Social Network Attempts to Recapture Early Spirit of Facebook

In response to the evolving user base of popular social networks such as Facebook, a new venture called Blend hopes to return social media to a younger crowd with its app designed exclusively for undergraduate students. San Jose, CA-based Blend currently enables users to share photos and win gift cards, but has plans to become more of a social network with interactive features like commenting. Founded in May 2013, Blend has nine employees, including its three young co-founders. Continue reading Social Network Attempts to Recapture Early Spirit of Facebook

Marvel Comics Launches API Featuring 75 Years of Content

Marvel Comics is launching a beta version of an API and developer platform, which will give developers and fans access to its massive library of comics for building apps. The API will include artwork, character bios, expanded stories and more from the original creators spanning 75 years. There are more than 30,000 comics, 7,000 series and 5,000 creators in the database, and developers can even build mini-apps around their favorite characters, titles and creators. Continue reading Marvel Comics Launches API Featuring 75 Years of Content

Japanese Companies Developing Technology for VR Broadcasts

Japanese telecom giant NTT and video network NicoNico Douga have co-developed a 360-degree broadcast video system designed to replicate live events such as concerts. The “interactive” system is expected to connect to existing head-mounted displays, so that viewers will enjoy some degree of personalized viewing. Through the collaboration, live video content recorded in Tokyo has been developed alongside broadcast tech intended to optimize both the video and audio quality. Continue reading Japanese Companies Developing Technology for VR Broadcasts

Holodecks Could Become a Reality Within the Next Ten Years

Hollywood, computer companies and video game makers have often pursued interesting ways to bring entertainment closer to reality, a pursuit that may head to the next level with the introduction of holodeck-related technologies. Some scientists and researchers now believe that holodecks, which would allow the audience to become a part of the story rather than just passively sitting back and watching it, could become available in some form by 2024.  Continue reading Holodecks Could Become a Reality Within the Next Ten Years

NSA Creates Website and Games to Educate Young Children

In a mission to make government agencies more understandable to children, and the general public, the National Security Agency has created a website filled with interactive games, cartoon characters and puzzles. The goal is to educate children about spying, and spark an early interest in related career paths. The CryptoKids website for “future codemakers and codebreakers” is aimed to make these occupations seem cool, and even has a section entitled “How Can I Work for NSA?” Continue reading NSA Creates Website and Games to Educate Young Children

White Paper Suggests Alternatives to the Fading Web Cookie

As more people now browse the Internet on multiple devices, Web cookies are becoming less reliable and are on their way to being phased out. The question of what will replace the technology points to companies like Google and Apple, which will likely have greater control over the technologies behind online tracking. A white paper by the Interactive Advertising Bureau puts forward possible solutions, such as device manufacturers providing data about their customers’ habits to marketers. Continue reading White Paper Suggests Alternatives to the Fading Web Cookie

Oculus Rift: Virtual Reality Headset Goes Beyond Video Games

The Oculus Rift virtual reality headset was developed with video games in mind, but is becoming a compelling possibility for filmmakers as well. A 360-degree interactive video of a live performance by Beck proves to be truly immersive, making the viewer feel as if he or she is on stage with the musician. Makers of the Rift took to this year’s Sundance Film Festival to interact with filmmakers and see how the virtual reality technology can potentially be used in cinema. Continue reading Oculus Rift: Virtual Reality Headset Goes Beyond Video Games

Google Music Timeline Helps Visualize Trends in Popular Music

Google has introduced a new way to look at music with its launch of Music Timeline. The tool allows people to see the trends in music through time. Music Timeline draws on the song collections of millions of Google Play users to create a visualization of the popularity of various artists and genres from 1950 to today, through interactive charts. Besides tracking music patterns, it can also chart the careers of individual artists with some accuracy.

Continue reading Google Music Timeline Helps Visualize Trends in Popular Music

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

Qualcomm: Pursuing Next-Gen Connected Car with Snapdragon

Qualcomm is upping the ante in the automotive space with Snapdragon Automotive Solutions in the QNX CAR Platform for Infotainment, which supports high-performance video and graphics capabilities for connected infotainment systems. The solutions are designed for a more interactive in-car experience, and allow things such as streaming movies and music directly to the vehicle with multiple tasks executed in different locations within the car. Continue reading Qualcomm: Pursuing Next-Gen Connected Car with Snapdragon

ShopTV App: Beckham Bodywear to Sell During Super Bowl Spot

TV commerce firm Delivery Agent will team with H&M to boost sales via the retailer’s upcoming Super Bowl commercial. H&M’s 30-second spot will feature the spring collection of David Beckham Bodywear. Delivery Agent’s tech will allow viewers to purchase products in the commercial through a special app. However, only a fraction of viewers will actually be able to use it, since the purchasing app only works with 2012 and 2013 Samsung Smart TVs connected to the Internet.  Continue reading ShopTV App: Beckham Bodywear to Sell During Super Bowl Spot

Innovid and Cisco Team Up to Deliver Ads to Second Screens

Innovid, a Sequoia-backed video ad company, announced that it is working with Cisco to bring advertisements to smartphones and tablets based on TV shows that viewers are watching during a specific moment. Cisco is able to do this by working with cable companies to analyze a TV show’s content, and pull keywords from that content, and show ads in the providers’ apps that are relevant to those keywords. While no cable partnerships have been announced, the companies are showing the tech at CES. Continue reading Innovid and Cisco Team Up to Deliver Ads to Second Screens

Motorola Plans Interactive Short Film with Disney Animator

Motorola Mobility has announced that animation veteran Glen Keane will work on the third installment of Motorola’s “Spotlight Stories” series, which features short, interactive projects designed specifically for smartphones. The longtime Disney animator’s credits include “Aladdin,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Pocahontas,” “Tarzan” and the Oscar-winning short “Paperman,” among others. The Motorola projects are being made available via the built-in Spotlight app on Moto X phones. Continue reading Motorola Plans Interactive Short Film with Disney Animator

EBay’s Strategy to Revolutionize Shopping and Beat Amazon

Although eBay is commonly known as an online auction house, CEO John Donahoe has made strides in moving beyond this perception by expanding eBay’s marketplace to include fixed prices with reliable and returnable goods. In the last five years, eBay has made 34 acquisitions which will help provide retail partners with creating interactive storefronts in real locations, help with the back end of websites, monitor inventory in real time, and streamline the electronic payment process.  Continue reading EBay’s Strategy to Revolutionize Shopping and Beat Amazon

Goji Play Transforms Fitness Equipment into a Game Machine

Charles and Kai Huang, co-founders of RedOctane (“Guitar Hero”), have teamed with Coleman Fung, founder of OpenLink, to form interactive fitness startup Blue Goji. The company recently launched Goji Play, a $99 set of exercise equipment-friendly game controllers with velcro straps, that encourages users to play games while working out on a treadmill, elliptical machine or stationary bike. An activity tracker measures how quickly you’re moving, and powers game characters. Continue reading Goji Play Transforms Fitness Equipment into a Game Machine

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