Like online video ads on other sites the new Facebook newsfeed video ads will begin playing automatically, but without sound with the option of turning audio on left to the user. When audio is activated the ad will play from the beginning.
According to a report in the FT, several major advertisers on Facebook's marketing council, which include Unilever, Ford, Diageo, American Express and Coca-Cola, are likely to take part in the initial trials.
The introduction of autoplay video ads is almost certain to cause irritation with some users and there are concerns that the much needed new revenue stream could damage user experience.
The FT reported that Facebook will be charging in the "low $20s" per thousand video views. Users will initially only see video content from one brand per day, to maximise the impact for marketers.
Facebook has been shopping its 15-second video ads to agencies, to coincide with next week's US Upfronts, when major TV networks announce their slate of coming programming and sells most of their ad inventory.
It is being estimated that Facebook's video ads could generate up to $1.5m of new revenues per day and grow to $4m a day by the end of the year, which could quickly grow, giving Facebook a $500m to $1.4bn new revenue stream.
Last week Facebook announced first quarter revenues of $1.46bn and mobile ad revenues of $375m.
According to eMarketer, the video ad market will be worth around $4.1bn in the US in 2013 and Facebook could not only take a considerable slice, but also grow it.
A Microsoft executive signaled that the company is rethinking parts of Windows 8 in response to the difficulties customers have had adapting to the operating system, launched last fall.
Microsoft VP Tami Reller told the Financial Times that “key aspects of the software will be changed when Microsoft updates the OS this year. She referred to “difficulties” many users have had with the software. “The learning curve is definitely real,” she told the FT.
The story set off a flurry of comments and speculation as to what the changes will be and comparisons to Coca-Cola’s “New Coke-Classic Coke” fiasco.
As GigaOM’s Tom Krazit wrote in February, Windows 8 was one of the company’s most important launches in years — it represented a huge attempt by the company to make its OS relevant on tablets where Apple’s iPad was eating Microsoft’s lunch. That move was represented by its “radically overhauled Metro user interface” borrowed from the latest Windows Phone. It’s a touch friendly look and feel that was, and still is, alien to many Windows desktop users.
A huge re-do now will no doubt turn up the heat on Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who has been the subject of considerable negative press over the past few years. But it’s really unclear just what changes will be made. Many folks will immediately assume that Microsoft will nuke the Metro interface in favor of classic windowsto get the installed base over the hump. Far more likely is it will offer a choice of interfaces.
Here’s the thing: When it comes to radical change that consumers may demand, Microsoft is damned if it does, damned if it doesn’t. The cool Metro interface won good reviews on the smart phone but was seen as way too much of a change for Windows-savvy workers who’ve been on the platform for ten or 20 years.
For that huge installed base, change is not a good thing. It’ll be interesting to see how Microsoft navigates this tricky course. For it’s part, Microsoft suggests that Windows 8 sales aren’t hurting. On Tuesday, Reller noted on the Windows blog that 100 million licenses have been sold, which is on par with the copmany’s prior Windows 7 launch.
Update: A Microsoft spokeswoman contacted for comment responded via email: “It is unfortunate that the Financial Times did not accurately represent the content or the context of our conversation about the good response to date on Windows 8 and the positive opportunities ahead on both Windows 8 and Windows Blue.” And she referred to the aforementioned blog.
Britain’s biggest FMCG brand will this week begin its ‘Share A Coke’ campaign, which will replace the Coke branding with consumer names on one side of the bottle, as it seeks to drive up personalisation of the brand.
The ‘Share A Coke’ campaign will see bottles displaying 150 of the most popular names in the UK stocked on shelves nationwide, with names ranging from Aaron to Zoe.
Between now and August, Coke is putting 100 million bottles on the market under its ’Share A Coke" banner.
Woods said: "It is a brave move to replace the world’s most iconic brand with 150 names. It will drive huge buzz and drive engagement. No other brand has gone to this scale of personalisation."
The idea has been taken from Coke Australia's similar campaign last year, which Woods said "worked really well".
He said: "It is the first time we have run anything like it in Europe."
The campaign will run across individual 375ml and 500ml bottles of Coke, Diet Coke and Coke Zero. There are no plans to branch it out to other Coke-owned brands such as Powerade.
