CES 2016: Virtual Reality Headgear, Platforms, Ecosystems

Virtual reality began to dominate headlines last year at CES, and that drumbeat will only grow louder this year. Falling at the beginning of the proclaimed release window for two of the flag bearers of the VR renaissance, Oculus and Sony, and accompanied by a bumper crop of hardware and software suppliers, VR is ready to emerge from the shadows of the early adopters and meet the general consumer. We expect to see innovative products in January from companies such as Google, GoPro, HTC, NextVR, Sixense, Yezz and others. Beyond gaming and 360-degree video, we’ll be watching for new approaches to live streaming sports and music events. Continue reading CES 2016: Virtual Reality Headgear, Platforms, Ecosystems

CES: Emerging Opportunities and Equally Growing Risk of IoT

The Internet of Things will grow larger once again at CES 2016 with both incremental and innovative advances in objects, systems and simplicity, but for the entertainment industry the past year should also serve as a cautionary tale. Smart home sensors that track and analyze movements to enable new levels of seamless interaction will impact both the home and the world at large. Security will likely become an increasing concern as the infrastructure is created to effectively connect devices and systems. Continue reading CES: Emerging Opportunities and Equally Growing Risk of IoT

Facebook Now Offers Live Video to Group of U.S. iPhone Users

Facebook is introducing its tool for sharing live video to a small group of U.S. iPhone users, four months after it was initially debuted by several celebrities and public figures. It differs from its closest competitors, Meerkat and Twitter’s Periscope and Meerkat, in that the videos are only available to a small group of approved viewers, and replay videos are automatically saved and permanently visible. Facebook positions its video feed as ideal for personal and family events, rather than the breaking news featured on other sites. Continue reading Facebook Now Offers Live Video to Group of U.S. iPhone Users

Dropbox Unveils Advanced Tools, Seeks Enterprise Customers

Cloud storage company Dropbox made announcements during yesterday’s Dropbox Open conference in San Francisco meant to attract more business customers. The company introduced Dropbox Enterprise, a new tier for its business offering intended for larger companies that require more advanced functionality. Dropbox also announced that it has reached a new milestone: 400 million users and 150,000 business customers. And to continue growing its business side, the company has formed new partnerships with Synnex, Ingram Micro and HP Enterprise. Continue reading Dropbox Unveils Advanced Tools, Seeks Enterprise Customers

Users Express Concern Over Snapchat’s Updated Privacy Policy

Snapchat has appealed to its fans for a variety of reasons, chief among them the fact that its photo messages disappear once they’ve been opened. That ephemeral nature has now been up-ended with the startup’s new Terms of Service. Whereas, formerly, Snapchat noted that its privacy policy was “delete is our default,” its new terms state that the company has the right, specifically in regards to the ‘Live Story’ feature, to reproduce, modify and republish photos as well as save them to Shapchat’s servers. The update has led to concern and confusion by many users. Continue reading Users Express Concern Over Snapchat’s Updated Privacy Policy

Instagram Answers Competitors with Short Boomerang Videos

Instagram has launched a new app called Boomerang that allows users to record 1-second video clips and share them on social media. The app records a burst of five photos and then stitches them together into a video loop, similar to an animated GIF, and plays the loop backwards and forwards to create the Boomerang effect. The app, available on Android and iOS, does not require an Instagram account. This is the third standalone app from Instagram; Layout is used to create collages to upload to Instagram, while Hyperlapse lets users create time-lapse videos. Continue reading Instagram Answers Competitors with Short Boomerang Videos

Facebook Expands its Shopping Options with Dedicated Feed

Facebook is focusing full-bore on shopping with an array of new features. But the most prominent is a new Shopping feed that aggregates posts and photos from different retailers for specific products. The Shopping feed is being tested as a way to pull out all the products being showcased by retailers on their own Facebook pages. Facebook is also allowing retailers to host entire product catalogs on Facebook pages — what the company is calling “immersive ads” — as opposed to sending users to a mobile browser. Continue reading Facebook Expands its Shopping Options with Dedicated Feed

