Mobile user acquisition fraud: Rovio and others share how to fight it (webinar)

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How do you combat user acquisition scams that are increasingly slick and nearly undetectable? Find out from the front line how pros are successfully combating mobile fraud.

Access the webinar on demand right here.


You’re spending up to $25 per high-quality user — but how many of them are real? User acquisition fraud has doubled since 2015. Unreliable install and conversion rates threaten your rank in the Google and Apple stores and squander a significant chunk of your already tight marketing budget.

Is there any hope for mobile app developers? To find out, VentureBeat gathered pros from the front line who have diagnosed, identified, and successfully combated fraud: Eric Seufert, VP of user acquisition at Rovio Entertainment — the company that blew up the mobile gaming industry with Angry Birds; Yevgeny Peres, VP of Growth at Supersonic by ironSource; and Paul H. Müller, CTO at adjust.

It’s an

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Facebook’s Bot Engine lets you teach chatbots what to say with AI

Bot Engine for Messenger.

At its F8 developer conference in San Francisco, Facebook today announced the launch of Bot Engine, a tool for teaching chatbots what to say in specific types of situations.

The technology — which developers can use in association with the Send/Receive API for building Messenger bots that Facebook announced earlier today — comes from Facebook Messenger’s Wit.ai team, David Marcus, Facebook’s vice president of messaging.

The launch follows the roll out last year of Facebook’s M personal digital assistant. Facebook pitched it as a technology that can be directed to do things on your behalf. The company has let just a few people use it since then.

“In the last six months we’ve learned a lot, and notably we needed to build a variety of small vertical bots to help resolve intent for people,” Marcus said.

The technology relies on artificial intelligence. That is, developers will be able to

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Twilio adds Facebook Messenger to its communication API platform

Twilio signage

SAN FRANCISCO — Twilio has extended its API support to Facebook Messenger, thereby offering its developers another medium from which to communicate with their users. The integration means that the cloud communications platform not only provides phone and SMS as an outlet, it now offers a way to use the messaging app with its 900 million active users.

News of theTwilio partnership coincides with the social networking company’s introduction of support for bots on its Messenger platform. At the F8 developer conference, there’s much fanfare about the potential for developers and businesses on the popular app, and Twilio’s inclusion is one such highlight.

For many years, Twilio has been geared at telephony services, specifically pertaining to phone, SMS, and MMS. Developers have relied on the platform to improve communication with or between users. Today is a first, however, since Twilio has never tied itself to a messaging app before.

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Facebook opens its Messenger platform to chatbots

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on stage at the F8 2015 developer conference talking about the Messenger Platform.

SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook announced today that it was opening up its Messenger platform in beta and now lets chatbots into the app. What this means is that you’re now able to interact with an AI-powered “representative” from a business right on one of the largest conversation service out in the market today.

At the F8 developer conference, David Marcus said that product enhancements on Messenger means that more people are enjoying using it every day. “People love to interact with businesses within Messenger,” he said.

Introducing AI in customer service

Facebook has been investing more resources into Messenger in the past couple of years, especially after extracting it from the core app. And what it has done certainly has seen a massive uptick in adoption by the social network’s 1.59 billion monthly active users, with more than half of them accessing Facebook purely on their mobile device.

Chatbots are meant to

Facebook M personal digital assistant
Facebook M personal digital assistant
Facebook executive David Marcus onstage at F8, with screens showing the 40 launch partners for the company's new Messenger Platform. (March 25, 2015)
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Facebook launches dedicated button for sharing text quotes in the News Feed

Facebook's new Quote Sharing feature.

At its F8 developer conference in San Francisco today, Facebook is announcing a new way for users to clip quotes they like on the web and then share them in a clean and neat way in the News Feed.

For many years, people have dropped images of quotes right into the News Feed, but the new option looks more native — it’s raw text.

“We have special content types around songs and albums or fitness, like runs,” Facebook product manager Eddie O’Neil told VentureBeat in an interview. Quotes are just the newest option.

