Snapchat Introduces Spectacles Sunglasses With Video Cameras; Changes Name to Snap Inc.

By Saturday, September 24, 2016 0 Permalink 0

How did you spend your Friday night? Snapchat spent it changing its company name to Snap Inc. and introducing its Spectacles sunglasses with integrated video cameras.

Why the late-Friday-night announcement? A leaked video of Spectacles posted by Business Insider likely accelerated the process.

CEO Evan Spiegel broke the news to Seth Stevenson of The Wall Street Journal before the company shared it on its new blog.

Team Snap introduced Spectacles in a blog post:

We’ve been working for the past few years to develop a totally new type of camera. We call it Spectacles!

Imagine one of your favorite memories. What if you could go back and see that memory the way you experienced it? That’s why we built Spectacles.

Spectacles are sunglasses with an integrated video camera that makes it easy to create Memories.

We’ve created one of the smallest wireless video cameras in the world, capable of taking a day’s worth of Snaps on a single charge, and we integrated it seamlessly into a fun pair of sunglasses – available in three different colors!

Spectacles connect directly to Snapchat via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi and transfer your Memories directly into the application in our brand new circular video format.

Circular video plays full screen on any device, in any orientation, and captures the human perspective with a 115-degree field of view. We can’t wait for you to see it!

Spectacles will be available soon.

Stevenson reported after Spiegel’s demonstration of Spectacles that the camera records videos of up to 10 seconds “from your first-person vantage” after tapping the button located near the hinge, and each new tap of that button begins another recording. He added that the suggested retail price for Spectacles will be $129.99, and it will be available in black, teal or coral.

And Spiegel said in his interview with Stevenson:

We’re going to take a slow approach to rolling them out. It’s about us figuring out if it fits into people’s lives and seeing how they like it.

It’s not about an accumulation of photos defining who you are. It’s about instant expression and who you are right now. Internet-connected photography is really a reinvention of the camera. And what it does is allow you to share your experience of the world while also seeing everyone else’s experience of the world, everywhere, all the time.

He also described an early 2015 test of the prototype while hiking with his fiancée, Miranda Kerr:

It was our first vacation, and we went to Big Sur for a day or two. We were walking through the woods, stepping over logs, looking up at the beautiful trees. And when I got the footage back and watched it, I could see my own memory, through my own eyes—it was unbelievable. It’s one thing to see images of an experience you had, but it’s another thing to have an experience of the experience. It was the closest I’d ever come to feeling like I was there again.

Why the name change? Spiegel wrote in a blog post:

Today we are changing the name of our company to Snap Inc.

It has been five years since (co-founder Bobby Murphy) and I started working on Picaboo, the little app that became Snapchat – and we’ve been so lucky to build an incredible team that has continued to expand upon Snapchat and create products like Stories, Memories, Lenses and so much more!

When we were just getting started, it made sense to name our company Snapchat Inc., because Snapchat was our only product! Now that we are developing other products, like Spectacles, we need a name that goes beyond just one product – but doesn’t lose the familiarity and fun of our team and brand.

We decided to drop the “chat” and go with Snap Inc.!

Changing our name also has another benefit: When you search for our products it will be easier to find relevant product information rather than boring company information or financial analysis. You can search Snapchat or Spectacles for the fun stuff and leave Snap Inc. for the Wall Street crowd

We hope that this change will improve your experience with Snapchat and Spectacles and create a structure that allows us to continue making great new products for you and your friends!

Readers: What are your initial thoughts on Spectacles and Snapchat’s name change to Snap Inc.?

Snapchat is just ‘Snap’ now

By Saturday, September 24, 2016 0 Permalink 0

Snapchat is losing the “chat.”

The company has been renamed Snap Inc., the Wall Street Journal reported late Friday night. Cleaner, right?

