Facebook Creating Companion Messaging App to Instagram

Facebook is looking to take on Snapchat with a new messaging app the social giant is developing as a companion to Instagram. The Threads app reportedly intends to encourage constant sharing between “close friends” by automatically sharing data such as location, speed and battery life in addition to the usual messages comprised of video, images and text. Instagram previously had a standalone messaging app called Direct, but users were frustrated when they had to move between the two apps to send messages. A new messaging app built around a user’s close friends list could provide a viable alternative.  Continue reading Facebook Creating Companion Messaging App to Instagram

Instagram Adds Events Channel to Explore Concerts, Sports

Instagram’s Explore tab for displaying personalized content has evolved from a simple algorithm to a more sophisticated discovery platform for photos and videos. Through its “Picked For You” feature, Instagram added custom channels inside Explore for more personalization. Now, the social platform is introducing a new video channel called Events that “will be personalized for each user and feature videos from concerts, sports games, and other live events depending on what’s happening around the world, what types of live events users are interested in, and what type of accounts the user follows,” reports TechCrunch. The new feature could compete with Snapchat’s Discover channels. Continue reading Instagram Adds Events Channel to Explore Concerts, Sports

Facebook Unveils Tools, Metrics to Improve Video Production

Not long ago, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg predicted that video would be the dominant means of communication on the social platform. To give that goal a leg up, the company unveiled tools to help video creators improve the odds of engaging audiences. The video analytics include the ability to break down minutes of a video view by age, gender and geographic location. Facebook also introduced tools to help creators tell stories with 360 videos, by enabling a “guide” of story points that viewers can opt to follow. Continue reading Facebook Unveils Tools, Metrics to Improve Video Production

CES 2016: Google and Lenovo to Bring 3D Mapping to Mobile

On Thursday during CES, Google and Lenovo announced their plans to bring 3D mapping to smartphones. Lenovo will manufacture and sell the first phone designed to implement the ambitious goals of Google’s Project Tango, which aims “to give mobile devices a human-scale understanding of space and motion.” Qualcomm will provide the Snapdragon processor chips. Google and its partners have been busy developing cameras, sensors and software specifically designed for real-time 3D mapping. The currently unnamed handset is slated to launch this summer for under $500. Continue reading CES 2016: Google and Lenovo to Bring 3D Mapping to Mobile

Curator Tool Will Help Media Publishers Share Tweets and Vines

Twitter unveiled its new Curator media tool this week designed to make more tweets available to a larger audience outside of its own site — and ideally build upon its base of 288 million users that log in at least once a month. The tool will help media organizations locate tweets and Vine videos that can be posted with stories and broadcasts. Publishers regularly create and share compelling content related to live events and breaking news. Twitter aims to leverage these publishers to help address its slowing user growth rate. Continue reading Curator Tool Will Help Media Publishers Share Tweets and Vines

SXSW Will Use Beacon Technology to Push Festival Information

The 2015 South by Southwest (SXSW) Music, Film and Interactive Festival — which runs March 13-22 in Austin, Texas — plans to employ the latest beacon technology to help attendees navigate the sprawling event this time around. SXSW has partnered with Eventbase to install 1,000 Apple iBeacons that will deliver location-based information about who else is nearby and what acts are performing nearby. These Bluetooth-enabled devices send the information to the 2015 SXSW Go app. Continue reading SXSW Will Use Beacon Technology to Push Festival Information

Numerous Smart Devices May Now Be Secretly Recording Users

Consumers criticized Samsung for recording users through its smart TVs and sending the data to a third party, but other companies reportedly take a similar approach. Many of the audio recordings come from devices with voice recognition, like LG’s smart TVs or Amazon Echo. Such recording of unknowing users is not limited to the living room. Automobiles from companies such as GM and Chevrolet can record and send information about a driver’s speed, location, and their route to work. Continue reading Numerous Smart Devices May Now Be Secretly Recording Users

