All posts in “Video”

YouTube is launching its own take on Stories with a new video format called ‘Reels’


Even YouTube is adding Stories. The popular format introduced by Snapchat, then adopted by Instagram, Skype, Facebook, Messenger and even some dating apps, is now making its way to YouTube as a new feature the company is calling “Reels.” To be clear, Reels is YouTube’s spin on Stories, not an exact copy. And Reels won’t live at the top of the app, as Stories do on Instagram – instead, they’ll appear in a brand-new tab on a creator’s channel.

The launch of the Reels beta was mentioned briefly in an announcement today about the expansion of YouTube Community tab to all creators with over 10,000 subscribers.

We asked YouTube for more details on Reels, which will soon be introduced into beta for a handful of creators for feedback and further testing.

The company tells us the idea with Reels is to introduce a new video format on YouTube that lets creators express themselves and engage fans without having to post a full video.

Instead, creators make new Reels by shooting a few quick mobile videos of up to 30 seconds each, then adding filters, music, text and more, including new “YouTube-y” stickers.

And unlike Stories on other platforms, YouTube creators can make multiple Reels and they won’t expire.

Below is what Reels will look like for creators at launch, but be aware that the format could change ahead of a public release.

For video viewers, Reels may not mar the experience the way the addition of Stories did on Messenger or Facebook, where they weren’t as welcome.

Since Reels are posted to a separate tab on the creator’s channel, similar to Community itself, viewers could choose to go watch these new videos or not.

But if users engage with Reels, then YouTube will take that as a signal that you’d like to see them more often. That could trigger their appearance on the viewer’s YouTube home page as recommendations, YouTube tells us.

The arrival of Reels is one of a handful of changes for YouTube and YouTube Community, the social platform launched last fall as a new way for video creators to engage their fan base. A mini social network within YouTube’s larger social network, Community lives on a creator’s channel in its own tab, allowing them to share updates using text, photos, GIFs, polls, and more.

The audience can then thumbs up or down the content, as they do videos, and comment on the posts.

Also new to Community is a change to how posts work and are displayed to viewers. Now, a creator’s most engaged viewers will see Community posts in their Home feed on YouTube, even if they’re not subscribed to the channel.

YouTube says notifications are also now optimized so fans aren’t spammed with every new Community post.

Community was initially launched into beta with only a handful of YouTube creators, including John & Hank GreenAsapSCIENCEThe Game TheoristsKarminThe Key of AwesomeThe KloonsLilly SinghPeter HollensRosianna Halse RojasSam TsuiThreadbanger, and Vsauce3.

Today, YouTube detailed how some of its testers have been using Community so far. For example, Grav3yardgirl used Community to ask fans to pick what to unbox nextLele Pons posted GIFs that serve as a trailers for her upcoming videos; Kevin Durant shares photos on NBA gameday. And some have used it send traffic to different channels, and other purposes.

YouTube did not say when Reels will arrive in beta, how long until it’s publicly available, or which creators will receive the format first.

Apple said to be working on AR headset aimed for potential 2020 ship date


Apple is working on technology that would enable it to build an augmented reality headset by 2019, with shipping targeted for as soon as 2020, according to a new report from Bloomberg. The device would be independent from Apple’s iPhone or other mobile devices, with its own buillt-in display, OS (dubbed ‘rOS’ internally), and a new custom processor, per the report.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has been bullish on the prospects of AR in past interviews, and iOS 11 includes a built-in feature to support the development of AR experiences called ARKit, which allows developers to easily leverage those features within its apps. Earlier reports from Bloomberg noted that Apple has hired on a number of AR experts, and that the team is being run by former Dolby Labs engineering executive Mike Rockwell.

Recently, Cook told press that the technology is just not there yet for there to be an augmented reality headset available to consumers that offers a satisfying experience, while chiding “anything you would see on the market any time soon” in that category. This likely refers obliquely to at least Windows HoloLens, if not other products also on the horizon like whatever Magic Leap ends up releasing.

Apple is still firming up plans for this future device, per Bloomberg, but it’s exploring various interaction methods including touch sensitive input, Siri voice interaction and even head gestures. The team are also building out applications, including messaging, virtual meetings, 360 video and navigation, and their are plans to potentially build out an App Store for the hardware.

