TiVo Confirms That Ads Will Appear Prior to DVR Recordings

TiVo confirmed that it plans to introduce commercials that will play before DVR recordings, including movies and TV shows recorded by customers with a lifetime subscription plan. The introduction of pre-roll video ads will impact the company’s current devices (running TiVo Experience 4 software) within the next 90 days and will become a permanent part of the service. Some publications speculate that the update will eventually affect devices with TiVo Experience 3 as well. TiVo’s Roamio, Bolt and Vox will be the first models eligible for pre-roll ads. Customers will have the ability to skip an ad once it starts playing. Continue reading TiVo Confirms That Ads Will Appear Prior to DVR Recordings

Facebook Creating Companion Messaging App to Instagram

Facebook is looking to take on Snapchat with a new messaging app the social giant is developing as a companion to Instagram. The Threads app reportedly intends to encourage constant sharing between “close friends” by automatically sharing data such as location, speed and battery life in addition to the usual messages comprised of video, images and text. Instagram previously had a standalone messaging app called Direct, but users were frustrated when they had to move between the two apps to send messages. A new messaging app built around a user’s close friends list could provide a viable alternative.  Continue reading Facebook Creating Companion Messaging App to Instagram

SuperGLUE Is Benchmark For Language-Understanding AI

Researchers recently introduced a series of rigorous benchmark tasks that measure the performance of sophisticated language-understanding AI. Facebook AI Research with Google’s DeepMind, University of Washington and New York University introduced SuperGLUE last week, based on the idea that deep learning models for today’s conversational AI require greater challenges. SuperGLUE, which uses Google’s BERT representational model as a performance baseline, follows the 2018 introduction of GLUE (General Language Understanding Evaluation), and encourages the creation of models that can understand more nuanced, complex language. Continue reading SuperGLUE Is Benchmark For Language-Understanding AI

Samsung Updates Foldable Phone, Schedules Fall Launch

After postponing the April 26 debut of the Galaxy Fold, Samsung now plans to launch its $1,980 foldable phone in September. The Galaxy Fold’s April debut was canceled because of early reviews that pointed out problems with the foldable screens. Samsung has redesigned the phone with a number of significant updates. The company said it will initially release the phone in select markets, as originally planned. The Galaxy Fold was designed to be the world’s first widely available foldable smartphone, and should beat a number of competing products in development to market. Continue reading Samsung Updates Foldable Phone, Schedules Fall Launch

Microsoft Advocates For Washington State AI Regulation Bill

Washington State has introduced a bill to regulate facial recognition software, and tech giant Microsoft is advocating for its passage, while e-commerce leader Amazon remains undecided. Amazon asked state senator Reuven Carlyle, who sponsored the bill, for clarification as well as a change to the requirement that AI software developers claiming the ability to identify faces must allow third parties to test it. Carlyle explained he would examine all submitted requests and introduce a revised version of the bill. Continue reading Microsoft Advocates For Washington State AI Regulation Bill

Nielsen Debuts Overnight Screening Tool to Test Product Ideas

Nielsen is rolling out a new tool to provide fast-moving consumer goods manufacturers (FMCG) with analysis about what ideas have higher probability of in-market success. According to Nielsen exec Kevin Daly, Quick Screen was developed as a cost-effective solution for the “second-tier” product innovation level. The tool questions consumers (who identify with specific product categories) to determine the relative strength of proposed ideas. Predictive analytics then evaluate the data to identify levels of potential in-market success. Continue reading Nielsen Debuts Overnight Screening Tool to Test Product Ideas

Apple Considers AR Tech for Wireless Digital Glasses Project

Insiders report that Apple is working on a pair of wireless digital glasses that would connect to iPhones and possibly use augmented reality. “While still in an exploration phase,” reports Bloomberg, “Apple has talked about its glasses project with potential suppliers” and “the company has ordered small quantities of near-eye displays from one supplier for testing.” According to those familiar with the concept, Apple isn’t ready for mass production and, if it moves forward with the eyewear, we shouldn’t expect to see a product until 2018. Chief exec Tim Cook, under pressure to make up for waning iPhone sales, has expressed interest in AR following the success of “Pokémon Go.” Continue reading Apple Considers AR Tech for Wireless Digital Glasses Project