SEE ALSO: Leaked video appears to show Snapchat’s long-rumored smart sunglasses

That’s not all: The company will also release video-recording sunglasses called Spectacles this fall. They contain a 115-degree-angle lens that will allow the wearer to record up to 30 seconds of video, a Snap Inc. representative told Mashable, and will cost $129.99. Supplies will be limited, and they’ll come in one-size-fits-all variants of black, teal or coral, the Journal said. Of course, you’ll be able to post your videos directly to the Snapchat app. Read more…

More about Social Media, Facebook, Spectacles, Evan Spiegel, and Snapchat

Sick of police violence, black woman gets millions of views painting herself white

By Saturday, September 24, 2016 0 Permalink 0

A black woman has filmed herself painting her body white as a protest against the recent police shootings in the United States. ;

Tashala Dangel Geyer, who’s from Daytona Beach, Florida, according to reports, filmed the 40-minute Facebook Live segment in her home Wednesday. Snippets have since been uploaded to YouTube and Instagram.

SEE ALSO: New video by Keith Scott’s wife shows his fatal encounter with police

During the clip, Geyer paints most of her body brilliant white using materials from Home Depot, while satirically advising other black people to do the same to ensure their own safety.

“This is the best shit I ever could have thought of, it’s saving my life,” she says at the start of one clip. “The Lord woke me up and sent me this sign,” she adds. Read more…

More about Facebook, Youtube, Police Shootings, Protest, and Us World

Facebook can’t run away the realities of video advertising anymore

By Friday, September 23, 2016 0 Permalink 0

Count down three seconds in your head. It goes fast, right? ;I bet you did it the “one-hippopotamus way.” That’s actually considerably more than 3 seconds. Ask Siri to set a 3-second timer and then try to read something on the web.

Exactly, it’s barely enough time for a sentence, including this one.

A couple of years ago, Facebook apparently set 3 seconds or less as the benchmark for actual video ad engagement. A choice that, on its face, seems rational, even preferable for media planners and advertisers. ;

SEE ALSO: Facebook overestimated video metrics for two years, report says

Anyone who spends under 3 seconds watching a Facebook video ad was, for the last couple of years, not factored into the social media giant’s average viewing time. ; Read more…

More about Ads, Facebook, and Tech

Here Are the Getty Images Instagram Grant Winners

By Friday, September 23, 2016 0 Permalink 0

The winners of the annual Getty Images Instagram Grant were revealed this week.

Each recipient will receive a $10,000 grant, and their work will exhibited at Photoville in New York through Sept. 25.

This year’s winners, with one example of their work, were:

Christian Rodriguez (@christian_foto), a documentary photographer from Uruguay, receives a grant for his project, Teen Mom, which depicts teen pregnancy in Latin America. Directly impacted by teenage motherhood, Christian hopes to raise awareness of the issue and highlight its impact on local communities.

Ronny Sen (@ronnysen, @whatdoestheendoftimelooklike), from India, receives a grant for his work documenting the fires that have burned for just over 100 years in mineral-rich Jharia.

Girma Berta (@gboxcreative) resides in Addis Ababa and uses his iPhone to capture the vibrant color and grunge of street life in the capital of Ethiopia. Girma’s project, Moving Shadows, showcases local street scenes against backdrops of color.

Honorable mentions went to Daro Sulakauri (@darosulakauri) from The Republic of Georgia; Ako Salemi (@f64s125) from Tehran, Iran; and Andrew Quilty (@andrewquilty), an Australian photographer based in Afghanistan.

Two More Execs Pass Through Twitter’s Revolving Door

By Friday, September 23, 2016 0 Permalink 0

Twitter’s revolving door shows no signs of slowing, and the most recent employees to pass through it were head of broadcast TV partnerships Andrew Adashek and North American Moments curation team lead Marcus Mabry.

Darrell Etherington of TechCrunch reported that Mabry has joined CNN, while Adashek tweeted that he is “taking some time off (to) see what’s next.”

In other ex-Twitter executive news, Kirstine Stewart, who left her post as vice president of media for North American media partnerships in July, joined lifestyle and entertainment media company Diply as chief strategy officer, and she will lead expansion efforts with content creators and accelerate content and video distribution efforts.

