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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

Reddit brings autoplay native video ads to desktop and mobile

The advertising-lite days of Reddit are now firmly in the rear-view as the rapidly maturing company begins to seriously chase advertising revenues in users’ feeds. Today, Reddit has announced that it is rolling out autoplaying video ads across the site on mobile and desktop.

Reddit is looking to tread as carefully as they can as the company begins to quickly scale its ad products; its vocal user base has often proven resistant to sweeping changes. Users will be able to turn off autoplay on video ads in their main feed. Additionally, for the time being, video ads will only be served to users that are utilizing the expanded card display type, which is the default of three new modes in Reddit’s latest mobile and desktop redesign.

These are also just for standalone ad campaigns at the moment; this rollout will not add pre-roll ads to videos that users click on. Additionally, video ads will be available to managed advertising partners first with all partners gaining access in the next month or so.

The popular site, which currently reports 330 million monthly active users, has remained relatively unchanged for much of the first half of this decade, but over the past of couple years has accelerated its product growth with a redesign of its mobile apps and desktop site, a move to host images on video natively and, more recently, a major push to integrate native advertising.

“We have an opportunity to business-build,” Reddit VP of Brand Partnerships Zubair Jandali told TechCrunch. “Reddit has remarkable product-market fit on the consumer side and we’ve not layered a business on top of it. There aren’t a lot of opportunities that tend to come around like that.”

The video ads business will be built onto the company’s native video product, which only recently came to exist. The company’s history with external sites like Imgur and YouTube hosting its linked content has been long, but this past August the company launched its own native video platform, which the company says has continued to excel, with native video views growing 23 percent month-over-month.

Autoplaying video ads are a major progression for a site that only rolled out native ads to its mobile apps a couple of months ago. Reddit has been making some big sweeping changes to its site, but by delivering a lot of new utility to users alongside new changes to its advertising platform, things seem to be progressing more smoothly than many would’ve expected. We’ll see if that continues.


Source: TechCrunch

This Bubble Artisan Might Blow Up, But She Won't Go Pop

Melody Yang knows that bubbles are a lot like us—they need water, air, and a loving touch in order to thrive.
Source: Wired

Scooter startup Bird is reportedly about to hit a $2B valuation

More financing is coming in for Bird, this time potentially valuing the company at $2 billion, according to a new report by Axios.

There’s not a ton to add here compared to the last round (which happened just weeks ago), as the same dynamics are probably in play here. While Uber was a bet on car rides and generally getting around, Bird is that but at a dramatically more granular level — thinking short hops of a few miles in congested areas. Startups that are exceedingly hot can sometimes pull off these rolling rounds where investors are coming in at various points, especially as the model further proves out over time.

If you live in a major metropolitan area, you’ve probably seen Bird (and Lime) scooters hanging out on the sidewalks — potentially knocked over in a spot where someone might trip over them while checking his or her phone. That’s been a point of tension in areas like San Francisco, where Bird has had to temporarily come off the sidewalks as a permit system rolls out. Bird isn’t the first mobility-focused service that has faced regulatory challenges before, but it is one that’s become very popular very quickly.

This too, as Axios notes, could be an easy play to get into a hot market that a major ridesharing company could want to buy its way into. Uber acquired Jump, an on-demand bike service, in the midst of its own financing round. While bikes don’t seem to be getting quite the hype that scooters are, Lyft is also planning to acquire Motivate, an on-demand biking network.

Bird just weeks ago raised $150 million at a $1 billion valuation, while Lime raised an additional $250 million. Bird was valued at $300 million in a financing round earlier this year.


Source: TechCrunch

Marvel's Luke Cage season 2 trailer teases a mean queen – CNET

Will she rule Harlem?
Source: CNET

Amino raises $45M for to bring fan communities to smartphones

Amino has raised a big Series C round of funding — $45 million from GV, Venrock, Union Square Ventures, Goodwater Capital and Time Warner Investments, with Hearst Ventures joining as a new investor.

Co-founder and CEO Ben Anderson has described Amino as an way to help people who have “passionate niche interests” find others who feel the same way, via smartphone apps.

The company started out with apps focused a handful of topics like K-pop, anime and Doctor Who, but it later added the ability for anyone to launch a new community in the main Amino app, and there are now more than 2.5 million communities.

