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

Facebook at Work Enters Crowded Field But Offers Familiarity

Facebook at Work will be unveiled in London on October 10, marking the first time that Facebook has launched a global product outside of the U.S. The work “conversation” platform was developed in Facebook’s London office, and some major European companies — including Telenor and the Royal Bank of Scotland — took part in the closed beta. Facebook vice president of EMEA Nicola Mendelsohn will lead the event, with other Facebook leaders and “special guests” in attendance, although it’s not clear if Mark Zuckerberg will be there. Continue reading Facebook at Work Enters Crowded Field But Offers Familiarity

Facebook Takes on Snapchat with Slingshot Messaging App

Facebook launched its new Slingshot messaging app for both iPhone and Android this week. The app has been described as similar to Snapchat, although it has one significant difference. In order to see what others have sent you, you need to send a photo or video in response. The free app is meant to feel more like a game that involves active engagement than a traditional social messaging tool, based on the inability of users to watch so-called “shots” passively. Continue reading Facebook Takes on Snapchat with Slingshot Messaging App

Mobli Updates its App for Live Broadcasting from Your Phone

While many consumers turn to Skype and FaceTime for live video conversations, Israeli company Mobli promises that the tech behind a new upgrade to its photo-sharing app will introduce the potential for millions of people to see what an individual smartphone lens is seeing. An update to Mobli’s app yesterday allows users to stream live video from their phone to a large audience in real time. This opens the possibility for journalists or performers to broadcast without the need for expensive cameras or satellite trucks. Continue reading Mobli Updates its App for Live Broadcasting from Your Phone

Viewers Rarely Start a New TV Show Because of Social Media

According to a new study by the Council for Research Excellence, conversations on social media have less influence than traditional factors, such as TV commercials for new shows or laziness in changing channels, in prompting audiences to watch a new show. In addition, only 16.1 percent of survey respondents say they use social media while watching prime time television, and less than half those participants typically use social networks to discuss the show they are watching. Continue reading Viewers Rarely Start a New TV Show Because of Social Media

Social TV: Twitter Purchases Two Analytics Firms in Europe

Twitter has acquired two TV analytics companies as part of its effort to become a stronger social complement to television viewing. French company Mesagraph and U.K.-based SecondSync will become part of Twitter’s London office. Twitter also announced it will be expanding its partnership with Kantar Media, and is hoping to extend its Twitter TV ratings system into Europe. To compete in the social TV space, Facebook has teamed with TV networks to initiate live updates during broadcasts, a practice popular with Twitter. Continue reading Social TV: Twitter Purchases Two Analytics Firms in Europe

Rovi Pays $69 Million to Acquire Voice Search Startup Veveo

Rovi announced that it is purchasing video discovery and voice search startup Veveo and the company’s IP for $62 million in cash and up to an additional $7 million based on performance milestones. The acquisition of Veveo’s technology is expected to bring new voice search capability to Rovi’s video discovery platform. Veveo uses natural language processing combined with semantic tech to integrate intuitive search and recommendation features into video discovery applications. Continue reading Rovi Pays $69 Million to Acquire Voice Search Startup Veveo

Twitter and Facebook to Battle for Second Screen Ad Dollars

Twitter is targeting second screens with a strategy that focuses on the intersection of video and data. The company has reportedly been meeting with agencies and brands this year, including several meetings held during CES, to showcase its ad product road map. Those who met with Twitter signed non-disclosure agreements and could not discuss upcoming products, but the strategy is believed to be bullish on video and data, and a counter to Facebook’s recent push into video. Continue reading Twitter and Facebook to Battle for Second Screen Ad Dollars

Facebook Helps Companies Gauge Social Chatter About Media

Facebook is working on ways to give brands and media companies a better look at conversations happening on the social media service about TV, movies and media. Facebook recently launched new APIs allowing certain companies to read what people are saying about them online. The goal, of course, is to allow those companies to better engage with target audiences. But for now, the program is limited just to media brands and content producers. Continue reading Facebook Helps Companies Gauge Social Chatter About Media

Twitter’s Experimental Apps Focus on Fostering Conversation

Twitter has announced a plan to run experiments on some of its users. While there have been rumors of Twitter becoming more involved in messaging, it is probably more accurate to say that Twitter is interested in conversations. With Twitter’s experimental apps, conversation is moved to the forefront. Namely, the way you send and receive direct messages, monitor your friends’ behavior, and participate in public conversations are all a lot more obvious. Continue reading Twitter’s Experimental Apps Focus on Fostering Conversation

Yahoo Picks Up Natural Language Processing Startup SkyPhrase

Yahoo announced it has acquired SkyPhrase, a four-person startup that develops natural language processing technology. SkyPhrase will join the Yahoo Labs team in New York and will help with Yahoo’s efforts in content delivery for mobile users, who are becoming more accustomed to devices that respond to conversational queries. SkyPhrase’s NLP technology is expected to be used for fantasy sports and other areas that rely on queries involving complex data sets. Continue reading Yahoo Picks Up Natural Language Processing Startup SkyPhrase

Apple Goes Social with $200 Million Purchase of Topsy Labs

Apple has reportedly acquired social media analytics firm Topsy Labs for more than $200 million. Topsy is one of four Twitter partners with access to the social network’s full stream of tweets, currently averaging about 500 million messages per day. The firm then analyzes the information and resells it to customers. Topsy markets itself as a global trendspotter and has helped Hollywood studios predict box office demand for movies based on social chatter. Continue reading Apple Goes Social with $200 Million Purchase of Topsy Labs

Facebook Plans to Compete with Twitter for TV Ad Business

At the Business Insider’s Ignition conference in New York this week, Facebook revealed more of its plans to develop social TV advertising products. Justin Osofsky, Facebook vice president of media partnerships, discussed deals with broadcast networks, which were initially announced along with hashtags and verified accounts back in September. The social platform is trying to prove it is just as valuable as Twitter in real-time TV discussions, if not more so. Continue reading Facebook Plans to Compete with Twitter for TV Ad Business

Pixar Veterans Create Interactive Talk Show App for Kids

Kids who watch shows such as “Dora the Explorer” and “Blue’s Clues” are often asked questions that encourage responses, but the TV of course does not interact beyond that point. This problem is being solved by San Francisco startup ToyTalk, a company launched by former employees of Pixar Animation Studios. Their first iPad app, “The Winston Show,” features Winston and his sidekick Ellington posing questions to their young viewers and then responding intelligently. Continue reading Pixar Veterans Create Interactive Talk Show App for Kids