Apple’s SharePlay to Power Watch Parties for FaceTime Users

As part of iOS 15, Apple will debut SharePlay to allow FaceTime users to stream online videos, movies and music from Apple TV or an iPad, iPhone or Mac and watch with friends while chatting — similarly to Facebook Messenger, Instagram and Houseparty. During COVID-19, the watch party feature was also adopted by Disney+, Hulu and Prime Video. SharePlay is ideally aimed at teens who are more likely to watch videos on their phones and chat. A Pew Research study showed that 59 percent of U.S. teens video-chat with friends. Continue reading Apple’s SharePlay to Power Watch Parties for FaceTime Users

Biden Introduces Broader Review of Foreign-Controlled Apps

President Biden revoked former President Trump’s executive order banning social-networking services TikTok and WeChat — developed by Chinese companies ByteDance and Tencent Holdings, respectively — but didn’t let Chinese companies off the hook. Instead, he replaced the previous order with another that establishes a broader review of the potential security risks found in numerous foreign-controlled apps. Biden officials said the new order would create “clear intelligible criteria” to evaluate those risks. Trump’s executive order was immediately challenged in court, and Biden’s move, said analysts, is intended to withstand such a test. Continue reading Biden Introduces Broader Review of Foreign-Controlled Apps

Apple Moves to Block IP Addresses from Advertising Trackers

At its WWDC21 developers’ conference this week, Apple revealed tweaks to consumer privacy rules that will limit advertisers’ ability to track users’ activity and gain information from data brokers. These changes will impact many Apple devices, not just iOS 15. Apple earlier curbed in-app tracking, another move that concerned advertisers. Apple senior vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi said the changes would block IP addresses from being transmitted to websites visited in Apple’s Safari browser. Continue reading Apple Moves to Block IP Addresses from Advertising Trackers

Facebook Adds Ways for Instagram Creators to Earn Revenue

At the first Instagram and Facebook Creator Week event, chief executive Mark Zuckerberg introduced a way for Instagram influencers to earn commissions for recommending or promoting products that lead to online sales. Zuckerberg had announced the previous day that Facebook would not take a cut from creator revenues until 2023, at which point its share would be less than 30 percent, the amount Apple and other platforms collect. “Our goal is to be the best platform for creators like you to make a living,” he said. Continue reading Facebook Adds Ways for Instagram Creators to Earn Revenue

Apple Unveils New OS, Privacy Updates and More at WWDC

Apple’s WWDC annual week-long developer conference kicked off with a first peak at iOS 15 enhancements. That includes the next version of FaceTime, which will more closely resemble Zoom, including a grid view for group calls and spatial audio and voice isolation features. The company teased new software updates for AirPods Pro and AirPods, and a multitasking menu for iPadOS 15, coming this fall. The upcoming watchOS 8 will boost fitness, sleep and meditation features. Among numerous other announcements, the company showed data privacy improvements and revealed that HomeKit will now support Siri. Continue reading Apple Unveils New OS, Privacy Updates and More at WWDC

Google to Allow Android 12 Users to Opt-Out of App Tracking

Google will reportedly soon let Android users opt out of being tracked by apps, a move recently taken by Apple. Industry watchers were tipped off by a Google support page detailing the new option and an email to developers announcing a Google Play app store policy change to be introduced later this year. The feature will turn off sharing for the advertising ID, which Android users can already manually reset, and also allow users to opt out of any alternative device identifiers used to track activity across apps. The news leaked several days prior to Apple’s June 7 WWDC21 event. Continue reading Google to Allow Android 12 Users to Opt-Out of App Tracking

Facebook F8 Event Highlights Tools for Developer Community

At Facebook’s annual F8 developer conference, chief executive Mark Zuckerberg stated that the company would “refocus” on the developer community by spotlighting technologies that “enable developers and businesses to build and grow” on its platforms. The company announced, for example, that the Messenger API for Instagram is now available to all developers. It’s also adding third-party tools to its Facebook Business Suite, which was launched last year. Going forward, PyTorch will be Facebook’s default AI platform.

