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Apple is soon coming up with a Video Streaming service like Netflix

Netflix launched its groundbreaking video streaming service in 2007

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Apple
Apple losing out AI race to Google, Amazon: Report
  • Netflix beat Apple to the punch with its groundbreaking video streaming service
  • Follow-on rivals of Netflix- and Hulu also boast of popular video streaming services
  • Apple has periodically upgraded its Apple TV, which isn’t a television, just a video streaming player that connects to TVs

San Francisco, USA, September 9, 2017: Television is one of the few screens that has Apple hasn’t conquered, but that may soon change. The world’s richest company appears ready to aim for its own Emmy-worthy programming along the lines of HBO’s Game of Thrones and Netflix’s Stranger Things.

Apple lured longtime TV executives Jaime Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg away from Sony Corp. in June and has given them $1 billion to spend on original shows during the next year, according to a Wall Street Journal report quoting unnamed people.

The programming would be available only on a subscription channel, most likely bundled with the company’s existing Apple Music streaming service. Apple declined to comment.

While $1 billion is a lot of money, it’s a drop in the bucket for Apple and its $262 billion cash hoard. But it’s still enough to vault Apple into the top tier of tech-industry outsiders producing their own slates of television shows.

iTunes came first

Hollywood has long shuddered at the thought of Apple training its sights on TV the way it once did on the music business.

Almost 15 years ago, Apple’s then-CEO Steve Jobs convinced record labels to let the company sell digital music on its iTunes store for 99 cents a single, a deal the music industry was happy to take in the face of growing music piracy enabled by Napster. Over time, though, Apple’s dominance in digital music chafed music executives, who saw the company siphoning off a chunk of their profits.

Movies and television have proven much harder for Apple to crack. The company’s interest in transforming television has been an open secret for years, but Hollywood has so far spurned Apple’s efforts to make itself an indispensable digital middle man for video.

In a way, Netflix beat Apple to the punch with its groundbreaking video streaming service. Launched in 2007, that service pioneered “binge watching” of entire TV seasons on any device with an internet connection. That gave new life to existing shows such as Breaking Bad, whose creator credits Netflix with its survival, and spawned the creation of other series tailor-made for bingeing.

Netflix also helped unleash a crescendo of creativity in Hollywood. Follow-on rivals Amazon and Hulu also boast popular video streaming services, and mainstream broadcasters such as CBS and Walt Disney Co. — the owner of ABC and ESPN, among other networks — are also jumping in.

Pressure to act

All of that has increased the pressure on Apple to step up its game in TV — not least because the increasing popularity of streaming is hurting its business of renting and selling video from iTunes.

Apple “doesn’t want to be left behind,” said Debby Ruth, senior vice president of consumer research firm Magid. “This is a way for them to put a stake in the ground.”

This year, the company released its first two original series, Planet of the Apps and Carpool Karaoke, on its Apple Music service, which has 27 million subscribers. But neither show has generated much buzz or critical acclaim.

The recent hiring of Erlicht and Van Amburg signaled Apple’s intent to make a bigger splash. The executives have helped orchestrate several TV hits, including AMC’s Breaking Bad, and more recently branched out into video streaming with The Crown, which landed on Netflix last year and is up for 13 Emmy nominations in this Sunday’s ceremony.

Apple also has a not-so-secret weapon: hundreds of millions of iPhones and iPads already in the hands of faithful fans. It could easily transform those into a marketing platform to lure users to its TV service.

But the company has a steep hill to climb.

Bigger players

Netflix has more than 100 million worldwide subscribers and a video library that will add 1,000 hours of original programming this year alone. And HBO has become the Emmys’ pacesetter since branching into original programming 20 years ago.

Both companies vastly outspend Apple’s reported $1 billion production budget. HBO spends about $2 billion annually on its programming, which garnered 111 nominations in this year’s Emmy Awards, more than any other network. Netflix, which boasts the second most Emmy nominations with 91, expects to spend $6 billion on programming this year.

Apple is still experimenting in TV, said Gene Munster, a longtime Apple watcher and managing partner with the research and venture capital firm Loup Ventures.

“In five years, I bet Apple will either be investing $10 billion a year in content or zero,” said Munster. “It’s going to be one or the other.”

Jobs’ legacy

Jobs discussed his ambitions to shake up TV with his biographer, Walter Isaacson, shortly before his death in 2011.

 “He very much wanted to do for television sets what he had done for computers, music players, and phones: Make them simple and elegant,” Isaacson wrote.

 

But no Apple television ever materialized. Instead, Apple has periodically upgraded its Apple TV, which isn’t a television, just a video streaming player that connects to TVs. That device has been losing market share to other streaming players made by Roku, Amazon, and Google, according to the research firm Park Associates.

Building a successful programming lineup could give Apple more leverage to license shows from other Hollywood production houses. It might even embolden the company to finally release its own streaming TV set.

Apple will presumably also want to emulate Netflix’s ability to exploit usage data to determine what it thinks audiences want to watch. Netflix’s data analysis has helped it attract 25.5 million more subscribers in the U.S. alone since the February 2013 debut of its first original series, House of Cards.

But if Apple decides it needs a little more help in video streaming, Munster thinks there’s a 1-in-3 chance that it will buy Netflix to instantly gain the cachet and expertise in TV programming that it craves. (VOA)

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Facebook, Google, Bing and Twitter Join The Trust Project to Help Users Combat Fake News

In their bid to combat fake news and help readers identify trustworthy news sources, Facebook, Google, Twitter and several media organisations have joined the non-partisan "The Trust Project"

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To Combat Fake News
To Combat Fake News Facebook, Twitter , Google have joined 'The Trust Project'. PIxabay.

