Facebook Hires White House Economics Expert

Economist

A round of applause for Facebook’s HR department, please.  Today, the company announced that it’s managed to hire Marne Levine, who last held the title(s) “Special Assistant to the President for Economic Policy and Chief of Staff of the National Economic Council at the White House.”

Levine, who should remain based in Washington, will now “oversee the company’s interaction with governments and non-governmental organizations around the globe as the company reaches 500 million users worldwide,” according to Cecilia Kang.

That’s bound to be a big job.  Dealing with U.S. regulators alone has proven tricky for Facebook at times; handling dozens different approaches to privacy (and propriety) won’t be simple.

Still, Levine seems to be a good choice for the position.  Before joining the current president’s administration, she was Director of Product Management at Revolution Money.  Prior to that, she was Director of Business Development and Strategy at Cibernet.

FaceBook

Then, to go back even further, Levine once served as Chief of Staff for the president of Harvard, and used to work for the Department of Treasury, too.  Which makes for a rather colorful – yet impressive – resume.

It should be interesting to see what Levine can accomplish in her new role.

Source: webpronews.com

Branding, Identity & Logo Design Explained

Brand, Identity, LOGO

A logo is not your brand, nor is it your identity. Logo design, identity design and branding all have different roles, that together, form a perceived image for a business or product.

There has been some recent discussion on the web about this topic, about your logo not being your brand. Although this may be true, I haven’t seen any clarification of the differences between ‘brand’, ‘identity’ and ‘logo’. I wish to rectify this.

What is brand? – The perceived emotional corporate image as a whole.
What is identity? – The visual aspects that form part of the overall brand.
What is a logo? – A logo identifies a business in its simplest form via the use of a mark or icon.

To explain this in more detail, let’s start at the top – the brand.

What is branding?

Apple Brand

Branding is certainly not a light topic – whole publications & hundreds of books have been written on the topic, however to put it in a nutshell you could describe a ‘brand’ as an organisation, service or product with a ‘personality’ that is shaped by the perceptions of the audience. On that note, it should also be stated that a designer cannot “make” a brand – only the audience can do this. A designer forms the foundation of the brand.

Many people believe a brand only consists of a few elements – some colours, some fonts, a logo, a slogan and maybe some music added in too. In reality, it is much more complicated than that. You might say that a brand is a ‘corporate image’.

The fundamental idea and core concept behind having a ‘corporate image’ is that everything a company does, everything it owns and everything it produces should reflect the values and aims of the business as a whole.

It is the consistency of this core idea that makes up the company, driving it, showing what it stands for, what it believes in and why they exist. It is not purely some colours, some typefaces, a logo and a slogan.

As an example, let’s look at the well known IT company, Apple. Apple as a company, projects a humanistic corporate culture and a strong corporate ethic, one which is characterised by volunteerism, support of good causes & involvement in the community. These values of the business are evident throughout everything they do, from their innovative products and advertising, right through to their customer service. Apple is an emotionally humanist brand that really connects with people – when people buy or use their products or services; they feel part of the brand, like a tribe even. It is this emotional connection that creates their brand – not purely their products and a bite sized logo.

For a more thorough understanding of branding, in simple terms, I recommend Wally Olin’s: The Brand Handbook which I quote is “an essential, easy-reference guide to brilliant branding”.

What is identity design?

Cola Brand

One major role in the ‘brand’ or ‘corporate image’ of a company is its identity.

In most cases, identity design is based around the visual devices used within a company, usually assembled within a set of guidelines. These guidelines that make up an identity usually administer how the identity is applied throughout a variety of mediums, using approved colour palettes, fonts, layouts, measurements and so forth. These guidelines ensure that the identity of the company is kept coherent, which in turn, allows the brand as a whole, to be recognisable.

The identity or ‘image’ of a company is made up of many visual devices:

A Logo (The symbol of the entire identity & brand)
Stationery (Letterhead + business card + envelopes, etc.)
Marketing Collateral (Flyers, brochures, books, websites, etc.)
Products & Packaging (Products sold and the packaging in which they come in)
Apparel Design (Tangible clothing items that are worn by employees)
Signage (Interior & exterior design)
Messages & Actions (Messages conveyed via indirect or direct modes of communication)
Other Communication (Audio, smell, touch, etc.)
Anything visual that represents the business.
All of these things make up an identity and should support the brand as a whole. The logo however, is the corporate identity and brand all wrapped up into one identifiable mark. This mark is the avatar and symbol of the business as a whole.

