|Original articles from The Verge.|
|Google News Gets a Much-Needed Redesign to Cut Down on Clutter and Confusion|
Google today unveiled a new look for its 14-year-old news reader that makes the web service much easier to digest. The Google News page now has three sections located at the center of the homepage: a top headlines list, a local list, and a personalized “For You” section containing stories in interest areas you’ve preselected.
|Apple’s AR is Closer to Reality than Google’s|
Apple has often been accused of acting like it invented things that others have been doing for years. That complaint is not without merit, however Apple can lay claim to transforming existing things into mainstream successes, which takes no small amount of invention in its own right.
|Mark Zuckerberg Just Unveiled Facebook’s New Mission Statement|
When asked about his life’s work, Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has traditionally fallen back on a somewhat nebulous answer: making “the world more open and connected.” It was an almost quaint euphemism for the company’s more capitalistic goals of vacuuming up the attention of billions of humans and selling boatloads of advertising.
|Netflix’s Interactive Shows Arrive to Put You In Charge of the Story|
Netflix’s first interactive episode arrives on the service today, giving viewers a chance to shape the narrative through a series of decisions they make throughout the experience. The new episode of Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale gives users more than a dozen decision points throughout its length, giving young...
|Spotify is Testing ‘Sponsored Songs’ in Playlists|
Spotify users have noticed a new opt-out setting appearing both on desktop and in-app: Sponsored Songs. Sponsored content in general is not new for Spotify — last year they allowed their most popular playlists to be sponsored by brands — but allowing labels to promote individual songs certainly is.
|Twitter’s Latest Redesign Makes the iOS App Look More Like Android|
Twitter is rolling out a significant redesign today for its mobile apps that brings a more unified look to its app for Android, iOS, Tweetdeck, and Twitter Lite. The design, which builds on some changes to the Android app over the past year, moves the profile to a new side navigation tab while freshening up the apps’ typography.
The new side tab, which can be accessed by tapping your profile picture on the top of the timeline, lets you access your profile, Moments, and settings.
|Google’s Getting Serious About Building Its Own iPhone|
When Google curtailed its Nexus program last year in favor of the Pixel, many commentators dismissed that as merely a rebranding exercise to make the latest thing feel fresh. I was in the minority that bought into Google’s promise of a fundamentally different approach that would signal a direct challenge to Apple’s iPhone...
|Facebook Will Let Elected Officials Target Posts to Constituents|
Facebook today announced three new features that will make its service far more useful to elected officials, according to TechCrunch. The primary goal is to help politicians better connect with constituents in their designated district. But at a deeper level, Facebook is making it easier than ever before for these officials...
|It’s Official: Amazon Prime Video is Coming to Apple TV Later This Year|
The rumors were true: Amazon’s video app is finally coming to Apple’s TV streaming box. Today at WWDC, it was announced that Amazon Prime Video will soon be available for Apple TV. The app will let users stream original hits like Transparent, Bosch, Mozart in the Jungle, Catastrophe, and more. Apple CEO Tim Cook said that Amazon Video for Apple TV will be released “later this year.”
That’s also when Apple plans to release more details about what’s next for tvOS; the Amazon announcement was the platform’s only...
|YouTube Adds More Restrictions Around Monetized Content|
YouTube is taking new steps today to get a handle on content that might offend advertisers or, conversely, prevent a YouTube creator from monetizing their videos. Several major brandsleft the platform’s ad program recently to avoid being linked with hateful and offensive videos. And many creators were upset...
|The New York Times Gets Rid of its Public Editor to Focus on Reader Comments|
The New York Times is terminating its public editor position, shifting its focus to reader comments and social media conversations. Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. announced in a memo that the paper has outgrown the need for the role as more and more readers provide criticism online. The Times plans on expanding its commenting platform, and current public editor Liz Spayd...
|Facebook’s New Research Tool is Designed to Create a Truly Conversational AI|
Most of us talk to our computers on a semi-regular basis, but that doesn’t mean the conversation is any good. We ask Siri what the weather is like, or tell Alexa to put some music on, but we don’t expect sparkling repartee — voice interfaces right now are as sterile as the visual interface they’re supposed to replace.
|Facebook Brought Back its Flower Reaction for Mother’s Day|
Last May, Facebook tested out a temporary reaction to coincide with Mother’s Day. The purple flower (which stands for “thankful”), was the first such temporary reaction added after reactions were added to Facebook in February 2016. The company rolled out the icon once more, and has added several additional ways to express your gratitude for your mom.
|Microsoft’s Next Mobile Strategy is to Make iOS and Android Better|
Microsoft hasn’t had a great time with mobile. While we can debate whether or not Windows Phone is finally dead, Microsoft is certainly ready to move on. After missing the mobile boat, Microsoft is now trying to sneak onto iOS and Android devices...
|Facebook is Tweaking the News Feed to Cut Down on Terrible Ads and Spammy Posts|
Facebook today announced its latest move to rid the social network of sensationalist, misleading, and spammy junk. The company says it has tweaked its News Feed algorithms to downrank “low-quality webpage experiences,” as part of its heightened effort to cut down on fake news, viral clickbait, and other types of content pushed out on Facebook purely for the financial benefit of third-party...
|A Quarter of the World’s Population Now Uses Facebook Every Month|
Facebook reported its first quarter earnings today. The company brought in just over $8 billion in revenue, a jump of 49 percent since the first quarter of 2016. That gave it a net profit of just over $3 billion, up a whopping 76 percent over the same period last year.
