Sunday, 5 March 2017

Forget Facebook and Google: The ad world thinks this tech giant is 'terrifying'

Forget Facebook and Google: The ad world thinks this tech giant is 'terrifying'

Amazon has WPP CEO Martin Sorrell  shook.
The mad men and women of the ad industry have plenty of reasons to toss and turn at night.
Money is increasingly trickling from television commercials to digital media — a market that Facebook and Google currently have in a duopolistic chokehold. Inter-agency competition is at a fever pitch. Unconventional upstarts are eating their lunch. If Don Draper were around today, there's a good chance he'd work at Facebook.
But it's not internet advertising giants that keep the industry's top chief up at night. Nor is it his three-month-old daughter.
SEE ALSO: Amazon's fulfillment centers will soon run on solar energy
"It's Amazon, which is a child still, but not three months," WPP CEO Martin Sorrell said of the source of his insomnia during an earnings call this week. "Amazon's penetration of most areas is frightening, if not terrifying to some."
Yes, Sorrell, who heads the monster British parent company of Madison Avenue's biggest-name agencies, said he's most afraid of a shopping site with a relatively dinky advertising operation.
And his concern is justified. Amazon has been quietly beefing up its ads business for months, according to various reports.
Assuming it continues to do so — and it's shown no indication that it won't — the potential shockwave should indeed scare industry incumbents.
While Amazon's ads currently comprise less than two percent of the digital market — Facebook and Google collectively control two-thirds — its most recent earnings release last month revealed that ad revenue grew the most of any part of the company for the quarter — a 60-percent jump from the same period in 2016.
In fact, research firm Emarketer projects that Amazon will generate more than $1 billion in U.S. ad revenue this year — slightly more than its prediction for newly anointed Wall Street darling Snapchat, which is first and foremost an advertising-based business (despite its "camera company" spin).
When an analyst asked in Amazon's earnings call about long-term advertising plans, Amazon's chief financial officer Brian Olsavsky said only that it was "very early" and it seemed like a "good strategy," according to Business Insider.
As Sorrell went on to say, Amazon's ambitions could have an enormous impact on the current industry order.
Advertising online is a numbers game — both in terms of people reached and knowledge of who those people are. Facebook and Google are successful at it because they've been able to log information on your online habits for years and steer their ads accordingly.
Amazon has its own war chest of data culled from millions of customer searches, purchases and even music and video streams. Shoppers might browse for products on Google, Sorrell said, but Amazon's dominance of the e-commerce market means it knows more about people's consumption choices than anyone in the world.
That's of course particularly valuable information to advertisers looking to lock down online sales. It's the kind of awareness Facebook, Google and other digitals platforms have been trying to master for years with features like buy buttons, real-world store receipt-matching and shoppable ads.
Yet their crutch — Google's in particular — has always been that people still tend to leave the platform when they actually want to buy things. Amazon doesn't have that problem.
Sorrell is of course also wary of Facebook and Google's intimidating power. But he said the company's business relationship with each made them more "frenemies" than antagonists.
Agencies work with the two companies to place ads for clients, but they also compete with the tech giants' in-house creative shops and other means of undercutting the middleman.
Sorrell ranked Amazon as the least friendly of the three but qualified that it's still early days. The company also recently set up a Seattle agency specifically to deal with Amazon, he said.
Because, as they say, keep your friends close, and your frenemies closer.
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Saturday, 4 March 2017

In terms of pure performance, the Galaxy S8 might lag behind the iPhone 7

In terms of pure performance, the Galaxy S8 might lag behind the iPhone 7

The pieces of the Galaxy S8 puzzle are finally coming together. 

We're already pretty sure this is what Samsung's Galaxy S8 will look like when it's announced on March 29, and now we may know how fast it'll be. SEE ALSO: New leaked photos show the full display of Samsung's Galaxy S8 Though it shouldn't be taken as representative of the final shipping version, the first benchmarks for the Galaxy S8+ (that's the one with the larger screen) have reportedly been logged into Geekbench, a popular tool for benchmarking a device's processor and memory. By themselves, the scores are meaningless. But when compared with the iPhone 7 Plus, Google Pixel XL and the Galaxy S7/S7 Edge/Galaxy Note 7 (RIP), we can get an idea of just how much more performance to expect (or not expect).

