Qnary Roundup: Auto-Enhanced Photos, Trendy Wearables, and More


Each week, the Qnary team hosts a Friday morning meeting where we discuss the most interesting issues in social media today. Here, we recap those for you.

Facebook Now Auto-Enhances Photos Posted From iPhones

Facebook is taking a page out of Google+'s playbook, and is now automatically editing photos posted to the social network from mobile devices. Smartphones and apps have made photographers out of everyone; the problem is that many of us still don't have pro-level photo-editing skills. Now, when a Facebook user posts an image using the iOS app, it is automatically "enhanced" for clarity, lighting and shadow. What's more, they won't have to decide between individual filters, like on Instagram. The feature launched for iOS on Tuesday, and is coming to Android soon, according to Facebook.

"We want to make it easy, and as few taps as possible to make your photo memories beautiful," a Facebook spokesperson told Mashable. "Before, the auto-enhance option was available, but it was under the menu where you could also choose filters for your photos on Facebook." (Via Mashable)

The Countries With The Most And Least Internet Freedom

Internet freedom around the world has declined for the fourth year in a row, as more countries introduce aggressive online censorship measures, according to a new report. Freedom on the Net 2014, the fifth-annual report released by independent watchdog organization Freedom House last week, found that of the 65 countries assessed, 36 experienced a negative trajectory in online freedom between May 2013 and May 2014. This was due to factors such as blocked social networks, aggressive online surveillance and cyberattacks, and the intimidation and arrests of journalists and digital activists.

Iran remained the country with the lowest degree of Internet freedom, despite hopes of reform when President Hassan Rouhani took office in August 2013. Although the new administration has embraced social media, Iranian citizens still don't have access to websites the government finds politically sensitive, such as Twitter and Facebook. In contrast, Iceland ranked first as the nation with the most Internet freedom. The government there doesn't blog social media platforms or content and 97 percent of households are connected to the Internet. Estonia, Canada, Australia, Germany and the United States made the top five in the index, after Iceland. (Via Mashable)

Samsung Says Wearables Will Be The Next 'Power' Trend In The Workplace

Wearable technology will be to 2015 what shoulder pads were to the 1980s. In a new trends report (first spotted by The Verge), Samsung says the next wave of "power dressing" for workplace leaders will include wearable technology. That's right — business professionals will be all about smartwatches and other wearables in 2015, which will become a status symbol of savviness and professionalism.

The company outlined its top five trends for the New Year, with wearable technology topping the list. Others included the concept of personal "power hours" (flexible times to work, beyond the 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. work day, thanks to mobile phone adoption), virtual reality technology, the smart home and coding for kids. Soon, products in the house will be connected to the Internet and work together — your fridge will send a message to your TV telling you you're out of milk; the lights will flicker if you've left the front door open. In its 2015 prediction report, Samsung said automated home systems will move from "geek to chic driven by a dramatically improved user experience." (Via Mashable)

How Secure Are Temporary Messaging Apps For Work?

Is there such a thing as a secure messaging app? It’s a question that people are asking — especially as news of leaks and security vulnerabilities continue to crop up. From Apple to Snapchat, each breach varies in its severity, but the surrounding discussions usually end up circling back to how secure any data we store and send actually is. For an individual, that privacy question can be troubling enough, but for companies that are looking for a messaging solution that suits their needs, the consequences could be substantial.

The real challenge within the workplace is securing the endpoints. While the app itself might be secure, the users actually pose the real potential threat. How do you prevent people from accidentally compromising information or others from impersonating your employees to mine data from their messages?

The bottom line when it comes to the marketing of these apps is a promise of security. For the most part, they deliver on this promise. But being secure and being foolproof are two very different things. And often, the latter is the real wrench when it comes to keeping data confidential. No app can completely control endpoint security. If an individual makes a mistake — or, worse yet, has malicious intent — that data can still be vulnerable. (Via Recode)

Facebook Adds Another PayPal Exec, Stan Chudnovsky, To Messenger Team

Facebook has poached another executive from PayPal to work on Facebook Messenger: VP of Growth Stan Chudnovsky. Facebook announced the hire Wednesday, just six months after snatching PayPal President David Marcus to run the company’s messaging products. Chudnovsky will handle product management for Messenger and will report directly to Marcus, a company spokesperson said.

 

The addition of yet another PayPal executive may lead to more speculation that Facebook is set on building some type of payments product into Messenger. But despite Chudnovsky’s year-and-a-half tenure at PayPal, he isn’t really a payments guy. He’s a growth guy who has worked on gaming and social media companies in the past, and knows how to attract new users and customers. (Via Recode)

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