Shadow VR Joins the Competition in Emerging Headset Market

New standalone VR headsets continue to ramp up competition in the emerging tech sector. HTC has introduced its Vive Focus (starting at $599) to additional markets beyond China — including Europe and the U.S. — while launching an SDK and encouraging developers to experiment with its 6DoF controller add-on. This week, it also unveiled an enterprise version of the Vive Focus. Meanwhile, the all-in-one $399 Oculus Quest headset is scheduled to launch by spring of next year. And new to the scene is Shadow Creator’s $399 Shadow VR, which recently launched globally and is the latest of 15 partners to leverage HTC’s Vive Wave platform. Continue reading Shadow VR Joins the Competition in Emerging Headset Market

Mobile Use, Online Shopping and Video Spur Digital Ad Growth

A report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers shows marketers are spending considerably more on digital advertising due to an increased use of mobile devices, as well as online shopping and greater consumption of video, music and podcasts. Digital advertising ramped up 23 percent to $49.5 billion in the first half of 2018, from $40.3 billion during the same period in 2017. Of that, advertisers spent almost 63 percent ($30.9 billion) on mobile advertising in 2018, compared to 54 percent in 2017. Continue reading Mobile Use, Online Shopping and Video Spur Digital Ad Growth

Facebook Fails to Police Device Makers’ Use of Personal Data

Last month, Facebook admitted that it failed to properly oversee the seven device manufacturers that the company allowed to access personal data of hundreds of million of people in order to build a so-called Facebook Experience. The Silicon Valley company detailed its errors, which was detected by its own government-approved privacy monitor in 2013, in a letter to Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), a privacy advocate and frequent Facebook critic. Meanwhile, Facebook users whose data was compromised have not been alerted. Continue reading Facebook Fails to Police Device Makers’ Use of Personal Data

YouTube Chief Executive Rails Against EU Copyright Proposal

The European Union has proposed, in a copyright directive, that platforms, not users, be responsible for copyright infringement. For the second time, YouTube chief executive Susan Wojcicki strongly stated in her blog that her company does not have the technical or financial wherewithal to comply with this portion of the copyright directive, known as Article 13. Wojcicki, the only tech chief thus far to voice opposition, noted that more than 400 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. Continue reading YouTube Chief Executive Rails Against EU Copyright Proposal

Amazon, Apple Ink Deal to Directly Sell More Apple Products

Amazon inked a deal with Apple to sell more of the tech giant’s products, including the new iPad Pro, iPhone XR, iPhone XS, Apple Watch Series 4, and its Beats headphone line. Amazon will begin listing those products — from Apple-authorized resellers only — in the next few weeks in the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan and India. Before this deal, Amazon already directly sold MacBook laptops, Beats headphones and a few other Apple devices. Other products were only available through its third-party resellers. Continue reading Amazon, Apple Ink Deal to Directly Sell More Apple Products

Google, Microsoft Target Triple-A Games via Cloud Streaming

Microsoft and Google are engaged in efforts to enable people to play triple-A games — the most visually complex, big budget games — on devices that are not connected to the Internet, without expensive specialized hardware. The two tech behemoths join game developer Electronic Arts in this 10+year push to allow gamers to stream from the cloud, anytime and anywhere, attracting those who don’t want to buy game consoles or high-end PCs. The move might also tempt existing gamers to play more and spend more time and money. Continue reading Google, Microsoft Target Triple-A Games via Cloud Streaming

Google Ups Investment in YouTube’s Anti-Piracy Content ID

Google has updated how it is combatting piracy across its suite of digital products. In its report “How Google Fights Piracy,” the company revealed that it has spent more than $100 million on YouTube’s Content ID since its inception, representing a big bump up from $60 million two years ago. That number includes computing resources and staffing. The report further details that it has paid out more than $3 billion to rightsholders, compared to “over $2 billion” in 2016 and $1 billion in 2014. Continue reading Google Ups Investment in YouTube’s Anti-Piracy Content ID

Startup Within to Release Augmented Reality App for Children

Los Angeles-based immersive media startup Within plans to release Wonderscope, an augmented reality app for children, later this month. With Wonderscope, mobile AR superimposes characters, scenes and stories onto an iPad camera view of a real-world environment. Within chief executive Chris Milk noted that, with Wonderscope and a smartphone, anyone can have “this new magical ability.” “It’s like a lens for invisible magical things that you couldn’t see with your naked eye,” he added. Continue reading Startup Within to Release Augmented Reality App for Children

