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Unsubtle reminder from Facebook to media companies: We’re really big, and we can send you a lot of traffic.

The longer version comes here, via a Facebook blog post boasting about all the eyeballs they have passed along to sites like BuzzFeed and Bleacher Report recently, in an experiment to boost referral traffic.

Facebook said it got those sites and 27 others to increase by 57 percent the number of articles they posted to the social network, and that those sites saw their referral traffic jump by 80 percent.

The bigger picture is that Facebook is making a renewed effort to get media companies to distribute their stuff on the site.

Today’s blog post is specifically about Web publishers. But Facebook has been making a particular push to engage TV programmers and networks to use the site, in the way that Twitter has been doing for a couple of years.

Aereo

Aereo Inc.’s upstart TV streaming service has provoked a legal onslaught from broadcast networks. But even if it wins that fight, it still has to overcome more-pedestrian issues, like making sure it can pay for the electricity it needs. The service depends on tiny antennas assigned to each of its individual users, who rent them to stream broadcast TV channels over the Web. Each of those antennas, which Aereo warehouses in centralized facilities, uses five to six watts of power. On their own, that isn’t a whole lot-a typical set-top box rented by cable operators to customers can use four times as much, or more. But the power for a cable box is paid by consumers, whereas Aereo is footing the bill for every subscriber. And that is beginning to add up.

Read the full story at The Wall Street Journal.

Google will show off the latest in its Chrome and Android lines this morning.

It’s no secret that there should be a new Nexus 7 – in fact, Best Buy already has the tablet on sale in 16 gigabyte and 32GB configurations.

Android itself is due for a modest update, as well, going to version 4.3 with improvements in Bluetooth and tweaks other areas.

We’re also expecting something called “Chromecast” from Chrome, which will offer another way to get content from a mobile device on to a TV.

Earlier:
9:06 am: Sundar Pichai, SVP of Android, Chrome and Apps, takes the stage.

“At Google I/O, we talked about the fact that we are living at a pivotal moment in computing,” he says. “Laptops, tablets, phones, televisions – it’s a multiscreen world.

“Our goal is to deliver an experience that is seamless.”

Pichai says, “Between Android and Chrome, we have a solution for all the computing devices that users have in their lives.”

Two things coming today: A new Android device, a new Chrome device.

By the end of 2013, consumers are going to buy more tablets per year than personal computers. How is Android doing? More than 70 million activated so far.

Almost one in two tablets sold worldwide is based on Android.

A year ago, 20 billion applications downloaded on Google Play. Today, 50 billion. And, revenue per user is up 2.5x in a year. In that year, Google Play has gone from half a billion apps to 1 billion apps.

Pichai: We’ve worked closely with Asus – the CEO, Jonney Shih is here. The Nexus 7 accounts for more than 10 percent of tablets sold. In Japan, it was the single highest-selling tablet in the holiday season, accounting for 45 percent of sales.

Android exec Hugo Barra hops on stage. We can see he has a tablet in his back pocket.

It’s tiny and thin. Barra: It’s 2 millimeters thinner, with the same display size but reduced side bezels of 3 mm on either side. And it’s 50 grams lighter. “It’s a much more comfortable grip, and of course, it fits easily into your purse or jacket.” It has the same soft touch with added gloss.

It has higher resolution – from 216 pixels per inch to 323 per inch – the highest of any in the market.

It can show a 30 percent wider range of colors, and has stereo speakers, with Fraunhofer virtual surround sound.

Even more specs: 1.2 MP front camera, 5 MP rear camera. 1.5 GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro, 1.8x CPU, 4x GPU, doubled system memory to 2 GB. Dual band Wi-Fi, BLuetooth 4.0, 4G LTE for any U.S. network. HDMI, NFC, wireless charging. Some extra power compared to the original – 9 hours of HD video and 10 hours of Web browsing.

And it’s shipping with Android 4.3, the new version of Jelly Bean.

It has multi-user support with restricted profiles that give control over content and apps at a user level (for example, for parents).

Now Barra is showing off a jigsaw puzzle app on his tablet … scintillating demo material.

The app hides all the purchasing functionality and only exposes content to the restricted profile that has been approved.

And supporting OpenLG ES 3.0 to support graphics in games.

Here’s Ina Fried’s dedicated post on the Nexus 7.

Barra says they’re going to show car racing with “jaw-dropping visuals.” These demos are always a little strange because we’re watching them projected on a huge screen, not the tiny tablet.

