Here are all of the posts tagged ‘Google+’.
Internet, Internet, who’s the biggest fool of all?
For the longest time, brands have been jumping on the April Fool’s bandwagon with pranks and jokes disguised as actual news and announcements. What have brands been up to this year?
Intel Singapore disguises prank in the form of a tip:
Jetstar Group gives us a glimpse into what flight announcements would sound like in Singlish:
Uber Hong Kong launches a new arm for one day only – UberPLANE:
If there’s anything that we know for sure, it’s to never take anything seriously on April 1st!
Line releases chat AI plug-in
While Facebook is a few weeks shy from officially opening Messenger to third party bots, Line has recently announced its move towards making its API available in a bid to integrate bots and chat AI within its messaging app. With this new features, official accounts (typically owned by businesses and celebrities) in Japan will soon be able to automate interactions with its users, thus opening up more possibilities for the messaging app.
Facebook stumbles once more on ‘safety check’ feature after Lahore blasts
On 27 March, in light of a suicide bombing at a public park in Lahore, Pakistan, which killed at least 65 people and left many injured, Facebook‘s ‘safety check’ feature came into play, but with a glitch – the social networking site asked those who were nowhere near the event to check in. Some took to Twitter to announce the trip-up in the Facebook algorithm, which prompts users to quickly notify their friends of their status after being in the vicinity of a tragedy.
Facebook has lost it, sorry, me. pic.twitter.com/HS55JZmS7I
— Becky Griffin (@dorothyofisrael) March 27, 2016
Facebook has apologised for the notifications, acknowledging that “this kind of bug is counter to the product’s intent.”
Web users in China had momentary access to YouTube and Google
Google circumvented China’s Great Firewall from 11:30pm on Sunday to 1:15am on the morning of 28 March (local time), and people with IP addresses based in mainland China could use YouTube and Google’s search facility. Traditionally, people would go through a VPN to access these services, but for 105 minutes there was no need to. Unsurprisingly, many took to social networking sites such as WeChat and Weibo to pronounce a return of free speech in China. However, it was a short-lived moment, which some claimed was due to Google bringing online a number of new IP servers for India, Japan and other countries in South-East Asia.
A photo posted by NET-A-PORTER (@netaporter) on
A photo posted by BCBGMAXAZRIA (@bcbgmaxazria) on
We’re listening and we assure you nothing is changing with your feed right now. We promise to let you know when changes roll out broadly.
— Instagram (@instagram) March 28, 2016
2) Will turning on post notifications restore my timeline to a chronological one?
3) And if I don’t, will I miss out on the posts from my favourite Instagram accounts?
4) Once the changes kick in, how can I continue to grow my account and gain new followers?
The short answer is: create better content.
Sina Weibo drops 140-character limit as Twitter ponders move
While Twitter continues to ponder about dumping its 140-character limit, Sina Weibo has gone ahead to remove theirs.
The Chinese social network is reportedly replacing it with a new format of allowing posts of up to 2,000 characters. “Senior users” will receive this update first on January 28th, followed by all other ordinary accounts a month later.
Google Brings Wi-Fi to Mumbai Railway Station
Wi-Fi is now available for free at Mumbai Central, one of the main railway stations in Mumbai, India. It is the first Indian train station to be equipped with free Wi-Fi.
The service is made available by Alphabet Inc’s Google as part of a partnership with the Indian government to provide better Internet access to the nation. During a visit to the U.S. last September, India Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the project aims to extend Internet connection to 100 railway stations in India by the end of 2016.
Spotify Ready to Introduce Video Product
Music streaming service Spotify is expanding its foray of content to include video.
Beginning this week, video content will be available on its Android app, followed by its iOS app end next week. This however, will only be available to the U.S., U.K., Germany and Sweden for now. Spotify first announced plans to distribute videos and podcasts last May, involving content providers such as ESPN, Comedy Central, BBC, Vice Media and Maker Studios.