Facebook’s Instagram Plans to Integrate Live Video Streaming

According to Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom, the Facebook-owned photo- and video-sharing site plans to add live video streaming. Systrom believes live video could help strengthen user relationships; however, he did not specify how or when Instragram would introduce the feature. “Reports indicate that Instagram has already been testing live video streaming with some of its users, displaying live streams from contacts similar to the way it currently surfaces the recently-launched Instagram Stories feature,” explains Variety. Introduced in August, Instagram Stories is similar to Snapchat in that its images and videos disappear after 24 hours. Continue reading Facebook’s Instagram Plans to Integrate Live Video Streaming

Comcast Trademarks ‘True Gig’ High-Speed Internet Service

Comcast applied for a trademark last week for a high-speed Internet service named “True Gig.” The company already offers an expensive high-speed Internet service known as the “Extreme 505” with 505Mbps download speeds, but Comcast plans to eventually launch an even faster gigabit Internet service. The company also wants to use the phrase to describe online video streaming. The company’s previous video streaming service is no longer being offered as a standalone service. Continue reading Comcast Trademarks ‘True Gig’ High-Speed Internet Service

Hootsuite Takes Customer Service from Twitter to Phone Calls

Many consumers have found that the fastest way to get a response from a company is to send a tweet, but the 140-character length and the public nature of the social network limit the conversation. Hootsuite Media, the maker of the popular social media management app, is rolling out a solution: a feature that allows businesses to initiate calls with their customers via Twitter. Consumers who send the company tweets will get a reply with a phone number so that they can talk offline. Continue reading Hootsuite Takes Customer Service from Twitter to Phone Calls

Google’s Self-Driving Car Faces New California DMV Rules

California’s DMV requires — in new rules which will take effect September 16 — that, when necessary, a driver must be able to take “immediate physical control” of any vehicle on public roads. This process has traditionally involved a steering wheel and brake and accelerator pedals, which could be a setback for Google’s self-driving car, that does not include these parts. While Google said that it will add them for testing purposes, it is unclear what the company will do in the future. Continue reading Google’s Self-Driving Car Faces New California DMV Rules

ITU Group is Testing High Dynamic Range Format Proposals

According to David Wood, chairman of the International Telecommunication Union group working to recommend a global blueprint for UHD, high dynamic range (HDR) technology “may well be an important feature of Ultra HDTV in future years, though the jury is still out, and will take some months to reach a verdict.” The group is currently considering HDR as an addition to UHD, and is looking at format proposals from companies including Dolby, Philips, Technicolor and the BBC. Continue reading ITU Group is Testing High Dynamic Range Format Proposals

New Initiative Gets Companies to Fund Open Source Projects

More than a dozen companies have joined the Core Infrastructure Initiative to provide funding to open source projects, starting with OpenSSL. The Linux Foundation, Amazon, Cisco, Dell, Facebook, Fujitsu, Google, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, NetApp, Rackspace, Qualcomm, and VMWare have each pledged $100,000 over the next three years to pay for full-time developers, security audits, computing and testing infrastructure, and more to help financially strapped open source projects. Continue reading New Initiative Gets Companies to Fund Open Source Projects

Report Finds Most Mobile Game Players Quit After First Day

According to a report from app testing firm Swrve, mobile free-to-play games tend to have dismal retention rates. In addition, many mobile game players rarely spend any money in these apps. Sixty-six percent of users stopped playing a new game after one day and 19 percent stopped playing after only opening the game app once. Swrve also found that players spent an average of 45 cents over 90 days, and 53 percent of the spending in games happened within the first week of playing. Continue reading Report Finds Most Mobile Game Players Quit After First Day

Apple Acquires Burstly to Provide Support for App Developers

Burstly and TestFlight provide support for developers and the App Store ecosystem in the form of beta testing services, app monetization, and analytics. TestFlight began as a technical hack that included over-the-air updates for enterprise apps. In 2011, the two companies merged to become Burstly, which Apple has now acquired. Development support is a much needed component of Apple’s system. Apple App Store customers spent more than $10 billion in 2013, with 3 billion app downloads in December alone. Continue reading Apple Acquires Burstly to Provide Support for App Developers

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