Meet our first ever live interface on Tuesday, October 22nd! I will speak with the disinformation researcher Rene DiResta. Get your tickets .
One of the first gadgets I heard as a technical reporter is a three-word refrain spoken by anyone who has ever sought to do something with atoms, not bits: Hardware is tricky . Make a mistake in the software and you can push the repair more or less immediately; make a mistake with the hardware and the phones explode. In the old days, a technology company used to make software or hardware, but nowadays that or has been replaced by and . After Apple's huge success with the iPhone, all of their other giants are reaping the value of shared software and hardware. And suddenly companies like Microsoft, Google and Facebook, which once limited themselves to high-margin software companies, had to invest countless billions in inventing to make and sell physical objects.
Facebook first dipped its foot in these waters when it bought Oculus, a virtual reality hardware maker, in 201
The portal launched last year before a technology press skeptical that users would take in their homes a camera and microphone from a company spent the last few years bewitched by data privacy scandals. Skepticism seems justified, Rodriguez reports:
It's unclear how Portal's new products will fare, but the first generation launched in 2018 delivered just 54,000 units, according to IDC. Facebook disputed that assessment, but the company never offered its own figure and refused to make it the second-generation portal revealed on Tuesday.
(Another estimate puts this figure at around 300,000 units or less than 1% of the market.)
At the same time, it may take years for a brand to build market share. I never wondered if Facebook would build a second generation of Portal devices – just how they would look when they arrived, and how the world would react when they did.
On Wednesday, we got it. The company has introduced three new versions of Portal: an 8-inch and 10-inch version that look like less functional iPads, and an accessory called Portal TV, which is included in your television. As before, the main topic of reflection was the privacy risks associated with the device. And analysts remain quite bearish on the Portal in the near future, reports Heather Kelly in Washington Post :
Portals will account for only 4 percent of smart display shipments in 2019, says David Watkins, an analyst at the company for a market research strategy. He cites high prices and privacy concerns, causing smart displays to no longer download.
North America's most popular smart display is Google Nest Hub, with Amazon's Echo Show second, according to Strategy Analytics. The smart display market is estimated to reach 31 million devices worldwide in 2019 (Devices are particularly popular in China, where companies like Baidu and Xiaomi sell their cheap versions.)
So, why do you keep going?
Andrew "Boz" Bosworth, the longtime head of Facebook who now heads the hardware division, says the Portal is an important product on Facebook. "This product is the core of what Facebook does," he said Tuesday during a product demonstration I attended in San Francisco. "It connects you meaningfully to the people you care about most."
The way it connects people is largely through video calls that are scattered with augmented reality features, a camera that tracks people around the room and other improvements. To me, it's all a lot of work to make video calls a little better, but Bosworth told me that the Portal is something different.
"Video calls on the phone have always felt very transactional," he told me. "The left hand is sacrificed when you make the call. [You’d think] "how can I end this conversation as politely as possible? Whereas the Portal is much more like an exit. You don't have to do anything. This, I think, is something interesting. ”
Of course, I said. But why not just buy an iPad and use Skype or FaceTime?
"It's not a good experience right now," Bosworth said. "Go set up your iPad and spend a lot of time making video calls to people you care about. See how enjoyable or annoying you are. And then do it with Portal.
"I think people are confused here," he continued. "People just look at the functions of the box … This is not where life is. This is the experience. "
It remains to be seen how many more people will sign up for this experience than last year. In the meantime, it's clear that the history of privacy and internal displays doesn't start or end with Facebook. On the same day that the Portal news broke, the Washington Post reported how your smart TV monitors what you watch to direct ads to you, and the Financial Times announces that your smart TV sends market research data to Netflix and personally identifies the information to Google.
Today in news that could shape public perception.
Trend : Google and Facebook may start paying direct publishers to license their content as antitrust studies in their supposedly monopolistic business practices move forward . I will take it!
Trend: Twitter dismantled efforts to discredit Hong Kong protesters who may have originated in China, and Facebook and YouTube followed it.
Down trend : Facebook is facing new human rights nonprofit accusations that its ad engine has been used for housing discrimination.
A few follow-up notes from yesterday's column on the upcoming Facebook branch of justice. First, I was told that the current working name was 'supervisory board' and not 'independent supervisory board', although that language was in yesterday's blog post. The board will eventually be able to change its parameters to change its name if it wants, Facebook told me.
And more implications: Evelyn Duke has a good position in Lawfare in which he examines how a recent update on Facebook values can influence how the board ultimately makes its decisions. In particular – if inevitable – the new values weigh the importance of "voice" over that of "safety", she writes:
Therefore, in cases of ambiguity where the degree of risk caused by a certain category of speech is not necessarily clear , Facebook will not have – and if the Supervisory Board project works, cannot – be on the alert and simply download this content "just in case". This reflects a degree of risk tolerance over the Facebook Part – which will no doubt be praised by people engaged in a stable market for ideas. This may also reflect the changing role of those private companies that facilitate so much public discourse: They are not literally, technically or legally a new public square, but their systemic importance means that society comes to have expectations of its responsibility to the public, that go beyond simple consumer satisfaction.
