Are we being tracked by MoviePass?

Since the modern age of breakthroughs in science and technology, some people have been rather suspicious of the government’s intention for quite some time now. This is evidently elucidated in the phrase “Big Brother”, who is supposedly watching and spying on our every move. “Big Brother” also commonly refers to the seemingly authoritarian regime as some believe that the government is more involved in our lives than it seems with the help of surveillance ubiquitously. Nonetheless, recent news reveals the actual antagonist in this dynamic that, much to everyone’s surprise, is a movie app. This revelation was disclosed by Mitch Lowe, the CEO of MoviePass, a week earlier. He allegedly spilled the beans about the way the app could track the client’s whereabouts, before and after a movie.

During an Entertainment Finance Forum, Lowe played a part as a keynote speaker, who, interestingly enough, named the title of the speech as, “Data is the New Oil: How will MoviePass Monetize it?”. From the self-explanatory title, it is no wonder that he subsequently took pride in the substantial amount of data and information on clients’ locations even after they have left the theatre. From Lowe’s responses, it seems that the reason for such actions lies in the profit motive, attributable to capitalism, the great motivator.

In another interview that took place over six months ago, Lowe explained his main intentions in retaining this information. He mentioned the possibility of transforming a movie night into a long line of business transactions. In short, with the information on places that the clients’ frequently visit, MoviePass could attempt to promote package deals involving those places in the sale of movie tickets since they now have the statistical evidence of potential patrons.

“The second thing we’re going to do with data… is we think going to the movies is a centerpiece for a lot of other transactions. You know, going to dinner, getting drinks, taking Uber, and we’re going to be working with local merchants around the theaters, and around the malls to drive more people to those businesses. And take a share to drive transactions,” Lowe coherently articulated in the same interview.

In the more recent interview, Lowe apparently suggests a call on commission from other businesses that are profiting from his actions, such as the dining establishments that are recommended by MoviePass. Though attempts to acquire more specifics have been made, no additional comments have been made. All we know now is that MoviePass has the intention to infiltrate the clients’ privacy in order to expand their profit margins.

Should clients be more informed about such a breach in security? Through a thorough reading of the privacy policy of MoviePass, it seems that they only ask for permission to access location once in the selection of a movie theatre. The app proceeds to explain that the need for these data is to further enhance and upgrade the service provided.

Once again, the consumers have become yet another pawn in the capitalist system. As we approach late capitalism, the measures taken by large corporations in order to maximize their profits have gotten more extreme. An unintentional error initiated by the firm could ultimately lead to the disclosure of our confidential information, without a say on our part. This is no longer a simple strategy deployed by a profit-making company, or Lowe for that matter. This is a potentially life-threatening situation that consumers should be cautious of. In this late capitalism era that the United States have come so far to achieve, no longer are things as simple as they seem. Consumers need to learn to filter the information that is presented to them as well as being more astute in performing daily tasks.

Featured Image via MoviePass

Live Streaming Video Comes to Instagram

What was once a niche corner of the internet afforded only to those with low-quality webcams has now blossomed into a booming business that everyone wants a piece of. And now you have another live streaming app to choose: Instagram, if you couldn’t tell from the title.

Following Facebook, Youtube and Periscope, Instagram users (only those in the United States at the moment, an important distinction to make) will now be able to stream up to one hour of live video at a time, and like those previously listed services, Instagram users can like the stream in the form of giving out hearts as well as live commenting.

Instagram flipped the switch today, and users can find the option to stream live from the camera section of the app, which can be accessed by swiping to the right. The app will notify your Instagram friends by displaying a “LIVE” notice on your account, as well as sending out alerts and showing up in the Stories menu.

Instagram rolling out Live Streaming is the next step in the app’s quest to keep parity with the other app giants. After updating the app with a Stories section, much in the vein of Snapchat’s popular offering, Instagram is looking to become the one-stop app for all your social needs.

At the moment there are no confirmed dates for the live streaming ability to be released to Instagram users outside of the United States, but seeing as this is a highly requested feature, you can be all but guaranteed to see Instagram rolling out the update in waves across the world. Live streaming takes quite the toll, so look at this as more of a beta test to see how the app can hold up to the mass of users streaming at once. Look for Instagram to make even more strides in the future.

