Founded by Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Microsoft, the Data Transfer Project, revealed its plans for an open source data portability platform any online service can join.
While many companies already let you download your information, that’s not very helpful if you can’t easily upload and use it elsewhere — whether you want to evacuate a social network you hate, back up your data somewhere different, or bring your digital identity along when you try a new app.
The DTP’s tool isn’t ready for use yet, but the group today laid out a white paper for how it will work.
Why it’s hot
DTP means users are free to choose whichever app best competes for their data and attention.
A Google search for “men’s dress shirts” yields a list of ads and results from the most expected brands. But if you install a new Chrome extension called DoneGood, you’ll also get a lesser-known suggestion: Tuckerman, a startup that makes organic cotton shirts in a union factory in Massachusetts.
DoneGood uses independent certifications, from B Corps to Rainforest Alliance, to screen companies, along with independent research.
The company also makes an app that lets customers search for companies more directly, by choosing a product and selecting values–like “women-owned” or “green.” DoneGood piloted an early version of the app in Boston while the startup was incubated at the Harvard Innovation Lab. Both the extension and app were released nationally on November 28.
Why it’s hot
I think people always want to make ethical choices when shopping for things like good and clothing, but lack of knowledge and price point are the biggest hurdles. Extensions and apps like this, that can alleviate one of those issues, is very helpful for people looking to make a change.
Can’t tell the difference between a machine screw and a connector screw? Don’t worry, Amazon just added an AR feature to their app to identify one from the other.
Part Finder uses the AR capabilities of the iPhone to measure the depth and width of the part. You must line it up next to a penny and on white paper, so you can’t identify the part anywhere. Some people have reported that even when aligned on white paper, the technology takes a few tries to get the correct result.
Why it’s hot:
People are always building stuff. You have to build that Ikea couch but they forgot to include the right number of screws? You can take a picture of it and Amazon, with Prime shipping, will mail it you in two days.
Lowe’s Innovation Labs is using virtual reality as a fun and safe way to let potential customers play with power tools in their stores. Their latest installation involves a hedge trimmer–actual blades removed, of course.
The experience was built on HTC Vive VR, with accurate visual approximation and the real vibrating feel of trimming hedges. It’s also gamified, giving out gold stars for a job well done.
The pilot test across several cities has seen great success. People’s confidence with the product increased 127% after the experience.
Why It’s Hot
This is a smart way to help people test drive products that would normally be difficult to evaluate before purchasing. It also helps people get comfortable with tools that might otherwise intimidate them.
United Airlines started to face a challenge when they moved all of their flights from JFK to Newark – New Yorkers do not like to fly from Newark because they considered it too far away. To help with this problem, the airline created a data-centric campaign using digital displays on taxis to give live companions of travel times to JFK and Newark.
They worked with Verifone (tech company) to create the technology and Curb (taxi-hailing app) to provide real-time travel time estimates to each airport based on the cars location and traffic.
As a result, more than 810,000 new passengers chose to fly out of EWR during the period the campaign ran.
Why it’s hot: Price and convenience are key drivers that influence consumer decisions when it comes to purchasing flight tickets. United Airlines’ campaign cleverly used live data and met a key consumer pain point – convenience.
Girl Scouts is launching 30 new STEM-related badges including space exploration, cyber security, mechanical engineering & robotics.
The badge rollout announced Tuesday comes at a tense time for Girl Scouts: Boy Scouts of America started accepting girls into its programs last year in a shift toward inclusivity, which the Girl Scouts outwardly opposed.
The new programs, which include programs for multiple age groups, are designed to address a growing science and technology workforce and help girls fill a leadership gap, especially in STEM fields. For girls in 11th and 12th grades, some programs are designed to tackle the college admissions and financial aid application process.
Additionally, Leadership Journeys titled “Think Like a Programmer” and “Think Like an Engineer,” allow girls to pursue their own projects in their communities based on skills they’ve learned. One troop in Colorado developed an app, Daily Daisies, that sends positive messages to high school students’ phones each morning to encourage positive self-esteem during what can be a stressful time of life.
