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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

Facebook updates its video guidelines to promote original content, loyal and engaged viewership

Facebook today announced a series of changes to the way it ranks videos on its social network, which determines how widely they’re distributed. According to the updated guidelines, Facebook will now prioritize videos that focus on original content, those where users are engaged for longer periods of time and those where users return repeatedly to watch more.

The company wants to feature more high-quality videos, and less of those that feature “unoriginal or repurposed content” from other sources where there’s been little value added, it says. That seems to imply a bit of crackdown on the prolific video memes — those that lift someone else’s content (sometimes without proper credit) and then publish it to their own Page to cash in.

Facebook says it’s also now going to demote videos from Pages that are involved in Sharing Schemes. These are programs run by unethical content mills that compensate other Page owners for posting content and running ads to promote it.

In addition, Facebook will reward videos that have a more engaged and loyal fan base.

Before, Facebook encouraged video creators to keep their viewers watching for at least a minute. Going forward, it will actively add more weight in rankings to those videos where viewers watch for at least three minutes.

And it will reward videos where viewers repeatedly return to watch week after week.

The goal with the changes is to promote those videos that people value, the company says, while also helping great video creators reach more people across the social network by way of improved distribution.

The changes come at a time when Facebook’s video effort, Facebook Watch, is facing increased competition for viewers’ time and interest from a range of players, including Apple’s streaming service Apple TV+, as well as number of places to watch free, ad-supported content, like The Roku Channel or Amazon’s IMDb, for example, in addition to, of course, YouTube. And soon, the highly anticipated streaming service from Disney will eat into more of viewers’ time, too.

Facebook Watch has also been dinged for featuring low-quality content compared to newcomers like Apple TV+, which has signed big-name talent like Spielberg, Witherspoon and Oprah. Meanwhile, Facebook Watch has focused on things like MTV’s “The Real World” or “Buffy” re-runs in terms of its “premium” content.

With YouTube recently promising its own original content will become free and ad-supported in time, Facebook needed to keep up by making its own video site less meme-filled and more engaging than before. That can only happen if it promotes videos when they meet certain quality thresholds — which is what these guidelines aim to address.


Source: TechCrunch

Where top VCs are investing in media, entertainment & gaming

Most of the strategy discussions and news coverage in the media and entertainment industry is concerned with the unfolding corporate mega-mergers and the political implications of social media platforms.

These are important conversations, but they’re largely a story of twentieth-century media (and broader society) finally responding to the dominance Web 2.0 companies have achieved.

To entrepreneurs and VCs, the more pressing focus is on what the next generation of companies to transform entertainment will look like. Like other sectors, the underlying force is advances in artificial intelligence and computing power.

In this context, that results in a merging of gaming and linear storytelling into new interactive media. To highlight the opportunities here, I asked nine top VCs to share where they are putting their money.

Here are the media investment theses of: Cyan Banister (Founders Fund), Alex Taussig (Lightspeed), Matt Hartman (betaworks), Stephanie Zhan (Sequoia), Jordan Fudge (Sinai), Christian Dorffer (Sweet Capital), Charles Hudson (Precursor), MG Siegler (GV), and Eric Hippeau (Lerer Hippeau).

Cyan Banister, Partner at Founders Fund

In 2018 I was obsessed with the idea of how you can bring AI and entertainment together. Having made early investments in Brud, A.I. Foundation, Artie and Fable, it became clear that the missing piece behind most AR experiences was a lack of memory.

Google refreshes Android Auto with new features and a darker look

Android Auto — the in-car platform that brings the look and functions of a smartphone to the vehicle’s central screen — is getting a new look and improved navigation and communication features that will roll out this summer.

The improvements and new look were revealed Monday during Google I/O 2019, the annual developer conference.

The most noticeable change might be the overall look of Android Auto. It now has a dark theme, new fonts and color accents designed to make it easier for drivers to quickly and more easily see the content on the car’s central screen.

The new version of Android Auto has also improved its notifications. Drivers can choose to view, listen and respond to messages and calls more easily.

Engineers have updated the software to make it more seamless. The system, if properly enabled, would pop up on the car’s screen once the vehicle was turned on. However, the user would still have to restart their media or navigation option. Now, Android Auto will continue playing the media and navigation app of the driver’s choice. Drivers can tap on a suggested location or say “Hey Google” to navigate to a new place.

The navigation bar on Android Auto has changed, as well. Drivers will be able to see their turn-by-turn directions and control apps and phone on the same screen.

Finally, the platform has been adjusted so it will fit various sized-screens. Android Auto now maximizes the in-car display to show more information, like next-turn directions, playback controls and ongoing calls.

Android Auto is not an operating system. It’s a secondary interface — or HMI layer — that sits on top of an operating system. Google released Android Auto in 2015. Rival Apple introduced its own in-car platform, Apple CarPlay, that same year.

