Google I/O Reveals Long List of Product Upgrades and News

At the Google I/O developers conference, Google announced compelling updates including: Google Duplex brings new AI tech to Google Assistant; six new voices are coming to Google Assistant (including a version from John Legend); mobile operating system Android P gets an interface refresh, gesture controls, and expanded dashboard features; the new Android TV dongle supports 4K streaming and touts 8GB of storage; AI-powered Smart Compose comes to Gmail; Google Maps adds a new social layer and AR directions functionality by teaming AI with Street View; Google News curates online content via AI; and Google Lens is closer to delivering its text copy and style match features. Continue reading Google I/O Reveals Long List of Product Upgrades and News

Hollywood Creatives Starting to Explore New VR Experiences

The studios are getting serious about VR productions, infusing them with more talent, money and time, and focusing on higher production values, original stories and a bit of celebrity. At the Tribeca Film Festival, virtual reality productions from director Kathryn Bigelow, musicians John Legend and Pharrell Williams, and producer Megan Ellison among others will be showcased. IMAX is also investing in venues for experiencing VR, with a center opening in Los Angeles, and plans to open more in the U.S., U.K., and China. Continue reading Hollywood Creatives Starting to Explore New VR Experiences

Spotify Focuses on Major Record Label Deals to Boost Profits

In its efforts to move more free-tier users to its $10/month subscription service, Spotify has redoubled its efforts to ink long-term licenses with major record labels. One potential option is that the labels would limit new releases to Spotify’s subscription tier in exchange for a lower percentage of subscription revenue. Another possibility is that Spotify will provide artists data and promotion in exchange for reduced royalty payments. Spotify is trying to settle the deals by end of 2016, say sources. Continue reading Spotify Focuses on Major Record Label Deals to Boost Profits

Academy Awards Have Strong Presence on Twitter and Facebook

Last year’s selfie by Ellen DeGeneres during the live Oscar telecast set a new Twitter record and launched 3 million retweets. Not surprisingly, yesterday’s 87th Academy Awards had an impressive social presence, from ABC live-streaming its backstage show on Facebook to news organizations live-blogging on assorted social networks and Facebook launching its new real-time Trending Oscars experience. According to Twitter, the most tweeted-about nominees and performers included Lady Gaga, Patricia Arquette, Alejandro Iñárritu and John Legend. Continue reading Academy Awards Have Strong Presence on Twitter and Facebook