Google’s New App Sends Your Location

Google has announced the launch of its new application called Trusted Contacts. This will allow close friends and love ones to be able to track your location during times of an emergency.

You will be able to add close friends and family you want to share your location with to Trusted Contacts and they will be updated on your exact whereabouts. If for some reason there’s an emergency, you will be able to share their GPS location with family and friends. There is also a timeframe in which, if you are unable to respond, your location will be automatically sent to your contacts.

If for some reason one of your contacts requests your location and there is nothing wrong, you can deny the request. Trusted Contacts can work if the user’s phone is offline. However, if someone feels that you haven’t been in touch for a while or begin to worry about you, they can request your location and it will be sent to them within five minutes.

Although it should go without saying, the app should be used with care. While you unintentionally may leave the app running, this will open up an opportunity for violent partners or inquisitive companions to have easy access to your location throughout the day. The app also isn’t available for iOS  yet, but is currently downloadable for Android.

The app to Boost Your Stories is Here!

There is no bigger turn off for anyone than telling a funny story whereupon a person utters the degrading phrase: ”Yeah, probably should’ve been there.” Well, those days are over!

If you have never had one of your stories fall flat you are just flat out lying. Some times words just aren’t enough to take it all the way home, and it too is for a reason that the saying “A picture says more than a thousand words” is a cliché. But sometimes a picture wont quiet do the trick.


Plotagon is a new app that allows you the recreate your memorable stories and adventures; even the not-too-funny-to-tell ones. Plotagon animates your stories and creates videos of you experiences.

In the app you can create characters to be in the stories, your friends, yourself, that random guy you met in the subway or who ever the stories may include. The graphic of the app is surprisingly realistic and also has features such as different locations, background music and a register of emotions.

You pick your characters and location and then all you are left to do is write down the story and the app will do the rest, reliving your stories.

To make the experience even more realistic Plotagon has a feature that allows you to record your own voice for the animated version of yourself.

Español: Logo Vectorial de YouTube
Español: Logo Vectorial de YouTube (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You can save your movies in the app, upload them to YouTube and you can even browse other Plotagon-user’s videos. The app is free and is available for iOS.

Facebook Will Allow you to Send Direct Messages to Everyone

Remember the first time you discovered the “other” in messages on Facebook? Most of the content in this folder is spam, but the possibility that someone has tried to contact you in a more personal respect is rather realistic.

Now Facebook has decided to sort the private messages from private users from the filter. This means people you might have no relation to are able to contact you directly in an additional inbox. This extra inbox with messages from non-related users is going to be called “Message Request”.

Besides this being a source for strangers to get in touch, it is also a way of implementing the “Other”-inbox in the Messenger App.

This way messages from someone you are not friends with or have no mutual friends with will be delivered directly in your inbox on your desktop and in the Messenger app.

Now here comes the clever thing about the featuring inbox; you are in charge of letting the sender know that you read the message by having the option to mark it as read, letting the sender know you’ve read the message.

So even if someone you wouldn’t want contact with is messaging you, you can just mark it as unread to keep the secret. That would be an awesome feature for the normal inbox, but weirdly enough, Facebook is convinced, that you would want to talk to or reply whoever of your Facebook friends…

Also Facebook is going to put a lot of effort into eliminating spam from the “Message Request” inbox, but are yet to reveal how this is to be done.

The update will be available sometime this week and Facebook is teasing a lot of new adjustments to the Messenger app as well. Guess we’ll have to wait and see what those are going to be.

Louboutin Announces Their Own App

Christian Louboutin is going beyond fashion and making it easier for you to edit the perfect #ootd for Instagram. Louboutinize is the ultimate photo editing app that easily changes a color or even the texture of a photo with just a touch.

Launched as of August 10, the photo-filtering app is available for iPhone users to download and start editing up. You can upload or take photos straight from the app.

