We only teased Pokémon Go last week, but with more time behind us we take a closer look at some of the popular game’s implications for augmented reality, physical spaces, and the demographic categories it may exclude. Additionally, national and international politics provide opportunities to consider the implications of social media and live streaming for sharing news and content. Along the way, some news about the sharing economy, internet filtering, and what the popularity of headphones might say about us.
You can always check out the Center's trend collection to see how this scanning comes together to identify trends relevant to our future work.
And let us know what you're reading this week to help think about later.
Books, Media, and Publishing
Twitter announced that it will livestream the Republican and Democratic Conventions, broadcasting video shot by CBS and its online affiliate CBSN (Wired "Twitter to Stream the Republican and Democratic Conventions"). See also The Daily Dot, Engadget, The New York Times, ReCode, and The Verge.
Facebook will also make a push for streaming news from the political conventions, encouraging delegates, politicians, and members of the media to use the Facebook Live product to broadcast as much as possible (Politico "Facebook plans live video push during conventions"). See also Engadget.
And one more – The Huffington Post will broadcast 360-degree video from the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, taking advantage of parent company AOL’s recent acquisition of virtual reality studio RYOT (The Verge "The Huffington Post will broadcast 360-degree video from Republican and Democratic National Conventions"). See also Engadget.
Streaming apps like Facebook Live and Periscope have the potential to share stories more quickly than TV can, to expand on the kinds of stories we normally see, and empower points of view that might otherwise have been ignored by traditional media – all at a time when the median age of traditional television and print news consumers is increasing (The New York Times "Live streaming breaks through, and cable news has much to fear"). See also Bloomberg.
Lured by the potential for advertising and a growing audience from social platforms, a growing number of publishers are producing video using automated services that analyze and summarize text, automatically find photographs and video clips, and place large animated captions or even on-demand human narration over the final video product (The New York Times "As online video surges, publishers turn to automation").
Netflix announced its new Flixtape feature, a way for users to make playlists featuring up to six titles from existing Netflix streaming content and share their collection on Twitter, Facebook, or via email and text message (Mashable “Netflix launches a way to make and share mixtapes of your favorite shows”). See also Gizmodo, TechCrunch, and The Verge.
Twitter and Bloomberg Media have signed a deal to live stream three Bloomberg shows, covering technology news, global financial news, and political analysis (TechCrunch "Twitter signs deal with Bloomberg to live stream financial news"). See also Nieman Lab.
Using data from a Bureau of Labor Statistics report on workers’ purchasing power, researchers show how the top cities for workers vary greatly depending on the sectors – blue collar, knowledge and creative workers, and service – those workers find themselves in (City Lab "How expensive cities hurt workers' purchasing power").
Police in Nottinghamshire county in the U.K. announced that they would recognize misogyny as a hate crime, working to limit incidents of street harassment, physical assault, unwanted and uninvited messages, and the taking of photographs without consent (The Daily Dot "Street harassment is now a hate crime in this U.K. county").
Pokémon’s popularity may make it seem like everyone is playing, but for people with physical disabilities, the game’s physical requirements – moving around to collect Pokémon, walking a certain distance to hatch eggs – may simply not be accessible (The Daily Dot "How Pokémon Go is creating a barrier for gamers with disabilities").
Another demographic that might be missing out on the Pokémon phenomenon – rural audiences, where landmarks, monuments, and other incentivized locations might be more widely dispersed across roads not designed for pedestrians (Slate " Pokémon Go is much more difficult outside of cities."). See also The Daily Dot.
A new program allowing California’s community colleges to grant bachelor’s degrees - California is the 22nd state to allow community colleges to award four-year degrees – could help address workforce opportunities in the state, while also providing an important tool to address racial and ethnic disparities in bachelor’s degree attainment (The Atlantic "The challenge of equipping California's Latinos with bachelor's degrees").
The attempted coup in Turkey led politicians and citizens to turn to social media to broadcast the unfolding situation - President Erdogan spoke live on state television through what appeared be Facetime (Vocativ "President Erdogan, Turkish people use technology to broadcast coup"). See also The Daily Dot, Engadget, ReCode, The Verge, and Vocativ.
The watchdog service @TurkeyBlocks reported that access to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram were blocked at 10:50 pm local time on Friday, about 20 minutes after a surge of tweets alerted the rest of the world about the coup (Vocativ "Turkey restores Twitter, calls for uprising against coup"). See also CNET, The Daily Dot, and The Verge.