Girl Scouts are learning how to proactively address some of the foremost challenges of today while also building skills that will set them up for a lifetime of leadership.
Why it’s Hot: These new Girl Scout programming will build skills and encourage interest in STEM areas that young girls are not typically encouraged to explore outside Girl Scouting. Sparking interest in these areas from a young age can lead young girls to pursue STEM classes and careers and potentially reduce the gender gap in the most prominent, emerging fields.
“A NEW ROBOTIC grabber wants to be the very best, like no sampler ever was. To catch deep-sea creatures is its real test; to release them safely is its cause.” A real-life Poké Ball with a mission now exists. Scientists have created a gentle 12-sided robot that’s about the size of a bowling ball that will be unleashed to crawl the dark depths of the ocean… for science! This new bot can “safely catching swimming jellyfish and shape-shifting octopuses in water more than 2,000 feet deep”
The core purpose of this soft new bot is to rid the harmful outdated ways of capturing and studying the mysterious depths. Traditional methods included trawling nets that end up killing specimens and basically annihilating soft specimens. “Squishy Fingers” was first born in 2014 by Gruber and Wood with the purpose of collecting and handling the delicate organisms.
Why it’s hot?
It’s so deep. This bot is able to descend more than 2,000 feet into the abyss collect, scan, and release organisms safely without harming them and without completely disrupting their ecosystem. This is an incredible solution to further the studies of the deep dark blue and not kill all the creatures!
AT&T AUDIENCE Network created a VR escape advergame for their new show Mr. Mercedes. The game is all told from a first person perspective, putting the user in the shoes of the characters in the show to discover clues and find a way to escape.
The game incorporates footage directly from the set of Season 2 making it look awesome and is a great tease for watching the show. That along with it being a VR escape game, a genre that doesn’t have a flooded market, yet for gamers makes this advergame really stands out with the gamer audience.
“Escape before time runs out or be trapped in Brady’s lair forever! And, whatever you do, don’t let him inside your head.”
Why it’s Hot:
Great way to have gamers find out about the show that were unaware of it previously
Instead of stressing over impending death after searching online about a mild cough, a new self-diagnostic app called K Health wants to offer users relevant and accurate information based on data and health records of other people who suffered similar symptoms.
The Israel-based company uses machine learning to compare 1B+ medical charts, labs and doctors’ notes to show people how people like them dealt with the same symptoms. (Essentially, it’s a crowdsourced Web MD). “With K, we use real data from millions of people so [users] discover and understand the medical outcomes of people like [them] and have informed conversations with providers about treatment options,” said Allon Bloch, the co-founder and CEO of K Health.” It’s about time people had unfettered access to trustworthy health information backed by real doctors as opposed to the generic and confusing information found online.”
It can also help users book appointments with physicians who already have HIPPA compliant access to the platform’s K report through partnerships with local providers, now available in New York.
Why it’s hot: This is just another example of giving people real-time access to health information through easy chat functionalities, that is crowdsourced from credible information, and ultimately connects them with the professional care they need.
AccorHotels launched something it calls the Seeker Project, a program that uses your heartbeat and instinctual reactions to different scenery to show you places its algorithm thinks you may want to visit.
There’s a website version anyone can try, but the whole thing started when a number of influences were invited to Toronto and “asked to wear a headband to monitor their alpha and gamma brain waves and wrist cuffs that measured their heart rate and skin response. The experience then determined whether that person was an introvert or extrovert, sought tranquility or adventure, or preferred modern to rustic environments.
The biometric data was then processed through a custom algorithm and produced into a psychographic illustration and the visitors received recommendations for dream destinations based on their personal data.”
It provided results looking something like the ones I got below:
“You are craving a chance to reconnect with the world in a warm destination. You have a preference for classic and traditional surroundings and need to recharge in a spa getaway. You feel most at home in the serenity of the outdoors. A romantic getaway is what your heart wants.”
