Netflix Focuses on Worldwide Content as Model for Growth

Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings has publicly declared that streaming services from Apple and Disney are certain to feature some “great shows.” But he also stressed that he expects his company will do its “best job” facing such stiff competition. At the company’s Labs Day event, the media had a chance to “peek behind the scenes” to get an idea of what Netflix has in store for the future. As a hint, Netflix chief product officer Greg Peters noted that only 5 percent of the global population are native English speakers. Continue reading Netflix Focuses on Worldwide Content as Model for Growth

Twitter Introduces its New In-App Camera Feature at SXSW

Twitter unveiled its new camera feature at SXSW this week, 12 years after the social micro-blog made its initial splash as a hot new app at the Austin, Texas conference. Over the next week, Twitter users on iOS and Android devices will start to have access to the in-app camera for recording and sharing photos and short videos. It also includes the option to livestream from the user’s location, while Twitter will recommend nearby locations to tag and relevant event hashtags if geolocating services are turned on. Additionally, the upgrade allows users to add captions and change the tweet text background color. Continue reading Twitter Introduces its New In-App Camera Feature at SXSW

Pandora Launches Beta Version of Podcast Genome Project

With over half-a-million podcasts today, discoverability is often difficult for consumers. To make the process easier, Pandora has come up with its algorithm-based Podcast Genome Project, first announced a year ago and just released in beta. Pandora rose to success with its initial Music Genome Project, and the Podcast version is similar, in that it uses more than 1,500 tags to create a recommendation engine. Also similar to the Music Genome Project, the Podcast Genome Project relies on humans as an adjunct to the algorithms. Continue reading Pandora Launches Beta Version of Podcast Genome Project

Pinterest Introduces New Features to Make Shopping Easier

In an effort to become more of a personal shopping assistant, Pinterest has introduced product recommendations with its new Product Pin system based on an individual’s tastes. It has also launched a shopping shortcut in the main home feed that provides easy access to a shopping-specific feed and list of shoppable Product Pins by holding down a Home or Style pin to access a shopping tag icon. Pinterest previously rolled out Buyable Pins for direct purchases through the platform in addition to other recommendation features such as Shop the Look and Lens that use machine learning and visual search. Continue reading Pinterest Introduces New Features to Make Shopping Easier

Instagram Co-Founders Transitioning From Leaders to Users

Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, who co-founded Instagram in 2010 and sold the app to Facebook two years later for $1 billion, announced in a blog post that they would be leaving the company. The two men were responsible for shaping the culture and products of Instagram — Systrom serving as CEO and product visionary, and CTO Krieger actively running the engineering team. They built the company to over a thousand employees and the user community to more than one billion. “We’re planning on taking some time off to explore our curiosity and creativity again,” wrote Systrom. “Building new things requires that we step back, understand what inspires us and match that with what the world needs; that’s what we plan to do.” Continue reading Instagram Co-Founders Transitioning From Leaders to Users

Facebook Introduces New Strategies to Combat Fake News

After months of testing, Facebook is launching a “related articles” feature, in another effort to combat fake news without actually taking down those posts. Instead, U.S. users will see links to informative articles on the same topic appended to stories spreading misinformation. The goal is to convince users to hesitate before sharing false news stories, although it does not prevent them from doing so. Facebook is also paying Snopes.com and other fact-checking sites to tag completely false stories as being “disputed.” Continue reading Facebook Introduces New Strategies to Combat Fake News

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

Fact Check: Google Takes on Fake News with Search Feature

Facebook is not the only tech giant looking to address the growing problem of fake news. Alphabet-owned Google, the world’s biggest search engine, is introducing a feature that offers users a new layer of fact checking in their search results. The move follows criticism that Google and other Internet companies are assisting with the spread of misinformation. After limited testing, Google rolled out the feature to its News pages and search catalog Friday. “Fact Check” tags will appear in News search results, but they will not be powered by Google. Instead, the feature will rely on fact-checking firms such as PolitiFact and Snopes, as well as reputable publishers including The New York Times and The Washington Post. Continue reading Fact Check: Google Takes on Fake News with Search Feature

