Last year, YouTube took to the VidCon stage to share new ways creators could make money. This year, YouTube returned with updates to those programs. For starters, it’s adding new Channel Membership levels. Since last year, fans have been able to pay a monthly fee of $4.99 in exchange for added membership perks like exclusive live streams, extra videos and shoutouts. Now, creators can set up to five different price points and offer varying perks at each tier. According to YouTube, when Fine Brothers Entertainment tested offering multiple levels, the company’s membership revenue increased sixfold.
Building off of Super Chat, which allows fans to pay for comments that appear at the top of a livestream, YouTube is adding Super Stickers. Users will be able to purchase animated stickers to share during live streams and premieres. YouTube is also adding more partners to its Merch shelf, so creators can now work with Crowdmade, DFTBA, Fanjoy, Represent and Rooster Teeth, in addition
Google will soon unveil a refreshed News tab that places a priority on publishers, rather than headlines. The company today tweeted a preview of the redesigned news section for the desktop version of its search engine, which will roll out to users over the next few weeks. The change falls in line with recent efforts by the search giant to be more responsive to the needs of publishers and cut down on fake news.
While it’s too early to tell what exactly the revamped News tab will accomplish, it’s clear that it’s a step in an entirely different direction. A look at the “Before and After” GIF of the News tab reveals that prominent news publishers are highlighted clearly on top, and the staggered look of numerous news headlines stacked on top of each other is gone. Instead, the tweaked News tab resembles the card format of the main Google news page or the Google news experience on mobile.
Harley-Davidson’s first electric motorcycle will soon hit the roads, and while the LiveWire will have a longer range than first expected, at 140 miles of city driving on a single charge, you’ll still need to hook it up to a charger once in a while. To help you save on electricity fees, Harley is offering free charging for US customers.
You’ll get two years of free juice at ChargePoint stations at participating Harley dealers for two years, and you’ll get 500 kWh of charging service at Electrify America stations. That should help mitigate the bike’s $29,799 price tag a little, assuming you live close enough to a dealership to make the trip worthwhile.
Disney’s new Star Wars-theme park, Galaxy’s Edge, will get its second ride before the year is up. Today, Disney Parks announced that “Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance” will arrive in Florida at Walt Disney World Resort on December 5th — Walt Disney’s birthday. Immediately after the ride debuts in Florida, the team will head to California, where they’ll unveil it at Disneyland Resort on January 17th.
In a blog post, Disney Parks said “Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance” will “blur the lines between fantasy and reality.” On the way to join Rey and General Organa at a secret base, visitors will be captured by a First Order Star Destroyer. With the help of Resistance heroes, they’ll break out, protect the base and stay ahead of Kylo Ren.
Galaxy’s Edge opened this past May, and currently, its only ride is “Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run.” “Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance” was promised as the other premier ride, and Disney previously described
When you think of kid-friendly video games, StarCraft might not top the list. But that could change. A new version, StarCraft: Cartooned, reimagines every unit, structure, map, menu and mission with art by CarBot Animations. The usually dark game is swapping its Warhammer-like visual style for a complete makeover with cute cartoon graphics.
Are true crime podcasts as popular with Millenials as they are with Baby Boomers? Does the under-35 crowd listen to wellness podcasts? Nielsen, the company behind the TV ratings system, will begin to survey Americans about their podcast consumption habits in order to sell the data to podcast creators and ad networks.
The company’s venture into the world of podcasting isn’t as odd as you’d think. Nielsen Scarborough, the division of the company that is carrying out the operation, polls 200,000 people every year on everything from their craft beer drinking habits to how often they watch Mexican soccer. The surveys are conducted over the phone, online and in-person. For the podcast survey, they’ll survey a sample of 30,000 people twice a year on everything from genre preferences to consumer buying habits. The end goal is better targeted advertising; companies will learn which podcasts their potential customers are more likely to consume. Nielsen has already secured its first clients, all
Twitter said the outage was due to “an internal system change” and it’s fixing the issue. It said everything should be up and running again soon.
Twitter is back up for some people, and we’re working to make sure our service is available to everyone as quickly as possible. The interruption was due to an internal system change, which we’re now fixing. We’re sorry for the inconvenience and should be at 100% soon. https://t.co/HXOiFVbgPK
Netflix isn’t just tapping Zack Snyder for a zombie action movie. The streaming behemoth has announced that Snyder and DC animated movie director Jay Oliva are creating an anime series based on Norse mythology. There’s no mention of plot, a release date or even a name, but Netflix is counting on the close connection between the two masterminds as a selling point. They’ve worked together on more than a dozen movies, including Man of Steel and Justice League.
Wesley Coller and Zack’s wife Deborah will produce the show.
There’s certainly reason to be cautious when Snyder has a mixed track record. Oliva is well-known for titles like Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, though, and the subject matter of gods and Vikings could play into their strengths. If nothing else, this reinforces Netflix’s commitment to anime — even if it doesn’t please everyone.