The company now has 1.94 billion monthly active users, up 17 percent from the first quarter of 2016. (Currently, the world population is estimated at 7.5 billion.) It didn’t bother to break out mobile users into a separate category, as it has in the past...
|How the Scrappiest Social Media Team in Publishing is Holding the Industry’s Feet to the Fire|
Dennis Johnson, co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House Books and one of the first book bloggers, is possibly best known for the fight he picked in the spring of 2014.
He was at the front of a group of independent publishers who decided to spar with Amazon over the predatory, escalating fees it was charging small publishers, as well as its covert war on the major publisher Hachette...
|Twitter Will Stream 24-Hour News from Bloomberg Starting This Fall|
Twitter will partner with Bloomberg as part of its plans to stream live video 24 hours a day, The Wall Street Journal reports. The deal will see Bloomberg producing news programming specifically for Twitter, mixing live news reported from Bloomberg’s global bureaus with videos posted by verified Twitter users, and streaming around the clock.
|Amazon is Taking a More Simplistic Approach to Music Streaming|
Six months ago, Amazon launched Music Unlimited, its on-demand music service, designed to compete against the likes of Spotify and Apple Music. Six months later the company hasn’t shared any subscriber numbers, but it is very bullish about its prospects, encouraged by the success of its Echo smart speakers...
|Amazon Launches a New Digital Subscription Marketplace|
Amazon announced today that it’s launching a new marketplace hub for third party companies to sell subscriptions for digital services.
The new service, called “Subscribe with Amazon,” will serve as a central, trustworthy hub for digital subscriptions. While business will have to apply and get approved...
|Facebook is Working on a Way to Let You Type with Your Brain|
Facebook today unveiled a project from its secretive Building 8 research group that’s working to create a brain-computer interface that lets you type with your thoughts. Regina Dugan, a former director of DARPA and the ex-head of Google’s experimental ATAP research group, announced the news today onstage at Facebook’s F8 developer conference.
|Facebook Plans on Offering a Free Version of its Slack Competitor|
Facebook’s team collaboration software, Workplace, is getting a free version anyone can sign up for. The company is calling the tier its standard version, and it’s currently testing it with a select group of users with a plan to roll it out later this year for any group that’s eager to sign up. The freemium move emulates...
|The Case for Editing Tweets|
Humans are fallible creatures, and every day we make mistakes large and small. Religion accounts for this problem with the concept of salvation — deliverance from sin through the divine grace of God. Twitter, on the other hand, makes you leave your stupid mistakes up for everyone to see. God forgives; Twitter doesn’t. Why can’t we edit tweets?
It’s a question I ask on Twitter a few times a week. Usually I direct this question at the official @Twitter account...
|The World Record for Retweets Could Be Broken Over Some Free Chicken Nuggets|
It began quietly. This morning, Carter Wilkerson asked Wendy’s Twitter account how many retweets he would need to earn a free year’s supply of chicken nuggets.
Like most tweets shouted out to the faceless void of #brand Twitter accounts, it should have ended there.
Except: Wendy’s responded.
|Mastodon.social is an Open-Source Twitter Competitor That’s Growing Like Crazy|
Eugen Rochko was annoyed with Twitter. The company had made a series of changes that he thought eroded the value of the service: limiting how big third-party applications could grow, for example, and implementing an algorithm-driven timeline that made Twitter feel uncomfortably similar to Facebook.
|Apple May Bring True Tone Displays to the Next iPhones|
Apple’s next iPhones may feature True Tone displays, according to a note from Barclays, as reported by MacRumors. Currently, Apple’s True Tone display is only available on the 9.7-inch iPad Pro.
True Tone displays can alter the appearance of the screen based on the lighting conditions.
|Amazon Launches New Service to Deliver Groceries to Your Trunk|
After launching physical bookstores and attempting to launch a cashier-free convenience store, Amazon will be diving into another kind of physical retail venue: grocery stores.
With the beta launch of the AmazonFresh Pickup today, Amazon will give customers the ability to order groceries, drive up to an AmazonFresh location...
|Comcast Reportedly Planning Streaming TV Service Just for its Internet Customers|
Comcast launched a TV streaming service in a few cities back in 2015, and this year, it’s apparently planning a major expansion. According to Reuters, Comcast plans to relaunch its streaming service, currently called Stream, under a new name and make it available everywhere Comcast is offered across the US.
