This week’s headline is excerpted from a Guardian News and Media spokesperson confirming the publication’s removal from Facebook’s Instant Articles platform and Apple News. It’s the latest in a string of news stories detailing newspapers’ growing concern with tech companies’ push to absorb content into their popular mobile services.
A quick note to share news of the Data Privacy Project site, an IMLS-supported project from New America’s Open Technology Institute, Brooklyn Public Library, Metropolitan New York Library Council, and Data & Society. Privacy news has received a lot of coverage lately and the Data Privacy Project helps librarians better understand how information travels and is shared online, what risks users commonly encounter online, and how libraries can better protect patron privacy.
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 as you scan through these articles, consider dropping me a line to let me know what you've read this week to help prepare for the future.
Algorithms, Artificial Intelligence, and Learning Machines
CNET “Driverless cars to travel between London and Oxford in 2019”
The UK government will invest £13 million in multiple projects to help lead the adoption of autonomous cars.
Books and Publishing
Seattle Times “Amazon expands its literary horizons, making big imprint in translation niche”
AmazonCrossing, the publishing unit devoted to finding international works, has become the most prominent interpreter of foreign fiction into English, accounting for 10% of all translations in 2016.
Cities and Government
ReCode “Steve Ballmer thinks you don’t have enough data about your government”
Former Microsoft executive Steve Ballmer’s USAFacts harnesses publicly available, yet often ignored, state and federal government data to bring a business-minded eye to the U.S. government, its multi-trillion dollar budget, and its effects on voters’ lives. See also GeekWire, Gizmodo, Inc., The New York Times, TechCrunch, and The Verge.
Mashable “India's relentless push for digital now reaches the hinterlands”
7,000 railway stations in rural and semi-rural areas of India will be outfitted with wireless internet, allowing citizens to order and receive goods from e-commerce portals.
Mic “More than 2 million millennials aren't in school or working — and most are white and male”
Nearly one third of the country's 70 million millennials (those between 18 and 34) are living at home and nearly 2.2 million "idle" 25-to-34-year-olds aren't in school and don't have jobs.
CampusTechnology “UT San Antonio and partners to open tech high school”
The industry-led, career-themed CAST (Centers for Applied Science and Technology) network of high schools will teach students coding, cybersecurity, entrepreneurship, and business skills through a partnership between the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), the San Antonio Independent School District (SAISD), and several Texas companies.
The Washington Post “New Mexico Gov. Martinez vetoes higher education funding. All of it.”
New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez has vetoed higher education funding, in part to protest legislative tax increases and spending and as complaint over delayed hearings for nominations she had made to the university system’s Board of Regents – the resulting shortfalls could leave college students facing significant tuition increases and institutions struggling to prepare budgets for a school year that starts in a few months.
Mic “Racist organizer Richard Spencer speaks at Auburn University, sparking massive protests” and The Daily Dot “Ann Coulter is speaking at Berkeley whether the school likes it or not”
Controversy over campus speakers continues as Richard Spencer, the white nationalist activist, spoke at Alabama's Auburn University after a federal judge ruled at the last moment the event must go forward and conservative personality Ann Coulter’s invitation to the University of California at Berkeley raised concerns among university officials. See also Mic.
The New York Times “A gym where comic-con is the reigning spirit”
A look at how fandom is being leveraged in another public space – gyms and fitness centers – to reach new adult audiences.
Mashable “Now you can order and pay for Subway in Facebook Messenger”
A Subway ordering chat bot for Facebook Messenger will allow users to order a sandwich and complete the order with MasterCard's Masterpass. See also GeekWire.
Journalism and News
The Verge “Instant recall”
A detailed look at the origin and progress of Facebook’s Instant Articles, the fast-loading, natively hosted articles feature meant to appeal to mobile readers, that has now declined in relevance as Facebook focuses on video and publishers seek more direct engagement with readers.
Digiday “The Guardian pulls out of Facebook’s Instant Articles and Apple News”
The Guardian, which had been making every single article available via Facebook’s Instant Articles and Apple News, will no longer publish content through either format, seeking instead to bring audiences to the trusted environment of their own site and building deeper relationships with readers.
ArsTechnica “Google pushes fake news, hate-speech workshops (and YouTube) on UK teens”
Google will launch an "Internet Citizens" series of workshops for teenagers designed to tackle the spread of online hate speech and fake news. See also Engadget.
Mashable “An exclusive look at Snapchat's newest Discover publisher, The New York Times”
The New York Times will provide a Snapchat edition every weekday. See also TechCrunch
Digiday “The Telegraph launches audio show for Google Home”
British newspaper The Telegraph will leverage two audio options – a standard weekly podcast and a daily 10-minute news show available through Google Home – to pull in new audiences and hopefully convert them to paying subscribers.
