Policymakers Debate the Internet Economy and Net Neutrality

Regardless of your opinion on the end of net neutrality, the topic is of huge importance not simply to consumers but to policymakers in Washington. A CES 2018 panel of such policymakers examined how to best protect the Internet economy. “It’s a tough time for the Internet economy,” said Center for Democracy & Technology president/chief executive Nuala O’Connor. “People are concerned about the intrusion of technology into their daily lives, and some of the conversation in DC is about what the role of technology is in democracy.” Continue reading Policymakers Debate the Internet Economy and Net Neutrality

FCC Chair Unveils Sweeping Changes to Net Neutrality Rules

FCC chair Ajit Pai yesterday outlined his proposed changes to net neutrality rules and the federal regulation of ISPs. Pai is calling for high-speed Internet service to no longer be classified as a public utility, as a counter to policy approved under the Obama administration intended to treat the delivery of all online content equally. Pai’s proposal would lessen new rules and largely leave policing to the industry. He believes strict regulation of telecom, broadcast and cable companies is detrimental to business and innovation. However, his proposals will likely face resistance from companies and advocacy groups that fear such changes would result in broadband providers awarding unfair accommodations to specific news and video sites. Continue reading FCC Chair Unveils Sweeping Changes to Net Neutrality Rules

Skimo App Allows Users to Quickly Catch Up on TV Episodes

A new app called Skimo, short for “skim the video,” allows users to skim a 20-minute video in about two minutes, straight from their smartphone or tablet. The Skimo video summarization engine uses an algorithm that analyzes the scenes, shots and frames of videos and summarizes them, letting users catch up on television series in a fraction of the time. The service focuses on the formula that writers and filmmakers use to create a captivating show, focusing on the six crucial scenes from each episode.

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Redbox Refocuses as Sales and Streaming Service Stagnate

Redbox, the nation’s largest DVD renter, is uninstalling more than 500 kiosks, renegotiating contracts with studios for more favorable content rights, and optimizing its streaming service, Redbox Instant. These changes come as the company faces several challenges: revenue rose only three percent last year after double-digit increases in past years, good locations for kiosks are dwindling, and Redbox Instant only accounts for less than 1 percent of video-on-demand rentals. Continue reading Redbox Refocuses as Sales and Streaming Service Stagnate

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

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

Google Aims to Steal Cloud Services Top Spot from Amazon

Amazon pioneered the idea of cloud services that allow individuals to build websites and other apps without using their own hardware. Google has also offered these services, but is repositioning itself to create a larger business out of cloud services. The IT market that spans hardware and software used to operate businesses is worth $600 billion, and cloud services have the potential to take a major share. Google is hoping to make its cloud service business even larger than its enormous ad business. Continue reading Google Aims to Steal Cloud Services Top Spot from Amazon

Sonos Search Engine Can Play Any Song in Multiple Rooms

Wireless audio company Sonos has launched a redesign that will provide users with a universal search, essentially enabling them to play any song in the world. The innovation can pull songs from a user’s MP3 collection and from over two dozen streaming music services including Pandora, Spotify, and Beats Music, and play the music throughout multiple rooms. For the past decade Sonos has been making wireless multiroom audio systems, but previously they only functioned with Sonos software. Continue reading Sonos Search Engine Can Play Any Song in Multiple Rooms

Piracy Makes its Way to Smartphones, Industry Fights Back

Many smartphone owners use file-sharing apps or online storage sites to store their free music downloads and listen on their phones. According to a new study from researcher NPD Group, 21 million people in the United States downloaded at least one unauthorized song in the past year. Apps have made it even easier for people to access music for free, even though most of them provide users with the same free music that would be found through an Internet search. Continue reading Piracy Makes its Way to Smartphones, Industry Fights Back

Glassware App Plays Trailers When You Look at Movie Posters

A new Glassware app called Preview allows Google Glass users to view a movie’s trailer just by looking at a movie poster. After the app is manually installed, if a Glass wearer looks at a poster, the film’s preview will automatically play from YouTube. The app was created by Takahiro Horikawa, who debuted the software in January, and has been making minor fixes since then. The idea behind the app is to allow users to go to a movie theater, view trailers, and then decide which film to see. Continue reading Glassware App Plays Trailers When You Look at Movie Posters

Biz Stone Aims to Revolutionize Social Search with Jelly App

Biz Stone has an impressive track record with helping launch various social products, including Xanga, Blogger, Twitter and Medium. Stone’s most recent undertaking is Jelly, a question-and-answer app though which users can ask their social media friends — and friends of friends — questions about anything, using text and images. While the app has the potential to change the makeup of Internet searches, some critics have been skeptical of the need for what essentially serves as a mash-up between Quora and Instagram. Continue reading Biz Stone Aims to Revolutionize Social Search with Jelly App

Rovi Pays $69 Million to Acquire Voice Search Startup Veveo

Rovi announced that it is purchasing video discovery and voice search startup Veveo and the company’s IP for $62 million in cash and up to an additional $7 million based on performance milestones. The acquisition of Veveo’s technology is expected to bring new voice search capability to Rovi’s video discovery platform. Veveo uses natural language processing combined with semantic tech to integrate intuitive search and recommendation features into video discovery applications. Continue reading Rovi Pays $69 Million to Acquire Voice Search Startup Veveo

Yahoo and Yelp Partner in Hopes of Optimizing Local Search

In an effort to better compete with Google and Microsoft’s Bing, Yahoo has paired up with Yelp to optimize local search engine results. Yelp’s listings and reviews of local businesses will be integrated into Yahoo’s search functionality. The partnership follows in the footsteps of Microsoft’s recent deal with Foursquare, a mobile check-in software maker. As consumers become increasingly dependent on smartphones to navigate the world, data about local businesses in search engines has become more important. Continue reading Yahoo and Yelp Partner in Hopes of Optimizing Local Search

Deep Learning: Google Plans to Acquire AI Startup DeepMind

In another deal involving “deep learning,” Google is purchasing London-based DeepMind Technologies, a somewhat secretive artifical intelligence startup. The move is viewed as a talent acquisition to bring CEO Dennis Hassabis to Google. The games prodigy and neuroscientist was named “probably the best games player in history” by the Mind Sports Olympiad. While it is unclear what DeepMind does exactly, its website describes building algorithms for games, e-commerce and simulations. Continue reading Deep Learning: Google Plans to Acquire AI Startup DeepMind

New Search Engine Gets Its Streaming Music from Live Radio

What if every radio station was searchable and you could look up a song you wanted to listen to, pick one of the stations it was currently playing on, and listen? Radio Search Engine, a new venture by entrepreneur Michael Robertson, allows just that. The site indexes around 40,000 radio stations in real-time and allows users to tune in from the Web. Currently in beta mode, Radio Search Engine essentially turns thousands of radio stations into a searchable music jukebox. Continue reading New Search Engine Gets Its Streaming Music from Live Radio

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