Friday 5 — 3.28.2014

By Friday Five

  1. facebook rift This week, Facebook acquired virtual reality purveyor Oculus Rift for $2B in cash and stock. This purchase gives the social networking company, which was only two years ago struggling to get its arms around mobile, a leg up in virtual reality hardware. What will they use it for? Gaming’s an obvious first use case, but there’s a big vision opportunity. Semil Shah penned a terrific, if pun-laden piece on Facebook’s strategy and direction.
  2. In an effort to boost Google Wallet, Google enables friction-free money transfer for Gmail users. The simple user interface — as easy as adding an attachment — is sure to attract entice more people into signing up for Google Wallet.
  3. What’s content marketing, again? This piece breaks down this generic term, and explains why companies like NewsCred and Percolate are closing significant financing rounds.
  4. From the Something Useful Now department, the Starbucks app has added a couple of handy features. The app now enables shake-to-pay, which uses your mobile’s native accelerometer to pull up the scannable barcode, and a feature than enables tipping for up to two hours after your visit.
  5. Nieman Lab runs an extensive review of NY Times Now, a mobile product launching in the app stores on April 2. The launch is a step forward into current digital news best practices (mobile-first approach, briefs, curation of third party content). But will it lure more subscribers with this new app, or introduce product confusion with too many similar offerings?

Weekend fun: Are you still immersed in March Madness this weekend? Then check out @NailbiterBot, which will tweet to you when games are close in the second half. Follow the account now, so you can quietly excuse yourself from your in-laws and tune in.


Every Friday, find five, highly subjective links about compelling technologies, emerging trends, and interesting ideas that affect how we live and work digitally.

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