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Pinterest peaks, Facebook falters in customer satisfaction survey of social sites


Billions of people use assorted social networking sites, but just how happy are they with the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and the rest? The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), which measures exactly that sort of thing, put out its latest report on consumer satisfaction with e-businesses—that’s social media, search engines, and websites—and it’s an interesting look at just which service’s Like button is getting a workout.

Historically, social media sites tend to rank among the lowest-scoring companies on ACSI’s 100-point scale. This year, social media boasted an overall customer satisfaction rating of 71, up 4.4 percent from the previous study. The 71 rating puts social media companies above airlines (69), subscription television (65), and Internet service providers (63).

acsi rankings social media 100360859 large Pinterest peaks, Facebook falters in customer satisfaction survey of social sites

The American Consumer Satisfaction Index started rating social media companies in 2010. Scores are based on a 100-point scale. In this year’s rankings, Facebook and LinkedIn finished at the bottom, though both saw their scores improve over 2013.

Of the individual social networking sites, Pinterest was the most beloved site in 2014 with a customer satisfaction score of 76, stealing the crown from Wikipedia (74), which coincidentally was the only site to lose ground from 2013, falling 5 percent from last year’s score. Google’s YouTube and a newly-created “all others” category (which includes Instagram, Reddit and Tumblr) were hot on Pinterest and Wikipedia’s heels with a 73 rating, followed by Google+ (71) and Twitter (69).

Perhaps most notably, tied for dead last among social media ACSI still measures with scores of 67 apiece were LinkedIn and Facebook. Yep, you read that right, Facebook, the first network to crack a billion users and widely considered to be the pace-setter among social networking sites, couldn’t manage to top LinkedIn for customer satisfaction. That’s LinkedIn, the social networking site for professionals that most people begrudgingly join for the sole purpose of scoring a better job.

At least Facebook and LinkedIn can console themselves in that they scored an improvement over last year, when both companies scored only a 62 on ACSI’s scale. That makes them big winners in terms of year-over-year improvement.

That good news comes with an asterisk for Facebook, though. ACSI notes that the scores were measured before Facebook revealed it had manipulated news feeds as part of a psychological test on hundreds of thousands of users. (That’s in contrast to the regular manipulation Facebook performs on our news feed.) But customers in this go-around seem happy with their revamped news feed and other enhancements, so maybe it’ll end up a wash. For now, Zuckerberg and Co. can take solace in a strong improvement in customer satisfaction, even if they are still tied for last in the category.

Pinterest launches Guided Search to navigate you through its 30 billion pins


Everyone’s favorite virtual pin-board wants to introduce you to more than just decorated mason jars, apartment envy, and wedding inspiration. Pinterest launched Guided Search on Thursday, a new mobile-first tool that taps into Pinterest’s massive user collection to bring the things you’re really looking for right to the forefront.

“Guided Search helps you find things when you didn’t know how to ask the question in the first place,” Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann said during a launch event at the company’s San Francisco headquarters. And with more than 750 million boards containing more than 30 billion pins, we’re going to need all the help we can get to weed through the whimsical noise.

Silbermann stressed that about 75 percent of Pinterest’s traffic now comes from mobile devices, so a truly mobile-first search tool is essential to the visual bookmarking site’s future. The design team wanted to create a one-handed experience with minimal typing, which strays from typical search methods.

While you still start with a traditional search bar, Guided Search gives you an initial selection based on what other users are searching for. As you type, it will give you results right off the bat with just a few letters. A carousel with category-based guides displays results right at the top, which you can scroll through horizontally to tailor your search. Terms are split by individual query—searching for “antique table,” for example, splits it up into “antique” and “table”—so you can modify your search by removing or adding terms from wherever you are instead of going back to square one (perhaps swapping “antique” for “modern” after you realized that this aesthetic works better in your home).

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CES 2014: a look back at what mattered


Innovation certainly was on display at CES 2014—4K HDTV hardware reached affordable prices, there was a tsunami of wearable fitness and health tech, 3D printers popped up everywhere, and smart cars made their mark, just to name a few of the major trends we spotted.

Our team patrolled the International CES show floor all week at searching for the devices and services you need to know about. In the process, we chose 10 winners for our Best of CES awards.

We also had our usual fun selecting other gear, trends, and innovations that caught our interest, which we showed you in our Picks slideshow. And we poked some gentle fun at some of the weird items displayed at this giant trade show in our Pans slideshow.

Here are some of our comprehensive slideshows about International CES 2014…

World Tech Update – 12/12/13

IDG News Service

Coming up on WTU this week Instagram announces a new direct messaging service, a robot fights crime and PC World offers its top 5 products of the year.

Great Gifts Under $200

TechHiveLogo NEW Great Gifts Under $200

Holiday Cheer for $200 or Less

It can be hard to find the right present for that geeky someone special. To help, we’ve uncovered some great gift ideas for the tech nerds in your life–whether the designated recipient is a tablet obsessive or an old-school record collector. Best of all, each gift here can be had for under two Benjamins.

Mozilla, Samsung collaborating on the browser of the future


Experimental engine for next Web coming to Android, ARM processors

SAN FRANCISCO  – Mozilla can see the future of web browsing, and it lies in multi-core computing. Today’s quad-core processors will be quaint compared to the massive CPUs of the future, which are expected to contain 16, 32 or more cores.

With that in mind, the maker of Firefox announced Wednesday that it’s teaming up with Samsung to create a next-generation browser that will be built from scratch and will be based on a new engine, Servo, as well as use a new programming language, Rust.

“Mozilla’s mission is about advancing the web as a platform for all,” Mozilla CTO Brendan Eich wrote in The Mozilla Blog Wednesday.

