Instagram Unveils Explore Shopping Tab, Stickers for Stories

Instagram plans to debut a standalone Shopping app, a move that could rival Pinterest and Wish. Ahead of the move, it is adding a shopping tab to the Explore page, which will allow users to look through a dedicated feed of merchandise from a wide range of vendors. Those sellers will be able to add stickers to their Stories for the first time, letting consumers shop from the Stories feed by tapping on the product. With this feature, shoppers will let people consider possible purchases before heading to the seller’s website. Continue reading Instagram Unveils Explore Shopping Tab, Stickers for Stories

Apple’s New iPad Aims to Top Google’s Classroom Dominance

In an effort to catch up to Google’s classroom dominance, Apple unveiled a new 9.7-inch iPad on Tuesday “aimed at classrooms and other education tools,” reports The New York Times. It has a faster processor and the ability to support its education-minded stylus, the Apple Pencil (which previously only paired with pricier iPads), as well as 200 gigabytes of storage. It’ll be priced at $299 for schools and $329 for consumers. Additionally, Apple announced new classroom software and new curriculum.

Continue reading Apple’s New iPad Aims to Top Google’s Classroom Dominance

Google to Explore Using AI Systems to Produce Art and Music

During the Moogfest music and technology fest in North Carolina, Google Brain researcher Douglas Eck outlined a new artificial intelligence research project at Google called Magenta. The group, expected to publicly launch next month, plans to use the company’s machine learning engine TensorFlow to explore new ways that computers and AI systems could be trained to create original art and media such as music or video. The initiative should prove challenging; so far, the most advanced AI systems have struggled to replicate styles of existing artists. Continue reading Google to Explore Using AI Systems to Produce Art and Music

MIT Media Lab Director Ito Explores Transformative Research

Joichi “Joi” Ito, director of the MIT Media Lab, explored how radical new approaches to science and technology can transform society in his SIGGRAPH 2015 keynote presentation. Ito’s remarks addressed what he and his colleagues at the Media Lab view as a fundamental shift in the way we need to work, collaborate, think, imagine and create. He calls it the “Creativity Compass” and unites science, art, design and engineering. Several of the Media Lab’s futuristic projects were also featured. Continue reading MIT Media Lab Director Ito Explores Transformative Research

“This” Social Network Takes New Approach to Selective Sharing

The new invite-only social network “This” lets users share one link per day of a stand-out Internet post, such as a compelling article or a podcast episode or a video. Rather than inundating the community with a flood of posts (a common model of other social networks), users on This only get the best-of-the-best on the Web. As a result, tech types and news junkies are clamoring for an invite. The new social network is a project of Atlantic Media and Andrew Golis. It is less than three months old and currently has about 4,500 users. Continue reading “This” Social Network Takes New Approach to Selective Sharing

SGN Releases Mobile Game for Fox’s New ‘Book of Life’ Movie

Mobile game maker SGN and 20th Century Fox released “Book of Life: Sugar Smash,” a companion mobile game for Fox’s new animated film. The two companies are sharing revenue from the game’s in-app purchases, which could translate to long-term revenue and marketing for both businesses. This revenue-sharing deal could also become a new model of partnership for future gaming and film companies. “Book of Life: Sugar Smash” is a free game available for iOS and soon Android. Continue reading SGN Releases Mobile Game for Fox’s New ‘Book of Life’ Movie

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

Canopy Aims to Showcase the Beautiful Products on Amazon

While Amazon has almost anything that most consumers need, the volume of products can be daunting for those who want to casually browse the site or discover well-designed or high-end products. Canopy is a website created by former Google designers that hopes to solve this problem by offering a curated storefront for products available via Amazon. Canopy offers a front-end alternative, while relying on Amazon’s back-end to make products available in just a few clicks. Continue reading Canopy Aims to Showcase the Beautiful Products on Amazon

USC Cinematic Arts Professors Installed in New Endowed Chairs

In a ceremony at the Ray Stark Theater on USC’s Cinematic Arts campus last Thursday, Dean Elizabeth Daley joined George Lucas in welcoming three USC film professors to their new endowed chairs. Made possible by a generous gift from Lucas, the three new chairs — The Sergei Eisenstein Endowed Chair for Cinematic Design, the George Mélies Endowed Chair in Visual Effects, and the William Cameron Menzies Endowed Chair in Production Design — are now held by Bruce Block, Michael Funk, and Alex McDowell respectively. Continue reading USC Cinematic Arts Professors Installed in New Endowed Chairs

ILM Has Plans to Open New Visual Effects Facility in London

Carolyn Giardina of The Hollywood Reporter forwarded us news that Industrial Light & Magic, the visual effects division of Lucasfilm, has major expansion plans including a new facility in central London, just outside of Soho, and a move for the Vancouver team to a larger space that will allow the group to double from 100 to 200 employees. Lucasfilm also recently opened an ILM facility in Singapore. The VFX arm is a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. Continue reading ILM Has Plans to Open New Visual Effects Facility in London

Sharp Introduces Quattron+ Series and SmartCentral Platform

At its CES press event today, Sharp unveiled its new AQUOS Quattron+ (Q+) series of LED televisions and a new SmartCentral smart TV platform. In 2014 Sharp will offer 19 different AQUOS LED TVs 60-inches and larger. The company claims its Q+ series offers the highest resolution Full HD TV. The SmartCentral platform helps viewers search, discover and share content, while the SmartCentral mobile app connects smartphones and tablets to Sharp TVs. Continue reading Sharp Introduces Quattron+ Series and SmartCentral Platform

Hshtags Search Engine: The Google Search of Social Media

Hshtags is a new search engine from developer Kim Goulbourne that is designed to help users easily navigate the mass onslaught of hashtags, which have become a nearly ubiquitous utility of the social Web. The universal hashtag search client, launched in September, provides access to all the content posted with a specific hashtag from an array of social platforms including Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, Vimeo and YouTube (support for Vine and Google+ is expected soon). Continue reading Hshtags Search Engine: The Google Search of Social Media

Myspace Draws 36 Million Millennials, Musicians and Artists

Since last year’s official launch of the re-imagined Myspace in June, its new owners — Tim Vanderhook, Chris Vanderhook, and Justin Timberlake —  have launched iPhone and Android apps while introducing a slew of musical artists to the service. This week, Myspace announced it now has 36 million users, dominated largely by musicians, millennials and artists including photographers and designers. Through Myspace, many are finding a home for music and art discovery and streaming. Continue reading Myspace Draws 36 Million Millennials, Musicians and Artists

New Getty Policy Allows Everyone to Access Digital Images

The Getty Museum announced that its former policy banning access to digital images has been amended. Digital images are now available for free on the Getty website for anyone who is interested. Previously, the Getty granted access to an image for a fee and with special terms and conditions. While the Getty still asks for the reason an individual is requesting an image, the process of obtaining a digital image is now made simple for everyone. Continue reading New Getty Policy Allows Everyone to Access Digital Images

New Milestone: 100,000 Projects Crowdfunded via Kickstarter

Kickstarter announced yesterday that the crowdfunding service has reached a new milestone by launching more than 100,000 projects. Nearly 44 percent of the projects have been successfully funded by a total of $535 million. The top categories for launched projects include Film & Video, Music, Publishing, Art and Games. If its current funding rate continues, the service could raise its first billion as early as sometime this year. Continue reading New Milestone: 100,000 Projects Crowdfunded via Kickstarter

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