. To satiate this need, and throw in a few extra feature for good measure, T-Mobile today announced the immediate availability of the LG Sentio. An affordable device that brings to the table a 3″ touchscreen, 3 megapixel camera, visual voicemail and 3G connectivity. A UI with a set of customizable widgets as well as Social Buzz, an application that will not only handle your social media needs, but email as well. The LG Sentio from T-Mobile is available for $69.99 with an Even More plan, or $9 per month with Even More Plus. More →
Another day, another scandal involving social media websites. Today the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Facebook — along with MySpace, LiveJournal, Hi5, Xanga, Digg and Twitter — have been sending personal information about their users to advertisers without consent. Depending on how much information users opted to make public on their profile, advertising firms such as Google’s DoubleClick and Yahoo’s Right Media were able to obtain information as innocuous as the user’s ID to their hometown and occupation, all without the expressed consent of the account holder. Not surprisingly given what we’ve learned over the past few weeks, the WSJ said the worst offender is Facebook. Not only did it pass on information about the people that clicked on ads, but it also sent out information about the person whose profile the ad originated from. The WSJ had an assistant professor from the Harvard Business school evaluate code found on Facebook’s site and ultimately concluded that “if you are looking at your profile page and you click on an ad, you are telling that advertiser who you are.” Facebook was contacted about the matter, but claimed “we were recently made aware of one case where if a user takes a specific route on the site, advertisers may see that they clicked on their own profile and then clicked on an ad,” adding that “we fixed this case as soon as we heard about it.” For its role, MySpace said it is “currently implementing a methodology that will obfuscate the ‘FriendID’ in any URL that is passed along to advertisers.” Twitter simply stated that “this is just how the Internet and browsers work” when users click a link, and Digg denied any wrongdoing claiming it only passes on “information about the page that you are visiting, not you as a visitor” and that the initiating user’s ID is concealed. Both Google and Yahoo said they did not actively seek specific information about user IDs.
What do you think, folks? Does this confirm your worst fears about the ethics of the people running your favorite social media site, or is everything being blown way out of proportion? More →
The timing could not be better worse. In the middle of a privacy crisis which has seen countless users delete their accounts, a script for an upcoming movie based on the youthful exploits of Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has leaked out. Produced by Kevin Spacey, “The Social Network” portrays Zuckerberg (played by 26-year old Jesse Eisenberg) as a drunk satyriatic whose creation of the popular social networking site was spurred on by heartbreak after his girlfriend dumped him at the age of 19. The film also alleges that Zuckerberg was heavily motived by sexual insecurity. After hitting rock bottom and dropping out of Harvard, the film sees Zuckerberg move to the Silicon Valley with where he “indulge his fantasies with a stream of ‘groupies'” while his partner and Napster co-founder Sean Parker (played by Justin Timberlake) watches after the site. The Social Network is scheduled for release this October. More →
Over the last several weeks, Facebook has been feeling the sting the of the internet’s collective wrath. The stories being published vary, ranging from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg calling users “fucking idiots” for trusting him, to future plans that have all privacy controls removed from the social network. The underlying message, however, is very easy to identify… Facebook is evil. Why, after being founded over six years ago, privacy zealots are just starting to ask tough questions about Facebook’s data security and control is a little perplexing, but it appears that people are indeed starting to look for alternatives. Say hello to Maxwell, Raphael, Daniel, and Ilya,the four-man social networking start-up known as Diaspora. More →
BlackBerry users with a penchant for schmoozing and climbing up both corporate and social ladders are probably squealing with excitement this morning LinkedIn for BlackBerry has finally been released. Offering the most commonly used features such as network updates, messages, invitations and connections, the app also has the ability to integrate with the stock BlackBerry Calendar, Contacts and Messaging apps. LinkedIn for BlackBerry is available for Bold, Curve and Tour users running OS 4.3.0 and above and is available OTA here. More →
Big news today for our friends up north who have been plagued with cold sweats and night tremors ever since November when SMS service was disabled in Canada. When the service was initially killed, Twitter cited billing issues as the reason. It may have taken a while to resolve those issues, but Rogers has just announced a partnership with Twitter that will revive SMS and allow users to both send and receive tweets via text. What’s more, the new deal applies to both Rogers and Fido customers. Canadians, rejoice! Shortcode 21212 has officially been revived and any and all texts exchange will be covered by your SMS plan. In other words, feature phone users no longer have to worry about how to tell all their friends about the string of minutia that combines to make up each day. Woo!
