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Google I/O 2014: Your watch and your car are talking about you

Samsung Android Wear WatchToday, it’s Google’s turn to impress the world with news from their developer conference I/O 2014. From games that can be played across multiple devices to an Android Wear watch that automatically unlocks and locks your phone – it’s easy to see why the future of everything is now mobile.

The overarching theme of the conference is connect-ability. Your smartphone talks to your TV. Your TV talks to your tablet. Your watch syncs with the car. It’s crazy. I love technology but I don’t need or want my email to follow me where ever I go! Still, you have to appreciate the thought that went into these upgrades. For example, if you’re wearing a smartwatch like this one from Samsung, you can see your notifications without fishing your phone out of your pocket. You can also see and decline in coming calls. I love that.

Check-in to your hotel room with just a nod: how mobile is changing the travel biz

June is almost over! Have you planned your vacation yet? Did you scout for the best prices online? Check out the hotel with a virtual walk-through site? Download the city’s tourism app for more deals and places to visit? If you’re going to a Disney resort, there are apps that will tell you how long the wait is for any ride so you can make the most of your time!

Digital already changed the way we travel and now mobile is going to change it again.

Look at this exhibit from the BCB Perspectives report “Travel Goes Mobile.”

BCG Mobile Travel

It’s that last part that spooks me. Maybe it’s because I grew up watching Twilight Zone where technology almost always turned on its human operator. I’m not technophobe, on the contrary, I love new tech, but I still get a little lightheaded thinking about where we go from here.

See it. Click it. Buy it. Amazon Fire phone just shortened the purchase funnel

Amazon FireflyAmazon is now in the smartphone biz. Not a huge leap seeing as how Amazon’s original Kindle made ereaders cool and their new generation of tablets is slowly eating up the iPad’s territory. So, an Amazon branded smartphone isn’t as far out as it seems. But a smartphone isn’t a tablet and folks are used to having a wide selection of apps that they’re not going to find on the new Amazon Fire Phone.

What they will find is a nifty new Firefly Button that lets you search for items you’re interested in buying with a single touch.

Here’s the skinny from Amazon:

Size matters: 48 percent of tablet viewing time is spent watching long-form video

Browse Google and you’ll find article after article blaming MTV for the decrease in the American attention span. Instead of watching a single, 60 minute TV show, you’d see 15 to 20 pieces of content, each under 3 minutes. Don’t like what you see on screen? Hang on a minute and something new will take its place.

YouTube is like that, only you don’t have to wait for the video to end, just click, click, click and you can experience 10 programs in just a few minutes. But according to a the Q1 2014 Global Video Index from Ooyala, the attention span of your average video viewer is getting longer and longer.

ooyala Long-form video

Facebook introduces Slingshot, the anti-instant gratification app

welcome to slingshotMost messaging and photo sharing apps are all about communicating faster. Send a message to all of your friends at once! Check the photo out now before it dispears! Forget 3 minutes – a 15 second video is where its at.

Then along comes Slingshot, the second app from the Facebook Creative Labs. Send your friend a photo message and he can. . . can’t. . . see it. . . all he gets is a pixelated blur. In order to reveal the true image, the receiver must send a message back to the sender.

I think they should have called it Volleyball because this back and forth can go on and on until someone drops the ball and gives up. (If you choose to swipe the shot away, it’s gone forever.)

Facebook adds trending videos and games to iPad app sidebar

Facebook’s latest iPad app update is all about keeping visitor engaged longer by putting all kinds of trending and entertaining content in the sidebar.

The top corner will continue to feature birthdays you should have remembered and events you thought you’d attend but probably won’t. Below that you’ll find the trending topics, just like on the website. Click one and you’ll go to a curated list of posts related to the subject. This is how Facebook keeps on top of hot topics like the Game of Thrones finale even if none of your Facebook friends are posting on the subject.

Below that is where it gets interesting.

Facebook iPad Update

The third segment is “My Games” and it includes easy access links to the games you’ve played.

Edelman survey says consumers want their entertainment selfie-style

Entertainment-in-the-Era-of-the-SelfieMe. Me. Me. It’s all about the me! A new survey from Edelman shows that consumers are taking control over what they watch, when and how they watch, rendering the old TV Guide virtually obsolete.

Binge-watching online is up from 86% to 94% here in the US. In China, 99% of respondents said they’ve binge-watched their favorite shows. 72% do it because they simply want to know what happens next. (This is me, binge-watching old seasons of 24). 57% said they do it to feel “caught up” and a handful simply want to avoid being spoiled by friends who have already seen it, so they hop online and get up to speed.