Instant Apps are a way for developers to provide a lightweight, modularized portion of their full app experience when a user opens specific search results. The user has to enable Instant Apps in the Settings menu before the feature will work, however. Announced at Google I/O 2016, the feature was made available to all developers after this year’s I/O.
Google has announced the feature is now available to 500 million users, so developers should feel encouraged to start building for the feature. Instant Apps are available for any user running Android 6.0 and later, or 45.8% of all Android users. While that’s not a majority, that’s still a very large number of users and will continue to grow in the future.
Google also shared that application developers are already seeing a return on their work for Instant Apps. Vimeo increased session duration by 130% following the integration of Instant Apps, while the real estate purchasing application dotloop saw a 62% increase in users using its service to sign documents after integrating Instant Apps into its platform.
Google also provides a list of best practices for developers interested in integrating Instant Apps into their service.
Have you stumbled across an Instant App you like yet? Let us know down below!
In 1964, right after the mainstream success of “Ring of Fire,” Johnny Cash risked his career to release Bitter Tears, an album advocating for the rights of Native Americans. This wasn’t something that country singers did in the mid-’60s. Backlash from the racist music industry at the time was swift. His record, and its single—”The Ballad of Ira Hayes” about the Pima Indian who helped raise the flag on Iwo Jima—was being boycotted by radio station managers.
But, Cash kept fighting. He took out a full-page ad in Billboard saying: “D.J.s–station managers–owners, etc., where are your guts? ‘Ira Hayes’ is strong medicine. So is Rochester, Harlem, Birmingham and Vietnam.” Cash won that battle. His song wasn’t silenced by racists; instead it’s become one of the most beloved American social anthems of all time, recorded and re-recorded by artists through the last five decades.
Tragically, 54 years later, we’re still fighting that same fight.
Last weekend, that racism reared its ugly head again as a group of Nazis caused chaos in Charlottesville, with a pathetic rally that resulted in the death of one counter-protester. Among the many horrifying images spread on TV and the Internet was video of a white supremacist wearing a Johnny Cash t-shirt. Someone notified the Cash family, who were sickened by the association, as his daughter Rosanne Cash wrote on Facebook.
“He would be horrified at even a casual use of his name or image for an idea or a cause founded in persecution and hatred. The white supremacists and neo-Nazis who marched in Charlottesville are poison in our society, and an insult to every American hero who wore a uniform to fight the Nazis in WWII,” Rosanne Cash wrote. “Several men in the extended Cash family were among those who served with honor. Our dad told each of us, over and over throughout our lives, ‘Children, you can choose love or hate. I choose love.'”
The men who marched in Charlottesville are outsiders in any community that embraces the ideals that Johnny Cash stood for. Cash would have fought them as he fought the racists who boycotted his music.
“To any who claim supremacy over other human beings, to any who believe in racial or religious hierarchy: we are not you,” Rosanne Cash wrote. “Our father, as a person, icon, or symbol, is not you. We ask that the Cash name be kept far away from destructive and hateful ideology.”
It’s bizarre to see Neo Nazis and White Supremacists embrace cultural idols like Johnny Cash. Earlier this year, Richard Spencer’s favorite band, Depeche Mode, completely disavowed everything the white supremacist leader stood for. This shows an extension of their ignorance and twisted views of the world that they don’t realize artists like Johnny Cash or Depeche Mode fought for equality. That’s what it is: ignorance. These men have no sense that their ideals are not wanted in our art, our culture, or our country. Leave Johnny Cash out of it.
If you’ve been at all in tune with the modern world the last decade, you’ve definitely noticed that Facebook has largely taken over the social media sphere. From its classic blue-and-white timeline to its acquisition of Instagram to–most recently–its addition of Snapchat-like features, Facebook has done a stellar job keeping up with the fluctuating trends of every emerging generation.
Facebook just stepped up its game once again, unveiling a new feature to add to its continually growing roster: A new Watch tab that allows existing Facebook users to consume video content, chat and share with friends, and discover short-form videos and visual content that their friends are engaging with.
How does it show what we’re all really looking for in social media?
Facebook’s move of blending video content with intimate online interaction with our friends and family shows us that–for the vast majority of social media users–the most important aspect of going online is our interactive engagement with our personal communities.
Although Facebook’s forthcoming Watch tab definitely mirrors existing video platforms–YouTube’s, in particular, is easily the first to jump to mind–it offers a new way to interact with existing online friend networks that YouTube doesn’t. So, despite the video giant’s 1 billion users per month, Facebook’s newest feature–with the platform’s 2 billion monthly users–could potentially help the company unseat YouTube as the reigning video king.
Think about it for a second. Whenever you look up a YouTube video, you’re there simply to watch the content. Sometimes, you might take a couple minutes to scroll through the comments section to check out what trolls and random people from the Internet are saying before leaving to watch the next video, or close the tab altogether.
