All Articles Tagged "mobile app"

Facebook’s ‘Nearby Friends’ Feature: Bad Idea Or Revenue Generator?

April 23rd, 2014 - By Janel Martinez
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via Facebook

via Facebook

Popular social networking site Facebook has introduced a new mobile feature called “Nearby Friends” to the sound of complaints voiced across social media, mainly citing privacy concerns. FB has made it an optional feature versus a default setting.

The friend-tracking feature uses location information to let users know which friends are near them in real time. Ideally, Facebook wants to make it easier for people to meet offline, transforming Timeline conversations to in-person meetups—and more selfies and photo bombs of course.

Facebook’s product manager Andrea Vaccari writes in a press statement: “If you turn on Nearby Friends, you’ll occasionally be notified when friends are nearby, so you can get in touch with them and meet up. For example, when you’re headed to the movies, Nearby Friends will let you know if friends are nearby so you can see the movie together or meet up afterward.”

Your friends will only be able to see where you are if you opt-in to the live-tracking feature. You can enable the feature by clicking on the chat menu in the app’s upper right-hand corner. The option will appear at the top of the page, above the list of friends who are online.  There is a slight chance you won’t see the option as of yet since Facebook is rolling out the feature slowly, Mashable reports.

Once you select Nearby Friends, you’ll have to check out a mandatory four-page tutorial, explaining all there is to know about the feature. The last page is where you’ll select whom you want to share your location with: all your Facebook friends, close friends or a customized list of people. Only those who have also opted-in to the service will be shown. Many are happy to know you can’t share your location with the public or friends of friends. After you “Turn On” the feature, your friends using the feature will be able to see your general location (no matter where in the world you are).

Once activated, you’ll see which friends are close by and approximately how close they are to you. You can check out more information on someone nearby by clicking on said person’s name, which will then take you to this person’s user profile page where you can either inbox them or give them a ring.

Data is collected as soon as you active the feature, which has a few people concerned about how secure their information is (i.e. home or work address) within Facebook’s servers, especially in the case of a hack attack or security breach. A Facebook spokesperson confirmed the company will use GPS data from the feature for location-based advertising.

Users can turn off Nearby Friends and clear their location history, however, it’s not that easy. Mashable broke down the steps: “Click on the ‘More’ button in the lower right-hand corner of the app while using Nearby Friends. Scroll down, click on ‘Activity Log’ and then “Filter.” Now you need to scroll to the very bottom, and select ‘Location History.’

“At this time, data from Nearby Friends or Location History is not being used to target ads and the launch of this product doesn’t impact the way advertisers can target people based on location,” a spokesperson for Facebook told us. “When you opt-in to Nearby Friends, we will collect and store your precise location, even if you leave the app. This allows us to notify you when a friend who is sharing their location with you is nearby. We display this information in your Activity Log. Only you can see your Activity Log, and you can choose to delete this information at any time.”

Business Insider published a recent report that looked at mobile marketing, which revealed local apps and advertising lead to in-store purchases. Hence, small businesses and larger brands stand to eventually profit off of this latest feature.

Nearby Friends will be available on Facebook’s iOS and Android apps.

Do you plan to enable Facebook’s Nearby Friends? Let us know in the comments section.

Based in New York City, Janel Martinez is a multimedia journalist who covers technology and entrepreneurship. She is the founder of“Ain’t I Latina?” an online destination geared toward Afro-Latinas. You can follow her up-to-the-minute musings on Twitter @janelmwrites.

Actor Dulé Hill, Talitha Watkins & Rochelle Thwaites Give Us The Scoop On Social Gaming App Nomino

March 13th, 2014 - By Tonya Garcia
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Clockwise from left: Talitha Watkins, Dulé Hill & Rochelle Thwaites.

Clockwise from left: Talitha Watkins, Dulé Hill & Rochelle Thwaites.

Played any good online games lately? From Candy Crush Saga to Flappy Bird, there’s a mobile game for every taste.

With the growth of social media — and all the sharing that comes with it — many people’s tech tastes have come to include vivid images. It’s not just about telling people what you see, hear, or think. It’s about showing them.