Developers will need to add this plugin to their websites in order to get this functionality. From there, after people highlight text, they can click the “Share Quote” button, preview the automatically generated post, with a link to the article, and optionally add a comment on top, and then share it. Out it goes.

The technology is

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Facebook is launching its first Internet-beaming satellite in ‘next few months’

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 1.20.54 PM

SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook said that it’s moving forward with efforts to connect the rest of the world to the Internet. Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg revealed that the company’s Internet.org program has made progress and will be launching its first satellite in the next few months. In addition, its Free Basics initiative has now helped more than 25 million people around the world get online.

With this Mark Zuckerberg-driven initiative, Facebook sought to provide free Internet to connect the next 5 billion people. It eventually launched as a developer platform in response to criticism it received over its violation of net neutrality. Then in September, it rebranded to what it’s known as now: Free Basics.

While Facebook’s mission was commendable, it wasn’t without any controversy, especially in countries like India. Zuckerberg spent a lot of effort to push Free Basics there, including hosting a town hall, and responding to

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Facebook now lets developers add its Save button to any website

Facebook

At its F8 developer conference in San Francisco today, Facebook today is announcing that for the first time it’s making its “Save to Facebook” button — for adding content to a list of things to look at later — available for use on websites other than its own.

Facebook introduced the Save button in 2014, and it has racked up more than 250 million users each month. Now that the feature is breaking out of Facebook for developers to add to their own sites, it could become more valuable to people and get even more widely used.

The company has been allowing publishers and retailers to test out the feature on their sites, Facebook product manager Eddie O’Neil told VentureBeat in an interview. Overstock and Product Hunt are onboard for today’s wider launch.

The new Save to Facebook button.

Above: The new Save to Facebook button.

Image Credit: Facebook

The news should be noteworthy for startup Pocket, previously known as

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Facebook opens up its livestream API to developers

Facebook Live

SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook has announced a set of partners for its livestreaming product. The company has opened up its live API, which it plans on building out in the next five years.

Introduced in August, Facebook Live is the social networking company’s response to Meerkat and Periscope. The company has said that it places a premium on video content and thinks that its livestreaming tool will play a big role in its next growth phase. People from more than 60 countries have access to this service, which originally started out being available only to celebrities and VIPs.

Last week, Facebook released a slew of updates that allowed you to broadcast directly into Groups and Events, while also adding in Reactions, video filters, and new ways to discover other livestreams. It has also been prioritized to show higher not only within your News Feed, but also within trending topics.

Opening

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How to livestream Facebook’s 2016 F8 developer conference

Sign at Facebook's F8 Developer Conference in San Francisco, Calif. in 2014

Facebook developers, it’s that time of year when the social networking company holds its annual F8 conference. Held in San Francisco from April 12-13, the keynotes for both days will be livestreamed as well as some of the afternoon sessions, so if you’re not able to make it, you can watch what new products and technology chief executive Mark Zuckerberg and his team unveil.

You can view the keynotes right from the F8 website or through the embedded livestream below. The keynotes for both days begin at 1:00 p.m. Easter/10:00 a.m. Pacific.

Here are the sessions that Facebook plans on livestreaming:
Day 1 (April 12)

Telegram’s Bot API gets inline keyboards, support for 19 file types before Facebook’s F8 event

Telegram

Telegram has released an update for its Bot API that it calls the “biggest change” to its platform “since June 2015.” Included in version 2.0 are a slew of features including new inline keyboards, support for more file types, group administration tools, and more. The company introduced the release this past weekend, which was just several days before Facebook’s F8 developer conference.

With inline keyboards, Telegram has added a feature that provides customized input based on the message it belongs to. They’re available for messages that are sent both in chat and inline mode. The new keyboards won’t send any messages to the chat. Instead, they serve as support for several button types: callback buttons, links to websites, and switch to inline buttons (this prompts the user to select a chat and inserts the bot’s username into the input field).

Telegram has limited inline keyboards to “one-on-one chats only –

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Koi is China’s first PlayStation 4 game for the West, and it debuts April 19

Beware of frogs. That's just good advice for every situation.

