Monday, September 13, 2010

8 new stories on The Next Web today

8 new stories on The Next Web today

Link to The Next Web

First Arabic Speaking Robot Uses Social Networking for Answers

Posted: 13 Sep 2010 03:07 AM PDT

Robot Ibn Sina arriving at the airportThe Robot Ibin Sina (named after a famous ancient Persian scientist) is the first of its kind intelligent agent capable of withholding a conversation with humans based on information it gathers from the Internet including social networking sites.

The UAE University in Al-Ain, a city one hour from UAE’s capital Abu Dhabi has built the world’s first fully automated Arabic-speaking robot exploiting the country’s emerging talent and relative financial stability due to it’s oil rich economy, Ibin Sina can speak both English and Arabic fluently but with the proper funding, could do much more.

The robot which is still nothing more than a University study, could have potential for commercial release if provided the proper funding which isn’t the easiest matter to come by in a region sadly most known for it’s oil than it’s scientific breakthroughs.

You can check out the video posted by the BBC here, or if you speak Arabic and have a sense of humor enjoy a video posted by the team that developed Ibin Sina on Youtube below.

Original title and link for this post: First Arabic Speaking Robot Uses Social Networking for Answers

Nokia’s Anssi Vanjoki resigns on eve of Nokia World

Posted: 13 Sep 2010 02:13 AM PDT

Anssi Vanjoki, one of the leading voices at Nokia, has resigned from his post as Head of Mobile Solutions at the mobile giant, one day before the company prepares to showcase its latest smartphone innovations at its Nokia World expo.

Vanjoki’s resignation comes just days after Nokia appointed Stephen Elop as its new CEO, ousting current Chief Executive Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo in the process. Many people saw Elop’s appointment as a much needed strategic shift by the company, focusing its efforts to compete with the rise of Android and iPhone devices.

The resignation will hit Nokia hard, especially as it looked to key members of staff to demonstrate its newest smartphones at its Nokia World event, held in London, starting tomorrow. The Nokia head will continue in his postion as part of his six months notice period, presumably whilst the company look to replace Vanjoki or internally appoint his successor.

It seems like a one step forward, two steps back situation for Nokia at the moment. We are going to be at Nokia World, we will see if we can connect with a Nokia representative and find out some more information.

Original title and link for this post: Nokia’s Anssi Vanjoki resigns on eve of Nokia World

How Newspapers Should Embrace Social Media

Posted: 13 Sep 2010 01:38 AM PDT

Following on from our post last week about Associated Press introducing guidelines to credit bloggers, I’ve been thinking more and more about the opportunities for newspapers online and through social media, as we steadily approach a point when we need a truly new type of media to bridge the gap between grassroots blogging and traditional media. Not that either of those aren’t valuable in their own right, but the possibilities for something new are huge. And, as we’ve seen with The Times, whose readership recently dropped to 500,000, clearly for some a third way may be needed. Putting up a wall between your users and your content isn’t going to cut it and could mean you’re in bigger trouble than when you started. I want to look at some of the opportunities for socialised news or newspapers.

Crowdsource photos

Given the huge amount of real-time, on the ground news reporting that goes on Twitter, there has to be an opportunity for more newspapers to utilise the photo content that’s created around this. Now newspapers or TV News have certainly made use of ‘real’ photos before from individuals, but I think this is something that newspapers online should make a regular feature, both through sourcing genuine photo or video content, as well as providing a place for users to submit their own. For me there’s just something more genuine about seeing a photo from your average Joe that was at the right place at the right time (or made sure that they were) than seeing pretty much the same photograph circulate around different newspapers, in the same style that you’ve come to expect. If this is done in the right way, it could not only serve to make news content feel more ‘real time’ it also provides a source of revenue for those people that are out there creating this content.

Relationships with bloggers in every region

Now some newspapers have started experimenting with using bloggers on their site, but I don’t think this has yet reached its full potential. I think there’s a huge opportunity for newspapers to establish a network of bloggers in different regions around the country to provide news real-time and get a genuine local perspective when this is what’s needed. The huge amount of local news content is evident out there on blogs and social networks, but online newspapers have the advantage of being able to bring this all under one umbrella. Establish relationships with these people online and make it clear that they have an accessible communication channel through to you. Then this content is brought under a credible source and importantly gets the crucial information that local bloggers can provide, in front of thousands or millions of eyeballs. By relying on the traditional network of journalists, newspapers risk restricting their potential to get to the news first.

