TBH, the Hot New Anonymous-Gossip App, Is … Actually Nice?

TBH is the latest anonymous app sweeping the teen world.

Claire knows what her classmates think of her. A boy in the ninth grade at her high school in Massachusetts thinks she’s “so crafty she could build a house.” Another female classmate says she “looks like a snack.” A different guy describes Claire as “always fiending on that boba.” (Teens, man.) Claire’s got screenshots to prove these compliments — she just doesn’t know who any of them are from.

Welcome to TBH, short for “to be honest,” the latest anonymous-gossip app to emerge overnight as every teenager’s favorite app. “Last Sunday was the first time I heard of it,” Luci, a junior from Texas told Select All about the app’s sudden rise. “It got really popular overnight; it was weird! Almost everyone I know uses it now.” It’s currently the No. 1 free download in the Apple App Store — no small feat, considering TBH is only available in a limited number of states. And its secret is … kindness?

Like Sarahah, the megapopular anonymous-comment app that took over adolescents’ phones earlier this year, TBH allows users — mostly teenagers and young adults — to comment anonymously about their friends and peers. But unlike Sarahah or other infamous anonymous-comment apps (remember Yik Yak?), TBH is not a cesspit of toxic gossip and petty cruelty. In fact, it’s downright nice: The app only allows its users to say positive things about other users, a limitation that, believe it or not, only seems to make the app more popular.

The way the app works is simple: “You sign in with your first and last name. You select your school, gender, and grade. They have questions like ‘always nice to talk to’ and ‘going to win an Academy Award,’ and other nice things,” Claire explained. “You have four options [names of friends and classmates], and you click on one. When you are picked, it’s anonymous. You have no idea who picked you.” The questions — think 2017’s version of yearbook superlatives — are generated both by the TBH team and submitted from users.

TBH first launched at a single high school in Georgia in August, where 40 percent of the student body downloaded the app on the first day. The next day, they expanded the app to three more schools in the area to the same results. “Basically, every iPhone owner at the school downloaded it,” said a TBH spokesperson, who asked not to be named. (TBH is currently not available on Android.) Since then, the app has been released in nine states: Florida, Washington, Rhode Island, Texas, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts, and California. (It’s also currently available in New York City as a test, but the app is working toward a statewide release very soon.) “I think at this point, over 25 percent of students in California have the app installed,” the spokesperson said, noting that the app has 2 million daily active users across the United States. “It seems to be the new rage … for now,” said Sharleen, a California senior.

A few screenshots from a teen TBH user.

TBH’s overnight success isn’t unfamiliar. Again, earlier this summer, Sarahah (the name loosely translates to honesty in Arabic) spread like crazy among teenagers. But unlike TBH, Sarahah was a free-for-all. Users could anonymously leave comments of any nature — which in practice means comments that are either “really nice or really mean,” as one 17-year-old user told me at the time. Female users in particular were targeted with bullying and overly sexual comments.

TBH is striving to be the anti-Sarahah. It’s heavily moderated to avoid harassment, and while I hesitate to call any app “woke,” TBH is definitely in that neighborhood. Superlatives submitted by users are vetted by the TBH team, which receives about 10,000 submissions per day. One percent of those make it to the app. “Sometimes they’re funny; sometimes they’re catty,” Luci said of the prompts, though the cattiness is always winking — the worst Luci could come up with was, “Always wins their drama,” a far cry from the cruelties of most anonymous comments.

“Anytime we get a complaint about a question, we remove it right away,” the spokesperson said. “We usually don’t deliberate too much; if it upsets someone, it’s gone.” The app offers a nonbinary option for users who don’t want to identify as a “boy” or “girl.” “I guess you could say it assumes everyone is bisexual,” Luci told me, when explaining that all prompts, including the flirty ones, are accompanied by mixed gender user choices.

