YouTube Gaming Focuses on Live, Mobile Capture, 360 VR

YouTube’s gaming video site draws hundreds of millions of gamers watching 144 billion minutes of game videos every month, half of which are on mobile devices. YouTube Gaming content creators have posted videos on more than 25,000 games. The channel’s fans are 30 percent women, 30 percent over 34 years old and 47 percent parents. Now 11 years old, YouTube continues to evolve its gaming ecosystem, with a push to do more livestreaming of games, a new “mobile capture” feature and an emphasis on 360-degree VR game videos. Continue reading YouTube Gaming Focuses on Live, Mobile Capture, 360 VR

Drone Makers Group Wants a Voice in Setting Airspace Policy

Four major drone manufacturers formed a new drone advocacy group, the Drone Manufacturers Alliance, to better address issues specific to their consumer-facing businesses. DJI, 3DR, Parrot and GoPro aim to lobby for “policies that promote innovation and safety, and create a practical and responsible regulatory framework.” The companies appear to have decamped from the founding trade association in the space, the Small UAV Coalition, which still counts Google X, Amazon Prime Air, AirMap, Intel and others as members. Continue reading Drone Makers Group Wants a Voice in Setting Airspace Policy

Video Creators Complain of ‘Freebooting’ Trend on Facebook

Video has skyrocketed on Facebook to 8 billion views a day, and now the social media giant is also bombarded with takedown requests from video content creators. They’re complaining about “freebooting,” which is when clips are taken from YouTube, where creators make money from advertising, and re-loaded without permission on Facebook, where they’re not making a dime. Although Facebook is working on new rights-management software, creators say the current copyright infringement is negatively impacting their income. Continue reading Video Creators Complain of ‘Freebooting’ Trend on Facebook

Artists Say ‘Safe Harbor’ is a Shield for Copyright Infringement

As revenue from streaming rose 29 percent last year, artists and the recording industry are renewing their effort to get the U.S. Copyright Office to take a second look at the “safe harbor provisions” of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act. They say that places the onus on policing copyright infringement on them, protecting services such as YouTube where copyrighted material is uploaded without permission. Katy Perry, Billy Joel and Rod Stewart are among the artists who have put a public face on the debate. Continue reading Artists Say ‘Safe Harbor’ is a Shield for Copyright Infringement

Amazon’s Alexa Moves Artificial Intelligence Into Mainstream

Amazon spent years to bring Echo from an idea to an intelligent, voice-controlled product that could play music, order groceries and read the news out loud. Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos demanded perfection, bringing latency levels to below 1.5 seconds, and the result is that Echo and its virtual assistant Alexa are a hit. In less than two weeks, Echo hit a million pre-orders, which took the iPhone 70 days to achieve. Amazon is now letting third-party hardware manufacturers integrate Alexa into their products. Continue reading Amazon’s Alexa Moves Artificial Intelligence Into Mainstream

FCC Approves Broadband Subsidy Plan, Looks at Privacy Rules

The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday approved a $9.25 per month subsidy that will bring broadband Internet to millions of low-income families. Three out of the FCC’s five commissioners voted for the subsidy plan, which is part of a reform of the Lifeline program and the latest FCC effort to treat broadband as a public utility. The subsidy for broadband comes at a time when high-speed Internet has become indispensible for school homework, finding and keeping employment and other essential tasks. Continue reading FCC Approves Broadband Subsidy Plan, Looks at Privacy Rules

FBI Tries to Unlock More iPhones, Debate Continues in Europe

Since the FBI broke the encryption of the iPhone 5C belonging to terrorist Syed Rizwan Farook, most likely with the help of the Israeli office of the Japanese mobile phone security firm Cellebrite Mobile Synchronization, it has been testing the method on other iPhone versions. It will not, however, disclose the phone’s flaw or the information found on Farook’s phone. European cases regarding locked phones are heating up, with France and England considering fines for companies that don’t help crack their phones’ encryption. Continue reading FBI Tries to Unlock More iPhones, Debate Continues in Europe

