Showgoers: Chrome Plugin Powers Shared Viewing for Netflix

For those who want a more social TV viewing experience, Showgoers is a new and interesting solution. The Chrome extension enables far-flung friends to watch the same movie or TV show featured on Netflix and play, pause or seek specific segments, simultaneously. Not surprisingly, the idea was born out of a long-distance relationship; the developer created Showgoers to create another experience that the couple could share. Although Showgoers can’t get around geographical blocking, it is simple to set up — and free. Continue reading Showgoers: Chrome Plugin Powers Shared Viewing for Netflix

Slack Uses Artificial Intelligence to Build New Virtual Assistant

Stewart Butterfield, founder and CEO of office chat software maker Slack Technologies, says his company is using AI to help build an advanced virtual assistant. Slackbot, Slack’s current built-in assistant, is an icon used for tips, searches and even a sprinkling of humor. In discussing the future potential of Slackbot, Butterfield compares it to the Samantha software voiced by Scarlett Johansson from the film “Her.” Butterfield is leveraging natural language processing and machine learning to build a truly helpful digital office assistant. Continue reading Slack Uses Artificial Intelligence to Build New Virtual Assistant

Cortana: Microsoft’s New Siri-Like Personal Digital Assistant

Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8.1 update will include its new personal digital assistant “Cortana,” named after the AI character in the “Halo” game series. Designed to rival Apple’s Siri and Google Now, Cortana’s circular animated icon will replace the built-in Bing search functionality on Windows Phone, and will animate while speaking or thinking, creating a personality similar to the Siri approach. Cortana will save data in a Notebook system that will enable it to track data and generate notifications much like Google Now. Continue reading Cortana: Microsoft’s New Siri-Like Personal Digital Assistant

Viacom to Launch Personalized, Interactive Kids’ TV Channel

Viacom is planning to launch My Nickelodeon Junior, an interactive children’s TV channel, to Verizon FiOS customers in the upcoming months. The channel uses elements of streaming services such as Pandora and Netflix, and allows parents to program the channel according to their personal taste, while accessing hundreds of old episodes of kids’ shows like “Dora the Explorer.” The channel will appear on the TV menu next to the main Nick Jr. channel.  Continue reading Viacom to Launch Personalized, Interactive Kids’ TV Channel

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

Live-Streamed YouTube Music Awards Disorganized But Fun

YouTube hosted its first-ever YouTube Music Awards Sunday at Pier 36 in New York City, and viewers around the world got to stream the event live from their computers. Actor Jason Schwartzman and comedian and musician Reggie Watts were the unscripted hosts, while Spike Jonze was the creative director. The show attracted around 220,000 viewers at its highest point, and the whole event felt like a spontaneous, often chaotic, and not-at-all traditional award show. Continue reading Live-Streamed YouTube Music Awards Disorganized But Fun

Moto X Owners Treated to a Pixar Experience on Their Phones

Owners of the Google-powered Moto X phone had an unexpected cinematic experience waiting for them on the home screen earlier this week when a red sombrero icon appeared. Motorola teamed up with Pixar to create an animated narrative for the mobile device that flaunts the company’s newest platform with high-level technology. And the intention is to not only redefine what it means to create a narrative, but how and where users experience it. Continue reading Moto X Owners Treated to a Pixar Experience on Their Phones

New Book from Nolan Bushnell: Finding the Next Steve Jobs

Atari founder Nolan Bushnell released a new book this week called “Finding the Next Steve Jobs: How to Find, Hire, Keep and Nurture Creative Talent.” The book sets out to answer the popular Silicon Valley question: “Who is the next Steve Jobs?” and, in the process, offers advice on how to launch the next Apple or Atari. Bushnell was one of the first to hire Jobs and later turned down the chance to own one-third of Apple during its early years. Continue reading New Book from Nolan Bushnell: Finding the Next Steve Jobs