High Profile Snap IPO Could Push Other Startups to Go Public

Snapchat parent company Snap Inc. has confidentially filed for its IPO, according to sources familiar with the matter. The four-year old messaging app could go public as early as March 2017, in what is expected to be one of the highest-profile stock debuts in years, and one that could potentially convince other tech startups to test public markets. The Venice, California-based company is looking to raise as much as $4 billion, with a valuation in the $25 billion range, which could make it the largest U.S.-listed tech offering since Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba went public in 2014. Continue reading High Profile Snap IPO Could Push Other Startups to Go Public

Google, Facebook Ban Fake News From Earning Ad Revenue

During the U.S. presidential election, the preponderance of fake news on various social media sites got a lot of attention. Now, Google says it is updating its policies to ban fake-news websites from using AdSense, its ad-selling software. The company defined fake news as “pages that misrepresent, misstate, or conceal information about the publisher, the publisher’s content, or the [website’s] primary purpose.” Following in Google’s footsteps, Facebook similarly banned fake news sites from using its advertising network. Continue reading Google, Facebook Ban Fake News From Earning Ad Revenue

Chrome Tightens Up Security Warnings for Unencrypted Sites

In January, Chrome will begin placing a “not secure” warning on the left of its address bar for websites that do not use strong HTTPS-connected encryption, which accounts for nearly half of the world’s existing sites. Up until then, Chrome has only posted warnings on HTTPS sites with faulty encryption. Later in 2017, Chrome plans to expand the categories of sites for which it will issue warnings, including any unencrypted pages visited via Chrome’s Incognito and any HTTP site offering downloads. Continue reading Chrome Tightens Up Security Warnings for Unencrypted Sites

Facebook Borrows From Snapchat, Periscope Adds AR Masks

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery it’s said, and that’s what’s going on among social media platforms. Facebook’s WhatsApp is experimenting with a Status feature that is basically a photocopy of Snapchat Stories, sharing photos, videos and emoji. Elsewhere, Periscope is copying both Facebook and Snapchat, by offering its own animated augmented reality selfie masks. The first ones offered, which allow the user to look like Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, have been available throughout the duration of the election. Continue reading Facebook Borrows From Snapchat, Periscope Adds AR Masks

Google Offers Formal Response to Two EU Antitrust Charges

Google formally rebutted two antitrust charges made by the European Commission (the European Union’s executive body). The Commission claims that Google has used its search engine to boost Google Shopping, its price comparison service, and AdSense, its ad placement service. A third European Union antitrust suit claims that Google’s mobile OS is a ‘Trojan horse’ to promote its own products and services, injuring potential rivals. The EU says it “cannot at this stage prejudge the final outcome of the investigation.” Continue reading Google Offers Formal Response to Two EU Antitrust Charges

Warner Bros. and Google Team Up for Unique Film Promotion

Google and Warner Bros. Pictures have partnered to promote “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” the prequel to the “Harry Potter” franchise, via integrations with Daydream View VR, Google Allo, YouTube and more. Among the features are a series of spells that users can cast by speaking to Google’s voice assistant: “Lumos” will turn on the phone’s flashlight and “Nox” will turn it off; “Silencio” will disable the ringer and notifications. Another feature of the partnership is integrating real-life locations in Google Street View and letting fans visit 1926 New York City. Continue reading Warner Bros. and Google Team Up for Unique Film Promotion

Instagram Introduces a Test Version of E-Commerce Feature

In May, Instagram designers, engineers and product managers brainstormed ideas on how to make shopping work in the app. Now, six months later, they’re introducing the winning idea: Brands can tag products in their photos, much the way users tag friends. A single tap will reveal more information about the product, and another tap will send you to the retailer’s site to buy the product. After the launch, Instagram will gather data from how consumers use the new feature to improve it. Continue reading Instagram Introduces a Test Version of E-Commerce Feature

Facebook Opens Gameroom to Unity Developers, PC Gamers

Facebook just announced that its PC gaming platform, Gameroom (formerly dubbed Facebook Games Arcade), is now open for all developers. The app is also available to users, for Windows 7 and up. Developers using the upcoming Unity 5.6 game engine will be able to export their games directly to the Gameroom platform. The new platform most closely resembles Valve’s Steam, which boasts 125 million active users. But Facebook is counting on its 1.71 billion monthly active users to intrigue developers and gamers alike. Continue reading Facebook Opens Gameroom to Unity Developers, PC Gamers