Why It’s Hot:
We can think we know what we want, and go after it, but how do we know there isn’t something else we really want? Using unconscious signals to make suggestions will allow them to help us uncover things we may never have known otherwise. Granted, it’s not revealing serious information like other biometric products we’ve seen recently. But, it’s interesting to see what’s possible now that we’re able to tap into biometric data in new ways.
Bumped is an app-based stock brokerage and loyalty program that turns shoppers into shareholders. In other words, when a user spends money on a brand associated with Bumped, they are rewarded with a fraction of shares in the brand. Some of the brands already participating include Chipotle, Target, Dunkin’ Donuts, Starbucks, Netflix, Kroger, and Shake Shack
How it works:
Download the Bumped app and create an account linked to your debit or credit card
Select your preferred brands from a list of participating companies (only publicly traded companies)
Spend money on products from your preferred brands and build small stock positions in them
Users can then decide to either sell or hold their stock as it accumulates or depreciates in value
After a purchase, for example, a user receives a push notification with a message such as, ‘You just got Bumped 9 cents for buying coffee from Starbucks’
Currently, users receive an average of 1 to 5% of a single share per purchase. However, this depends on the brand because the brand decides its share reward percentage, while Bumped handles the logistics of buying the shares from capital markets.
Note: Bumped does not charge consumers any fees for its services and is a registered stock broker-dealer in the US. The service is still in beta testing so you must join a waitlist to get in (which I am currently on – https://bumped.com/)
Why it’s hot:
Not only is this app getting more of the population to take part in the stock market (especially us 20 somethings) but it is also building stronger relationships between the consumer and brands they love. By feeling they have partial ownership of the brand, they are more likely to advocate on behalf of the brand.
The Ministry of Technology and Communications in Colombia has partnered with MullenLowe Bogota to create My Line, a voice assistant tool powered by Google, that helps residents in remote areas gain access to internet information.
In Colombia, many people in remote regions can’t access the internet. The majority of communities also don’t have laptops or smartphones, although most do have a legacy phone or a landline.
For example: With My Line, Colombian residents can dial 6000913 and use their voice to search for simple queries. For example, what’s the weather going to be like today? Or, what ingredients does the Ajiaco soup have?
Why it’s hot
By investing in My Line, the ministry is showing the country that it is investing in the entire region and population, not just the businesses and people in the country’s cities.
At the annual I/O developers conference in May, Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced that users now have six additional options for their Assistant’s voice, one voice of which is John Legend. Google Assistant has now rolled out their a creative UI that allows users to pick a voice by color. You tap on the color associated with a given voice which Google says they chose at random, and then you listen to a sample of the voice and select from there.
Why It’s Hot: Not only is Google Assistant offering a range of male and female voices, they’re using an intentionally vague selection mechanism (color) as opposed to more traditionally gendered names or even just the labels “male” and “female”. This is a big improvement in equalizing the traditionally VERY gendered area of tech assistant voices, where almost all assistants are given female-sounding voices and names (Siri, Alexa, etc). Google Assistant itself had only a female voice until late 2017, when the option for a male voice was rolled out.
The justification often used for this systemic sexism is that studies show that both men and women choose and trust female voices more. The WSJ recently cited two studies that both found men and women find female voices “welcoming and warm” – the only exception being when the voices are teaching them about computers, in which case male voices are preferred. Female voices are especially desired when giving love and relationship advice.
Using the results of these studies, which simply reflect the ingrained misogyny in our society, to justify having ONLY female voices is lazy at best. So by giving users a range of voices, plus a vague selection system to choose them from, is a great step from Google toward allowing users to choose their voice without as much overt gendered signaling.
Hinge, the dating app that sets up friends of friends, unveiled a new feature called “Most Compatible” that utilizes a Nobel Prize-winning algorithm.
The algorithm ranks Hinge members by their preferences, pairing each member off with the member they would theoretically prefer most. The ‘Most Compatible’ recommendations appear simultaneously for both parties and disappear after 24 hours. To make these pairings, the app learns a user’s preferences through their liking and passing activity and uses that to pair them with a match whose preferences best align.
