Home Archives for August 2018

Month: August 2018

Facebook Rolls Out ‘Watch’ Video Service Globally

by Cinideep Sasikumar Cinideep Sasikumar No Comments

Facebook is rolling out its Watch video service globally one year after it launched in the United States with original entertainment news and sports content to compete with platforms like Alphabet’s YouTube.

Facebook’s Head of Video Fidji Simo said Watch was gaining real momentum in a crowded marketplace because it was built on the notion that watching videos could be a social activity.

“Every month more than 50 million people in the US come to watch videos for at least a minute on Watch, and total time spent watching video on Facebook Watch has increased by 14 times since the start of 2018,” she told reporters.

“With Watch … you can have a two-way conversation about the content with friends, other fans or even the creatives themselves.”

Facebook said eligible creators would be able to make money from their videos using its Ad Breaks service in Britain, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand as well as the United States from Thursday, with many more countries set to follow.

Simo said publishers were making “meaningful revenues” from its automated video advertising system on the platform, which has featured shows such as beauty mogul Huda Kattan’s “Huda Boss” and live “Major League Baseball” games.

“We know it’s been a long road but we’ve worked hard to ensure that the Ad Breaks experience is a good one for both our partners and our community,” she said.

Ad revenue will be split 55 percent for the content creator and 45 percent for Facebook, the same ratio as in the United States, Simo said.

Publishers need to have created three-minute videos that have generated more than 30,000 one-minute views in total over the past two months and must have 10,000 followers to participate in Ad Breaks, Facebook said.

Simo said Facebook was working on a variety of other options for creators to make money, such as branded content and the ability for fans to directly support their favourite creators through subscriptions.

“(Fan subscription) is something that is rolled out to a few creators now, but we are planning on expanding that program soon,” she said.

New Music-Focused AI Can Guess Your Tastes & Habits

by Cinideep Sasikumar Cinideep Sasikumar No Comments

A new AI program created by computer scientist Bruce Ferwerda of Switzerland’s Jönköping University and marketer Mark Graus from The Netherlands’ Maastricht University is supposedly able to figure out a person’s “musical sophistication” by checking out their Spotify. The AI looks to a number of metrics concerning a person’s music listening habits to determine their musical sophistication score, most notably what tracks they listen to and how often they do so. Based on this, the AI can tell how varied a person’s tastes are and even how likely they are to engage in “musical” behaviors, such as listening to a wide variety of different music or even exhibiting musical talent themselves.

The study that helped create and train the program centered on 61 participants. Between all of their top tracks on Spotify, the AI was given a list of 21,080 pieces of music to analyze. The tracks were analyzed using various Spotify API plugins, looking for things like valence, beats per minute, danceability, and how much of the tracks were instrumental, among other metrics.The participants were then surveyed about their music tastes and habits to create a profile for each of them that detailed things like how much they spent on music, from albums to instruments, along with their emotional responses to music and how often they could be found listening. All of this data was enough to classify the participants and create a scale of “musical sophistication”. The higher somebody’s score was, the more likely they were to be deeply involved in music. The most sophisticated individuals were those with extremely wide-ranging tastes who created music as well as consumed it.

The practical use cases of such an AI are many; it could be used to vet music school students, to help cater music playlists and discovery algorithms on music services for listeners, and even to help train the presumably more human-like AI of the future in how they should “feel” about music, just to name a few possible uses. As to real-world examples, Google already has a musical AI project known as Magenta, which serves as a baseline for music-focused projects to build from. Something like this could greatly expand the knowledge base and training data set of an AI like Magenta.

If your eyes or hands are busy? It’s okay, Now you can listen the news.

by Cinideep Sasikumar Cinideep Sasikumar No Comments

Back at Google I/O, Google launched the new Google News to help you keep up with the news that matters to you. Since then, millions of you have turned to Google News to follow the big stories of the day, subscribe to your favorite local and national publishers, and dig into topics and people you care about.


But there are moments in the day when you want to catch up on the news while your eyes or hands are busy. Maybe you’re listening to a podcast as you walk to work or catching up on what’s happening while driving to pick up the kids. We are beginning to bring the best of Google News to devices with the Google Assistant so that you can stay up to date wherever you are.


Last week, in the U.S., Lenovo launched the first of many Smart Displays with the Google Assistant. Smart Displays help you get more done with a glanceable touch screen and offer video or audio news briefings to catch you up on headlines, sports, politics, and more. You can choose your preferred news sources from hundreds of national and local broadcasters including CNBC, CNN, Cheddar and more. Just ask, “Hey Google, what’s the news?”

When you want to go deeper or learn more about a specific topic, ask the Assistant: “What’s the news on the women’s national soccer team?” or “What’s the latest on NASA?” The Google Assistant will find relevant videos from YouTube to play on your Smart Display, and on Assistant speakers like Google Home, it will read out excerpts from news articles from a growing list of publishers.

And whether you’re at home or on the go, the Assistant is there to help you stay informed. All these features are available today on Android phones and will soon be coming to Android Auto and Assistant-enabled headphones (including Google Pixel Buds).

Right now, these updates are coming to devices with the Google Assistant in the U.S. Google plan to learn from the U.S. launches and then expand further, so stay tuned for more as google grow the news on the Google Assistant community globally.


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