The new service will reportedly be called Xfinity Instant TV, and it sounds fairly similar to what Stream already provides. The report says it could start at $15 per month for major broadcast networks...
|Forget Coding: Writing is Design’s ‘Unicorn Skill’|
|Twitter Might Build a Paid Subscription Service for Power Users|
Twitter is considering offering a paid subscription to power users, including brands and news organizations, The Verge has confirmed. Twitter users today began tweeting screenshots of the survey and a mock-up of what the premium version of Twitter could look like, with new analytics, alerts about breaking news, and information about what an account’s followers are tweeting about.
|Apple Launches Red iPhone 7|
Apple is introducing a new color option for its iPhone 7 lineup today: red. While the iPhone maker has offered special product red cases for the iPhone previously, this is the first time the actual handset is available in red itself. The new Product (RED) iPhone features a red aluminum finish, and is launching as part of Apple’s partnership with (RED).
|This Gorgeous Ruler was Created Specifically for Digital Designers|
There’s a ton of niche design objects that have been tossed up onto Kickstarter for funding, but every now and again, there’s one that will really catch your eye. Case in point, this high-end, designer ruler.
The Lindlund is billed as a ruler for creative types and designers.
|Amazon Brings Alexa to the iPhone|
Amazon is bringing Alexa to the iPhone today right inside of the company’s main app.
While this isn’t the first time Alexa has been on a smartphone — third parties have made it happen already — this is the first time it’s coming directly from Amazon. And it could be a huge help to anyone who’s filling their home with Alexa-enabled devices.
|The Apple Watch is Still the Best Designed Smartwatch|
I was reminded, as I watched a live stream of Tag Heuer’s shouty boss build hype for his company’s second Android Wear watch, just how difficult it is to make a good smartwatch. As users, we expect all the thinness, lightness, and versatility that we’re used to from smartphones, but married to the always-on time display...
|Google Hangouts is Getting a Major Overhaul to Take On Slack|
If you know anything about Google’s messaging strategy in the last few years, you know that it’s been a bit of a mess. Allo, the consumer app, launched without the cross-platform features users expect. Text messaging on mobile is mired in inter-carrier warfare. And Hangouts has become a punchline.
|Facebook’s New AI Training Server is Nearly Twice as Fast|
Facebook today announced a new server design it calls Big Basin, a successor to its Big Sur line of artificial intelligence training systems. These Nvidia-powered GPU servers, tied together into large training networks for AI software, are what enable Facebook products to perform object and facial recognition...
|Jeff Bezos Wants to Start Shipping Packages to the Moon|
Amazon boss Jeff Bezos wants to start delivering packages to the moon. According to The Washington Post, Bezos — who also owns private space travel company Blue Origin — has written an internal report arguing that a good delivery service will be key to establishing a functioning lunar settlement.
|YouTube Launches Its Own Streaming TV Service|
At an event in Los Angeles this afternoon, YouTube announced its own streaming TV service. The offering will mix live-streams of broadcast and cable television programming with the wealth of online video found on YouTube. It’s the latest in a surge of over-the-top (OTT) services trying to woo consumers who never bought...
|Amazon Says Alexa’s Speech is Protected by the First Amendment|
Amazon has filed a motion to dismiss a search warrant for recordings from an Echo owned by a suspected murderer. Amazon argues that both its users’ requests to Alexa and the response the company produces are protected under the First Amendment. The company says it should only have to turn this data over...
|Facebook Reportedly Working on Deal to Live Stream MLB Games|
Facebook is in discussions with Major League Baseball to retain live streaming rights to one game per week, according to a report this afternoon from Reuters. The deal, while far from finalized, would give Facebook a significant edge in the business of live events. These events, sports especially, are an area of increasing interest to the company as it invests heavily in video...
|Google and Microsoft: No More Piracy Sites on the First Page of UK Results|
Google and Microsoft have both voluntarily agreed to follow a new code in the United Kingdom to de-list piracy websites from the front page of Google search and Bing results, as well as remove autocomplete terms that could direct users to illegal content, according to a report from The Telegraph.
|Facebook Just Changed its Mission, Because the Old One Was Broken|
Facebook used to repeat its mission statement so often that most tech reporters could recite it from memory: “to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.” And it’s still the mission you see when you visit the company’s Facebook page.
|Snapchat Files for a $3 Billion IPO|
Five years after the launch of Snapchat, Snap is planning to go public. The company filed for an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange today, picking the ticker symbol “SNAP.” The company hopes to raise $3 billion and says it has 158 million daily active users. The IPO would reportedly value the company above $20 billion.