New Low-Light Pixel Could Have Wide Range of Applications

At Dartmouth’s Thayer School of Engineering, Professor Eric Fossum and doctoral student Jiaju Ma have developed a new pixel with dramatically improved low-light sensitivity. Fossum, who invented the CMOS image sensor used in most cellphones and digital cameras, worked with Ma for more than three years before publishing results of their new Quanta Image Sensor (QIS) in an IEEE publication. Among the applications for the new sensor are security cameras, astronomy and life science imaging. Continue reading New Low-Light Pixel Could Have Wide Range of Applications

New Drone Adds Wearable Remote, Head-Tracking VR Goggles

The FLYBi automates many of the operational tasks that often frustrate drone users. In addition to standard features (remote control, companion app, 12MP camera, 1080p video, on-board Wi-Fi), the FLYBi has the ability to take off, hover, land — even return and change batteries — with little or no interaction by the pilot. VR goggles aid in operation, thanks to a camera unit installed on a gimbal and connected to the head-tracking unit. The FLYBi also features a 1.8-inch display with anti-glare glass and a wrist-worn remote, one of the first wearable drone controllers. Continue reading New Drone Adds Wearable Remote, Head-Tracking VR Goggles

Companies Develop Tools for Sifting Through Online Images

Internet users are typically more engaged when accessing websites and social platforms that include photos and videos. Marketing firm Shift, for example, notes that readers are five times more likely to click an embedded link if a tweet includes an image. As a result, companies are now developing software solutions for sifting through the millions of online images in an effort to help brands, advertisers and e-commerce players identify what draws viewers. EyeEm Mobile and Neon Labs are among those looking to enhance the power of online visuals. Continue reading Companies Develop Tools for Sifting Through Online Images

Facebook to Track ‘Like’ and ‘Share’ Buttons for Ad Targeting

Next month, hitting the “Like” or “Share” button on Facebook will do more than signal approval. Facebook’s algorithms will begin to share data on peoples’ browsing history into its ad targeting systems, which means that, depending on what a user “Likes” or “Shares,” he or she can be served related ads on Facebook, photo-sharing service Instagram or any mobile app that uses Facebook’s ad network. Facebook’s “Like” button, which adds a bit of code to the page, was first offered to publishers in 2010. Continue reading Facebook to Track ‘Like’ and ‘Share’ Buttons for Ad Targeting

EyeEm Unveils New Tech for Auto-Scanning, Tagging Images

German startup EyeEm, which launched its photo-sharing app in 2011, unveiled new technology based on an advanced algorithm and machine learning to identify details of online photos. The technology, EyeVision, automatically scans images and tags them with specific keywords, making it useful for people searching for specific images. The technology, which has been in development for three years, comes at a time that companies like Amazon, Facebook and Google look for ways to provide images for online search queries. Continue reading EyeEm Unveils New Tech for Auto-Scanning, Tagging Images

DxO ONE Camera Turns iPhone into Professional Level Device

A French company that creates image-processing software and an industry measurement for sensor quality just released DxO ONE, a $600 sensor and lens that plugs into the iPhone camera. DxO Labs created the ONE to feature a 1-inch image sensor (that’s six-and-a-half times bigger than the iPhone 6’s native sensor) and the equivalent of a 32mm fixed lens whose aperture opens to F1.8. The resulting 20.2-megapixel images are a considerable improvement over photos taken with the iPhone camera and competitive with those taken by pro level DSLRs. Continue reading DxO ONE Camera Turns iPhone into Professional Level Device

Facebook Updates its Moments Photo-Sharing App with Video

Facebook has added video to its newly released photo-sharing app Moments, enabling users to automatically create, customize and then share a music video created from mobile photos. This is the first update the app received since its June debut. With over 4 billion daily video views, video is becoming an important and fast-growing category on Facebook. By adding video to Moments, the social network competes with services like Flipagram, or Google Photos’ automatically created animations. Continue reading Facebook Updates its Moments Photo-Sharing App with Video

Instagram’s New API Could Spark Major Change in Digital Ads

Instagram just turned on its API (application programming interface) for ads, and some experts are calling it the next step in advertising’s digital evolution. Before, advertising on Facebook-owned Instagram was a complex process. Now, any potential advertiser can simply buy an ad on Instagram using online ad-buying tools from Instagram partners. What makes this new process interesting to advertisers is an estimated 44 percent of Instagram’s 300 million users are in the coveted 18-29 year old demographic. Continue reading Instagram’s New API Could Spark Major Change in Digital Ads

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