Testing is being done internally on the HTC Vive and a device that uses an iPhone screen but is similar to a Samsung Gear VR, per the report. Apple recently made its most recent Macs compatible with external GPUs and the HTC Vive for the purposes of developing VR content, so this seems like one motivating factor. The report also claims that Apple will release a new version of ARKit in 2018 that will pave the way for developers to begin building experiences that could target this device.

Apple spins up a wide range of experimental projects, and not all of them result in shipping products. But Cook has spoken about AR and its future potential enough to suggest they have more than a passing interest in the technology.

Will makeup trick the iPhone X’s facial recognition?

21 minutes ago

The iPhone X’s new Face ID facial recognition technology allows users to unlock their phone simply by holding it up to their face. But how does it handle contouring? We hired professional makeup artists to put it to the test. 

Periscope ups payouts to broadcasters on sales of Super Hearts, adds holiday bonuses


Twitter’s Periscope is going after live broadcasters in a big way, as it’s now promising to give back more of their earnings from the sales of Super Hearts in their live video streams.

Introduced in June, Super Hearts are in-app virtual goods that offer a form of virtual tipping.

The idea is similar to Twitch’s or YouTube’s emotes, but instead of custom emoji, Periscope’s version offers fans the option to send different versions of the animated heart icon that can be shared by fans during video broadcasts.

At launch, Periscope offered three kinds of Super Hearts, including cheaper basic hearts covered in plus signs, a sparkly mid-range heart, and more expensive ones that included fans’ faces and that would explode. The program has since added one more heart type, a waving hand. Fans buy virtual coins to pay for Super Hearts through in-app purchases.

When Super Hearts were announced, Periscope said it would pay video creators 70 percent of the cash value for Super Hearts, and retain 30 percent for itself – after first accounting for the 30 percent tax that goes to Apple and Google on in-app transactions, of course.

Today, those payouts are changing.

Now the company says those in its Super Broadcaster program will retain all their earnings, minus a $1 “administration fee,” from the sales of Super Hearts. The $1 fee goes towards continual operation of the Super Hearts feature and will help offset the costs of monthly payment processing, says Periscope. (The company will first pay Apple and Google its 30 percent in-app purchase fee, as before, ahead of the payouts to broadcasters.)

To kick off these new payouts, Periscope is also offering holiday bonuses to broadcasters during the months of November and December which take into account the Super Heart’s coin value. (For every Super Heart a broadcaster receives, its coin value translates to cash they can later withdraw.)

During this month and December, those who earn one million or more stars per month will be offered a $100 bonus. Those who earn 3 million stars or more can earn an additional $250, for a potential total of $350 in bonus money. These bonuses will be calculated based on monthly earnings during the two months only, and will not include any pre-existing star balance.

Not every broadcaster on Periscope can earn money from Super Hearts. The ability to cash out from these rewards is only offered to members of Periscope’s Super Broadcaster program, also introduced earlier this year.

The program, which is only open to U.S. residents, requires broadcasters have at least something of a presence on the platform. They need to have had an active account for 30 days, a minimum star balance of 185,000, and have to have created at least 5 broadcasts in the last month, with an average of 50 live viewers and 75 replay viewers per public broadcast.

With the change in payouts, it appears that Periscope is aiming to boost demand for its Super Hearts program in general, even at the expense of its own revenue. That could be a necessary move on Periscope’s part, not only because Periscope broadcasters haven’t seen Super Hearts as a way to make any serious money on the platform, but also because of the increased competition in live streaming.

Today, Twitch and YouTube, are dominating the live streaming market in terms of both viewers and broadcasters, especially in the esports realm. Twitch in particular has been on a roll as of late with its expanding array of monetization tools, like game sales and added subscription tiers. It also made its revenue-generation tools available to tens of thousands of smaller broadcasters through the Twitch Affiliate program, launched this spring.

That said, a recent report from Streamlabs found that Twitter’s Periscope saw an 80 percent jump in concurrent viewers during Q3 2017, which could indicate the platform is beginning to pick up steam.

Twitter declined to say how many total broadcasters have adopted Super Hearts, or the dollar amount of total sales to date.

“While we can’t provide numbers, we have seen interest from a variety of creators, and the community involved continues to grow,” a spokesperson said.

The new payouts are live now.