The method utilizes the Gale-Shapley algorithm, which was developed 56 years ago to solve ‘the stable marriage problem.’ The algorithm traditionally has individuals rank potential partners by level of preference and cycle through proposals and rejections until each individual is with the partner they prefer most (who isn’t already engaged). In the Hinge app, the algorithm is used to avoid endless browsing and increase success. And it seems to work: the new feature is 8x more likely to result in dates and the company saw a 400% increase in user activity after eliminating the standard ‘swipe’ feature.
Why It’s Hot: Although some users are nervous that their discovery will be limited, this introduction of most compatible matches will only make the process more seamless for users and could possibly become the new standard for dating apps and replace the classic swipe method.
Nike unveiled its new concept store, Melrose by Nike, on Melrose Avenue in LA. Everything about it, including its location and the products it stocks, is determined by how people in the area interact with the brand.
The idea is to blend the physical and digital shopping experience. Everything about the store is designed to work with the Nike Plus app. As soon as you enter the geo-fenced area, you start getting special deals on the app. If they think you’d be interested in a product they have on hand, whether you’ve specified it or not, they’ll reserve it for you in your size. All you have to do is access one of the many lockers in the store. If you see apparel you like, you scan the code, and a salesperson will come to you with it in your size.
Why it’s hot:
Brick and mortar business has grown stale. By blurring the line between digital and physical shopping, the customer will have a more personalized experience.
Clear, the company that lets people skip the TSA pre-check lines at airports, has announced it is teaming up with Major League Baseball and Tickets.com to introduce biometric ticketing at participating ballparks in 2019. A pilot program will arrive at select venues later this season.
The partnership will make use of the API of MLB’s ticketing technology company, Tickets.com. Clear members can link their profiles with their MLB.com accounts, entering Comerica Park or Yankee Stadium or AT&T Park with just the tap of a finger. There is also potential for more advanced tech like facial recognition. Lines would certainly move faster if all you had to do was walk right in!
The company is also planning to pilot biometric concessions in the state of Washington, meaning instead of getting carded for beer, fans can simply show a finger to prove their age. Clear is already at 13 stadiums across the nation, and while it charges air passengers to make use of the service, it will be free for sports fans.
Why Its Hot
Anything that makes lines move faster is ok by me! Right now, tickets on your phone is about as advanced as it gets, so it will be interesting to see how quickly new forms of tech can catch on.
Uber has teamed up with PayPal-owned Venmo to let people pay for rides and food via UberEATS with the funds in their Venmo account. According to the companies, more than six million payments mentioned Uber in the last year. The integration will also enable people to easily split the cost of food orders and rides with friends within the Uber app.
“Adding Venmo as a way to pay within Uber and Uber Eats furthers our mission to provide a seamless way to pay for the services that matter most to our customers,” PayPal COO Bill Ready said in a statement.
For Uber, this partnership is a way to further differentiate itself from its U.S. rival Lyft. Though, this is not an exclusive partnership, so Venmo could also team up with Lyft for payments. For Venmo, this is a way for the service to become more ubiquitous as it faces competition from Zelle, a bank-backed mobile payments service that’s on track to outpace Venmo in number of users sometime this year.
Within the Uber app, once you select Venmo as a payment option, you get directed to the Venmo app.
The integration will officially go live in “the coming weeks.”
Xfinity (to promote its mobile carrier service) recently unleashed a suite of 6-second pre-roll ads to show customers of their competitors exactly how much money a YouTube video they watch costs them in data.
The company says it’s tailoring the ads based on users’ carrier (AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon), and the type of video they’ve chosen to watch, making it hyper-relevant to each viewer.
Why It’s Hot:
It’s not just advertising, but utility. If anyone you know can tell you how much it costs them to use data for different applications or purposes, they’re much more clued in than the rest of us. But more importantly, it’s intended to be personalized to each user, further signaling that the future of advertising (and products) are truly individualized.
Target has a secret app called Studio Connect that allows for a select group of customers, personally invited by the retailer, to participate in the brand’s product development process. The platform’s interface is similar to Instagram. While brands such as Everlane have used the social media platform to host an invite-only community, Target takes this consumer-loyalty initiative in-house.