The filing comes at an exciting but challenging time for Snap. The company — originally named Snapchat — has declared its intentions to become “a camera company,” rather than just...
|Facebook is Reportedly Making an App for Set-top TV Boxes|
Facebook is building an app for television and is asking publishers to create exclusive, TV-like shows for it, according to a new report. The Wall Street Journal reports that Facebook has been building the app, which would be available for boxes such as Apple TV. It is also talking to media companies about licensing TV-quality shows to be available on the app, the Journal reported, part of a long-term strategy to make video the center of the platform.
Facebook began working on an app last summer after discussing the idea for years...
|Facebook is Bringing Snapchat-like Stories to its Main Mobile App|
Facebook has been on a Snapchat-copying roll. First Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, rolled out its version of 24-hour stories. Then Facebook began testing a similar product on its Messenger app in Poland. And now, Facebook is testing ephemeral stories on its main mobile app. Facebook mobile app...
|Apple is Releasing a Find My AirPods Feature|
If you own a pair of AirPods, inevitably, one is going to go missing. Fortunately, Apple is releasing some basic measures to help you find a lost earbud, if not the entire case.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple is adding AirPods support to the Find My iPhone app with the release of iOS 10.3, which is supposed to launch...
|The @POTUS Transition Didn't Go So Smoothly for Twitter|
When the official presidential Twitter handle changed hands yesterday, a number of users began to notice that they were following the account, even if they hadn’t followed it or had recently unfollowed it.
According to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, when the accounts were transitioned from one to the other...
|Apple and Amazon End Decade-long Audiobook Exclusivity Deal|
Apple and Amazon have agreed to end an exclusivity agreement that made Audible the only seller of audiobooks inside of iTunes.
The agreement had been in place for over a decade, since 2003, but came to an end earlier this month following complaints from German publishers and investigations by European...
|Facebook Rolls Out Fake News Filter in Germany|
Facebook will begin rolling out its fake news filter in Germany, The Financial Times reports, where lawmakers have expressed growing concern over the spread of fabricated news stories and Russian interference ahead of national elections later this year. The social network will begin fact-checking and flagging fake news...
|Proposed EU Law Could Kill Cookie Banners That No One Reads|
The European Commission has proposed new regulations that would curb the way companies track users on the internet. Part of that plan would be to remove website banners that provide disclaimers on cookie policies and have the user’s browser preferences automatically apply to each site they visit.
|Yahoo Isn't Really Going Away (At Least, Not Yet)|
Yahoo will be renamed “Altaba” and company CEO Marissa Mayer will step down from its board of directors once its major sale to Verizon closes, according to an 8-K filing released by Yahoo earlier today.
It’s a crazy string of events that sounds like the end of one of the web’s most iconic properties.
|AT&T is Adding a Spam Filter for Phone Calls|
Today, AT&T introduced a new service for automated blocking of fraud or spam calls. Dubbed AT&T Call Protect, the system identifies specific numbers believed to be sources of fraud, and will either deliver those calls with a warning or block them outright. Users can whitelist specific numbers, although temporary blocks...
|Facebook Messenger Now Lets You Video Chat With Up to 50 People|
Facebook today announced that its Messenger app is now capable of performing group video calls with up to 50 participants. For the first six participants, the app will stream everyone’s camera feed to one another in a grid-like view. After six, Messenger will display only the dominant speaker’s feed.
|Google Puts Fake News About Aliens at the Top of Search Results|
While the largest tech platforms continue to assure us that eliminating misinformation is both a) very important to them, and b) impossible, Google’s search results were hijacked today by fake news about space aliens caught on camera “sucking energy from the sun.”
|Facebook is Asking Users to Judge the Truthfulness of News Headlines|
Facebook is apparently asking users to rate the quality of news stories on its service, after facing criticism for allowing fake or misleading news. At least three people on Twitter have posted surveys that ask whether a headline “uses misleading language” or “withholds key details of the story.” The earliest one we’ve seen was posted on December 2nd...
|Facebook is Bringing Games Like Pac-Man to Messenger and Your News Feed|
Facebook wants you playing games just about everywhere, and today the company is introducing a new initiative called Facebook Instant Games that it hopes will do just that. Instant Games is an HTML5 gaming platform that lets Facebook users play games on Messenger and in the Facebook News Feed, without the need to download anything. Instant Games are cross-platform...
|Your Life Will Be a Video Game|
Whether or not you play video games today, you will in the future.
Andrew Wilson, CEO of Electronic Arts, believes games in 2021 will be more diverse, more accessible, and simply more inescapable. Your smartphone and your game console will help you play with friends and strangers across the globe, but so might your...
|What We Know, and What We Don't, About Facebook’s Effort to Reduce Hoaxes|
Nearly a week after the US presidential election, Facebook continues to be roundly criticized for its role in spreading misinformation. In the wake of a close contest, some have said Facebook’s lax attitude toward hoaxes swung the election to Donald Trump. The controversy has renewed calls for...
|Facebook on its Fake News Problem: 'There's So Much More We Need to Do'|
After this week's unexpected election of Donald Trump to the presidency, some have pointed to Facebook's enabling of misinformation as one source that fed his success. Now, Facebook is admitting it must try harder to fight the problem.
