Spotify Sweetens the Deal with New Video and Podcast Content

Spotify is no longer just about music streaming. The service — facing new pressure from emerging rivals — is adding podcasts, video clips, original music and video series, a better recommendation engine, and a special feature for runners. The new videos and podcasts will come from media partners like ABC, BBC, Comedy Central, ESPN and Maker Studios. Spotify has also developed some of its own original content, including music tracks that will change tempo based on how fast the user is running. Continue reading Spotify Sweetens the Deal with New Video and Podcast Content

Oculus Reveals PC Specs for Upcoming Launch of Rift Headset

Oculus is getting ready for the release of its long-awaited Oculus Rift VR headset with recommendations for PC specs and a special event on June 11. The company recommends a powerful GPU to handle rendering. The Rift will initially require a desktop PC running Windows 7 SP1 or newer, 2 USB 3.0 ports, and HDMI 1.3 video output supporting a 297MHz clock through a direct output architecture. Meanwhile, Oculus has halted work on Mac and Linux support while it readies the PC software for launch. Continue reading Oculus Reveals PC Specs for Upcoming Launch of Rift Headset

Apple Shifts UHD TV Plans to a Focus on Apple TV Upgrade

Apple spent several years researching new ways to innovate the television set, and now the company has decided that transparent UHD displays, sensor-equipped cameras and FaceTime capabilities are not worth launching in a new Apple product. Instead, the company plans to continue developing its online television service as an alternative to cable and will redesign the Apple set-top box. This way, the company will be able to uphold its reputation for innovation and high profit margins. Continue reading Apple Shifts UHD TV Plans to a Focus on Apple TV Upgrade

Facebook Eyes New Ways to Earn Revenue from Messaging

Facebook is looking to integrate mobile games into its Messenger app and business-to-consumer chats into WhatsApp. Both of these initiatives have the potential to generate new revenue for the social network. Game developers would potentially pay big bucks to make their games such an integral part of the Facebook experience. The gaming integration is already in the works, while the WhatsApp move may be introduced later. Facebook is talking with game developers to add new play options to Facebook Messenger. Continue reading Facebook Eyes New Ways to Earn Revenue from Messaging

Pinterest Unveils New Animated Ads Called ‘Cinematic Pins’

Social bookmarking site Pinterest is bolstering its advertising strategy with a “cinematic pins” feature that adds motion to users’ boards. These special pins play short animations at the same speed that a user is scrolling. When the user clicks on an ad, the pin plays a longer version of the video. These new ads are part of a revamped strategy designed to compete with Twitter and Facebook. Advertisers will now have more targeting options and access to a new ad-creating service. Continue reading Pinterest Unveils New Animated Ads Called ‘Cinematic Pins’

Kim Dotcom Claims Hollywood is to Blame for Piracy Problems

Kim Dotcom, the man accused in the biggest case of copyright infringement in U.S. history, criticizes Hollywood studios for failing to effectively utilize Internet technology to distribute their content. The creator of file-sharing website Megaupload.com predicts that Netflix and other companies “will ultimately take over these dinosaurs.” Currently, studios including 20th Century Fox and Disney are suing Dotcom for $100 million. Dotcom is also facing a civil suit from the U.S. government. Continue reading Kim Dotcom Claims Hollywood is to Blame for Piracy Problems

North America to Run Out of Internet Addresses This Summer

The supply of new Internet Protocol addresses has almost run out, which means that companies will likely need to invest a significant amount of money to pay for pricier addresses and system upgrades. IP addresses are similar to telephone numbers that specify where data is going when it is transferred over the Internet. Companies may now have to spend millions of dollars switching to Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) to get more addresses for their various online operations. Continue reading North America to Run Out of Internet Addresses This Summer