One day while driving through LA’s Malibu Canyon, Rochelle Thwaites came across a view she wanted to share with her friends. Rather than telling them where she was, she wondered who could guess where the photo was taken. That thought was the seed that would eventually become Nomino, a new digital game that Thwaites, Talitha Watkins, and actor Dulé Hill co-created.

nomino imageNomino is described as “a social game app that allows users to challenge their followers to solve riddles associated with a photo or video.” Participants play for points. Players can redeem their points in a marketplace (Update: The marketplace is now open).

For now, the game is only available for iOS devices, including the iPad and iPod. But the focus for the near future is on getting it up and running for Android users. According to Watkins, the app is already taking off, earning top 10 status for trivia apps in the Apple store, exceeding 3,000 downloads per day and gaining traction on Facebook and Twitter.

“People grabbed a hold of it and mastered it very quickly. I’ve been stumped many times on my own app,” Hill told us on a conference call.

Clearly, in order to play the game (let alone be the co-creator of it), you have to be digitally adept. As it happens, most everyone these days is just that. We walk around with computers in our pockets, downloading things, uploading things, checking in, tweeting and updating. So while Nomino is brand new, there is something familiar about it, which facilitates the quick adoption that the founding team is so pleased about.

“People have been posting photos on Instagram and asking people to guess what they see,” Thwaites said. “So it was a trend from way back.”

“We’re not reinventing the wheel,” Hill added.

Still, this is a new company and a fresh idea. Before Nomino was launched to the public — a redesign is already on the way — the team had to make sure they were on the same page.

Attention Shoppers! New App Helps You Locate Black-Owned Businesses

December 10th, 2013 - By Ann Brown
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blacktradelinesJust in time for holiday shopping — a new app that helps you locate black-owned business.

Similar to the Around The Way app, the BlackTradeLines app was created to help African-American shoppers locate and support black-owned businesses. The app creators have a bigger picture in mind. “This is a result of an ongoing movement to get the African American dollar to circulate within the community to create jobs and alleviate poverty,” reports Virtual Strategy.

“The app is designed to be functionally intelligent and to serve its purpose which is to find and alert you of black businesses any where you go automatically,” says Iyua Yakobu, the company’s senior software engineer.

The app, which can be used on iPhone and Android, can search for African-American owned business in stealth mode. So even when the app is not in use, it uses the phone’s low pulse GPS locator to alert the user when they are 100 meters in walking mode from a black-owned business or 1,000 meters in driving mode, reports the website. There is an alert message that tells the user its proximity in meters or miles between a business or multiple businesses and their location.

Black businesses are categorized by business, deals, events, activities, and videos. For business owners wanting to list a business, download the app, add the name of the business, the product or service, take a picture of the business or product and you’re live and findable.

According to BlackTradeLines, the services both on the website and mobile applications are tailored to connect business owners and their customer base all under one platform.

New App Lets You Search For Local Black Hair Salons

November 15th, 2013 - By Rhonesha Byng
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Black City App

As a black woman, the process of finding the right hair salon is a lengthy one of researching hair blogs and forums, word of mouth and sometimes a bit of trial and error. It’s easier if you’re looking for a salon in the neighborhood where you grew up or in a city where you know a lot of people, but what if you don’t know anyone? If you’re on vacation or out of town on business the process can be almost impossible, forcing you to overpay, or spend hours in the search.

A new app called “Black City” has just hit the market to address that issue. The app allows you to search black salons in your area. The search function breaks out into four categories: barbers, salons, natural and braids. After you select, the type of salon you’re looking for, just enter your zip code and a list of salons will come up.

The salon details include the names and address, the phone number, contact information and a button to show reviews or add reviews. The app just hit the market, so many of the salons have yet to be reviewed. But as it grows, that should change.

And in certain zip codes may show no results, in part because, let’s be honest, not every zip code will have a black salon in it’s vicinity. If, as with Google, you’re creative with your search, you should be able to find something you can get to. The app also takes advantage of crowdsourcing data and gives users the option to add a shop. When I searched various zip codes, four or five salon options would come up.

The interface is pretty simple and a bit reminiscent of the old school hair books that sit around in salons, but the functionality is easy and fast. The only major thing it seems to be missing is the option to display photos.

If the app catches on, it has the potential to become a rich database of black salons across the country.