Happn, Tinder’s French Competitor, Introduces Voice Messages
Happn, a French mobile dating app, is introducing voice messages to its product.
The new feature is available to both iOS and Android users, and allows Happn users to record and send voice messages of up to one minute, but only to their matches. Happn says this new feature will provide users more means for personal expression between those who have expressed mutual attraction to each other.
Dating app Paktor secures a whopping $10 million in funds
Singaporean founder, Joseph Phua, believes that their “understanding of the local market” gives Paktor an edge in the dating app space. The app includes a virtual gift exchange and group chat function, which mimics the possibility of meeting love interests through mutual friends.
Paktor has already expanded to Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and Taiwan. We are rather impressed at this initial success, but unconvinced with how it is differentiated from existing applications. By encouraging both romantic and friendly relationships, Paktor seems to be straddling uncomfortably between Tinder and Facebook. Do we smell a new social network in Asia? Will it only be Rihanna who finds love in a hopeless place? Questions, questions.
Weibo’s role as a content distribution platform for brands
Weibo is facing stiff competition, with WeChat attracting over 500 million monthly active users in China. However, spiralling market share does not imply that brands should depart from Weibo.
Audiences use these platforms differently and Weibo remains critical in breaking real-time news. While Facebook only features newsworthy actions in its “What’s Trending” section, brands can pay to be in Weibo’s “Hot Topics” listing. A new feature called “Fan Pass” also sends alerts to audiences, who may choose to follow various brands. The opt-in element potentially distills inactive users and identifies fans with a genuine interest in brands.
For now, Weibo ties WeChat with a score of 1-1. Yawn.
In the second entry of a three-part series, Singapore Managing Director Don Anderson examines the impact of Oculus Rift and other virtual reality devices, and how they are poised to launch a new revolution in branded content.
If you look at the popularity of ‘virtual reality’ as a search term, you’ll see a significant spike of interest around 2014 and continued growth from there on in.
The reason? Oculus Rift, the invention of a then 18-year-old Californian named Palmer Luckey. It’s this device that is being credited as having singlehandedly reignited interest in virtual reality technologies.
Frustrated by the poor performance of available head mounts for gaming, Luckey created his first Oculus prototype in his parents’ garage. By the time he got to his sixth generation prototype, he decided to take his work to Kickstarter to crowdfund a DIY kit. He raised US$2.4 million, close to a thousand times his original target.
And then Mark Zuckerberg came knocking.
In March 2014, Facebook paid US$2 billion for a company and its technology that was barely a year old. Zuckerberg gushed on his Facebook page about the potential opportunities and how it would usher in a new platform for communications.
Although he saw it having a future in gaming first, Zuckerberg felt the social implications wouldn’t be far behind. However, he has also admitted that the device needs to sell 50 million to 100 million units to reach scale and find real meaning as a communications platform. So far, it’s sold 150,000 test units to developers.
And of course the Internet quickly reacted with mixed feelings.
Since then, Oculus Rift has dominated search volumes, starting with the spike around Facebook’s announced purchase, and later with a fake Facebook-Oculus Rift commercial on YouTube.
Of course, it’s one thing to talk about virtual reality. It’s quite another to experience it.
In Asia, apart from Cardboard and a host of cheap OEM options that litter eBay and other C2C ecommerce platforms, the availability of more mainstream and refined devices is still somewhat limited. Unless you are a developer and have been lucky enough to get your hands on an early Oculus unit, those hoping for a full experience will just have to sit tight and wait or attempt to live vicariously through the experiences of others who have detailed their journeys on YouTube.
Yet no less than five major technology companies including Samsung, HTC, Sony, Google and Microsoft have now announced their own hardware solutions for bringing the metaverse to life.
The Samsung’s Gear VR was one of the first to market. This costs around US$200 but you need to add a smartphone, which means you get your VR experiences for under US$1,000 — considerably more than Google’s Cardboard.