Now of course, this has implications for traditional journalists. A newspaper can’t be expected to magic up more money and just supplement content from bloggers alongside that of their usual articles. And I’m not suggesting that journalists are now out the window and bloggers reign supreme. That argument is being fought on a daily basis and I don’t want to inflame it! But given that there is such hostility between so many bloggers and journalists, there must be a way to make the most of what these two have. Bloggers have immediate access and means to get the content needed around the news, and journalists are in a position where they can get this content into a story, combine it with other sources and get it published. It should be a win-win.

Charge for a social media experience

The Times have certainly proven the case that people simply will not pay for content online, when it’s so readily available on other sites for free. And we’re never going to get into a situation where every single news site is charging for their content, so newspapers need to think about what they can provide, that users would be willing to charge for. The answer is in how they optimise their content for social media, but more specifically, make their content available through different social platforms. An easy example of this is through apps. I happily paid £2.39 for the Guardian iPhone app when it came out and if they made an app specific for Guardian Tech, I would pay for this too. This is because I recognise the benefit of an easy viewing experience through a mobile app as opposed to visiting their mobile site. I pay for it because it saves me time and optimises the content I’m consuming.

The potential for this is huge, and it can get really clever. If I could, for example, pay for a news service provided by a ‘traditional’ newspaper, that would instantly subscribe me to their content on my different social profiles then I would do it in a flash. So say I pay €5.00 for the Guadian social media experience. I give it my details and it automatically follows their relevant accounts on Twitter, adds their page content to my newsfeed on Facebook, subscribes me to their feeds in Google reader and texts me a link so I can download their apps onto my phone. And it then offers to upgrade me to their email service, where I get sent a daily summary of the content it knows I’ll like based on my social profile. I would happily pay a monthly subscription for this because it takes a job away from me that I’m going to do anyway, but also saves me time. Instead of having to go out and find content myself, it’s right there in front of me.

This is just one hypothetical example, but if newspapers focus on how to monetise through content through social technologies and provide users with an experience that can’t be replicated elsewhere for free, it could prove a hugely valuable revenue model.

Give me a live blogging section

For some stories – such as natural disasters or huge sporting events, live blogging/microblogging is clearly always going to win out. But I think there’s an area in this that’s not really fully been utilised yet, and that’s in providing a service that not only collates all the real-time information, but manages to organise this into the most credible sources. If you’re following something realtime, such as searching on a hashtag, you inevitably have to sit through a lot of rubbish to get to the good content. This is something that’s been addressed by the likes of Ushahidi – where they offer credibility to real time situations but attributing a creator of a topic, who adds and deletes other sources on the topic. The emphasis is on accuracy as opposed to popularity. This would be an excellent service for a journalist to provide – where they can filter and decide which content is credible or more authoritative and then present this back to the user in a live stream of information.

Now this does change the make-up of real time news, where the idea is that anyone can contribute. But this isn’t to offer a service that is purely ‘social’ – that’s already being offered by Twitter – but a new kind of service where someone you trust is filtering through the news. And it’s clear that there are situations that could be well-served by this. Paul Carr discussed the negative effects of citizen journalism, which show the need for someone to monitor the messages in certain situations.

Sponsored events sections

Now this is slightly left of field, but news around conferences and events is huge. When Google hold a seminar, everyone follows the hashtag, looks for live blogs and consumes video and photo content. What I’d like is a place where I can follow live events that I’m interested in and get all the information in one place. Instead of just searching the particular hashtag that you know to an event, imagine if you could search ‘gaming’ and find content and presentations from all those events currently going on. This could be a service that events actually pay for, in order to be included. They get their event in front of a huge audience (thus being able to charge their sponsors more) and have the benefit of someone organising all their content into tweets, videos, presentations for their audience and potential ticket buyers to find.

Only publish at the weekend

I really think that the days of buying physical newspapers are numbered, but rather than advocate newspapers go 100% digital only as the Seattle Post-Intelligencer did, I think that newspapers should restrict themselves to only publishing paper copies at the weekend. I get everything online and consume my news daily on there but there’s something to be said for the morning paper with a pot of coffee that you just can’t replicate with a laptop, ebook reader, or whatever is your device of choice. Just like DVDs will never kill off the cinema experience, I think the weekend paper will always be a revenue stream for publishers. I don’t think that newspapers need to publish weekly copies for much longer.