TV Ratings Companies Help Marketers Find Engaged Viewers

As Americans change their viewing habits, watching content on TVs, laptops, smartphones and a dozen other devices, TV networks and marketers among others want more information. TVision is one such company that’s answered the call. With a Microsoft Kinect device on top of a receiver, TVision can track the movement of participants’ eyes in relationship to the TV, recording tiny shifts for everyone in the room. TVision then matches viewing patterns with shows and commercials via technology that “listens” to the TV broadcast. Continue reading TV Ratings Companies Help Marketers Find Engaged Viewers

Artificial Intelligence Now Powers Photo Searches on Facebook

Facebook’s Lumos computer vision platform, which was originally created to help visually impaired members of the social network’s community, is now being used for a more sophisticated image search. It allows users to find images on Facebook via key words that describe content, rather than a search that is limited to tags and captions. “Facebook trained an ever-fashionable deep neural network on tens of millions of photos,” explains TechCrunch. “The model essentially matches search descriptors to features pulled from photos” and “ranks its output using information from both the images and the original search.” Facebook may apply the tech to videos in the future and potentially raise the bar on its targeted ad offerings. Continue reading Artificial Intelligence Now Powers Photo Searches on Facebook

New York Times’ New Algorithm Improves Recommendation Engine

The New York Times is in the process of tweaking its recommendation engine by integrating two previously used models. The Recommended for You section of NYT provides suggested content from over 300 articles, blog posts and interactive stories that are published every day. By personalizing the content that appears on apps and the website, readers are directed to stories that have the greatest interest and relevancy to them. NYT described its efforts to rebuild the engine for maximum efficiency and accuracy. Continue reading New York Times’ New Algorithm Improves Recommendation Engine

Flickr Upgrade Includes Cloud Storage and Object Recognition

Photo sharing site Flickr is helping users store and organize their photos with new cloud computing and machine learning solutions. The service recently introduced a new automatic photo uploader for mobile and desktop and each user gets 1,000 gigabytes of free cloud storage. Sorting through photos is now easier with the new search function, which relies on machine learning tech to recognize objects, places, and people in photos. The new search engine works because the service automatically adds descriptive tags to uploaded photos. Continue reading Flickr Upgrade Includes Cloud Storage and Object Recognition

CES: Sony Tablet Platform MESH to Simplify Smart Projects

A group of Sony engineers have launched a platform called MESH (Make, Experience and Share) that allows people to create “smart projects” with the simplicity of a tablet and small wireless tags. The MESH group presented its DIY kit at CES this week alongside other startups in Eureka Park. The platform uses four Bluetooth-enabled devices that can be programmed using a simple drag-and-drop system on a tablet to remotely water plants, activate lights and sound, and handle a variety of creative applications. Continue reading CES: Sony Tablet Platform MESH to Simplify Smart Projects

Guggenheim Museum Testing Beacon Technology for Exhibits

The Guggenheim Museum, a premier art museum in New York City, is making its exhibits more interactive by integrating beacon technology. The beacons are small, box-like sensors that use Bluetooth technology to detect when a smartphone is in proximity. The museum will use its 20 to 30 beacons to track traffic flow through the building. In the future, the beacons may transmit informational alerts to visitors’ phones as they approach a painting or sculpture. Continue reading Guggenheim Museum Testing Beacon Technology for Exhibits

Dropbox Hires Computer Vision Experts to Mine Photographs

Dropbox wants to add image recognition software to its cloud storage service so that photos would automatically be tagged with the objects, people, and places found in the images. The company has hired the co-founders of Kriegman-Belhumeur Vision Technology, Peter Belhumeur and David Kriegman, to engineer the new technology. The two men are university professors with extensive experience in computer vision, facial recognition, and machine learning. Continue reading Dropbox Hires Computer Vision Experts to Mine Photographs

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