McDonald’s announced that it would block pornographic content on its public Wi-Fi services in "the majority" of its 14,000 US locations, responding to pressure from advocacy group Enough is Enough, whose stated mission is to make the internet safer for children and families (The Verge "McDonald's is now filtering out porn from its public Wi-Fi networks"). See also Consumerist, The Daily Dot, and Gizmodo.
Following McDonald’s announcement, Starbucks noted that it would also add porn-blocking filters to its public, in-store Wi-Fi, once they determine that “customers can access our free Wi-Fi in a way that also doesn't involuntarily block unintended content" (ArsTechnica "Sorry, there’s no more porn with your Starbucks latte").
Technology has made it easier for what count as “facts” (a view that someone feels to be true) to circulate quickly and unchecked, allowing falsehoods and facts to now spread the same way, through what academics call an “information cascade” (The Guardian "How technology disrupted the truth").
The Sharing Economy
Uber will offer a limited number of prepaid, multi-week UberPool Commute Cards, available through Gilt City, for Manhattan commuters willing to share rides with other passengers during the morning and evening rush hours for a fixed price of $79 per month, temporarily placing Uber’s services in price competition with New York’s subways and buses (Slate "Uber’s Manhattan commute card signifies the company’s move from taxis toward transit."). See also Quartz.
Three US Senators have urged the FTC to look into the short-term rental market (e.g. Airbnb) over concerns that the services might make permanent housing harder to find or more expensive (ReCode "Elizabeth Warren joins a group of Senators calling on the FTC to investigate the short-term rental business"). See also The Hill and Reuters.
Uber will suspend its operations in Hungary, following months of protests by taxi drivers and the passing of a new law that blocks internet access to "illegal dispatcher services" (Reuters "Uber to suspend operations in Hungary due to govt legislation").
Spaces, Retail, and Restaurants
PokéStops and Pokémon Gyms (key real-world locations and landmarks that Pokémon Go players visit to acquire collectibles and do battle) have demonstrated the app’s ability to drive real-world foot traffic to locations (TechCrunch "Pokémon Go is doing what few apps can – driving real-world traffic"). See also AdWeek, Bloomberg, The Daily Dot, Engadget, and Inc.
That real-world traffic has spilled over into complicated spaces, including the former concentration camp Auschwitz in Poland, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C., Arlington National Cemetery, and the National September 11 Memorial in New York, leading representatives from some of those sites to ask players to manage their interest in the game with the respect afforded these spaces (The New York Times "Where Pokémon should not go"). See also ArsTechnica, CNET, Engadget, Mashable and again, and New Scientist.
Pizza Hut is building a social ordering platform with chatbots in Facebook Messenger and Twitter Direct Messages, allowing customers to quickly place orders and integrate with existing online ordering systems (Digiday "’Messaging is taking off': Why Pizza Hut is betting on chat commerce"). See also CNET, Consumerist, and Engadget.
In New York City’s competitive real estate market, a new key selling feature is proximity to restaurants, cafes, and bars, which can serve as auxiliary living rooms for residents accustomed to limited square footage and less interested in marriage or families (The New York Times "Wanted: 2BR, near bars and restaurants").
The headphone industry has experienced steady growth since 2012 and a 2014 survey by Sol Republic found that 53% of millennials owned three or more pairs of headphones and wore them for nearly four hours every day, using them to “avoid interaction with other people,” exercising autonomy from the general environments barrage of noises and distractions, and, perhaps most interestingly, as a tool of empowerment piping in anthemic music as a soundtrack for ordinary life (The New Yorker "Headphones everywhere").
From the ReCode Decode podcast, Jeffrey Seller, the lead producer of Broadway’s Hamilton, feels that in the midst of a hyper-connected digital age, people are eager to experience live performances that can be shared with family and friends (ReCode "‘Hamilton’ producer Jeffrey Seller: Live theater is the antidote to digital overload").
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality
It may not be the best example of augmented reality’s potential, but Pokémon Go will likely be the most widely dispersed example of the technology’s use to date – and one that helps demonstrate the potential for physical activity and social interaction to be a big part of AR (ReCode "Pokémon Go is an augmented-reality watershed"). See also BBC, Engadget, Fast Company, Next Big Future, New Scientist, The New Yorker, TechCrunch, and Vox.