RCS Standard Will Bring Multimedia Capabilities to Messaging

SMS messaging is popular, be it Apple’s iMessage, Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp. But these messaging services aren’t interoperable: a Facebook user can’t use Messenger to reach someone on iMessage, for example. A solution is on the horizon with RCS — Rich Communication Services — an online protocol adopted by the GSM Association to replace SMS, and one that adds significant multimedia capabilities. The GSMA, a trade group that represents 750+ mobile operators and others in the mobile ecosystem, came up with Universal Profile, a standard that underlies RCS. Continue reading RCS Standard Will Bring Multimedia Capabilities to Messaging

Rabbit Updates Features for More Versatile Social TV Viewing

Rabbit, which lets users watch online videos with friends, is updating its features, adding real-time and delayed viewing among others to the mobile/web platform. Company chief executive Amanda Richardson noted that Rabbit’s ability to “let you watch any video content with anyone, anywhere in the world, at the same time, is unmatched.” The 30-employer Rabbit, launched in 2015, now has 3.6 million monthly active viewers and has experienced a two-time to three-time growth year over year. Continue reading Rabbit Updates Features for More Versatile Social TV Viewing

Google Aims to Replace SMS with an Android Messaging App

Google is at work creating consensus among every major global cellphone carrier to replace SMS with “Chat,” based on a standard dubbed the Universal Profile for Rich Communication Services. Chat is the consumer name for RCS (Rich Communication Services) and is not actually a new texting app but rather a new set of features inside an app (Android Messages) already installed on most Android phones. Google is leading development to ensure interoperability of Chat on every carrier’s service. Continue reading Google Aims to Replace SMS with an Android Messaging App

Google Pledges $300 Million in Effort to Clean Up Fake News

Google has set its sights on combating fake news on the Internet, pledging to spend $300 million over the next three years in support of what The New York Times calls “authoritative journalism.” The Google News Initiative’s goals include making it easier for Googlers to subscribe to news and providing publishers with tools for fast-loading mobile pages. In partnership with Harvard Kennedy School’s First Draft initiative, Google will also create a “Disinfo Lab” to identify fake news, particularly during moments when it’s breaking.

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TV Time Adds Personalized Recommendations to its Features

The TV Time app, which boasts a million daily users, now offers filterable, personalized recommendations to help organize your viewing selections. With programming spread across multiple services, it is often a challenge to keep up with what’s out there, what’s new, and what you might enjoy. Based on a user’s viewing habits and behaviors across multiple services (such as Netflix, Hulu and cable), the app makes recommendations and helps users track what they’re watching while connecting with other fans after episodes.

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Twitter Pursues Advertising Revenue With Sponsored Moments

Get ready for more ads to appear on Twitter. The social platform is introducing sponsored Moments, which will bring brand sponsorship to its Moments publisher feature. Sponsored Moments are collections of tweets that are purposely packaged around an event or theme, such as an awards show or sports championship. Brands can run promoted tweets inside the collection and add branding to the cover image. For example, Bank of America recently sponsored a collection of tweets from Bloomberg about the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Continue reading Twitter Pursues Advertising Revenue With Sponsored Moments

Snapchat Debuts 30 Original Shows but Metrics Still a Mystery

In the wake of Instagram copying one of its most popular features, Stories, Snapchat pivoted to original video content, believing it crucial to the company’s long-term success. To produce this content, Snapchat turned to numerous television networks, including A+E Networks, Discovery, ESPN, NBCUniversal and Turner (owner of CNN, TBS and TNT). NBCUniversal, which invested $500 million in Snap’s IPO, is particularly bullish on Snapchat Shows. But Snapchat doesn’t reveal metrics, raising questions about the success of Shows. Continue reading Snapchat Debuts 30 Original Shows but Metrics Still a Mystery

Pinterest and Google Compete to Offer the Top Visual Search

Pinterest is highlighting the “Search” and “Lens” features on its mobile apps, emphasizing its move into this arena. Lens, which was introduced to U.S. users this year, is a reverse image search tool that allows users to take a photograph of something and then use smart search to return pins with similar images and related design ideas. Lens is now available to users of the iOS application; Pinterest says it will soon launch the Android version. Google is also upgrading its visual search engine to compete in this space. Continue reading Pinterest and Google Compete to Offer the Top Visual Search

