LinkedIn Connected Review: Annoying Emails Become Pretty Cards

LinkedIn Connected Review: Annoying Emails Become Pretty Cards

LinkedIn, the professional social network, has recently launched a new app for iPhone – LinkedIn Connected. This app, which replaces the old LinkedIn Contacts app on iOS, is LinkedIn’s attempt at changing how you connect with professionals in your network. It is only available in a few countries including the US at the moment.

LinkedIn Connected essentially lets you view all your LinkedIn contacts, and syncs them to your phone’s address book. Inside the app, your contacts are displayed as cards that show LinkedIn profiles, location and your notes on that person. For instance, if you have an interview with a person, you can add a note like, “Remember to ask about her upcoming concert”, and then when you check their card before the meeting, you have all the information you need at hand.

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We tried the app for a few days and here’s what we thought about it.

LinkedIn Connected does a great job in terms of design. It uses a card-based design, and each card has a picture of your contact, details of upcoming events (meetings, birthdays, work anniversaries, etc.) and a button for an action (congratulate, connect, etc.) below. You can sort through the day’s events by swiping sideways and tap any card to quickly check a person’s background. Since you can sync it to your phone’s calendar, you can see upcoming meetings in the app, and can send you reminders as well. It’s hard to justify using this as your primary calendar, as other apps serve that purpose much better.

LinkedIn Connected might appeal to those who do all their networking on LinkedIn, but if you haven’t updated your LinkedIn profile, then this feature might not be so useful. On our account, most of the updates we got were people joining a new company or someone’s birthday.

Swiping down from the top shows you three options – Keep in touch, Find a contact and Accounts and settings. The first option takes you back to LinkedIn Connected’s cards, while Find a contact does what the name suggests. Accounts and settings lets you configure which services (contacts, calendars, etc.) you want to sync with LinkedIn Connected, and is also where you can sign out.

If you go back to the cards, when you keep swiping to the right, you’ll soon reach the last of the day’s most important events. If you swipe to the right here, you’ll see contact suggestions, which is just an endless stream of people LinkedIn wants you to connect with. Getting back to your most important events from there is difficult – you’ll have to swipe back all the way. For an app that is so design-driven, not having an easy way to return to the first card is a big problem.

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LinkedIn Connected is essentially a prettier, less annoying way to get notifications from the network, when compared to the several emails that it tends to send every day. If you use email for networking, then you might want to try LinkedIn-owned Rapportive, which is a Gmail extension that shows you background details about the person you are having conversations with.

(Also see: Seven Extensions That Make Gmail Better)

LinkedIn’s main app has a lot more features such as status updates, links to articles, news, photos, comments, etc. If you want to do away with all of that and only focus on connecting with other professionals, then LinkedIn Connected might be what you seek. If you’re looking for a killer contacts app though, then this doesn’t quite cut it

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Wire App Offers a Clutter-Free Chat Experience

Wire App Offers a Clutter-Free Chat Experience

Even though most people use WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger for chatting, there is no dearth of alternatives available. There are privacy-focused options such as Telegram, and sticker-filled apps such as WeChat, so there is a messaging app for every purpose. One such app, Wire, takes a slightly different approach.

Wire’s appeal lies in its simple, clutter-free design that is suitable for both professional and personal use. The app, which is backed by Skype co-founder Janis Friis, let’s you chat, share images, and make voice calls to other Wire users. Like WhatsApp, and some other apps, Wires uses your phone’s contact list to quickly connect you to other users you know. It has recently launched a Windows app to complement its iOS, Android, OS X, and Web apps. Wire’s group calling feature and clean interface made us wonder if it could find a niche that swears by the app. We used the app on various platforms to find out.

True to its claim, Wire does have a neat interface. With a white background, a large and clean font, and a relatively minimalist interface, it looks good and is easy to use. You can sign up with your phone number or email address. This reviewer couldn’t sign up via SMS because he received the verification message around two hours too late, but two colleagues didn’t face this issue, and were able to sign up and verify their numbers without any issues. If you do face this problem, you can always go to Wire’s website and sign up using an email address, which is also hassle free.

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Wire was snappier than WhatsApp, Messenger, or Slack (which we use for office-wide chat) and it helped that the app looks really nice too. The Web interface had all the same features and worked without any problems – we had to create a password using our phone, and after that, we could log into Wire through the browser. The new Windows app works just like the Web interface, and looks the same too.

