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Pinterest Announces Wider Launch of its ‘Shuffles’ Visual Collage App

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Pinterest Announces Wider Launch of its ‘Shuffles’ Visual Collage App

After initially launching its new ‘Shuffles’ visual collage app to selected users back in August, Pinterest is now making the app generally available, so that anybody can create their own artistic collages from Pinterest-originated images.

As you can see in these example screens, Shuffles enables users to layer various photos of objects over each other in an artistic display, which can then be animated and/or set to music. Users can then share their creations in other apps, with the product images linked back to Pinterest to encourage more discovery activity.

Users can either select images sourced from Pinterest, or take their own, with Pinterest’s system them scanning Pinterest for similar objects.

As noted, the app was originally only made available to selected users, but even in limited release, it immediately sparked a trend among younger audiences.

As per TechCrunch:

“The app grew in popularity with Gen Z users, who used the creative expression tool to make “aesthetic” collages, sometimes set to music and posted to TikTok, or shared privately with friends or the Shuffles community. This resulted in Shuffles surging to become the No. 1 Lifestyle app on the US App Store in August.”

It’s since declined in popularity, but that initial surge could point to opportunity, which could help to further promote Pinterest use, if there is broader interest.

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And the images you can create are interesting, while the linkage back to actual products that people can buy is another variation on the artistic theme, which adds another aspect to the process.

It could be a good way for Pinterest to reach a broader audience, and encourage more use. Pinterest itself has seen a resurgence of late, as more users come to the app for product discovery, and the Shuffles process seems like a good complement to regular Pin engagement, in alignment with emerging usage trends.

You can download Shuffles in the respective app stores from today.

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The rivalry between Meta and Apple is moving to a new playing field: virtual reality

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The rivalry between Meta and Apple is moving to a new playing field: virtual reality


New York
CNN
 — 

Months after Apple unveiled a privacy change that threatened Facebook’s core advertising business, the social networking company rebranded as Meta and shifted its focus to virtual reality.

Now, less than two years later, Apple may be threatening Meta’s business there, too.

Apple

(AAPL)
on Monday unveiled its mixed reality headset, the Vision Pro, in one of its most ambitious product launches in years. At the kickoff of the company’s annual developer conference, Apple

(AAPL)
CEO Tim Cook touted the Vision Pro, a $3,499 device that combines virtual reality and augmented reality, as a “revolutionary product,” with the potential to change how users interact with technology.

Der new Apple product, set to launch early next year, puts Apple in direct competition with Meta, which has been building headsets for years.

On Thursday, just days before WWDC, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg tried to preempt the expected Apple headset announcement by teasing the Meta Quest 3. The new headset promises improved performance, new mixed-reality features and a sleeker, more comfortable design, at a much more affordable price ($499).

Every period of consumer tech seems to be shaped by heated rivalries. Apple’s competition with Microsoft

(MSFT)
was central to the early personal computing era. Apple’s late CEO Steve Jobs declared “thermonuclear war” against Google over smartphones. Now, Apple and Meta could be the defining rivalry of the VR/AR era.

The two companies had a tense relationship even before Apple’s entry into the market. They have competed over news and messaging features, and their CEOs have traded jabs over data privacy and app store policies. Last February, Meta genannt it expected to take a $10 billion hit in 2022 from Apple’s move to limit how apps like Facebook collect data for targeted ads.

But the rivalry appears poised to reach a new level.

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Meta has until now been the dominant player in the headset market. But virtual and augmented reality remains a nascent market with little mainstream consumer adoption. The Wall Street Journal reported last year that Meta had just 200,000 active users in Horizon Worlds, its app for socializing in VR. And in 2023, IDC estimates just 10.1 million AR/VR headsets will ship globally from the entire market, far below the tens of millions of iPhones Apple sells each quarter.

Morgan Stanley analysts called Apple’s Vision Pro a “moonshot” effort following its announcement on Monday, saying the product “has the potential to become Apple’s next compute platform,” but that the company has “much to prove” before the headset’s launch next year.

“We’re always happy when more people join us in building the future,” Sheeva Slovan, a spokesperson for Meta’s Reality Labs unit, said in a statement to CNN.

Apple and Meta may end up racing to see not only who can get consumers to choose their product, but whether either of them can get millions of customers to buy into this new wave of technology at all.

Apple in many ways seems to have the upper hand, with its existing loyal customer base of more than two billion devices, impressive hardware chops and access to hundreds of stores where consumers can potentially try on the device.

“Everything up until this moment has kind of felt like the pregame for me, of preparing for this moment when Apple would take this to the public consciousness and let people know, hey, these technologies are for real, this isn’t just a gimmick,” Eric Alexander, founder of VR music experiences app Soundscape, told CNN following Apple’s announcement.