As a lady shoots people while riding a motorcycle amid lens flares, Barra says it’s all rendered in real-time in native 1080p resolution.

Plus, there are new DRM APIs to restrict content access, which Barra says he’s “thrilled” about. Really? Oh no, he’s actually “thrilled” that Netflix has designed for it. Their new app supporting Android 4.3 is already available.

So when is Android 4.3 coming? They’re pushing an update over the air today.

Barra switches over to talk about native Google Apps to show how they look on a tablet. They’ve redesigned Google Docs, with support for offline spreadsheet editing, etc. Chrome now has “print-quality” text and 15 percent more screen space. It also includes automatic translation.

The new Google Maps includes an “Explore” feature. Barra is gushing about how the layout is “awesome” especially at such a high resolution. And lastly, Google Hangouts – it also includes screensharing so people who are video-chatting can watch each other edit docs on their tablets.

Google Play product manager Ellie Powers shows how tablet apps are featured, and says hundreds of games have added the Google Play game services shown off at Google I/O. She demos some games and leaderboards. For instance, a game that looks like Mario Kart on jet skis now features responsive splashes on the windshield, and a game with a guy jumping across rooftops, parkour-style, has the shadows on the buildings change as you shift perspective.

Google Play will have a textbook section starting in early August, she says, with books from all five major textbook publishers. It’ll include purchases as well as rentals for up to an 80 percent discount.

The prices are $229 for 16GB, $269 for 32GB and $349 for unlocked LTE. The first two will be on sale on July 30 at Best Buy, GameStop, Walmart, etc. The 4G model will be available “in the coming weeks,” as will international launches in countries like the U.K. and Germany.

After a kind of odd Nexus 7 commercial about a kid with braces giving a speech in front of his class and then Googling “how do I ask a girl out,” Pichai is back. He’s talking TV. He says every single month more than 200 billion videos are watched in the world. And Netflix and YouTube combined have 49.4 percent share of all peak downstream Internet traffic in America. And lots of that is happening on non-TV devices.

A product dude whose name I didn’t catch says Google’s goals for TV are: “Make it fast and easy to set up, with nothing new to learn, and it works across platforms and devices.”

He holds up what looks like a little USB stick, and says it’s called Chromecast. It’s running a simplified version of Chrome OS. It plugs into the HDMI port on a TV.

Let’s say you want to watch YouTube on your TV, he says – you’ll go to that site on your phone/table/PC and see a “Cast” button on the screen. When you do that, it’s pulled from the cloud and played directly on the TV. Your device doesn’t push the content, it comes direct from YouTube.

For the demo, Rishi Chandra comes onstage. In the past, he’s the guy who demoed Google TV.

Interestingly, this TV effort is built around Chrome OS, where the previous Google TV was built on Android.

Here’s Ina’s pullout story on Chromecast.

Oops, and I missed her Android story. She’s a busy lady.

“If you know how to use YouTube on your phone, you know how to use YouTube on your TV,” Chandra says.

He adds, “Even in sleep mode, the videos continue to play. We don’t drain your battery.”

But, he says, “we recognize that not everyone has an Android phone. And we need a solution that works for everyone. Let’s pretend my wife has an iPhone (heh).” It works the same.

The Cast button can also be used to bring a video back to the phone – if you click it, you can switch to your phone screen and the video will keep playing from the place you left it.

This also works for Netflix. This is the third Netflix callout of the presentation – unusually strong support for a single partner.

Chandra plays the “House of Cards” credits, which are in my opinion possibly awesomer than the show. This demo is to show that you can direct the content from any device that’s connected to the Chromecast on the TV.

In this game of dueling remote controls, you can control content between an iPhone, a Nexus 7 and a TV. It’s not exactly clear to me how this is coordinated – perhaps it’s just the fact that they’re on the same Netflix account.

This can also be used for Google Play Music and Pandora, Chandra says. The “Cast” button – which is a little rectangle with arcs in the corner – shows up there, too.

And lastly, a beta feature: You can project any Chrome tab from the browser to the TV.

“We’ll project what’s on your local device right onto the television – not the entire desktop or the URL bar, but what you want to look at.” Chandra keeps emphasizing that the TV is the best screen in the house with the best speakers in the house, so it’s ideal for content.

This will work with most Windows and Mac laptops as well as Chromebooks.