Facebook and Carnegie Mellon University have built another artificial intelligence bot that beat some top poker pros. While AI bots have been to best professional players in one-on-one competition, Facebook claims it’s the first time a bot has been able to beat top pros in “any major benchmark game” when there’s more than one opponent at a time. Pluribus bested professionals in no-limit Texas Hold’em in a couple of different formats: five AI bots and one human, and one bot and five real-life players. The researchers behind Pluribus wrote in a paper published in Science that creating such a multiplayer poker bot “is a recognized AI milestone.”
In the likes of chess and Go, everything is laid out in the open. But in poker, there’s hidden information, namely the cards your opponents have. That brings different, complex strategies to poker not seen in other games, including bluffing. As such, AI bots have typically struggled to account for hidden information and effectively act
Google can’t resist the urge to create another social network even after the Google+ shutdown for everyday users. The company’s experimental Area 120 unit has developed a social network, Shoelace, that helps people get together in real life. You pick your interests, and the creators help you hook up with like-minded people for various activities, whether they’re custom-created or hand-picked. If you’re new to town, for instance, you could find fellow runners or a local book club.
Importantly, you can share activities with others whether or not they have Shoelace. You won’t necessarily have to create a Facebook event to rope people in, then.
Don’t expect to try Shoelace for a while. It’s invitation-only at present, and then only in New York City for now. Whether or not it goes public will likely depend on its early performance. If nothing else, it’s a relatively fresh take for a Google-made social network — it’s trying to get you off your phone instead of
Air France-KLM plans to swap boarding passes for facial recognition on Air France flights departing from John F Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York City and George Bush International Airport (IAH) in Houston. The trial run is expected to impact more than 2,200 passengers daily, and it will help Air France-KLM advance its goal to bring facial recognition to all US gateways by 2020.
The company already uses biometric boarding in a handful of US cities — Atlanta, Los Angeles, Dallas, Detroit, Dulles, Va.; San Francisco and Seattle. “We are excited to embrace an innovation that has the potential to make the travel experience less stressful and more secure for our passengers,” said Stephane Ormand, Air France-KLM USA vice president and general manager. “Our aim is to implement biometric boarding at 93 percent of all US airports by the year’s end, and 100 percent by 2020.”
Air France-KLM isn’t the first company to test biometric boarding. JetBlue began
Valve is tinkering with the way Steam works, and it wants you to try those experiments for yourself. It’s launching a Steam Labs section with usable “works-in-progress” that might make it to the regular game portal if there’s enough positive feedback. Only three projects are available to start, but at least one of them could be genuinely useful if you’re scrounging for new games to play.
An Interactive Recommender experiment uses a neural network trained on “billions” of game sessions to suggest titles based on your play history and “other salient data.” This doesn’t mean that you’ll always see first-person shooters if you play a lot of Doom — it’s looking at patterns, not genres. You can also specify criteria doesn’t always pop up in recommendation engines. You can limit results to indies or mainstream titles, or focus on recent games versus decade-old classics. Whatever results you get, you can filter the results by tags.
Players will soon get a chance to battle it out with DeepMind’s Starcraft II AI. Alphabet and Blizzard will test AlphaStar in a small number of public matches. It’ll be a Herculean task for the human players, to put it lightly. The AI has the accumulated knowledge of 200 years of playing Starcraft II, and earlier this year beat a team of professional players 10-1. So, for the average gamer, the odds of beating AlphaStar are laughably impossible — but it’ll be fun to watch.
For now, only a small number of players in Europe will be able to participate, and it’ll be a completely blind trial. In other words, players will have no idea they’ve been matched with AlphaStar. This will help ensure that all games played against the super-powered AI are being played under the same conditions. Winning or losing against AlphaStar will affect a player’s MMR, as normal.
In order to opt-in to play against AlphaStar, you can click the
There’s a good chance some strange ads have popped up in your Facebook News Feed. Now, the company wants to give users more clarity about why they’re seeing specific ads. In the past, users could click “Why am I seeing this ad?” But the answers were fairly vague. Now, Facebook will share more detailed reasoning, like which of your interests matched you with a specific ad.
The company will also reveal where your information came from, for instance, if it was from a website you visited or a Page you liked. Under Ad Preferences, Facebook is adding an “advertisers and businesses” tab, which will show users which third-party companies uploaded lists with their information. Perhaps most importantly, Facebook will let users adjust which ads they see in the future.
Many folks who enjoyed Supermassive’s interactive horror hit Until Dawn did so by passing the controller between friends whenever the story shifted to another character. For its upcoming Dark Pictures Anthology, Supermassive has announced couch co-op and online multiplayer modes starting with Man of Medan, the first game in the series.
In the Shared Story mode, you can team up with a buddy and play through the game simultaneously. You’ll both be able to explore the spooky ship at the heart of Man of Medan and make choices that affect the story and the characters you’re controlling. You’ll also be able to play scenes from different perspectives, both together and alone. You’ll encounter different information, locations and, maybe most importantly, scares.
With the Movie Night option, you and up to four pals will be able to play Man of Medan together. You’ll each be able to enter your names and decide which character(s) you’ll take charge of. The game will let