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Instagram Launches Youtube Competitor IGTV

Lindsay

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Turns out there’s nothing new under the social media sun.

In a move to keep pandering to influencers, Instagram has rolled out a vertical video content app called IGTV (Instagram TV). IGTV is available directly in the Instagram app and in a standalone IGTV app available for Android and iOS.

Unlike any other video platform on the market, IGTV lets users instantly begin watching videos without having to search for specific content first. After opening the app or IGTV feature, users can watch the videos playing automatically by default or scroll through videos from categories like “Popular” or “For You.”

(IGTV)

All users can begin uploading 10 minute videos to the app, but only qualified content creators (typically those users with a high number of followers) are allowed to post 60 minute videos. All videos appear vertically on IGTV, a decision that has received some fair criticism from users. This is a departure from the 30 second videos users can view in the app’s Instagram Stories that often appear vertically or horizontally.

 

 

 

At an event in San Francisco, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom implied that it’s just a matter of time before the app monetizes with videos ads.

“IGTV is for watching long-from videos from your favorite creators… It’s mobile first. It’s simple and it’s quality. That’s IGTV… There’s no ads in IGTV today, but it’s obviously a very reasonable place [for ads] to end up.”

IGTV follows Instagram’s announcement that the platform now has over 1 billion monthly active users.

 

What do you think of Instagram’s new IGTV feature? Do you use Instagram or a different social media platform? Tell us in the comments!

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Uber to Roll Out New Safety Features

Lindsay

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Uber is doing more to keep riders [and their public image] safe.

The ride-sharing company has announced they will now send an alert to remind consumers to verify the vehicle and driver information before riding. After booking a ride, riders will receive an alert notification from the app asking them to verify the car make, model, and license plate number. The alert will also remind them to verify the driver’s name and appearance matches the driver name and picture listed in the app. Uber will also begin posting safety reminders within the app as well.

“In the app, when you’ve ordered your Uber and it’s on the way, you will get more persistent, more frequent push notifications to your phone that remind you to check your ride.” – Tony West, Uber’s Chief Legal Officer

This news comes on the heels of building public backlash about the company’s current safety measures. Three riders have filed a lawsuit against Uber for negligence after individuals posing as fake drivers raped their passengers, and a 2018 CNN investigation found “at least 103 Uber drivers in the United States had been accessed of sexually assaulting or abusing their passengers in the previous four years.”

Earlier this month, Samantha Josephson, a 21-year-old senior at the University of South Carolina, was murdered after entering a vehicle she mistook for her Uber. Josephson’s family has launched WhatsMyName.org, a website that educates riders on safety precautions, and a subsequent #WhatsMyName hashtag on social media. Representatives have also introduced the “Samantha L. Josephson Ridesharing Safety Act” bill in the South Carolina Legislature. The bill would require all transportation network companies (TNC) to “possess and display certain illuminated signage at all times when the TNC driver is active.”

 

 

Uber filed their IPO, set to be the largest in history with a potential $100 billion evaluation, earlier this month.

 

Are you a fan of ride-sharing companies? Do you think this controversy will affect Uber’s IPO? Tell us in the comments!

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XPRIZE Awards $1 Million ‘Moonshot Award’ to Team SpaceIL

Chris

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XPRIZE announced it will recognize SpaceIL’s achievement with a $1 million Moonshot Award for its successful entry into lunar orbit and for its attempt to land on the lunar surface – both of which are “firsts” for a privately-funded entity, marking a new era in space exploration.

SpaceIL’s robotic lander, Beresheet, Hebrew for “Genesis,” came very close to touching down on the Moon yesterday, but ultimately failed to soft-land during its final descent. As it prepared for landing, Beresheet experienced a main engine failure and lost communication with mission control in Tel Aviv, suggesting the lander crashed into the surface.

“SpaceIL’s mission not only touched the Moon, it touched the lives and hearts of an entire world that was watching,” said Peter H. Diamandis, executive chairman and founder of XPRIZE. “The legacy SpaceIL will have on the future of the space industry is significant. This team’s ability to build a lunar lander for $100 million and less than 50 engineers is remarkable, a leap forward towards affordable and accessible space exploration. Congratulations to Morris Kahn, their primary benefactor, and the entire SpaceIL team for all their accomplishments — we are so proud.”

SpaceIL was founded in 2011 by Yariv Bash, Kfir Damari and Yonatan Winetraub, in order to compete in the $30 million Google Lunar XPRIZE. In 2015, SpaceIL became the first team to announce a launch contract, and they launched for the Moon on a SpaceX Falcon 9 on February 21, 2019.

“As a testament to the team’s passion and persistence, we are presenting this $1 Million Moonshot Award to the SpaceIL team at our annual Visioneering Summit in October 2019, with the hope that they will use these funds as seed money towards their education outreach or Beresheet 2.0, a second attempt to fulfill the mission,” said Anousheh Ansari, chief executive officer of XPRIZE. “We are so proud and humbled to have served as the catalyst for this mission, not just to further private space exploration, but to increase access to education, career opportunities, and role models in this field, something that is very much in line with the values of the XPRIZE Foundation.”

The Moonshot Award, inspired by SpaceIL, was created to recognize an XPRIZE team achieving a “moonshot” technological feat outside the parameters or timeframe of an XPRIZE competition, with the funds coming directly from the XPRIZE Foundation. Future Moonshot Awards will be considered in other domains, recognizing both literal and figurative moonshots.

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