August 8, 2014 Last Updated 4:35 pm

AOL updates iOS app, adds push notifications for mail; iStoryTime now claims a million users

TripAdvisor app update says it now can offer discounts at restaurants when tables are reserved through its app (made possible by recent acquisition of lafourchette, a Paris and Barcelona based restaurant reservation company)

The push notification, that feature that is under used by many apps (or not used at all) or over used by some media companies (thanks NYT, I know who one the Super Bowl) have finally come to AOL. But if you still have an AOL email address, and gets lots of mail, you’re about to be annoyed.

screen568x568As many iPhone owners know, not all email services instantly deliver mail to your device. If you have a Mac account, for instance, you get mail delivered instantly. But with others your iPhone “fetches” the email at set times (say every ten minutes). With app email, the app will grab the email or the service will ping the app to deliver the email, but how does the user know you have new email? Enter push notifications.

But some of us get tons of emails. I have a dozen emails appear in the time I wrote that text above (all from notices that the same French comment spammer is still trying to get their message on this website).

AOL has used its app screenshots to show how these push notifications will work. The screenshot shows a message reading “Good morning, Mike! You have 4 important emails.” (How do they know they are important? and stop calling me Mike).

I assume push notifications can be turned off within settings – if not, a lot of AOL app users will be complaining big time in the App Store.

iStoryTime-iconAnother app updated is for iStoryTime, the real aloud storybook app. According to the app description, the service now has over 1 million users.

The reason the service has grown so fast is likely due to its tie-ins with the movie studios. The service offers storybooks like Shrek 2: Cat Attack! and How To Train Your Dragon: Meet the Dragons and Madagascar: Born To Be Wild – a lesson for other services that it is not just about the programming, but the content, as well.

iStoryTime uses its app updates as promotion opportunities. The update is just a minor bug fix update, but the app description is rather long, promoting its services and reminding users to return to the app.

TripAdvisor’s update for its app TripAdvisor Hotels Flights Restaurants hints at the direction the website plans to go.

“Find restaurant deals right in your app,” reads the app description. “Get up to 50% off meals at some of the best restaurants in France and Spain when you book online.”

(TripAdvisor as the new GroupOn, didn’t see that one coming. Now all I have to do is get to France or Spain._

TripAdvisor had previously partnered with OpenTable, and their app screenshots still show OpenTable on a TripAdvisor page. But TripAdvisor recently acquired lafourchette (the folk), the online book service based in Paris and Barcelona, which is why they can now offer these deals in Europe.

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