Facebook buys Oculus for $2bn
Mark Zuckerberg has been spending again, this time acquiring reality-hardware maker Oculus $2bn, which is pocket change compared to the $19bn acquisition of WhatsApp.
Zuckerberg described virtual reality as the “next major computing platform after mobile”, and it seems like he’s looking ahead to the technology of tomorrow, as he’s concentrating on what could be the next mobile platform.
Oculus is the creator of the acclaimed ‘Oculus Rift’ headset, and was a company that was originally targeted at PC Gamers, but Zuckerberg clearly has plans to make it more mainstream.
This is news that is definitely worth keeping an eye on, especially as the Rift could become available to consumers as early as this year.
Twitter music to be shut down
Twitter has announced that it will be closing its #music discover service, which was launched just last year. The app will be pulled from Apple’s App Store later today, but will continue to work until 18 April.
While the launch of the app saw a surge in dowloads, by October last year it had dropped to 165th place in the free apps category on iTunes, which is when rumours began about the service being pulled entirely.
Better luck next time.
Instagram passes 200m users
Photo-sharing on general nice filter site Instagram hit a milestone yesterdaywhen it revealed that it had passed the 200 million active users mark.
Unfortunately for Instagram, this news came on the same day that Facebook decided to announce its purchase of Oculus.
But let's not let that steal Instagram’s thunder. 50 million of Instagram’s users signed up in the last six months, which essentially means its userbase grew by a whopping 100 per cent in the last year. You go, Instagram.
Google and Rayban team up to offer ‘more stylish’ glasses
In a bid to make Google Glass look all snazzy and wicked-cool, Google is teaming up with the designer firm behind Ray-Ban and Oakley to make its products more desirable to the fashion-conscious geek.
According to the design-firm Luxottica, which has been hired to revamp the eye-ware, it will be creating “avant-garde” designs. I’m already looking forward to seeing what these avant-garde designs will look like.
Google is hoping that the new designs will put Glass at the forefront of the “smart eyewear market”, but with their £900 price tag, I’m not sure a snazzy design is going to have them flying off the shelves.
Pinterest prepares to launch ad sales
It would appear that Pinterest is no longer going to be an ad-free social network, as it is preparing to launch advertising sales in Q2 of this year. However, it is looking to reinvent the concept of online advertising by creating web ads that people actually like, as opposed to spammy encouragements of ‘Click here!’.
The new ad chief at Pinterest, Joanna Bradford, said that its goal is to build ads which can then be fashioned into works of art, similar to back in the day when one used to tear out cool adverts from magazines and stick them on the wall and then get into trouble from your mum for using blu-tack because you know it pulls all the paint off.
Early copies of Pinterest ads apparently look similar to other images posted to the site, but with a ‘promoted pins’ label in the corner.
I’m looking forward to seeing these ads, and how Pinterest reinvent the online advert.
Google to launch version of YouTube for kids?
Word on the social media grapevine is that YouTube (aka Google) is developing a new child-friendly website that will feature programming for children under the age of 10.
Obviously, YouTube has a safety filter, but these things aren’t always accurate, and a new standalone site would guarantee a safer browsing experience. Who knows how many youngsters have seen Justin Bieber videos when their parents thought they were safe.
And it’s not just the videos either, some of the comments on the site are ill-mannered. I don’t think my mum would want me to see some of those, and I’m 25.
Apparently a number of video producers are already interested in the new site, but they’ll have a while to wait, as the site isn’t anywhere near close to being launched yet. Oh well, we can but dream.