Of course, some of these communities are more active than others, and there’s some overlap between them — but Max Sebela, who’s general manager for Amino’s English-language apps, said there’s less than you might think, because “each interest is actually a universe of micro interest.” For example, there might be one community focused on sharing strategy and tactics around the video game Overwatch, while another might revolve around sharing Overwatch fan art.

Ultimately, Sebela said it’s up to the founders and leaders of each community to decide what the community wants to focus on, and which product features they want to use to enable that. Meanwhile, Anderson said Amino is constantly tweaking its algorithms to make sure it’s surfacing the best communities for each user.

“Instead of one big, blue ocean, we provide a million lakes and help you find the exact right one,” he added.

Amino Voice Chats

Perhaps even more impressive than the number of communities is the amount of time the average user spends in Amino — more than 70 minutes per day.

One of the initial inspirations for the startup was a real-world anime convention, and Amino getting closer to that experience with the addition of features like live voice and video chat, as well as the screening room, where you can watch videos with other users.

During our conversation, Sebela opened up one of the K-Pop communities on his phone and was quickly able to listen in on a chat room where multiple users were singing along together. (Sadly, we didn’t join the singing.)

“The technology not super unique,” Anderson acknowledged. “What makes it really special is, I can voice chat with my friends on a lot of idfferent networks, but here I can hop in and join a voice chat with 10 Harry Potter fans who I may not know in my real life.”

While these features are already live, Anderson said they’ve been “downplayed” while Amino tests them out and works out the kinks. Now it’s ready to put them “front-and-center” in the app.

Amino has now raised more than $70 million in total funding.

It’s also been testing out ways to make money, which Anderson said will occur primarily through a subscription service — though apparently it’s too early for him to offer more details.


Source: TechCrunch

Tomb Raider, Just Cause 4, Kingdom Hearts 3: Everything Square Enix is showing at E3 2018 – CNET

No Final Fantasy 7 Remake, but plenty of Tomb Raider.
Source: CNET

2019 GMC Yukon Graphite Editions add style and performance – Roadshow

It’s a way to get the 6.2-liter V8 engine without upgrading to the glitzy Denali.
Source: CNET

Germany orders Mercedes to recall 774,000 diesel models – Roadshow

Government authorities are requiring Daimler to fix emissions controls on its vehicles, but the automaker will avoid fines if it does so.
Source: CNET

Google Home can now handle three queries at once

In November, Google Home gained the ability to multitask with added support for a feature called “multiple queries,” which allows you to combine two requests into one voice command. For example, “OK Google, turn up the volume and play music.” Now, Google Home is getting even smarter about multitasking by enabling support three requests at once.

The new feature was announced on Google’s @madebyGoogle Twitter account on Monday, where users quickly discovered its limitations. Unfortunately for Google’s global customer base, multiple queries is only available in the English language for the time being, in the U.S., U.K., Canada and Australia.

The feature works by combining voice queries with the word “and” in between them, to separate the different requests. Each command must also be the sort of thing Google Assistant can respond to on its own without further input or clarification.

That means you can’t ask it to just “set an alarm,” you’d have to say “set an alarm for 7 AM” so it doesn’t need to ask a follow-up question.

Multiple queries was first rolled out in November 2017, also with little fanfare.

But it’s not the only way Google Home can multitask. In February, Google Assistant gained support for Routines, as well, which allow you to create custom workflows kicked off with a single voice command.

For instance, your “I’m home” routine could turn on the lights, adjust the thermostat and play some music. (Alexa also offers routines, as of last October.)

Meanwhile, at Google’s I/O developer conference in May, the company formally announced multiple queries for Google Home (then referred to as “Multiple Actions”), along with a host of other upgrades for Google Home Actions. This included Routine Suggestions, which allow voice app developers to prompt users to add their app’s Action to a Routine, plus Action Notifications, which allows voice apps to alert users to new features and content, and more.

Google is not providing an ETA on when multiple queries will roll out to non-English users, saying only that: “We look forward to supporting additional languages, but have nothing to announce at this time.” 

h/t: Voicebot


Source: TechCrunch

AutoComplete: Byton unveils K-Byte autonomous sedan concept video – Roadshow

Plus: The IIHS crash-tests midsize SUVs with varying results, and Porsche launches its own electric charging service.
Source: CNET

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