The world of alternative browsers is littered with also-rans like Rockmelt, but there are also companies that have managed to make a name for themselves in the shadow of Microsoft, Mozilla and Google. One example of this is Maxthon, but another browser that’s quietly gaining a following is Torch, which the company tells us just passed 10 million monthly active users on Mac and Windows after about year on the market.
Torch just launched the latest version of its Chromium-based browser, which now includes a download accelerator and a large update to the Torch Music service, which uses YouTube and Vevo as the basis of its music catalog. Torch Music now offers customized recommendations based on your listening history, location and your Facebook friends’ tastes. Currently, the service has about 5 million songs in its database.
While Torch previously included a version of this service, it has now integrated this service deeper into its user interface with the help of a widget that allows you to search, pause and skip songs.
Torch now also features a built-in download accelerator. While download accelerators were very popular in the early days of (slow) broadband, today’s fast and stable connections have mostly pushed them aside, and the vast majority of Internet users probably doesn’t even remember them. There are some advantages to using a download accelerator, however, especially if you are on a slow or unreliable connection.
The browser also features a built-in BitTorrent client and a media grabber for downloading embedded video files. It also features a smart drag-and-drop-activated search and sharing tool that pops up large boxes for sharing links to services like Facebook, Google+, Twitter and Pinterest and for initiating searches on Google Search, Wikipedia and other services.
Torch Browser only launched on the Mac about a month ago, so most of its users are currently on Windows, the company tells us. If you’re currently a Chrome user and interested in the browser’s features, switching is about as easy as it gets, as Torch just imports all your bookmarks. As it’s based on Chromium, all of the usual Chrome extensions and apps should also work, though Torch seems to be about a generation behind Google’s own release cycle.
Wix members can now add Google Apps for Business with just one click, a Wix spokesperson announced recently. The partnership between Wix and Google brings apps like Google Docs and Google Drive to the company’s more than 33 million members.
Wix is a free web design program released by Microsoft. Business owners can set up a professional-quality website without any coding required, customizing the site to match their exact needs. Members start by choosing from hundreds of templates created by professional web designers. Once a template is chosen, Wix’s easy-to-use drag-and-drop technology allows them to manipulate elements to create the perfect HTML5 website for their business.
By adding Google Apps for Business through Wix, business owners can enjoy a slight savings over the regular $5 per month Google charges on its own site. Members will pay $4.95 each month for the monthly plan or $4.08 per month if they pay for a year in advance. Once added, members will be able to check e-mail, upload documents, and manage their calendars, all in one place.
“Our goal is to enable our users to manage everything in a single unified place,” said Avishai Abrahami, Wix co-founder and CEO. “We’re already supporting the addition of powerful third-party created functionalities via the Wix App Market and this new Google Apps functionality is an important move in this direction.”
More than five million people use Google Apps for Business, which provides an easy way for business customers to share documents and manage e-mail and calendars. As mobile devices have become more popular, Google has stepped up to meet the need for Cloud-based apps that can be accessed anytime, from any device, with one login.
By adding Google Apps to Wix, which is also a Cloud-based app, business owners can manage their company websites, coordinate projects, and keep up with their calendars and contacts, all in one place. Wix already makes it easy to link your Gmail account to the website you have hosted on its site, directing e-mails to your Gmail account while allowing your e-mail address to reflect your website name. You can also let your customers contact you through a contact form that directs to your e-mail account using the instructions Wix provides here.
Wix offers a variety of add-ons that can super-charge your business site, including Shopify, an eCommerce platform that can provide shopping cart capabilities and eCommerce-quality product display options. Wix also offers a News List” app that provides business owners the ability to easily set up an eye-catching display that features the latest news about your business. Once in place, Wix’s interface makes it easy to update, adding new items by simply clicking “Edit News” on the news editor.
As Cloud computing continues to expand in popularity, services like Wix will continue to provide a way for customers to connect to everything through their Wix dashboard. By having everything in one place, a business owner can save time and increase productivity by being able to connect from anywhere.
The post Wix Users Can Add Google Apps With One Click appeared first on Small Business Technology.
Marketo is coming out with its first launch since its successful IPO last month. It’s a one-to-one marketing tool that applies machine learning for social campaigns that allows marketers to automatically adapt messaging based on the customer and the history of engagement.
The engine for Customer Engagement Marketing (CEM) utilizes templates to create a content stream, a set of ideas for how to conduct a dialogue with a customer. For example, a customer buys his third video game. That might trigger the notice of the CEM that would then offer the customer a credit on a next purchase if he tweets about it. A larger incentive might come if the customer tweets three times about the game.
The CEM has built-in rules and machine learning algorithms that gauge customer engagement, said CEO Phil Fernandez in an interview last week. The engine is designed to understand which sequence of messages are creating active, positive engagement. It is designed to deliver messages based on the customer and what content they have received in the past. It uses a drag-and-drop user interface that allows new or modified content to be placed in the stream. The system manages the timing and sending of the content.
Companies with multiple products are often juggling different marketing efforts. The struggle comes with trying to get the right message out. Fernandez said the CEM allows the marketer to set up sequences for each campaign, tailored in a way so the system knows when to send a message and when it might be best not to send one at all.
It comes down to how best to nurture the customer. Doing it manually is impractical as it means changing the rules on a constant basis to best suit the individual customer.
There are also the pitfalls that arise. A customer might get a completely wrong message if a marketing automation system is set up wrong. The CEM has rules built in to adapt to the customer’s history.