Like Sarahah, part of using TBH takes place off of the app itself. Teens will screenshot the superlatives they receive — these are also visible to their friends on the TBH app in a News Feed — and upload them to their Snapchat or Instagram stories. “Part of the fun of anonymous apps is trying to get people to admit that it was them,” Luci explained, adding that nobody ever actually fesses up. “I posted one on my Snapchat because the question was, ‘Waiting for our first date,’ and I was like, ‘Reveal yourself, I’m waiting too.’”

Another reason users need a secondary app is because TBH currently has no way for users to communicate with each other. Which means they can’t discuss who received what TBHs, or speculate who sent them, from within the app. The lack of communication options definitely helps with the whole no-bullying thing, but isn’t super conducive to building a social platform. “We definitely will hint that something related to messaging is around the corner, but we won’t say anything more about what it is,” TBH told Select All.

The app is going to need some new features if TBH expects to maintain its status as the hottest thing in teen tech. Anonymous-compliment Facebook pages and apps, like Brighten, have come and gone, and though they’re nice while they last, users often lose interest. For better or worse, the lure of anonymous apps is the drama, and the potential for harassment that comes with said drama.

“It’s a temporary-use app like Pokémon Go or Ask.fm,” Madison, a junior, told me when I asked if she thought her friends would keep using TBH. “It’s not like Instagram or Snapchat or Twitter.” It’s worth noting that both Pokémon Go and Ask.fm are both actually still kicking, they’ve just lost their hype. “At the end of the day, everyone reverts back to their Snapchats, Twitters, and the few that are still really into Instagram,” Luci said. “These apps last around a week or two before someone finds an even more obscure, new form of social media.”

Trips App by Lonely Planet: Where Instagram Meets Google Photos

Trips App by Lonely Planet: Where Instagram Meets Google Photos

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Trips by Lonely Planet is available on iOS
  • It lets you create a curated version of your holiday
  • You can follow other people for travel ideas

Lonely Planet – well-known for its travel guidebooks – is stepping out into the social realm. Its new app, Trips, wants to help you share your travel experiences with fellow travellers, while being inspired by trips other people take. Essentially, it wants users to create their own guides for each other, and help foster a community in the process.

It’s not so much a social network in the traditional sense, but rather a curated way to present your travels. Sure, you could create a Facebook album for all to see, but it’d be buried amongst thousands of other pieces of content. Or like millions of others, you could put your vacation photos up on Instagram, and make use of its album feature for a slightly-more curated feel. The lack of easy navigation still persists with Instagram though, undercutting the experience.

Neither will give you what Trips attempts to offer. The Lonely Planet app creates a chronological feed out of your vacation pictures and videos, replete with headers, captions, text, location tags, and maps. Think of it as Instagram meets Google Photos albums, albeit minus the former’s size, and the latter’s AI-smarts.

At first start, Trips will recommend you to follow a bunch of fellow travellers, curated by Lonely Planet itself. Later, you can add your friends, or select from other strangers whose holidays appeal to your liking. Your home page will then be populated by trip cards, all of which are a virtual scrapbook in themselves.

lonely planet trips home discover Lonely Planet Trips

The home page and Discover tab of Lonely Planet’s Trips

Then there’s the Discover tab, which lets you pick from a variety of holiday types to browse through. There’s Adventure, Wildlife and Nature, Cities, Ruins, Road Trips, Festivals and Events, Art and Culture, and so forth. Each of these contain trips shared by the community or the Lonely Planet team, such as “The Wilds of Namibia”, “Crossing the Romanian Mountains”, or “A Week Around Iceland”.

To create your own trips, you select the blue-coloured plus symbol button in the middle, which takes you to your photo library. If you only use your iPhone to take pictures, this will suit you fine. But if you carry a professional camera with you, and those pictures are on Google Photos, Dropbox, or some other cloud service, you’ll need to import them yourself first. It’s a restriction baked in by Apple, one that will hopefully be lifted with the introduction of Files in iOS 11.