Would you download this app? Let us know what you think.

African American Site For Teens, SOCIALgrlz Launches Mobile App

November 13th, 2013 - By Madame Noire
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From Black Enterprise 

For many women of color, teenage memories include curling up with the latest issue of Honey,SuedeEssence or Vibe Vixen, among other print favorites. But with the current tech boom, is there really a place for today’s girls of color to get that same experience?

It’s a question that came up when Marissa Jennings, founder of SOCIALgrlz LLC, a social community designed for African-American girls between the ages of 13 and 17, was a student at Bennett College. Dedicated to creating a platform for African-American girls by African-American girls, it inspired Jennings to develop a teen magazine for this niche audience. Years later the Los Angeles native stuck with her vision, adding a new-age twist, launching her mobile, web and publishing company SOCIALgrlz in 2010, and an online educational platform in 2012. The company launched its first crowdfunding campaign, the Add Your 2 Cents initiative, which will help develop the first mobile application for African-American girls on the Apple and Android platforms.

“My entire career path has been focused on working on behalf of girls, especially girls who look and come from similar backgrounds as myself,” said Jennings to  “Today technology is the leading tool to communicate across the world. I’m witnessing the print industry essentially changing, with some publications ceasing to exist, and the Internet and mobile applications have become a resource as well as a tool with content interaction.”

Read more at 

New App Allows Users to Locate Surveillance Cameras

June 22nd, 2013 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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Via Kickstarter

Via Kickstarter

Police officers, in particular, are anticipating the release of an app that can locate outdoor surveillance cameras within a 100-meter radius of an iPhone. The smartphone application was developed by Kaza Razat and Khalid Mills after they noticed that law enforcement had low access to this information, reports Mashable.

Razat explains that after the Boston marathon bombings, the FBI issued a survey to surrounding businesses to see who had security cameras. “You would think that the FBI would have those tools or software but they don’t,” he said in Fast Company.

The new mapping app called Surv allows city-slickers to dodge security cameras or acknowledge their presence for safety reassurance. Currently, the app is undergoing a beta version after it has been approved by Apple. “It will be available in the app store once it’s further developed and legal issues are addressed,” Smart Planet says.

Surv runs by the collaborative efforts of the users who upload photos, description, and coordinates of the discovered surveillance cameras. Razat and Milis are attempting to fund this project by launching a campaign on Kickstarter, which allows creators to receive online funding from supporters. They are hoping to raise $25,000 to develop a more smooth-running version of Surv for the public.

For now, the app can only be accessed by New Yorkers.

Do you think this app will be beneficial in our lives? Or used for illegal purposes? Would you download Surv? A video about the new app, with a voice over by a stern British robot, is available below.

A New Age of Male Bashing: New App Allows Women to Anonymously Rate Every Man She Knows

February 13th, 2013 - By CAP
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The first time I can remember taking a survey was in grade school when I was asked — on a scale from one to ten — how cute I thought a boy was. Nowadays, with technology people aren’t holding these ranking sessions in the back of a classroom or in their best friend’s basement, but right on the Internet for the whole world to see.

The new app LuLu has been created to allow women to anonymously rank men on their looks, style of dress, and other traits. Any woman can sync her Facebook account with the app and rank any of the men she is associated with on the site. The creators brag that the site is for girls only (NO BOYS ALLOWED), and that immature mantra is reflected in the content of the app.

via iTunes app store

via iTunes app store

The primary purpose seems to be for laughs and entertainment, but these women aren’t creating reviews for entertainers; these are reviews of ordinary guys. This is a platform for any girl 17 or older to state her thoughts about any guy she knows.

Other dating apps seem to have a positive agenda, but this one makes me skeptical. In my opinion, only a girl that is upset with an ex or looking to thwart a guy from dating other girls would take the time to rank and make comments on an app. If she dated a guy that was so great, she’d still be dating him. Moreover, she wouldn’t want anyone else to have him by telling everyone how great he is on an app.

The reviews from the ladies who have downloaded and tinkered with Lulu reveal that there is a lot of male bashing going on here. Some girls plead with the makers to take the app down, while others warn potential users of all the negativity waiting inside. Of course there are some that rave about how cool the app is, but that might be the same girl making false comments about your brother.