Metrics are provided that encompass the broad array of measurements marketers track when building campaigns. This allows the marketer to better tune a campaign with content that is most compelling to the customer.
Machine learning has broad implications for business. It can be used in risk analysis, financial decision-making, and on an operations level to best determine where resources should be allocated.
It’s early in the game, and engines like the one from Marketo will need to be refined as people find more ways to communicate online and campaigns get more sophisticated.
But more so, Marketo’s news points to how analytics is changing the market landscape. Competition for Marketo is not just from other similar services but also from the new generation of companies that can provide their own flavor of analytics.
Mac app Minbox launches to the public today, attempting to differentiate itself from competitors through speed and ease of use. The app allows Mac users to send files directly from their desktops — either through attaching the files or through a very simple drag-and-drop feature through the Minbox icon in the top-right corner.
As you can probably tell from the demo video above, Minbox hopes to gain traction in the file-sharing space through being faster and more nimble than competitors. According to Minbox founder Alexander Mimran, the service is twice as fast as Dropbox for uploading and sharing files (you don’t have to wait for the file to upload to send).
“Our main speed difference is that we upload direct to S3 from the client,” says Mimran. “We use multi-thread file uploading, we compress files, and a host of other things.”
Although Mimran has no data for YouSendIt, Minbox is by default faster from this user’s perspective — YouSendIt basically forces you to log in to the web version to send something, makes you copy/paste your recipient’s contact information and, if you want to send a file larger than 50MB, you’ll have to plunk down $9.99 per month.
While YouSendIt does have a Mac app that ostensibly makes file sharing from your desktop easier, I’ve yet to figure out how to send a file from the app. I think I might have to pay it so the option to share isn’t grayed out, like below. Again, not particularly fast.
“The cloud-storage space is focused on ‘backup’ and ‘sync’, but a large component is neglected… that’s ‘send’,” says Mimran, whose background is in product and design, where speed of sending files is acutely important. “We all send files on a daily basis and believe there are still too many pain points associated with the process — we’re focused on easing that pain.” Mimran maintains that Minbox’s “killer feature” is the ability to share a file by right-clicking on it, a functionality that Dropbox recently axed.
The product, which began its life as a Mailbox-esque smart iOS email client, is free no matter how large the files you’d like to send are: “GoPro users love Minbox!” Mimran says. He plans on eventually charging users for any file storage beyond 30 days, which highlights that the startup wants to focus on file sharing and not storing. Mimran concedes that Dropbox handles storage better anyways: “We’re about the ‘Send’!”
Eschewing the idea of shared folders, Minbox does okay on the “Receive” part of the equation as well, with email notifications when something is sent to you and a mobile and desktop view that allows you to visually scan through sent photos in a grid format, even when RAW files, even without a Minbox account. If Dropbox is your favorite photosharing app, you understand how useful this is. Eventually he’d like to build a Minbox feature that allows recipients to browse inside a zip file without having to open it, so you can manage these sorts of files on your phone.
The company has already raised $900k to accomplish its goal of sharing files the fastest. Completing an angel round in early 2012 of $100k from George Babu (ex-Rypple) and friends, and then another round of $800k in May of 2012. Seed investors include George Zachary at CRV, David Cohen at Bullet Time Ventures, Correlation Ventures, Rho Ventures and angels Jeff Zucker, Matt Ocko, Tim Young (Socialcast, About.me), Ben Chestnut (Mailchimp) and others.
Mimran is also a hustler. Again, in case it’s not obvious from that demo video going straight for Dropbox’s jugular. He had a spreadsheet full of journalists he contacted for this launch, and cold-called Apple to get his app through the door, “Like up and down the [phone] directory.” He also showed up at random publications’ offices to pitch, though not ours. He was actually invited to ours.
Users can sign up for Minbox here, and the service will give you an ETA for entrance based on your time of entry and how well their servers are doing. Really.
Datahero, here at Disrupt NY, represents how the market is segmenting for data visualization and data-analytics tools based upon level of skill, complexity and overall richness and sophistication of the technology.
Datahero caters to a market that often has to rely on data analysts to do their work for them. Deal flows and other segmentations have traditionally required the help of someone who is familiar with a base understanding of statistics and software suites such as SPSS.
Chris Neuman, CEO and Co-Founder at Datahero, was the first engineer hired by Astra Data Systems, which was acquired by Teradata in 2011. He said to me in an email in late March that the main goal for Datahero is to enable anyone of any ability to be able to make sense of the data that matters to them – regardless of whether it’s in a data warehouse, on their laptop, or in a SaaS service.
Here’s a chart about meat consumption I created with a sample data set from Datahero. It was essentially a drag-and-drop exercise.
Datahero is in contrast to platforms such as Tableau Software, which require a deeper level of knowledge for how to use its platform. With more complexity comes more richness in what is possible to do. But for most of us, we just need to get the work done.
There are also a number of vendors that offer data visualization tools that are less complex than technologies like SPSS but not as simple as Datahero. Good Data, Birst and services such as Bime Analytics offer tools that have different levels of complexity. Chartio is simpler than most of these tools but does require integration with a customer’s data sources.
Good Data offers what it calls “Bashes,” which are pre-configured templates to analyze company data. A customer gets support from Good Data with integrating the company data. Companies then track, segment and target their data using the Good Data platform.
Datahero appeals to the novice user. But the platforms available in the market show the range of tools available for people with varying skill sets. That’s good for the market, especially as data becomes more plentiful and accessible to use.