Louboutin put his own personal stamp on the project with a feature that allows you to turn any shoe sole to the iconic red color by simply touching the bottom of your shoe. You can also switch out your own limbs for a famous celebrities’, like model and burlesque icon Dita Von Teese. And if that wasn’t enough, see the world through Louboutin’s nail lacquer crystal bottle.

louboutinizevia Louboutinize by Lounoutin

The app is full of fun features including sound effects. Touch the lightning-bolt button to hear a “bzzz” sound and share your photo to Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram.

The Louboutin brand will also be joining the club and will be sharing some creative photos weekly on their social media platforms.

Don’t worry if the filters seem dull as of now. The French brand will be adding more filters monthly or bimonthly making it the one stop for all your photo-filtering needs. They will also be adding a men’s version of the app sometime in September.

Get your iPhones out and check out what this app is all about.

Ruby by Glow Essential for Tracking Women’s Health

Glow has created a new app called Ruby to help women track their sexual health. Glow has come out with a number of apps geared towards women’s fertility, pregnancy and sexual activity. This app in particular helps women to electronically keep track of their own sexual activity, fertility and helps to track when their menstrual cycle takes place.

Apps similar to this help to make women both sexually aware, giving them the education that is lacking in many school systems. Under the sexual health and trends are options to track your moods and any symptoms you may be experiencing and they can be linked to other health apps that track specific things like sleep and exercise patterns.

The app tracks your cycle while also keeping track of your history and can help predict when you can expect to get your period again. It also gives information such as ovulation cycle and fertility.

What sets this app apart is that it encourages women to talk openly about sexual health and feel comfortable doing so. The app provides accurate information on things such as birth control and sexual activity.

If there was any doubt about the legitimacy of the app, they have also partnered with Bedsider which is an online support group for birth control users from the ages of 18 – 29. It is organized by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.

With their influence, as well as a community of women in all stages of their life, Glow will have information for any and every woman.

According to Techcrunch, Jennifer Tye of Marketing & Partnerships said,

“To offer young women a way to embrace their bodies and better understand their health really drives us.”

Since its launch at the end of July, the app already has 37 ratings that bring it to four and a half stars in the Apple app store.

There are a lot of period and health trackers in the app store, but not many can say that they provide tips for women and a safe forum to discuss it. In the community, women are encouraged to ask questions as well as give their own experiences to those who might be searching for advice.

According to TechCrunch,

“The idea behind Ruby is to provide women, especially the young and sometimes ill-informed with a better sense of self and to help them make informed decisions about their health, birth control and safe sex options.”

Ruby by Glow is one of the three products that the company has. One of the three includes Glow, which specifically tracks ovulation and fertility by allowing women to track their period, moods and symptoms and predicts fertility as well. Similar to Ruby, there is also a community to talk to and gain support from.

According to the iTunes store, Glow has a

“daily health log [that] helps you record over 40 different health signals, including BBT, cervical mucus, sleep, stress, weight, exercise, ovulation calculator and more.”

To download the free Ruby by Glow app, go to

Image: Via Glowing

Apple Pay Now Available in the U.K.

Apple users in the U.K. need not fret because as of Tuesday, Apple Pay was launched for its users.

Until now, this feature had only been launched in the U.S. since October 2014.

The anticipation has been building since a tweet was accidentally released by HSBC UK saying that July 14 would be the official launch date. The tweet was taken down soon after, but not before word spread.

As of now, there are seven banks that participate in Apple Pay: American Express, MBNA, Nationwide, NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland, Santander and Ulster Bank.

A spokesperson from Barclay spoke with Business Insider saying,

“We are really excited about the launch of Apple Pay and can confirm that we will bring Barclay’s debit cards and Barclaycard credit cards to Apple Pay in the future.”

This feature is still only available for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, both in stores and online. The Apple Watch is compatible with the payment method in stores only and the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 only have this feature available online.

To set up, go into the Passbook app, and from there, you can enter your credit card information. Major credit cards being accepted as of now are Visa, MasterCard and American Express.

If the prospect of your phone holding so much personal information about you is daunting, Apple has some reassuring words.

