Snapchat Introduces its New Location-Based Discovery Tool

Snapchat debuted “context cards” this week, a new feature that helps its users easily make a restaurant reservation or book an Uber ride without having to exit the app. The new feature is designed to keep users engaged with the app and its contextual location-based search. By swiping up from geotagged images while viewing certain stories, users will get related data such as contact info, directions and reviews. Early partners include Bookatable, Foursquare, Michelin, OpenTable and TripAdvisor. Ultimately, more time on Snapchat could mean more advertising revenue for the popular messaging app. Continue reading Snapchat Introduces its New Location-Based Discovery Tool

‘Star Wars’ VR Experience to Open at Disneyland by Holidays

This holiday season, Disneyland Resorts in Anaheim and Orlando will debut “Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire,” a multi-player virtual reality experience based on “Star Wars,” and produced by VR start-up The VOID, Lucasfilm and ILMxLAB, Lucasfilm’s immersive entertainment division. Prior to this production, ILMxLAB built “Trials on Tatooine,” which was available to consumers on VR headsets and in IMAX VR centers. The VOID calls its experiences “hyper-reality,” as the participant can explore, pick up props and open doors. Continue reading ‘Star Wars’ VR Experience to Open at Disneyland by Holidays

VR World NYC Offers an Open Buffet of 50+ VR Experiences

Kent Bye covers location-based VR operations, pricing structures, crowd management and throughput, and reaching the mass audience in this 30-minute Voices of VR podcast interview with the founders of VR World NYC. The new midtown Manhattan portal, which opened June 24th, features over 50 VR experiences spread over three floors in a 20,000 square foot space near the Empire State Building. Visitors pay $39 in the afternoon and $49 in the evening for unlimited stay and play. Continue reading VR World NYC Offers an Open Buffet of 50+ VR Experiences

‘Pokémon Go’ Is Still Popular: Passes $1.2 Billion in Revenue

According to the latest figures from Apptopia, mobile AR game sensation “Pokémon Go” has reached 752 million downloads and has earned more than $1.2 billion in revenue. The freemium game supports in-app purchases; total revenues for last year topped $950 million. The game “had about 60 million monthly players in June, with 20 percent of them opening the game at least once a day,” reports VentureBeat. “While that’s down from the app’s peak last August, which was at 100 million monthly users, it’s still a huge number.” Apptopia breaks down the game’s players: 57.4 percent are male, 38 percent are millennials (ages 19-34), and 32.5 percent are 18 or younger. Continue reading ‘Pokémon Go’ Is Still Popular: Passes $1.2 Billion in Revenue

Instagram Rolls Out AR Selfie Lenses, Adds Location Hashtag

Again copying a Snapchat feature, Instagram introduced a face icon with eight filters, allowing users to transform themselves. Among the filters are koala bears and bunnies (perfect for kids), and flower crowns, which might be a hit with teens. Nine months ago, Instagram debuted its disappearing Stories, aping the format made popular by Snapchat. Since then, Instagram Stories has built up 200 million daily active users, compared to Snap’s 166 million. Instagram hasn’t said if it will rotate or expand the filters over time. Continue reading Instagram Rolls Out AR Selfie Lenses, Adds Location Hashtag

Snap Widens Snap to Store, Serving User Data to Advertisers

Snap is opening up Snap to Store, letting advertisers make the best use of Snapchat’s database to determine how well their ads are working. Snap has been testing Snap to Store since 2016, with Paramount Pictures and 7-Eleven among a handful of others who would like to know if their campaigns are actually driving viewers to movie theaters, stores and other venues. Now, Snap is rolling out Snap to Store to more brands, in retail, fast food, movie and automotive, as well as providing more data and a proprietary digital dashboard. Continue reading Snap Widens Snap to Store, Serving User Data to Advertisers

Bringing Modular Sets and Physical Objects to VR Experiences

Virtual reality startup Nomadic is integrating real-world physical objects, such as a flashlight, into its VR experiences. Among the other physical objects are leaky pipes that let off real hot air, a file cabinet that has to be opened to retrieve a real gun replica, and a virtual door with a real doorknob. The idea, according to Nomadic chief executive Doug Griffin, is that such real objects can add a feeling of magic to virtual reality. The company demonstrates these capabilities with an Oculus Rift VR headset. Continue reading Bringing Modular Sets and Physical Objects to VR Experiences