Intel Debuts Chips, Partnerships for Next-Gen Cloud Computing

Intel just introduced the Xeon E5-2600 v4 chip family, which includes up to 22 calculating engines on each chip (up from a maximum of 18) and has built-in features to encrypt data more quickly, thus potentially improving security of cloud computing. Dell, HP and Cisco Systems will use the chips to make new servers. Intel also revealed its collaboration with CoreOS and Mirantis whose technologies are aimed to make it easier for companies to move data between different cloud services or their own data centers and the cloud. Continue reading Intel Debuts Chips, Partnerships for Next-Gen Cloud Computing

Facebook Live Attracts Media Partners, Joins the ‘Today’ Show

Facebook Live, a pet project of chief executive Mark Zuckerberg and one of the company’s top priorities, is getting a big push. Posting video there now requires a Facebook app on a mobile device, but the Silicon Valley company also plans to introduce new features and partners in early April and at F8, Facebook’s developer conference. Facebook is also gaining traction with getting media companies and celebrities to participate, most recently on the “Today” show, which launched a Facebook Live video-streaming booth. Continue reading Facebook Live Attracts Media Partners, Joins the ‘Today’ Show

SoundCloud Debuts Subscription Plan in U.S. with 125M Songs

Berlin-based SoundCloud, which began signing licensing deals with major and indie record labels in 2014, just debuted its new subscription plan. The online music service’s 175 million regular users will now have the option of the free version, which features 100 million songs, or the $10/month subscription version, SoundCloud Go, which offers 125 million ad-free songs, and lets users save songs to their phones. In 2014, SoundCloud posted $19.5 million in revenue, but a net loss of almost $44 million. Continue reading SoundCloud Debuts Subscription Plan in U.S. with 125M Songs

Microsoft Pushes Windows 10, Promotes Bots to Replace Apps

Microsoft is on track to reach the goal it set when it first introduced Windows 10 last July: to reach one billion devices within two or three years. Less than a year later, Windows 10, the latest version of its operating system, is running on 270 million active devices, adopted faster than even Windows 7, its previous high point. Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella is pinning future hopes on artificial intelligence and “bots” to create new ways to interact with computers, and replace apps as the dominant paradigm. Continue reading Microsoft Pushes Windows 10, Promotes Bots to Replace Apps

Spike in Takedown Requests Questions Effectiveness of DMCA

In the first 12 weeks this year, Google received takedown requests for 213 million links, representing a 125 percent increase over the same period in 2015, to remove copyright infringing sites, as per the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The spike does not represent a dramatic increase in piracy but, rather, new automated tools for finding copyright violators as well as more copyright holders actively looking for infringers. The MPAA and Recording Industry Association of America say it’s proof that the DMCA isn’t working. Continue reading Spike in Takedown Requests Questions Effectiveness of DMCA

HPE Plans to Enhance Servers with ‘Persistent Memory’ Tech

Hewlett-Packard Enterprise hopes to be the leader in “persistent memory,” which greatly improves server speed, a boon to those dealing with increasing amounts of data. Other companies planning to use persistent memory include Oracle and Super Micro Computer, with component manufacturers Micron Technology, SanDisk, Netlist and the Viking Technology unit of Sanmina. Persistent memory combines flash memory and DRAM (dynamic random-access memory), to create DIMMs (direct in-line memory module). Continue reading HPE Plans to Enhance Servers with ‘Persistent Memory’ Tech

Instagram Debuts New Algorithm, Bumps Video to 60 Seconds

Facebook-owned Instagram is testing a new algorithm, which will choose which posts users see in their feed and in what order. Brands are worried, afraid that means their posts won’t be seen. That’s essentially what happened when Facebook changed its algorithm, and the Pages that businesses and brands built to reach fans for free, slowly but surely disappeared from their followers’ feeds. Instagram also announced that it is rolling out a new cap for videos, bumping the limit from 15 seconds to 60 seconds. Continue reading Instagram Debuts New Algorithm, Bumps Video to 60 Seconds

Critics Greet Long-Promised Oculus Rift with Mixed Reviews

After many months of anticipation, Oculus finally rolled out its Rift VR headset into the hands of many eager technology journalists. There have been numerous reviews, and most — but not all — of them are enthusiastic. What they like is that the system is well-made, accessible, easy to set up and comfortable to wear. But a few critics find the 30 VR “experiences” rolled out with the headset to be less than compelling, and others bemoaned the lack of Touch controllers and more VR games and experiences. Continue reading Critics Greet Long-Promised Oculus Rift with Mixed Reviews