Automakers that wanted to give consumers a better in-car experience without giving Google or Apple total access quickly adopted the platform. Even some holdouts, such as Toyota, have come around. Today, Android Auto is available in more than 500 car models from 50 different brands, according to Android Auto product manager Rod Lopez.

Google has since developed an operating system called Android Automotive OS that’s modeled after its open-source mobile operating system that runs on Linux. Instead of running smartphones and tablets, Google modified it so it could be used in cars. Polestar, Volvo’s standalone performance electric car brand, is going to produce a new vehicle, the Polestar 2, that has an infotainment system powered by Android Automotive OS.


Source: TechCrunch

'Avengers: Endgame' Might Surpass 'Avatar' at the Box Office

Also, ‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’ has a new trailer. Watch it here.
Source: Wired

Everything announced at Microsoft Build 2019, from Edge to Azure

If you’re excited about what Microosft has in store for everyone over the next few years, checking out its keynote at the annual build show is a great way to do it. Here’s everything Microsoft announced during Build 2019.

The post Everything announced at Microsoft Build 2019, from Edge to Azure appeared first on Digital Trends.


Source: Digital trends

The 'Game of Thrones' Starbucks Cup: What's Inside?

One quadruple latte for Tormund in a horn to go, please.
Source: Wired

AMD’s next-gen Navi graphics cards may offer RTX 2070-like performance for $330

New rumors about AMD’s upcoming Navi graphics cards suggest the top-end version could offer credible competition for Nvidia’s RTX 2070 and they might do it at just shy of half the price.

The post AMD’s next-gen Navi graphics cards may offer RTX 2070-like performance for $330 appeared first on Digital Trends.


Source: Digital trends

Save $50 on the Apple Watch Series 4 – CNET

Get the latest model for less.
Source: CNET

Tim Cook: Apple bought 20 to 25 companies in the past six months – CNET

Apple’s CEO tells CNBC that his company has been rapidly, yet quietly, making acquisitions.
Source: CNET

Microsoft aims to modernize and secure voting with ElectionGuard

When it comes to voting, we’ve come a long way from dropping pebbles into an amphora, but still not nearly far enough, if the lack of confidence in our election systems is any indication. Microsoft is the first major tech company to take on this problem with a new platform it calls ElectionGuard that promises to make elections more secure and transparent — and yes, it’s free and open source.

Set to be made available this summer and piloted during the 2020 elections, ElectionGuard is not a complete voting machine, but rather a platform for handling voting data that can either empower existing systems or have new ones built on top of it. It’s part of the Defending Democracy Program and sister product to the similarly-named NewsGuard and AccountGuard, which appeared last year.

The basic idea is to let voters track their votes securely and privately, while also allowing authorities to tabulate, store, and if necessary audit them. As Microsoft puts it:

ElectionGuard provides a complete implementation of end-to-end verifiable elections. It is designed to
work with systems that use paper ballots, supplementing today’s tabulation process by providing a
means of public verification of the accuracy of reported results.

The platform would sit underneath existing voting systems, and when a voter casts their ballot, the data would be entered in the ordinary fashion in a state’s election systems but also in ElectionGuard. The voter would then be given a tracking code that lets them see that their vote has been, say, recorded locally at the correct polling place, or perhaps that it has been sent on to state authorities for auditing.

Meanwhile the ElectionGuard databases are securely recording all votes and tabulating them, a process that would happen in parallel with existing tabulation processes. In the case of an audit, random ballots could be selected from the database and compared with paper ballots, providing a quick way to see if, for example, a machine error in one district was throwing off results.

Importantly, this is all accomplished without Microsoft, or whoever is actually administrating the ElectionGuard system, knowing how any individual voted. This is done, the company explained, via a cryptographic technique known as homomorphic encryption. Basically it allows a system to perform mathematical operations on encrypted data without decrypting it, making interference or exfiltration of that sensitive data next to impossible.

In this case every vote is trackable only by the individual who made it, but the system is limited to adding up encrypted votes and reporting those sums.

Ultimately ElectionGuard aims to be a full voting solution, but one that can be customized and run on any number of actual devices — just like the rest of Microsoft’s software.

When it’s time to vote, ElectionGuard supports the use of standard tablets and PCs running a variety of operating systems as a ballot marking device, which can be used to create an interface that looks and feels like modern applications people interact with every day on their phones and tablets.

Here’s hoping ease of deployment and a modern code base will end for good the reign of aged and insecure voting machines that can be hacked with a USB key. Microsoft is also working with election tech suppliers to bring ElectionGuard into existing product lines or build new ones.

The company worked together with Galois to develop ElectionGuard, a company that has been working on election security for years and recently received a $10 million grant from DARPA to pursue secure voting hardware.

It will no doubt take some tinkering, but it’s good to see a major tech company making a credible and comprehensive bid to fix an elections process that is technologically compromised on multiple fronts. Tech can’t fix politics, but it can sure build a better way to vote.


Source: TechCrunch

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