Apple Considers AR Tech for Wireless Digital Glasses Project

Insiders report that Apple is working on a pair of wireless digital glasses that would connect to iPhones and possibly use augmented reality. “While still in an exploration phase,” reports Bloomberg, “Apple has talked about its glasses project with potential suppliers” and “the company has ordered small quantities of near-eye displays from one supplier for testing.” According to those familiar with the concept, Apple isn’t ready for mass production and, if it moves forward with the eyewear, we shouldn’t expect to see a product until 2018. Chief exec Tim Cook, under pressure to make up for waning iPhone sales, has expressed interest in AR following the success of “Pokémon Go.” Continue reading Apple Considers AR Tech for Wireless Digital Glasses Project

‘Pokémon Go’ Rakes in Over $200 Million After its First Month

App analytics platform Sensor Tower reports that Niantic’s location-based, augmented reality game “Pokémon Go” is continuing its rise in popularity, with more than $200 million in net revenue generated during its first month of availability. The meteoric rise “compares favorably to in-game revenue generated by other huge in-app purchase-driven games,” notes TechCrunch. “Pokémon Go” has nearly doubled “the first month revenue of ‘Clash Royale,’ the other big in-app star this year” and “made almost four times as much as ‘Candy Crush Soda Saga’ managed during its first 30 days of availability.” “Pokémon Go” experienced a significant spike when it launched in Japan. The game was just introduced to 15 additional Asian countries. Continue reading ‘Pokémon Go’ Rakes in Over $200 Million After its First Month

Nintendo ‘Pokémon GO’ Creating an Augmented Reality Craze

Nintendo added $7 billion in market value since debuting “Pokémon GO,” its location-based, augmented reality mobile game that it says has attracted more than 10 million players in its first month. The game takes users away from videogame screens and out into the real world where they search for virtual monsters in parks, historical monuments and even police stations. While gamers excitedly take to the streets, reports have recently pointed to distracted players falling into holes, walking into street signs, and even being robbed by criminals using the location tech to locate their prey. Continue reading Nintendo ‘Pokémon GO’ Creating an Augmented Reality Craze

Lucasfilm Shows Off ‘Star Wars’ VR Experience with HTC Vive

Lucasfilm’s ILMxLAB R&D unit just did a limited demonstration of its new “Star Wars” virtual reality experience: “Star Wars: Trials on Tatooine,” using the HTC Vive headset. The user, by walking around in a 15×15-foot space, explores the planet’s surface, does some maintenance on a Millennium Falcon, meets R2-D2 and fight offs a group of attacking Stormtroopers with a lightsaber. After unveiling the experience to a group of journalists, Lucafilm plans to allow other “select audiences” to also experience it. Continue reading Lucasfilm Shows Off ‘Star Wars’ VR Experience with HTC Vive

AOL’s Tim Armstrong Sees Major Growth in Mobile Ecosystem

Mobile will “rip through the Internet and traditional media,” says AOL chief executive Tim Armstrong, who was interviewed by Fortune editor Alan Murray at the MPA’s American Magazine Media Conference in New York. Armstrong, who’s been in his role since 2009, believes we’ll see dramatic growth in mobile over the next 30 years, dwarfing the Internet, which he previously thought was “the biggest thing to ever happen in my lifetime.” Verizon bought AOL last year for $4.4 billion. Continue reading AOL’s Tim Armstrong Sees Major Growth in Mobile Ecosystem

Field Trip Update Provides Virtual Tours via Google Glass

Google has released a new Google Glass version of its Field Trip app, which will act as a virtual tour guide based on a user’s location. The app alerts users to things and places of interest nearby, such as entertainment events and details on historical sites. The new update could be particularly useful for tourists, although they will have to walk around a city while wearing the Glass device. It has the potential to be used with ads and more Google services. Continue reading Field Trip Update Provides Virtual Tours via Google Glass

Predictive Search Knows What You Want Without You Asking

Startups and large tech companies such as Google are working on predictive search, a software service that acts as a digital personal assistant, anticipating needs and wants before being asked, and presenting this information to the user. This is the newest development in Web searching, particularly with mobile devices. As it becomes more mainstream, some are concerned about privacy and whether the constant data will be less than helpful. Continue reading Predictive Search Knows What You Want Without You Asking

Foursquare Leverages Check-Ins for Full-Page Mobile Ads

Social network Foursquare has started rolling out full-page post check-in ads in its mobile apps. The ads are presented to users immediately after they check in at certain locations, typically offering a relevant suggestion or coupon. The Diageo-owned Captain Morgan rum brand is one of the first on board. For example, users who check in at certain bars or restaurants will be served an ad suggesting they order a “Captain and cola” or “Captain mojito.” Continue reading Foursquare Leverages Check-Ins for Full-Page Mobile Ads

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