Walmart to Test New Shipping Service Similar to Amazon Prime

Walmart plans to launch a new loyalty program that will offer online customers unlimited free shipping for $50 per year. The program is half the cost of Amazon Prime, but does not include some of Prime’s popular perks such as streaming movies and TV shows, photo storage, and e-books. Walmart’s new service is part of a larger competition between retailers and e-commerce marketplaces for loyal customers. Walmart did not specify which markets will be part of the initial launch. Continue reading Walmart to Test New Shipping Service Similar to Amazon Prime

Facebook Now Hosting Articles from Major News Organizations

After months of negotiations, media companies have finally started publishing their content directly to Facebook. Nine major news organizations, including BBC News, NBC News and The New York Times, have agreed to the Facebook deal. The articles will load faster and the news organizations will be able to sell advertisements and keep the entire revenue. However, some analysts believe that this deal might draw readers and advertisers away from the media companies’ own sites. Continue reading Facebook Now Hosting Articles from Major News Organizations

Flickr Upgrade Includes Cloud Storage and Object Recognition

Photo sharing site Flickr is helping users store and organize their photos with new cloud computing and machine learning solutions. The service recently introduced a new automatic photo uploader for mobile and desktop and each user gets 1,000 gigabytes of free cloud storage. Sorting through photos is now easier with the new search function, which relies on machine learning tech to recognize objects, places, and people in photos. The new search engine works because the service automatically adds descriptive tags to uploaded photos. Continue reading Flickr Upgrade Includes Cloud Storage and Object Recognition

SiliconDust Launches Kickstarter to Fund its HDHomeRun DVR

SiliconDust, a startup known for its live TV streaming devices, is now making a DVR that will not tie viewers down to their living room televisions. The HDHomeRun DVR is designed for cord cutters. It plugs into SiliconDust’s streaming devices so that users can watch recorded shows on smart TVs, game consoles, tablets, smartphones and computers. The HDHomeRun DVR can also record from premium channels such as HBO. As of press time, the Kickstarter campaign had raised more than $169,000. Continue reading SiliconDust Launches Kickstarter to Fund its HDHomeRun DVR

New Wave of Interactive Ads Designed to Engage Mobile Users

According to Google, only 54 percent of online video ads are viewable (excluding those on YouTube). More companies are trying to get people engaged with their online ads instead of scrolling past them. Viewers may be prompted to talk back, swipe, or shoot targets in interactive ads. This new type of advertising is aimed at mobile users as people increasingly use their phones to access the Internet. Google and other companies hope interactive ads may help generate more mobile advertising revenue. Continue reading New Wave of Interactive Ads Designed to Engage Mobile Users

Data Balkanization: Google Updates Cloud-Based App Engine

Google has updated Google App Engine, its cloud-based app-building tool, so that the apps can now be taken to another cloud provider to run. The change is designed to help Google retain customers despite new cloud balkanization rules that limit where data can be stored. Developers will still be able to build their apps with App Engine and they can run the app through Google’s cloud service in North and South America or they can access other data centers through AppScale. Continue reading Data Balkanization: Google Updates Cloud-Based App Engine

Microsoft’s HoloLens AR Technology Designed for Productivity

Microsoft demonstrated the practicality of its HoloLens augmented reality technology at last week’s Microsoft BUILD developers conference. While it may not be as exciting as stepping into an immersive experience with virtual reality, the technology opens the door for some compelling practical applications, whether that involves educating medical students or building virtual models of rocket ships. Possibilities for business and the home is what may help augmented reality catch on and improve people’s lives. Continue reading Microsoft’s HoloLens AR Technology Designed for Productivity

Twitter’s Periscope Hopes It Can Coexist with TV Broadcasters

Periscope is trying to repair its relationship with television broadcasters after some users illegally live streamed the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao boxing match. The company says it was better prepared to handle takedown requests after the piracy issues involving “Game of Thrones.” Because Twitter owns Periscope, the live streaming app needs to maintain a good relationship with broadcasters. Meanwhile, the U.S. Open golf tournament will not allow live streaming from Periscope or Meerkat. Continue reading Twitter’s Periscope Hopes It Can Coexist with TV Broadcasters

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