The iPhone maker also appears to be marketing its device differently. Apple chose not to focus on the term “virtual reality,” nor did it show off disembodied avatars without legs inhabiting a virtual world, as Meta did initially. Instead, Apple played up the headset’s potential to integrate much more seamlessly with users’ real-world lives through augmented reality, a technology that can overlay virtual objects on live video of the real world.

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“I don’t think Apple views itself in competition with Meta,” said Julie Ask, principal analyst at Forrester. Zuckerberg is “all in on this virtual world, and that’s not what Apple is about. Apple is saying, ‘We don’t think people want to be disconnected from the real world … we want to enhance the world that consumers are in.’”

The Quest 3 headset that Meta teased last week is also a mixed reality headset with AR capabilities, so it seems likely that Meta may veer closer to Apple’s approach in the future. However, a demo video Zuckerberg posted to Instagram seems to imply the device is still largely gaming focused.

Meta teased its new Quest 3 headset days before Apple's Vision Pro announcement.

Many analysts say that the biggest hurdle to consumer adoption of mixed reality headsets is ensuring that there Ist are a wide range of potential use cases and experiences available on the devices.

While Meta has introduced features that let users play games, explore virtual worlds, watch YouTube videos, workout, chat with friends and more, it has yet to convince most consumers that the device is worthwhile.

Apple’s announcement at WWDC seems targeted at ensuring that the large base of developers in its ecosystem will help create enticing new experiences for the device before its launch.

Developing new AR and VR apps requires significant investment, not to mention hands-on time with a device, Alexander said, so it may be a while before a wide range of experiences are available for the Vision Pro. The lack of controllers and other accessories could also make it difficult for developers to create certain types of apps, such as games, for the new device.

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Still, at the Monday event, Apple touted features from Disney, such as Disney+, and gaming company Unity, that will be available on the device from the start, on top of the iPhone maker’s existing suite of services.

Apple’s Vision One “isn’t a device that I will buy and think, ‘Oh, now I need to go buy content,’” said Forrester’s Ask. “This is a device that if I do buy it, it has a very intuitive interface … it’s a place I can watch my Apple TV and movies and all of those things. It’s not, ‘Oh, I bought this device now what do I do with it?’”

D.A. Davidson analyst Tom Forte compared the Vision Pro’s launch to the introduction of the iPhone following the Blackberry, an unfavorable comparison that would likely make Zuckerberg grimace. (Forte did note that Meta’s headset seems less likely to fade into irrelevance, as the Blackberry eventually did.)

“Blackberry had proven that there was a market for smartphones and had built a dominant position, but what it didn’t really do was the apps,” Forte said, adding that the iPhone introduced the idea of having a range of different use cases for one device. “In some regards, it’s like the iPhone where we’re going to need to see the ecosystem develop over time for this to succeed.”

But if Apple does succeed at driving widespread consumer adoption of mixed reality headsets, Meta could still benefit by extension by being the budget pick, Forte said.

Meta’s stock rose slightly Tuesday following Apple’s announcement.



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LinkedIn Experiments with New AI Assistant for InMails

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LinkedIn fügt weitere Ad-Targeting-Kriterien hinzu und gibt Tipps für B2C-Kampagnen

Microsoft-owned LinkedIn is experimenting with yet another way to bring generative AI into the app, this time via an AI assistant in your LinkedIn inbox that’ll be able to provide quick answers to questions as you engage in your DMs.

As you can see in this screenshot, shared by app researcher Nima Owji, the new LinkedIn inbox assistant would be available via a dedicated icon in the UI, which would provide you with a generative AI assistant for your LinkedIn responses. That could make it easier to research key points, check spelling, get advice on conversational elements, etc.

The addition would expand on Microsoft’s growing generative AI empire, with the tech giant looking to use its partnership with OpenAI to incorporate ChatGPT-like tools into every surface that it can, which has already seen it add AI generated profile summaries, job descriptions, post creation prompts, and more into the LinkedIn experience.

LinkedIn also added generative AI messages for job candidates within its Recruiter platform last month.

It would also see LinkedIn finally follow up on its inbox assistant tool, which it actually first previewed back in 2016.

LinkedIn InBot

This slightly blurry image was lifted from a LinkedIn presentation seven years back, where LinkedIn previewed its coming ‘InBot’ option. InBot, powered in part by Microsoft’s evolving AI tools (at the time) was supposed to synch with your calendar, which would then enable it to automatically schedule meetings on your behalf, arrange phone calls, follow-ups, and more.