It will also engage with those who are unable to find their names on pack, by allowing them to create their own virtual personalised Coke cans to share with friends.
There will also be a TV campaign starting on 11 May, which will feature teenagers and young adults sharing stories about "people who they admire, respect or have been inspired by."
The campaign will be supported by outdoor ads and promotion through social media channels.
A tiny tweak to Google’s Gmail app for iOS takes it another step closer to building a layer of Google services on top of Apple’s iPhone. With the latest update, users can choose to set Gmail default links to open in YouTube, Chrome or Google Maps, as appropriate.
That’s instead of Apple’s default solution, which would be to link to YouTube on the web, Safari and Apple Maps, respectively.
It should come as welcome news to heavy users of Google services or those who simply want to be able to pick what apps to connect to on their phone. It’s also, as CNET noted, a sort of “end run” around Apple’s services. Even as Apple has decoupled its iPhone partnership with Google for everything except search — removing YouTube and Google Maps as default iOS apps in the second half of 2012 — the web company has still found a way to reach its users who have iPhones and iPads through Apple’s regulated App Store.
The Gmail update comes a week after the introduction of Google Now for iOS as part of the Google Search app. That service also takes advantage of Google services users’ activity across a variety of Google apps, including those used in iOS.
Google isn’t alone among Apple’s competitors who have aspirations of this kind: Amazon and Facebook have also been able to build a series of apps that can act as replacements for Apple’s core iOS services, from music and videos to making phone calls and texting.
Apple certainly benefits by being able to offer the most popular services and apps on its platform, but at some point it must be concerning for Apple that the most basic services of its flagship device are being bypassed by superior apps coming from its fiercest competitors.
Google+ and Facebook can nab you a high Google ranking. Add author rank and you have a powerful combination.
You must first have Google+ and Facebook accounts, but these are easy enough to get. All you have to do is to use Google as your web browser, and also know how to create a Facebook Business Page, rather than simply use your Home Page and Facebook Wall.
We shall assume you are already using Google+ and Facebook. On Google, click on the +YourName link at the left side of the black Google menu bar. If you don’t already have an account, go to the Google search engine page and click on +you link on the same bar. You can then create an account by clicking on the red rectangle at top right.
Once you have joined Google, and are on your Google+ page, scroll down the left hand navigation bar until you come to ‘more.’ Click on that and then ‘pages’ — you will find instructions on setting up your first Google+ Page.
Google+ enables you to create groups of people known as Circles. The defaults of ‘friends,’ ‘family,’ acquaintances,’ and ‘followers’ explain what Circles are about. You can also create a circle of people with similar expertise or interests.
So how do you use Google+ to help your Google ranking?
Google gives more weight to links to and from its own social networking applications. A Google+ +1 vote is worth more to Google than a Facebook ‘like’ — but you can still make use of both. You can create a link from one to the other and back again. Then, when you post either to your Facebook business page or to your Google+ page, the link will be visible on each publication.
By the simple expediency of including a link to a page on your website or blog, you will have generated a powerful link network that is extremely friendly to Google Panda and the Penguin update. You can increase that effect by maintaining a regular website and also a blog as a subdomain on the same main domain. You can then expect to receive multiple listings on the search engines, particularly Google, for each of these publications.
Google Webmaster Tools and XML Sitemaps
To maximize your ranking, you must register your main site with Google Webmaster Tools. Then verify ownership by means of one of the options that Google will give you, and submit an XML sitemap. If you have a WordPress blog, then there are excellent plugins available that will do this
automatically. If you have a regular site, you will find sitemap generating tools available online. They are free for a one-time use, which is all that you need.
You can make the best use of Google+ by including a +1 link on your website — in fact include one on each page.
The Google+ chicklet is known as a +1, and it works in much the same way as a Facebook ‘like.’ Each vote is known as a +1, and the more you accumulate the better. It is assumed that your ranking is partially influenced by the +1 votes you accumulate.
Authorship and Author Rank
When you are able to claim authorship of the content you write and articles you publish, your name and profile will be published in the search listing for each of your web pages. Your photograph might also be published if you have submitted one to Google+. This is an excellent way of being recognized as an expert in your business or niche. In effect, Google is endorsing your content.