“With Apple Pay, instead of using your actual credit and debit card numbers when you add your card, a unique Device Account Number is assigned, encrypted and securely stored in Secure Element, a dedicated chip in iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch.”

This means that the retailer never actually gets any of your credit card information, and if the system was to ever be hacked, there would be no chance of your cards being compromised.

Using Apple Pay will require you to set up the touch ID feature on your phone. Unlike when you’re making a purchase in the app or music store, Apple Pay requires a thumb print identification as opposed to a password.

Although not all of the larger U.K. companies seem to be eager to participate in Apple Pay as of now, there are still over 250 thousand companies that will take Apple Pay. Food chains such as Starbucks and McDonald’s, drugstores like Boots and gas companies like BP are all interested.

Other companies are offering Apple with in app purchases such as Topshop, Etsy and Zara.

Before users get too excited, Apple Insider has an important piece of information from a report that users should keep in mind.

“Apple Pay Vice President Jennifer Bailey confirmed current point of sale terminal software is capable of processing low cost transactions without verification, though purchases above 20 pounds (31 US dollars) will need software upgrades. Once merchants decide to update their POS systems, the limit is expected to rise up to 30 pounds in September.”

If you don’t see your bank on the list of participating companies, Apple has noted that several others are “coming soon.” This includes Bank of Scotland, First Direct, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, M&S Bank and TSB.

HSBC spokesperson has told BBC that,

“We are working hard to bring this to our customers by the end of July.”

Reports surfaced in May that Apple Pay was in talks about coming to China, but there hasn’t been much else released on the matter since.

Apple Pay will be getting a makeover when the iOS 9 launches this fall.

TechCrunch reported that Passbook will be simply be called “wallet” and that,

“The upgraded app will also allow customers to store loyalty and rewards cards in addition to their payment cards and passes.”

Image: Via Apple

BuzzFeed Launches News App

For a site that was made famous by their online quizzes that determined things like “Which Celebrity Said What?” or “Which Book Character Are You?”, BuzzFeed appears to be doing very well for itself. While these quizzes are fun to take during your lunch break, the outlet has slowly integrated more serious news articles into it.

According to Tech Crunch, “News Apps Editor Stacy-Marie Ishmael joined BuzzFeed last fall, and she told me that she was lured over from the Financial Times (where she was vice president of communities) partly by BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti’s commitment to a ‘distributed strategy.’”

BuzzFeed is integrating itself into the mobile world, with its new app called BuzzFeed News. The app was launched June 18 and has a 3.3 star rating in the Apple store.

BuzzFeed began recruiting users for their Beta Tester in December 2014. The tester launched in the spring and encouraged users to report any and all flaws they might have found when using the app.

According to Nieman Lab, Ishmael said,

“We could have spent six more months polishing the app, but, frankly, I’ve had journalists working on this thing and coming up with push notifications and sending them for long enough that I think we have a pretty good handle on what we’re doing.”

BuzzFeed has a news tab on its website, but this app will make getting your news on the go that much easier. This app is entering the mobile news competition, joining the likes of the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

While BuzzFeed news has less notoriety than the more prominent news outlets, but this app doesn’t charge. When you open the app it has the top three stories which include one eye catching line about what the topic of the article is.

The app is set up like a Facebook feed, where users can scroll through to see the most recently published articles in science, technology and medicine. Each article has a “share” button where you can post it to your Facebook or Twitter, open it in your browser, or send it in a message.

Each post either has bullet points on what is known about the subject or quotes from whoever was involved with the incident.

Ishamel told Business Insider,

“We work extremely closely with the breaking news desk, and the major section editors, all day long.”

If you don’t want to keep checking the app all of the time to see if there have been updates on a story you’ve been following, BuzzFeed has a solution for that.

Under “My Alerts” users can allow for push notifications, and select interests from the top trending topic that day, and other categories like sports, entertainment or U.S. Politics.

Along with the app came a newsletter which catered specifically to the desires of individual readers.

According to Nieman Lab,

“BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith told us last July – before anyone was even hired for the app – that the newsletter would be a place to test out ideas and develop a tone for the app and that’s been the case.”