The biggest annoyance we had with Wire was its insistence on making you upload a profile picture. One of our colleagues didn’t do this on the Mac app and he was greeted with a large pop-up asking him to upload a picture. This pop-up couldn’t be closed without uploading a picture and the colleague was locked out of the app until he did. The only way for him to chat with us was to click on Wire’s chat notifications. But if no one messaged him, he couldn’t use the app without a picture.

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Wire lets you upload pictures, add gifs as you type (with Giphy integration), and ping your contacts in case you want to ensure that they haven’t missed your message. The calling feature also worked as expected. Wire worked surprisingly well on a 2G connection, even for calls, but when a colleague sent us a gif, the app just stopped working. It couldn’t load the gif on the slow 2G connection and it wouldn’t let us send or receive messages until the gif could be loaded. We were left wishing for a setting to disable pre-loading of pictures or gifs on cellular connections

When the Internet connection was fast, Wire worked very well for us. Messages were sent and received instantly and we found ourselves happy with the app overall. It pre-loads URLs from SoundCloud, Spotify (not available in India though), YouTube, and Vimeo, which is a nice touch. We wish it would pre-load URLs from all websites – to reveal the title and summary of articles, for example, similar to what Slack does – but that isn’t a big miss considering that it’s not really an enterprise-focused app. All of Wire’s apps are pretty good overall, when you get past annoyances such as uploading a profile picture

But we wish that some of the polish seen in Wire’s design was also seen in the UX. For example, if you read a chat on Wire’s Web view, you’d still get a notification on your smartphone. This smartphone notification doesn’t go away if you read the chat on any other platform, unlike what we’ve seen with other modern apps.

Wire is a nice messaging app overall that could use a little bit of polish to get rid of annoyances. We’d recommend it for semi-professional groups who need a chat app that doesn’t have a million friends and family members bothering you every minute. For this to be effective, make sure that you don’t give the app access to your contacts while signing up, and manually add people you know to your groups. The app is light, loads quickly, and looks great. The downside is that all the people you know are already using WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

On the other hand, WhatsApp looks clunky in comparison and lacks the kind of integrations Wire gives you, and the WhatsApp Web interface feels like a hack, though it works just fine. But it’s still the platform where everyone including your forgotten relatives can reach you. Facebook Messenger has many of the same advantages, and is equally usable on a PC or a smartphone.

This network effect that the existing apps enjoy is going to be difficult for Wire and other newcomers to overcome, without some unique offering to really make them stand out.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Facebook Lite for Android Review: Made for India

Facebook Lite for Android Review: Made for India

While phone makers are now launching 4G handsets and companies like Airtel and Reliance working towards bringing the networks in India, you might think that there’s no need for apps that minimise data use. The fact of the matter though is that even in a metro like Delhi, 3G access depends greatly on which part of the city you’re in at the time.

That’s where Facebook Lite for Android comes into the picture. The app was launched in Asia earlier this month, and on Monday, Facebook Lite became available in India.

Facebook Lite is available on Google Play and it is just 435KB in size, runs on Android 2.2 and above, so even if you’re using an older phone, you can probably take advantage of the application. According to Shankar, Facebook Lite was designed to solve two challenges – 2G Internet and low-end smartphones – and based on our experience with the app, it seems to have accomplished those goals.

What is Facebook Lite?
As the name suggests, Facebook Lite is a light version of Facebook. It looks like an old version of the Facebook app, with blocky looks and limited features. The full-fledged Facebook app has large cards with neat gutters, expands all pictures and fills up your screen, supports gestures to move between the different Facebook functions.

Facebook Lite on the other hand shows all these previews at a much smaller size, and when we were using it on a 2G network, images took forever to show up. The difference between how posts are displayed between the two versions of Facebook is dramatic, and it’s definitely much more appealing to use Facebook on the full application.

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One other thing we noticed as soon as we started the application is that the Facebook logo is absolutely tiny, and this continued as we used the app too – images attached to posts are tiny thumbnails, filling the width of the screen, and they load after you tap on them. On the full Facebook application, images are much bigger, and they’re likely being preloaded, because they popped up in full size as soon as we tapped on the thumbs. The catch is that you’re pre-loading a lot of images you might not want to click on, using a lot of your mobile data along the way.

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Shankar also points out that in the Facebook Lite settings, you can also choose the image quality, between low, medium and high. Facebook uses proprietary compression algorithms to deliver the images at the desired size, without losing too much visible quality.

