Google Rates Local Internet Providers on Streaming Quality

Google recently released an online tool that allows Internet users to see how well different Internet providers in their area are able to stream videos from YouTube. By detecting a user’s location and averaging video consumption rates over the last 30 days, Google’s Video Quality Report displays a graph that shows the percentage of videos streamed properly in high or standard definition and patterns in video consumption during different times of the day. Continue reading Google Rates Local Internet Providers on Streaming Quality

Major Retailers Continue to Downsize Due To Poor Earnings

Major retailers continue to downsize as a result of poor earnings, which could lead to the elimination of thousands of store locations. Most experts agree that much of the problems experienced by retailers can be attributed to Amazon’s success, with annual sales approaching $100 billion. Best Buy, Office Depot, RadioShack, Sears and Staples are among the major companies that have already announced the planned closing of multiple locations.  Continue reading Major Retailers Continue to Downsize Due To Poor Earnings

DARPA’s Newest Tech Projects that Could Change the World

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), responsible for bankrolling the early Internet, is busy developing new technologies that could have a similar impact on the world. The agency’s $3 billion budget is funding research on atomic GPS technology that does not require a satellite to achieve geo-location awareness, terahertz frequency electronics that could lead to significant health-related applications, a virus shield for the Internet of Things, and Rapid Threat Assessment to aid drug discovery. Continue reading DARPA’s Newest Tech Projects that Could Change the World

Snapchat Agrees to Settle with FTC Over Deceptive Marketing

The Federal Trade Commission recently charged Snapchat of deceiving users about the privacy of their personal data and their image and video messages. Under the terms of a new settlement with the FTC, Snapchat will be required to implement a privacy program that will be independently monitored for the next 20 years. If Snapchat violates the agreement, the company may be subject to fines. Snapchat has reportedly resolved most of the privacy issues over the past year. Continue reading Snapchat Agrees to Settle with FTC Over Deceptive Marketing

Yahoo No Longer Honoring ‘Do Not Track’ Requests by its Users

In a blog post this week, Yahoo announced that its privacy policy will no longer recognize when users activate “Do Not Track” signals in their browsers. Although users purposefully use this setting to indicate they do not want companies to monitor their online behavior, the tracking is necessary for Yahoo to create a more personalized experience for its users. The move is part of larger strategy by CEO Marissa Mayer to brand Yahoo as a “personalization company.” Continue reading Yahoo No Longer Honoring ‘Do Not Track’ Requests by its Users

Facebook Acquires Fitness App, Could Develop Wearable Tech

Facebook recently purchased ProtoGeo Oy, the maker of a fitness-tracking smartphone app called Moves. The app, which already has been downloaded more than 4 four million times on iPhone and Android, uses data from the phone’s accelerometer to automatically record the user’s walking, cycling, and running activity, and displays statistics on distance and calories burned. The acquisition could be Facebook’s first step into eventually developing wearable smartwatches. Continue reading Facebook Acquires Fitness App, Could Develop Wearable Tech

Pro Music Curators Create Specialized Playlists for Listeners

The access to millions of songs on Spotify, Pandora and other online music streaming services has music fans feeling overwhelmed. Some fans are now turning to professional music curators to help them identify the best songs for their specific mood. Professional playlist makers typically do not compile mixes based on broad genres or decades, but instead, they create mixes for specific occasions or emotional states, such as a family road trip or a sad break-up. Continue reading Pro Music Curators Create Specialized Playlists for Listeners

Newsbeat Creates Custom Radio Show Based on Your Interests

Last week the Tribune Company released a new iOS and Android app called Newsbeat, which plans to change how we consume our daily news by offering a more personalized podcast-like experience. Newsbeat has access to more than 7,000 sources from major newspapers to smaller blogs. Users can specify what types of stories and publications they are interested in, and the app will create a customized newscast by using Pandora-like artificial intelligence technology. Continue reading Newsbeat Creates Custom Radio Show Based on Your Interests

Future Internet Games: Disney Teams with Abertay University

Disney has launched the Future Internet Games Contest with Scotland’s Abertay University in an attempt to find games that blend physical and digital worlds. The contest revolves around three key areas. The first involves consumer products, which includes games based on fashion, toys, etc. The second area is location-based installations that intend to engage visitors with real world objects. The third is citywide games that encourage a large quantity of players to engage with the game in an urban environment. Continue reading Future Internet Games: Disney Teams with Abertay University

The Amazon Effect: RadioShack and Staples to Close Stores

RadioShack’s shares fell by 24 percent after holiday sales came in dramatically under expectations. The company has now announced that it will shutter 1,100 stores, leaving 4,000 brick-and-mortar locations in the U.S. Meanwhile, Staples announced that it would close 225 stores by next year, as the office supply superstore continues to move its business online, which already accounts for half of its total sales. Can physical retail stores survive in an Amazon-dominated world? Continue reading The Amazon Effect: RadioShack and Staples to Close Stores

Project Tango: Google Aims to Bring 3D Sensor Tech to Phones

Google recently announced a new initiative dubbed “Project Tango” that plans to integrate 3D sensor technology in a series of prototype Android smartphones. The venture involves a 5-inch phone built by Google that features sensors for tracking the device’s movement while modeling the surrounding space and landscape. “This could impact future game design, virtual set construction and location scouting,” notes ETC staffer Phil Lelyveld. “It could enable crowd-sourced 3D stitching of location modeling data.” Continue reading Project Tango: Google Aims to Bring 3D Sensor Tech to Phones

Gartner Predicts Future of Mobile Apps, Cognizant Computing

In a few years’ time, apps will become one of the most popular tools among consumers around the world for computing. Research group Gartner predicts that by 2017, mobile apps will be downloaded more than 268 billion times and that each individual user will provide data to more than 100 apps daily. This usage is estimated to generate about $77 billion in global revenue. And by 2015, cognizant computing will be key to enabling smart home functions. Continue reading Gartner Predicts Future of Mobile Apps, Cognizant Computing

California Looks to Boost Tax Breaks for Film & TV Production

In response to the mounting competition California currently faces from nearly 40 states that offer financial incentives for TV and film production, Democratic State Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra plans to introduce new legislation this month designed to keep production in California. The proposed legislation would increase the state’s $100 million annual budget for TV and film tax incentives. Additionally, it would expand productions eligible for tax credits to include big budget films and network series. Continue reading California Looks to Boost Tax Breaks for Film & TV Production

Beats Creates Playlists Based on Your Mood, Location, Friends

A new streaming service, Beats Music, is hitting the market in a new AT&T subscription model that will bundle it with smartphone data service, and offer it to as many as five users on the same plan. It will also stand alone as an app for smartphones with free and paid versions, available next week. Beats comes at a time when music lovers have the option to stream, download or listen to the radio, and the streaming market in particular is saturated with endless options of services. Continue reading Beats Creates Playlists Based on Your Mood, Location, Friends

YEI Demos PrioVR Suit: Combines Motion Capture and Gaming

Billed as, “professional grade motion capture without cameras, cords, or specialized studios,” YEI Technology is promoting its PrioVR suit as the next step in full-body immersion. The 17-sensor, inertial sensing suit can be put on with minimal effort and promises to offer 360 degrees of low-latency, wireless motion capture. The system offers a great deal in terms of virtual reality gaming, but could also make waves for independent cinematographers looking for low cost motion capture. Continue reading YEI Demos PrioVR Suit: Combines Motion Capture and Gaming

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