Facebook to Acquire Mobile Messaging Service for $19 Billion

Facebook has agreed to purchase mobile messaging company WhatsApp for $19 billion, in what marks the largest-ever acquisition of a company backed by venture capital. The deal, which comes in the wake of Facebook’s failed attempt to acquire messaging service Snapchat, includes $3 billion in restricted stock, $4 billion in cash, and $12 billion in Facebook shares. The deal easily outranks other notable startup acquisitions, including Facebook’s $1 billion purchase of Instagram, and Microsoft’s $8.5 billion Skype deal. Continue reading Facebook to Acquire Mobile Messaging Service for $19 Billion

UFC Discusses Its Big-Data Strategy at the HPA Tech Retreat

The HPA Tech Retreat was in full swing on Tuesday, and one of the most intriguing presentations was a case study in the use of Big Data, given by Christy King, VP digital technology and R&D at the Ultimate Fighting Championship. King, co-presenting with journalist Deborah McAdams of TV Technology outlined the methods that UFC employs to collect and analyze data about its fans and viewers, including how they use that data to make decisions about marketing and expansion. Continue reading UFC Discusses Its Big-Data Strategy at the HPA Tech Retreat

HPA Retreat: Leveraging Analytics in a Multi-Platform Universe

Media organizations are behind the curve when it comes to making the most of analytics: 97 percent don’t have automated real-time media analytics solutions and 94 percent leverage social media only for marketing purposes. In an HPA Tech Retreat panel that looked at better leveraging of social media and analytics, HP Enterprise Services’ Steve Poehlein, who moderated, pointed out that, “there’s a deluge of all these different ways to see content.” “What do analytics mean to the entertainment industry?” he asked. Continue reading HPA Retreat: Leveraging Analytics in a Multi-Platform Universe

BitTorrent Live Plans to Go Mobile with Video Streaming App

BitTorrent Live was launched for the desktop in beta last year, offering a free peer-to-peer solution for broadcasting and streaming live video, as opposed to using a single company’s servers to record video and share with viewers. Now BitTorrent says users will be able to stream live video via smartphones with a mobile app it plans to launch later this year. However, the company has yet to reveal specific platforms or whether it will allow for broadcasting, merely viewing, or both. Continue reading BitTorrent Live Plans to Go Mobile with Video Streaming App

Google Acquires Audio-Based Password Company SlickLogin

Google has acquired sound-based password company SlickLogin, only five months after the startup launched at TechCrunch Disrupt. The service, currently in beta testing, was designed as a password alternative or an extra security layer for existing passwords. Google’s acquisition could lead to the audio-based technology being used to log in to Android phones, Chrome browsers, Gmail or Google+ in the future. Specifics of the deal have yet to be announced. Continue reading Google Acquires Audio-Based Password Company SlickLogin

Second Screen: The Battle Between Tweets and Facebook Posts

Despite Twitter’s limited growth over the past few quarters, the social messaging service continues to experience second screen popularity with television viewers. Facebook is attempting to tap into this market as well, but has been battling the perception that its users generally post before or after a broadcast, rather than during it. However, U.K.-based social analytics agency SecondSync released a study that suggests 60 percent of Facebook interactions about TV programs occur during the broadcasts. Continue reading Second Screen: The Battle Between Tweets and Facebook Posts

Whisper and Secret: New Messaging Apps Offer Users Anonymity

A new trend in social apps has arrived, allowing users to post anonymously, giving them a feeling of freedom without consequences for their actions on the Web. New messaging apps Whisper and Secret, for example, offer a way to share anonymous posts about anything. Popular apps such as Snapchat, Telegram and Frankly revolve around messages that self-destruct after they are read. These anonymous approaches may pose a significant threat to other social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Continue reading Whisper and Secret: New Messaging Apps Offer Users Anonymity

Netflix Will Use Deep Learning to Improve Recommendations

Netflix has been experimenting with new methods of artificial intelligence to improve its products. The streaming service has plans to begin using deep learning models, and while it has yet to specify what exactly it will be improving, the service is likely to use the tech for enhancing its movie recommendations feature. Other companies have also begun putting deep learning into practice in order to train their systems to better recognize text and images, as well as their meanings. Continue reading Netflix Will Use Deep Learning to Improve Recommendations

Twitter Testing New Layout Similar to Facebook and Google+

Twitter has been quietly introducing a major profile redesign, one which is similar in ways to Facebook and Google+. This new layout gives more space to header photos, and shifts profile pictures to the left. It also makes tweeted photos much bigger. The change includes a revamped tweet stream and a focus on images and content cards. CEO Dick Costolo said the new layout is part of the company’s effort to make Twitter easier to navigate for new users. Continue reading Twitter Testing New Layout Similar to Facebook and Google+

Live Broadcasting Mobile App Possible Option for Google Glass

Journalist and ETCentric community member Adrian Pennington forwarded us some interesting news about a possible live broadcasting option for Google Glass. Users of the popular app “Hang w/” can stream live video clips from iOS devices to the Hang w/ site and share the content with friends via Facebook. While the clips are currently limited to streams of three, six, or nine minutes — the technology could possibly be used in the future by Google Glass users for longer broadcasts. Continue reading Live Broadcasting Mobile App Possible Option for Google Glass

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

News Apps Review: Comparing Facebook Paper with Flipboard

The growing flood of news delivered via the Internet has created a dilemma for readers: how to efficiently sift through the never-ending treadmill of information. Facebook’s new Paper app and the newly updated media-reading app Flipboard are both trying to leverage the effectiveness of a traditional newspaper teamed with the convenient functionality of a smartphone app. According to one review, Paper helps provide a broad view of the news, while Flipboard is easier to personalize. Continue reading News Apps Review: Comparing Facebook Paper with Flipboard

Social Network Attempts to Recapture Early Spirit of Facebook

In response to the evolving user base of popular social networks such as Facebook, a new venture called Blend hopes to return social media to a younger crowd with its app designed exclusively for undergraduate students. San Jose, CA-based Blend currently enables users to share photos and win gift cards, but has plans to become more of a social network with interactive features like commenting. Founded in May 2013, Blend has nine employees, including its three young co-founders. Continue reading Social Network Attempts to Recapture Early Spirit of Facebook

Zynga Acquires NaturalMotion and Its Simulation Technology

Social gaming company Zynga has acquired game and software developer NaturalMotion for $527 million — giving the company access to simulation technology that makes characters look and move naturally. Zynga hopes to improve its mobile games like “FarmVille,” which currently feature more cartoon-like 2D characters. The same technology behind NaturalMotion was used in the “Lord of the Rings” movies, and Rockstar uses it for the “Grand Theft Auto” games. Continue reading Zynga Acquires NaturalMotion and Its Simulation Technology

500px Aims to Revolutionize Photo Licensing with Prime Service

Online photography community 500px is launching a commercial licensing marketplace called Prime that plans to charge licensing fees starting at $250. 500px says Prime is different from other licensing services because regardless of the license or who purchases the images, member photographers will earn 30 percent of proceeds for each photo sold. 500px is hoping “to fundamentally change the way photos are licensed” by “changing the way photo licensing companies work with photographers.” Continue reading 500px Aims to Revolutionize Photo Licensing with Prime Service

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