Ellen DeGeneres Goes Interactive with Ellentube App and Site

Ellen DeGeneres is launching Ellentube, a website and app that will screen exclusive content from her popular daytime television program. The TV personality already runs one of the largest YouTube channels focused on television content. Now, along with executive producers Mary Connelly, Ed Glavin and Andy Lassner, DeGeneres has created Ellentube for interactive use. Fans will be able to upload videos, the best of which will be deemed suitable for a showcase on her daily program. Continue reading Ellen DeGeneres Goes Interactive with Ellentube App and Site

Twitter Helps MIT Study Spread of Information via Social Media

Twitter is investing $10 million in MIT’s Media Lab for research purposes. The company will also provide researchers with the archives of every public tweet, along with the real-time feed. The researchers will attempt to understand how information spreads on social media platforms like Twitter. MIT will use the investment over a five-year period to build tools involving data visualization and mobile apps. This is the first investment that Twitter has made for academic research. Continue reading Twitter Helps MIT Study Spread of Information via Social Media

Harvard University Researchers Create Biggest Kilobot Swarm

Harvard University researchers have programmed a robot swarm of more than 1,000 bots that can self-assemble into two-dimensional shapes. The “Kilobots” are roughly the size of a penny, and cost $14 in parts. It takes only a few minutes to put a Kilobot together. In order to program them at the same time, the roboticists use an infrared light from an overhead controller, which gives instructions. Infrared signals also help the robots communicate with each other to create formations. Continue reading Harvard University Researchers Create Biggest Kilobot Swarm

New Form Digital Studio to Launch Program at USC This Fall

Director Ron Howard and producer Brian Grazer’s newly launched digital studio, New Form, will team up with students from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts to develop digital content. Two-person teams of students will participate in the year-long program to develop scripted series for the Web and pitch their projects. At the end of the first semester, three of the pitches will be selected for production to take place during the second semester. Continue reading New Form Digital Studio to Launch Program at USC This Fall

TV Show Highlighting Popular Online Videos Tops Syndication

RightThisMinute, a TV show that focuses solely on online videos, has become the number one syndicated new show in the U.S. The show airs on HLN and local channels, with two million viewers per half-hour episode. Because the show consists only of online videos, rather than hiring writers, the producers and talent search for featured videos. The popularity of the show highlights a shift that makes the second screen — featuring content from YouTube, Hulu and Netflix — our first screen. Continue reading TV Show Highlighting Popular Online Videos Tops Syndication

Sprint Introduces $12 Wireless Plan for Use of Specific Apps

Sprint is in the process of introducing Virgin Mobile Custom, a cheaper wireless plan that allows users to access only specific websites. For $12, subscribers can choose between sole access to either Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest. For $22, users can have unlimited use of all four. For an extra $5, subscribers can have access to a music app with unlimited streaming. The program is expected to help customers that have less money afford wireless Internet access.

Continue reading Sprint Introduces $12 Wireless Plan for Use of Specific Apps

Rovi Tech Personalizes Cable Guide with Recommendations

California-based Rovi is developing technology that will turn cable TV guides from endless grids to a more-personalized recommendation service. Its version of the TV guide tracks viewer habits to make recommendations based on what the viewer has watched before, at what time, and even in what room. It searches through the live line-up, on-demand content, and Netflix to make recommendations. Users can also search for movies and shows using voice commands. Continue reading Rovi Tech Personalizes Cable Guide with Recommendations

AT&T Could Offer its Customers DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket

With AT&T’s $49 billion planned acquisition of DirecTV, the phone company may offer NFL Sunday Ticket programming to its wireless customers. Sunday Ticket, a premium service that allows DirecTV customers to watch out-of-market NFL games, also allows users to stream to mobile devices at an extra cost. If AT&T is able to extend Sunday Ticket to its customers, it would further compete with Verizon, which already has streaming rights to Sunday, Monday and Thursday night football games. Continue reading AT&T Could Offer its Customers DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket

Amazon Readies Launch of First Smartphone with Prime Data

Amazon’s first smartphone, to be released this summer, is expected to offer a unique wireless data plan called “Prime Data.” The phone will feature hardware-assisted 3D effects, four low-power infrared cameras to track the user’s head in relation to the display, and new no-touch gesture controls. It is possible that Amazon’s phone could be made exclusive to AT&T in the U.S., which would result in the first deal based on the “Sponsored Data” program. Continue reading Amazon Readies Launch of First Smartphone with Prime Data

NSA Turns to Web Images for Facial Recognition Programs

According to top-secret 2011 documents released by Edward Snowden, the NSA is collecting online images of people for its facial recognition programs. As estimated in the documents, the agency intercepts about 55,000 images that have facial-recognition quality. Civil liberties advocates are concerned that these technologies could result in an invasion of privacy. However, neither privacy nor surveillance laws protect against the government’s use of facial images. Continue reading NSA Turns to Web Images for Facial Recognition Programs

Internet Trends Report: Overall Growth Slows, Mobile on Rise

It’s that time of year again. Mary Meeker, partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, presented her annual report on Internet trends at the Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California on Wednesday. Meeker noted that growth in Internet usage was slowing, but overall mobile data consumption (pushed by video) is up 81 percent, due to the growing popularity of tablets and smartphones. While mobile accounted for 14 percent of Web usage last year, it is up to 25 percent today. Continue reading Internet Trends Report: Overall Growth Slows, Mobile on Rise

Amazon Prime Ready to Launch its Anticipated Music Service

Amazon has reportedly reached agreements with record labels in order to launch a streaming music service by June or July. The Prime music service does not plan to feature recent song releases, but will offer a catalog of tracks and albums that are six months old and older — providing an additional benefit to Prime members who already enjoy access to movies and TV shows via Instant Video, an e-books lending library, and free two-day shipping on products ordered through the retail site. Continue reading Amazon Prime Ready to Launch its Anticipated Music Service

Report: Copyright Alert System Distributes 1.3 Million Notices

The Center for Copyright Information released official figures on Wednesday regarding the first 10 months of the anti-piracy program initiated by movie studios, record companies and Internet providers. The group reports that it has forwarded 1.3 million copyright alerts thus far to consumers that have been accessing infringing media content. The voluntary industry agreement was designed to educate consumers and curb online copyright infringement. Continue reading Report: Copyright Alert System Distributes 1.3 Million Notices

File Sharing Not in Decline, U.S. Consumers Lead the Charge

Despite those who claim a drop in P2P activity, legal pressure and growing popularity of paid services have not led to a decline in file sharing. According to Tru Optik, 300 million users swap files via BitTorrent each month. Tru Optik estimates that more movies and TV shows are downloaded by file sharers than are sold via iTunes, Google Play and Amazon combined. The U.S. accounts for more downloaded media and software than any other country, with the exception of video game downloads in Brazil.

Continue reading File Sharing Not in Decline, U.S. Consumers Lead the Charge

Omnicom Media, Twitter Agree to $230 Million Mobile Ad Pact

Omnicom Media Group and Twitter announced a mobile-advertising deal yesterday that is said to be valued at $230 million over the next two years. The agreement will integrate Accuen, Omnicom’s ad buying unit, with MoPub, the ad exchange that Twitter acquired in September for $350 million. The deal will lock in advertising rates and access to inventory for Omnicom agencies, while also providing a first look at new ad units and related opportunities being developed by Twitter. Continue reading Omnicom Media, Twitter Agree to $230 Million Mobile Ad Pact

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