Google To Spend $300M to Prevent Fake News

This war against fake news also includes starting a platform that will help manage reader subscriptions.

This announcement comes as other giant social media websites face criticism on fake news, most particularly in the 2016 elections.

The search giant announced that they are committing $300 million in the course of three years towards initiatives and products that will ensure quality and reliable news as well as help digital news publishers earn more revenue. They dubbed it the Google News Initiative.

Fighting the spread of fake news is obviously on their top priority. The company says they are improving their system to recognise reliable breaking news and adjusting towards displaying more accurate results.

Google has also partnered with First Draft in an program called Disinfo Lab. Their aim is to prevent fake news during elections and breaking news.

Another program, called MediaWise has also been launched to help young readers improve their digital media literacy. This program is in partnership with Go Poynter Institute, Stanford University, and the Local Media Association.

Another newly-launched initiative is Subscribe with Google.

This platform will put all of Google’s collaborations with news agencies in one roof. The search giant says its purpose is to “help build a stronger future for news”. Basically, this lets you buy a subscription using your Google account, on participating news sites.

You select a publisher that you like and click “Subscribe”. Secure payments are made to Google with any credit cards that you’ve used with the company. From then on, you can use “Sign In with Google” to access all of your subscriptions.

Their launch partners in the news industry include The Washington Post, The New York Times, the Financial Times,The Telegraph USA TODAY NETWORK. Les Échos, Fairfax Media, Le Figaro, and others also in on the team. For the full list of publications, click here.




Twitter partnering with other companies to lengthen Tweets


In a bid to keep users on their site much longer, micro blogging site Twitter has announced the introduction of their expanded tweets today.

Twitter is hoping that this could entice Twitter users to stay longer on their site, by following their tweeted links.

Twitter has partnered with a number of publishing companies such as The New York Times, Time and The Wall Street Journal whose expanded tweets can let users, “see a preview with the headline, the introduction and sometimes the Twitter accounts of the publisher and writer. You can continue to read the article, follow these accounts and reply, favorite or retweet the Tweet.”

A number of companies are in line to add the feature. Twitter says that BuzzFeed, TMZ and WWE will be able to tweet out exclusive photos to lure in more users.

This is going to be beneficial for the micro blogging site. But is still uncertain whether the companies that tie up with Twitter will benefit from these partnership. Twitter users, on the other hand, will get more content from the site.

It remains to be seen whether this move can make Twitter users stay on the site longer.

Will you be willing to spend a few more minutes on the Twitter site for this?



Skout pulls the plug on teens

Skout, a dating app for smartphones, has suspended access for their teen members, after stories of rape of underage users were reported.

Skout is a location-based dating service app that took the decision to protect minors and as well as their company from further criticisms.

According to founder and Chief Executive of Skout Christian Wikliund, “The safety of our community is our number one concern.”

He added that, “In recent weeks, we’ve learned of several incidents involving a few bad actors trying to take advantage of some of our younger members. We though carefully about what to do. We know how much Skout mean to our teen community, and, at Skout, our community means everything to us.”

Skout has about 5 million users and is considered as the largest location-based dating app. They used to target adults but have created a different service specifically for teens a year ago.

This is a big cause for concern since social networking sites, and even location based services, have cause rape cases.

A report from The New York Times said that three individuals have been accused of rape using the mobile app.

They added that the victims were a 15 year old Ohio girl, a 12 year old California native and a 13 year old Wisconsin boy who was assaulted.

Should Skout suspend service to teens or should they close the company after these incidents?

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Google launches Living Stories, teams up with two major papers

Credit: Google

Today, Google launched Living Stories, an experimental new feature that is aimed to make your online reading take on a whole new level.

Teaming up with two media partners to start, the search giant gives users fresh news stories, editorials, updates and various multimedia that focuses on specific topics – all in one single page.

Each Living Story has a permanent URL with new stories and updates posted as it becomes available, making it easier for uses to keep track and follow. It also keeps track of each user’s activity, alerting them for updates they haven’t seen yet and graying out those that were already read. Each topic also has its own accessible timeline displaying historical view of the topic.

At present, Google has partnered with The New York Times and The Washington Post and they decide which topics appear on their own Living Story pages. Google however, has plans of creating open-source tools for other outlets to be given a chance to create their own Living Stories too.

According to the Times, if this experiment catches the fancy of people, it will give publishers another source of income as they can sell ads on their own pages. The NY Times is also very optimistic in this new partnership.

“It’s an experiment with a different way of telling stories,” Martin A. Nisenholtz, senior vice president for digital operations of The New York Times Company, said in a statement.

“I think in it, you can see the germ of something quite interesting.”


On the Apple Tablet: Did New York Times slip?

On October 15 or 15, the New York Times’ Executive Editor, Bill Keller, gave a private speech during a meeting for the Time’s digital staff held at The Times Center in New York. In the speech, he made mention of an “Apple slate/Slate”. Could this be a confirmation to the much-rumored tablet’s existence?

The meeting was supposed to be off the record, but a video was made and given to Nieman Journalism Lab. It was posted on Vimeo on October 19. However, it was only on Sunday that Gawker picked out the reference for the tablet from Apple.

Keller was talking about the Times’ strategy for mobile devices. So what exactly was the speech?

“We need to figure out the right journalistic product to deliver to mobile platforms and devices,” Keller said. “I’m hoping we can get the newsroom more actively involved in the challenge of delivering our best journalism in the form of Times Reader, iPhone apps, WAP, or the impending Apple slate, or whatever comes after that.”

So was Keller talking about an Apple slate – a reference to just the rumored tablet we all have been hearing about? Or was he talking about THE Apple Slate – an actual product currently under wraps?

Just last month, Gizmodo uncovered a juicy tidbit about the rumoured tablet. It said that Apple execs maybe in talk with the big guys from magazines, newspapers and textbook companies to distribute print media through the tablet, including The New York Times. So does this mean there really IS an Apple Slate?

Well, there isn’t much to do for now but wait for more info to come out. Let’s just hope it comes sooner than later coz I know lots of folks are dying to find out – including me.  😉


A newspaper-like Apple Tablet

This is again, about the undying rumor of the still-invisible Apple Tablet. This time, Gizmodo scored some additional juicy with regards to the much-rumored tablet.

In an article, Gizmodo says Apple execs maybe in talk with the big guys from magazines, newspapers and textbook companies to distribute print media through the tablet.  It includes The New York Times, and possibly McGraw Hill and Oberlin Press.

The article also said that a few years back,  a version of Apple’s OS X software was shown to Steve Jobs running on a multitouch tablet. The problem was that when asked “What would people do with this?”, they couldn’t find any answer, that’s why the idea wasn’t pursued. So with these new “developements”, does this mean Apple finally found a use for it?

But since Amazon’s Kindle is doing pretty well in this market with their static e-ink, the challenge then for Apple is to surpass it by integrating features that’ll convince both traditional readers and new readers. How? Uhm, let’s leave it to them, I’m pretty sure they’ll come up with a pretty good answer. 😉


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