What is a logo?

IBM Logo

To understand what a logo is, we must first understand what it is for.

A logo is for… identification.

A logo identifies a company or product via the use of a mark, flag, symbol or signature. A logo does not sell the company directly nor rarely does it describe a business. Logo’s derive their meaning from the quality of the thing it symbolises, not the other way around – logos are there to identity, not to explain. In a nutshell, what a logo means is more important than what it looks like.

To illustrate this concept, think of logos like people. We prefer to be called by our names – James, Dorothy, John – rather than by the confusing and forgettable description of ourselves such as “the guy who always wears pink and has blonde hair”. In this same way, a logo should not literally describe what the business does but rather, identify the business in a way that is recognisable and memorable.

It is also important to note that only after a logo becomes familiar, does it function the way it is intended to do much alike how we much must learn people’s names to identify them.

The logo identifies a business or product in its simplest form.

Summary:

Brand –The perceived emotional corporate image as a whole.
Identity – The visual aspects that form part of the overall brand.
Logo – Identifies a business in its simplest form via the use of a mark or icon.

Source: justcreativedesign.com

Apple and Face Time

Face TIme in iPhone 4

At WWDC, Apple formally announced FaceTime, its take on video calling and a feature that really highlights to dual-cameras on the iPhone 4. The big surprise with FaceTime is that it only works over Wi-Fi (for now) but will let you make free video-to-video calls to other iPhone 4 users all over the world.
While video calling is hardly new — technology and telephony companies have been trying to shove the stuff down our throats since at least the 1960s — the implementation certainly is. While it’s far too early to make any hard or fast predictions about FaceTime and video calling in general, we have to say, after spending some time with FaceTime, we’re impressed.
I had my first FaceTime call within about 15 minutes of getting home with my iPhone 4. I’ve had several subsequent chats throughout the afternoon and I have to say, each time, it seems less and less like a novelty and more and more like a really natural way to communicate.

Drop-Dead Simple to Use

While video chat over web cams using services like Skype or iChat or Windows Messenger is a pretty common activity, video calls from handsets remains a rarity. And not for lack of trying. I can think of at least half a dozen failed attempts at selling video calling to consumers at the retail level from the last decade, and that’s just off the top of my head.
While video calling has lots of hurdles, one of its biggest is ease of use. Making sure each party has matching or compatible handsets, confirming that the video stream is active, making sure the microphones are shielded so you don’t have echo and interference, and that’s before you even make the call.
FaceTime is extremely, extremely simple. Just click on a contact in your address book and make sure that you have their iPhone 4 phone number as one of the contact points. Then hit the FaceTime button on their entry. That’s it. The phone will make its connection over Wi-Fi and on the other end, your friend will receive a call and an alert that you are requesting a FaceTime chat. As soon as they accept, they are dropped right into the video interface.
That’s it.
From that point, you can talk directly to your screen, where you will see the person on the other line, as well as a small image of your own camera. One of the coolest features it that you can seamlessly switch to the higher resolution camera on the back of your phone to take someone on a video tour or show them what you are looking at. You can also rotate the phone and have the video image update itself automatically.
This is the way video calling should be. No messing with settings, no worrying about making sure the camera is on or active, just choose FaceTime from your contact’s page. If you’re already on a voice call with someone on their iPhone 4, you can switch to a FaceTime chat mid-call and you won’t even use any of your voice minutes.
Source: Mashable

iPhone OS 4 Upgrade Launches at 10 a.m. PT

Apple will release the iOS 4 update today around 1 p.m. ET, 10 a.m. PT, according to claims from users citing calls to the company’s sales and support desks. As of 11:45 a.m. ET, the update, which Apple said earlier this month would be delivered today, was not yet available via iTunes. Apple updated iTunes to version 9.2 last week to make the software compatible with the new mobile OS. Several iPhone owners on Apple’s support forum claimed that they had been told by Apple support personnel that the iOS 4 update would launch at 10 a.m. PT.