According to the Geekbench tests, the Galaxy S8+ (SM-G955U) and its Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chip scored a 1,929 on the single-core test and a 6,084 on the multi-core test. It bests out the Galaxy S7 and its Snapdragon 820 chip, which is the the current top-performing Android phone with a 1,786 single-core and 5,210 multi-core score. The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, however, are a different story. With scores of 3,295 and 3,305, respectively, the iPhone 7/7 Plus's A10 Fusion chip blows the S8+ out of the water on the single-core test. The only test the S8+ seems to beat — again, assuming the tests are accurate and the performance isn't throttled before its launch — the iPhone 7/7 Plus is on the multi-core test: 6,084 versus 5,406 (iPhone 7 Plus) and 5,382 (iPhone 7). If you're looking at all these numbers and wondering what the hell they mean and whether or not any of it matters...the answer is yes and no.

Without getting too nerdy, the single-core score tells you how fast a device is able to perform one task at a time and the multi-core score tells you how well it's able to juggle multiple tasks at a time. While this technically means the iPhone 7 might be faster than the S8+, apps that use multiple cores, like 3D games, should run smoother on the S8+. Multitasking should also be faster on the S8+. That said, of course the S8+ will be faster than the S7. Benchmark scores are a good synthetic way to see how a phone stacks up against others, but real life usage (i.e. how good the cameras are, sound quality, etc.) matters more and these numbers won't tell you anything about that stuff.

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Yes, Justin Bieber is coming to perform in India

Yes, Justin Bieber is coming to perform in India

Indian Beliebers, rejoice!

The Canadian pop sensation has announced his maiden concert in the country. Yes, Justin Bieber will be performing in Mumbai on May 10.

SEE ALSO: Justin Bieber makes fun of The Weeknd—again

Part of the singer's Purpose Tour 2017, the concert will be held in DY Patil Stadium. "After 6 months of negotiation we have finally closed the India leg of the tour. We are expecting a full house on May 10 with one of the biggest arena tours witnessed in recent times," White Fox India, the sole promoters of the show, said in a statement

Mumbai is one of the three Asian cities to host Bieber's tour that promotes his 2015 album Purpose that has already sold over 8 million copies worldwide. The other Asian cities are Tel Aviv (Israel) and Dubai (United Arab Emirates).

Bieber will reportedly fly in with an entourage of 150 people, including backup dancers and choreographers. During his planned week-long stay, the pop star is “excited about doing the typical touristy things" in New Delhi and Jaipur.
With more than 100 shows already and close to a million ticket sales globally, the Purpose World Tour has been one of the biggest for the singer.

Right after its release, Purpose was the most streamed album on Spotify in one week with What Do You Mean as the most played song.

Tickets to the concert go on sale from February 22, and are priced from Rs 4,000 ($60)

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Spotify says the 'Star Wars' Cantina Band song is people's #1 sex track

Spotify says the 'Star Wars' Cantina Band song is people's #1 sex track,

"star wars movie songs ar amazin."When you're about to do the thing, you'd want to set the mood right. Maybe get candles out, put some sensual music on for the occasion.

But apparently in Australia, "sensual music" translates the Cantina Band song from Star Wars. Yep. It's the top song in the country when searching for "sex" on Spotify, according to the streaming service. 

Amazing star wares SEE ALSO: All you Valentine's Day haters are wrong. There, I've said it.

How does one even bone to the Cantina Band song? Whatever floats your boat, Australia. No judgement. But seriously, did some gang of Star Wars fiends rig these results for the LOLs? sex track in the star wars

The other top songs on the list are a little more conventional, with "Birthday Sex" by Jeremih in second place, then "Sex" by Cheat Codes and Kris Kross Amsterdam in third. 

  • Top Sex Songs in Australia according to Spotify:

  • "Cantina Band" (from the Star Wars: A New Hope Soundtrack) - John Williams

  • "Birthday Sex" - Jeremih

  • "Sex" (Cheat Codes X Kris Kross Amsterdam) - Cheat Codes

  • "Sex With Me" - Rihanna

  • "Pony" - Ginuwine

  • "Sex on Fire" - Kings of Leon

  • "Often" - The Weeknd

  • "Earned It" (from the Fifty Shades Of Grey Soundtrack) - The Weeknd

  • "Thinkin Bout You" - Frank Ocean

  • "Slow Motion" - Trey Songz

For the true romantics, there's plenty of classics in the Valentine's Day and love lists for Australia, which include newish artists like Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith. As well as classics from Marvin Gaye and Seal.

