Google’s New YouTube TV App Clocks 2 Million Downloads

According to analytics firms App Annie and Sensor Tower, about 2 million consumers have already installed the YouTube TV app, even though it is not yet available in all regions of the U.S. Installs for Google’s new live TV service were evenly split between Android and iOS devices, reports TechCrunch. While download numbers do not necessarily mirror subscription numbers, early consumer interest should draw the attention of competitors, including telcos. YouTube TV is joining a crowded market of companies offering live TV over the Internet. Others include Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, DirecTV Now, Hulu with Live TV, and Comcast’s upcoming Xfinity Instant TV. Continue reading Google’s New YouTube TV App Clocks 2 Million Downloads

Plans Confirmed to Merge Google Play Music, YouTube Red

At the New Music Seminar conference in New York, YouTube head of music Lyor Cohen said the company plans to create a new streaming service by merging Google Play Music and YouTube Red. “Right now, YouTube’s music ecosystem is unnecessarily complicated,” suggests The Verge. “There’s YouTube Red, which removes ads from videos and lets you save them offline, while also giving you access to Google Play Music for free. Then there’s YouTube Music, which anyone can use, but it gets better if you’re signed up for YouTube Red.” The move is meant to simplify the offerings and attract more subscribers. A date has not yet been announced. Continue reading Plans Confirmed to Merge Google Play Music, YouTube Red

Qualcomm Releases SDK Designed to Upgrade Apps for AI

Qualcomm, whose chips are in 40 percent of all smartphones, has revealed its strategy for streamlining AI tasks, by developing a software development kit (SDK) dubbed Neural Processing Engine. The SDK will help developers revamp their apps for AI tasks on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 600 and Snapdragon 800 processors. The company first announced the SDK a year ago. Qualcomm’s tactics differ from ARM and Microsoft, which are designing new chips, and Facebook and Google, which hope to reduce the computing power needed to run AI apps. Continue reading Qualcomm Releases SDK Designed to Upgrade Apps for AI

Hulu and YouTube TV Data Now Included in Nielsen Ratings

Television measurement leader Nielsen is adding Hulu and YouTube TV to its ratings, the company’s next step toward including more streaming data. So far, Nielsen’s coverage of streaming viewership has largely involved data from TV networks distributing content via digital platforms, such as CBS shows made available on CBS All Access. “This is the first time the biggest digital-first, TV streaming companies have come into the fold in terms of being included in TV ratings,” said Nielsen president of product leadership Megan Clarken. Continue reading Hulu and YouTube TV Data Now Included in Nielsen Ratings

Facebook Buys Source3 to Strengthen Rights Management

Facebook just purchased the technology of startup Source3, which can detect intellectual property that has been shared on the Internet without permission.  No financial details were revealed, but Crunchbase reported that Source3 recently raised $4 million in venture capital funding, led by a 2015 seed round by Contour Venture Partners. Two years ago, Facebook released so-called Rights Manager technology to combat the posting of video clips by unauthorized users. YouTube uses Content ID, a similar but more advanced technology. Continue reading Facebook Buys Source3 to Strengthen Rights Management

Taco Bell Is Experimenting With New Marketing Vehicle: Lyft

Fast-food chain Taco Bell is teaming with ride-sharing firm Lyft to offer passengers a “Taco Mode” in the Lyft app for requesting rides between 9:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m. that include a stop at a Taco Bell drive-through. The option will be tested around Newport Beach, California the next few weeks, and will likely expand nationally in 2018. “I kind of think of this like inverse delivery — like we’re delivering you to Taco Bell,” said Marisa Thalberg, Taco Bell’s chief marketing officer. “You’re being delivered to the food as opposed to having to get in your own car and drive.” Continue reading Taco Bell Is Experimenting With New Marketing Vehicle: Lyft

Major Jump in Mobile Revenue for Top-Grossing Netflix App

As Netflix continues its subscriber growth (it added 5.2 million subscribers the last quarter), the streaming service’s app has also taken the top spot in revenue earnings. Analytics firm Sensor Tower reports a 233 percent revenue growth to $153 million year-over-year for Q2. “That’s up from the $46 million seen at this same time last year, across both top app store platforms, and on the iOS App Store alone,” notes TechCrunch. “This level of growth puts Netflix far ahead of the average revenue growth across both app stores, which is currently at 56 percent.” Continue reading Major Jump in Mobile Revenue for Top-Grossing Netflix App