It looks like Strands on the go isn’t just for iPhones anymore. We’ve covered the Strands team’s work before – you know, the guys behind MyStrands Social Player and a variety of recommendation-based services. Strands has not-so-secretly been working on a social networking showcase of its recommendation technology for a while now and not too long ago, access to its closed-beta service went mobile with the announcement of the Strands iPhone app. Strands had been known for some time as being a very Nokia-friendly company so naturally, Nokia users wondered what was up. No worries people, Strands has you covered. The company announced yesterday that it’s site is now available to any and all S60 handsets by way of a shiny new mobile site – you guessed it, m.strands.com. For those unfamiliar with the Strands.com network, it combines messaging features a la Twitter with content aggregation the likes of which you can’t begin to fathom without setting eyes on the laundry list of supported services. Toss some award-winning recommendation technology into the mix, and there you have it. If you’re not already in the closed beta, don’t worry. Just hit the log in page, click the “request an invite” button and enter BGR as your promo code. You’ll be good to go from your computer, iPhone or S60 handset before you know it.
On the eve of the upcoming CTIA in San Francisco, Verizon Wireless yesterday jumped the gun and released information about several new mobile services. Here is a brief description of some of the new things “The Network” has in store for us:
- Social Life. A social network aggregator that allows you to access several social networking sites, such as My Space, LiveJournal,and Photobucket, from a single interface. Noticeably missing from the list of supported sites is Facebook and Flickr. You can view messages, post comments and even set your profile picture to an image taken with your phone. The service is $1.49 monthly and will be available on Get It Now phones.
- Ringback Buddies. Targeting the teen crowd, Verizon will launch, Ringback Buddies, a Facebook application that lets you view and share the music that you your friends enjoy and purchase that music directly. Once purchased, you can assign the music to a friend so that person can hear their favorite music when they call. Ringback tones incur an annual $1.99 fee and the Ringback tone service costs $0.99/month.
- CityID. Got an LG Voyager, then you will be able to see the originating city and state of an incoming phone call. The service will only support 20,000 cities at launch. The service will cost $1.99 monthly. We ponder this service and ask why would we want this?
- NY Times through the VZW Portal. Now targeting the business users, Verizon will deliver NY Times content that will include blogs, news, movie show times, and stock quotes directly to Mobile Web enabled handsets. This service will be offered as part of the Mobile Web data package; either $15/month for Unlimited access or $1.99/MB for pay as you go data usage.
- Mobile VCast. Targeting the new handsets with full HTML browsers, Verizon has launched a mobile version of their VCast service. You can share the videos through a social network like Twitter, email a link off to friends, create a playlist, and save videos to a favorites list. Once again, Mobile Vcast in included as part of a Unlimited data package. Designed mainly for the LG Dare and LG Voyager, Blackberry and Windows Mobile users can also access Verizon VCast videos from your mobile browser. This Mobile Vcast service is live now so you can point your browser to m.vcast.com to check it out.
That’s all for now, folks! Stay tuned for more announcements as CTIA begins.
Maybe it’s the cool-factor, maybe it’s the novelty, maybe it’s the crazy little “SpinVox Mobsters” pictured above or maybe it’s the sheer convenience; whatever the case may be, SpinVox is growing by leaps and bounds. Just last month the company announced the completion of a new funding round in excess of $100 million, bringing SpinVox’s current valuation to over $500 million. What’s all the fuss about? Until you take a few minutes to sample the SpinVox service for yourself, you simply just won’t get it. The backbone of SpinVox’s portfolio is speech-to-text but hey, that’s nothing new. The efficiency, accuracy and implementation are among factors that separate SpinVox from the pack. Ok ok, so what do they do?