Google News is officially shutting down in Spain in light of a recently passed Spanish law that would have forced Google to pay licensing revenues to publishers if their content — including headlines — appeared on its news hub. “Some Spanish publishers … had tried to turn Google into a source of mandatory licensing revenue through an ill-conceived copyright and anti-piracy law,” Search Engine Land reports.
Citizen journalism hasn’t quite worked out as many media giants had hoped. Platforms that were designed to harness such content — CNN’s iReport and AOL’s Patch — haven’t panned out, while the trend appears to have taken a darker turn. “In many instances, citizen journalism is something like the more troubling idea of citizen policing — that is, vigilantism: taking the powerful, and even dangerous tools of journalism to the communities with the least responsible actors,” Buzzfeed reports.
Among other projects, Facebook’s Artificial Intelligence Research lab is trying to prevent inebriated users from making total asses of themselves. In the future, when users engage in drunk posting, a virtual voice of reason will strongly suggest that they slow their sloppy roll. “Fashioning such a tool is largely about building image recognition technology that can distinguish between your drunken self and your sober self, and using a red-hot form of artificial intelligence called ‘deep learning,’” Wired reports.
The New York Times has decided to open-source Hive — a platform it built to conduct various crowdsourcing experiments. “It became obvious to the R&D team that plenty of other publishers would be interested in having a tool that would allow them to build and manager [such] experiments,” GigaOm reports, citing comments from Matt Boggie, executive director of NYT’s research lab.
Bypassing the traditional venture capital route, Change.org has raised $25 million directly from a few tech gods, including Bill Gates, Jerry Yang, and Evan Williams. The New York Times call it “a twist on how Silicon Valley companies are financed.” For the uninitiated, “Change.org lets users create online petitions that call on governments and companies to act on specific issues,” NYT notes. The star-tup has already raised close to $20 million.
Following an unprecedented editorial exodus at The New Republic, owner and publisher Chris Hughes is defending his efforts to modernize (and better monetize) the magazine. “I didn’t buy the New Republic to be the conservator of a small print magazine whose long-term influence and survival were at risk,” Hughes, who bought TNR in 2012, explains in a Washington Post op-ed. “I came to protect the future of the New Republic by creating a sustainable business so that our journalism, values and voice … could survive.”
Of all the display ads Google serves, more than half (56.1%) of all ad impressions are not “viewable” by consumers, according to new research from the search giant. Also, “Certain ad sizes have a higher tendency to be viewable than others,” The Wall Street Journal reports, citing Google’s findings. “Unsurprisingly, the most viewable ad units were vertical ones, because they’re likely to remain on users’ screens for longer than horizontal ones as users scroll vertically down Web pages.”
Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes has draw the ire of the media establishment for trying to turn The New Republic into a Web-traffic fiend like Buzzfeed of Huffington Post. Among with TNR’s new CEO, former Yahoo News executive Guy Vidra, “Hughes’s … decision to abruptly change the 100-year-old journal … into what Hughes calls a ‘digital media company’ … and in the process get rid of top editor Franklin Foer … and literary editor Leon Wieseltier … has prompted a mass exodus by more than two dozen senior editors and writers,” The Daily Beast writes. With his Facebook billions, Hughes bought ...
Next year, Google plans to create versions of its most popular products for kids ages 12 and younger. “The most likely candidates are those that are already popular with a broad age group, such as search, YouTube and Chrome,” USA Today reports. As Pavni Diwanji, vice president of engineering at Google tells the publication: “The big motivator inside the company is everyone is having kids, so there's a push to change our products to be fun and safe for children.”
Fortunes don’t appear to be improving for First Look Media following the defection of star editor John Cook, last month. As part of an ongoing investigation, Vanity Fair contributor Sarah Ellison dissects the news organization launched by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, last year. Among other challengers facing First Look Media, its flagship property, The Intercept, recently lost Cook to Gawker Media, as well as writer Matt Taibbi.