Rabbit Updates Features for More Versatile Social TV Viewing

Rabbit, which lets users watch online videos with friends, is updating its features, adding real-time and delayed viewing among others to the mobile/web platform. Company chief executive Amanda Richardson noted that Rabbit’s ability to “let you watch any video content with anyone, anywhere in the world, at the same time, is unmatched.” The 30-employer Rabbit, launched in 2015, now has 3.6 million monthly active viewers and has experienced a two-time to three-time growth year over year. Continue reading Rabbit Updates Features for More Versatile Social TV Viewing

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

In Speedier Rollout, Amazon Adds Four New Alexa Slot Types

When Amazon’s Alexa asks for the name of an actor, athlete, author or another noun in response to a question, there’s a method to the madness: it’s trying to fill a “slot type,” which defines how data is recognized. A skill or third party app with a slot type for actors would likely query filmographies listing names of actors. These slots are intended to save time, says Amazon, as well as provide a more consistent experience. Amazon is adding four new slot types: Creative Work, Food, Sport and Video Game. Continue reading In Speedier Rollout, Amazon Adds Four New Alexa Slot Types

Netflix Unveils Ambitious Slate of Animated Features, Series

Netflix released its four-year plan to produce a variety of animated series and feature films. The company usually withholds information about upcoming projects until just prior to release, but animation typically involves a long lead-time. As a result, Netflix is publicizing its family-oriented programming in advance, similar to Disney, Pixar and DreamWorks. Netflix also revealed that 60 percent of its users watch family-friendly fare every month and that the new content is intended to appeal to “the tastes of every member of the family.” Continue reading Netflix Unveils Ambitious Slate of Animated Features, Series

AMD Debuts Zen 2 Chip Architecture, Turns to Chiplet Design

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) debuted Zen 2 processor architecture, a follow-up to the Zen design introduced in March 2017, to be launched beginning in 2019. AMD chief executive Lisa Su said the Zen 2 doubles performance of the first Zen generation, which itself could process 52 percent more instructions per clock cycle than its previous generation. The company hopes its new processors will help it surpass or at least maintain parity with Intel processors. AMD is also relying on new chiplet design to maintain growth. Continue reading AMD Debuts Zen 2 Chip Architecture, Turns to Chiplet Design

Alternative Data Company Thasos to Offer Info to Bloomberg

Your smartphone creates data constantly, and now a few companies are leveraging it to give Wall Street traders a leg up on market movements. So-called alternative data includes a range of information, from credit-card charges to construction permits. Thasos is one of the leading companies reaping such data from about 1,000 apps, which share the user’s location. Beginning this month, AI-based data analytics firm Thasos Group will offer its data through Bloomberg terminals. Company founder/chief executive Greg Skibiski calls the smartphone a “beacon.” Continue reading Alternative Data Company Thasos to Offer Info to Bloomberg

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

In First, Amazon Offers Free Holiday Shipping for All Orders

To better compete with Walmart and Target for online holiday shopping, Amazon will offer free shipping without the $25 minimum purchase required of shoppers who are not Prime members. This first-time Amazon offer is good only in the U.S., and will be in effect from November 5 until Amazon can no longer promise delivery in time for Christmas, typically five to eight days. Also for the upcoming holiday season, Amazon plans to add 100,000 staffers, fewer than the last two holiday seasons, evidence that the company is successfully automating operations. Continue reading In First, Amazon Offers Free Holiday Shipping for All Orders

Unfold, an App for Designing Instagram Stories, Gains Steam

Instagram’s Stories — featuring short, disappearing photos and videos — are now read by 400 million people per day. An app called Unfold, created specifically for Instagram Stories, is growing in popularity. Alfonso Cobo, an architect, created Unfold in March 2017 and the app already has 11 million users. Cobo is also opening a design agency to help brands and companies that need to create compelling content for Stories. Cobo originally created Unfold as an app for designers to use the iPad to create portfolios. Continue reading Unfold, an App for Designing Instagram Stories, Gains Steam

Oregon Senator Proposes a Consumer Data Protection Bill

Oregon Democratic Senator Ron Wyden drafted a data privacy bill akin to the recent General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) legislation in Europe. Dubbed the Consumer Data Protection Act, Wyden’s bill would give users more control over selling and sharing their data, and would give the Federal Trade Commission authority to set privacy and security standards and fine those companies that do not protect consumer data. One provision is a “Do Not Track” feature that would allow people to opt out of being tracked. Continue reading Oregon Senator Proposes a Consumer Data Protection Bill

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

‘League of Legends’ Tournament Highlights eSports Growth

In South Korea, where eSports was born, a world championship match-up between the Chinese team Invictus Gaming and European team Fnatic was watched by tens of millions of fans around the world. The two battled out the championship finals of “League of Legends” in a 50,000-seat stadium in Incheon, where the Chinese team won the championship for the first time. Riot Games’ “League of Legends” (dubbed LoL by fans), released ten years ago, is still highly esteemed in the $13 billion global gaming industry. Continue reading ‘League of Legends’ Tournament Highlights eSports Growth

IBM, Harvard University Develop New Tool for AI Translation

At the IEEE Conference on Visual Analytics Science and Technology in Berlin, IBM and Harvard University researchers presented Seq2Seq-Vis, a tool to debug machine translation tools. Translation tools rely on neural networks, which, because they are opaque, make it difficult to determine how mistakes were made. For that reason, it’s known as the “black box problem.” Seq2Seq-Vis allows deep-learning app creators to visualize AI’s decision-making process as it translates a sequence of words from one language to another. Continue reading IBM, Harvard University Develop New Tool for AI Translation

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