In a statement first provided to TechCrunch, VP of product management...
|Instagram Stories Now Have Mentions, Links, and Boomerangs|
Three months after they were introduced, Instagram stories are beginning to separate themselves from the Snapchat stories they are derived from. Today Instagram is introducing mentions, links, and an inline version of its Boomerang tool into stories. The result is a product that feels livelier than before, and truly distinct...
|You Will Soon Be Able to Order McDonald's From Your Phone|
McDonalds has long been a leader in the fast food industry, but it has fallen behind its competitors in one big way: it hasn’t provided customers with a way to order and pay for their meals via smartphone or other mobile device. Now, the company is getting ready to roll out mobile order-and-pay technology, according to Business Insider.
A company representative told Business Insider that the technology will initially roll out to the United States and several international markets next year...
|Facebook Pulls In Over $7 Billion in Quarterly Revenue|
There is a lot of opportunity to show ads to potential consumers when you're a social network used by over 1.1 billion people each day. Facebook reported its third quarter earnings today, and its revenue rose more than 50 percent over the same period last year, to $7.1 billion.
|How the White House Will Hand Over Social Media Accounts to Clinton or Trump|
The White House just published an overview explaining its plans for a "digital transition" between the departing Obama administration and the incoming 45th president of the United States. It details how each White House social media account (and position-specific handles like @POTUS, @FLOTUS, and @VP) will be transferred...
|London Fashion Week Rebrands, Moves Its Three Bi-annual Events to Store Studios|
The British Fashion Council (BFC) is set to move its two bi-annual events, London Fashion Week and London Fashion Week Festival to join London Fashion Week Men’s at The Store Studios in central London.
As part of the move, the event formerly known as London Fashion Weekend will be renamed London Fashion Week Festival...
|Google is Celebrating Halloween With an Adorable, Ghastly Game|
A magical academy has been overrun by ghosts and ghouls! A cat named Momo accidentally summoned a spirit, which stole the school’s master spellbook. Google’s new doodle gets into the Halloween spirit a bit early this year with a browser game.
This is a really clever game. Players disperse the ghosts by drawing...
|Imzy, A Social Network Based on Kindness, Opens Its Doors to the Public|
Can you make a large online space where people treat each other like human beings, without sacrificing the freedom of anonymity? It’s a question that social networks like Twitter, which just decimated its workforce in a push for profitability, have been struggling to answer. But a company called Imzy, founded by veterans of Reddit and Twitter, has spent the last several months laying...
|Apple Leaks New MacBook Pro with Touch Strip|
Apple is widely expected to unveil a redesigned MacBook Pro at an event on Thursday, but it looks like it may have let a couple images slip out early. MacRumors spotted a pair of images hidden inside yesterday's update to macOS Sierra, both of which show a new MacBook Pro, a touch panel above its keyboard, and a fingerprint reader.
The images show a narrower MacBook Pro with...
|Samsung Expects to Lose Around $3 Billion Due to Note 7 Recall|
Samsung says the Galaxy Note 7 discontinuation will cost it around $3 billion over the course of the next two fiscal quarters. The device, which has a chance of overheating and exploding, has been plagued with problems since its launch back in August. After recalling millions of devices thought to have battery issues...
|Twitter Tests Replacing Moments with a New ‘Explore’ Tab on Mobile|
Twitter is experimenting yet again with the structure of its mobile app. This time around, the company is thinking about replacing its Moments tab, first introduced last fall to let users better track breaking news and other prominent events, with a new "Explore" tab, according to Mashable.
|Google Acquires FameBit to Help YouTubers Cozy Up to Brands|
Google announced today that it has acquired FameBit, an "influencer marketing platform for branded content." That is a lot of buzzwords packed together, so lets break it down. For a while YouTube creators have been making money not just from advertising revenue generated against their video views...
|Facebook Rolls Out Work, a Social Network For Your Office|
After two years of private beta testing, Facebook is unleashing its Work software on the world. The product is very similar to the social network used by over a billion people every day. But it focuses on connecting users with a network their colleagues at work, and charges a fee per user.
|Why the Future of Google is Hardware|
In a nationally televised commercial that premiered last month, an empty search box sitting against a stark white background slowly morphs, becoming taller and skinnier. As Redbone croons "Come and get your love," the lines take shape and the outline of a phone emerges. It is, of course, the Pixel, a new phone "made by Google." The metaphor damn near hits you in the face: the search box once defined Google, but now Google needs to be something more.