  • Top Valentine's Day Songs in Australia, according to Spotify:

  • "Thinking Out Loud" - Ed Sheeran

  • "All of Me" - John Legend

  • "Stay With Me" - Sam Smith

  • "I'm Yours" - Jason Mraz

  • "Can't Help Falling in Love" - Elvis Presley

  • "Love Me Like You Do" (from "Fifty Shades Of Grey) - Ellie Goulding

  • "Kiss From A Rose" - Seal

  • "She Will Be Loved" - Maroon 5

  • "Crazy In Love" - Beyoncé

  • "Your Song" - Elton John

  • Top Love Songs in Australia, according to Spotify:

  • "Let's Get It On" - Marvin Gaye

  • "Fake Love" - Drake

  • "Let Me Love You" - DJ Snake

  • "Say You Won't Let Go" - James Arthur

  • "Thinking Out Loud" - Ed Sheeran

  • "Love Yourself" - Justin Bieber

  • "i hate u, i love u" - Gnash feat. Olivia O'brien

  • "All of Me" - John Legend

  • "Love Me Now" - John Legend

  • "In the Name of Love" - Martin Garrix

Still though, the Cantina Band from Star Wars. People.

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Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Samsung might have 'accidentally' confirmed the Galaxy S8 Plus

Samsung might have 'accidentally' confirmed the Galaxy S8 Plus

These days, it's nearly impossible to keep rumors from spreading about the most highly anticipated smartphones — so every little move from phone makers, even (or especially) innocent mistakes, is sure to mess with the leak-hungry public's head.
Sharp-eyed observers at both Forbes and SamMobile claim to have noticed a new product support page on Samsung's Indian website for a phone with the product number SM-G955FD. That number has been linked to the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus, the expected large-screen version of the upcoming Galaxy S8.

SEE ALSO: Samsung to make 160 million OLED panels for Apple, report claims

The page is now just a broken link, and there are no screenshots, so make of that what you will. When contacted by Mashable, a Samsung rep told us that it's the company's policy to refrain from commenting on unannounced products.

This wouldn't be the first time Samsung has slipped up like this. Last month, the Korean beta page for Samsung Pay appeared to reveal the name Bixby, which fueled rumors about the upcoming in-phone AI system. After the news spread, the page was changed, scrubbing any mention of the Bixby name.   

In addition to the support page, a potential S8 Plus logo was recently shared by phone leaker Evan Blass. It follows the general Samsung design aesthetic, but removes the "Edge" designation carried by the S7. Since both iterations of the S8 are rumored to have curved screens, this branding stays in line with expectations and looks like it could resurrect the "+" tag, which was last used on the Galaxy S6 edge+.  

The S8 Plus is expected to have a massive 6.2-inch edge-to-edge display, followed by the S8's expected 5.8-inch screen. Other rumors hint at a rear fingerprint scanner, a pressure-sensitive display (similar to Apple's 3D Touch) and, since it's an open question with every new release now, a 3.5mm headphone jack.

Every flagship release is important, but this one counts extra for Samsung: it's the first major effort after the Note7 fiasco, and it'll be competing against the potentially supercharged (and similarly leak-worthy) iPhone 8. 

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Yogi dressed in white powerfully defies period shame on Instagram

Yogi dressed in white powerfully defies period shame on Instagram

Yoga instructor Steph Gongora did something bold this week. Dressed in white, she got onto her mat and filmed herself in various poses that revealed a red stain from her period. 

Then she put the clip on Instagram, where she now has more than 258,000 followers. 

By Saturday, the post had been viewed 208,000 times and elicited more than 4,400 comments, both cruel and kind. Some were disturbed by the imagery while others were inspired by Gongora's message.  

Her hope, she said in the post, was to help people who menstruate feel less ashamed of a natural bodily function. 

