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Inside Oculus and Black Eyed Peas’ VR comic book

Inside Oculus and Black Eyed Peas’ VR comic book “When people view VR, it’s an over-sensory experience like “What the fuck?!” will.i.am says, wildly spinning his around as you can see in the GIF below. That was the Black Eyed Peas’ frontman’s inspiration for creating a 90-minute VR comic book that moves at your pace and lets emotion sink in instead of battering you with visuals. Today, “Masters Of The Sun” debuts at Sundance Film Festival with the backing of Oculus before becoming available for Oculus mobile VR headsets. While…

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Facebook won’t retreat from Stories as it adds desktop posting

Facebook won’t retreat from Stories as it adds desktop posting Facebook Stories might feel redundant since 300 million people use its other Snapchat clones on Instagram and WhatsApp. But Facebook is convinced that the narrative, ephemeral, camera-first format is the future of sharing…and advertising. So despite criticism and a slow start for traction, Facebook is doubling down on Stories by testing the ability to create them from desktop, and a much more prominent placement for viewing Stories atop the News Feed instead of in the sidebar. “We are always working…

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Giphy builds transparent GIF library for Instagram Stories

Giphy builds transparent GIF library for Instagram Stories Instagram now lets some users slap background-less GIFs sourced from Giphy onto their Instagram Stories. Rolling out for wider testing with a Giphy-branded design, the new GIF sticker engine could further differentiate Instagram Stories from Snapchat, which has yet to embrace the animation trend. It appears that Giphy has worked with Instagram to create a special search engine for a library of GIFs designed to be overlaid over photos and videos rather than being shared by themselves. The backgrounds and transparent bits…

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Facebook “Watch Party” lets Groups view videos simultaneously

Facebook “Watch Party” lets Groups view videos simultaneously Facebook’s turning its push for well-being through active, not passive, content consumption into a feature with its new test of “Watch Party”. It allows Group admins pick any public video on Facebook and show it to their members at the same time with a dedicated comment reel to create a “shared viewing experience”. Live videos on Facebook generate six times more discussion, and Watch Party could bring that to recorded videos, but with a more intimate vibe since your comments won’t get…

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Bloated Facebook Messenger promises to simplify in 2018

Bloated Facebook Messenger promises to simplify in 2018 “The app became too cluttered” Facebook’s head of Messenger David Marcus announced today in a post of plans for 2018 including “massively simplifying and streamlining Messenger this year.” Between Messenger Day/Stories, its Snapchatty augmented reality camera, a bot Discover section, games, and more, Facebook had to build artificial intelligence “M Suggestions” just to remind people all the features it has crammed in the app. Marcus is right — Messenger has strayed from its value of being an easy way to chat with…

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Snapchat’s big redesign bashed in 83% of user reviews

Snapchat’s big redesign bashed in 83% of user reviews Confusingly jamming Stories in between private messages has sparked backlash amongst the first users of Snapchat’s sweeping redesign. In the few countries including the U.K., Australia, and Canada where the redesign is widely available, 83 percent of App Store reviews (1,941) for the update are negative with one or two stars, according to data provided to TechCrunch by mobile analytics firm Sensor Tower. Just 17 percent, or 391 of the reviews, give it three to five stars. The most referenced keywords…

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Facebook reranks feed to favor well-being/discussion, not time spent/publishers

Facebook reranks feed to favor well-being/discussion, not time spent/publishers Facebook is making a huge change to its News Feed algorithm to prioritize friends and posts that spark comments between them at the expense of public content, news outlets, and importantly, the total time spent and ads you see on the social network. CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote on Facebook today, “I’m changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.” VP of News Feed Adam Mosseri…

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What is Snapchat, now Story sharing has stopped growing?

What is Snapchat, now Story sharing has stopped growing? In a betrayal of loyalty signaling poor morale, a massive dump of Snapchat’s usage stats has leaked. The most worrisome is that the number of users posting Stories has shown zero growth, an even worse performance than Snapchat’s total user growth that was sluggish this year. It appears Instagram’s Stories clone has stopped Snapchat’s most monetizable feature dead in its tracks. This explains why Snapchat’s redesign moves friends Stories into the chat inbox, since visual messaging on the app is growing…

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Facebook’s “comment a memory” meme should replace “HBD!”

Facebook’s “comment a memory” meme should replace “HBD!” I find it truly sad the way Facebook has led us to reduce wishing friends a happy birthday to a meaningless, generic chore. It’s not Facebook’s fault. It gives us an open-ended comment box. But our laziness and sense of social obligation unfurl as a pile of “Happy Birthday!” or even “HBD!” wall posts. I’ve been bashing this emergent behavior since 2011. It’s one of the reasons people feel like Facebook is destroying the meaning of friendship. Some go so far as…

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Inside “Fin”, the elite human/AI assistant

Inside “Fin”, the elite human/AI assistant “I have FOMO for the future”, says Sam Lessin. That’s why his startup Fin is working backwards from a far-off tech utopia. One day, computers with some human help will answer our every beck and call. Today, Lessin is teaming them up. Every day, Fin gets smarter. For $1 a minute, 24/7, Fin gets your digital chores done. Message, email, or speak a request and a real person will snap into action, augmented by a machine intelligence toolkit built from all the tasks Fin’s…

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