Developers won’t need to build a new app to work with the Google Cast SDK, which is out in developer preview today.

Actually, the Pandora integration is still under development.

It will retail for $35 and can be ordered today from Amazon, Best Buy and Google Play.

And it will include three months free of Netflix (another Netflix plug/tie-up!) if you buy now.

That concludes the presentation. Bye for now!

Apple

Apple has a new trick up its sleeve as it tries to launch a long-awaited television service: technology that allows viewers to skip commercials and that pays media companies for the skipped views. For more than a year, Apple has been seeking rights from cable companies and television networks for a service that would allow users to watch live and on-demand television over an Apple set-top box or TV. Talks have been slow and proceeding in fits and starts, but things seem to be heating up. In recent discussions, Apple told media executives it wants to offer a “premium” version of the service that would allow users to skip ads and would compensate television networks for the lost revenue, according to people briefed on the conversations. Consumers, of course, are already accustomed to fast-forwarding through commercials on their DVRs, and how Apple’s technology differs is unclear.

Read the full story at JessicaLessin.com.

Time Warner Cable on Apple TV

As we’ve heard for the past month, Apple and Time Warner Cable are close to inking a deal that would bring a TWC app to the Apple TV’s homescreen – for the first time bringing live TV broadcasts to the device. But some recent reports are bringing things into sharper focus, giving us some more insight into what the future of Apple’s service is going to look like. Earlier this week, the New York Times wrote that the app would allow “some of the company’s 12 million subscribers to watch live and on-demand shows without a separate set-top box.” Friday, Bloomberg adds that “while the deal would add a Time Warner app, that just means viewers won’t have to switch from Apple TV back to their cable box: They’d still need to subscribe to Time Warner Cable and wait around for a technician to install it.” The TWC app would likely be based on its existing iPhone and iPad software.

Read the full story at The Verge.

I love physical media. I love being able to display the spines of the movies, video games and books I own. There’s something comforting about having a shelf full of movies or games or books to look at. It might be the sense of endless possibilities. I could go over, pluck any one thing off the shelf, and have something to do for anywhere from 20 minutes to hundreds of hours.

It’s a feeling I don’t get when scrolling through my iTunes or when browsing Netflix. Sure, both of those places have more “stuff” than all the bookshelves in my apartment could hold, but they’re really just ones and zeroes making up words and pretty pictures. There’s no sense of “home” there. But what they lack in in “home” they make up for with convenience. And that convenience is so appealing that I find myself heading deeper and deeper down the digital-only rabbit hole.

Music: Digital-Only is a Go!

iTunes

I gave up on (most) physical CDs years ago. Almost all the music I buy comes from Amazon or iTunes as a download … and that’s if I’m buying music at all. (Spotify’s eliminated the need to buy almost any music, but that’s a slightly different topic for another day.) I just felt weird buying physical copies of CDs, ripping them to my computer and then never looking at the CD again. I was only interacting with the music digitally, so why bother with the physical version at all? Why go through the extra work and why take up the extra storage room? Music has gone almost fully digital. There’s no turning back.

I wish I could do the same thing for books, movies and video games. I could, but I won’t .

Books: Infrastructure Brought Down By Pricing

Kindle Matchbook

Most of the books I buy come from used book sales. Probably close to 90 percent of the books I own have cost me two dollars or less. Reading on a Kindle is great – and I think I’ve moved past the book snobbery of thinking a physical copy feels better – but the prices aren’t comparable. If I want to catch up on an author, I could go to a book sale and pick up ten books for ten bucks. On Kindle? It would probably cost anywhere from $40 to $140. Kindle is far more convenient – especially if you’re traveling and plan on tearing through a ton of books.

Whether you go through Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Apple, getting the books you want digitally is (usually) extremely quick and easy. The system is nearly flawless. But cost-wise, it’s just not there. Amazon is trying to help us transition to digital with the launch of Kindle Matchbook on Tuesday. Matchbook lets you pick up a digital copy of physical books you’ve bought from Amazon for $2.99 or less. But of the dozens of books I’ve bought, only three fall under the Matchbook program, and even at $2.99 they’re not titles I want to re-visit.

Movies: An Issue of Quality and Extras

Netflix Ultra HD

Blu-ray’s quality is still unmatched by downloads, and even though Netflix is now streaming at 1080p and will soon offer 4K streaming, the color depth just isn’t there. Watch the opening scenes from Drive on Netflix, then watch them on a Blu-ray copy. If you don’t think there’s a difference, you’re lying to yourself.