I am a woman, therefore, I bleed. . It's messy, it's painful, it's terrible, & it's beautiful. . And yet, you wouldn't know. Because I hide it. . I bury things at the bottom of the trash. I breathe, ragged and awkward through the cramps, all the while holding onto this tight lipped, painted on smile. . Tampons? What are those. We don't say those words out loud. Hide them. In the back pocket of your purse, in the corner of the bathroom drawer, at the very bottom of your shopping cart (please let me get a female cashier). . Events or engagements get missed. I'll tell myself it’s the PMS, sure, but it has more to with the risk of being "caught," at what...I'm not quite sure. . And I’m lucky. . Over 100 million young women around the globe miss school or work for lack of adequate menstrual supplies, & fear of what might happen if the world witnesses A NATURAL BODILY FUNCTION. . WHY? . Because hundreds of years of culture have made us embarrassed to bleed. Have left us feeling dirty and ashamed. . STOP PRETENDING. Stop using silly pet names like Aunt Flo because you're too afraid to say "I'm bleeding" or "vagina." Stop wasting so much effort hiding the very thing that gives this species continuity. . START talking about it. Educate your daughters. Make them understand that it can be both an inconvenience and a gift, but NEVER something to be ashamed about. Educate your sons so they don't recoil from the word tampon. So when a girl bleeds through her khaki shorts in third period (pun intended), they don't perpetuate the cycle of shame and intolerance. . This #StartSomethingSunday , I want to highlight @corawomen . . Cora Women is a 100% Organic tampon company. . But that’s not all. They are also breaking barriers. Making it ok to talk about periods, even on social media. Providing personalized, delivered tampon/pad orders right to your door. AND for every box purchased, donating a box of sustainable pads to girls who can't afford menstruation products. . Fuck yeah. That's the kind of stuff I can galvanize behind, no money or even product needed. Just a mission I support on a topic we should ALL be talking about. . 

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Leaked photos show just how sexy Samsung's Galaxy S8 could look

Leaked photos show just how sexy Samsung's Galaxy S8 could look

Though we already got a glimpse of what the S8 will supposedly look like last month, newly leaked photos give us a closer look at the front glass panels — and depending on your taste, it's either going to be the hottest phone ever created or the ugliest.

SEE ALSO: Everything we think we know about the Samsung Galaxy S8

According Twitter user Benjamin Geskin (via BGR), the images below, posted to China's Weibo, are the front panels of the S8:

The leaked images align with previous leaks and rumors that claim the S8 will lose the home button below the display to make way for curved, much larger pressure-sensitive screens (similar to the kind on the iPhone 6S and 7) in two sizes. 

The smaller S8 will reportedly have a 5.8-inch screen and the larger "S8 Plus" a 6.2-inch display — both would be larger than the existing S7 and S7 Edge, which have 5.1- and 5.5-inch screens, respectively. Heck, both S8 models would have larger screens than the short-lived Note7.

One thing that might upset fans is the the top bezel, which — slim as it looks — is filled with cutouts for the earpiece, front-facing camera and presumably an iris scanner. Maybe one day, all of those components will be integrated into the display, but not this year.

Bigger curved screens won't be the S8's only drool-worthy feature. In addition to being powered by the newest and fastest Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, the S8 will also reportedly come with its own AI assistant called "Bixby". 

It was originally believed that Bixby would be powered by Viv, the AI assistant developed by Siri's creators. However, a new report from The Wall Street Journal suggests Bixby might merely be an evolution of S Voice, Samsung's voice assistant that never quite matched Siri. 

Regardless of what the underlying technology is, Bixby is expected to be an integral part of the S8 with reports claiming the phone will have a dedicated button located on one side to activate it. Bixby will also reportedly integrate with the camera and use optical character recognition (OCR) to scan text into digital format, and be able to control all of the S8's native apps.

The WSJ also corroborates reports that Samsung will not remove the headphone jack on the S8. As for battery life, The Investor claims Samsung will play it safe with batteries similar in capacity the S7 and S7 Edge, which is probably the best route to go since the company definitely doesn't want a repeat of the Note7.

While the S8 is not expected to launch until April, we should get our first official sneak peek of the S8 with a one-minute video teaser at Mobile World Congress later this month, according to The Korea Herald.

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