When you discover a video on Facebook, however, it’s usually something your friends have shared. You might be more interested, more willing to comment, and more likely to re-share it yourself–which is ultimately a lot more engagement than a video on YouTube would experience.
So, next time you watch a video on any social platform, think about how you interact with it. With Facebook’s new update, you might be surprised by how much having a community online will change your habits.
Facebook is stepping up its modest moves into e-commerce by expanding its service for connecting local buyers and sellers into 17 new European markets, the U.S. company said on Monday.
Marketplace, which sits alongside Facebook’s mainstay newsfeed, photo, video, messaging and other services, marks fresh competition for community-based e-commerce pioneers such as Craigslist and eBay’s (EBAY, +0.61%)classifieds business.
Marketplace is being introduced this week in Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the Netherlands.
Launched 10 months ago, Marketplace charges no fees to buyers or sellers and aims to make it easy for users to trade mostly second-hand goods, with the ability to post items for sale via smartphone or computer in less than 15 seconds.
Marketplace, already up and running in a handful of markets including the United States, Britain and Australia, is building on Facebook’s buy-sell groups. These draw in about 550 million monthly visitors, accounting for more than a quarter of Facebook’s 2 billion global users.
“We want to make it easier to buy and sell, but we also want to make it community based,” said Deborah Liu, vice president of Facebook Marketplace.
Prospective buyers can pick a radius for how far they wish to travel to collect purchases, but most transactions are local. Marketplace restricts searches within national boundaries, mainly to avoid language confusion, Liu said.
Former president Barack Obama still knows how to find the right words after a national tragedy.
With more than 2.4 million likes and counting, Obama’s tweet Saturday quoting Nelson Mandela in the wake of white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Va., is the third-most liked tweet since Twitter launched.
One woman was killed and 19 people were injured when a man, who had been a part of a white supremacist rally in downtown Charlottesville, rammed his car into a crowd of people.
“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion…” Obama’s tweet read.
The quote is from former South African president Nelson Mandela’s autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom.
I always knew that deep down in every human heart, there is mercy and generosity. No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.
Obama shared more of the quote in two more tweets, which got 1 million and 900,000 likes respectively.
By contrast, President Trump’s first tweet in response to the tragic scene in Charlottesville got 186,000 likes.
Of course, not everyone liked Obama’s sentiment.
Some users called on the former president to condemn the violence “from either side.”
DeLorean cars have become a staple of ’80s pop culture thanks to their starring role in Robert Zemeckis’s iconic Back to the Future trilogy. Now, a new generation of the DeLorean family is looking to put the brand back into the spotlight by giving new meaning to a line kooky inventor Doc Brown delivers at the end of the first film: “Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.”
In a recent Wired profile, Paul DeLorean, nephew of the original carmaker and current CEO and chief designer of DeLorean Aerospace, revealed that his company is joining the likes of Uber, Airbus, Kitty Hawk, and a few others in attempting to build a flying car.
DeLorean says the company is working on a two-seat, vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) vehicle meant for personal transport and that will eventually be capable of autonomous flight. “We are moving forward on a full-size, piloted prototype which will carry two passengers and is designed to operate, fully electric, for a range of [193 kilometers (120 miles)],” he explained to Wired.
Other flying cars in development are only expected to have ranges of around 40 to 80 kilometers (25 to 50 miles), so DeLorean’s target is well above the norm.
As for design specifics, the DeLorean DR-7 aircraft sports two sets of wings, one at the vehicle’s front and the other at its back, with another pair of winglets under the hind wings. The vehicle’s takeoff and forward propulsion rely on a pair of fans, which are powered by electricity and mounted along its center. The fans swivel after takeoff to push the vehicle forward.
In all, the aircraft is about 6 meters (20 feet) long, with a wingspan of about 5.6 meters (18.5 feet). To help the aircraft fit into a (large) garage, the wings are capable of folding against the vehicle’s sides.
REGULATING THE SKIES
Whether they be of the self-driving or flying variety, the cars of the future need to surmount regulatory hurdles before we’ll see any kind of widespread adoption. The use of traditional vehicles and aircraft is currently regulated by numerous laws, and the advanced capabilities of autonomous or flying vehicles are presenting lawmakers with a slew of unprecedented questions.
Snapchat is teaming up with The Pokémon Company to introduce a new Pikachu filter to the app. The official Pikachu filter applies the electric mouse’s trademark rosy cheeks, pointy ears, black nose and big eyes to faces in the app, and when users open their mouth the iconic Pikachu cry rings out as an animated version of the characters leaps into frame.
