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  • Sina Weibo ready to test new brand platform that will compete with WeChat

    A couple of weeks ago, Sina admitted its flagship product Weibo is threatened by WeChat. Then last week, I wrote about why the Weibo vs. WeChat battle is hugely important, and later in the week Chinese celebrity blogger Han Han even chimed in. But the latest sign that this is the year of the Weibo-WeChat battle (and that Weibo might be losing) comes from TechWeb, which is reporting that Sina Weibo is conducting internal testing on a new WeChat-inspired “Public Platform” feature. Like WeChat’s platform of the same name, the new Sina Weibo feature would allow users to send group...

  • YouTube rolls out new ‘One Channel’ design

    YouTube has officially rolled out a new version of its new channel design called One Channel. The update, which is part of a bid to "help people “find the channels love and subscribe, subscribe, subscribe”. had already been rolled out to a few select channels late last year. Now it's been applied to all the channels on the video network. According to YouTube: The main focus of this update is to make your new channel look great on browsers across all screens and devices. It will also help you convert more visitors into subscribers with a slot for a...

  • Cool new crowdsourced campaign seeks to map out Africa’s best destinations

    This looks pretty cool. Today sees the launch of Our Continent -- a crowdsourced initiative from Continental Tyre SA -- a map of the best on and off-road destinations starting in South Africa, before expanding into the rest of Africa. "From city to Savannah, coastline to mountaintop, whatever your adventure", the tyre maker says it wants you to share your journey via Twitpic and in turn share others' journeys with you. In a clever little piece of marketing Continental Tyre SA has also mapped out all of its South Africa stores on Our Continent, meaning that you won't battle to find...

  • Take a look at Facebook’s personalised and super visual new News Feed

    Facebook did that thing that its users hate today: it changed. Ahead of the launch, the rumours suggested that the billion-strong social network's new look News Feed would be more context-specific and involve larger photos and bigger ads. So, were they true? Well... yes. With the critics doubting Facebook's ability to retain user interest and stave off user fatigue, the team has gone for an increased amount of visual and personalised content to keep people hooked on the core page of Facebook. "News Feed is one of the most important services that we've built," said CEO Mark Zuckerberg, explaining how...

  • 6 factors complicating Samsung and Apple’s design war

    The design wars between Apple and Samsung are the stuff of legend. The two tech giants have fought battles in courtrooms across the globe, with each accusing the other of copying unique designs and infringing on valuable design rights. The culmination of those battles saw Samsung ordered to pay US$1-billion to Apple following a lengthy trial in a California court. On the surface much of the conflict seemed to be around rectangles with rounded corners. As Professor Charles Gielen of Groningen University in the Netherlands notes however there were a number of factors that made it a hell of...

  • Google+: now with giant cover photos and colour-coded profile cards

    If you go over to Google+ today, you're in for a surprise: things have changed. The platform is rolling out a number of design tweaks, changed its cover photo option yet again and inserted some cards reminiscent of the look of its virtual assistant, Google Now. Google+ Product Manager Sara McKinley said that the changes were inspired after feedback from users who asked for changes in profile and business pages. But Google decided to implement them a day before Facebook announces its redesigned News Feed. Interesting. The most noticeable alteration on Google+ is the giant cover photo space, which can...

  • Check out this neat little trick on the Google I/O site

    If you know Google, you know that the company isn't averse to building a few neat little tricks into its products. Now it looks like it's taken the same kind of attitude into the site for its annual I/O developers' conference. If you click on the images of an "I" and an "O" on the site, you'll find yourself escorted to a new page, each of which is themed to play a sound effect. It's a neat little bit of fun, although cracking the various codes can get a little frustrating at times. The ones we have managed...

