Category Archives: Blog

Timehop Alternatives: The Death of Timehop?

Up until a few years ago, I found myself taking less pictures for fun (this is not a good thing for someone who takes photos for a living). I think it was probably due to just how easy it was to take quality photos on my iPhone. If you can take great photos every day, then they don’t seem that great anymore – like the old home movies your uncle would take out to the groans of everyone. Hours of footage gets boring. Just like thousands of photos get boring.

That was until I discovered Timehop, my favorite app until a few weeks ago.

If you haven’t heard of Timehop, it’s basically an app that scrubs through your social media and cloud storage accounts and showcases today’s photos and videos over the years. I love seeing what I was doing last year, two years ago and so on. Even if it was just a boring selfie, I can throw myself back in time and remember that day for a moment. Immediately, every picture had meaning because I would see it again next year and beyond. My brother once complained that you could only see that day in history on that same day. But for me, it’s part of the charm. Less is more – if I could look at every day I might not look at all.

Fast forward to December 23, 2016 and Timehop’s new app release. As of writing this there are currently 6,853 ratings in the App Store for the new version (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/timehop/id569077959)  – most of which are one star reviews. This brings the total ratings down to 3.5 stars from what I assume was a 4.5-star rating before the new version.

Why is the new version so bad? It’s hard to use. It gives preference to portrait photos instead of landscapes – even though most photos are taken as landscape. You must hold down on the photo to zoom out instead of zooming in, and most of the social media integration has been removed.

Back in February, they were rated the sixth most-addictive app by VentureBeat behind Facebook, Snapchat and a few others (http://venturebeat.com/2016/04/23/the-50-most-addictive-mobile-apps/).

Why would Timehop risk disenchanting these loyal users? The simple solution would be to Timehop (pun intended) back to the old version and start over. Yet Timehop has drawn a line in the sand and stood by their convictions (https://www.facebook.com/timehop/posts/1212515935504779), essentially blaming the user for not seeing the good in their new app design. I wasn’t going to leave a review before reading this Facebook post because I didn’t want to hurt my favorite app. But now it was us against them. Here is my 1-star review:

I wasn’t going to rate this one star since I love the app concept so much. However, after reading the public message on their Facebook page that we need to get used to the new format I feel like I need to add my one-star vote. This app made me want to take more photos because I knew I would see them every year. I’ll stick with it for a bit longer but at a certain point I’ll need to find an alternative.

So now the question is – was Timehop right? A year from now, will I have drunk the Kool-Aid like we’ve done for Apple so many times before? Or should they have switched back like Netflix did with Qwikster or New Coke.

Are there Timehop alternatives? There is a lot of talk on Timehop’s Facebook page about Memoir (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/memoir/id544754670?mt=8) which I’m going to try soon. My fear is that it hasn’t been updated since September of 2015. Although maybe in a sea of constantly changing apps and updated versions that sink like lead balloons, that’s a good thing.

~ Jim

Incorporating Familiar Design Components

RI Rehab East Greenwich Grand Opening Ad

I was working on a Grand Opening ad for our client RI Rehab today and had an inspiration to incorporate the logo into the Grand Opening text at the top of the ad. Whenever you can incorporate familiar design elements into something new it’s always a win. The consumer will recognize the classic elements and appreciate the new spin on them.

~ Jim

Google Likes It Fast

Google Likes It Fast

One of the many factors that plays into search engine optimization (SEO) is how quickly your website loads. Basically, Google hates old clunky websites that take forever to open. Over the last few years Google has been pushing their algorithm to be more and more human in it’s preferences. We hate slow websites and so ultimately Google does as well. This can be particularly tricky for WordPress sites that are susceptible to plug-in and widget bloat. Sometimes adding a cool new feature to your site may not be worth the time it takes to load.

A great place to start optimizing your site for faster load times is the Pingdom Website Speed Test. Not only do they show your load time and a benchmark for how you rate versus other sites… but they also give you a complete performance grade breakdown with a places you can start tweaking your site.

It’s also free. Free is the best.

~ Jim

Welcome to Google Engage for Agencies

SkyeLine Studio is now a member of Google Engage for Agencies. We’re very excited to work with Google directly to help our clients grow their businesses via paid search with Google Adwords. Heather is our client support contact and she’s been great so far. My only complaint is that I had to create yet another Google account for this program. For some reason Google Apps (Google’s paid business Gmail service) doesn’t work with the Engage and My Client Center systems. In additional to my business Google Apps account and my personal Gmail I probably have another 20 Google accounts because of situations like this. Each with their own Google+ account that we don’t need. Hopefully there will be a simpler way down the road.

~ Jim

‘View video’ Button in Gmail / Google Apps

I find it so interesting that the big companies I rely upon for much of my entertainment and workflow constantly release software improvements without any direct announcement at all. It’s become more of a constant trickle of improvements lately. Maybe Google and Facebook have found that a lot of smaller upgrades will keep down any major push-back from users.

Anyways, today I noticed a new little feature for my Google Apps email inbox. It’s not a huge deal in it’s intended functionality, but will be very helpful in other ways. The basic premise is that if you have a link to a YouTube video in an email you get a button in your inbox that says “View video.” As long as pop-ups are turned off, if you click that button it’ll open up YouTube to that video’s page. Pretty simple and also mostly useless for me. How this will be helpful is when I’m scanning through a bunch of emails I can now see which emails have video links. I can already see which ones have attachments with the paperclip icon, and that has proven very helpful in narrowing my search through archived emails in the past. That little bit of info can often help me find that needle in the digital haystack.

~ Jim

What Facebook Graph Search Is Missing

My invite request to Facebook Graph Search was accepted this week. It came with no fanfare at all… I just noticed a different looking search bar and that was it. So far most of the interesting searches I’ve tried brought me to a Facebook web browser powered by Bing… Boring. My favorite successful search so far has been “States my friends live in.” It pulls up a nice map of the US, the state flags and you can drill down to find out more about each location. Pretty cool. You can also find friends that have checked in at certain locations. This was available before by visiting the pages themselves, so it’s not that big of an improvement.

One of my biggest complaints about Facebook for the last few years is that they want you to ram your info down the throats of all your friends. Either via the timeline or the smaller news ticker. You can’t add info to your account without publishing it first. You can always take it down afterward, but that’s an extra step that’s annoying. I hope that Graph Search will make Zuckerberg re-think this strategy. It will be crucial to build up more data from which to pull for Graph Search. So for instance, I may not want to check in at Hammonasset Beach State Park today because I’m supposed to be working and I’m friends with some of my clients on Facebook. Or I’m traveling to Aruba for a few weeks and I don’t want everyone to know my house is wide open for robbing. However, I would like to add both to the places I’ve been, so that Facebook becomes an online scrapbook of my travels. I don’t mind if people know I’ve been there, I just don’t want them to know I was there today. Adding a “check-in to scrapbook” option will help to populate Graph Search with more people visiting more places and make the searches more interesting.

I also wonder how long it will take before Facebook drops the unnecessary “Graph” from the name and it just becomes Facebook Search?

~ Jim