Gaming consoles are finally back in China after a lengthy ban, and now a developer in that country is building games for those systems.

Oasis Games, a Chinese studio that started in 2011, plans to release Koi for the Western PlayStation 4 market April 19. This makes Oasis the first company in China to ever release a PS4 game for players in Europe and the United States.The company has previously had success making web-based adventures like Legend Online for its domestic fans, but it is now expanding into a global gaming market that is worth $99.3 billion when you include PC, mobile, and console. Koi will sell for $10 on the PlayStation Store or $8 for members of Sony’s premium PS Plus subscription service.

China is already an enormous gaming market. In 2015, consumers in that country spent $22.2 billion on games across a variety of

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CastAR shows how it will turn your tabletop into an animated gaming world

Rick Johnson, cofounder and chief software engineer of CastAR.

Augmented reality gaming glasses startup CastAR recently sent out a taste of what the future of tabletop games will be like. Using its special AR glasses, CastAR can overlay animations on top of the real world, creating a “mixed reality” environment that makes you feel like you’re immersed inside a tabletop game experience.

The company has raised $15 million in funding from Android creator Andy Rubin. The creators are among the optimists who believe that augmented reality can become a $90 billion market by 2020 (according to tech adviser Digi-Capital). Jeri Ellsworth, cofounder of CastAR, will be one of our speakers at the second annual GamesBeat Summit 2016, an event that’s set for May 3 and May 4 at the scenic Cavallo Point Lodge in Sausalito, California.

CastAR wandCastAR isn’t launching until 2017, but it has a very different and creative product compared to other virtual reality headsets on the market. And it

CastAR wants you to play tabletop games in mixed reality.
CastAR wand demo
You play CastAR with a wand-like controller.
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What to expect from Facebook’s F8 developer conference this week

Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook's F8 2015 developer conference

Facebook’s F8 developer conference takes place this Tuesday and Wednesday from the Fort Mason Center in San Francisco. While the company hasn’t publicly disclosed what it’ll be revealing during its two-day event, here are a few educated guesses about what could be announced.

Bots on Messenger

There has been a lot of buzz in the past few days around support for chatbots within Facebook Messenger. At last year’s conference, the company debuted its Facebook Messenger Platform which gives developers access to a product with now more than 900 million users. This week, we’ll likely see Facebook launch new APIs that will bring chatbots into Messenger as well as a plugin for businesses to tap into the product.

Facebook executive David Marcus onstage at F8, with screens showing the 40 launch partners for the company's new Messenger Platform. (March 25, 2015)

Above: Facebook executive David Marcus onstage at F8, with screens showing the 40 launch partners for the company’s new Messenger Platform. (March 25, 2015)

Image Credit: Facebook livestream

Incorporating bot technology into Facebook

An image of a Facebook Instant Article from The Washington Post.
Microsoft executive vice president of the Windows and Devices Group Terry Myerson on stage at the Build 2016 developer conference in San Francisco, Calif. on March 30, 2016
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg walks to the stage during Samsung's press conference at the Mobile World Congress on February 21, 2016. Attendees viewed the presentation wearing Samsung's Gear VR headsets.
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NexDock, the $149 laptop shell, passes $300,000 funding goal

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NexDock, the hardware concept that your laptop should be powered by the mobile device of your choice, just got one step closer to reality. The $149 laptop shell that extends your smartphone, tablet, or PC stick has passed its $300,000 funding goal on Indiegogo. Indeed, NexDock cofounder Emre Kosmaz tells me that he and cofounder Yeliz Kayacan have booked their tickets to Shenzhen, China to finalize the details and kick off production.

NexDock is completely useless until you plug in another device to power it. Think of it like a portable 14-inch monitor, with a keyboard, trackpad, and 10,000 mAh battery attached. The ports and speakers are there, but no processor or RAM.

