Snapchat acquires Seene
Snapchat has made its plans for the future somewhat clearer with the repeal of its quiet acquisition of 3D selfie company Seene. 3D and virtual reality are poised to revolutionize the entertainment industry and, as the company’s usage surpasses that of Twitter, Snapchat is clearly looking to keep users engaged with fresh, novel features.
The technology uses the user’s smartphone camera to create a 3D rendering of anything, and the image can be manipulated with the swipe of a finger. Snapchat’s geo-filters and selfie lenses have proven incredibly popular, and with new features come new opportunities for monetization. If Snapchat could allow users to send 3D pictures, they could also offer brands the ability to send advertisements that users want to touch, manipulate and engage with far more than traditional media.
First Project Tango phone debuted
Lenovo has debuted - at their Tech World event in San Fransisco - the first consumer phone to possess the capability of Google’s Project Tango. The Phab2 Pro, a 6.4-inch display giant, will possess the augmented reality capabilities of Tango (as it is now called), made possible by the depth-sensing unit and wide-angle camera added to the standard 16-megapixel device.
Tango can map out any physical space, track the objects in it and subsequently project games, information, or anything else onto it. The current applications are reportedly limited in scope and incredibly buggy, but the prospect of augmented reality making its way onto smartphones is exciting. From the ability to project furniture into a room before buying it, to allowing the visually impaired to be navigated around a space by voice commands, making AR portable and personal holds incredible potential. It’s a start, one that will doubtless see mind-blowing development in the years to come.
32 million Twitter passwords leaked
Twitter has today been forced to lock millions of accounts, after almost 33 million account passwords were hacked by Russian hackers and put up for sale on the dark web. The leak is a whole tenth of Twitter’s entire user base, and the social media giant has denied that it has been the victim of a security breach.
This week has seen millions of Myspace and LinkedIn passwords also put up for sale online, sparking a wave of fear around online security more generally. According to TechCrunch, ‘LeakedSource [a site with a search engine for leaked credentials] believes that the user credentials were collected by malware infecting browsers like Firefox or Chrome rather than stolen directly from Twitter.’ There are disputes over the authenticity of the credentials but, nonetheless, the story has brought the discussion online security back to the fore.
Google and Apple in app store arms race
Ahead of Apple’s annual WWDC conference, the tech giant has announced some long overdue improvements to its App Store. The review process for new apps has been slashed - down to one day from five - and the formerly 70/30 revenue split between Apple and its developers has been shifted to an 85/15 split after a year. Also, Apple is making it easier for users to discover apps, a criticism that has been levelled at the company for years.
Almost immediately, though, Google has responded with improvements of its own. The Play Store will offer the same 85/15 split but will offer the change immediately, rather after 12 months as per Apple. The Play Store is one of Google’s long-term plans to continue growth, and throughout 2015 Play registered double the app downloads of Apple’s App Store. It seems anything Apple can do, Google can do better.