Hulu Winds Down its Free Service, Partners on Yahoo TV Site

Hulu is shutting down the free, ad-supported version of its service. The company announced it is transitioning to a subscription-only model following investments in more movies and TV shows. Hulu’s two subscription tiers include an ad-free plan for $11.99 per month and a limited-commercial offering for $7.99 per month. Hulu is also expanding its distribution deal with Yahoo by partnering on Yahoo View, a new ad-supported streaming site that will carry the five most recent episodes of series from Hulu co-owners ABC, FOX and NBC, eight days after their original broadcast. Continue reading Hulu Winds Down its Free Service, Partners on Yahoo TV Site

NFL, Snapchat Partner for Discover, Live Stories, Advertising

After a year-long relationship, the National Football League is now one of Snapchat’s Discover partners, the first sports league to have its own media channel there. Beginning in the fall, the NFL will offer news and behind-the-scenes photos in Snapchat’s animation-friendly format, and also package Live Stories, 24-hour diaries that compile and stitch together photos/video from the league and fans. Live Stories will be created for all 256 regular season games and major events such as the NFL Draft and the Super Bowl. Continue reading NFL, Snapchat Partner for Discover, Live Stories, Advertising

Twitter Struggles with Worst Quarterly Revenue Growth Ever

Twitter announced lackluster Q2 earnings, with $602 million in revenue for a net loss of $107 million. While the company improved over Q2 2015, when it lost $136.6 million, and monthly active users increased from 310 million to 313 million, its numbers fell short of Wall Street expectations and the company’s stock dropped more than 10 percent in after-hours trading. Despite new deals for live-streaming sports in the near future, the platform is not keeping up with the growth of social rivals such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Messenger, Snapchat and LinkedIn. Continue reading Twitter Struggles with Worst Quarterly Revenue Growth Ever

Researchers Develop Efficient Way to Render Shiny Surfaces

Computer scientists at UC San Diego have developed an efficient technique for rendering the sparkling, shiny and uneven surfaces of water, various metals and materials such as injection-molded plastic finishes. The team has created an algorithm that improves how CG software reproduces the interaction between light and different surfaces (known as “glints”), a technique the team claims is 100 times faster than current state-of-the-art methods, requires minimal computational resources, and is effective beyond still images to include animation. Continue reading Researchers Develop Efficient Way to Render Shiny Surfaces

Miniature Hard Drive Stores Data Using Atomic-Scale Memory

Scientists have been working with atomic-scale memory tech that manipulates interaction between atoms so they could develop “a device that can pack hundreds of times more information per square inch than the best currently available data-storage technologies,” reports The Wall Street Journal. The prototype, described as a significant breakthrough, could be the next step toward storing future information — including photos, videos and posts from the Internet — more efficiently and affordably. Leading tech companies such as IBM and Hewlett-Packard are among those researching solutions to future data storage needs. Continue reading Miniature Hard Drive Stores Data Using Atomic-Scale Memory

Snapchat to Debut Memories to Save, Tweak, Re-Share Snaps

Next month, Snapchat will introduce Memories, a new feature designed to let users save favorite photos and videos, re-edit them by adding filters and text and then re-share the latest versions. Included is a search function that lets the user search Memories by date, location or keywords. Prior to Memories, a Snapchat user could save a photo or video by downloading it to her smartphone, but couldn’t view it in the app or share it. Memories still does not allow a Snapchat user to save a photo/video sent by someone else. Continue reading Snapchat to Debut Memories to Save, Tweak, Re-Share Snaps

Apple Releases Public Beta Version of its Feature-Rich iOS 10

Apple released an early public beta version of its next mobile operating system yesterday for iPhone and iPad users interested in testing the new updates. Some industry analysts have described iOS 10 as the most extensive update in years, citing features such as improved photo software, a new messaging app, and a more convenient way to take devices out of sleep mode. Beta testers can also check out redesigned apps for music, maps and news. “If more early testers report bugs and give other feedback to Apple, it is less likely that major problems will remain on release” this fall, reports The New York Times, noting that Microsoft was largely successful with its similar testing process for Windows 10. Continue reading Apple Releases Public Beta Version of its Feature-Rich iOS 10

