Second Life Creators to Launch Virtual Reality Project Sansar

For 13 years, San Francisco-based Linden Lab has been presiding over Second Life. Now, the company is about to create a virtual reality network, dubbed Project Sansar, to provide an environment for individuals and businesses to experiment in VR. Sansar has been constructed to be incredibly scalable and immense, which could be either exciting or daunting to potential users. Linden Lab hopes it’s the former, and that people will use Sansar to build innovative VR worlds for problem-solving and social interaction. Continue reading Second Life Creators to Launch Virtual Reality Project Sansar

Microsoft Stream Offers Familiar Video Tools for Businesses

Microsoft introduced Stream, a service that will allow businesses the ability to share internal video easily and securely. Now available as a free preview, Stream offers the same easy-to-use, flexible tools as YouTube, but with security tools for enterprise content. Office 365 already has a Video tool, and Microsoft’s idea is to eventually and seamlessly merge the two services. Unlike Office 365, Stream will make use of tools — including likes, comments, and recommendations — found in consumer platforms such as Vimeo and YouTube. Continue reading Microsoft Stream Offers Familiar Video Tools for Businesses

Top Internet Celebrities Paid to Make Move to Facebook Live

Last month, Facebook announced it would pay $50 million to 140 media companies and celebrities to create videos for Facebook Live. What’s getting attention now are the 15 percent of those recipients who are Internet celebrities popular on platforms such as YouTube, Vine, Snapchat and Instagram. Those celebrities will reap approximately $2.2 million over the next few months to focus their video broadcasts on Facebook Live rather than competing sites. As of yet, Facebook hasn’t determined how to generate revenue from Live. Continue reading Top Internet Celebrities Paid to Make Move to Facebook Live

Regulators and Insurers Examine Risks of Automated Vehicles

Spurred by the May 7 fatal crash involving an autonomous Tesla Motors vehicle in Florida, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is considering requiring approval of technologies involved in self-driving cars, something not covered by current motor safety rules. That lack of relevant regulations means the government has no authority over automated car technologies being introduced on U.S. roads and highways. The NHTSA can only intervene in potential safety issues after an incident has occurred. Continue reading Regulators and Insurers Examine Risks of Automated Vehicles

YouTube Faces Rivals, Diversifies to Capture Niche Audiences

For the first time, Internet video pioneer YouTube has had to take into account that its dominance is being challenged, most notably by Facebook, Snapchat and Amazon. Now, YouTube has more than a billion users, an app audience of 18-to-49-year-olds that dwarfs that of any U.S. cable network, and an average mobile viewing session more than 40 minutes long. To keep ahead of the competition, YouTube has diversified, with apps devoted to specific niche audiences: YouTube Music, YouTube Kids and YouTube Gaming. Continue reading YouTube Faces Rivals, Diversifies to Capture Niche Audiences

Microsoft Debuts Xbox One S, Project Scorpio to Soon Follow

On August 2, Microsoft’s Xbox One S will be available for $399. The new console is 40 percent smaller than the Xbox One, offers a tidy built-in power supply, and is capable of standing vertically, a throwback to older Xboxes. The Xbox One S is also more powerful, with a faster processor that, for the first time, provides 4K video for streaming Netflix and Amazon Video, and high dynamic range (HDR), as well as the ability to play Ultra HD Blu-ray discs. But only users with 4K TV sets will be able to see the difference. Continue reading Microsoft Debuts Xbox One S, Project Scorpio to Soon Follow

DARPA Announces Competition to Combat Computer Viruses

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has launched the Cyber Grand Challenge (CGC), to create a program that — without any human interference — can find security vulnerabilities abused by hackers, then create a fix and distribute it. If the Challenge is successful, power plants, air traffic and water infrastructure would eventually become safe from computer viruses and hackers, and ordinary citizens would know their computers and digital devices are safe from malware and viruses. Continue reading DARPA Announces Competition to Combat Computer Viruses

Advanced Wireless Research Initiative to Develop 5G Networks

The Obama administration has announced its Advanced Wireless Research Initiative, a government-funded $400 million seven-year project aimed at developing 5G wireless networking technology, with speeds 100 times faster than today’s 4G and LTE networks. As stated, the project also wants to “maintain U.S. leadership and win the next generation of mobile technology.” The National Science Foundation will lead the project, and other commercial partners including Samsung and carriers will participate. Continue reading Advanced Wireless Research Initiative to Develop 5G Networks