Google Brings Customized Feed to Its Search Landing Page

Google is introducing a new look for its search product that will appear just beneath its search box. The user will find a feed of news, entertainment and other content customized to her searches, video views and other personal information, including her location, email and digital calendars. Available first for the desktop, the new Google search page will eventually be available for mobile web browsers as well. Since Google launched in 1998, it has kept its landing page simple, only tweaking it in minor ways. Continue reading Google Brings Customized Feed to Its Search Landing Page

Samsung Wants Bixby Assistant to Control Multiple Devices

Samsung’s digital voice assistant Bixby just arrived on millions of the company’s Galaxy S8 phones. According to Samsung head of mobile software R&D Injong Rhee, the inspiration for Bixby was super-hero Tony Stark (“Iron Man”), who only needs to voice orders to activate all kinds of systems. Similar to Stark, Samsung wants to use Bixby to activate all kinds of devices, from dishwashers to TVs. While Bixby cannot control all apps yet and, like other digital assistants has some limitations, early reviews suggest it excels at function-based commands. Continue reading Samsung Wants Bixby Assistant to Control Multiple Devices

Mira’s $99 Prism Turns Apple’s iPhone Into an AR Headset

For Apple iPhone users looking forward to augmented reality, there will soon be another option to looking at images on the phone’s screen. Due to launch later this year, the Mira Prism, which looks like a sun visor or welder’s mask that fits over the user’s head, will reflect AR’s 3D images in front of the user’s face — and only costs $99. The visor comes from Los Angeles-based company Mira, founded by students from the inaugural class of USC’s Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation. Continue reading Mira’s $99 Prism Turns Apple’s iPhone Into an AR Headset

Amazon Spark: New Social Feed of Product Images, Stories

Now out of beta, Amazon launched a new social feature in the U.S. yesterday that is designed to return social activity surrounding products back to the Amazon site while hopefully improving product discovery for its users. Similar to the approach of Instagram’s shoppable photos, Amazon Spark allows users to post images, new ideas and related posts regarding products they find interesting. To foster social interaction, other users can respond with their own comments and “smiles” — Amazon’s take on “favorite” and “like” buttons. Continue reading Amazon Spark: New Social Feed of Product Images, Stories

Reelgood Helps TV Fans Discover, Track Streaming Content

Reelgood is a new site that offers a single interface for tracking content across 250 streaming services, essentially providing a contemporary TV guide for the streaming era. The service, which started as a social iPhone app centered on movies and evolved into a tool for content discovery, exited beta yesterday. The idea behind Reelgood is to provide viewers with an effective, customizable central hub to navigate the offerings of multiple services, including subscription video on demand and cable TV, without having to deal with a variety of different apps and interfaces. Continue reading Reelgood Helps TV Fans Discover, Track Streaming Content

Google Debuted AR First, But Apple About to Take the Lead

Alphabet’s Google began releasing augmented reality tools in 2014, but Apple now plans to put AR software in up to one billion mobile devices by the end of 2017. That is nearly certain to give Apple an advantage, since the company’s ecosystem will easily integrate devices and software. Google, with its Tango AR software system, has put AR in the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro and Asus ZenFone AR smartphones. Apple also just introduced its ARKit, which lets developers build AR apps for iPhones and iPads. Continue reading Google Debuted AR First, But Apple About to Take the Lead

Facebook Developing Two Wireless Virtual Reality Headsets

Facebook will debut a cheaper wireless version of its Oculus Rift VR headset in another attempt to bring virtual reality to the masses. The current Oculus Rift costs $400 and must be paired to a $1,000 computer to work properly, whereas Samsung’s Gear VR goes for $130. The new Oculus headset from Facebook, which will sell for a mid-range price of about $200, will also not need to be hooked up to a PC or smartphone. The headset, expected to release in 2018, is aimed at gaming, video and social networking. Continue reading Facebook Developing Two Wireless Virtual Reality Headsets

Anytime: Amazon May Be Developing a New Messaging App

Amazon may be developing a standalone messaging app called Anytime that would allow people to connect without the need to include phone numbers, which is how other messaging apps such as Viber and WhatsApp typically connect. The company has reportedly been running a survey to gather feedback about a service “for smartphones, tablets, PCs and smart watches designed to let people chat with text and video, send each other fun photos with filters, play games and engage with other Amazon services,” reports TechCrunch. Earlier this year, AWS launched a communication service called Chime for enterprise customers. Continue reading Anytime: Amazon May Be Developing a New Messaging App

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