Engadget “Apple Music's next exclusive is a Clive Davis documentary” and “'Up Next' is an Apple Music series highlighting new artists"
Apple Music will expand its video options with a new documentary about music industry legend Clive Davis and a new monthly series called Up Next focused on up-and-coming artists.
Mashable “Netflix debuts first India-produced original and it's funny”
Netflix continues to expand into international content with its first Indian original production, the comedy special Abroad Understanding featuring English-language comic Vir Das.
ReCode “Facebook is offering publishers money to create produced video”
Facebook will reportedly pay publishers to create more video as part of a plan to push the company’s new ad products – publishers could receive a monthly sum in exchange for a minimum amount of produced videos or live videos into which at least one ad could be inserted in the middle of play.
TechCrunch “CBS’s streaming service CBS All Access gains movies”
CBS will begin to expand its streaming and on-demand TV service with a lineup of 18 films on top of its existing library of 8,500 on-demand episodes of current shows, prior seasons, and classic shows from the network’s archive, as well as its CBS All Access original programming. See also Engadget.
The Daily Dot “Tribeca Film Fest to stream panels on Facebook Live, including ‘Godfather’ reunion”
The Tribeca Film Festival will use Facebook Live to stream 12 of its panel discussions—including a 45th anniversary reunion of the cast of the Godfather.
ArsTechnica “Netflix slaps additional $1 billion on the price tag of producing more original content”
Netflix will raise an additional $1.08 billion from "non-US persons" to fund new original programming efforts. See also ReCode and TechCrunch.
Technology and Innovation
The Drum “Facebook is developing mind-reading technology”
Facebook’s product research and development hub, Building 8, discussed current efforts toward a "brain-computer speech-to-text interface” that would use non-invasive wearable sensors to measure brain activity hundreds of times per second and decode brain signals associated with language in real time. See also Gizmodo, Inc., ReCode, TechCrunch, and The Verge.
The Verge “Facebook says it’s working to let you ‘hear with your skin’”
Building 8 is also pursuing technology to let you “hear” with your skin, an innovation to help deaf people communicate and as a way to advance communications across languages.
The Verge “We’re going to Uber’s ‘flying car’ event in Texas this week”
Uber’s “Elevate Summit” will explore vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft (“flying cars”) and their possibilities and pitfalls for an on-demand airborne ride-hailing service, an idea the company explored in an earlier white paper.
The New York Times “No longer a dream: Silicon Valley takes on the flying car”
Uber is not alone - more than a dozen start-ups backed by deep-pocketed technology and transportation industry leaders are taking on the dream of the flying car. See also Business Insider.
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality
CNET “'The Revenant' director's VR short is a first for Cannes”
Alejandro Iñárritu's six and a half minute short film, Carne y Arena (Virtually present, Physically invisible), is the first VR project to be chosen for the Official Selection of the Cannes Film Festival.
Wired “Facebook unveils two new VR cameras with ‘six degrees of freedom’”
Facebook’s push for immersive 360-degree video has led to blueprints for two new cameras designed to capture spherical video with extreme fidelity – one with 24 individual lenses, the other with six, and both able to shoot with “six degrees of freedom,” moving forward and back, up and down, right and left, and across three other perpendicular axes.
Mashable “Facebook's first social VR app is cool — but there's a problem”
Facebook Spaces is a new app for Oculus Rift that lets users hang out with friends in virtual reality. See also New Scientist, ReCode, and TechCrunch.
Vocativ “Snapchat is diving into augmented reality with World Lenses”
Snapchat’s new World Lenses allow users to overlay captions, graphics, and even Bitmoji’s to their surroundings using augmented reality that appear as 3-D graphics that can be adjusted to appear over surfaces as if they were really there. See also Engadget, TechCrunch, and The Verge.
CNET “Facebook's next act: A new spin on reality”
Facebook’s augmented reality app Camera Effects will overlay computer images onto the real world, starting with graphics laid over images from a phone’s camera, but likely the first in a series of steps toward a future in which items like glasses or contact lenses will become windows into a computerized world. See also Advertising Week, The Drum, GeekWire, Mashable and again and again, ReCode, TechCrunch, The Verge, and Wired.
TechCrunch “The augmented reality gold rush is afoot”
With the launch of Camera Effects and other investments in augmented reality, the race is now on for content providers that can supply AR experiences for the nearly 1.8 billion people who could make up the AR audience on Facebook.
The Drum “Arsenal becomes the first Premier League club to launch an Amazon Alexa Skill”
Voice control may become more appealing to sports fans as the Arsenal Skill debuts on Alexa, allowing users to access live commentary and real-time match stats, pre-match build-up, line-ups, score updates, and post-match analysis. See also CNET and Engdget.
Consumerist “Google Home now recognizes specific users’ voices, allows for multiple accounts”
Google has enhanced its Google Home assistant to allow for multiple users, each of whom can be uniquely identified by their voice – a competitive advantage over other voice-activated assistants. See also Engadget, ReCode, TechCrunch, and The Verge.