Once your pictures are in the app, Trips will attempt to sort them on its own, and use embedded geotags to create a map and name. It creates new sections whenever you change location, and then hands it off to you to make further additions, such as changing the title, adding an intro, and putting captions or tips in between your pictures.

lonely planet trips view Lonely Planet Trips

The opening page and inside look at a trip in Lonely Planet’s Trips

The option to collect your pictures in one place is what separates Trips from Instagram, while the ability to add captions is how it adds onto the Google Photos album experience. After you’ve finalised the look of your curated trip, you can choose it post it publicly, or share it privately with people you know.

This brings us to one shortcoming of Trips that people may not like. Although Trips allows you to view your well, trips, on a desktop, you can’t make any changes or create new ones from the browser. In fact, you can’t even view someone’s profile on a computer. By contrast, Google Photos is a full-fledged experience on both desktop and mobile. Plus, Photos’ map widget (below) – which creates two points and a dotted line to signify travel – is a lovely touch that helps visualise your journey.

In itself, Trips is a pretty way to browse through vacation ideas, glean some tips, and offer your own experiences. It’s a digital magazine that’s continuously updated, but it doesn’t do anything more that. You can’t edit your images inside the app, and you can’t leave comments on trips created by people you know.

lonely planet trips edit google photos Lonely Planet Trips

Map widget in Lonely Planet’s Trips, and Google Photos respectively

There’s some work to be done here, and it’s definitely worth the effort, considering the size of the travel market. Studies have shown that millennials are more interested in saving up for travel than in buying a house. At the same time, people spend 85 percent of their time with just five of the apps on their phones, so it’s going to take some convincing to make people choose Trips over Instagram.

The latter doesn’t offer the former’s level of curation, but it’s where all your friends and family are. And that counts for a lot.

Trips by Lonely Planet is now available on iOS.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

AI-powered filter app Prisma wants to sell its tech to other companies

Prisma, the Russian company best known for its AI-powered photo filters, is shifting to B2B. The company won’t retire its popular app, but says in the future, it will focus on selling machine vision tools to other tech firms.

“We see big opportunities in deep learning and communication,” Prisma CEO and co-founder Alexey Moiseenkov told The Verge. “We feel that a lot of companies need expertise in this area. Even Google is buying companies for computer vision. We can help companies put machine vision in their app because we understand how to implement the technology.” The firm has launched a new website — prismalabs.ai — in order to promote these services.

Prisma will offer a number of off-the-shelf vision tools, including segmentation (separating the foreground of a photo from the background), face mapping, and both scene and object recognition. The company’s expertise is getting these sorts of systems — powered by neural networks — to run locally on-device. This can be a tricky task, but avoiding using the cloud to power these services can result in apps that are faster, more secure, and less of a drain on phone and tablet battery life.

Although Prisma’s painting-inspired filters were all the rage last year (the app itself was released in June 2015), they were soon copied by the likes of Facebook, which might account for the Russian company’s change in direction.

Moiseenkov denies this is the case, and says it wasn’t his intention to compete with bigger social networks. “We never thought we were a competitor of Facebook — we’re a small startup, with a small budget,” he said. But, he says, the popularity of these deep learning filters shows there are plenty of consumer applications for the latest machine vision tech.

Moiseenkov says his company will continue to support the Prisma app, and that it will act as a showcase for the firm’s latest experiments. He says the app still has between 5 million and 10 million monthly active users, most of which are based in the US. The company also started experimenting with selling sponsored filters on its main app last year, and says it will continue to do so. It also launched an app for turning selfies into chat stickers.

There have been rumors that Prisma would get bought out by a bigger company. Moiseenkov visited Facebook’s headquarters last year, and the US tech giant has made similar acquisitions in the past — buying Belarus facial filter startup MSQRD in March 2016. When asked if the company would consider a similar deal, co-founder Aram Airapetyan replied over email: “We want to go on doing what we do and what we can do best. The whole team is super motivated and passionately committed to what we do

Source:-theverge

Trips App by Lonely Planet: Where Instagram Meets Google Photos

Trips App by Lonely Planet: Where Instagram Meets Google Photos

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Trips by Lonely Planet is available on iOS
  • It lets you create a curated version of your holiday
  • You can follow other people for travel ideas

Lonely Planet – well-known for its travel guidebooks – is stepping out into the social realm. Its new app, Trips, wants to help you share your travel experiences with fellow travellers, while being inspired by trips other people take. Essentially, it wants users to create their own guides for each other, and help foster a community in the process.