Readers: Why the continued exodus from Twitter?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

YouTube Heroes Will Let Users Earn Rewards By Flagging Videos, More

By Friday, September 23, 2016 0 Permalink 0

YouTube introduced its YouTube Heroes program, which will allow “Hero” users to earn rewards by flagging inappropriate videos, adding captions and subtitles to videos and more.

To start, YouTube said the YouTube Heroes program is available to “a select group of contributors from across the globe who have histories of high-quality community contributions.” YouTube said it will add additional users to the program over time. Users who are interested in joining the program can express their interest in doing so here.

YouTube Heroes will have access to an exclusive YouTube Heroes community site, and they will be able to earn points by reporting videos that violate the site’s community guidelines, adding captions and subtitles to videos and answering questions on YouTube’s help forums. Depending on the user’s level in the program, they’ll receive access to different tools and rewards.

To be specific, Level 1 Heroes will be able to join the community and access the Heroes dashboard. Level 2 Heroes, meanwhile, will receive access to training through workshops and Hero hangouts. At Level 3, Heroes “who have demonstrated their proficiency” will receive the ability to flag multiple videos at a time and the ability to help moderate content within the YouTube Heroes community site.

Once Heroes reach Level 4, they’ll receive access to “sneak-preview product launches,” and will gain the ability to contact YouTube staff directly. Finally, Level 5 Heroes while be able to test products before they’re released and apply for the “Heroes Summit.”

Readers: What do you think of the YouTube Heroes program?

CBSN to Include Instagram Stories in Debate Coverage

By Friday, September 23, 2016 0 Permalink 0

Instagram Stories will make its live-coverage debut as part of a partnership between Instagram and CBSN.

CBS News’ 24/7 digital streaming service will feature curated Instagram Stories as part of its livestreaming coverage of the upcoming presidential and vice presidential debates, marking the first time the Facebook-owned photo- and video-sharing network’s recently introduced feature will be incorporated into live coverage.

CBSN said Instagram Stories will be curated by CBSN anchors and CBS News correspondents and contributors including Nancy Cordes, Vladimir Duthiers, Major Garrett, Reena Ninan, Will Rahn and Bob Schieffer, and those Stories will be integrated into its pre-debate and post-debate coverage for each event.

Real-time audience-engagement platform Connect Live from Telescope will also be used by CBSN to deliver Instagram Stories live on-air.

CBS News Digital senior vice president and general manager Christy Tanner said in a release detailing the partnership:

Throughout this campaign, CBSN has highlighted new voices on new screens to bring politics to life, making a partnership with Instagram, which focuses on stories, a natural fit.

Senior executive producer Nancy Lane added:

We’re looking forward to being the first network to use Instagram Stories to tell the debate story by engaging our audience in our coverage.

Readers: How do you plan to follow the debates?

Mobile Game Roundup: Primordia, Faily Rider and More

By Friday, September 23, 2016 0 Permalink 0

Are you looking for a new mobile game to play this weekend? There are lots of new options available for you to try, including Disney Princess: Charmed Adventures from Disney. The app allows users to play a variety of mini-games with Rapunzel, Ariel, Belle and Tiana.

If you’re looking for something different to play, here’s a look at some of the additional mobile games that were released this week.

Primordia ($4.99 on iOS) – This point-and-click adventure game from Wadjet Eye Games and Wormwood Studios takes players to a world inhabited only by robots. The game follows a robot named Horatio and his friend Crispin, who must travel to the city of Metropol to recover a stolen power core so they can repair their airship. Along the way, the pair will discover things that will change “their understanding of the world and their place in it, for better or worse.”

Love & Hip Hop: The Game (Free on iOS, Android) – This lifestyle simulation game from VH1, 345 Games, Monami Entertainment and Behaviour Interactive is based on reality TV show Love & Hip Hop, and it allows users to take on the role of an aspiring artist in New York. Users will be able to complete quests and timed missions as they work to become a celebrity. Over time, users will be able to purchase new clothing and accessories for their avatars, go on dates and more.

o:anquan (Free on iOS) – This number puzzle game from Pine Entertainment asks users to draw lines extending away from number tiles to “spread” each number into the surrounding empty tiles. For instance, a user can drag their finger away from a “six” tile to fill the original tile and five additional tiles with the number “one.” Users can also drag their finger away from the “six” tile to fill just the starting tile with a “one” and the second tile with a “five,” and so on. When two or more touching tiles contain the same number, the matching tiles are cleared and players receive points. Additional numbers are added to the board after every move, and games end when players run out of moves.