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But it never came to be. For whatever reason, LinkedIn abandoned the project shortly after this announcement – most likely because LinkedIn was looking to latch onto the short-lived messaging bots trend, which Meta believed would be a revolution in customer service. Till it wasn’t.

Because messaging bots never caught on, LinkedIn likely decided not to bother – though it is interesting that, even back then, shortly after Microsoft’s acquisition of the app, LinkedIn was already talking up the potential of merging Microsoft-powered AI tools into LinkedIn’s functions.

It’s taken a while for that to come to fruition, but soon, we may have a better version of InBot incoming, which would theoretically be able to incorporate these originally planned functions, along with more advanced generative AI responses and prompts.

That could actually be pretty valuable on LinkedIn, with various functions that could help you maximize your lead nurturing efforts, including immediately accessible info on the user that you’re interacting with, to personalize the exchange.

Of course, there is also a level of risk that the more AI tools LinkedIn adds, the less human the app will become, with users getting generative tools to come up with more posts, messages, profile summaries, and everything else in between over time.

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Eventually, that could see a lot of LinkedIn interactions becoming bots talking to other bots, while the real humans behind each account remain distant. Which would see more engagement happening in the app – and would certainly make for some interesting IRL meet-up scenarios as a result. But it does also seem like LinkedIn could, maybe, be overdoing it, depending on how all of these tools are integrated.

We’ll find out. There’s no timeline on a potential launch for the new AI chatbot tool as yet.



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Op-Ed: BBC sagt, dass soziale Medien Kriegsverbrechervideos löschen

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Vietnam verlangt von Social-Media-Nutzern die Überprüfung ihrer Identität

Image: — © AFP/File Olivier DOULIERY

When the staid and stately BBC starts complaining about content deletions on social media on its own website, you know there’s a problem. According to the BBC, their Ukraine war posts were taken down and then they couldn’t upload, at least on Instagram.

The problems apply to Facebook and YouTube, as well as Instagram. Both AI and human moderators may be involved. The information is as blurry as you’d expect. Every case is a bit different. It’s not that easy to decide what to show and what not to show.

Given the constant complaints about social media disinformation and propaganda bots, it’s not a great look. You’d think these arbitrary decisions would get at least some scrutiny.

To be fair –

  1. Graphic depictions of some things have been giving social media moderators PTSD for years. It’s pretty obvious that they’re dealing with utter filth.  
  2. It’s truly gruesome. They’re trying to filter out as much of this trash as possible, with good reason.
  3. That’s the main reason social media isn’t just another version of the porn industry and/or any other toxic stuff you care to name.
  4. Social media does have a responsibility to manage these issues, and it does, to whatever extent it can.
  5. Let’s not underestimate the degrees of difficulty in managing footage at the production and publishing ends. Some things really can’t be shown, often for multiple reasons.
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…So the arbitrary blocks and standards aren’t totally useless; just incredibly annoying sometimes.

That said, the question of not showing war crimes, sanitized or otherwise, is a very mixed issue. It’s not like you’re going to see war crimes in progress and like it. It can be traumatic. People do have a right NOT to be traumatized, despite right-wing media.

This isn’t really censorship in the conventional sense. It’s a judgment call on what can be shown.

There are a few options for social media:

1.Simply don’t show them as a rule, not a guessing game.

2. Selective edits.

3. “Viewer discretion” notices.

4. A Yes/No process with due notification to posters.

5. Penalties for abuse of rules.

This is where it gets even trickier. Rules can be their own goals. YouTubers in particular have a lot of issues with demonetization and content rules. It’s confusing. The US legal principle of “Fair Use” seems to be more of a raffle in some cases.

When it comes to war crimes and hard facts, however, it’s a totally different ball game. It’s about lots of people dying. This scale of human misery can’t be a non-topic.  

Ein weniger offensichtliches Problem ist, dass die BBC, ein globaler Nachrichtendienst, von Algorithmen überprüft wird. Das kann nicht unangefochten bleiben. Wo werden die Linien gezogen? Die Nachrichtenmedien machen zur netten Abwechslung ihren Job und können die Nachrichten nicht verbreiten?  

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Menschen riskieren buchstäblich ihr Leben, um an dieses Material zu kommen. Es gibt heute nichts Wichtigeres auf der Welt.

Ich sage nicht, dass es eine einfache Antwort gibt. Es muss eine Lösung geben. …Oder diese Kriegsverbrechen können als „Fake News“ abgetan werden. Wir wissen, was dann passiert.

____________________________________________________________

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Die in diesem Op-Ed geäußerten Meinungen sind die des Autors. Sie erheben nicht den Anspruch, die Meinungen oder Ansichten des Digital Journal oder seiner Mitglieder widerzuspiegeln.

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