Twitter Plans to Improve Conversations, Acquires Lightwell

Twitter has purchased Lightwell, an app creation engine originally debuted two years ago by Hullabalu, an interactive storytelling startup. In its Twitter account, Lightwell said its work would focus on conversations and that its toolset, which has required a subscription, will be available for free this week as part of the purchase. Without the need to create an account, Lightwell users will be able to “layout, prototype, and export to iOS.” Lightwell also announced that it would no longer support or add new features to the toolset. Financial terms of the acquisition have not been disclosed. Continue reading Twitter Plans to Improve Conversations, Acquires Lightwell

Mobile App Uses AI Technology to Edit Short Social Videos

Social video startup TRASH aims to make it simple for users to create short videos to share with friends. CEO Hannah Donovan, previously general manager at Twitter’s now defunct Vine video app, co-founder of music-discovery site This Is My Jam, and former head of creative at Last.fm, points out that research shows most consumers carry powerful cameras with them, but don’t know much about editing video content. So she set out to leverage computer vision technology to analyze video and synthesize the content into an appealing sequence. The free TRASH app does just that, as explained by its simple tagline, “You shoot, we edit.” Continue reading Mobile App Uses AI Technology to Edit Short Social Videos

Microsoft Closer to Consumer AR, Streaming Games Service

Magic Leap and Apple are the two technology companies currently at the forefront of augmented reality, but, behind the scenes, Microsoft has also been working on AR for years. It’s easy to discount Microsoft, since its HoloLens AR headset is squarely aimed at the enterprise sector. But the company also has its sights set on the consumer market. In addition, Microsoft has started to leak details about its upcoming Project xCloud cloud-based game streaming system. Project xCloud will enter beta testing this year. Continue reading Microsoft Closer to Consumer AR, Streaming Games Service

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

LinkedIn Launches Beta of Its Live Video Broadcast Feature

Microsoft’s LinkedIn is the latest social platform to pursue the growing popularity of online video. The network, now touting nearly 600 million global users, is launching a live video feature that allows individual users and organizations to broadcast video in real-time to select groups or the LinkedIn community. “LinkedIn Live” will initially be offered as an invite-only beta test in the U.S. with plans for a contact form in upcoming weeks for others interesting in trying the new feature. LinkedIn is partnering with several developers of live streaming services to help creators produce more polished video content. Continue reading LinkedIn Launches Beta of Its Live Video Broadcast Feature

Facebook Introduces Open-Source Image Processing Library

Facebook unveiled Spectrum, an open-source image processing library to help improve the quality and reliability of images uploaded through its own apps. Spectrum, which Facebook first showed publicly and launched in beta in November, is now on GitHub, available to the developer community. As higher quality cameras on smartphones have become a key selling point, consumers are dealing with larger image files, which can be a stumbling block since they eat up more device memory and more network bandwidth. Continue reading Facebook Introduces Open-Source Image Processing Library

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

Facebook Launches Android Version of Game Streaming Site

Facebook introduced its Fb.gg online gaming hub this summer, created to draw game streamers and their followers away from rival sites such as Amazon-owned Twitch. The hub — featuring videos based on games and streaming celebs that Facebook users follow, as well as Liked Pages and Groups — is going mobile with an Android launch, now in its beta testing stage. The Android version is expected to provide gamers who stream via Facebook Live a more prominent landing page for improved discovery. Continue reading Facebook Launches Android Version of Game Streaming Site

New comScore CEO Readies Cross-Platform Ad Metrics Tool

Under the aegis of new chief executive Bryan Wiener, comScore is readying the debut of its Campaign Ratings tool to measure ad views across platforms. Wiener was hired about two months ago, in the wake of corporate difficulties including accounting irregularities and management changes. The tool promises to provide advertisers with a more realistic report of ad viewing by measuring viewers who see an ad on any device, including TV and mobile and avoiding double-counting of viewers who watch an ad once on different devices. Continue reading New comScore CEO Readies Cross-Platform Ad Metrics Tool

Google Moves Android Things for Smart Devices Out of Beta

As Google opened its annual developer conference I/O, the company debuted Android Things, a version of its operating system for smart devices, offering SDKs to hardware and software developers. According to Google product management director Venkat Rapaka, with Android Things, such devices can now be built “faster, cheaper and more secure.” Android Things will also provide a consistent interface for users. Until its formal debut, Android Things had been in beta, with several partners already developing IoT products. Continue reading Google Moves Android Things for Smart Devices Out of Beta

MoviePass Revives Unlimited Plan, Will Offer IMAX, 3D Movies

MoviePass just brought back its unlimited subscription plan launched last August that allows users to see a movie a day for $10 per month. Better yet, chief executive Mitch Lowe declared the company is “absolutely committed” to keeping the plan in place. Two weeks ago, MoviePass limited subscribers to four movies per month. The company has previously experimented with removing subscriber access to some AMC Theatres in major cities and even specific movies, all of which were temporary moves. Continue reading MoviePass Revives Unlimited Plan, Will Offer IMAX, 3D Movies

Facebook Plans to Be Next Home to Online Content Creators

Facebook wants to be the next home for online content creators, aiming to displace YouTube, Patreon and others with additions to its Creator app, which launched in November on iOS and will be available on Android soon. The social media giant is currently testing ways Creator users can make more money and connect with their fans. One such way would allow monthly subscribers to gain access to exclusive content from their favorite creators and allow them to earn fan badges similar to those used on Patreon.

Continue reading Facebook Plans to Be Next Home to Online Content Creators

Facebook Debuts Real-World AR Effects Tied to New Movies

Facebook has confirmed that it is currently testing an augmented reality camera that goes beyond its earlier functions (and limitations) of selfie masks and inserting 3D objects into locations. Beta users can now test the use of real-world location markers that set off augmented reality experiences right where they stand. The closed beta includes promotions tied to the films “A Wrinkle in Time” and “Ready Player One,” and near future plans include adding tracker-based AR to its AR Studio tool that will be open to all developers.

Continue reading Facebook Debuts Real-World AR Effects Tied to New Movies

Plex DVR Exits Beta With New Commercial-Removal Feature

Plex started out as a simple home media server and has evolved into a cloud-based platform that offers streaming personalized news and a full-featured DVR. The company has now added a new DVR feature, via an update, that automatically removes commercials. Most of the update fixed bugs; this new feature must be manually enabled in the Plex DVR settings, which now offers a “Remove Commercials” option. Users should, however, pay attention to reports from other users and the setting’s description. Continue reading Plex DVR Exits Beta With New Commercial-Removal Feature

Plex Live TV Adds Time-Shifting, Comes to Apple TV, Android

The Plex Live TV service, including its DVR feature, is coming out of beta today and expanding support to include Apple TV and Android devices. The service was originally available for iOS and Android TV platforms, including the Nvidia Shield. In addition to accessing live television programming from within the Plex app, users will be introduced to a new time-shifting feature that enables them to rewind, fast-forward and pause live programs. Plex says that its Live TV and DVR features will be available for Roku and Fire TV platforms next. Continue reading Plex Live TV Adds Time-Shifting, Comes to Apple TV, Android

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