G/O Media Faces Autoplay Ad Pushback and Exiting Staff

To boost impressions for Farmers Insurance Group, G/O Media — publisher of the (former Gawker Media) sites including Deadspin and Gizmodo — began showing sound-on automatic video ads on article pages. Employees pushed back against the process, believing that it would drive away users. Meanwhile, at Deadspin, when its owners instructed journalists to only cover sports, the interim editor-in-chief refused and was fired. An estimated nine veteran journalists quit in protest against the unpopular move. Continue reading G/O Media Faces Autoplay Ad Pushback and Exiting Staff

Facebook Drops Trending Topics, Tests Other News Features

Facebook is removing Trending Topics next week, saying that the feature has become “less useful” over time and that pulling the plug on it will “make way for future news experiences.” The feature accounted for an average of less than 1.5 percent of clicks to publishers from Facebook. Conservatives also decried the feature saying it proved Facebook’s liberal bias, an accusation the company is still trying to get out from under. Facebook now plans to pay some news outlets to produce daily and weekly news show for Watch. Continue reading Facebook Drops Trending Topics, Tests Other News Features

Ghostery Goes Open Source and Intros New Business Model

Ghostery, an ad blocker recommended by Edward Snowden, just published all its code on GitHub. The company was acquired last year by Cliqz, “the first browser with integrated privacy protection,” including anti-tracking and anti-phishing. Ghostery’s revenue model has been hard to understand for some users, who opt-in to share data about the ad trackers they find on the web. Ghostery then sells that data to e-commerce websites and other companies, a seeming incongruity with its stated mission. Continue reading Ghostery Goes Open Source and Intros New Business Model

Univision Acquisition Marks End of the Road for Gawker.com

We have an update to Univision’s $135 million acquisition of Gawker Media. Latest reports indicate that the deal will not save the company’s flagship site, and Gawker.com will shut down next week. “The website itself won’t go dark when it stops publication, but it won’t have anyone running it,” reports Recode. Gawker Media’s remaining sites — including Gizmodo, Deadspin and Jezebel — will be folded into Fusion Media Group, Univision’s English-language digital media division, as part of the company’s push to target millennials. Univision recently invested in The Onion, The Root and Fusion. Continue reading Univision Acquisition Marks End of the Road for Gawker.com

Vox Media to Launch Circuit Breaker Gadget Site on Facebook

Vox Media, parent company of politics site Vox, sports sites SB Nation, and technology site The Verge, is about to launch Circuit Breaker, a blog about gadgets. Circuit Breaker will publish news and gossip about technology products and primarily live as a Facebook page, not a separate website, says The Verge’s editor Nilay Patel. The idea of a blog devoted to gadgets is a throwback to sites like Engadget and Gizmodo that, in the early 2000s, focused on smartphones and then broadened to become culture sites. Continue reading Vox Media to Launch Circuit Breaker Gadget Site on Facebook

FCC Chairman Explains Next Steps to Protect an Open Internet

In a blog post yesterday, FCC Chairman and former telecom lobbyist Tom Wheeler wrote that he is “a strong believer in the importance of an Open Internet.” In response to what Wheeler views as “misinformed” commentaries regarding the Open Internet Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) currently before the FCC, he offers two points of clarification: 1) This is not a final decision, but a formal request for input on the proposal, and 2) “all options for protecting and promoting an Open Internet are on the table.” Continue reading FCC Chairman Explains Next Steps to Protect an Open Internet

Sony Unveils its Project Morpheus VR Prototype at GDC 2014

Sony has plans to introduce virtual reality to its PlayStation 4 console with new hardware called “Project Morpheus.” During the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco this week, the company unveiled a prototype with two headset components — a closed display and what looks like a PlayStation Move sensor. The unit features HDMI and USB connections, a 1080p display and just over a 90-degree field of view. The prototype, three years in the making, will also serve as a developer kit. Continue reading Sony Unveils its Project Morpheus VR Prototype at GDC 2014

Ultra HD TV: Samsung and Sharp Demonstrate 8K Tech at CES

While much of the fanfare surrounding Ultra HD at CES this week was related to 4K technology and related products, its sibling 8K (at 16 times the resolution of 1080p) also had a presence. Samsung showcased its first 8K screen, a 98-inch QUHD or Quad Ultra HD, while Sharp demonstrated an 85-inch 8K display, in addition to a prototype combined with Dolby 3D glasses-free technology (that delivered nearly 4K resolution per eye, but with a rather narrow viewing angle). Continue reading Ultra HD TV: Samsung and Sharp Demonstrate 8K Tech at CES

Panono Camera Can Be Thrown into Air for Panoramic Shots

The Panono Camera offers a compelling solution for recording panoramic shots. The device is a ball with 36 embedded cameras that can be tossed into the air to capture 360-degree photos. Images are beamed wirelessly to a mobile device, and then stitched together in Panono’s cloud service. Creator Jonas Pfeil developed the prototype, which was roughly the size of a cantaloupe. Now he and the Panono co-founders plan to release a grapefruit-sized version in 2014 for $599. Continue reading Panono Camera Can Be Thrown into Air for Panoramic Shots

Apple Event Scheduled for 10:00 AM Today from California

Yesterday we reported that Apple will unveil new products at a highly anticipated press event scheduled for 10:00 AM PT from its headquarters in Cupertino, California. The company is expected to announce two new iPhone models: the 5S with a faster processor, improved camera and fingerprint reader — and the plastic, lower-cost 5C, intended to target emerging global markets. In previous event coverage, live streams of announcements were made available at the Apple Events page and via Apple TV. Continue reading Apple Event Scheduled for 10:00 AM Today from California