Apple is headquartered in Cupertino, Calif., in the Pacific Time zone. Computerworld was not able to confirm the reported launch time; Apple’s telephone lines were swamped with calls, with wait times that exceeded 30 minutes. The timing would match what Apple did last year when it rolled out the then-new iPhone 3.0 on June 17 shortly after 1 p.m. ET. Owners of 2008’s iPhone 3G and second-generation iPod Touch, and 2009’s 3GS and third-generation iPod Touch, will be able to download the free iOS 4 upgrade today.

iOS 4 will not be available to users of the first-generation iPhone or iPod Touch, both which debuted in 2007. Previously, Apple has dinged iPod Touch owners $10 for major operating system upgrades, but an accounting change last year now allows it to provide iOS free of charge. Apple previewed iOS 4 — formerly called iPhone 4 OS — last March. Two weeks ago, Apple CEO Steve Jobs touted the operating system’s new features, including multitasking, folders and a unified e-mail inbox.

The new iPhone 4, which will have iOS 4 pre-installed, is scheduled to go on sale Thursday, when Apple’s retail stores open at 7 a.m. Apple, AT&T, Best Buy and Apple’s other U.S. retail partners quickly exhausted their pre-order inventories of iPhone 4s last week, when both Apple’s and AT&T’s ordering systems collapsed under the strain. Apple later apologized for the fiasco. Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer or subscribe to Gregg’s RSS feed .

His e-mail address is gkeizer@ix.netcom.com .

Read more about macintosh in Computerworld’s Macintosh Topic Center.

Google Rolls Out Its New and Improved Search Index

Google has announced that it has completed the rollout of Google Caffeine, the new and improved web indexing system that now powers the world’s largest search engine.

In August of last year, it was revealed that Google was working on a new version of its search engine. The project, dubbed “Caffeine,” was initiated in order to create a faster, more accurate indexing and search system. It was also meant to better handle rich media and real-time content.

It’s been a while since we heard about Caffeine, but today Google says that Caffeine is live on its servers.

Here’s how indexing on Google Search now works, according to the technology giant:

“Our old index had several layers, some of which were refreshed at a faster rate than others; the main layer would update every couple of weeks. To refresh a layer of the old index, we would analyze the entire web, which meant there was a significant delay between when we found a page and made it available to you.

With Caffeine, we analyze the web in small portions and update our search index on a continuous basis, globally. As we find new pages, or new information on existing pages, we can add these straight to the index. That means you can find fresher information than ever before—no matter when or where it was published.”

With content being generated faster than ever, the changes make sense. The Bing threat is still there as well, making it imperative for Google to remain ahead of the game with its search technology. You may not notice the changes in the individual searches you make, but it’s very likely you’ll feel the impact of Caffeine in the days, months, and years to come.

Source: Here

Apple iPhone 4G

One of the most exciting announcements from WWDC today was iOS 4, the iPhone’s new operating system.

The OS, which contains around 100 new and upgraded features, will be rolled out with the new iPhone 4 next month, and it will also be available as a free software update on earlier devices, including the iPad, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, and second and third generation iPod touch with 32GB or 64GB storage.

In his keynote address, Steve Jobs chose to highlight a select few of the iOS’s new features, including multitasking, iBooks, advertising and file management. But there wasn’t enough time to cover all the upgrades and improvements. Some of iOS 4’s features that slipped under the radar include app gifting, wireless keyboard support and many others.

We first learned about iOS 4 back in April. At that point, we knew multitasking would be coming to the iPhone “in a way that doesn’t hinder performance or battery life.” Today, Jobs confirmed and demonstrated services such as Pandora and navigation running in the background while other apps were also running in the foreground.

Two other hotly anticipated upgrades for iOS 4 are the Mail app’s major facelift and the all-new app organization functionality.

Now, users can organize their iPhone apps into separate folders for better organization and easy access. iOS 4 will be able to manage up to 2160 applications on a device. Folders will feature the familiar drag-and-drop functionality that Apple device users know and love.

Email on the iPhone is also getting a major overhaul in iOS 4. You’ll be able to view messages from all your accounts in a single, integrated inbox. Messages will be threaded, and you’ll be able to open attachments using third-party apps, as well.

Apple made some significant announcements for multimedia functionality, too. iOS 4 will support custom playlist creation for iTunes, tap-to-focus video, 5x zoom for camera functions, and a Photos feature called “Faces and Places,” which allows users to sort and view photos based on where they were taken and who appears in them.

Finally, applications can now be gifted to friends and family, the background wallpaper on your home screen can be easily changed, a spell-checker has been built into Mail and other apps, and Bluetooth-enabled wireless keyboards will now play nicely with the operating system.

Source: Here