Facebook Messenger Lets Users Post Snapchat-Like Stories

Messenger has joined Instagram and WhatsApp in emulating Snapchat’s popular Stories concept. Messenger Day is a new feature within the Facebook Messenger app that encourages users to share a daily photo story. Users can post photos and 15-second videos taken with the Messenger camera or images and GIFs saved on their smartphone. The Messenger Day story is visible to all Facebook friends, but it disappears after 24 hours. Facebook’s unique special filters for the images are designed to spark conversations and encourage meet-ups. Continue reading Facebook Messenger Lets Users Post Snapchat-Like Stories

YouTube Seeks Volunteers to Moderate Site for Perks, Access

In an effort to become more of a social media platform, YouTube launched YouTube Community in mid-September to allow video creators to run a social network on their channel’s page. On the “Community” tab on Channel pages, video creators can share content, including text, GIFs and images with their fans. Community has been in public beta (with some YouTube celebrity creators), but hasn’t yet rolled out. Now, YouTube is asking volunteers to moderate content in exchange for perks such as access to workshops and products. Continue reading YouTube Seeks Volunteers to Moderate Site for Perks, Access

Spincle Debuts Shareable 360-Video on Smartphones via App

Launching at TechCrunch Disrupt SF, startup Spincle showcased a new way to capture 360-degree imagery with smartphones. Up until now, most 360-degree photography has required specialized cameras, and posting the results takes multiple apps and expertise. The popularity of the 360-degree panorama brought about by Google Cardboard, however, has also given birth to the “magic window,” which allows the user to move the phone and, without a VR headset, have a quasi-VR experience. That’s where Spincle fits in. Continue reading Spincle Debuts Shareable 360-Video on Smartphones via App

Pinterest Launches Video Ads with Kate Spade, bareMinerals

Pinterest just began selling video advertising, with the first ads from Kate Spade and bareMinerals in the coming weeks. The GIF-like ads will be silent until the user clicks the images, or pins, of the featured products next to the videos, which could allow the user to buy the product within the Pinterest website. By adding video ads, Pinterest joins the ranks of Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and large publishers similarly seeking the premium revenues of the kind of marketing once reserved for TV. Continue reading Pinterest Launches Video Ads with Kate Spade, bareMinerals

Hulu Winds Down its Free Service, Partners on Yahoo TV Site

Hulu is shutting down the free, ad-supported version of its service. The company announced it is transitioning to a subscription-only model following investments in more movies and TV shows. Hulu’s two subscription tiers include an ad-free plan for $11.99 per month and a limited-commercial offering for $7.99 per month. Hulu is also expanding its distribution deal with Yahoo by partnering on Yahoo View, a new ad-supported streaming site that will carry the five most recent episodes of series from Hulu co-owners ABC, FOX and NBC, eight days after their original broadcast. Continue reading Hulu Winds Down its Free Service, Partners on Yahoo TV Site

App for Broadcasting Text Chats Rolls Out with ‘SummerBreak’

Avner Ronen, founder of consumer electronics startup Boxee, has rolled out Public, a messaging service that he calls “a third medium for broadcasting conversations.” Public, which raised $2 million at the end of 2015 and is available as an iPhone app and website, broadcasts group chats to an audience, complete with GIFs and emoji. A handful of active participants chat about a topic, which anyone can follow in real-time or read later. Chats can also be shared on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram or embedded in other websites. Continue reading App for Broadcasting Text Chats Rolls Out with ‘SummerBreak’

Facebook Debuts Canvas for Instant Upload of Media Rich Ads

Facebook debuted Canvas, high-bandwidth ads that load quickly, and without taking users to a mobile site. The instant upload encourages engagement, giving advertisers a better way to reach people, and lets Facebook keep the experience within its pages. A small upwards-pointing arrow identifies a Canvas ad; clicking on the arrow reveals a full-screen with the rich media experience. The alternative experience is when a click on an ad leads to a mobile site that can take five to ten seconds to load. Continue reading Facebook Debuts Canvas for Instant Upload of Media Rich Ads

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