Facebook Creating Companion Messaging App to Instagram

Facebook is looking to take on Snapchat with a new messaging app the social giant is developing as a companion to Instagram. The Threads app reportedly intends to encourage constant sharing between “close friends” by automatically sharing data such as location, speed and battery life in addition to the usual messages comprised of video, images and text. Instagram previously had a standalone messaging app called Direct, but users were frustrated when they had to move between the two apps to send messages. A new messaging app built around a user’s close friends list could provide a viable alternative.  Continue reading Facebook Creating Companion Messaging App to Instagram

USC Will Host Full-Day Blockchain Symposium This Friday

USC Viterbi School of Engineering’s Center for Cyber-Physical Systems and the Internet of Things (CCI) is hosting the second International Symposium on Foundations and Applications of Blockchain (FAB 2019). The event will take place on Friday, April 5, 7:00 am – 8:00 pm at USC. This one-day symposium builds on the previous success of FAB 2018, attended by close to a hundred participants and featuring presentations by distinguished speakers from academia and industry. To register, visit the symposium’s Eventbrite page. Continue reading USC Will Host Full-Day Blockchain Symposium This Friday

Facebook Picks Up Redkix to Enhance Workplace Messaging

Facebook aims to beef up Workplace, its enterprise messaging competitor to Slack, with the acquisition of email startup Redkix’s talent and technology. Facebook plans to enhance the communication functionality of Workplace with the Redkix app that combines email, calendar and messaging features. Facebook did not reveal specifics regarding integration of the technology or the acquisition financials. The Redkix app is expected to shut down, while.the company’s employees — including CEO Oudi Antebi and CTO Roy Antebi — will join the Facebook Workplace team. Continue reading Facebook Picks Up Redkix to Enhance Workplace Messaging

WhatsApp Hopes Changes Will Reduce Virality and Violence

One day after Facebook said it would remove misinformation that could provoke violence, the company announced tweaks to WhatsApp, saying it would limit the number of groups to which a message could be forwarded on that platform. This specific move — which was requested by the Indian government — came after fake news widely forwarded via WhatsApp led to mob violence and the death of 20 people wrongly suspected of child kidnapping. WhatsApp has over 200 million monthly active users in India. Continue reading WhatsApp Hopes Changes Will Reduce Virality and Violence

Twitter Cuts Millions of Followers to Combat Fake Accounts

In an effort to restore trust in its social platform, Twitter plans to “begin removing tens of millions of suspicious accounts from users’ followers” today, reports The New York Times. “Many users have inflated their followers on Twitter or other services with automated or fake accounts, buying the appearance of social influence to bolster their political activism, business endeavors or entertainment careers.” Twitter has acknowledged that easily creating or buying fake followers has negatively affected the legitimacy of the platform. Continue reading Twitter Cuts Millions of Followers to Combat Fake Accounts

Team Builds Practical Quantum Random Number Generator

Security solutions provider Quantum Base and England’s Lancaster University have developed a quantum random number generator that could become a major step in combatting cyberattacks. The generator can easily be embedded in electronic devices to provide quantum security for authentication. “We have created a small, low power device that produces pure random numbers,” explains Quantum Base CEO Phillip Speed. “It can be incorporated into any electronic product with little or no incremental cost once volume production is achieved.” Continue reading Team Builds Practical Quantum Random Number Generator

Roadmap Reveals European Progress in Quantum Computing

Both the U.S. and China have invested billions in quantum physics, which promises a new era of computing and communications. In 2016, Europe, which lagged behind in the race, made an effort to catch up by investing one billion euros in its Quantum Technology Flagship research project, to develop quantum communication, quantum simulation, quantum computing, and quantum sensing. Now, a year-and-a-half after the European Commission’s announcement, it’s published the European Quantum Technologies Roadmap that reveals its progress. Continue reading Roadmap Reveals European Progress in Quantum Computing

Facebook Reveals the Philosophy of New Social VR Platform

As part of Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg’s goal to get one billion people into virtual reality, the company has also targeted social interaction as a potential powerhouse, with avatars communicating in a shared virtual world. This vision is already a reality on the company’s software platform Facebook Spaces, headed by Rachel Franklin, who previously worked on “The Sims.” She recently described her team’s philosophy and how that motivates design choices. She also described Facebook’s most successful VR elements. Continue reading Facebook Reveals the Philosophy of New Social VR Platform

