F8: Consumers Can Purchase Oculus Rift VR Headset in 2015

During Facebook’s F8 developer conference this week, an Oculus VR spokesperson said the company would likely release its Oculus Rift virtual reality headsets commercially next year. While there is no official word yet on a price tag or release date for the consumer version of Oculus Rift, the headset will require an ecosystem of games and entertainment. The Oculus Rift Development Kit 2 is presently on sale for $350, and is scheduled to begin shipping in July. Continue reading F8: Consumers Can Purchase Oculus Rift VR Headset in 2015

Amazon Hires Engineering Team to Design Its Own Server Chips

Retail and cloud giant Amazon has joined Google and Facebook in investing in development its own server chips. The company recently brought together a team of CPU architects and hardware development engineers, four of whom come from Calxeda, the defunct ARM-based server startup in Austin, Texas. Despite the high initial costs of custom server chips, these specialized products would allow Amazon to optimize costs and improve performance. Continue reading Amazon Hires Engineering Team to Design Its Own Server Chips

Social Media: What the Lengthy Terms of Service Really Mean

While most social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook give users the ability to choose how they share their posts, with options such as followers, friends, or public, most users do not realize that terms of service allows the sites to reproduce the content for marketing purposes. The terms of service that users are required to agree to in order to sign up for a social network are often lengthy and comprised of complex legal terms, resulting in many users agreeing to terms they do not fully understand. Continue reading Social Media: What the Lengthy Terms of Service Really Mean

Will Proposed FCC Regulations Create a Two-Speed Internet?

The Federal Communications Commission has proposed to allow broadband providers to charge fees for high-speed Internet for faster delivery of video and other data, essentially allowing a premium Internet fast-lane for companies that can pay. Small content providers may not be able to compete because they do not have the resources to pay for high delivery speeds. The regulations would also prohibit broadband companies from blocking or slowing down individual websites. Continue reading Will Proposed FCC Regulations Create a Two-Speed Internet?

Pinterest Touts 30 Billion Pins, Sees Big Hit in Related Pins

Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann announced during an event in San Francisco last week that users of the social visual discovery tool have created more than 750 million boards and contributed more than 30 billion Pins since Pinterest was founded in 2010. Acording to Silbermann, the number of Pins has grown by nearly 50 percent during the past six months, due in part to the introduction of Related Pins about a year ago. More than 90 percent of current Pins are connected to Related Pins. Continue reading Pinterest Touts 30 Billion Pins, Sees Big Hit in Related Pins

Facebook Acquires Fitness App, Could Develop Wearable Tech

Facebook recently purchased ProtoGeo Oy, the maker of a fitness-tracking smartphone app called Moves. The app, which already has been downloaded more than 4 four million times on iPhone and Android, uses data from the phone’s accelerometer to automatically record the user’s walking, cycling, and running activity, and displays statistics on distance and calories burned. The acquisition could be Facebook’s first step into eventually developing wearable smartwatches. Continue reading Facebook Acquires Fitness App, Could Develop Wearable Tech

Facebook Splitting Instant Messaging Feature to Separate App

Facebook is beginning to split some of its features into separate apps, starting with extracting instant messaging from its mobile app. If users want to chat with each other through Facebook, they will have to download Facebook’s separate Messenger app. Facebook recently notified users of the change, and will be rolling it out over the next few weeks. This signals a change for the social giant, and critics suggest this sacrifice in user engagement could make Facebook lose users. Continue reading Facebook Splitting Instant Messaging Feature to Separate App

Facebook Plans to Launch its Long-Awaited Mobile Ad Network

Facebook is expected to launch its mobile advertising network during the F8 developer conference in San Francisco at the end of this month. Facebook plans to leverage its massive user information database for better ad targeting, and will pitch the ads to publishers and developers. The social giant will also benefit from expanding its ad reach, and will allow the company to profit from its over 1 billion users even when they are not on the site itself. Continue reading Facebook Plans to Launch its Long-Awaited Mobile Ad Network

Instagram Improves Explore Tab for Personalized Experience

Instagram has redesigned its “Explore” tab to provide a more relevant experience for users, rather than showcase random pictures that receive a lot of global Likes. The Explore tab will now display the photos and videos “Liked” by individuals that a user is actively following. This personalization reflects Instagram’s focus on each user’s social graph, which contrasts with the approach by Vine that largely centers on re-sharing content and notable video creators. Continue reading Instagram Improves Explore Tab for Personalized Experience

Creative District: Technicolor Launches Pro Networking Site

Similar to how business networking site LinkedIn services the needs of recruiters, professionals and job seekers, Technicolor has launched a social network called Creative District that is geared toward media producers and creatives. The platform is designed to help film and media creators collaborate and share resources, and find work and funding. Creative District operates as a startup, while Technicolor serves as the network’s sole investor. Continue reading Creative District: Technicolor Launches Pro Networking Site

LinkedIn Has 300 Million Registered Users, Mobile Use on Rise

LinkedIn recently announced that it now has more than 300 million registered users, about two-thirds of which are based outside the United States. While the company has not specified how many of the 300 million are active monthly users, it reported 139 million monthly unique visitors and 48 million Slideshare visitors for the fourth quarter of 2013. During that same period, LinkedIn noted that 41 percent of its traffic came from mobile devices, a percentage it expects to continue increasing. Continue reading LinkedIn Has 300 Million Registered Users, Mobile Use on Rise

General Mills Reverses Change to Legal Terms After Backlash

General Mills expanded its privacy policy last week to require that all disputes be resolved through arbitration or informal negotiation. According to the change to its legal terms, consumers who engage in online interactions such as downloading coupons, liking the brand’s Facebook page, or entering a company-sponsored sweepstakes would give up their right to sue. Due to public outrage over the changes, General Mills announced over the weekend it was voiding those terms. Continue reading General Mills Reverses Change to Legal Terms After Backlash

Beta: MoPub Integration is Twitter’s Next Step with Mobile Ads

Twitter announced yesterday that running marketing campaigns on both Twitter and MoPub will be made easier. MoPub, the mobile ad exchange service that Twitter acquired last October, matches advertisers to ad space across mobile apps, handling more than 130 billion ad requests per month. The new interface, available to select advertisers in private beta, is designed to eliminate the need to set up through separate portals. It allows advertisers to be present on both platforms with greater ease and effectiveness. Continue reading Beta: MoPub Integration is Twitter’s Next Step with Mobile Ads

Twitter Acquires Gnip, Could Provide More Data to Advertisers

Twitter has agreed to purchase data partner Gnip, in a move that could lead to an expanded role by Twitter in analyzing tweets for businesses that are seeking new insights from social media. While financial terms of the deal have yet to be released, Gnip has reportedly raised $6.6 million in funding. Twitter also announced that it has hired Daniel Graf as its new product chief. Graf, an expert in mobile apps, most recently served as a director at Google where he oversaw Google Maps. Continue reading Twitter Acquires Gnip, Could Provide More Data to Advertisers

Small Theaters Face Challenges in Shift to Digital Distribution

As Hollywood studios are shifting from distributing movies on film to digital distribution via hard drives and satellite, many small theaters cannot afford $60,000 or more to upgrade and support the new technology. Theater owners are faced with the difficult decision between investing in new equipment or closing down their theaters. Meanwhile, most major U.S. cinema chains have already converted to digital cinema, many with the support of Wall Street-financed programs. Continue reading Small Theaters Face Challenges in Shift to Digital Distribution

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