This is not a custom-built shell. Kosmaz and Kayacan wanted to start with something as cheap as possible, and any customizations (such as adding a USB Type-C port so you don’t have to use a converter)

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DeepstreamHub raises $1 million for real time app development platform

deepstreamHub

Berlin-based deepstreamHub, a platform for building real time apps, has closed a $1 million seed round from Blue Yard Capital to further develop its cloud platform for app developers.

This marks the first investment for Berlin’s Blue Yard Capital, a new VC fund launched in January that raised $120 million to invest in early stage startups.

Wolfram Hempel and Yasser Fadl, the founders of deepstreamHub which was launched a year, said the startup wants to be the platform of choice for developing real time apps in areas like social messaging, geolocation services, or the Internet of Things. Its real time backend as a service, based on the open source server deepstream.io, allows developers to integrate data with sites and services like Slack, GitHub, payment providers or IoT endpoints.

“This is not just about creating another real time data service, it’s about using the power of real time

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Just like Chrome, Microsoft Edge will start automatically pausing less important Flash content this summer

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Microsoft continues to unveil features coming to as part of the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, slated for this summer. The latest one is an update to how Microsoft Edge handles Flash content, following in Google Chrome’s footsteps.

Google and Adobe worked for a long time last year to automatically pause less important Flash content (like ads) in Chrome. In March 2015, with the goal of making Flash content more power-efficient in Chrome, a setting was introduced to play less Flash content on the page, but it wasn’t turned on by default. In June, the option was enabled in the browser’s beta channel, and in September 2015 it was turned on for everyone.

Now Microsoft wants to do the exact same thing in Edge.

The new browser will “intelligently auto-pause” Flash content that is “not central to the webpage.” If you want to try this out now, you can

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Ad-blocking browser Brave says publishers have ‘fundamentally understood’ it

Brave's website.

Brave Software, the startup founded by Mozilla cofounder Brendan Eich that has developed an ad-blocking Internet browser, today responded to an attack by newspaper publishers on grounds that its technology unlawfully replaces publishers’ revenue-generating ads with ads that make money for Brave.

Brave first launched its browser on Mac and Windows in January, and iOS and Android versions have since appeared on the App Store and the Google Play Store, respectively. The startup has begun to unveil information about how users and publishers can get paid, at times when Brave is serving its own “private” and “anonymous” ads through its own ad network. Now juggernauts in the media industry — Newspaper Association of America members Advance Local, Digital First Media, Dow Jones, Gannett, Lee Enterprises, the New York Times Co., Tribune Publishing, and McClatchy — are fighting back.

“Your apparent plan to permit your customers to make Bitcoin

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Google launches Android Studio 2.0 with Instant Run, faster Android emulator, and Cloud Test Lab

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Google today launched Android Studio 2.0, the latest version of its integrated development environment (IDE), with a long list of new features. You can download the new version now directly from Android.com/SDK.

In November, Google unveiled Android Studio 2.0, the second major version of its IDE. Version 2.0 brings a slew of improvements, including Instant Run, a faster Android emulator, and app indexing improvements. Google released a beta in February, though it didn’t say when the final version would be ready (we speculated in time for its I/O developer conference in May, but it ended up being sooner).

Google launches Android Studio 2.0 with Instant Run, faster Android emulator, and Cloud Test Lab

Here is the full feature list:

Twitter Fabric now installed on 2 billion active device

Twitter logo

Twitter is seeing some pretty good adoption of its mobile developer platform, at least when it comes to the number of devices it serves. The company announced today that Twitter Fabric is now serving more than 2 billion active iOS and Android devices, a marked increase from July when that number was 1 billion.

Since its debut, Fabric gives developers the tools they need to build their apps. Think of it like a packaged suite of products that includes Crashlytics for app performance, MoPub for advertising, Fastlane for continuous deployment and integration, and more recently Stripe, Amazon Web Services, and others.

In hitting the 2 billion mark, this indicates that at least one app on the device is powered through Fabric. In February, project manager Meekal Bajaj told VentureBeat that 225,000 developers started using the platform a year after Fabric became available.

Rich Paret, general manager for Twitter’s developer platform,

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