SVP of product design and development at Target Julie Guggemos explains, “Studio Connect enables our designers to interact with guests at any point while developing products, encouraging conversations and adding a level of flexibility to the formal feedback process.”
A recent study shows that consumers are more inclined to trust brands that encourage them to be a part of the R&D process, and 79% of consumers expect brands to show how much they value customer insights. Through its use of a familiar interface, Target is able to build a community with consumers outside of the purchase stage of the customer journey. For example, When Target was creating tee shirt designs for Mother’s Day, consumers were able to provide slogan ideas via the app within 24 hours of the retailer’s inquiry.
Why it’s hot: Although this isn’t a net-new tactic for a company to implement, it is a step in the right direction for Target to further understand their consumers and develop the products they want and need.
Hate those terrible, ugly earbuds that came with your iPhone? Wish there was a better way to carry those things around without getting the wires tangled in your pants pocket? Well now there’s Swings Bluetooth earring headphones. You’re welcome, society.
Not mentioned in the pitch is that those wireless earbuds are really easy to lose. The Swings can help with that. Plus, there’s an opportunity to promote brands such as baseball teams or shoe brands with a logo on the face of the dangling part.
For people without pierced ears, there could also be a clip-on version.
A new piece from The Verge questions whether our approach to trolls online has been wrong all along. The article makes a convincing argument: by refusing to engage with trolling behavior, are we as brands and people doing the internet and society at large a huge disservice?
It all harkens back to Cliff Pervocracy’s analogy of the “missing stair,” where everyone works around the obvious dangers of a situation because they are so used to “dealing with it” by outright ignoring it. If someone speaks up about the danger, they are dismissed. Why complain when you can “just hop over” the missing stair? But on a systemic level, it all adds up to something so much more than a mere missing stair. For many people on the internet — especially women, people of color, and the LGBTQ community — it is an entire broken staircase, full of loose nails, jutting floorboards, and impossible leaps. And there are so many others who don’t notice it because they either get to use the elevator or are already on the top floor.
Not only does this sort of ignorance function as a kind of tacit permission, but it also ignores the inherent threat of the troll’s true intent. What the troll, the stalker, and the abuser really want out of the situation is to feel powerful and in control. And they will not stop until they feel it. Therein lies the most horrible aspect of the “don’t feed” mantra: rather than doing anything to address the trolls, the more tangible effect is to silence the victim and the reality of their abuse, or worse, to blame them for it. For far too many who promoted this idea, the true goal was silence, to avoid facing what is happening and the impossible responsibility of it.
Of course, there are the one-offs that do simply go away when ignored. But the big picture is complex and worrisome. Although brands and companies play a small role, there’s clearly a continuing need to set and enforce boundaries about what conduct is acceptable and what is not.
The powers that be in social media can’t just make it about who is saying bad words, try to algorithm their way out of the problem, or play every side in the name of “fairness” when it leaves so many of us to the wolves. They have to make an ethical choice about what they really believe and what ideology they want to represent moving forward. Because they cannot reap the reward of what they have built without taking on the responsibility and the cost of it, too.
Why it’s hot: We talk a lot about brands and their values. Those values need to translate to social media policies and general online rules of engagement wherever these brands have presence. “Don’t feel the trolls” as a blanket statement may dismiss winning opportunities to stand for something.
When it comes to making Christmas wish lists, children tend to favor the must-have toys such as my little pony, toys based on their favorite shows or technologically advanced gadgets. To identify what precisely these in-demand toys of the Christmas season would be, CHE Proximity in Australia monitored search data, retailer purchase data and toy sales predictions. The next step was to use this insight to remind parents (or anyone else buying a gift for children) that Lego is a versatile toy that encourages children to use their imagination. The way they did this: every time someone searched online for one of the in-demand toys they would be presented with an ad showing the toy in question built from Lego bricks. As the gift giver went from site to site, advertisements of the bricks being constructed into different items continued.
By targeting the adults who are buying the Legos, rather than the children, Making The List campaign appealed to the educational and long-lasting qualities that parents love about Legos. And clearly, it was successful as this campaign quadrupled the sales of the Lego between October and December 2017.