Samsung Prototype Debut May Help Kickstart Foldable Trend

Samsung chose its San Francisco developer conference to unveil the anticipated prototype of its foldable two-screen smartphone. The Infinity Flex Display touts a 7.3-inch screen that can be folded to easily fit in a user’s pocket. The device also includes what the company calls a “multi active window” feature that enables running up to three apps simultaneously. Google will support the phones with its Android operating system and is working with Samsung on next year’s planned launch. Meanwhile, foldable tech is becoming an emerging trend, with products in various stages from Huawei, Lenovo, Royole, Xiaomi and LG, some of which we may see at CES in January. Continue reading Samsung Prototype Debut May Help Kickstart Foldable Trend

Tim Berners-Lee Publishes Magna Carta for a Better Internet

At Web Summit 2018 in Lisbon this week, Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, unveiled his “Contract for the Web,” which outlines central principles to protect users from abuse, discrimination, political manipulation and other ills. More than 50 organizations have signed the contract, which was published on Berners-Lee’s World Wide Web Foundation site. The full contract will be published in May 2019, when it is deemed that half the world’s population will be able to access the web. Berners-Lee also published a call-to-action. Continue reading Tim Berners-Lee Publishes Magna Carta for a Better Internet

20th Century Fox, Google Use AI to Analyze Movie Trailers

Researchers at 20th Century Fox published a paper to reveal how they are using artificial intelligence to analyze movie trailers. Published last month, the paper described Merlin, the code name for machine vision systems examining trailers frame by frame and labeling the objects and events. Then this data is compared to data from other trailers, with the idea that trailers with similar labels will attract similar kinds of people. Movie studios already cull similar data via interviews and questionnaires. Continue reading 20th Century Fox, Google Use AI to Analyze Movie Trailers

YouTube Grows Investment in Creators for Change Program

In light of how bad actors use online platforms to sow dissension and disinformation, many beleaguered tech behemoths have added another tool in its arsenal to fight this problem: so-called counterspeech initiatives. The term is based on Supreme Court Louis Brandeis’ statement that the best remedy for bad speech isn’t silence but more speech. YouTube — in addition to Redirect Method, which sends users searching for terrorism-related keywords to videos offering an alternative view — has its Creators for Change program. Continue reading YouTube Grows Investment in Creators for Change Program

Google Unveils Competition to Develop AI for Social Good

Google launched a global competition, the AI Impact Challenge, to encourage the development of artificial intelligence for positive uses. Revealed at the company’s AI for Social Good event at its Sunnyvale offices, the competition aims to reach out to nonprofits, universities and other groups outside of corporate Silicon Valley, to help solve social issues. The initiative, overseen by Google’s philanthropic arm, Google.org, will award up to $25 million to numerous parties to “help transform the best ideas into action.” Continue reading Google Unveils Competition to Develop AI for Social Good

Snapchat Shows to Introduce 25 New Series From the U.K.

Snapchat currently touts 5 million users in the United Kingdom who watch Shows on the social platform that are produced by its U.S. publishing partners. As part of its efforts to better compete with popular services such as Google’s YouTube and Instagram’s IGTV for the growing number of online and mobile video fans, Snap Inc. is adding 25 new series from 17 U.K. content producers. The content will largely target millennials. The move highlights Snap’s strategy of leveraging more TV-style content to grow engagement in specific markets and increase revenue. Continue reading Snapchat Shows to Introduce 25 New Series From the U.K.

Facebook Growth Slows in Early Stage of its Shift to Video

Facebook recorded lower Q3 revenue than expected, the result said chief executive Mark Zuckerberg of “an unsteady transition” from News to more popular but less profitable Stories, which allows users to build photo/video montages that disappear after 24 hours. The company relayed that the transition’s early stage will be marked by higher costs, including more investment in 2019, and continued slow growth. Investors took the news in stride, unlike the July earnings report that resulted in a stock price plummet. Continue reading Facebook Growth Slows in Early Stage of its Shift to Video

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