All your journalists should be on Twitter

This may not be the most popular choice, but I really think it should be a stipulation that all the journalists within your organisation should be on Twitter. Not only because it gives them access to such an important news medium in today’s society, but also because it provides them with an avenue to source exclusives. As the founder of an online PR & Social Media agency there have been a few occasions when I’ve had a news story related to our company that I’ve sought traditional press for. On these occasions I’ve always gone to journalists that I know are on Twitter and used this method before email. It’s worked so far and I think that all journalists should be on there to massively open up the news sources for their publications.

These are the areas that I really think newspapers need to explore and introduce in order to not only survive social media, but actually benefit and grow from it. Many are making great strides in introducing social technologies, with the Guardian leading the way in my opinion and I think this is one area that will really grow over the next 12 months.

Original title and link for this post: How Newspapers Should Embrace Social Media

YouTube trials interactive live video streams. Goes head-to-head with Ustream,

Posted: 13 Sep 2010 12:47 AM PDT

Look out, Ustream and other services that allow users to stream live video – YouTube is now firmly on your patch.

YouTube has announced that it is today launching a two-day trial of a new self-service video platform. The platform consists of a new, embeddable video player. All that’s required for live streaming is webcam or external USB/FireWire camera. A "Live Comments" module is included in order to get instant feedback on the live stream.

The two-day trial (embedded below) starts today at 8am PST and features content from four partners: Howcast; Next New Networks; Rocketboom and Young Hollywood.

YouTube says that following the trial it will evaluate the possibility of rolling this feature out more widely. However, this is unlikely to be available to all YouTube users straight away. YouTube says it wants to roll it out to its partners worldwide. In other words, businesses with partnership deals with YouTube. That said, we’ve speculated previously that YouTube could be preparing a paid ‘YouTube Pro’ service. Live streaming could well be one of the perks of such a service if it ever materialises.

Original title and link for this post: YouTube trials interactive live video streams. Goes head-to-head with Ustream,

Canadian Apps Now Highlighted in the App Store

Posted: 12 Sep 2010 10:46 PM PDT

There is no question that Canadians love their iOS apps, but did you know that there are a goodly number of apps just for Canadians? Yes, I’m sure you did. From the CBC to a Timmy’s finder, even Hockey Night in Canada and the award-winning NFB Canadians have some great apps to choose from. The problem has been that it wasn’t easy to find them. Now there’s an app (section) for that.

If open up iTunes and go over to the App Store look over on the right-hand side and you’ll see the link.

Or you might not, it’s a tad subtle:

There, see it? Cool. Now for the apps I’ve tried:

Kobo, CBC Radio, NFB

Fine, not much, but I’m going to load up:

TimmyMe, Globe an Mail, Canucks (duh), my Starbucks Canada, CBC Hockey, and Maple Pictures

If you use TD or CIBC as your bank, there’s an app for that. If you fly Air Canada a lot, there’s an app for that.

They are missing Vancouver’s Translink app (which was also made in Vancouver), but since the app needs some updating, I can understand why Apple left it off the list.

Now, it’s your turn…what Canadian apps would you have Apple add?

And better…

Canadian app makers, I want to hear about your apps! Doesn’t matter if they are “Canadian” or not, if they are made in Canada, let me know! Email me at tris [at] and let’s chat about your app!

Hat tip to iPhoneCanada

Original title and link for this post: Canadian Apps Now Highlighted in the App Store

Why You SHOULD Buy A Mac

Posted: 12 Sep 2010 09:15 AM PDT

So many of you read yesterday’s “Why You Shouldn’t Buy a Mac,” and some of you lost your mind.  Presenting both sides of the story, here’s why you SHOULD buy a Mac.  Click here for full size.

Original title and link for this post: Why You SHOULD Buy A Mac

Seven Important Social Media Trends For The Next Year

Posted: 12 Sep 2010 08:17 AM PDT

Social media changes from month to month. Trends come and go quicker than the seasons change. The latest trendy site could be next year’s Myspace and the hottest new site probably hasn’t even been conceived yet or is at the couple of guys in a garage stage. Having said that there are some trends that I think will continue over the coming year and with that in mind I wanted to share them here. Rather than focusing in on the finer detail I have compiled the list below in broader terms with all the main players represented. All in all it should be an exiting year ahead in social media and these should be seven of the main trends…

Group Buying

This really has been the huge power house of online commerce in the last year. Services like Groupon have come on the scene in a big way (Even Microsoft entered the market today) and the idea behind it really is so simple that it makes you think “Why didn’t I think of that”. Like all kick ass ideas this one is incredibly simple and instantly understandable and there is something in it for everybody. The idea is nothing new but giving it legs through things like apps and the ability to share deals with friends makes the whole sector spread faster. Expect this to continue in a big way over the next couple of years with copy cat services and the big players rolling in to more territories and rolling out better and more extensive deals.