There are newsletters for movies, animals, parents, beauty and more. When signing up for email, each of the topics are accompanied with how many times a week it will be sent out. Alongside the app, you will have all your interests accessible through one outlet.

Android users need not fret, the app will be available for them in the fall. To get involved with all the exciting updates that BuzzFeed is making, go to or visit their new app in the Apple store.

Yelp Partners with Shoptique Offering a New Way to Shop

Yelp is making it easier to shop till you drop with their new partnership with to give their shoppers a new way to  “shop cool local boutiques directly on Yelp.”

Yelp’s new platform launched Wednesday May 27 and allows you to shop at your local boutiques right from your phone. The app will give reviews and highlights from the Yelp Community as their usual service does, but on top of that now for each boutique there will be an inventory, allowing you to browse through all the clothing and even purchase and get them shipped to you, all through the Yelp app.

Local stores that can be found now are Olive & Bette’s in New York City and y&i Clothing Boutique in San Francisco.


via Yelp

If you are not the online shopper type, the app still gives you the upper hand on the boutique’s inventory to see if it is worth giving a visit or help if you are searching for something in particular. Also, if you are ever worried an item might get snatched before you can make it, you can always purchase it through the app and select pickup.

According to Yelp, with their partnership with , it gives them insight to “the best local finds and hidden gems across the country.”

The best thing about it is now you do not have to be a local to enjoy the best local shops. You can live in New York and shop at the best hole in the wall boutiques in San Francisco.

Thus far, 200 businesses are featured on the app as of now, but “thousands” more are said to launch by the end of the year.

“We’re excited to deliver more value, convenience, a top-notch e-commerce experience, and maybe some sassy summer sandals to Yelp users!” says Yelp.


Shhh…The Secret’s Out, of Business – Secret App Shuts Down

Shortly over a year after its launch, the Secret app is shutting down.

Secret is based in the Silicon Valley, and is an anonymous sharing app where users could share their secrets without being identified. The anonymity appealed to many tech-savy users, as have similar apps like Yikyak and Whisper.

According to, the co-founders of the company had met up with Juicy Campus founder Matt Ivester in order to avoid having their app have the same downfall as Juicy Campus, but it ultimately did.

To the credit of the app developers, they had spoken at length with other apps and websites that had tried to do the same thing, calling the lessons “invaluable”.

“But the service was criticized for allowing people to defame others while remaining anonymous. It was banned in Brazil for promoting cyber-bullying, “said

In its prime, the app did farely well. The app launched in February 2014, and raised $35 million for funding. Also, just a month after it had launched, there were announcements being made that celebrities like Ashton Kutcher and Joe Montana were making investments in the app. said that Secret had been amongst the top-20 social apps in the App store only one week into when it first launched. Their ranking dropped significantly only 10 months into its launch.

The app had a large range of features like being able to chat one-on-one with users, showing or hiding that you were a friend of another user, and the ability to see posts from different categories such as city or school.

From the beginning the goal with this app had been for people to share information with users in their area. Ultimately, this was not the case with the app, and cyberbullying has been attributed to one of the reasons the app is shutting down.

The app had hoped to create honest conversations on various topics, giving people the freedom to not feel judged by their peers.

On, the blogging site for all things Secret, Co-Founders David Byttow and Chrys Bader made a post back in August 2014 expressing how they would not tolerate hateful speech, bullies, pornography or information that would be considered too person like contact information.

The problems faced by the app are similar to ones that many social media with anonymous qualities, people are going to be rude, as they are able to hide behind a screen with little to no repercussions. Yikyak has tried to prevent this with features like the down vote, but it is unavoidable with such a large forum with so many people having access to it.

In the past, the app tried to warn others about being cautious of what they post, but it seemed to fall on deaf ears.

The app even gave users the choice to

Byttow wrote, “Unfortunately, Secret does not represent the vision I had when starting the company, so I believe it’s the right decision for myself, our investors and our team.”

With so many anonymous sharing websites and apps have met the same downfall, can this type of thing successfully exist in the world we live in?

Byttow went on to say that he plans to discuss on the blog the ups and downs of the app. This may service useful for developers in the future.

