Alibaba Combats Counterfeit Goods After Filing IPO Prospectus

As part of its effort to streamline the process of addressing counterfeit goods, Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group has begun to automatically remove from its biggest shopping site products that certain brands have deemed as fake. Alibaba’s Taobao shopping site is one of the busiest in the world, and counterfeit goods have been a concern ahead of the company’s IPO. Its expedited take-down process will initially apply to products identified by less than two dozen brands participating in the program. Continue reading Alibaba Combats Counterfeit Goods After Filing IPO Prospectus

Researchers Use Algorithm for Computers to Understand Video

Researchers at MIT have developed a method for teaching computers to understand what is happening in video content. The method uses a similar approach to textual analysis, such as natural language processing, by looking at each part of a video to figure out what the whole thing means. The researchers created an algorithm to identify what occurs in individual frames of the video, and then determines what those mean when combined in a certain order. Continue reading Researchers Use Algorithm for Computers to Understand Video

Mortar Data Makes it Easier to Build Recommendation Engines

Mortar Data, a New York-based company known for building and hosting custom big data applications, recently announced the launch of a recommendation engine platform that allows anyone to build their own system, and use it with their own data, for free. Recommendation systems are becoming increasingly popular, and have become a gold mine for big companies such as Pandora and Netflix, which use the services to make recommendations based on customer history. Continue reading Mortar Data Makes it Easier to Build Recommendation Engines

New Startup Adventr Will Help You Easily Make Interactive Videos

Adventr has launched a new drag & drop editing platform that allows users to create interactive videos. The New York City-based startup is backed by musician John Legend, and was founded by Devo Harris, better known as Grammy-winning producer and songwriter Devo Springsteen. The service essentially works by overlaying graphics on video, and giving users multiple choices. Adventr also allows users to share their videos on Twitter, Facebook, and any website that supports the VPAID format. Continue reading New Startup Adventr Will Help You Easily Make Interactive Videos

Google Glass Available to All, IHS Breaks Down Materials Cost

Google announced Tuesday evening that its Google Glass product, although still in beta, is now available to anyone in the U.S. while supplies last. IHS released a product breakdown of Glass, and says that the cost of hardware and manufacturing is approximately $152, a small fraction of the product’s $1500 selling price. While IHS did note nonmaterial expenses such as software development, engineering and tooling, Google claims that the IHS cost estimate is “wildly off.” Continue reading Google Glass Available to All, IHS Breaks Down Materials Cost

After a Lukewarm Response, Square Pulls the Plug on Wallet

Although Wallet seemed to have tremendous potential as the next big thing, Square recently pulled the app from mobile app stores after receiving a lukewarm response from consumers and retailers. Square Wallet, created by Twitter inventor Jack Dorsey, offered a radical new way of performing an everyday task by making payments through a mobile app easier. Dorsey’s vision was to reinvent in-person payments for the mobile era, but the public did not seem to respond well. Continue reading After a Lukewarm Response, Square Pulls the Plug on Wallet

GM Scheduled to Launch Cars Equipped with 4G LTE Service

General Motors released prices for its first vehicles equipped with built-in LTE 4G, essentially turning the cars into rolling Wi-Fi hot spots. The automaker will launch its 2015 models in the next month, and plans to release more than 30 new vehicles with LTE broadband connectivity, as well as numerous new communications, safety, and navigation services. The communications service will be provided by AT&T, and the cars will come with a free, three-month trial with three gigabytes of data. Continue reading GM Scheduled to Launch Cars Equipped with 4G LTE Service

Professor Develops Free DIY Online Image Verification Service

With the recent growth in citizen journalism via the Internet, questions have arisen regarding the authenticity of photographs, and whether there are ways to verify if an image is accurate or not. The rise of Photoshop and other digital tools has made it easy for people to edit images prior to sharing them on Facebook or Twitter. However, a computer science professor at Dartmouth College has developed a free online image verification service that quickly confirms whether an image is authentic or not. Continue reading Professor Develops Free DIY Online Image Verification Service

