So Refresh and So Clean
New York-based Bitly is determined to establish itself as more than just a link shortening device and today unveiled a redesign to position itself as a bookmarking tool. Unfortunately, it’s been a terrible flop so far, at least according to the reactions on Twitter. Some were intrigued by the souped-up analytics and sharing mechanisms, but people who were used to navigating over to Bitly for a split second just to shorten a link were annoyed by the unnecessary changes. Even Roger Ebert was pissed! See for yourself.
New York-based link shortening service Bitly just launched a major redesign that emphasizes link sharing similar to Twitter or the once-popular bookmark service Delicious.
The old Bitly centered around shortening links and publishing them to Twitter, Facebook and other social networks. Log into the new Bitly and you’ll see something that looks more like a social network itself. You’ll see a stream of your own share-worthy links and a separate stream of links from your network. Bitly is now calling these shortened links “bitmarks,” a souped-up version of bookmarks.
the startup rundown
UPDATE 5/17: Bitly CEO Peter Stern reached out to Betabeat Thursday to dispute much of what was reported in The Verge yesterday. “While I would be delighted to report that we raised a significant amount of money, I’m not in a position to report that just yet,” said Mr. Stern, who did acknowledge that he is in the process of raising funds, but said that has been true since he started his tenure as CEO. The company raised a $1.4 million convertible note in March.
Mr. Stern said Bitly is at work on a consumer product, but the company is not yet willing to discuss it. Last October, Bitly blogged about developing a real-time search engine that lets the company “see into the future.” However, Mr. Stern said, “A Bitly revamp is in the works, but it doesn’t include a viral search, which is only available for business customers.”
Link shortening service Bitly is moving up and out–literally and figuratively. According to The Verge, the company moved out of Betaworks’ offices this week into its own space
, and has also landed $20 million in new funding.
Startup, the startup rundown
SHUTTER. Luminance is not your average photography conference. Instead of focusing on the latest gear, this two-day program will bring together experts at the forefront of the technology we use to create, manipulate and share our images. Among the speakers are Behance founder Scott Belsky, Hipstamatic cofounder Lucas Allen Buick, Google’s Chris Chabot, Pulitzer prize winning photographer Barbara Davidson, Tumblr
CEO president John Maloney, Facebook Photos engineer Srinivas Narayanan and the School of Visual Art’s David Ross. All speakers will present a 20-minute TED-style lecture.
TOE, HEEL, TOE, HEEL. What Not to Wear‘s Stacy London is the cofounder of a just-launched site that aims to connect personal stylists with the stylistically clueless. Style For Hire stylists will perform a “closet audit,” provide personal shopping services or create new outfits out of clothes a customer already has—that’s called closet shopping. Now women who aren’t lucky enough to be on the show can still have their closets—and lack of fashion sense—torn apart, but without the benefit of a judgmental, national audience.
The Data Deluge
BLAST FROM THE PAST. Now, thanks to BuzzFeed, you can show all your friends how vintage chic your technology was—before it was cool. Prompted by the fairly recent Facebook timeline, BuzzFeed has introduced a Facebook app that lets users retroactively post images to their timeline. Checkout the “What Was Your First Computer?” question and reminisce about the nineteen eighties like it’s the 2020’s. The launch of this new app is probably just the beginning of a trend we’ll see as Facebook prepares to unveil its new timeline backdating ability.
CLICK CLICK FLASH. Pixable, the photo sharing complement for social networks is rolling out a couple big features. First, is a hashtag feature that allows users to tag their photos or their friends’ photos for an easier experience when recalling and organizing snapshots. #drunkenregrets?
At the same time Pixable is being integrated into the Facebook timeline technology. Users will be able to share their photo viewing and tagging activity in the Facebook ticker just like when listening to tunes on Spotify.
Our apologies to evangelists of gamification and QR codes, but 2012 is all about data—at least according to New York startup non-incubator Betaworks. “We know the importance of understanding big data,” Betaworks CEO John Borthwick wrote in a confidential letter leaked to PandoDaily on Saturday. “Data is the new plastic. The network is both the frame and the metaphor we are building towards and on. This network-centric model is core to betaworks, and a key competitive advantage.”
One of the most interesting companies in New York these days is bit.ly. The service seems simple at first: it a makes long URLs into shorter ones. But in doing that at scale, bit.ly channels massive amounts of data about what users are creating, reading and sharing.
Today the company announced a partnership with Verisign, which, per the release we saw, “operates two of the Internet’s root nameservers and much of the web’s DNS infrastructure. If there’s a single company that qualifies as the steward of the internet, it’s Verisign.”
Data scientists from both companies will work together to answer the sort of metaphysical puzzlers that were once the reserved for astrophysicists. “Scientists at both companies are already poring over volumes of DNS resolution data–data that will help us answer fundamental (and fundamentally awesome) questions like: “what actually are the most popular websites on the internet?” and “just how big is the internet, anyhow?”
“Bitly was started @betaworks almost three years ago, and in that time it has grown from a project into a business. The site is a big site, the A.P.I. is one of the largest on the web, there are thousands of white label partners using bitly, billions of links created, and billions of clicks on those links every month,” Betaworks CEO John Borthwick wrote today on the Bitly blog. “We are announcing Peter Stern’s arrival as CEO. As bitly is entering a new stage in its development I could not be more excited to pass the baton to Peter.”
Bit.ly has finally launched a mobile version of its basic URL shortener last week. Other than the slight inconvenience of navigating to a website rather than opening an app, the process of shortening a link is painless–which should be refreshing for anyone who’s ever tried to clunkily use the full site from a mobile browser. It’s actually superior to using the site with a mouse and a desktop browser, we’d argue; The Next Web called it “app-like!”