Duke also had the pleasing splendor of yesterday's great charter, revealed in the Atlantic Ocean . Yes to all this:
The Supervisory Board is essentially a bet on Facebook that the legitimacy of its decisions matters – and it matters more than making its way on any issue. Because other platforms seem to double the idea that they don't need to publicly explain their decisions or follow their own rules when it doesn't meet their short-term interests, Facebook seems to be making a different bet: accountability and legitimacy can reassure users – and regulators – of the value of your product. Acting in bad faith would undermine Facebook's own game. Legitimacy, Facebook hopes, will become part of its value proposition.
⭐ Congress is preparing a bill to create a national commission that will explore ways in which social media can be weaponized . The Commission will also evaluate how effective technology companies are in protecting consumers from harmful content. The news comes after a hearing in which members questioned Google Facebook and Twitter about the link between social networks and violence in the real world. Tony Rum and Drew Harwell of Washington Post :
The draft bill received by The Washington Post will be introduced and considered next week. If adopted, the committee will be empowered – with the power to hold hearings and subpoenas – to investigate how social media companies police the network and recommend potential legislation. In addition, a federal social media working group will be set up to coordinate the government's response to security.
People with Amazon Alex spokespeople can start campaigning for presidential candidates in 2020 using their devices tomorrow. But the rules say you can only donate to "top" candidates, and Amazon has not yet clearly identified who falls into this category. (Makena Kelly / The Verge )
At least 75 countries, including the US and Germany, have adopted surveillance strategies for China using face recognition software to track citizens. Much of the software comes from Chinese telecommunications company Huawei . (Ryan Tracy / Journal of the Wall Street Journal )
The Chinese government launched a Russian-style misinformation campaign on Twitter in an attempt to discredit Hong Kong protesters. Twitter has downloaded 1000 fake accounts related to this operation and stopped 200,000 more. (Raymond Jong, Stephen Lee Myers and Jin Wu / The New York Times )
Hong Kong protesters use clever tools, including Telegram Twitter and live maps. Entrepreneur and social critic Maciej Cegłowski shares strikingly sharp notes. (Maciej Cegłowski / Idle Words)
The London Police Force is teaming up with Facebook in an effort to prevent live terrorist attacks worldwide. The target will give Facebook video footage of officer training to help the company develop technology that can detect when someone is delivering a live attack. (Metropolitan Police)
To optimize their operations, many marketers rely on specialized business applications that enter the Amazon Marketplace Web Services API that can integrate data, including sensitive customer information such as names, emails, and shipping addresses, There are tools that automate simple tasks like printing shipping labels, and apps that track key metrics like user reviews and sales volumes that determine if products are showing higher in Amazon search results – the most popular way to shop on the site. While Amazon has many policies governing the use of these applications and their data, the cottage industry that has emerged around Amazon's MWS is relatively decentralized. Amazon only launched its Marketplace Appstore in May 2018.
Instagram is breaking through publications related to diet products and cosmetic surgery. Under the new rules, publications promoting weight loss products or miracles will be hidden from users under the age of 18 – or removed altogether. (PA Media / The Guardian )
Instagram influencers make money by charging fans to see their posts in Close Friends. It's unclear what Instagram itself thinks of the practice, though it illustrates, among other things, how few legitimate ways the platform stars are currently supposed to make money there. (Kaitlyn Tiffany / The Atlantic )
Facebook pours money into AI studies to teach chatbots to talk like humans. Facebook M's virtual assistant may have fallen apart, but he continues to invest heavily in chatbot research. (Mark Sullivan / Fast Company )
After yesterday's CNBC article described Facebook plans to develop augmented reality glasses, Alex Heath announces that there are actually projects in progress. The company's partnership with Ray-Ban is reported to be for spectacles similar to Snap & # 39; s spectacles, he writes. (Alex Heath / Information )
The Data and Society report raises doubts that AI can correct deep mistakes. Facebook has lately been promoting AI solutions for doctoral videos, but the report says it won't be enough. (Zoe Schiffer / The Verge )
Youtube has added a huge giant ad at the top of its television app. The desktop site already has ads on this site and is considered top-notch real estate for advertisers. (Julia Alexander / The Verge )
An inside look at the history behind the Google race to become the leader in AI, including interviews with Sundar Peach CEO and AI chief Jeff Dean. The next big project of the company: quantum calculations. (Katrina Brocker / Fast Company )
The Google Display Screen Manager for Parents for parents, Family Link, has added new features that allow them to limit screen time for individual applications instead of the device generally. It also allows people to extend screen time as needed. (Sarah Perez / TechCrunch )
LinkedIn introduced skill assessments: short tests with a very large selection to allow users to demonstrate their computer science knowledge, along with other skills related to work, to potential employers. (Ingrid Lunden / TechCrunch )
Fortnite has added a voice chat to the platform – another step towards making the popular free-to-play game a complete social network. It is based on a similar feature developed by Houseparty the group video chat application that manufacturer Fortnite Epic acquired in June. (Casey Newton / The Verge )
And finally …
They are what you eat
Caity Weaver visits the headquarters of your favorite thrift stores and along with other things, conversations with their social media teams:
"If you jump inappropriately, you'll get baked," he said, reflecting the recent Twitter storm over Popyes' spicy chicken sandwich. "As Zackby jumped, they baked . The Boston market jumped through . Chick-fil-A took a lot of L . “
Mr. Ayala's job is essentially to talk about Moe in a short, cheerful and charming way without stopping forever. He found delicate success one day this summer when his tweet combined an alien meme in Area 51 with the very concept of the Moors storm, receiving approximately 2,100 retweets. But then he had to tweet again.
Quiet as hell, honest.
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