Between its new drone program and other information-organizing ventures, Google should build a new search tools that “allows reporters to see in real-time past stories from across the Web,” according to Om Malik. “The search tool [should] also provide contextual information about various topics, whether through Wikipedia or some private archive like Lexis-Nexis.” According to Malik, the resulting service would “help not only save many reporter hours but make the news better, smarter and more contextual.”
The Obama administration just named Danny Marti as its new “piracy czar,” i.e., the country’s “intellectual property enforcement coordinator.” A managing partner of Kilpatrick Townsend’s Washington, D.C., office, Marti served as the firm’s intellectual asset acquisitions and transactions team from 2010 to 2013, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “The IPEC post was established in 2008 to coordinate the administration’s policy on intellectual property and piracy and to coordinate with other government agencies,” it writes.
While the world waits for Apple to unveil its first Smartwatch, Samsung keeps adding to new models to the mix. Its latest attempt to get the wearable revolution underway is the Gear S, and, of note, it features a 3G modem. “While it may not be especially fast, that means that even when outside the range of a Bluetooth-connected phone or WiFi, it can still send and receive messages or make calls,” Engadget notes. “It has a 2-inch AMOLED screen plus a dual-core 1GHz CPU inside along with GPS, heart rate and motion sensors, all powered by a 300mAh battery …
How’s Quora doing? Well, Adam D’Angelo, its CEO and co-founder, tells TechCrunch that the question-and-answer service had its best week ever, last week. “That’s all being driven by a dramatic increase in the answers that have been added to its platform,” TechCrunch writes. “That number has tripled over the past year, which is leading both new and existing members to contribute more than ever before.” Unfortunetly, neither D’Angelo nor TechCrunch offer up any real numbers to back up those claims.
After about year on the job, former Yahoo exec Shashi Seth is out as head of digital operations at Tribune Media. In his place, the publisher has named John Batter, who has been running streaming video service M-Go. “The move … indicates a shift in Tribune’s digital strategy,” Re/Code reports. “Under Seth, Tribune had built up a wide-ranging portfolio of assets … But Batter will concentrate primarily on Gracenote, the music data company Tribune acquired earlier this year, which is supposed to sync up with the electronic program guide business Tribune already owned.”
The Verge takes a deep dive into the resurgence of virtual reality, though once abandoned by an entire industry, is big once more thanks to investments and acquisitions by Facebook and others. “Imagine 10 years ago trying to envision the way we use cellphones today … It’s impossible,” The Verge writes. “That’s the promise VR has today.” Letting the imagination run wild, The Verge suggests: “If you can dream it, VR can make it … It’s a medium for progress, not the progress itself.”
Interesting thing about Politico’s recent claim that Vox.com is not living up to the hype. “In a very short time, Vox has tied then passed Politico for unique visitors,” Slates writes, citing Quantcast data. That said, “after [Slate] posted this chart on Twitter, a few people suggested that beating Politico in a recess month of a midterm year was no big deal,” is concedes. “A big factor has to be this month's coverage of the protests in Ferguson, which Vox has churned out posts and stories about.”
With its digital subscription strategy seemingly in limbo, many questions surround the future of The New York Times. “While selling access to the paper’s Web and mobile versions was an initial hit, growth is slowing -- and may stop altogether if the company’s earlier projections are correct,” Re/Code reports. Bigger picture, online ad revenue isn’t doing much of anything for the publisher, while total digital revenue only makes up 20% of its current sales. “In other words, a digital-only Times could just support a fifth of its current newsroom, or around 200 journalists.”
Without any allusions to a tech bubble, Nick Bilton details the off-kilter excesses of tech industry elites in Tuesday’s New York Times. Specifically, Bilton takes us to Burning Man where high rollers from the hottest startups and venture capital firms are turning the once egalitarian music festival into a dusty playground for the rich. “Anyone who has been going to Burning Man for the last five years is now seeing things on a level of expense or flash that didn’t exist before,” Brian Doherty, author of the book “This Is Burning Man,” tells Bilton.
Showing a true imbalance of power between Time Inc.’s editorial and ad sales departments, the publisher recently ranked writers and editors based on their production of “content that [is] beneficial to advertiser relationship[s]." “This once-proud magazine publishing empire is now explicitly rating its editorial employees based on how friendly their writing is to advertisers,” Gawker reports.