Fun Fun Fun
You’ve probably been bombarded by dozens of year-end listicles and slideshows of 2014’s best apps, you head spinning from hundreds of new suggestions. Well, come on in from the storm: There’s something to help you sort through all of the madness.
Homescreen, a new app from Betaworks, is compiling an organized, networked database of what apps everyone is using. The app allows users to upload pictures of their smartphone home screens, uses image recognition to builds a database of what apps everyone is using. The whole system links to Twitter so you can see who an app’s most influential users are and what your friends’ favorite apps are.
If you don’t know about Dots, congratulations. You’ve escaped being one of the 20 million players who are sucked into the dot-connecting frenzy. But for those who are hooked on the minimalist puzzle game, get ready to cancel whatever productive plans you had for the rest of the day: the team behind your addiction just put out a sequel.
There are a number of new features in TwoDots that add a little spice to the original Dots formula. The game boards come in all shapes and sizes, there are new challenges, 85 levels and new kinds of dots, like “anchor dots” in the underwater segment of the game’s story.
Teach me how to selfie Yes, it’s the word of the year, but a certain finesse is required when pulling one off. Luckily, sultan of selfies Kim Kardashian and her BFF Brittny (sic) Gastineau filmed an Extra TV segment teaching people how to snap one.
Cyber Monday sales exploded 20 percent higher than last year as more shoppers prefer the Internet over the mall. [Bloomberg]
Apple purchased Twitter analytics site Topsy for $200 million yesterday, but what they plan to do with it is clouded in mystery. One guess is that they’re going integrate it with iTunes Radio and alert “trending” music on the social network. [WSJ]
Facebook is rejiggering its News Feed formula to cut down on junk and emphasize high-quality news articles. [BuzzFeed FWD]
Here’s a peek into Betaworks’ long-term plans. [Digiday]
Darth Vader joined Instagram yesterday and took an alleged selfie that isn’t a selfie at all. [Wired]
Tinder on. Hey ladies, is dating a Winklevoss on your tech bachelor power list? Well, fire up the Tinder because one half of the Winklevii has been spotted sleuthing the app for some hotties. A screenshot of Cameron‘s profile has been floating around Twitter, meaning he’s single and ready to mingle.
Since we can’t see past the initial picture, we’re guessing some interests pulled from his Facebook profile include rowing, bitter indignation and suits from Brooks Brothers.
Citymapper crosses the Atlantic Yesterday AT&T and the MTA announced London-based Citymapper as the winners of this year’s App Quest competition, awarding them the grand prize of $20,000 and an extra $2000 for being the “Wish List App.” Citymapper integrates real-time tracking data across all of New York City’s various transportation methods, including subways, busses, and Citibikes. It also tells users how many calories they’ll burn on their trip, so they can decide whether or not to grab a slice on the way.
Weather apps have somehow managed to make checking something so simple so damn aggravating. It feels like an hour doesn’t go by without our phones being alerted to a threat of tornadoes, and don’t get us started on the Weather Chanel’s scare mongering tactics. We get it, we’re going to die!
So, it was a relief when Poncho, a Betaworks-created weather service, popped up last April. We’re no Jim Cantore, so we don’t need our eyeballs to be polluted with weather lingo when all that’s necessary is knowing whether or not we need to grab a jacket or an umbrella. The saucy weather alerts are delivered via text or email, but Poncho has quietly expanded to include more customizable features since its inception.
China’s “Great Firewall,” which blocks users from accessing foreign websites and social media services, might soon be imploded. [South China Morning Post]
Once an $83 billion company, BlackBerry is the target of a $4.7 billion buyout offer from Fairfax Financial Holdings. [AllThingsD]
Thumping music, arty projections and the phrase “ad exchanges” makes Aol’s advertising week presentation sound miserable. [Wall Street Journal]
Need another reason to be glad that you don’t live in Florida or Texas? Residents in those states are targeted the most by text spammers. [The Dallas Morning News]
With the JOBS law in effect, Betaworks’ new Openbeta initiative lets users crowdfund startups they’re interested in. [GigaOM]
Two drivers in San Francisco have filed suit against Uber for allegedly siphoning too much of their tips. The on-demand car company calls the case “entirely without merit.” [The Verge]
Betaworks-owned Instapaper got a refreshing web-based redesign. [Gizmodo]
Twitter debuted a redesign yesterday that confused everyone. [CNet]
Netflix is using noted romance expert Aziz Ansari to bolster its comedy lineup. His latest stand-up special will premiere on the streaming service this fall. [New York Times]
Apple is seeking to trademark the word “startup” in Australia because sure. [TNW]
Cisco is axing 4,000 jobs, or roughly five percent of its workforce, citing the “challenging” global economic climate. [New York Times]
Peter X. Deng, one of Facebook’s most popular product managers, is assuming a similar role at Instagram. He’ll report to CEO Kevin Systrom. [The Verge]
Perhaps there is some good news for Blackberry: Its 9,000 patent-stash is valued around $2 to $3 billion. [ZDNet]
Try to contain your excitement, but ad-free Twitter knockoff App.net has raised another $2.5 million from Andreessen Horowitz. [TechCrunch]
Betaworks’ addicting app Dots is rolling out Android and Amazon Fire versions today. There’s also a new mode called “Moves” that limits you to 30 swipes with no time limit. [AllThingsD]