FedEx Responds to E-Commerce Boom with Increased Pricing

While FedEx has traditionally charged to ship packages based solely on weight, the company has changed its policy to also price packages according to size. The move is expected to increase the price of over a third of FedEx’s U.S. ground shipments, and dramatically impact e-commerce companies. The next question is whether or not UPS will follow FedEx’s lead and consider a new pricing strategy as well. In the past, UPS and FedEx have kept similar pricing, rather than use pricing as a competitive advantage. Continue reading FedEx Responds to E-Commerce Boom with Increased Pricing

Walmart Beefing Up its E-Commerce Efforts to Catch Amazon

Walmart has surpassed online retail giant Amazon in sales growth for the first time in a decade. Global online sales for Walmart rose by 30 percent in 2013 to $10 billion, while Amazon experienced 20 percent sales growth. However, Amazon’s $67.8 billion in online sales are more than six times Walmart’s sales, and Amazon sold more last year than its next 10 largest competitors. To better compete with Amazon, Walmart is investing significantly in e-commerce. Continue reading Walmart Beefing Up its E-Commerce Efforts to Catch Amazon

Optimistic Financial Reports from Electronic Arts and Activision

Activision Blizzard and Electronic Arts released positive financial results and showed optimism about the holiday shopping season. EA said sales of new video game consoles from Microsoft and Sony exceeded their goals, as well as the sales of games for those devices. EA also announced a repurchase plan for $750 million shares, and a lofty profit forecast for the rest of the year. Activision reported that presales for the newest version of “World of Warcraft” are the strongest in the game’s history. Continue reading Optimistic Financial Reports from Electronic Arts and Activision

Yahoo No Longer Honoring ‘Do Not Track’ Requests by its Users

In a blog post this week, Yahoo announced that its privacy policy will no longer recognize when users activate “Do Not Track” signals in their browsers. Although users purposefully use this setting to indicate they do not want companies to monitor their online behavior, the tracking is necessary for Yahoo to create a more personalized experience for its users. The move is part of larger strategy by CEO Marissa Mayer to brand Yahoo as a “personalization company.” Continue reading Yahoo No Longer Honoring ‘Do Not Track’ Requests by its Users

Board Game Sales Increase Despite Electronic Game Success

While most people may assume that the success of electronic gaming has negatively impacted the traditional board game industry, the result has actually been the opposite. Technology has brought new tools that can create tabletop games with 3D figures and other tangible advances. In the past few years, sales of tabletop games have dramatically increased. Dan Shapiro, who has worked at Microsoft and sold a company to Google, recently created a board game for children and found crowdfunding to be beneficial. Continue reading Board Game Sales Increase Despite Electronic Game Success

Broadway Theater Seating Designed to Create Movie Experience

The new Broadway musical “Holler If Ya Hear Me,” inspired by the music of rapper Tupac Shakur who was murdered in 1996, will feature a stage where actors are within arms length of the first few rows of the audience. The play’s creators spent $200,000 to transform the Palace Theatre to create a sense of intimacy, dramatically changing the original seating arrangement to stadium style seating in the orchestra section. The new structure closely resembles that of a movie theater. Continue reading Broadway Theater Seating Designed to Create Movie Experience

F8: Consumers Can Purchase Oculus Rift VR Headset in 2015

During Facebook’s F8 developer conference this week, an Oculus VR spokesperson said the company would likely release its Oculus Rift virtual reality headsets commercially next year. While there is no official word yet on a price tag or release date for the consumer version of Oculus Rift, the headset will require an ecosystem of games and entertainment. The Oculus Rift Development Kit 2 is presently on sale for $350, and is scheduled to begin shipping in July. Continue reading F8: Consumers Can Purchase Oculus Rift VR Headset in 2015

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