Millennials Regularly Use Variety of Apps for Digital Services

According to a new study from measurement firm Nielsen, the lack of brand loyalty among 18- to 34-year-olds is reflected in their consumption of digital services such as communication apps and streaming music. Perhaps not surprisingly, Nielsen found that the demographic consumes a great deal of digital media but tends to use multiple services across categories, rather than focus on one service for a specific segment. For example, while only 39 percent of consumers over 35 use two or more apps to stream music, almost 60 percent of millennials will commonly do so on a regular basis. Continue reading Millennials Regularly Use Variety of Apps for Digital Services

Students Discuss Their Media Habits at ETC Member Meeting

The ETC@USC has produced a 10-minute highlights reel edited from a one-hour discussion with a panel of eight USC students that took place at the ETC’s April 6th All Members Meeting. The panel of undergraduates included students studying business, the arts, journalism and technology. The students discussed what motivates them to go to a movie theater, the role of big screen TVs in their lives, what they think of VR and AR, what they would buy if they were given $3,000 to spend on entertainment, and a number of other interesting topics. Visit the ETC website or YouTube channel to access the video.

Continue reading Students Discuss Their Media Habits at ETC Member Meeting

Tumblr Explores a New Direction with Video Chat App Cabana

In a first for Yahoo-owned Tumblr, the blogging platform is launching a group video chat app it has named Cabana. The new app — available now on iOS and coming to Android next month — enables video chat for up to six users who can also stream YouTube video content while chatting. Blogging remains the company’s primary focus, but Cabana represents the first communication app it has developed. Tumblr is “not pivoting, but definitely exploring a new direction here,” said founder/CEO David Karp. “The idea is similar to Houseparty, the app from the company behind former live-streaming darling Meerkat,” notes Recode, and “similar to Airtime, Sean Parker’s chat startup that was revived a year ago.” Continue reading Tumblr Explores a New Direction with Video Chat App Cabana

Workplace: Facebook Tests Free Version of Slack Competitor

Facebook’s Workplace is a social networking tool designed for the enterprise, enabling an efficient chat and collaboration platform for employees. It is similar to the Facebook used by friends and family members, but instead is meant to foster interaction between co-workers. Now, Facebook is introducing a free version intended for smaller businesses that are not as interested in the administrative and analytical features offered to subscribers. (It is still being tested, so the release is limited.) The new version will be named “Workplace Standard,” and the paid version will go by “Workplace Premium.” Continue reading Workplace: Facebook Tests Free Version of Slack Competitor

Boston Dynamics Creates a Robot with Humanlike Movement

Boston Dynamics, a robotics company owned by Google’s parent Alphabet, has introduced a robot that is making leaps and bounds in the industry — literally. Handle, as the robot is called, can jump over obstacles, go down stairs, and lift objects up to 100 pounds. The impressive machine has two legs with wheels that allow it to move fluidly. Unlike other robots that generally move slowly and deliberately, Handle can use its momentum without losing control to get around more easily. Continue reading Boston Dynamics Creates a Robot with Humanlike Movement

Signal App Update Adds Ability to Make Encrypted Video Calls

The Signal app from non-profit Open Whisper Systems provides end-to-end encrypted messaging, voice calling, and now video chatting. The new feature, along with improved voice calling functionality, comes as part of a beta update for the app’s Android and iOS versions. Signal is a popular choice for activists and journalists who need a private communications platform, but it is still struggling to find a foothold in the mainstream because it sacrifices some popular features for security.  Continue reading Signal App Update Adds Ability to Make Encrypted Video Calls

CES 2017: The Need for a “Connective Architecture” for Data

Data about your heart. Data about your workout. Data about your sleep. Data about your posture, your focus, your shoes, your pictures, your wallet, your fridge, your front door, your light bulb, your bike, your neighbor, your chair, your car, your desk, your tea, your bikini (?!)… Walking the aisles of CES 2017 last week was a bit like peering into a dystopian feedback loop hell where every single physical object we touch is touching us back — with petabytes of fragmented data and exactly zero intelligence. Here lies the dilemma: While everyone is invested in building the sensor network, nobody is building the brain. Continue reading CES 2017: The Need for a “Connective Architecture” for Data

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