It’s not so much a social network in the traditional sense, but rather a curated way to present your travels. Sure, you could create a Facebook album for all to see, but it’d be buried amongst thousands of other pieces of content. Or like millions of others, you could put your vacation photos up on Instagram, and make use of its album feature for a slightly-more curated feel. The lack of easy navigation still persists with Instagram though, undercutting the experience.

Neither will give you what Trips attempts to offer. The Lonely Planet app creates a chronological feed out of your vacation pictures and videos, replete with headers, captions, text, location tags, and maps. Think of it as Instagram meets Google Photos albums, albeit minus the former’s size, and the latter’s AI-smarts.

At first start, Trips will recommend you to follow a bunch of fellow travellers, curated by Lonely Planet itself. Later, you can add your friends, or select from other strangers whose holidays appeal to your liking. Your home page will then be populated by trip cards, all of which are a virtual scrapbook in themselves.

lonely planet trips home discover Lonely Planet Trips

The home page and Discover tab of Lonely Planet’s Trips

Then there’s the Discover tab, which lets you pick from a variety of holiday types to browse through. There’s Adventure, Wildlife and Nature, Cities, Ruins, Road Trips, Festivals and Events, Art and Culture, and so forth. Each of these contain trips shared by the community or the Lonely Planet team, such as “The Wilds of Namibia”, “Crossing the Romanian Mountains”, or “A Week Around Iceland”.

To create your own trips, you select the blue-coloured plus symbol button in the middle, which takes you to your photo library. If you only use your iPhone to take pictures, this will suit you fine. But if you carry a professional camera with you, and those pictures are on Google Photos, Dropbox, or some other cloud service, you’ll need to import them yourself first. It’s a restriction baked in by Apple, one that will hopefully be lifted with the introduction of Files in iOS 11.

Once your pictures are in the app, Trips will attempt to sort them on its own, and use embedded geotags to create a map and name. It creates new sections whenever you change location, and then hands it off to you to make further additions, such as changing the title, adding an intro, and putting captions or tips in between your pictures.

lonely planet trips view Lonely Planet Trips

The opening page and inside look at a trip in Lonely Planet’s Trips

The option to collect your pictures in one place is what separates Trips from Instagram, while the ability to add captions is how it adds onto the Google Photos album experience. After you’ve finalised the look of your curated trip, you can choose it post it publicly, or share it privately with people you know.

This brings us to one shortcoming of Trips that people may not like. Although Trips allows you to view your well, trips, on a desktop, you can’t make any changes or create new ones from the browser. In fact, you can’t even view someone’s profile on a computer. By contrast, Google Photos is a full-fledged experience on both desktop and mobile. Plus, Photos’ map widget (below) – which creates two points and a dotted line to signify travel – is a lovely touch that helps visualise your journey.

In itself, Trips is a pretty way to browse through vacation ideas, glean some tips, and offer your own experiences. It’s a digital magazine that’s continuously updated, but it doesn’t do anything more that. You can’t edit your images inside the app, and you can’t leave comments on trips created by people you know.

lonely planet trips edit google photos Lonely Planet Trips

Map widget in Lonely Planet’s Trips, and Google Photos respectively

There’s some work to be done here, and it’s definitely worth the effort, considering the size of the travel market. Studies have shown that millennials are more interested in saving up for travel than in buying a house. At the same time, people spend 85 percent of their time with just five of the apps on their phones, so it’s going to take some convincing to make people choose Trips over Instagram.

The latter doesn’t offer the former’s level of curation, but it’s where all your friends and family are. And that counts for a lot.

Trips by Lonely Planet is now available on iOS.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]