Make sure that you have linked the website containing the content to Google+ by means of an official e-mail address belonging to and listed on the site, or by adding a few lines of code to your site. Then you can claim authorship for all content on your site. Webmaster Tools explains how to do this. Author rank is a measure of your authority in your niche.
Each time you publish content away from your linked website, simply write ‘Author=yourname’ to get author ranking for the content. ‘Yourname’ is your username for Google+ or any other name associated with the account.
Article directories do this for you when they publish your articles, but you can do it yourself for blog posts and when guest blogging.
Social Media Integration and Google PageRank
By using Facebook ‘likes,’ Google +1 and authorship, you can make a significant impact on your Google ranking. It is important you take the time to learn how each of these work, and how they can be integrated to your advantage.
There are many other social networking sites that can be integrated in this way.
It is likely that author rank and +1s will supersede Google PageRank as a major factor in page ranking positions on the Google search engine. Algorithm updates over the past couple of years appear to be trending toward social media and author rank rather than PageRank calculated from conventional links between Web pages. Take the time to learn how Google+ and Facebook can be integrated to rank well in Google.
A government task force is drafting legislation that would penalize technology companies who fail to comply with court-ordered wiretaps. According to a report by The Washington Post, the legislation would target social media sites such as Facebook as well as e-mail, chat and VoIP providers.
While the authorities can listen in on landline and cellphone calls and intercept text messages, law enforcement has simply been out of luck if terrorists or other criminals took to Facebook or Twitter to communicate. If this legislation is pushed through, law enforcement will be able to follow communications via such sites in real time, the Post report said.
According to “current and former U.S. officials familiar with the effort,” although Web companies will be forced to comply with wiretap requests under such legislation, the companies can determine the monitoring method. If they refuse, however, they will face tens of thousands of dollars in fines. If not paid within three months, the fines will be doubled.
Although the report does not identify members of the task force, it is thought the FBI is one of the main players. Comments made by Andrew Weissmann, the FBI’s general counsel, seem to confirm the idea. “The importance to us is pretty clear,” Weissmann said last month at an American Bar Association meeting on new technologies, national security and the law. “What we don’t have the ability to go to court and say, ‘We need a court order that actually requires the recipient of that order to effectuate the intercept.’ Other countries have that. I think most people who are not lawyers assume that’s what you’re getting when you go to a court.”
In reality, Web companies are only forced to offer technical assistance, Weissmann said, adding that the ability to intercept communications with a court order was becoming obsolete. “This huge legal apparatus … to prevent crimes, prevent terrorist acts is becoming increasingly hampered and is becoming increasingly marginalized, the more we have technology that is” not covered by modern law, he said.
The legislation needs approval from the White House before it can be made law.
Yesterday after market close, Microsoft reported better than expected results for the three months that ended March 31.
Despite slumping PC sales, Microsoft's third quarter profit rose 19 percent to reach $6.1 billion. Driven by 23 percent growth in its Windows division, the company's revenue grew 18 percent to $20.5 billion.
The strong growth of Microsoft’s Windows division was mainly fuelled by the delayed recognition of revenue related to an update offer to Windows users last fall. Without that deferred revenue, the Windows business would have been flat and overall revenue growth would have been significantly weaker.
It remains to be seen how strongly the weak PC market will affect Microsoft’s results in the mid to long term, as yesterday’s results conceal the many challenges the company is currently facing.
Gone is the era of the cookie-cutter wedding; you can celebrate your own way. Forget the "have tos" and "shoulds" about nuptials. There are no hard-and-fast rules. Except one: Be a gracious bride and groom while letting your true style shine.
1. You don't have to wear white
No matter its hue, you'll look radiant in a knockout frock. This season bridal designers showed scene-stealing creations in blush, pale blue, and even rich red.
2. You can ask anyone to be in your party
Your mom may have had to line up friends to pair off with your dad's groomsmen, but you two needn't be so matchy-matchy. Have anyone you want stand up with you both -- a man of honor, groomsmaids -- and don't worry about having an equal number of hims and hers. They can walk up the aisle solo or in groups of three. They don't have to wear the same thing either. Devise a palette of up to three hues, hand your 'maids swatches or paint chips, and let them choose their own outfits. If they stick to the colors, even prints are fair game.
