Tech

Instagram’s next cash cow: instant Promote ads for Stories
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Instagram hopes dollars from the long-tail of small businesses and social media stars can help it pull its weight in the Facebook family. A new ad type called “Promote” for Stories allows Instagram business pages to show their ephemeral slideshows to more users without doing much work. Admins can choose to auto-target users similar to their followers, people in a certain location, or use all of Instagram’s targeting parameters to inject their Story into the Stories queue of more users as an ad that can also link to business’ Instagram profile or website. Facebook confirms to TechCrunch that Promote for Stories works similarly to Facebook’s Boost option that lets them pay to instantly show their feed posts to more users. “I can confirm that we are testing this feature globally [...]
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Walmart adds an AR scanner to its iOS app for product comparisons
techcrunch.com
Walmart is giving augmented reality a shot. The retailer today announced the launch of a new AR scanning tool in its iPhone application which will help customers with product comparisons. However, unlike a typical barcode scanner meant only to compare prices on one item at a time, Walmart’s AR scanner can be panned about across store shelves, offering details on pricing and customer ratings beneath the products it sees. The technology was first developed by a team at an internal Walmart hackathon using Apple’s ARKit technology. At the time, their idea was to create a scanning experience that worked faster and felt faster when used by customers. They also wanted to build a scanner that offered more than just price comparisons. “Walmart store shoppers love using our mobile [...]
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Twitter tests homescreen button to easily switch to reverse chronological
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Twitter is digging one of its most important new features out of its settings and putting it within easy reach. Twitter is now testing with a small number of iOS users a homescreen button that lets you instantly switch from its algorithmic timeline that shows the best tweets first but out of order to the old reverse chronological feed that only shows people you follow — no tweets liked by friends or other randomness. Sometimes you want to see the latest Tweets, first. We’re testing a way for you to make it easier to switch your timeline between the latest and top Tweets. Starting today, a small number of you will see this test on iOS. pic.twitter.com/7NHLDUjrIv — Twitter (@Twitter) October 31, 2018 Twitter had previously buried this option in its settings. In mid-Septembe [...]
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Scared to trade stocks? Titan algorithmically invests for you
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Titan could put an end to stock market FOMO. The app chooses the best 20 stocks by scraping top hedge fund data, adds some shorts based on your personal risk profile and puts your money to work. No worrying about market fluctuations or constantly rebalancing your portfolio. You don’t have to do anything, but can get smarter about stocks thanks to its in-app explanations and research reports. Titan wants to be the easiest way to invest in stocks for a mobile generation that wants an affordable coach to guide them through the market themselves. “Our goal is to take things that aren’t accessible [in wealth management] and make them accessible, starting with hedge funds,” says Titan co-founder Joe Percoco. That potential to democratize one of the keys to financial mob [...]
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Zuckerberg says the future is sharing via 100B messages & 1B Stories/day
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The News Feed won’t sustain Facebook forever, and that’s scaring investors. Today on Facebook’s earnings call, Mark Zuckerberg stressed that sharing is shifting to private chat, where people send 100 billion messages per day on Facebook’s family of apps, and Stories, where he says people share 1 billion of these slideshows per day (though it’s unclear if that includes third-party apps like Snapchat). But that means Facebook will have to realign its business towards these mediums where monetization is more complex and it has less experience. The result of Zuckerberg’s comments was a reversal of Facebook’s initial 2 percent share price gain after earnings were announced that dragged it down to a 3.5 percent loss. That was only reversed when Zuckerb [...]
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iHeartRadio is coming to Mexico
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iHeartMedia announced today that its streaming radio app iHeartRadio is coming to Mexico. In fact, a beta version of the app is already live, with plans for an official launch on November 3. As part of this launch, the company is partnering with Mexican broadcaster Grupo ACIR, which owns the Amor, Mix and La Comadre radio brands. iHeartRadio México will include all 56 Grupo ACIR and 850 iHeartMedia broadcast radio stations. The app will also offer digital-only stations from both companies, as well as English- and Spanish-language podcasts. (iHeartMedia is getting more serious about podcasts, as indicated by its recent acquisition of the parent company behind HowStuffWorks.) The launch is timed to coincide with iHeartRadio Fiesta Latina in Miami, and the broadcasters are promoting the pa [...]
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YC-backed Observant uses the iPhone’s infrared depth sensors to analyze user emotions
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Observant has found a new way to use the fancy infrared depth sensors included on the iPhone X, XS and XR: analyzing people’s facial expression in order to understand how they’re responding to a product or a piece of content. Observant was part of the winter batch of startups at accelerator Y Combinator, but was still in stealth mode on Demo Day. It was created by the same company behind bug-reporting product Buglife, and CEO Dave Schukin said his team created it because they wanted to find better ways to capture user reactions. We’ve written about other startups that try to do something similar using webcams and eye tracking, but Schukin (who co-founded the company with CTO Daniel DeCovnick) argued that those approaches are less accurate than Observant’s — in p [...]
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Italian consumer watchdog hands down €15M in fines to Apple and Samsung for slowing devices
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Italy’s Autorità garante della concorrenza e del mercato, roughly equivalent to this America’s FTC, has fined Apple and Samsung a total of $15 million for the companies’ practice of forcing updates on consumers that may slow or break their devices. The amount may be a drop in the bucket, but it’s a signal that governments won’t always let this type of behavior fly. The “unfair commercial practices” are described by the AGCM as follows: The two companies have induced consumers – by insistently proposing to proceed with the download and also because of the significant information asymmetry of consumers vis-a-vis the producers – to install software updates that are not adequately supported by their devices, without adequately informing them, nor [...]
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