Thunderbolt Adopts USB-C, Universal Port of the Near Future

From desktops, laptops and tablets to game consoles and other CE devices, the Universal Serial Bus has been the industry standard for cable and connection interfaces for about 20 years. It has been speculated that USB-C, developed by the USB Implementers Forum, would soon become the successor to the USB standard. Intel announced during Computex in Taiwan last week that Thunderbolt 3 will embrace USB-C functionality, and initially offer data transfer rates twice as fast as Thunderbolt 2 and four times that of USB 3.1. Teaming the two could be a game-changer. Continue reading Thunderbolt Adopts USB-C, Universal Port of the Near Future

Flickr Upgrade Includes Cloud Storage and Object Recognition

Photo sharing site Flickr is helping users store and organize their photos with new cloud computing and machine learning solutions. The service recently introduced a new automatic photo uploader for mobile and desktop and each user gets 1,000 gigabytes of free cloud storage. Sorting through photos is now easier with the new search function, which relies on machine learning tech to recognize objects, places, and people in photos. The new search engine works because the service automatically adds descriptive tags to uploaded photos. Continue reading Flickr Upgrade Includes Cloud Storage and Object Recognition

Twitter Homepage Redesign Intends to Increase Visitor Count

In an effort to increase the number of visitors to its site, Twitter has redesigned its homepage, allowing visitors to view content they would otherwise not have access to unless they were logged in. With about 200 million monthly visitors, Twitter wants to improve user engagement by adding a section to its homepage where users can view the most trending tweets or viral content as sorted into different categories such as “Business News,” or “TV Shows & Stars.” Continue reading Twitter Homepage Redesign Intends to Increase Visitor Count

Spotify Streaming Music Service Now Live for Sony PlayStation

Sony has teamed with streaming music service Spotify to allow gamers to listen to their favorite tunes while playing games. Originally announced in January, Spotify officially joined PlayStation Music this week. While many users may be drawn to the Spotify-powered service, hardcore gamers may be turned off by the idea of replacing a game’s soundtrack and immersive audio effects with unrelated music. However, the companies are targeting the gamers who regularly play their own music in the background while gaming. Continue reading Spotify Streaming Music Service Now Live for Sony PlayStation

VLC Upgrade Adds In-App Extensions Store, Android TV Support

The VideoLAN Organization has released an upgraded VLC 2.2.0 open source video player with some notable new features. VLC for Linux, Mac and Windows now includes an in-app extensions store, in-app subtitle downloads, resume playback functionality, and support for interactive Blu-ray menus. Resume playback has been available on mobile versions, but is now offered on the desktop. VideoLAN has also added support for Android TV, Windows Phone and Windows RT. VLC 3.0.0 is scheduled for release later this year. Continue reading VLC Upgrade Adds In-App Extensions Store, Android TV Support

Popcorn Time Accounts for One-Ninth of U.S. Torrent Traffic

In less than a year, Popcorn Time has become one of the most popular services to torrent pirated media content online. The slick grid interface looks similar to that of Netflix or Hulu, making the service look more legitimate and easier to navigate to find a TV show or movie. The program is actually an index of other BitTorrent sites. Popcorn Time’s popularity has been growing in the U.S. and abroad, especially in countries where streaming services are less established. Continue reading Popcorn Time Accounts for One-Ninth of U.S. Torrent Traffic

Facebook Releases New Apps for Advertisers and Designers

Facebook has unveiled two new iOS apps designed for people working behind the scenes. Designers now have a tool that lets them prototype the interface of an app without writing a single line of code. The Origami Live app will then roughly translate the design into code with the click of a button. Facebook has also created a new app for advertisers so that they can schedule or even create their Facebook ads from their phone. Facebook Ads Manager provides metrics on the ad’s performance. Continue reading Facebook Releases New Apps for Advertisers and Designers