Question And Answer Sites

These sites are hardly new and have been around for years but a new range of social features and bigger audiences have seen existing sites and some innovative start ups make this an interesting space once again. The big boys like Facebook are rolling this out as we speak to their huge user base and will be making it front and center on profiles as they look to tap in to the collective knowledge of the site. Another innovative start up that is making some serious noise within the tech community is Quora which should break out in to the main stream this coming year. Collective knowledge is incredibly powerful and social media is making that knowledge easier to spread.


I was going to call this section location but I really do think the opportunities in this sector extend far beyond people checking in to bars for free coffee. There is no doubt that services like Foursquare, Gowalla and Facebook places will continue to grow and be adopted by a larger audience but I don’t even think the most exciting technologies have even been invented in this space yet. The best is yet to come. The really exciting thing to consider is what can be achieved with mobile advertising and with all the big players including Google and Apple trying to crack this market the real innovation has yet to come. People all over the world are walking around with mini computers in their hands and you can basically let your imagination run wild with the endless possibilities that offers to the social media industry.

Facebook Credits

Facebook have been dipping their toes in to the credits system of micro payments over the last 6 months by giving users free credits to help them get used to the system as well as doing a massive deal with Zynga to add the credits to their games. I strongly believe Facebook credits will become one of the defining moments in Facebook’s history and be the cash cow that drives them forward towards IPO. With Facebook taking a cut of the credits and brands and businesses scrambling to use them there really will only be one winner in all of this. Expect Facebook credits to be ubiquitous across the web within 2 years as people use the trusted platform to by all sorts of things.

Branded Content

Brands and businesses are starting to realize that one of the main ways of engaging their customers and offering value is to create content that enriches the user’s social media experience rather than just blasting messages out at them. With users starting to get more and more aware of ads and adding their own filters the smart brands will create bespoke content that engages users in a meaningful way and offers value. Building that content in to Facebook and other social sites while all hooking back to their own website will be crucial with video playing a more and more important role in the branded content play.

Twitter Monetizing

They sure are taking their time on this one but they are very much at the stage Facebook were 18 months ago when they just went on a land grab of users and made sure their service was as stable as possible. Twitter have started rolling out some monetization features like promoted tweets but they haven’t really come in with the hard sell just yet. I’d expect Twitter to keep focusing on growth for the best part of the next year before switching on the revenue in a major way just like Facebook are at the moment.

Google To Keep On Failing

I don’t care how many people Google hire or companies they buy they are always going to struggle in the social media space. They don’t have it in their DNA as a company to be social as far as I can see and Facebook just keep pushing further and further ahead anyway. Google have had big launches with Wave and Buzz over the last year and even though they are giving Google Me a bigger push and dedicating more resources to it than ever I just don’t see it being a big success. Where I do see them having success is in the social games sector because I think their portal for this along with some of their acquisitions have been very shrewd. Expect another disappointing year for Google in the world of social media.

Original title and link for this post: Seven Important Social Media Trends For The Next Year

Top 10 Social Media Tools Every Movie Buff Should Know

Posted: 12 Sep 2010 05:59 AM PDT

Last week’s release by Social site GetGlue of their app on iPad got me thinking. There’s a host of resources and apps out there with some great content and information for film lovers and TV fiends alike. Here’s my ten essential resources for people who have a hunger to know more about film than the average Joe.


take the check-in idea used by Geo-Location services such as FourSquare and apply it to entertainment. You earn stickers for checking into your favourite songs, movies and shows and can request a physical copy of your stickers to be posted out to you. GetGlue have iPhone, iPad and Android apps, so you can check in on the go wherever you are watching/listening to something. One of the most useful features for me is, being able to subscribe to other users feeds. This is a great way to (re) discover new and old movies and shows that you may not have heard of. You can also read people’s reviews of these movies to see if it’s worth your time.


A site that I’ve started using more and more for people’s views, Fflick aggregates Twitter posts about movies and gives each movie a rating from these posts. It’s a really quick way of finding out the general online sentiment about a movie without having to thrall through your feed, or do an extensive search. It’s a pity that Fflick don’t have an app as yet. I’d expect that this will be changing quite soon though.

