One of the most interesting product demos on display at Google I/O this year was a virtual sky diving simulation built using eight separate computers running Chrome, along with a Kinect-like motion sensor made by ASUS called the Xtion Pro. The Maps Dive experiment was created by Portland-based independent digital agency Instrument.
Developer Ben Purdy explained that they built the impressive tech demo to show what’s now possible with Chrome and how it can be used to create an amazingly rendered multi-display experience that looks like you’d expect it to be powered by current-gen gaming hardware instead of just a loose assortment of lightweight Linux-based computers running the kind of code that web developers are already comfortable with.
Maps Dive provided an experience that seemed at least as accurate and sensitive as your typical Kinect game. Purdy said that it’s really just an early example of things that could be built with the computers we already have, as well as mobile devices. Considering how far Chrome already reaches, imagining this type of experience running on even low-cost Chromebooks and Android tablets does open up a lot of possibilities.
Dhingana is stepping up its efforts to monetize its streaming service for Indian music after it introduced video-roll advertising, initially for its iOS app only.
The company — which has offices in Pune, India, and Sunnyvale, California – launched its advertising platform in August 2012 and it also offer a paid-for subscription for those who prefer an ad-free experience. The company says that its new ‘Premium Video Advertising’ feature is targeted at brands looking to reach its music-loving users with “TV quality commercials”.
Companies are now able to run 10-30 second pre- or post-roll clips that are integrated into the app, taking the place of album cover art or anything else that is on-screen. Since Dhingana provides only audio, the ads are displayed when there is a pause in a user’s activity, meaning that they are likely to come into contact with the device’s screen.
That is designed to keep the listening experience unaffected, CEO Rohit Bhatia explains:
Video is one of the best forms of advertising, delivering two-to-four times higher performance over regular display banner ads on mobile devices. Our video ads are carefully integrated to be shown when the user is already engaged with our music for several minutes to maximize the impact for the advertising brand without compromising the listening experience.
Launching for iOS — both iPhone and iPad — the ads will come to the Android app soon, but, already, Dhingana has recruited a major name, Coke, to kick things off (update: Dhingana tells us that although Coca Cola is an advertiser, it hasn’t specifically agreed to video ads at this time).
The move to introduce more interactive advertising comes three months after the hiring of Bhatia, and the company is likely to have solicited the opinion and feedback of Gokul Rajaram, Facebook’s product director for advertising, who joined its advisory board last year.
Bhatia has a number of ambitious goals and, in his first interview as CEO, he told TNW that he wants to make the service compelling enough for its users to listen for 2 hours each day. That’s roughly 60 hours per month, and would some way ahead of Spotify, which logs an average of 15-20 hours per month per user.
“I’d like Dhingana users to wake up and go to bed with Dhingana music, using it all through the day,” he said.
Founded in 2007 by twin brothers Swapnil and Snehal Shinde, Dhingana offers more than 500,000 songs across 35 languages and claims a monthly active user base of more than 15 million. The service is available for iOS, Blackberry, Android, Symbian Windows Phone and via a Web-based player.
Headline image via scubabrett22 / Flickr
Graphic Design tool that does the following:
1. Downloads youtube videos/partial videos (just like YTD Downloader) or imports videos that you have on your hard drive.
2. Converts video to Gif (just like “Free Video To Gif”)
3. Allows you to creat…
Category: IT & Programming > Software Application
Type and Budget: Fixed price (Less than $500) Escrow
Time Left: 6 d, 22 h (Ends May 24, 2013 13:34 pm ET)
Start Date: May 17, 2013
Client Info: 1 jobs posted, 0% awarded, $0 total purchased, Payment Method Verified
Client Location: Campbell, United States
Preferred Job Location: Anywhere
Desired Skills: .NET MySQL Administration PHP
Job ID: 41664155
“House Of Cards” proved that great, exclusive content can create loyal customers. While Facebook isn’t about to produce TV shows, it tells me that it plans to ramp up production of its Facebook Live original programming starting with a talk with Star Trek celebrities today at 5:15 p.m. PST. Comedian Andy Samberg will interview film director JJ Abrams and classic cast member and social media maven George Takei.
