Facebook’s Purchase of Giphy to Provide Valuable User Data

Facebook has acquired the GIF platform Giphy for $400 million. Giphy’s 100+ million active daily users send over 1 billion GIFs a day. Facebook stated that Giphy’s content database will be integrated into its apps including Instagram, although it didn’t state a timeframe. Since every social app offers at least some GIF integration, including many that rely on a GIF keyboard and Giphy’s database, Facebook’s purchase is both a competitive edge and another way to harvest the kind of data that attracts advertisers. Continue reading Facebook’s Purchase of Giphy to Provide Valuable User Data

Facebook Bumps Up Release of Mobile App for Live Gaming

Facebook will release its free Facebook Gaming mobile app, moving up the original June launch as people are sheltering in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The app, tested in Southeast Asia and Latin America for 18 months, is designed for creating and watching live game play, a burgeoning sector of the $160 billion global games industry. Having invested in gaming to shed a once-drab reputation, Facebook stated that now 700+ million of its 2.5 billion monthly users engage in gaming. Its rivals in live gaming include Amazon’s Twitch, Google’s YouTube and Microsoft’s Mixer. Continue reading Facebook Bumps Up Release of Mobile App for Live Gaming

TikTok Intros Top 100 Video List, Pushes ‘Hotbed of Talent’

TikTok released its TikTok 100, the top videos in areas including beauty and style, sports, pets and dance trends. According to The New York Times, among the niche memes are #TikTokChecks (where users show off locations/objects as “markers of their identity”), VSCO girls (a “subculture consisting of scrunchies, Hydro Flasks and environmentalism”) and “walk a mile” (people creating high heels out of odd objects, to an Iggy Azalea riff. Among its successes, TikTok has made an impact on the music industry and played a role in the breakout success of Lil Nas X. Continue reading TikTok Intros Top 100 Video List, Pushes ‘Hotbed of Talent’

Google Pledges $300 Million in Effort to Clean Up Fake News

Google has set its sights on combating fake news on the Internet, pledging to spend $300 million over the next three years in support of what The New York Times calls “authoritative journalism.” The Google News Initiative’s goals include making it easier for Googlers to subscribe to news and providing publishers with tools for fast-loading mobile pages. In partnership with Harvard Kennedy School’s First Draft initiative, Google will also create a “Disinfo Lab” to identify fake news, particularly during moments when it’s breaking.

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TV Time Adds Personalized Recommendations to its Features

The TV Time app, which boasts a million daily users, now offers filterable, personalized recommendations to help organize your viewing selections. With programming spread across multiple services, it is often a challenge to keep up with what’s out there, what’s new, and what you might enjoy. Based on a user’s viewing habits and behaviors across multiple services (such as Netflix, Hulu and cable), the app makes recommendations and helps users track what they’re watching while connecting with other fans after episodes.

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Google Brain Leverages AI to Generate Wikipedia-Like Articles

The latest project out of Google Brain, the company’s machine learning research lab, has been using AI software to write Wikipedia-style articles by summarizing information on the Internet. But it’s not easy to condense social media, blogs, articles, memes and other digital information into salient articles, and the project’s results have been mixed. The team, in a paper just accepted at the International Conference on Learning Representations (ICLR), describes how difficult it has been. Continue reading Google Brain Leverages AI to Generate Wikipedia-Like Articles

Game Streamer Twitch Debuts Always-On Chat Room Feature

Amazon-owned game streaming platform Twitch introduced a new feature yesterday called “Rooms.” First announced at TwitchCon in October, the always-on chat room feature is now available for web and mobile (for now, creators can host up to three public or private Rooms). Individuals with a Twitch account have the ability to create custom chat rooms accessible from the Stream Chat feature on channel pages. Channel owners can specify which users get access, such as followers, moderators or subscribers. The rooms can also be created based on shared interests, such as spoilers. Continue reading Game Streamer Twitch Debuts Always-On Chat Room Feature

Twitch Introduces its Twitter Competitor Designed for Gamers

Amazon’s game-themed streaming site Twitch is launching a Twitter competitor called Pulse — “a place where streamers can post and engage with all of their followers and the greater Twitch community right from the Twitch front page,” according to the platform’s blog. “It’s an always-on way to share clips, stream highlights, schedules, photos, and more so followers are more informed, engaged, and connected.” This will help broadcasters promote news streams and share content with those who missed earlier streams. “If Twitter were ever going to be disrupted,” writes Casey Newton for The Verge, “this is exactly what I’d imagine it would look like at the beginning.” Continue reading Twitch Introduces its Twitter Competitor Designed for Gamers

TVShow Time Update Revamps App’s Community Interactions

French startup TVShow Time released a 5.0 update to its app that offers a more social experience for its 500,000 monthly users. New features permit users to track how many new episodes they have watched, send messages and show recommendations to friends, and view show ratings. The app has a newly designed interface and layout that makes content more accessible than before. Previously, TVShow Time used a simple calendar format that allowed users to keep track of their favorite TV shows. Continue reading TVShow Time Update Revamps App’s Community Interactions

SnapStream Unveils Affordable New DVR Targeting Businesses

SnapStream is known for making massive DVRs for media productions like “The Colbert Report,” but now the company is introducing a less expensive DVR that is still loaded with features. The SnapStream Express may prove too expensive to be a consumer product, but businesses may be drawn to the functionality and $499 price tag (plus $99/month service fee). It has 2TB of internal storage, an intelligent search function, and a Web-based interface designed for PCs. The DVR can also post clips directly to social media. Continue reading SnapStream Unveils Affordable New DVR Targeting Businesses

BuzzFeed is Using Investment to Test a Host of New Features

BuzzFeed, which currently draws more than 150 million average monthly viewers, wants to become known for more than its numbered lists popular with Web surfers. To achieve this goal, the startup just closed a $50 million investment from Silicon Valley VC firm Andreessen Horowitz. The investment will be used to develop new content sections for the site, create an in-house incubator for new technologies, and put more resources toward its LA-based video arm, BuzzFeed Motion Pictures. Continue reading BuzzFeed is Using Investment to Test a Host of New Features

Image-Sharing Imgur Wants to Provide a TV-Like Experience

Image-sharing site Imgur wants to create a more TV-like experience. Creator Alan Schaaf believes the site can step in where TV leaves off to provide mindless (in a good way), easy-to-consume entertainment. The site’s biggest appeal is its ease of image uploading, sharing and commenting. Consuming is just as easy to do, and Schaaf thinks it’s equally as enjoyable as TV. Imgur launched a chat feature last month and is shifting from image host to a social community and public destination. Continue reading Image-Sharing Imgur Wants to Provide a TV-Like Experience