“I believe in honest, open communication and creative expression, and anonymity is a great device to achieve it. But also it’s the ultimate double-edge sword, which must be wielded with great respect and care,” wrote Byttow.

The company plans to return money to all those who have made investments in the company.


Featured image Via Sunset blog

Uber is Becoming an Online Store Too?

Uber has been helping people find quick and easy rides in the city for cheaper than a taxi driver, now the same founder is creating a new shopping app.

Uber founder Garrett Camp developed Uber; a service that detects an Uber driver through GPS systems, and it became an instant success earning him $5.3 billion.

Camp has developed a new app that he believes is the next big thing; It is called Operator. This app will connect consumers with retailers to buy and sell items through their mobile device.

The customer will take a picture of a product and upload it to the app, with the help of GPS systems; the app will route the customer to a store selling similar shoes where she can either sell or buy new ones. On the other side will be the salesperson to connect with the customer on pricing and show them their inventory.

Going to the store will not be necessary anymore as the customer can make the purchase right through the app and have it shipped.

“Our goal is to help people find the right product within the right store and to do it interactively,” says Camp, “It’s like Siri, but with a person on the other end.”

Operator will connect consumers with stores and merchants. Consumers will be able to browse through an archive of items and connect with the merchant whose item they like. The merchants can even look at the consumers profile to see their style by looking at past purchases and pictures of items they prefer.

Buying items on the app is as simple as a “Buy it now” button.

Operator is free to use so far and does not charge any fees. The only thing to pay for is the items being purchased.

Camp has not said how he plans on making money on his new idea but he has now put himself into the busy e-commerce world.

To stand up to other online mass sellers like Amazon and eBay, he has to ensure a great deal of traffic on the app. It is also more expensive to run then these competing websites because of its operating feature that guides customers to their product.

Another downside according to Reuters may be a retail store’s unwillingness to participate because of the lack of time they have to respond to so many customers on the app.

Co-founder and chief executive officer Robin Chan says, “We wondered, Why can’t you press an app and there’s a network of human beings that help you?”

Operator is said to run in New York late this spring according to Chan and Camp. It is still not known what merchants will be involved as it seems they are running with the idea and planning on making a business later.

“If there’s real transaction volume going through this, we will find ways to build a business on it,” says Josh Elman of Greylock Partners who gave $10 million to fund Operator.

Camp and Chan’s only concern with the app is the deliveries. Right now it is separate from the app and is something the store and customer work out on their own.

But they have also thought of this as a way to merge Camp’s two companies by having Uber drivers make the deliveries.

“There are many options and scenarios where the companies can cooperate,” said Chan.

Chan believes their idea will be worth $100 billion. While Camp keeps modest saying, “I can never predict these things. I couldn’t predict the success of Uber. Let’s put it this way: It looks more like Uber than a traditional social media site.


Get Rewarded for Shopping: Shopkick Shows You How

Imagine walking into your favorite store (from Macy’s to Target), and getting rewarded just for walking inside. It sounds like one of those despised too-good-to-be-true scenarios, right? Well, over 7.5 million Shopkick users have done just that. With over 150 brands and 15 retail partners under its ever-growing belt, Shopkick rewards consumers with “kicks” for walking into stores, scanning items, and making purchases with their synced credit/debit card. A kick, is kind of like a rewards point. You redeem kicks for gift cards and specialty items, “from a Starbucks gift card (1,250 kicks), to an iPad, (125,000 kicks)” says

Shopkick’s site claims that its app “drive[s] incremental foot traffic to [its] partner stores… supports brand equity and competitive differentiation…attract[s] high-value demographics… [and allows for the development of] long-term relationships with consumers.” As for the brands that back it, Shopkick states that it helps out these brands by “expos[ing] consumers to new products and brand extensions… driv[ing] consumers to products on the shelf, and garner[ing] consumer insights at the moment of product engagement.”

Via Shopkick
Via Shopkick

According to Nielsen, Shopkick is the number one shopping app in usage (with an average of 2 hours and 37 minutes), as well as the number four app in overall active reach with ten percent (right behind major power-players like Amazon, eBay, and Groupon).