San Francisco, Nov 19: In their bid to combat fake news and help readers identify trustworthy news sources, Facebook, Google, Twitter and several media organisations have joined the non-partisan “The Trust Project”.

“The Trust Project” is led by award-winning journalist Sally Lehrman of Santa Clara University’s Markkula Centre for Applied Ethics.

Starting from Friday, an icon will appear next to articles in Facebook News Feed.

When you click on the icon, you can read information on the organisations’ ethics and other standards, the journalists’ backgrounds, and how they do their work.

“Leading media companies representing dozens of news sites have begun to display ‘Trust Indicators’. These indicators, created by leaders from more than 75 news organisations also show what type of information people are reading a” news, opinion, analysis or advertising,” the university said in a statement.

Each indicator is signalled in the article and site code, providing the first standardised technical language for platforms to learn more from news sites about the quality and expertise behind journalists’ work.

“Google, Facebook, Bing and Twitter have all agreed to use the indicators and are investigating and piloting ideas about how to best to use them to surface and display quality journalism,” the university said.

German press agency DPA, The Economist, The Globe and Mail, the Independent Journal Review, Mic, Italy’s La Republica and La Stampa, Trinity Mirror and The Washington Post are among the companies starting to go live with “Trust Indicators” this month.

The Institute for Non-profit News has developed a WordPress plug-in to facilitate broader implementation by qualified publishers.

“An increasingly sceptical public wants to know the expertise, enterprise and ethics behind a news story. The Trust Indicators put tools into people’s hands, giving them the means to assess whether news comes from a credible source they can depend on,” Lehrman explained.

The eight core indicators are: Best Practices; Author Expertise; Type of Work; Citations and References; Methods; Locally Sourced; Diverse Voices and Actionable Feedback.

New organisations like the BBC and Hearst Television have collaborated in defining the “Trust Indicator” editorial and technical standards, and in developing the processes for implementing these.

“Quality journalism has never been more important,” said Richard Gingras, vice president of news products at Google.

“We hope to use the Type of Work indicator to improve the accuracy of article labels in Google News, and indicators such as Best Practices and Author Info in our Knowledge Panels.”

“The Trust Indicators will provide a new level of accessibility and insight into the news that people on Facebook see day in and day out,” said Alex Hardiman, Head of News Products at Facebook.

A growing number of news outlets are expected to display the indicators over the next six months, with a second phase of news partners beginning implementation work soon. (IANS)

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Google soon be adding Restaurant ‘Wait’ times feature on Search and Maps

Google will soon add wait times of the restaurants in Search and maps.

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Google will add Restaurant wait times on Search and Maps
Google will add Restaurant wait times on Search and Maps. Pixabay
  • Google is adding a new feature in Search and Maps.
  • It will show the waiting times for any restaurant.

Now it will much easier to find a place in your favorite restaurant with Google Map’s new feature

Tired of long queues at restaurants? Relax as Google is soon rolling out wait times on Search — followed by Maps — that will show you the estimated wait-time at your favorite eating hangouts. 

To see wait times for nearly a million sit-down restaurants around the world that allow walk-ins, just search for the restaurant, open the business listing, and scroll down to the “Popular Times” section.

“There, you’ll see the estimated wait time at that very moment. And by tapping on any of the hour bars, you’ll see the estimated wait for that time period,” Google said in a blog post. You can even scroll left and right to see a summary of each day’s wait times below the hour bars, so you can plan ahead to beat the crowds. Wait-time estimates are based on anonymised historical data, similar to how Google computes the previously launched ‘Popular Times’ and ‘Visit Duration’ features.

In the case of restaurants, Google will now include a pop-up box that appears when you click on a time frame in the popular times’ chart. The box shows the live or historical data labelled as “busy”, “usually busy”, “usually not busy”, etc., along with the wait time, TechCrunch reported.( IANS)

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Google CEO Sundar Pichai Serves Employees a Real Version of Android Burgers Emoji

At its Seattle office, the workers were served "Android burgers" during Friday's lunch, ending the debate that Android burger emoji is the winner when it comes to placing the cheese.

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Android Burgers
Google CEO, Sundar Pichai relished its employees with Android Burgers. Wikimedia.

San Francisco, Nov 4: After an intense debate on the social media over the placement of cheese in Android’s and Apple’s burger emojis — which was joined by India-born Google CEO Sundar Pichai — the tech giant has finally served “Android burgers” to its employees.

At its Seattle office, the workers were served “Android burgers” during Friday’s lunch, ending the debate that Android burger emoji is the winner when it comes to placing the cheese.

Android Burgers
Android Burgers were served to Google employees at Seattle. Twitter.

“The key difference between this burger and any other is that the slice of cheese is placed beneath the patty and atop the lower bun. It looks exactly like Android’s burger emoji, which sparked heated controversy earlier this week over the correct ingredient order of America’s beloved staple,” The Verge reported on Saturday.

ALSO READ: Apple losing out AI race to Google, Amazon: Report

The whole thing started when Thomas Baekdal, a writer and media analyst, tweeted early this week on the placement of cheese in Android and Apple burger emojis.

“I think we need to have a discussion about how Google’s burger emoji is placing the cheese underneath the burger, while Apple puts it on top,” Baekdal tweeted.

Reacting to this, Pichai tweeted, promising to “drop everything” and address the issue if people on the platform agree on what the correct placement of ingredient should be.

With serving “Android burgers,” it appears the kitchen department at Google has heard Pichai loud and clear.

The hamburger emoji, also known as the cheeseburger, was approved as part of Unicode 6.0 in 2010 and added to Emoji 1.0 in 2015, according to Emojipedia — an emoji reference website. (IANS)