It needs to find what comes after that bare search box...
|Amazon is Cracking Down on Biased Reviews|
Amazon updated its community guidelines today to prohibit so-called "incentivized reviews," which are customer reviews of a product that was received for free or at a discount in exchange for an online write-up. The company says these types of reviews make up a tiny fraction of overall Amazon.com reviews.
|Uber Wants to Let Brands Feed You Content On Your Next Ride|
Uber is partnering with Yext, a New York-based startup that specializes in location data for businesses, to help online shoppers book rides to their favorite store or restaurant. The partnership will also allow corporations to serve up marketing material and ads to consumers on Uber’s platform. Depending on your point of view, that will either be super helpful or super annoying.
|Disney is Also Thinking About Buying Twitter|
Disney is the latest high-profile name to consider an acquisition offer for Twitter, according to a report today from Bloomberg. While a formal bid has not been placed, Bloomberg says Disney is working with Bank of America to put one together.
|Yahoo Confirms a 'State-Sponsored' Hack Affected More Than 500 Million Accounts|
In a statement released today, Yahoo said a hack of its network in late 2014 breached information related to at least 500 million user accounts. The company says it believes "a state-sponsored actor" is responsible for the hack.
"The account information may have included names, email addresses, telephone numbers..."
|Pandora Launches Improved Version of Its $5 Subscription Service|
As expected, Pandora has launched Pandora Plus, a rebranded and improved version of its $5-a-month Pandora One offering. It also has enhanced its free, ad-supported service, which the majority of its users take advantage of. The release of the updated services marks the beginning of a new era for Pandora, as the company will end 2016 with three tiers of service...
|Twitter App Brings Free NFL Games to Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and the Xbox One|
As previously rumored, Twitter is launching a new version of its app today for Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Microsoft’s Xbox One. As you might expect from an app designed to be used on your TV, the focus here is on watching live-streaming video and browsing curated content from Vine and Periscope — not just seeing...
|Headphone Companies: No Headphone Jack, No Problem|
This week Apple launched a new iPhone without a headphone jack and stirred up an understandable furor of discontent. But you won’t hear any headphone companies complaining about the move, even though it takes away their familiar entry point into the Apple ecosystem. Most of them have already been preparing for this change for months, and those who haven’t don’t particularly...
|Facebook’s Editorial Purge has Completely Backfired|
It’s been a rough few days for Facebook’s Trending Topics. The company announced on Friday that it’s made the news list more automated by removing article descriptions and leaning more heavily on algorithms to produce it. The company also reportedly fired as many as 18 editorial contractors responsible...
|WhatsApp to Start Sharing User Data with Facebook|
After WhatsApp was bought by Facebook in 2014, users worried that the messaging app's strong stance on privacy might be compromised. Co-founder Jan Koum hoped to stem these fears, writing in a blog post at the time: "Respect for your privacy is coded into our DNA, and we built WhatsApp around the goal..."
|Facebook’s Latest Youth Play is a Teens-Only Social Network|
Facebook has yet another piece of software to lure teenagers into thinking its products are more hip than Snapchat. The new iOS app, called Lifestage, is a kind of video diary where you answer biographical questions about yourself. Instead of filling in answers with text, you record a small video snippet that others can view on your profile. Every time someone updates their page, it shows up...
|I Trusted the Internet to Save My Favorite YouTube Channel--The Internet Lost It|
The other day, while feeling nostalgic, I remembered a YouTube channel I had loved to watch in high school. Created by a teenager from Connecticut, the videos were mostly lo-fi comedy sketches starring their young amateur director and some people I assumed were his closest friends. I wanted to rewatch the videos, to remember the feeling that came with streaming them...
|After Apple Offers $200,000 for iPhone Hacks, a Private Firm Offers $500,000|
There's an arms race in the hunt for tradable software vulnerabilities, but it's not just about methods — price counts too. Last week, Apple launched its first ever bug bounty program, offering cash rewards of up to $200,000 for ways to compromise its hardware and software.
|Facebook, Google, and Twitter Combat Online Extremism with Targeted Videos|
Facebook, Twitter, and Alphabet, Google's parent company, participated in three online experiments last year to gauge the effectiveness of counter-messaging campaigns in combatting propaganda from extremist groups. The results, published on Monday in a study from the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD), suggest that such efforts could be effective in reaching...
|Uber is Planning on Investing $500 Million to Map the World's Roads|
Uber relies heavily on Google’s extensive maps, but it appears that the ride share company is getting ready to stand on their own. According to The Financial Times, it is planning to invest half a billion dollars into creating its own worldwide maps, a crucial step towards using autonomous cars.