“[W]e’re supporting this mission by experimenting with what’s next when it comes to the core technology powering the Web browser,” he wrote. “We need to be prepared to take advantage of tomorrow’s faster, multi-core, heterogeneous computing architectures.”

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YouTube joins Facebook in the 1 billion users club

Thanks to the generation of Americans, age 18 to 34, who watch YouTube on multiple devices and enjoys video creation and sharing

SAN FRANCISCO – The Internet’s obsession with cats has finally reached a tipping point. Late Wednesday, YouTube announced that it has more than 1 billion unique users every month. That puts YouTube in the same club as Facebook, which surpassed 1 billion monthly users last October.

YouTube has long been the most popular video site beginning in the days when it was mostly user-contributed videos and premium video sites—such as Hulu—had yet to appear. These days, YouTube is the go-to site for movie trailers, music videos, the occasional pirated TV episode, as well as cats fighting printers and skidding across linoleum floors.

The Google-owned site attributed its large growth to Generation C, a term coined by metrics firm Nielsen to describe American aged 18 and 34. “Born sometime between the launch of the VCR and the commercialization of the Internet, Americans 18-34 are redefining media consumption with their unique embrace of all things digital,” Nielsen said in an early 2012 study. On YouTube, Gen C are the folks watching YouTube videos across multiple device types including smartphones, tablets, and PCs. Not coincidentally, this crowd also happens to be big on video creation, sharing, and curation of favorite YouTube clips.

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TechHive Fuels Up on Car Tech Coverage through Partnership with Edmunds.com

News release

The consumer tech site, from the publisher of PCWorld and Macworld, forges a partnership with car-shopping resource Edmunds.com to expand car tech coverage

SAN FRANCISCO — TechHive, the newest consumer tech media brand from IDG, has struck a partnership with popular car-shopping resource Edmunds.com to expand its car tech coverage and help its audience find their automotive sweet spot.

“Automakers realize that today’s drivers want cars that work well with their personal technology,” notes Jason Snell, SVP, Editorial Director for IDG Consumer & SMB, the division that manages TechHive. “As important as smartphones, tablets, and always-on Internet connections have become to all of us, it’s become far more important for our cars to fit into our digital lives.”

With the unique, collaborative editorial partnership, Edmunds.com will bring their auto tech expertise directly to TechHive’s audience to help them get the most out of their devices. TechHive editors will bring their consumer tech expertise to the Edmunds.com audience of car shoppers to help them make the best tech choices. Content produced together will appear on both TechHive.com and Edmunds.com as it’s created, with the first feature length story, Best Tech-Friendly Cars of 2013, slated for this spring.

 For the full release click here

IDG Calls On ‘Hero’ Display Ad Units To Save The Banner


In the two months since tech publisher IDG finished a major redesign of its PCWorld, Macworld and TechHivesites, the company is ready to expand the centerpiece of that effort: the “Homepage Hero” box.

The box is intended to serve as a front door for each site, displaying a large slot called the “Content Hero,” where editors display the biggest stories for each day, with one section saved for sponsorships sold by the IDG Consumer & SMB division, which operates the sites. The Hero units seems like yet another bid by a publisher to “go beyond” the 728×90 banner ad to attract lucrative brand awareness dollars. But IDG Consumer & SMB CRO Brian Gleason is quick to tell AdExchanger that while the redesign does reduce the number of ad units on a page in favor of the larger, higher priced Hero unit, the format is ultimately being used to complement regular ad spots, not replace them.

“There’s certainly a place for a banner, even today,” Gleason said. “There’s just not a place for nine units on a page. Otherwise, it starts to look like Nascar – a logo placed everywhere. That’s part of the reason we did this — there’s more breathing room for both consumers and advertisers.” Within the past few weeks Microsoft, Intel, Samsung, Brother and TrendMicro have tried out the Hero units, which IDG has claimed to have yielded average click rates of between 2 and 4%

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America’s most tech-friendly cities


Albert Filice, Leah Yamshon and Mike Homnick contributed to this feature. Special thanks to OpenSignalSemiocastOokla and the U.S. Census Bureau for contributing data and expertise to this feature.

What makes a “tech-savvy” or “tech-friendly” city? It may be a combination of public and private amenities that are available to those people who spend a significant amount of their time online, whether they’re at home or out and about. It could also mean the availability of such services at prices that don’t make it difficult to live the digital lifestyle. A tech-savvy city might be one where a significant part of the local economy is driven by information technology or by the production of the machines that allow people to create or access information.

TechHive developed a set of ten measurements to reveal the extent to which the country’s largest cities possess those tech-friendly traits, or, put a different way, to show which cities are the most and least hospitable places to live for the tech-inclined.

Specifically, we looked at the number of IT jobs, the computer sciences graduate programs in the area, the availability of public Wi-Fi, the speed of 3G and 4G cellular services, the number of LTE wireless services to choose from, the speed and cost of home broadband service, the number of tweets that originate from each city, and the availability of city-government apps. (More about each of these measurements below.)

The most tech-friendly cities

After we had gathered and crunched all the numbers, San Jose/Silicon Valley, Atlanta, and Boston emerged as the most tech-friendly and tech-savvy cities in the land. The winner, San Jose/Silicon Valley, is not so surprising, since that Northern California area has long been considered ground zero for the computer industry. As such, personal technology is a deeply ingrained part of the local culture.

San Jose and the surrounding cities of Cupertino, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Santa Clara, and Sunnyvale have by far the largest proportion of computer pros of any place in the country. More than 52,000 IT jobs—or about 3.7 of them for every 100 residents—are based in the area. That number put San Jose/Silicon Valley well ahead of the city with the second-highest IT jobs per capita, Seattle, which has about 2.5 IT jobs for every 100 residents.

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