ILMxLAB Debuts ‘Tatooine’ VR, Develops Darth Vader Projects

Darth Vader is the star of an upcoming Lucasfilm virtual reality project centered on “Star Wars.” Although the project is largely undefined at this point — it has no name, genre, or release date — what we do know is that the story will both reveal new details about Darth Vader’s background and try out some innovative storytelling techniques. Lucasfilm’s ILMxLAB, which accesses award-winning VFX facility Industrial Light & Magic, Skywalker Sound and the “Star Wars” story group, is developing the project. Continue reading ILMxLAB Debuts ‘Tatooine’ VR, Develops Darth Vader Projects

Netflix’s New Flixtape Site Lets Users Create, Share ‘Mixtapes’

Netflix has debuted Flixtape, a standalone website that allows users to make playlists of their favorite movies and TV shows. The lists can be created on the basis of genre (comedy, drama, documentary) or any kind of theme. According to Netflix, these lists can either be shared, via text message, email or social networks including Facebook and Twitter, with family and friends, or simply created for the user’s own reference. The list, however, is limited to a total of six titles. Continue reading Netflix’s New Flixtape Site Lets Users Create, Share ‘Mixtapes’

Netflix Scores Emmy Noms, Reaping Value Per Dollar Spent

Netflix has scored big with 54 Emmy nominations, compared to last year’s 34 nominations. The number of nominations puts Netflix in third place, behind HBO (94 nominations) and FX Networks (56 nominations). Its long-standing series “House of Cards” continued to garner nominations, as did new series “Bloodlines” and “Narcos.” Netflix is also besting its competitors in terms of how it creates value for the money it spends on productions, with efficiencies an estimated three-times better than Amazon and Hulu. Continue reading Netflix Scores Emmy Noms, Reaping Value Per Dollar Spent

NBCUniversal Awarded Patent to Halt Illegal BitTorrent Piracy

NBCUniversal just received a patent to track files, in real-time, shared by groups on peer-to-peer networks, part of an anti-piracy effort. “Early detection of high volume peer-to-peer swarms,” the title of the patent, looks for a popular swarm so that the copyright holders can take action before it is “too late to do much good.” Detection relies on a data feed of peer-to-peer swarm activity, augmented by a data analytics engine that processes the data to identify swarms with parameters exceeding a threshold. Continue reading NBCUniversal Awarded Patent to Halt Illegal BitTorrent Piracy

Vevo Puts Emphasis on Social with Rebranding and New App

Vevo, launched by Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group in 2009 to sell digital advertising, is going through a rebranding. About 400 million people watch the company’s relatively small catalog of 200,000 music videos, but they primarily watch them on YouTube. Vevo wants to change that. Although it already had an app, it’s rolling out a brand new one that Vevo hopes will not only capture viewers but keep them there with conversations and social media. The company also plans to roll out an ad-free subscription tier. Continue reading Vevo Puts Emphasis on Social with Rebranding and New App

Google Report Answers Music Industry’s Copyright Complaints

The tension between Google’s YouTube and the music recording industry still roils. Google says that YouTube has made payments topping $3 billion to the music industry, but the music industry claims that YouTube’s rates are lower than those paid by SoundCloud and Spotify, both ad-supported. Music is important to YouTube, but YouTube — with its enormous audiences — is also important to the music industry. They need each other, but neither will budge. Now a Google report spells out its point of view. Continue reading Google Report Answers Music Industry’s Copyright Complaints

Magic Leap Still Mum on Release Date, Describes Production

Magic Leap has not yet set a date to unveil its mixed reality technology, and didn’t do so at a recent Fortune conference in Aspen. There, Magic Leap founder/chief executive Rony Abovitz and chief marketing officer Brian Wallace said the technology is “very real” and “not a research project anymore.” Some listeners detected a hint that a product might be released this fall, but Abovitz and Wallace never made an overt statement. The most they would say is that the public would see its products “soonish.” Continue reading Magic Leap Still Mum on Release Date, Describes Production