Slingbox Integrates YouTube Recommendations with Live TV

Sling Media, the company behind multiscreen TV devices including the Slingbox 500 and SlingTV, has added support for YouTube video recommendations in its TV guide. During live TV programming, the user could call up a menu of related YouTube videos on the bottom of the screen. Audible Magic’s audio-fingerprinting technology determines the content of the live TV. The top-trending YouTube videos are also located on a separate tab within the TV guide. Continue reading Slingbox Integrates YouTube Recommendations with Live TV

Sandvine Global Internet Report Finds Netflix Still Dominates

According to the new Global Internet Phenomena Report by Canadian broadband network company Sandvine, Netflix continues to reign in the competition for streaming video. The popular video service presently accounts for 35 percent of all bandwidth usage in North America during peak hours. YouTube has the second highest bandwidth usage with 14 percent. Amazon Instant Video is the second highest paid streaming service, and it is growing quickly, along with HBO GO. Continue reading Sandvine Global Internet Report Finds Netflix Still Dominates

Former Hulu CEO to Target YouTube with Online Video Venture

Hulu founding CEO Jason Kilar, who left the service early last year, is among those getting ready to take a run at Google’s YouTube. Kilar is expected to roll out an ad-supported online video service called Vessel as soon as this month, according to insiders. Vessel, to be offered via a free tier or monthly paid subscription service, will reportedly feature videos from top YouTube stars with agreements that will keep the videos off YouTube for three days. Vessel was designed primarily for smartphones and tablets. Continue reading Former Hulu CEO to Target YouTube with Online Video Venture

New Direction: Microsoft Offers Office Suite Free for Mobile

Microsoft announced that it will offer the mobile version of its Office suite featuring Word, Excel and Powerpoint for free. This is a major departure for Microsoft, which usually charges a premium for its software. However, with people doing less on their desktops and more on their smartphones, Microsoft is finally focusing on today’s push into cloud computing. The company hopes that the free mobile apps will entice new users to buy the desktop software, too. Continue reading New Direction: Microsoft Offers Office Suite Free for Mobile

New Google App “Inbox” Serves as Personal Gmail Assistant

Google’s Gmail team launched a new app called Inbox to help users manage their email. Inbox sorts your mail as an assistant might by categorizing incoming messages into Bundles. While this may not be a new concept, the Highlights feature is compelling. Highlights will pull the important information from a message and push it to the top (for example, flight times in a confirmation email from an airline). It even has the ability to update that information (think gate changes or delays). Continue reading New Google App “Inbox” Serves as Personal Gmail Assistant

Facebook Introduces Safety Check for Users During Disasters

Facebook recently announced Safety Check, an easy way to check on others when disasters strike. The service will first allow users to let others know they are safe during a disaster. It will also allow users to check in on others and mark friends as safe. Only friends will have access to these updates. The tool is designed for users to remain connected to those they care about. Safety Check will be available on Android, iOS, feature phones and desktops globally. Continue reading Facebook Introduces Safety Check for Users During Disasters

CNN App Combines VOD and Live TV on One Second Screen

The CNNgo app for tablets and desktops may just be what the future of television will look like. The app opens automatically to a live feed of the current show airing on CNN, and along the bottom, viewers can browse video, text, tweets, and photos related to the live programming. Another menu shows segments about different topics from the past couple of hours or days. The app abandons the traditional linear and often problematic model of consuming television news. Continue reading CNN App Combines VOD and Live TV on One Second Screen

Facebook Takes Aim at Google with New Advertising Platform

Facebook reportedly plans to unveil a new advertising platform next week that is designed to improve how marketers target and measure their online ads. Atlas, a re-tooled version of the Atlas Advertiser Suite that the social network purchased from Microsoft last year, intends to challenge Google’s dominance in the online ad space. The new platform is expected to help marketers understand the engagement that results from ads on Facebook’s services and third-party websites and apps. Continue reading Facebook Takes Aim at Google with New Advertising Platform

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