The Financial Times reported that the company is looking to "pour $500m into an ambitious global..."
|WhatsApp Isn't Fully Deleting Its 'Deleted' Chats|
WhatsApp retains and stores chat logs even after those chats have been deleted, according to a post today by iOS researcher Jonathan Zdziarski. Examining disk images taken from the most recent version of the app, Zdziarski found that the software retains and stores a forensic trace of the chat logs even after...
|The Ice Bucket Challenge Actually Did Help ALS Research|
A group of researchers have identified a gene implicated in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a disease that attacks neurons in the brain and spinal cord. They identified the gene using funds from the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, which raised $115 million to benefit research on the disorder — which may mean Bill Gates got doused in freezing water for more than entertainment value.
|iPhone Sales are Shrinking for the Same Reason Pokémon Go is Thriving|
Apple today finds itself in the unusual position of having not one, but two consecutive quarters of slumping iPhone sales. The company’s stock price, however, has gone in the opposite direction, rising in response to Apple outperforming direr expectations. Those traders aren’t crazy. They just understand a phenomenon that is reaching its apotheosis in 2016: smartphone saturation.
|Verizon Agrees to Buy Yahoo for $4.83 Billion|
Verizon today announced that it plans to acquire Yahoo for $4.83 billion, confirming a deal that was first reported last week. In a press release, the internet service provider said that Yahoo will be integrated with Aol, which Verizon acquired last year for $4.4 billion.
Under the deal, Verizon will acquire Yahoo's online brands and email service, which has around 225 million monthly active...
|Facebook Takes Flight|
At 2AM, in the dark morning hours of June 28th, Mark Zuckerberg woke up and got on a plane. He was traveling to an aviation testing facility in Yuma, AZ, where a small Facebook team had been working on a secret project. Their mission: to design, build, and launch a high-altitude solar-powered plane, in the hopes that...
|Twitter Bans Milo Yiannopoulos, One of Its Worst Trolls|
Twitter has permanently suspended the account of Breitbart tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos, a day after the infamous internet troll helped incite his followers to send a torrent of racist abuse to Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones. Twitter confirmed that Yiannopoulos would be kept off its service for good in the future, telling Recode and BuzzFeed that it would find any new account he creates in the future, and suspend it.
|MacOS Sierra: Siri is Just the Beginning|
Later this fall, Apple will release its latest desktop operating system to the world, but it won't be called OS X. Instead, it's now "macOS" and this one is codenamed "Sierra." Introducing it on stage at WWDC, Apple exec Craig Federighi said the name was "obvious," probably because it has some consonance with the headline feature: Siri.
|Apple's iMessage strategy: Steal from Snapchat and Facebook, Like Everybody Else|
Apple executives spent a great deal of time at the company’s WWDC keynote yesterday telling us how iMessage will be different with iOS 10: more colorful, more featured, more cluttered. In trying to make its native messaging client more appealing, especially to younger users, Apple is borrowing all the hallmarks...
|Microsoft to Acquire LinkedIn for $26.2 Billion|
Microsoft is announcing today that it plans to acquire LinkedIn for $26.2 billion. Microsoft’s deal to acquire the work-focused social networking giant is an all-cash transaction, and it will value LinkedIn’s shares at $196 each. Microsoft says LinkedIn will...
|App Store 2.0: Apple's New Incentives|
Apple’s annual conference for developers, which kicks off next Monday, is normally when the company previews its newest software for iOS and Mac OS X. But this year’s WWDC isn’t just about new operating systems: starting next week and continuing throughout the fall, Apple will begin rolling out new incentives...
|This App Lets Rescue Workers Send Offline Alerts When Disaster Strikes|
Communication is critical during any emergency, but whenever a natural disaster strikes, it's often unreliable. Congested cell phone networks and damaged infrastructure can make it difficult for rescue workers to disseminate information, and for loved ones to get in touch with one another. A new app aims to change that.
|Nokia is Coming Back to Phones and Tablets|
With Microsoft's epic mishandling of Nokia's mobile business coming to an end today, a new chapter for the storied Finnish brand is about to begin. Nokia has just announced that it will license its brand and intellectual property to a newly created company called HMD global, which will work to produce and sell a portfolio of Android smartphones and tablets.
HMD global is based in Finland and will be led by Arto Nummela...
|Instagram Launches Redesigned App and Icon|
At long last, Instagram's old-school icon is going away in favor of something more modern — a lot more modern. Instagram announced today that it's introducing a colorful new icon for its main app, as well as matching icons for apps like Layout and Hyperlapse.
Instagram's app is also receiving a redesign. It's adopting...
|How May the 4th Became Star Wars Day|
If you’ve been on the internet anytime in the last five years, you’re no doubt aware of the Star Wars brand free-for-all that is today, May 4th. Dubbed Star Wars Day, it’s a time for fans to celebrate their love for the biggest movie series of all time — and for cartoon bears to dress up as Rebel princesses in an awkward attempt to sell...
|The New York Times is Sending Out a Second Round of Google Cardboards|
Last November, The New York Times and Google organized a massive giveaway of Google Cardboard, shipping a million of the disposable virtual reality headsets alongside a new "NYT VR" app. Next month, they're doing it again — this time for online-only subscribers.