By comparison, Oculus Rift is likely to be priced upwards of US$1,500, and will only work with high-powered PCs. And sorry — no Macs.
From HTC and Valve comes Vive, which reviewers say provides a Matrix-like experience.
Sony’s Project Morpheus, meanwhile, will support 3D audio and a feature called ‘Social Screen’ which lets users extend the gameplay from the headset to their TV so others can play alongside.
Even Lenovo’s getting into the game. At their recent TechWorld event it announced its own headset to compete with Samsung, Sony, Google and HTC.
And for younger audiences there’s the remodeled View-Master, a collaboration between Mattel and Google that will debut this fall.
This isn’t your dad’s View-Master.
The next-gen View-Master, a Google-Mattel collaboration set to debut later this year.
Beyond this is a generation of highly advanced hologram-based augmented reality technologies supported by the likes of Microsoft and Google along with investments from a raft of venture capital firms, such as Andreessen Horowitz and Kleiner Perkins.
With all this going on, brands have only just started to get their footing in this space. For many, it’s an area of uncertainty in terms of the real value it offers organisations.
It’s akin to the debut of the iTunes app store and the initial surge of marketing investments in branded apps that saw little, if any, returns following launch.
However, those brave enough to be early adopters are seeing the opportunity to experiment, and this is yielding insights on the expectations and behaviours of target consumers around this technology.
While we are far from mass consumer adoption, VR is allowing brands to provide new, more dynamic and immersive experiences.
While many of the initial attempts have been written off as gimmicky, some brands are succeeding at integrating the technology to produce compelling content experiences while capitalising on first-mover advantage in capturing earned media exposure.
At the 2014 Paris Motor Show, Nissan Europe combined a treadmill with virtual reality to create a physical, Bladerunner-like experience for visitors around their Nissan Juke vehicle promotion. Standing on an omnidirectional treadmill, the user wears an Oculus Rift which transforms them into an android character within a virtual world.
In similar fashion, Castrol overlayed VR atop a real car, with the user experience occurring in both real and virtual worlds. The result is essentially a combination of video gaming and VR in a simulated world.
There is no question that VR and travel have a great future together. Interviews with no less than a dozen notable VR practitioners, technologists and content producers revealed that almost all saw travel as the top opportunity for application.
Marriott has been pretty quick to capitalise on this opportunity, rolling out a travel booth in New York City where visitors could explore the beaches of Hawaii or London’s Tower 42. The experience also included sensory elements such as heat, wind and mist, based on different virtual locations.
But the range of brands entering this space doesn’t stop at automotive and travel. Fashion and cosmetic brands are also getting in on the act with Dior recently announcing the launch of its own virtual reality headset. This will provide users with exclusive backstage access to its runway shows as well as tours of the Dior universe.
At the same time, not all branded VR initiatives have been well placed.
Earlier this year Samsung launched what it called “The world’s first live streaming VR birth”, which allowed a father to witness and participate — sort of — in the birth of his child, despite being 4,000 miles away. While the stunt was intended to demonstrate the features of Samsung’s VR technology and how it can change people’s lives, some critics deemed it a little too close to comfort. The moral of the tale? Some stories may not necessarily be ready for VR.
Compare that VR experience to one Patron launched last month that provides a virtual tour of the Hacienda’s agave fields. Here, the on-site experience is replicated and viewers get to see how tequila is produced.
The company’s agency customised drones equipped with seven GoPro cameras and 3D audio capture, with assistance from certified pilots, to bring this initiative together.
Again, it’s early days for brands in this space, with the output generally still somewhat questionable in terms of adding real brand value. But it is encouraging that some brands are willing to venture further afield into this unchartered domain while grabbing first-mover insights.
Next: The Virtual Reality Gold Rush PT III: US Billions at Stake, 3D Paul McCartney, and the Future of Journalism