Tuesday 22 October 2019

Steve Dempsey

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Sheryl Sandberg appeared at the billionaire's love-in at Davos, telling all who'd listen that the social network needed to earn back users' trust following the seemingly endless scandals in 2018. Photo: Bloomberg

Steve Dempsey: 'Teflon Facebook still cashing in' 

Facebook has been on a serious charm offensive lately. It all started with Mark Zuckerberg's opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal. Facebook's CEO was at pains to tell us he doesn't sell users' data. "Selling people's information to advertisers would be counter to our business interests, because it would reduce the unique value of our service to advertisers. We have a strong incentive to protect people's information from being accessed by anyone else."


YouTube news drive ignores facts 

Another week, another hand-out from the technology sector to the media industry. This time it's Google, as it so often is, which is supporting the media. Or Google's YouTube, to be exact. The video platform is going to spend $25m to build 'a better news experience on YouTube, together.' Presumably the word 'together' was added by some PR whizz to indicate a joint effort between YouTube and publishers, who might be wary of the dreaded pivot to video. So how joint will the effort be?

Apple CEO Tim Cook. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage

Apple makes privacy its USP 

Apple held its Worldwide Developers Conference last Monday. It was pretty underwhelming stuff. No new hardware was unveiled. But you can make an animated emoji based on your own face; a screen time feature will allow parents to limit the amount of time their children spend hooked on their phones; the Apple news app is coming to desktop, and is getting a new browse tab and sidebar; and a new app called measure was announced - it uses AR to determine the size of items you point your camera at. The company has also teamed up with Disney's Pixar to develop a new file format for...

'The new Google News brings together several existing news products into one app and website. It will analyse the constant flow of news information as it hits the web in real time, and organise it into storylines.'

All the news that's fit for Google 

Last week, Google held its I/O conference in California. As you'd expect, it was a technophile's dream. Google demoed how its personal assistant will soon be able make phone calls on your behalf and sound like a real human being. This new feature is powered, of course, by artificial intelligence (AI). Google photos will be upgraded to automatically suggest tweaks that improve your snaps. Again, this uses AI. Gmail will get a new feature called Smart Compose, which uses AI to suggest phrases as you type. And Google News is also getting a revamp, thanks to, you guessed it, AI.

Emojis are used six billion times a day and have been described as the fastest growing language in history. Photo: GETTY

Steve Dempsey: Emojis big news in content push 

How we get the news has changed. Paper and ink bearing yesterday's news is, well, yesterday's news. News on TV can bring events into your sitting room, but mostly at the end of the day. Radio still offers immediacy, but in most countries where mobile penetration is high, the smartphone breaks news quicker than any other channel. Social media plays a huge part, but so too do push notifications; alerts sent from news outlets to users who have downloaded their apps.

Jeff Bezos, chief executive officer of Amazon

Media outlets must harness the power of quality journalism online 

Jeff Bezos knows a thing or two about sustainable online business models. Speaking at Vanity Fair's New Establishment Summit last week, the owner of Amazon and the Washington Post seemed to pour cold water on publishers' attempts to monetise online audiences through paywalls and micropayments. He stated that the Washington Post needed to move from making a relatively large amount of money from a small number of consumers to making smaller amounts from a far larger audience.