|YouTube Introduces Live 360 Video|
Like any Bay Area resident with a pulse, Neal Mohan is a big fan of the Golden State Warriors, but as a busy Google executive, he can’t make every home game in person. "That courtside seat is limited by the laws of physics," says Mohan ruefully. Luckily, he won’t be bound by those rules for very long.
|Amazon is Launching Monthly Subscriptions for Prime and Prime Video|
Amazon is dropping the requirement to sign up for a year to access its Prime membership services. The retailer is adding new subscription options tonight, reports CNN, that will price Prime at $10.99 a month and, for the first time, offer Prime Video as a standalone service at $8.99 a month.
|Stephen Hawking and a Russian Billionaire Want to Send Tiny Spacecraft to Alpha Centauri|
Russian venture capitalist Yuri Milner, along with physicist Stephen Hawking, has announced a $100 million initiative for exploring Alpha Centauri, the star system nearest to our own. The new project is called Breakthrough Starshot, and the goal is to explore the technologies needed to create small, light-powered spacecraft capable of reaching Alpha Centauri in just 20 years.
|New Domino's App Automatically Orders a Pizza When You Open It|
Pizza chain, and unashamed Hatsune Miku fan club, Domino's has announced its latest innovation in food ordering: an app that orders a pizza with "zero clicks."
The process isn't quite hassle-free. To order a pizza with "zero clicks," a customer must first download the app, connect it to their Domino's profile, and set an "Easy Order" option — you know, the go-to pizza you'd order regularly enough...
|Facebook Adds a Dedicated Video Tab as Part of Major Redesign|
Last year, live video transformed from a dull commodity into a mainstream phenomenon, led by Snapchat, Meerkat, and Twitter’s acquisition of Periscope. But perhaps no company has embraced live video with the aggression of Facebook, where CEO Mark Zuckerberg is said to be "obsessed" with its potential. After introducing the ability to broadcast live to all users...
|Facebook Begins Using Artificial Intelligence to Describe Photos to Blind Users|
Ask a member of Facebook’s growth team what feature played the biggest role in getting the company to a billion daily users, and they’ll likely tell you it was photos. The endless stream of pictures, which users have been able to upload since 2005, a year after Facebook’s launch, makes the social network irresistible to a global audience. It’s difficult to imagine Facebook without photos.
|No, Really, Google Photos Now Has Emoji Search|
Yes, we know what day it is, but really: Google Photos now lets you search using emoji. Try it yourself. The company announced the news in a blog post on Google+ last night, explaining (in emoji also) that sometimes "searching with a full word just doesn't cut it," and you need to use little tiny pictures instead.
The search uses the same image recognition skills Google Photos has had for a while now, but for some reason, searching with emoji does feels a little more impressive.
|Pandora Founder Tim Westergren Takes Over as CEO|
Pandora's founder Tim Westergren is taking over the reins at the streaming service, the company announced today. Westergren replaces former CEO Brian McAndrews effective immediately, as the company installs a new management structure. Chief strategy officer Sara Clemens will take over as COO, and CFO Mike Herring has added president to his role at the company.
|Netflix Admits to Throttling Video for AT&T and Verizon Customers|
After T-Mobile CEO John Legere accused his rivals of throttling Netflix video last week, the streaming video service came out and admitted it was slowing down its own streams, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.
|Facebook is Reportedly Testing a Tool for Detecting Profile Imposters|
In a move to curb harassment on the service, Facebook is testing a tool that alerts users when their name and profile picture are being used on a new account, Mashable reports. The company says it started testing the feature in November and has since set it live for 75 percent of accounts.
According to Mashable, when the company detects a duplicate account...
|Google is Making a Keyboard for the iPhone|
Google has been developing a third-party keyboard for iOS that would put the company’s search engine in a highly used part of the interface, The Verge has learned. The keyboard, which incorporates a variety of search options, has been in development for months, according to people familiar with the matter. It’s unclear whether or when Google plans to release it.
|This is How You Play Facebook Messenger's Secret Basketball Minigame|
Good news for people with boring friends — Facebook has once again hidden a minigame inside its Messenger app, this time to celebrate college basketball's March Madness tournament. To play, make sure you have the latest version of Facebook Messenger, then simply send a friend the basketball emoji.
|In the Future, All of Our Selfies Will be Perfect|
People in China are paying $1,000 for a selfie camera that captures their “true beauty." Quartz ran an article about it this week, and it’s pretty fascinating. The camera is officially known as the Casio Exilim EX-TR70, but in China, it’s more commonly referred to as zipai shenqi, or “the magical weapon for ultimate selfies.”
|Amazon's First Live Show Debuts Online Tonight|
Amazon is launching its first live online show today, and it will be available for free to all users. The show, called Style Code Live, is a 30-minute, daily fashion and beauty program that will be streamed Monday through Friday at 9PM ET. As first reported by Variety, the show will be hosted by Lyndsey Rodrigues, Rachel Smith, and Frankie Grande, in addition to a rotation of special guests.