3. You can send out a handwritten invitation
We love letterpress, adore embossing, and fall hard for flat printing. But if those aren't your type or the traditional wording of an invitation doesn't feel like you, write something that does; it's bound to be one of a kind. Use your invitees' names to make it personal, and be sure to include all the pertinent details. Thick card stock and lined, oversize envelopes that let the pages slip out unfolded set a formal tone. To elevate the concept further, hire a calligrapher to copy your text, or have it printed and just the guests' names calligraphed.
4. You can have a ring in any setting
Diamonds are some girls' best friends, but other brides prefer garnets, pearls, or sapphires. As long as it came with a proposal, any stone can function as an engagement ring (ditto for the setting). You don't need to limit yourself to just one; many brides choose stacked bands, which could act as engagement or wedding rings or both. You don't even need to follow the fourth-finger, left-hand custom; in Europe, many people wear a wedding band on the right hand. Any ring, given and worn with love, is a fitting symbol of something with no beginning or end.
5. Your flowers and favors can do double duty
Less really is more when you combine two elements. Ceremony flowers can reappear at your reception, for example, and gorgeous escort cards will work as favors, too. Offer them as thank-yous that will dress up any desk after the party's over.
6. You can make your reception venue feel more like home
You probably can't spend lots of time with each guest. But you can promote an intimate at-home dinner-party atmosphere by surrounding invitees with a few of your favorite things. Create a unified table with the same flatware and china at each place, then fill the center with an array of beloved objects -- from registry gifts to a stash of personal curios.
7. You can serve whatever you want with dessert
If your sweet tooth is satisfied by the cake, offer something savory, like cheese, after dinner. To set up an appealing array, order a mix of mild and strong flavors, different textures, and cheeses made with goat, cow, and sheep milk. Add name tags so guests know what they're diving into, then pair them with breads, stone fruits, and nuts, and display on pedestals of varying heights. Finally, introduce an element that will surprise everyone, such as a honeycomb.
Facebook confirmed in a filing that Mark Zuckerberg, the social network's founder and CEO, is taking a $1 salary this year, and foregoing any bonuses.
But he's not exactly taking a vow of poverty. When Facebook went public last year, Zuckerberg exercised 60 million stock options, then worth nearly $2.3 billion, buying those shares for next to nothing. (He sold half of the stock to cover his tax bill.) And he's still sitting on another 60 million stock options that can be exercised on Nov. 7, 2015, for the same dirt-cheap price of $0.06.
All of those shares give Zuckerberg plenty of incentive to keep Facebook in good financial health, although he is on record saying, "We don't wake up in the morning with the primary goal of making money," and isn't really beholden to shareholders, since he controls a majority of proxy votes.
The $1 salary is symbolic. Companies have to compensate all of their employees, so working for free is out of the question — and doesn't $1 sound better, anyway? Since the first dot-com boom, getting paid $1 has become something of a tradition among extremely wealthy executives whose compensation instead comes in the form of stock.
Steve Jobs famously took a $1 salary from the time he returned to Apple as CEO in 1998; he didn't take any stock grants after 2003, either. In 2005, Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, along with then-CEO Eric Schmidt, all reduced their salaries to $1. Schmidt, now executive chairman, takes a salary of several million dollars these days; Page, now CEO, and Brin still make $1.
Other tech CEOs who belong to the $1 salary club include Oracle's Larry Ellison, Tesla's Elon Musk, Zynga's Mark Pincus, and HP's Meg Whitman. Yahoo's Jerry Yang was making $1 before he was ousted as CEO last year. Outside of Silicon Valley, CEOs of American companies who made $1 in salary last year include Capital One's Richard Fairbank, Urban Outfitters' Richard Hayne, Fossil's Kosta Kartsotis, Kinder Morgan's Richard Kinder and Duke Energy's James Rogers.
Among the $1 salary club, only Karsotis, the watchmaker's longtime leader, actually made nothing in 2012, according to a Bloomberg analysis of proxy filings. He owns 11% of the company but didn't receive any additional stock or stock options last year. "Mr. Kartsotis is one of the initial investors in our company and expressed his belief that his primary compensation is met by continuing to drive stock price growth,"the company explained in its filing.