Physical copies of movies and TV shows also offer bonus features, like director’s commentaries, deleted scenes and more. But physical media is catching up in this regard. Vudu has begun doing it and Netflix is talking about it … it’s only a matter of time before this hurdle is cleared. I still don’t see a time when I head to downloads only, but I’m becoming more and more okay with Netflix. I’ve found myself only buying the movies I really like. (This is still a lot of movies, but hey, what are you going to do? NOT buy Monsters University?)

Video Games: The Final Frontier

Killzone Shadow Fall

But the biggest digital vs. physical problem of all lands in the realm of video games. With the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One planning to launch in the next month, we’re entering the first generation of consoles where digital-only is a legitimate option. At least, it’s an option in theory.

Both consoles are shipping with 500 GB hard drives. A few years ago, that was a lot. Today? That’s nothing. The cheapest laptops Best Buy sells – priced at $279 – come with 500 GB hard drives. Storage is so inexpensive and so readily available that it’s mind-boggling that the Xbox One and PS4 only come with 500 GB. The Xbox One will support external storage (though not at launch) and the PlayStation 4 (like the PlayStation 3) will let you put any size hard drive in it that you want, but that’s not enough. Seriously, Sony and Microsoft? You couldn’t put in a 2 TB drive?

You might wonder why I’m making such a big deal out of storage. Here’s why. The original version of Killzone Shadow Fall was 290 GB. THAT’S RIDICULOUS. It’s been scaled down (obviously), but it’s still a 50 GB game. The new Call of Duty game, Ghosts? Yeah, it requires a 49 GB install on PS4, even when running the game off a disc.

The storage issue with these new consoles is so bad and so blatant that Polygon wonders if it might be so big of an issue that the new consoles could actually fail because of it. I don’t think that’ll be the case, but eek. It’s not fun.

Video game publishers are ready to go digital. We are, for the most part, ready to go digital, too. But the bridge isn’t there, and the gap is too far for us to cross. Maybe next console cycle.

San Diego Chargers v Oakland Raiders

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images Sport

If Google ends up getting the rights to stream NFL games over the Web, could the Web handle it?

That is: Is America’s Internet infrastructure capable of letting millions of people watch the same football games, at the same time, while delivering a TV-quality picture?

We’ve seen hints that the Web is now up to the challenge, but for now we don’t really have an answer. We won’t know until someone tries.

cuban

Still, I figured it would be worth asking some folks who know a bit about Web video and TV. So I started with Mark Cuban.

Cuban, as you may recall, got into Web streaming way back in Web 1.0, and became a billionaire after he sold his Broadcast.com to Yahoo.

Fast-forward to today, and Cuban is pouring a lot of resources into conventional TV, via his HDNet/AXS TV venture. He has also been a frequent skeptic about the limits of YouTube specifically and Internet video in general.

Surprise! Cuban thinks the Web, and Google, are capable of delivering NFL games to your TV.

Less surprising is that Cuban has lots of other things to say.

Short version: Cuban says that Google would be smart to grab the NFL’s Sunday Ticket rights from DirecTV.

Here’s the long version, compiled via an email exchange today:

I think Google could do 20 million simultaneous users now at a highly compressed HD. In the next 18 months, 30 million.

But that is going to eat up a lot of resources, and it’s going to be difficult to do much quality of service.

It’s one thing to originate it and distribute it. It’s another to make sure that every peered Internet provider will get it to the home at a quality Google wants it delivered.

Then there is the “last room” problem. It’s one thing to be perfect getting it to the home. It’s another to expect that everyone’s Wi-Fi works correctly. Then there are the nuances like gamblers, and fantasy sports enthusiasts who can’t have more than a 10-second delay. I don’t think you can match TV for that right now.

I’ve always been skeptical of scaling live events, but I’m softening. Not because the technology has improved so dramatically – it hasn’t. What has changed is people’s expectation of picture quality. I think there may be enough people who will accept buffering and lesser quality. There will be screaming, but the next five years of increases in bandwidth will change that.

As far as NFL rights and what Google might do, I think they could do what I suggested to the NBA: Break out the broadcast rights by device type (less likely could be by transport network). Let traditional TV networks have any delivery on a traditional TV (just like Hulu can block TV browsers, the reverse is true as well), for less money than they are paying now, while Google buys the rights for delivery to mobile for a significant amount. The NFL ends up with more money.