Facebook Now Favors Friends Over Publishers in News Feed

Facebook is again changing its News Feed algorithm, this time to favor postings by the users’ family and friends over those from publishers. The result will be that postings, including links, videos and photos, from publishers of all sizes will appear less prominently in users’ News Feeds. That means that The New York Times, The Washington Post, BuzzFeed, Vox Media, Vice and others will get less traffic than they have become accustomed to receiving. More than 1.65 billion users per month view Facebook’s News Feed feature. Continue reading Facebook Now Favors Friends Over Publishers in News Feed

Apple Patents Technology to Disable Cellphone Photos/Video

A new Apple patent, spotted on Patently Apple, will enable venues from museums to concert arenas to enforce their often-flouted rules against photography. The patent describes a system whereby a venue can use an infrared emitter to remotely block the camera function on smartphones. The smartphone interprets the infrared beams as a command to block photos and videos. Musicians who routinely — and fruitlessly — ban cellphone photography at their concerts will likely welcome the technology. Continue reading Apple Patents Technology to Disable Cellphone Photos/Video

Social Media Becoming Significant Platform for Today’s News

Two new reports — one from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism and another from the Pew Research Center — highlight how social media platforms are becoming the dominant platform for accessing and consuming news. Reuters reveals that 28 percent of 18-to-24 year olds are more likely to access social media as their main source of news than TV (24 percent), and 51 percent of those with online access also rely on social media as a news source. This trend is negatively impacting traditional business models. Continue reading Social Media Becoming Significant Platform for Today’s News

Apple Envisions a Future Based on Siri, Intelligent Messaging

At the Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday, Apple CEO Tim Cook described how the company’s virtual assistant Siri will become ubiquitous across Apple platforms and capable of sending messages, making phone calls, ordering a Lyft ride and interacting with non-Apple apps and services. Mastering voice services is key to Apple’s success in an arena where Google, Amazon and others have made headway. Apple also plans to vastly improve Messaging, which, with third party apps, will empower it to do much more. Continue reading Apple Envisions a Future Based on Siri, Intelligent Messaging

WWDC: Apple Unveils OS Enhancements, Opens Siri to World

Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference kicked off yesterday in San Francisco with a two-hour keynote that introduced new enhancements coming to iOS, watchOS, tvOS and Mac OS X (now called macOS). Developer previews of the operating systems are being made available now, with public betas to follow next month, and integration with Apple devices by fall. Among the highlights: live channels and YouTube search are coming to Apple TV, Siri is coming to the desktop, a new SDK invites developers to create Siri apps, iPhone users can dump unwanted apps, Apple Pay is expanded to Safari, Apple Music gets a new interface, and watchOS 3 loads apps seven times faster. Continue reading WWDC: Apple Unveils OS Enhancements, Opens Siri to World

Android Users Are Spending Less Time with Social Media Apps

SimilarWeb examined the amount of time Android users in nine countries spent on social apps Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat during the first three months of 2016 and found that there has been a year-over-year decline. Facebook-owned Instagram saw the most significant drop of 23.7 percent (36.2 percent in the U.S.), followed by Twitter and Snapchat. Facebook was down 8 percent overall, 6.7 percent in the U.S. However, Facebook users in the U.S. spend a daily average of more than 45 minutes with the app. “Meanwhile, Facebook’s messaging apps — WhatsApp and Messenger — increased installs, up 15 percent and two percent respectively,” notes CNBC. Continue reading Android Users Are Spending Less Time with Social Media Apps

Time Inc. and Wochit Partner to Help Publishers Create Videos

Time Inc., which purchased ad tech network and Myspace owner Viant earlier this year, is planning to publish 40,000 pieces of video content in 2016. To help achieve this ambitious goal, Time has partnered with New York City-based Wochit, a startup that helps online publishers produce short videos. Wochit provides pre-licensed content, editing tools and publishing options for social media and mobile platforms. The service analyzes article text and finds related graphics, photos and videos to build a video. Publishers can then add voice-over, music and more. Continue reading Time Inc. and Wochit Partner to Help Publishers Create Videos

Google, Facebook Develop Chatbots via Deep Neural Networks

Microsoft, Google and Facebook are all pursuing chatbots, which will function as virtual assistants, answering questions, responding to requests, and anticipating needs. But building functioning chatbots, which are based on artificial intelligence, is harder than it sounds. To further progress, Google open-sourced one of its natural language tools. Although Facebook hasn’t yet open-sourced it, the company introduced DeepText, a natural language engine that it is just beginning to use with its own services. Continue reading Google, Facebook Develop Chatbots via Deep Neural Networks

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