But how does Shopkick generate revenue? Well, whenever a “Shopkicker” uses the app at a Shopkick-sponsored store, Shopkick receives a fee. Last year, Shopkick “grossed an estimated 45% on revenue of $26.3 million… [and] sales have doubled every year,” according to Forbes.

And, what retailers and brands love most about Shopkick? It gets customers shopping. “The conversion rates are very high… anywhere from 20% to 95%. That’s the opposite of online shopping, where conversion rates are terrible,” Shopkick co-founder and CEO Cyriac Roeding told Forbes.

Will Shopkick change the way America, nay, the world, shops? Roeding has a feeling it just might. “[Shopping] will be almost like a minivaction,” he said to Forbes.

Now that would be an app worth downloading.

Photo Via Shopkick

Millennials Love Venmo

Known for their tech-savvy ways, Millennials have found a way to forgo hard cash in turn for mobile payments amongst themselves. Ebay’s mobile-payment app, Venmo allows users to wire money back and forth on-the-go by linking the app up to their credit cards and bank accounts. While purchasing the app is free, Venmo makes money by generally docking 3% of the transaction from the sender. This somewhat social app has blossomed this quarter, handling $316 million in mobile payments, up 62% from the last quarter.

In an age group that constantly finds themselves splitting tabs in social settings, Venmo solves the problems for all those annoying friends who just so happen to “never have any cash” on them to pay for anything from drinks to gas to cab rides.

According to Ron Shevlin, a senior analyst at Aite Group LLC, people exchange about $1 trillion in the U.S. each year, and while the mobile-wallet hasn’t quite come to dominate the market in any way, as it is still in the early adopter phase, it is likely to grow in popularity due to its convenience, ease, and speed.

Ebay’s CEO, John Donahoe, pointed out the apps “explosive growth on college campuses” especially. The social community of college campus atmospheres helps to foster a rapid adoption of this new payment method, because people are pressured to hop on the bandwagon, as it offers proof and reminders of who has paid who back and for what. A 21-year-old investment firm worker in New York, Allan Kang, told Bloomberg: “The logistical issue of it is: If I don’t use this app, I’m never going to be able to pay my friends back.”

Older teens and twenty-somethings are paving the way to popularize a quick and easy payment method that triumphs  over hard cash or checks. Just like the Millennials who drove out landlines and desktops, you may as well start saying goodbye to your dollar bills.

via facebook/venmo
via facebook/venmo



Timista App Looks to Change the Concierge Game

When looking for an app to help you find something to do, there are hundreds that are already available. That’s why the makers of Timista really think they have something unique on their hands. The app goes one step further than just recommending or making a reservation for an activity. Timista, the company claims, it acts as a personal and pocket sized concierge service capable of creating a full night of entertainment.

Say a user is looking for a dinner, a movie, and then drinks with friends. Users punch in the activities desired, and then Timista makes recommendations based on availability, proximity, and location. It even takes into account how long it takes to travel from activity to activity. This is what makes the app stand out from its slew of competitors.

Co-founder Pierre-Jean Camillieri began working on the app in 2012, and quit his full time job with Apple in 2013 to put all his effort into Timista. He explained, as reported by TechCrunch, that he and co-founder Julien Bieren could not find a truly great answer for the common problem of what to do on any given night. They decided that since nothing else out there did exactly what they were looking for, they built the service themselves.

“We found that there was no good way to answer a very common question: ‘We are free on Saturday, what can we do?’ in the same way a real concierge could,” says Camillieri, explaining the inspiration for Timista. “That’s what our smart planner app does. You just state your ‘constraints’ (when and where you are free) and it lets you curate optimized timelines of social events in London.”

As of now it seems the app services are applicable only in London, but that hasn’t stopped the founders from filing patents on their algorithms. Still the app has access to over 10,000 London based events, and its creators expect to expand as soon as possible. There is also potential for the app to be sold B2B, as a free feature that hotels could offer their customers upon check in. As of now the app only has 5,000 users. But that number is expected to grow quickly .