I’m not suggesting that if you buy the full TV package from a traditional provider, you wont have access to their TV anywhere or mobile offerings. Rather, those consumers who need the package because they are mobile and not in their homes can buy a package designed for them.

This obviously is not specific to Sunday Ticket – it’s for the bigger picture. But all that aside, the Sunday Ticket is a great starting and testing point for Google – the NBA League Pass would be as well – simply because the number of out of market simultaneous viewers falls far below what Google can handle at HD quality.

They can do Sunday Ticket. But they have to anticipate the fallout, and negative brand impact, from fans who really, really want the best quality picture on their big screen TVs. While Google can handle the technical side of delivery, they’ll have the QOS issues I mentioned above.

So DirecTV will blow away the picture quality and continuity of picture and service that Google can offer at this point. And every football fan will thank them if they keep the rights.

One more thing that came to mind as to why Google really needs this, and why DirecTV needs to do an OTT offering: The holy grail here is not disrupting the pay tv industry, as some may think. The holy grail is the ability to have a large OTT subscriber base, to act as a platform to compete with Netflix and Hulu.

Hulu wasn’t in demand because of their programming. It was because of the millions of subscribers they have paying by the month. Aero is not interesting as a play because they are impacting over the air broadcast network retrans fees – it’s because it has the chance to build a paying subscriber base.

What can you do with a paying subscriber base? You can use it as a platform to grow a pay TV-like business.

If Google has Sunday Ticket and charges X, they then can add Youtube Premium Channels to it to create more value for subscribers and to significantly increase the perceived value of that content.

They can sign deals with some linear networks to add value. Bloomberg TV is always available. And as we saw with Viacom, for the right price they will put their content anywhere. Screw their PayTV partners!

They can go out and sign deals to compete with Netflix. How happy do you think Google is that Netflix controls the OTT subscription business ? They can acquire companies like my Magnolia Pictures to originate and license content for them.

Don’t be surprised if they buy a movie chain. Why not? Movies are digital, too. If you truly want to offer every digital entertainment experience on every size screen …

Google

Google has approached media companies about licensing their content for an Internet TV service that would stream traditional TV programming, people familiar with the matter say. If the Web giant goes ahead with the idea, it would join several other companies planning to offer such “over-the-top” services, delivering cable TV-style packages of channels over broadband connections. Chip company Intel and Sony are both working on similar offerings, while Apple has pitched various TV licensing ideas to media companies in the past couple of years. If launched, the Internet TV services could have major implications for the traditional TV ecosystem, creating new competition for pay TV operators that are already struggling to retain video subscribers. Existing online video players like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon offer on-demand TV, but the latest efforts are aimed at offering conventional channels, allowing consumers to flip through channels just as they would on cable.

Read the full story at the Wall Street Journal.

There’s no shortage of places to watch your favorite TV shows and movies online, but trying to figure out who offers what can be a frustrating experience. Fanhattan made that task easier with its intelligent video-discovery iOS app, and now it’s expanding beyond mobile devices to the Web. Starting on Thursday, users can sign up for an email invite to try out the new Fanhattan website. But if you already use the iOS app, you can start using the site right away. As with the mobile app, you can search the Fanhattan website for a TV show or movie, and Fanhattan will not only show you which content providers offer what you’re looking for, but will also directly link you to those services. The company has partnered with 29 content providers, including Hulu, Amazon, Netflix, HBO and NBC, and has more than one million titles in its database.

Read the full story at All Things D.

I have posted a ton of awesome fingernail art on Global Geek News in the past such as the amazing Dark Knight Rises fingernail art and some fantastic Super Mario Bros fingernail art. However, it wasn’t until I saw these Futurama fingers that I asked myself, why not Zoidberg? So, here is some awesome Zoidberg fingernail art!

Apparently Reddit user arface is the person sporting this rather fantastic Zoidberg fingernail art. However the question I really have is not ‘why not Zoidberg?’ but rather how do you get your fingers to line up like that?! Maybe my hand just isn’t flexible enough but it just doesn’t even seem possible for the thumb and middle finger to line up like that. And now I have a hand cramp.

Share this with any Futurama fans you know! Like us on Facebook too!

Futurama Zoidberg Fingernail Art

Zoidberg Fingernail Art

[Source: Reddit]

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