The Pikachu filter is a pretty perfect tie-in for Snapchat, which aims at a demographic that is already pretty gaga for the most recognizable of Nintendo’s pocket monsters. Plus, Snapchat could use some brand juice, and Pokémon and Pikachu have proven to offer that for a lot of other platforms, including any of Nintendo’s hardware consoles and even AR via Pokémon Go.
Snapchat’s Pikachu filter is a limited run option, so if you want to capture yourself looking like Ash’s best pal you’d better get on it. The best strategy is probably to stockpile a wide range of selfies of yourself as Pika so you have one for every possible emotional response you can possibly make.
Will Snapchat Pika reach the lofty heights of Dancing Hot Dog? Only time will tell.
Over the past week, I have been working with the model, social media star and actress Alexis Ren to launch her own brand, REN Active (http://www.renactive.co). Many social media stars have launched merchandise: most is usually the typical banal array of t-shirts, hoodies and caps sold at concerts and events by stars and celebrities. What distinguishes REN Active is that it has been beautifully crafted and designed in the very same minimalist aesthetic and style that her 10 million followers have already come to know from her. Alexis Ren has not only launched products, but a genuine brand with a message.
21st century society has become accustomed to the newly-formed celebrity of emerging You Tube talent, Instagram “hotties” and blogging fashion and beauty mavens. Over the past several years, so-called “digital talent” have matured from being the millenial outliers of the media world to being becoming part of daily life for middle America and the rest of the globe. Unlike the awe fans feel for traditional celebrities, actors and pop-stars, followers of social media talent are immersed inside the daily life and routine of the influencers they follow.
Because of this direct relationship between follower and influencer, a global marketplace has developed between brands and social media stars buying and selling their influence over the millions of constituents they react with on a daily basis. An entire economy of agents, agencies, media networks and brand consultants has emerged around influencer marketing. Because technology is so closely linked with social media, never before has it been easier to target any particular demographic or measure the direct success of any influencer-based marketing campaign. In the “good old days”, it was just a well-founded guess how successful an expensive ad campaign gracing the pages of Vogue might have been. Today, a brand knows exactly how many consumers have clicked through to, commented on or “liked” any digital social media campaign they have invested in.
Major ecommerce and brick and mortar retailers are now also looking to partner and create joint ventures with social media stars and celebrities to help launch new businesses. From my own experience representing “new-age” digital talent, Walmart, Jet.Com, Target and even traditional department stores are moving into the game. A new class of incubators, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists are also emerging, seeing the opportunity to partner with social media talent by contributing their expertise, capital and management skills to help launch new brands.
Will Alexis Ren and her fellow social media standouts be the Ralph Laurens, Oprah Winfreys and Donna Karans of the future? No one really knows, but it is certain that they will have an impact on the landscape of media, entertainment and commerce in the foreseeable future.
Bruno Mars did a seven-figure solid for the city of Flint, Mich., during his show on Saturday night (Aug. 12) in suburban Detroit.
As he closed his main set with “Just The Way You Are” at the Palace of Auburn Hills, Mars told the crowd that he was donating $1 million to “our brothers and sisters in Flint, Michigan” to provide aid for the continuing wake of the city’s water crisis. Mars and Live Nation directed funds from the sold-out concert to the Community Foundation of Greater Flint, which addresses both immediate concerns as well as future needs of children exposed to lead in its water supply.
In a statement, Mars said, “I’m very thankful to the Michigan audience for joining me in supporting this cause. Ongoing challenges remain years later for Flint residents, and it’s important that we don’t forget our brothers and sisters affected by this disaster. As people, especially as Americans, we need to stand together to make sure something like this never happens in any community ever again.”
After announcing the donation in concert, Mars told the Palace crowd, “This is why we love what we do. We get a chance to go up on stage every night and perform … and the fact that we can show up here and celebrate under one roof together, all this positive energy that’s flowing. This is the world we want to live in.”
Mars added, “I love this state” and spoke about walking around Detroit and visiting the Motown Museum the day before the show. He and his band, the Hooligans, added a bit of the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” to start their encore as an added local touch.
Saturday’s concert was part of Mars’ continuing 24K Magic World Tour, which wraps up its North American leg with four November shows at The Forum in Inglewood, Calif., followed by swings through Latin America Oceana, Asia and Mexico into June of 2018.
The Flint Water Crisis was identified in 2014 when the source for drinking water was switched from Detroit water to the Flint River. Due to insufficient treatment an estimated more than 100,000 residents were exposed to tainted water with high levels of lead, which as been linked to an increase in Legionnaires’ disease and other health issues. Flint has switched back to Detroit for its water supply, and several state officials have resigned or are under indictment for negligence.
Other celebrities, such as Eminem and Cher, have also made donations and supported Flint in the wake of the crisis. More information about the situation in Flint and the Community Foundation can be found at www.cfgf.org.