Why it’s hot:
While this is not entirely a new idea, considering Maserati used data-based targeting to offer Germans a test drive to a rival dealership in 2015, it is a successful tactic. Lego’s campaign both reminded parents that their product is a versatile alternative to fad-toys and successfully redirected their attention.
This game show will not only let you root for strangers looking to reduce their debt, it will let you learn the stories behind each contestant, like whether they were the first in their family to go to college.
Yes, you can wipe out your student loans with the show. And yes, you have to pay taxes on your winnings, but when all is said and done, the show plans to give away about 500K to over 60 people.
Series premier July 10th on TruTV
Why it’s hot:
Because student loans are a real problem! It’s good to see a show where the goal is not consumerism, but fiscal responsibility.
Why it’s not:
Because students shouldn’t be forced to indebt themselves for an education, especially with how ridiculously expensive it has become.
Legacy organizations have been looking for ways to compete with nimble startups disrupting their respective categories. However, the secret sauce for these legacy giants might be in modernizing their product offering by blending traditional services with disruptive feature enhancements. JPMorgan is looking to disrupt the banking industry by building a mobile-first bank aimed at millennials dubbed Finn.
Finn which is an end-to-end mobile bank, recently rolled out nationwide. In addition to offering bread-and-butter checking and savings account functionality, it also offers services many firms in the personal finance startup space have built their businesses around.
With Finn, users can create specific rules that determine when money will be transferred from checking to savings. One rule, “Work Hard, Save Smarter,” puts aside a set amount of money on pay day. There’s also “the Limit Does Not Exist” which saves a predetermined amount of cash whenever a user spends over a certain amount on a purchase.
That raises the question: what do fintechs do when big banks decide to step on their turf?
Why it’s hot?
It’s not all about the new kid on the block. Industry giants can compete with startups and even pose greater threats to them by transforming their product offering to meet and exceed their targets’ needs.
There is growing concern over online data and user privacy, but people’s data is also being collected from their living rooms via their televisions.
Samba TV is a company that tracks viewer information to make personalized show recommendations. Samba TV’s software has been implemented by a dozen TV brands, including Sony, Sharp, TCL and Philips. When people set up their Smart TVs, a screen urges them to enable a service called Samba Interaction TV, saying it recommends shows and provides special offers. It doesn’t, however, tell the consumer how much of their data they’re collecting.
Samba TV can track everything that appears on TV on a second-by-second basis. It offers advertisers the ability to base their targeting on whether people watch conservative or liberal media outlets or which party’s presidential debate they watched. The big draw is that Samba TV can identify other devices in the household that share the TV’s internet connection. In turn, advertisers can pay the company to direct ads to other gadgets in a home after their TV commercials play.
Why it’s hot:
Most people think their data is only at risk while surfing the web. But that can’t be farther from the truth. By agreeing to Samba TV’s terms, most people are deceived into thinking they’re only agreeing to a minor recommendation feature, but they’re actually giving the company access to all their devices.
Insurance company Aviva added a new Dash Cam functionality to their app. The app begins filming as soon as it senses the vehicle move.
It films the journey in short, unsaved loops unless the motion reading from the smartphone detects a potential collision. In that case, the video footage is saved as video evidence that can be submitted with an insurance claim.
While the free app is available to all drivers, there are major benefits for those who are insured by Aviva, including safe driver car insurance discounts and easy ways to complete a claim via the app.
Why It’s Hot:
This functionality makes it easier for drivers to quickly file insurance claims directly from their phones.
Video footage can help drivers clearly indicate who is at fault in an accident
Leap Motion is a company best known for its work in VR and AR controllers. They recently posted a tech video of the fourth generation of their hand tracking tech and it features one of my favorite things to do.. Pet a kitty!
Leap Motion posted a statement on it’s YouTube page about the benefits of their tech:
“VR interactions have the potential to be easier and more intuitive than with any other technology. Cat Explorer is a fun demo that points to the transformative potential of VR and natural interaction in fields as diverse as education, training, healthcare, and entertainment.”
