Ypulse Essentials: JCPenney Gets A Fresh Start, Google+ Is Now Open To Teens, Getting Into College

JCPenneyWe’ve been eagerly awaiting news of how JCPenney would re-imagine the shopping experience (since we first heard that new CEO Ron Johnson was considering adding Genius Bars, a concept he devised while with Apple. Believing that “the department store is the number one opportunity in American retail,” he’s slashing prices on items and creating “Best Price Fridays,” a regular sale day when consumers can take advantage of discounts. Cutting through the “insanity,” promotions will be trimmed from 590 a year to just 12, but with initial prices down by about 40%, we don’t think consumers — especially cash-strapped Millennials — will miss the sales. The change also comes with a new logo…and as with most logo redesigns lately, the critics are already breaking it down. Here’s JCPenney’s official announcement about the changes it’s making) (Ad Age, reg required) (Business Insider) (Ad Age) (WSJ, reg required) (Breaking Copy)

- Google+ has finally opened its doors to users under age 18 (now that it has added some safety measures such as warning teens before they post publicly and notifying them when a stranger joins a video hangout. Btw, are we the only ones who didn’t realize Google+ was formerly an adult-only social net? Not that it would have stopped teens from lying about their ages if they’d wanted to join) (ReadWriteWeb)

- High school students are working hard and studying and doing all the right things to get into college (but fewer are attending their first choice schools. They most likely turn down the opportunity because they don’t get the scholarships or financial aid packages they were hoping for and turn to other schools that ease their financial burden) (NY Times, reg required)

- Google is gaining on Apple in the tablet market (with its Android operating system making inroads during the last three months of 2011. Apple still dominates, but we’re curious to see the numbers from our forthcoming Ypulse Report on Techonology that will take into account gifts students received over the holidays) (BBC)

- If you want to sell digital books for children, the key (is to get them to ask their parents to buy it for them, according to a new study on children’s publishing. Kids are reading three times more e-books than they were a year ago, so publishers must be doing things right! Speaking of e-books, more universities are testing out electronic textbook programs, though not all are going the iBooks route. This program at Cornell University, the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Minnesota, and the University of Wisconsin makes use of McGraw-Hill’s eTexts and Courseload reader) (Publishers Weekly) (Cavalier Daily)

- Photo archive app Shoebox is teaming up with Facebook (to help you take those preserved memories and add them straight into your Facebook timeline. Shoebox started as a way to memorialize loved ones posthumously, but soon found a new calling to help users tell their own backstory. Now you make it look like you’ve been a member of the social net since the day you were born!) (Fast Company)

- Finally there’s a parody video of Sh*t Girls Say (that we can get behind. Check out Do Something’s Sh*t Apathetic Girls Say! Now get out there and destroy the stereotype by getting involved. Teens For Jeans is going on now. Just sayin’...) (YouTube) (Do Something)

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