Wheel of Fortune Free Play (Free on iOS, Android) – This level-based word game from Scopely and Sony Pictures Television is based on television show Wheel of Fortune. In each level, users will compete against two opponents in an attempt to be the first to solve a puzzle. While the TV show allows the same player to continue spinning so long as they guess letters correctly, here, users can only take a single spin per turn. As users complete levels, they can earn collectibles and other prizes. In addition, the game includes events and a head-to-head multiplayer mode.

Where’s Monsieur Pug? (Free on iOS, Android) – This geolocation and augmented reality game from Frima Studio and the National Film Board of Canada is based on animated short Monsieur Pug from 2014. The game allows users to find pugs in the world around them, with pugs appearing on an in-game map representing the real-world. When a pug appears nearby, users can take a picture of the pug in augmented reality. Users can place their own double agent pugs in locations around them, and users can also find pugs hidden by other players. Over time, gamers can equip their pugs with accessory items.

Bbble (Free on iOS) – This trivia game from 1-800-N0th1ng allows users to answer video trivia questions that have been created by other players. Users can play solo games, or they can play against their Facebook friends or random opponents in multiplayer games. In each game, users watch videos which contain trivia questions, and they can select from multiple possible answers for each question. When a user answers a question incorrectly in a solo game, the game ends and they can start a new game. Meanwhile, in a multiplayer game, a user’s turn will end once they’ve answered three questions incorrectly. When users aren’t playing games, they can create their own questions by recording videos within the app.

Zombie Derby 2 (Free on Android) – This racing game from HeroCraft allows users to race over hills, ramps and more while killing zombies. The game contains eight upgradeable cars, including a zombie combine harvester.

Sorcery Part 4: The Crown of Kings ($4.99 on iOS, Android) – This narrative game from inkle is the final installment in a four-part series, which features the story of the Analander, a hero who is on a quest to recover the stolen Crown of Kings. In this installment, users will need to figure out how to break into the Citadel and confront the Archmage. While playing, users can make decisions that impact the way the rest of the story plays out.

Knights Fight: Medieval Arena (Free on iOS) – This medieval sword-fighting game from Shori Games allows users to fight against opponents in single-player levels and asynchronous multiplayer battles. The game also supports real-time multiplayer battles through a local multiplayer mode. In each battle, players can tap buttons to trigger a variety of attacks, and they can tap a shield button to shield their character from oncoming attacks. Users can upgrade their equipment over time.

60 Seconds! Atomic Adventure ($2.99 on iOS) – This survival game from Robot Gentleman takes players to the 1950s, and it gives users 60 seconds to race through a procedurally generated house collecting supplies they’ll need to survive in a bunker following the dropping of a nuclear bomb. Users must also collect their family members and take them into the bunker. Once the bomb falls, users will need to survive as long as possible in the bunker by rationing the supplies they gathered. Users will be able to make decisions as they play, which can include sending characters outside. To celebrate the game’s launch, 60 Seconds! Atomic Adventure is currently 25 percent off ($2.99). The launch sale ends Oct. 6.

Batman: The Telltale Series Episode One: Realm of Shadows ($4.99 on iOS) – This first of five episodes in a series from Telltale Games allows users to become Batman and make decisions that can have “far-reaching consequences.” The choices users make while playing can affect the way the rest of the story plays out.

Faily Rider (Free on iOS) – This endless survival game from Spunge Games is the sequel to Faily Brakes. The game challenges players to help Phil Faily survive while riding a motorbike down a hill. In each game, Phil’s bike will drive down the hill automatically, and players can tap buttons to steer left and right to avoid obstacles. Users can collect coins as they play, which can be spent on new bikes and new costumes for Phil.