The worst part is, according to Mediabistro’s AppNewser blog, is that the men being reviewed have no way to refute any of the comments and cannot clear their good names. They only have access to view the reviews and nothing else.

I’m sure some scorned guy will soon be interested in making a copycat app just for men. (Reddit is known for pages publishing revealing photos of women without their consent, so certainly, it already happens to women in varying forms.) Hopefully the girls (and women) making hateful comments about men on LuLu can dish it as well as take it.

Trying to Find a Man? There’s an App for That.

February 11th, 2013 - By CAP
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No matter what you are looking to do there is generally an app that can assist you. And more and more, this is applying to your love life.

A new app has been released in major markets called “Let’s Date” that takes online dating to the next level. Users sync their Facebook profile, answer a few questions to create a dating card, and then you’re all set up to find a date. You can start browsing other dating cards, make date requests, and receive date requests from others who’ve signed up for the app. If you’re not interested just hit “No Thanks” to let him down easy. If you are interested hit “Let’s Date,” and you can chat with each other directly.

So far the app has four out of five stars at the iPhone App Store and according to The Washington Post, the Los Angeles-based company that created the app, Science Inc, has set up over 25,000 people on dates. Oh, and did I mention that the app was free!

So now, not only can you get directions and check your account balance using the apps on your phone, you can also find your next date for the weekend.

When online dating first started it was very taboo. However now claims that one in five relationships start online. So maybe app dating will become the next most popular way to find love. Or will it be that the more impersonal your initial interaction, the more frogs you will have to kiss to find your prince?

I’m sure that soon other companies will jump on board to follow this idea and there will be a lot more app options to find your next boo thang right from your mobile phone.

Ready, Set, Record: Facebook Updates Add Voice Messaging, Video Recording

January 31st, 2013 - By Ann Brown
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Facebook has just enhanced its capabilities, allowing users to do even more communicating via the social network. Facebook has just debuted an update for its iPhone and iPad app that lets you send each other recorded voice messages.

The LA Times explains how to use it: “To access the feature, select name, tap the ‘+’ sign and select the mic icon. Hold down the red record button that appears and begin speaking.” Just release the button when you’ve finished talking. And to erase the message, slide your finger away from the record icon.

The app allows users to also record videos. Select the “Photo” tab atop the app, tapping the camera icon at the bottom left of the screen and then switching the toggle from photo to video, which also at the bottom left of the screen. Previously, users had to record video outside of the Facebook app, explains the paper.

According to Inside Facebook, users can also hide posts from their News Feeds. Tap a three dot icon on the top right of the post they want to hide and then select the option “Hide.” Download the update from the Apple App Store.

The Times reports that Facebook hasn´t announced if it will be releasing a similar update for its Android app.

Does this sounds like something you’d use?

Tech Talk: BlackBerry’s Trying to Hang In There, Introduces BlackBerry World

January 21st, 2013 - By Tonya Garcia
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Eric Reed/AP Images for BlackBerry

Eric Reed/AP Images for BlackBerry

Oh you BlackBerry… Trying so hard but still in so much trouble.

Research in Motion has renamed its app store BlackBerry World, dropping the App from between the two words. According to Mashable, it’s a rebranding by the company that seeks to acknowledge the music and video content that it will offer with the new BlackBerry 10 mobile platform that’s just days from launch.

According to ZDNet, the BlackBerry 10 aims to bring “excitement” back to the mobile world, with “leaked” images showing a new interface with a new design. The video in the story (it’s in German with a few subtitles) talks up some of the things that the speaker says are improvements upon the iPhone, but it looks a lot like the iPhone as well. The advancements will likely convince those that are still fans of the BlackBerry to upgrade. But the key to regaining market share will be convincing those that have moved on to Android or Apple devices to switch.

Perhaps conceding that it has done better in the area of software than design, there’s word that RIM might be willing to license the software to devices produced by other companies.

“But before doing anything drastic, [RIM CEO Thorsten] Heins said, the company will wait to see how the company’s own devices running BlackBerry 10 perform in the market,” reports the Los Angeles Times. Are you interested in the new BlackBerry 10 device? Would you be more interested if the insides of the BlackBerry were in another device?

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