Building Tomorrow’s Search Engines to Sense as Humans Do

In the past decade and a half, there have been only minimal modifications to Google Search. The popular search engine functions as it always has; one enters a query into the type box and in return is given a list of instantaneous results based on the keywords. Although the search engine continues to be effective, Stefan Weitz, senior director of search at Microsoft’s Bing predicts the search engine of tomorrow will be much more advanced and proactive than anything we have today. Continue reading Building Tomorrow’s Search Engines to Sense as Humans Do

Research Points to Mobile Revenue Reaching Box Office Totals

According to a recent study by SNL Kagan, mobile entertainment revenue is poised to match that of box office totals. Last year in the U.S., revenue generated by mobile games, videos, music and location-based services topped $9.14 billion (and has grown at a combined annual rate of 50 percent the last three years, notes the research). The 2014 total is getting close to the estimated $10.35 billion consumers spent on movie tickets in the U.S. Mobile games led the charge by far, earning more than $5.2 billion last year. Continue reading Research Points to Mobile Revenue Reaching Box Office Totals

Software Allows Photographers to Manipulate Objects in 3D

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have developed a new photo-editing tool that lets users turn and flip objects as if they were in 3D. Photo editors have only been able to manipulate objects in 2D by resizing them or changing their location within the photo. This new software uses a publicly available database of models to recreate objects, even the sides that were not captured by the camera. Researchers found that this software could be used for animations as well. Continue reading Software Allows Photographers to Manipulate Objects in 3D

Rhapsody Expanding Music Services with Carrier Partnerships

With two million paid subscribers, Rhapsody International says it is the clear number two streaming music service, behind Spotify. The parent company of Rhapsody and Napster points to international expansion and carrier partnerships as reasons for its success. The services also use locations to help identify artist preferences, boosting international popularity. Through joint ventures, the company hopes to continue growing its audience, despite Spotify’s popularity. Continue reading Rhapsody Expanding Music Services with Carrier Partnerships

Verizon Offers Perks to Those Willing to Share Personal Data

Verizon announced its new Smart Rewards program this week that provides consumers with the opportunity to accrue points in a credit card-style program that offers discounts for dining, shopping and travel. Signing on to the Verizon site, paying bills online and participating in the trade-in program lead to earning points. However, participants also have to sign up for Verizon Selects, which collects location, Web browsing and mobile app usage data for marketing purposes. Continue reading Verizon Offers Perks to Those Willing to Share Personal Data

Twitter and Facebook Are Expanding Into Online Purchasing

Twitter and Facebook users will soon be able to do their online shopping directly from the social networks. The two companies are investing in e-commerce in an effort to keep users on their apps and sites. Twitter acquired CardSpring, a mobile payments infrastructure company, which will allow users to load coupons and discounts to a credit card. Facebook is also testing a new buy button that will open a dialog box to make purchases from Facebook posts. Continue reading Twitter and Facebook Are Expanding Into Online Purchasing

After Beta Success, Twitter Launches Mobile-App Install Ads

Twitter is augmenting its lineup of advertising options with new mobile-app install ads. These ads, which feature links directly to an app on Apple’s App Store or Google Play, have already been appearing in users’ Twitter feeds for a few months. The company says the beta tests were successful and it officially launched the new ad platform on Monday. Mobile-app install ads may help Twitter generate more revenue, most of which comes from advertising. Continue reading After Beta Success, Twitter Launches Mobile-App Install Ads

Microsoft Has Developed 3D Audio to Augment Virtual Reality

Video games are about to get very realistic, and it’s not just because of virtual reality headsets. Microsoft researchers have developed the technology to make sounds seem as if they are coming from a specific point in space. The 3D audio technology is made possible by the software that builds a 3D model of a player’s head and shoulders and calculates a personal filter to trick the player into perceiving sound as coming from a specific location. Continue reading Microsoft Has Developed 3D Audio to Augment Virtual Reality

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