Continue reading Facebook F8 Event Highlights Tools for Developer Community

Huawei Pushes Its HarmonyOS for Mobile, Aiming at Android

Huawei Technologies debuted HarmonyOS, its self-developed operating system, for mobile phones after introducing it for other devices in 2019. The Chinese company is attempting to free itself of U.S. suppliers, in particular Google. Since the U.S. imposed sanctions, Huawei has not been able to access updates to Google’s Android operating system or its Google Mobile Services package of smartphone software. Currently, Samsung Electronics, Xiaomi and other top phone manufacturers (except Apple) use Android. Continue reading Huawei Pushes Its HarmonyOS for Mobile, Aiming at Android

OpenAI and Microsoft Introduce $100 Million AI Startup Fund

OpenAI unveiled a $100 million OpenAI Startup Fund to fund early-stage companies pursuing ways that AI can have a “transformative” impact on healthcare, education, climate change and other fields. OpenAI chief executive Sam Altman said the Fund will make “big, early bets” on no more than 10 such companies. OpenAI, with funding from Microsoft and others, will manage the Fund. Selected projects will get “early access” to future OpenAI systems, support from OpenAI’s team and credits for Microsoft Azure. Continue reading OpenAI and Microsoft Introduce $100 Million AI Startup Fund

Facebook Plans to Expand Live-Stream Pay-Per-View Events

Social giant Facebook wants to transform its live online events into a pay-per-view opportunity for the sports leagues already streaming games on its platform. The company sees the possibility of smaller leagues and even high school sports teams using the model to make money on “virtual” attendance and plans to invest in the live-streaming events that collects money for a “virtual” ticket. The social platform’s plan is similar to the long-standing practice of media networks like HBO charging pay-per-view fees for boxing events. Continue reading Facebook Plans to Expand Live-Stream Pay-Per-View Events

Apple Chief Exec Tim Cook Testifies in Trial with Epic Games

“Fortnite” creator Epic Games sued Apple over its 30 percent commission on all App Store transactions. That case is now in court, and Apple chief executive Tim Cook took the stand to defend his company against accusations of monopolistic behavior. On the sidelines are other companies with the same grievance and the European Union, which also charged Apple with violating antitrust rules with the App Store. In an hour of testimony, Cook stated that commissions from app developers help the company create better App Store security. Continue reading Apple Chief Exec Tim Cook Testifies in Trial with Epic Games

Fashion Industry Leverages Games, Apps and Virtual Shows

Fashion lovers now have games designed just for them, including “Drest,” which debuted in 2019, the brainchild of former editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar UK Lucy Yeomans. Louis Vuitton collaborated with Riot Games on prestige skins for the League of Legends World Championship Finals and Riot is now teaming with Japanese casual wear retailer UNIQLO. High-fashion outfits from Marc Jacobs and Valentino have appeared in the video game series “Animal Crossing.” Luxury fashion brands are increasingly drawn to partake in the game industry, which made $175 billion in 2020. Continue reading Fashion Industry Leverages Games, Apps and Virtual Shows

Google I/O: Android 12, Remote Working Tools, Wear Update

At this week’s Google I/O developer conference, the company unveiled its Android 12 mobile operating system with numerous visual changes and new privacy features. The company also showcased Project Starline, a prototype virtual meeting booth that could replace Google Meet. In addition, Google is tweaking its smartwatch Wear OS and has improved Photos’ discovery and Chrome’s built-in password manager. More remote working tools and new natural language skills were debuted. Google also tweaked Maps and shopping tools. Continue reading Google I/O: Android 12, Remote Working Tools, Wear Update

Pinterest Rolls Out Idea Pins, Like Stories But Not Ephemeral

Pinterest has been moving away from its identity as a social network and making moves toward e-commerce. Now, the company is introducing Idea Pins, which it calls “an evolution of Story Pins, with a fresh name to better match the uniqueness of a product that empowers creators to share long-lasting ideas and not ephemeral stories.” Similar to the Stories feature common with other apps, Idea Pins consist of video clips up to 60 seconds that users can tap through. New publishing tools to create Idea Pins include video-first features, editing tools and updates. Continue reading Pinterest Rolls Out Idea Pins, Like Stories But Not Ephemeral

ETC Executive Coffee: Verizon Execs Discuss Life After Zoom

During ETC@USC’s second Executive Coffee with… installment of the Spring 2021 series, Sanyogita Shamsunder, VP of product strategy, innovation and operations at Verizon engaged a group of eight USC students from cinema, engineering and business in a one-hour discussion of the question: “What comes after Zoom and entertainment apps?” Shamsunder, whose team is focused on new technology innovation and bringing new products and experiences to consumer and enterprise customers, was joined by team members Andrew Herson, who is focused on B2B2C applications, and Zachary Drossman, who heads concept development at Verizon’s 5G Labs. Continue reading ETC Executive Coffee: Verizon Execs Discuss Life After Zoom

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