Overall, the experience of using Facebook Lite is a lot less refined than the full version, but you’re able to see posts and links more quickly while on the road, and you’re using less mobile data to do so as well. All the features you’d expect – the news feed, friend requests, messages, notifications, and search, all show up. You can easily post status updates, or photos, just like you can on the full application. Messenger is built right into Facebook Lite, so you don’t need to have Facebook Messenger installed to chat anymore.

How well did it perform on 2G?
While it’s less refined, Facebook Lite loaded up posts much more quickly than the full version of the app when we switched to Edge connectivity. Usually, when we’re on the road in remote areas, we give up on Facebook because it’s almost certainly not going to load more posts.

The experience with Facebook Lite was a lot closer to using that other social network – Twitter. There are still problems, and posts still take some time to load. Images don’t pop up right away, and take even more time to load. But it does show you new posts and you can at least read what people are saying while you wait for a picture to load, which is a step forward.

Doing all this required some sacrifices. For one thing, the app does not support videos yet, though that is on the roadmap, according to Shankar. It also doesn’t support advanced location features – basically anything that requires the GPS. And while you can post comments on updates and pictures, you can’t reply to comments for now. And while the main Facebook app allows you to work offline, and make post updates when it connects to a network, Facebook Lite does not have this feature.

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Who should use this?
If you’re using an older Android phone, or if you bought a budget Android device, then the amount of storage available will can often be quite limited.

In such a case, the small size of Facebook Lite might actually be a big plus point, and you might be willing to sacrifice a little bit of the polish of Facebook, but an app that actually works smoothly and loads quickly on your phone which also frees up a lot of space. While Facebook Lite takes less than 1MB, Facebook can be a lot bigger – a few random checks all turned up usage of over 150MB. Smaller footprint also means that app updates take less data.

But the most important thing was that Facebook Lite uses less data. Facebook says that the app gives a reliable experience, even when bandwidth is at a minimum.

That means that if you’ve already started using an LTE connection on your flagship Android phone with a quad-HD screen, then you should will probably find this app boring and pointless. If you spend most of your time at home or in office, with a steady Wi-Fi connection, then you can probably give this app a miss.

On the other hand, if you’re on the move a lot and travel in areas where getting a 3G signal is still a rare thing, or if you’re trying to reduce the data usage you see for Facebook, then this app will be appealing.

On a smaller, lower resolution screen, the difference between the two versions of Facebook wasn’t so pronounced, so you might prefer it if you have an older device, or if you bought a budget phone. And as we mentioned, it will probably be a good idea if you’re using a phone with limited storage space as well.

The app isn’t for everybody, but frankly, the number of people with good connectivity and high-end devices is definitely smaller than people with spotty Internet access and entry-level devices. Based on that, launching Facebook Lite seems like a great move, and will likely find plenty of takers in India.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Forbes Career Opportunity: Research Analyst, Insights

F orbes Insights is currently seeking a Senior Research Analyst to assist in interpreting data, formulating reports and other day-to-day tasks focused on executive thought leadership and research programs.

The Senior Research Analyst will have the opportunity to work across all phases of the research process, from quantitative and qualitative research design, fieldwork, and analysis and publication. This role offers a lot of opportunity for hands-on work, innovative thinking and autonomy, as well as the experience of working together on growing team.

Job responsibilities include:

  • Supporting research design efforts and survey authoring
  • Survey programming and analysis of survey data
  • Monitoring data acquisition and producing field reports
  • Preparing data reports from survey platform
  • Building presentations based on survey results
  • Fact-checking research and reports
  • Conducting additional data analyses using traditional and advanced methods

 

Requirements/Preferences:

  • Strong analytic and critical thinking skills
  • 2-3+ years relevant research experience
  • Ability to work under tight deadlines and manage multiple projects at once
  • Some survey programming experience (i.e. Qualtrics, Confirmit)
  • Data visualization experience (i.e. Tableau)
  • Expertise with Excel, PowerPoint, and Word
  • Bachelor’s degree preferred

 

To apply, click here.

To view all opportunities, click here.

Forbes Media is a global media, branding and technology company, with a focus on news and information about business, investing, technology, entrepreneurship, leadership and affluent lifestyles. The company publishes Forbes and Forbes Asia, as well as Forbes.com. The Forbes brand today reaches more than 98 million people worldwide with its business message each month through its magazines and 38 licensed local editions around the globe, Forbes.com, TV, conferences, research, social and mobile platforms. Forbes Media’s brand extensions include conferences, real estate, education, financial services, and technology license agreements.

[“Source-forbes”]