  • Google expands StreetView in the EU, including 200 new Russian cities

    Google today announced that it had expanded its European Street View imagery in what is says is a bid to make it "easier than ever" to explore Europe. For the first time people will be able to see images of imagery of Bulgaria, Europe's 14th largest country. Perhaps the most impactful part of the update though comes from the fact that people using Street View now have access to panoramas of almost 200 new towns and cities in Russia. Search in the BRIC giant is dominated by local company Yandex, so an extensive Street View presence sends...

  • Lessons from Reeva Steenkamp: how social is changing the way we grieve

    Reeva Steenkamp’s death is an absolute tragedy, and that can never be minimised. No matter what the outcome of the complex trial that is unfolding, the international public has united in mutual sympathy and compassion for the Steenkamp family, with condolences and kind words overtaking the public spaces created to honour the memory of a young and talented woman. The purpose of this piece is not to judge the trial or the situation, but to engage in a commentary about the effect that social media has had on bereavement as a whole. These new online spaces dedicated to Steenkamp...

  • A smart new world: the future we were promised is almost here

    At the end of 2012, Joshua Topolsky wrote an editorial for The Verge entitled "Reasons to be excited". In the piece, Topolsky stated that while we’ve spent the past few years getting used to things like social networks, smartphones and tablets, 2013 will be the year where we will begin to understand the impact that these new technologies will have on our lives. Make no mistake. If you are in digital, it is definitely the time to be excited. We’ve all heard the proverbial promises of what will be possible “one day”. Well “one day” is almost here...

  • The tech survivor’s guide to the zombie apocalypse

    A zombie apocalypse is imminent, and as the Boy Scouts say, “be prepared.” Not zombies per say but it could be anything mindless and undead. Bored hipsters, frustrated iPhone users pushed to the brink, even a mass mobile phone infection as seen in Stephan King’s excellent book, Cell. It doesn’t matter, something can happen. That’s what our tech survivor's guide to a zombie apocalypse is about. Not all of these will be long-term solutions of course, especially since gadgetry relies on the fact that existing systems need to be maintained, unless the zombies are more conscientious than we've come to believe....

  • Apple’s new friend in its battle against Samsung? That would be Nokia

    Picture this: you're a fruity tech company (no, not BlackBerry), which is suing its competitor, Samsung, for patent infringement in courts around the globe. You win a case in the US, requiring Samsung to pay you more than a billion dollars in damages, but the judge fails to grant you a sales ban to stop the company from selling its gadgets and eating up your marketshare. You file an appeal, asking the court to reconsider. And who should step in to help you out? Another competitor: Nokia. Ok, so it's not exactly that simple, but Nokia has indeed filed an...

  • 7 major tech trends your business needs to take advantage of right now

    Ahh, the future. That mystical place filled with robots and flying cars... and hopefully your businesses. Things are moving incredibly fast when it comes to technology, as trends which never existed before (think BYOD and that thing called social media) are increasingly becoming just another part of every day life. Think about it: ten years ago Facebook didn't exist -- now there are legions of postings for social media strategists, managers and gurus populating jobs boards. You can log into work from the other side of the globe and give presentations from your smartphone. What will be possible in...

  • 5 reasons why innovation in health care is important

    Innovation in healthcare is becoming a key trend in many emerging market countries as well as developed markets. It makes sense too: it's a quick and easy way to access medical information, provide education for patients and give doctors the opportunity to collaborate on challenging medical cases. A panel at the MENA ICT conference in Jordan, which describes itself as the premier tech event in the region, explained that in the last few years health care innovation has grown in five key areas. "There has been great adoption which has great demand for cutting edge technology to be developed in...

  • 7 reasons why you should run your startup remotely

    In light of the recent ban on working from home imposed by Yahoo's newest CEO, Marissa Mayer, it's got the debate up and running once again: is it better to work from home or at the office? When thinking about startups, I'd like to add my two cents and argue that running a young company remotely is a very real and attractive option for many an entrepreneur. Not only because the technological tools exist to share and collaborate on documents, communicate in real time (even face-to-face) and meet those all important deadlines, but also because there are practical advantages to...