That's generally how $1 salaries are explained, but sometimes they come in the form of punishment or self-flagellation. When Lee Iacocca was brought in to save Chrysler from bankruptcy in 1978, he took a $1 salary as a publicity stunt. Vikram Pandit's salary was reduced to $1 in 2010, as Citigroup struggled to recover from the financial crisis, and executive compensation packages on Wall Street were facing intense public criticism; he was still fired two years later.
Zuckerberg's $1 salary for 2013 was first revealed in Facebook's IPO filing, but the proxy filing yesterday confirmed the amount and added that he won't receive any bonus, either. It also revealed that Zuckerberg received a $266,101 bonus last year in addition to his $500,000 base salary. He also gets to use Facebook's private planes, of course. Professional trips don't count as compensation, but his personal trips on Air Facebook last year cost more than $1.2 million.
It is all in the hands of the City of Cupertino, Calif. — whether Apple’s ‘spaceship’ headquarters will get the green light to land on the 176-acre site of the former Hewlett Packard campus. Apple has submitted a revised proposal for its elaborate new headquarters — and the city has since published the details of ‘Apple Campus 2’ on its website.
Included are a project description, introduction, site and landscaping plans, floor plans, renderings, even a bicycle plan, although the city site notes all are subject to change. Although the 2.8-million-square-foot building — shaped like a four-storey ring — was originally announced by co-founder Steve Jobs a few months before his death in 2011, not a single shovel has pierced the ground at the Cupertino site, despite Jobs’ hopes of a 2012 start date. It was to have been completed in 2015.
But, just like any massive project, Apple’s ‘spaceship’ has been hit by delays such as trying to cut costs. It was rumored earlier this month that costs had ballooned from less than $3 billion to $5 billion and that Apple has been working with chief architect Foster + Partners to slash $1 billion from the budget before construction commences.
It is now thought construction will begin next year and end sometime in 2016. According to a report filed with the city, the purpose of the campus is to “create an innovative and beautiful campus near Apple’s Infinite Loop facility that consolidates up to 14,200 of Apple’s engineers and support personnel in a single distinctive office, research and development building with supporting facilities.
“The purpose of consolidation within a single building set in a secure landscape is to promote shared creativity and collaboration, and spur invention of the next several generations of Apple products.”
Apple chose the site because it offers “the security and privacy required for the invention of new products by eliminating any public access through the site, and protecting the perimeters against trespassers,” the report reads. The project includes the demolition of the old Hewlett Packard campus, which translates into roughly 2.65 million square feet of buildings. Just the excavation of the site alone is an immense job. A former Apple manager told Bloomberg there is so much dirt to be removed, excavation will take six months and “require a continuous, 24-hour convoy of trucks.”
The lion’s share of the work, however, will be wrapped up in the construction phase of the project. Building a structure to house 14,200 Apple office, research and development employees is no small feat. According to the plans, the building will be approximately 2.8 million square feet and will include an employee restaurant and dining facilities, a kitchen and loading dock, meeting rooms, plant rooms and engineering and testing spaces. The plans also call for a central plant and research facilities that will take up about 300,000 square feet of space and a 1,000-seat corporate auditorium as well as a fitness center and, of course, the parking spaces necessary for employees and visitors — 10,980 to be exact.
Apple is also requesting development allocation of up to 300,000 square feet of office space “for subsequent development located within the project area.”
Landscaping, which will work with the natural vegetation of the area, has been broken down into four areas:
• A “passively programmed Oak Savanna” which will flow between the parking structure and the main building;
• Outdoor sports and fitness areas on the northwest side of the campus;
• Natural landscaping and an outdoor dining terrace connected with the indoor café;
• An inner courtyard within the main building that will join “natural and cultural elements, orchards and dining terraces, a large basin of water within a grove, an amphitheater within an orchard and woodlands, and numerous areas to walk, stroll, meet, rest, and work outdoors in shade or sun.” The City of Cupertino must still approve the environmental impact survey and host planning commission and city council public hearings as well as carry out a development review of the project before final approval can be given.