Google’s AMP Speeds Mobile, But Ad Limits Raise Concerns

A year after Google introduced its Accelerated Mobile Pages, aimed at speeding up content on mobile platforms, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Hearst, The Guardian, The Washington Post, Vox Media and many other publishers are using it. But the reviews are mixed, since, with AMP, Google has begun to send users to stripped-down pages rather than to the publisher’s mobile website, and publishers say they are not generating revenue from AMP pages at the same rates as their full mobile sites. Continue reading Google’s AMP Speeds Mobile, But Ad Limits Raise Concerns

In Landmark Ruling, FCC Protects Privacy of Consumer Data

The Federal Communications Commission, by a 3-to-2 vote, passed rules protecting consumers’ digital information, by preventing broadband companies such as AT&T and Comcast from collecting and distributing data including Web browsing, app use, location and financial information. Up until this ruling, users had to opt-out of broadband providers’ right to track such data. The ruling is considered a landmark since it is the first time the FCC issued privacy restrictions to high-speed Internet providers. Continue reading In Landmark Ruling, FCC Protects Privacy of Consumer Data

Twitter Struggles with Financial Stability, Shutters Vine Videos

Despite announcing a better-than-expected Q3 earnings report with revenue of $616 million, up 8 percent year-over-year, Twitter confirmed that it plans to lay off 9 percent of its employees, reports Recode. In a blog post that surprised many, the company also announced that it would discontinue its Vine mobile app for sharing short videos. (The website will remain online so fans can watch the Vines already created.) Vine has recently experienced a mass exodus as influencers have transitioned to Snapchat, Facebook and YouTube. Meanwhile, rumors continue to circulate that Twitter could be up for sale sometime soon. Continue reading Twitter Struggles with Financial Stability, Shutters Vine Videos

Google Merges DoubleClick Database with Gmail Information

Google has changed language in its privacy policy that once promised not to track information in DoubleClick’s database of Web-browsing records. When buying advertising network DoubleClick in 2007, Google founder Sergey Brin said that privacy was his “number one priority,” and its records would be kept separate from information collected from Gmail and other accounts. New language says instead that, “browsing habits ‘may be’ combined with what the company learns from the use of Gmail and other tools.” Continue reading Google Merges DoubleClick Database with Gmail Information

Facebook Makes Live Video Push, Instagram Also Goes Live

Facebook is now promoting Live — via advertising campaigns in the U.S. and U.K. on TV, Internet, billboards, and buses — as an ideal way for the ordinary user to show off a talent or express an opinion. Currently, Live streams, which have grown four-fold since May, have come from all seven continents and even outer space, and boasted three-times longer view times and ten-times the number of comments as ordinary videos. With increased Live content, Facebook competes with YouTube Live and Periscope. Meanwhile, Instagram is also getting into the game. Continue reading Facebook Makes Live Video Push, Instagram Also Goes Live

Facebook Integrates Social and Utilitarian with New Features

Facebook has a strategy to become more useful in everyday life, combining and improving on the services similar to those from Yelp, Foursquare and others. The added value, says Facebook, would be its network of social connections and businesses. That idea is behind the updates the company is now unveiling, which will allow users to order food from a restaurant’s Facebook page or make an appointment at the beauty salon. Retailers must use third-party services such as Delivery.com, Slice, HomeAdvisory or MyTime for it to work. Continue reading Facebook Integrates Social and Utilitarian with New Features

Google Signs Deal with CBS for Planned YouTube TV Service

Google has signed an agreement with CBS to feature the network’s content on Unplugged, YouTube’s soon-to-be-launched Web TV service, expected to roll out early next year. While CBS is the first major network to join Unplugged, Google is reportedly close to signing deals with 21st Century Fox, Disney and NBCUniversal. The company is targeting cord cutters and consumers growing wary of traditional pay-TV subscription costs with its YouTube alternative — a skinny bundle of channels priced at $25 to $40 per month. Google will join a crowded field of OTT offerings, including Sling TV, PlayStation Vue and a planned service from Hulu. Continue reading Google Signs Deal with CBS for Planned YouTube TV Service

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