Fox Now Video App Offers Personalized Recommendations

The Fox Now video app allows users to watch recent episodes of Fox series the day after they air. In a new update to its version for Apple devices, Fox has added a feature that suggests shows to the user based on preferences and viewing history. The upgraded user interface, which is based on the iOS 7 design, intends to keep fans watching more video by providing useful recommendations. Fox Now also features expanded TV Everywhere access with more current and past programming. Continue reading Fox Now Video App Offers Personalized Recommendations

GTA V is Fastest in Game History to Reach $1 Billion in Sales

Take-Two Interactive Software announced that it has sold more than 33 million copies of “Grand Theft Auto V” since the game’s launch in September, generating an estimated $1.98 billion in retail sales. The New York-based company claims “GTA V” was the best-selling console game last year in North America, Latin America and Europe — and the fastest title in video game history to reach $1 billion in sales. For additional perspective, it’s worth noting that Take-Two generated $2.4 billion in total revenue for its fiscal year. Continue reading GTA V is Fastest in Game History to Reach $1 Billion in Sales

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

Apple to Integrate Sound Recognition App Shazam into iOS 8

Apple is planning to include a song discovery feature in the newest update of iOS, which will allow users to identify songs and artists with their iPad or iPhone. Apple is working with Shazam, an app that can quickly recognize a song by collecting sound from the device’s microphone and matching it with an extensive song database. Apple hopes the feature will help encourage download sales. Although iTunes is the world’s largest music seller, sales have decreased dramatically in recent years.  Continue reading Apple to Integrate Sound Recognition App Shazam into iOS 8

Bug Causes Scramble to Update Software and Change Passwords

Popular websites have been scrambling to update software and Internet users have been encouraged to change their passwords following the news of an encryption flaw known as the Heartbleed bug, which is already being categorized as one of the biggest security threats the Internet has ever experienced. The bug has affected a number of websites and services (although the extent is not clear), and may have exposed account info including passwords and credit card numbers going back two years. UPDATE: Cisco and Juniper said yesterday that some of their networking products contain the bug, which means sensitive info may have been obtained while moving across corporate networks, home networks and the Internet. Continue reading Bug Causes Scramble to Update Software and Change Passwords

Pluto.tv Creates Curated Channels Based on Online Videos

As online videos continue to become more popular, many viewers are faced with the challenge of navigating a flood of content. Pluto.tv has created topic-based video channels in the hopes of addressing this problem, and aims to give viewers the feeling of watching a 30-minute packaged television show compiled of a dozen or more short video clips. There are about 100 channels featuring categories such as Comedy, Music, Sports, Tech, Education and Kids. Pluto.tv has designed its interface to mimic a standard TV guide. Continue reading Pluto.tv Creates Curated Channels Based on Online Videos

Social TV: Twitter Purchases Two Analytics Firms in Europe

Twitter has acquired two TV analytics companies as part of its effort to become a stronger social complement to television viewing. French company Mesagraph and U.K.-based SecondSync will become part of Twitter’s London office. Twitter also announced it will be expanding its partnership with Kantar Media, and is hoping to extend its Twitter TV ratings system into Europe. To compete in the social TV space, Facebook has teamed with TV networks to initiate live updates during broadcasts, a practice popular with Twitter. Continue reading Social TV: Twitter Purchases Two Analytics Firms in Europe

Cartoon Network Anything App to Experiment with Micro-Content

Cartoon Network plans to launch a “micro-network” later this year that will feature 15-second content bites that only play through a smartphone app. The purpose of these videos, polls, games and trivia is to deliver device-specific content. Unlike the current Watch Cartoon Network app, which requires a cable subscription, Cartoon Network Anything will be accessible to everyone. The short form content will be updated regularly to match consumers’ reduced attention span common during smartphone use. Continue reading Cartoon Network Anything App to Experiment with Micro-Content

Cortana: Microsoft’s New Siri-Like Personal Digital Assistant

Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8.1 update will include its new personal digital assistant “Cortana,” named after the AI character in the “Halo” game series. Designed to rival Apple’s Siri and Google Now, Cortana’s circular animated icon will replace the built-in Bing search functionality on Windows Phone, and will animate while speaking or thinking, creating a personality similar to the Siri approach. Cortana will save data in a Notebook system that will enable it to track data and generate notifications much like Google Now. Continue reading Cortana: Microsoft’s New Siri-Like Personal Digital Assistant

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

Marvel Comics Launches API Featuring 75 Years of Content

Marvel Comics is launching a beta version of an API and developer platform, which will give developers and fans access to its massive library of comics for building apps. The API will include artwork, character bios, expanded stories and more from the original creators spanning 75 years. There are more than 30,000 comics, 7,000 series and 5,000 creators in the database, and developers can even build mini-apps around their favorite characters, titles and creators. Continue reading Marvel Comics Launches API Featuring 75 Years of Content

Apple will Modify App Purchases with More Parental Control

The Federal Trade Commission announced on Wednesday that Apple has agreed to better enforce parental approval of purchases from the company’s App Store. Apple will also refund at least $32.5 million to parents whose children made purchases without their consent. Apple settled a related class-action lawsuit last year, but the FTC said that the problem continued after the settlement, so Apple has agreed to further modify its practices. Continue reading Apple will Modify App Purchases with More Parental Control

Snapchat Unveils App Updates with Filters and Replay Option

Snapchat rolled out a significant update to its iOS and Android apps on Friday that offers support for new services such as swipeable photo filters. The update supports “smart filters” that can overlay information on pictures including the current time, temperature (using data supplied by the Weather Channel), and how fast a user is moving. Additionally, a new Replay option enables users to view one of their incoming messages one more time. Continue reading Snapchat Unveils App Updates with Filters and Replay Option

Google Glass Software Update Delivers Compelling Features

Google has released a Glass software update that includes some substantial new features. Update XE12 provides users with the ability to snap a photo with a discreet wink, adds a lock screen function for improved security, offers options for uploading Glass-shot videos directly to YouTube, and intros Hangouts integration for messaging and chatting with friends. Additionally, the Google Play Music app is available and the long-awaited MyGlass app for iOS is being rolled out. Continue reading Google Glass Software Update Delivers Compelling Features

Celebrities Now Give Driving Directions via Traffic App Waze

The traffic app Waze is partnering with Universal Pictures in order to produce a celebrity voice navigation feature. The first celebrity to give directions is comedian and actor Kevin Hart. Waze essentially crowdsources traffic and navigation data, and friends and fellow travelers are able to post updates that provide a real time picture of road conditions. The app gained popularity after it was acquired by Google earlier this year for $1.3 billion. Continue reading Celebrities Now Give Driving Directions via Traffic App Waze

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