Facebook’s Workplace, now at 30,000 orgs, adds Chat desktop apps and group video chat


It’s been once year since Workplace, Facebook’s social network designed specifically for businesses and other organizations, came out of beta to take on the likes of Slack, Atlassian, Microsoft and others in the world of enterprise collaboration. Now, with 30,000 organizations using Workplace across some 1 million groups (more than double the figures Facebook published April), Facebook is stepping on the gas again.

Today, the company is releasing a desktop app for Workplace Chat, with new features like screen sharing and, in coming months, group video chat, which will let people create virtual “rooms” of up to 50 people for interactive video conferences. Previously, the video features in Workplace were limited to live video broadcasts and one-to-one video conversations.

Alongside the new apps and features, Facebook is also updating the overall design of Workplace to simplify the interface and make it consistent across Android, iOS, desktop and web:

  1. Workplace Chat for Windows

  2. Design Refresh – WWW Bookmarks Before and After

  3. Design Refresh – iOS Feed Before and After

  4. Design Refresh – Android Workplace Chat

Workplace has positioned itself as the collaboration platform for everyone in your organization — not just those who are so-called “knowledge workers” who are at desks most of the day. The idea is that everyone, from executive to barista to warehouse assistant, will find Workplace easy to use because, well, it looks and feels a lot like the hugely popular Facebook. However, the new desktop apps — for both PC and Mac — are a hat tip that there are, in fact, a lot of those desk-sitters using Workplace, too.

The two apps have been in beta for a little while, as spotted by my colleague Josh earlier this month. What was not known was Facebook’s plans to put Google Hangouts — as well as Meet, the enterprise version of Hangouts that Google launched in February — in its crosshairs by adding in group video conversations.

When Josh spotted the beta of the Chat desktop app with screen sharing, Facebook said the app was made in response to what users were most requesting.

But just as important, another key reason is engagement. By adding in more features like screen sharing, desktop apps and group video chat into a Workplace experience, people are more likely to stay in Facebook’s app rather than going elsewhere for those features.

(And there are many places to go — not least of which is Slack, which just yesterday updated its own screen sharing feature with the ability to edit on other people’s screens — which had been a big feature of Screenhero, the startup it acquired to build it. Other competitors on the video chat front, ironically, include Facebook Messenger, which added in group video conversations with up to 50 guests last December.)

Engagement on Workplace is key, since Facebook charges for Workplace not by seat — a typical pricing metric for enterprise services — but by monthly active user (based on number of users, and the features you want, the charged tiers range between $1 and $3 per MAU).

This not only aligns Workplace with its consumer service, but it also, in the words of Julien Codorniou, VP of Workplace, puts his company’s feet to the fire to make sure people actually use it.

“If you don’t use it, you don’t pay,” he said in an interview. “That shows the confidence we have and puts pressure on us to build a good product.” And before you wonder, there are still no plans to figure out how to, or even if, to offer a version of Workplace with advertising, which remains Facebook’s mainstay when it comes to revenues and the bottom line.

Workplace hit a major scaling milestone last month when it signed up Walmart, the world’s biggest employer with 2.2 million employees, as a customer. But while Facebook has made a lot of progress in terms of signing up new users, it’s been somewhat slower in terms of how it has built out the product overall.

One of the key defining characteristics of Slack, as a point of comparison, has been how the chat app (which has over 50,000 paying customers on its books) has positioned itself as a collaboration platform, by making it very easy to integrate many other apps, and bring in data from them, into your Slack conversations. Slack now has thousands of apps in its App Directory that can now be integrated into your own Slack experience.

Facebook, on the other hand, has not been as aggressive in building out that aspect of the Workplace platform, with the primary integrations being with some of the more popular services on the market today like Box, Microsoft, Dropbox and Quip/Salesforce.

But my guess is that this is not near the end of where Facebook plans to go. Its sights are set not just on helping people communicate what they are working on to each other, but to actually help them get that work done.

“We want to build Workplace like we built Facebook,” Codorniou said. “We [first] put everyone on the same network and connect them… when that happens, it goes from communication to automation.” Some of this, it seems, may already be happening on Workplace in smaller cases. Food delivery company Deliveroo has been using the platform to help check in visitors using Envoy, and when someone signs in, the person they are coming in to see gets an automatic ping.

Longer term, that could also see Facebook not just taking on significantly more integrations — and working with those who can enable them (as of April of this year, there are now more than 50 partners helping on that front); but also, tapping more into its efforts one with bots and AI to take on some an employee’s workload.