Randi Zuckerberg, CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s sister, started Facebook Live in 2010. A website and Facebook app powered by Livestream, Facebook Live streams talks and offers an archive of past video clips. Users can discuss the videos in real time with other users and ask questions. Facebook Live moderators then pick from submitted questions, name-check the people who ask them, and pose them to the celebrities.
It featured Randi’s interviews with celebrities, as well as instructional talks on Facebook’s products and marketing tools. Later it would host Facebook’s election coverage, including Barack Obama’s town hall talk at Facebook headquarters in 2011. Over the years, Oprah Winfrey, Vin Diesel, Madonna, astronaut Ron Garan, and Israeli President Shimon Peres all came on the air.
For the last six months, though, Facebook Live has been pretty quiet. Since Bravo’s Andy Cohen interviewed Rihanna in November, the only video it’s added was from the Facebook Home launch event. While fascinating to tech insiders, there wasn’t much wide appeal.
But now, the social network is putting Facebook Live back in gear. A Facebook spokesperson for the project tells me “Facebook Live is something we’ll be utilizing more.” While more shoots haven’t been lined up, they should come at a brisker pace.
Why invest in original programming? “The purpose of Facebook Live is to give fans an opportunity to interact with public figures and give the public figures a global platform to present how they are using Facebook [or are engaged in conversations happening on Facebook] in an authentic way,” is the rather dry answer I got from the spokesperson.
But digging a bit deeper, Facebook Live accomplishes several strategic goals for the team at 1 Hacker Way. First, it can turn fans of the stars that Live brings on air into more frequent Facebook users. On the flip side, it can turn celebrities into more hard-core Facebook content creators. Facebook wants to be the place where people follow their favorite public figures, but it needs them posting frequently.
Most importantly, though, it demonstrates Facebook’s potential as a live events discussion platform. Becoming the second screen to important global events can generate tons of time-on-site and engagement. This has historically been Twitter’s domain thanks to its unfiltered, real-time feed, but Facebook wants a piece of the pie.
If you have a great time chatting with other Star Trek fans today, maybe you’ll choose Facebook to discuss the next Star Trek TV show premiere rather than on its 140-character competitor. With the potential to promote them to a billion people, Facebook shouldn’t have much trouble getting the world’s VIPs into the revamped Facebook Live studio.
YouEye, a usability testing service that uses a pool of screened candidates to help designers and developer get feedback for their sites, today announced that it has raised a $3 million funding round led by investors Bobby Yazdani, the founder and CEO of Saba Software and an investor in Dropbox, Google, Qwiki, Brian McClendon, the co-founder of Keyhole, Inc (which later became Google Earth) and Beth McClendon. A number of additional investors also participated in this round, which also includes a $400.000 raise from early 2011 led by Bobby Yazdani.
The company, which describes itself as a “UX lab in the cloud,” takes a different approach from other online usability test service. The focus for YouEye goes beyond asking users questions about a site and tracking their cursors. Instead, the service records the participants interactions with a site and tries to capture their emotions. The service is also currently alpha testing eye-tracking as another data point for its studies.
YouEye’s face recognition algorithms, the company says, can recognize over 50,000 micro-expressions and “can accurately show when a user’s facial expression aligns with several feelings, including happy, surprised, puzzled, disgusted, afraid and sad.” Companies that want to use the service can pick the exact demographics of the testers (age, gender, education level, income, etc.). Users can also annotate their videos. YouEye says some of its customers include Airbnb, Microsoft and Eventbrite. Here is a sample of what those final videos look like.
Typically, these kind of studies are pretty expensive and can take a long time to complete, but YouEye’s prices start at $39 per participant (including webcam and audio recording, as well as emotion recognition data and written answers to post-study survey questions) and most results should be available within 48 hours.
YouEye is also using today’s funding announcement to officially launch a new product: Insite. This service allows you to ask any visitor to your site to opt-in to participate in a usability study. Companies can then capture the full webcam video and audio from those visitors that opt in to these studies. For developers, adding this feature to an existing site is as easy as adding a single line of code. Users then see a little widget on the site that asks them to participate (and sites can sweeten the deal with a discount or other incentives, too.). The service is based on a freemium model.
Insite is currently only available as a limited beta, but you can get on the waitlist here.