Mamabear App Monitors Children’s Social Media Activity

There’s a new app hitting the market that should make a lot of parents happy—their kids, though, not so much. The app is called Mamabear, and it is set to revolutionize the parent snooping game. Both the child and parent download the app on their smartphone, and then the parent will be able to monitor all of their child’s social media activity. In addition, the app will be able to track location, receive geographically-fenced alerts and even alert the parents to when their new driver exceeds predetermined speed limits.

Co-founder Robyn Spoto had initially began the app as a location-based loyalty platform. Soon, however, the model was adapted after the continued outreach from parents looking for help in monitoring their children’s smartphone activity. Between Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and dozens of other social media platforms, protecting kids from strangers has become practically impossible. Spoto and her co-founders have seemingly found the answer.

Mamabear has recently raised $1.4 million dollars from investors. Thanks to angel investors Tom Cardy, Steve MacDonald and Stuart Kime, Mamabear will soon be able to begin its revenue-generating subscription service. Currently the app has 120,000 installations with 100,000 parents actively using the service. Spoto and her developers have also started exploring integrating a family chat within the app. It also comes with 911 features and a way for kids to send a “come get me” message if they need attention immediately.

Being a mom herself, Spoto has acknowledged that getting teenagers on board when they have already had a smartphone for years could pose a challenge to parents. She suggests that the app be the first instillation on the first smartphone a child receives. That way the child will grow up used to the monitor. Still, the app is not meant to be used as a purely “big-brother” device. Spoto sees the app as a way for families to engage with one another on a digital level.

Post Big Catches with the FishBrain App

FishBrain is a new smart phone app on Google Play and the App Store that provides users with statistics from various nearby fishers to hunt down the best fishing areas. Anglers log their fishing success on the app, and the data pop up on your smart phone. Users pick their favorite fishing waters to keep an eye on catches in the area. The app enables them to find a new place to fish or to rotate waters accordingly.

Various factors, like wind direction and water temperature, can change when and where fish choose to bite. FishBrain lends a hand with an extensive fishing database. According to Tech Crunch, a plentitude of statistics, including air humidity, moon phase, fish species, bottom depth, water visibility and catch depth are available through a monthly or yearly subscription, which cost $5.99 and $39.99, respectively.

The app already has hundreds of posts in Australia, Africa and various countries in Europe in addition to the United States. One reviewer that rated FishBrain in Google Play with five stars suggested having a fishing contest with a friend that is out of state.

Complaints about FishBrain are standard fare for apps; crashes within a few minutes of opening it and bugs while posting are fairly common. Still, there is room for improvement with updates.

Automatically gathered data via fishbrain



Moment App Tracks and Curbs iPhone Usage

“Moment” is a new app that exposes a developing problem, smart phone addiction. Not only can it tell users how often they are on their phone, but it can tell them where they use it.

The Moment app is free to start out, but to make much progress users will eventually have to pay $1.99. Users may find it to be a small price to pay when its purpose is to reconnect them with people. The app enables users to set limits to track their daily usage, and it blasts a warning when they are at the edge of their set limit and again when they have blown through their daily ration of smartphone use.

The free version of the app does not set hard limits; until you pay, all you can do is view usage statistics. Developer Kevin Holesh gave up some background on the idea in an open letter on Moment‘s Web page:

“I built Moment to help nudge me in the right direction by automatically tracking my daily iPhone use and giving me a warning when I’m on it for too long. When I first started using Moment, I was spending 75 minutes or more on my phone every single day. I currently have my daily limit set to 40 minutes, so after 40 minutes on my iPhone for the day, I get an annoying buzzer telling me to look away from the glowing box in my hands. That’s a good amount of time for me right now, and I’m working on improving that further.”

Phone users all create unbreakable excuses to gaze at their smart phones every few minutes. “I’m checking job emails,” “The babysitter’s watching my daughter” or “Really, I’m just checking work emails.”

Connecting through social media may seem great, but too much of anything is bad. People need a reason to diminish their phone usage. The Moment app just might do the trick.

Moment is not available for Android yet. Users who leave their email address on will be among the first to know when it does become available.


via moment
via moment