Lyft has officially moved beyond cars. They announced this week the acquisition of Motivate, the parent company behind CitiBike, Chicago’s Divvy, and many other popular ride-sharing programs around the country. The programs will be renamed Lyft Bike, and Motivate will continue to help with some maintenance.
Lyft says this acquisition supports and enhances their larger strategy of 1) improving transportation access, 2) building community through shared rides and public transit integration, and 3) having fewer cars on the road and reducing congestion. And, of course, it certainly doesn’t help that the bikesharing market is booming, too.
This isn’t the first foray into bikes for a ridesharing company. Uber acquired Jump, a San Francisco dockless bike-sharing startup, earlier this year. Uber was also reportedly interested in buying Motivate, though Lyft won out. And last winter Lyft teamed up with Baltimore’s bike sharing service to use their bike docks as Lyft pickup/dropoff points.
Why It’s Hot: Motivate is a major national bikesharing company, and this acquisition signals a huge expansion for Lyft. How might they further integrate bikesharing and ridesharing, now that the two will be under one roof in many major US cities? They say they want to improve transportation access and build community, what might this look like from a bikesharing POV?
A neat new web tool called itty bitty sites from Nicholas Jitkoff, VP of Design at Dropbox, lets you create self-contained microsites that exist solely as URLs. You can create your own by following this URL: itty.bitty.site. From there, you can fill the equivalent of about one printed 8.5 x 11-inch page with any combination of plain text, ASCII characters, or emojis. (To launch the project on the 4th of July, Jitkoff created this page: independence.bitty.site) The actual byte limit depends on where you’d like to share it; Twitter and Slack allow for around 4,000 bytes, while the Mac version of Chrome can accommodate up to 10,000 bytes. For reference, a longer piece, like the US Declaration of Independence is 5200 bytes. This won’t work on Twitter, but can still be used in a domain redirect (which is how this and many of the other examples are stored).
The interesting part is that the site isn’t actually hosted anywhere — the entirety of the webpage exists as a URL compressed using what’s known as the Lempel–Ziv–Markov chain algorithm.
How itty.bitty works
✏️ ▸ ▸ ▸ #️⃣ ▸ ▸
itty.bitty takes html (or other data), compresses it into a URL fragment, and provides a link that can be shared. When it is opened, it inflates that data on the receiver’s side.
itty bitty sites exists as an open source project on Github. While Jitkoff doesn’t know what people will do with this tool yet, “he does suggest using it for standalone poetry, bypassing Twitter’s character limit, and using it as a clever alternative for domain redirecting, so you can host larger-than-normal portions of text as standalone URLs.”
WHY IT’S HOT:
This is a clever and creative way to make creating and sharing work online more accessible and usable for more of the population, freeing those from the heavy lift of hosting a full site, but expanding the confines of what’s available on social media platforms. It really feels like the early internet.
…think again, because P&G and Walmart both had ads cancelled by the platform recently because they included vaguely political messages. (Walmart’s ad, for the record, was allowed to run after review. But P&G’s LGBT+ ad was held to the disclosure policy requirements, meaning the brand has to share a “paid for by” message. http://adage.com/article/digital/facebook-hits-walmart-p-g-political-ads-warning/314083/
From Ad Age: “The political ad policy has raised concerns among publishers and media companies that pay to promote their headlines on Facebook. They argue that the required labeling and archiving will make Facebook users confuse their journalism with advocacy.
But it was just a matter of time before consumer goods, retail and auto brands got caught in Facebook’s political net, too.
“Brands can easily get snagged in the political content filter,” says a publishing executive, speaking on condition of anonymity to express opposition to Facebook’s new rules. “Almost everything is controversial.”
Here’s are some more resources to help in better understanding Facebook’s rules and how to mitigate risk:
Why it’s hot: It’s likely that this is just an initial posturing tactic from the platform to let brands and political campaign advertisers know they’re serious about enforcing the new rules, but we need to be aware of the risks and how to prevent crossing Facebook’s thin “political” line in the meantime..