Total Film

My second favourite magazine in the world, and a site that I visit daily for film news, but also their excellent features. They’ve just released their iPhone app and it’s very impressive. Costing just €2.39, the app gives you access to all of their reviews, features and news. It also has a nice extra. A cinema finder. It seems that this will be of more use to UK users, but it’s a nice add on. Essentially, it finds the cinemas that are nearest to you. I can’t wait for the iPad version!


My favourite film magazine, this would be another regular stop daily. Empire released their own iPhone app a while back, but rather than being an app version of their site, they’ve given us an extensive database of movies reviews and info. It’s a really impressive app. I can guarantee that if you can think of a movie, the app has a review. This would be an app that I use frequently when I’m looking for a movie to rent/download/see in the cinema and again it doesn’t cost the earth at a reasonable €3.99. Again, an iPad version would be very welcome!


Everybody’s favourite movie database is even better on iPhone/iPad. What is largely agreed to be the most extensive movie database on the planet is my go-to resource for anything film related. Using it on the iPad in particular is a treat. On opening the app, you’re met with an up-to-date screen of the most viewed movies and stars on IMDB. And of course you can run your search for any movie you like. It’s smart and clean and a fantastic resource.

The Ticket

Looking at something more specific to Ireland, Irish Times have really embraced app technology. They’ve released two apps for iPhone this year in the Irish Times News and The Ticket apps. Although The Ticket app is only updated once a week, it has plenty of content to keep you going and can save you the weekly fee of buying the newspaper just to get that section (which i have been prone to in the past). Again this app would be even better on a tablet like the iPad as in it’s current form, it’s all a bit squashed for my liking, but kudos to the Times for embracing this technology.


We’ve all been in that situation. You’re in the middle of a movie and feel the call of nature. If it’s in the cinema, you’ve paid for your ticket and don’t really want to miss anything…but God, you gotta go. With the Run Pee app (which is a watered down – excuse the pun – version of the website), you can see all the bits in the latest movies that are safe to miss. A very useful app altogether, and…it’s free!


This is an obvious choice, i know, but it’s still the quickest way to find info on any film star or movie on your mobile. I find myself regularly going to it to find out actors filmographies and another thing that it is amazing for is listing TV series and their seasons/premiere dates etc. It can be hard to find extensive lists like these elsewhere.

The Must List

This is an app that I came across via an ad on US site, Slate I think. Entertainment Weekly have released it as an iPad app that lists their must see/hear/buy top 10 each week. It’s a really cool app, and very useful for seeing what’s cool and current in the world of entertainment. You can download this on iPhone too and…it’s also free :-)

Rotten Tomatoes

Finally, I’ve included this as a site that I think badly needs to embrace app technology. I’m sure that it’s something that they’re looking into, but they have an amazing community and base of content on Rotten Tomatoes and it’s a site that many people use as a barometer for how good a movie is and whether they’ll bother going to see it. Fingers crossed we’ll be seeing some apps soon!

So, we want to hear your suggestions of apps and resources that I’ve left out here. Where do you get your news, reviews, features and info from? What are your thoughts on my suggestions here? Leave your comments below :-)

Original title and link for this post: Top 10 Social Media Tools Every Movie Buff Should Know

Real-life Twitter retweet bot gets to work at BMW car plant

Posted: 12 Sep 2010 05:07 AM PDT

What we think may well be the first robot to use Twitter has set to work today, armed only with a drywipe pen and a whiteboard.

Twitter is home to lots of retweet bots that automatically repeat certain words or phrases (see our round-up here) but until now these ‘robots’ were just automated scripts. Scribblybot is different.

The work of software engineer Matt Thorne, this industrial robot arm has been set up to write out messages that are sent to it as Twitter DMs. It is writing the messages onto a whiteboard at the BMW Mini car plant in Oxford, UK in front of visitors at an open day today. Those who send a DM will apparently get sent a photo of their tweet written on the board in neat robo-handwriting.

While it might seem like a simple enough task for a robot to write a tweet, we’re sure that lots of complex work has gone on behind the scenes to bring Scribblybot to life. At Thorne says, “I know that this is a completely useless and redundant thing to spend time developing but it's my way of bringing Twitter to real life!”.

The only problem is that we can’t give Scribblybot a test as he would need to be following us in order to send him a DM. Thus far he hasn’t reciprocated our plea for Twitter friendship. That said, he seems to be working - retweeting some of his scribblings onto Twitter.

Thorne promises more photos and a full writeup after today’s event, which runs from 10am to 4pm UK time. For now you can see some photos from Scribblybot’s development on Flickr.

Original title and link for this post: Real-life Twitter retweet bot gets to work at BMW car plant

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