Watch This Guy Test 10 Rubber Band Hacks

Rubber bands actually make pretty good erasers, it turns out. They can also hold a pair of pliers shut, or keep a lid on a pot while you carry it around. But they make shitty bookmarks. In the video above, The King of Random host Grant Thompson tests ten popular rubber band hacks to see if they really work. Read more...

YouTube CEO’s latest update details its growth, glosses over content problems

YouTube highlighted its growth and promised better communication with creators about its tests and experiments, the company announced today in its latest of an ongoing series of updates from CEO Susan Wojcicki focused on YouTube’s top five priorities in 2018. The majority of her missive today – which was also released in the form of a YouTube video – were wrap-ups of other announcements and launches the company had recently made, like the new features released at this year’s VidCon including Channel Memberships, merchandise, and Famebit. However, the company did offer a few updates related to those launches, including news of expanded merch partnerships. But YouTube didn’t detail the crucial steps it should be taking to address the content issues that continue to plague its site. YouTube said one way it’s improving communication is via Creator Insider, an unofficial channel started by YouTube employees, which offers weekly updates, responds to
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YouTube woos brands with its new Creative Suite of ad tools

YouTube hopes a new set of creative tools will help it win back advertisers who may have grown disenchanted with the video network due to its ongoing content scandals. The company announced this morning a suite of tools that will allow brands and agencies to test ads, target specific audiences with customized versions of the same ad, and tell stories over a series of ads. One new tool, Video Experiments, offers AdWords advertisers a way to test video ads on YouTube’s site, as an alternative to using focus groups to determine the impact of creative on metrics brands care about like awareness or purchase intent. The service, which launches in beta later this month, will allow marketers to shift funds usually put towards those focus groups and their “simulated ad environments,” to real ad environments. The ads will run in cleanly segmented experiments on YouTube at no extra cost beyond
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Instagram’s “IGTV” video hub for creators launches tomorrow

TechCrunch has learned that the Instagram longer-form video hub that’s launching tomorrow is called IGTV and it will be part of the Explore tab, according to multiple sources. Instagram has spent the week meeting with online content creators to encourage them to prepare videos closer to 10-minute YouTube vlogs than the 1-minute maximum videos the app allows today. Instagram is focusing its efforts around web celebrities that made their name on mobile rather than more traditional, old-school publishers and TV studios that might come off too polished and processed. The idea is to let these creators, who have a knack for this style of content and who already have sizeable Instagram audiences, set the norms for what IGTV is about. Instagram declined to comment on the name IGTV and the video hub’s home in app’s Explore tab. We’ll get more information at the feature’s launch event in San Francisco tomorrow
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Twitch now lets streamers use multiple Extensions at once

Last year, Twitch announced a suite of tools called Extensions, that allow streamers to customize their channel pages with interactive features, including polls, leaderboards, schedules and more. Today, Twitch is making Extensions even more useful by allowing streamers to run up to three of these overlays at the same time on their video, plus three more below the video player, for a total of six that can be active on their channel at any time. This update, Twitch says, will allow streamers to better customize their channels in unique ways, while engaging and retaining their fans. To enable multiple Extensions, streamers will visit their channel dashboard’s redesigned Extensions Manager, where Extensions can now be sorted by category, like Extensions for Games, Music, Streamer Tools, and others. There’s also a “Partner Picks” section here which is where top creators are sharing their favorites. Alongside the launch, a number of developers have
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Adobe debuts Project Rush, its new all-in-one video editor

Adobe today announced the launch of Project Rush, a new video editor that takes the core features of its pro tools like Premiere Pro, After Effects and Audition and combines them into a single, more accessible tool. Don’t get too excited yet, though, the new tool will only be available later this year (and my guess would be a launch at the company’s Max conference in October). The target audience for Rush is the average YouTube creator who is looking to get professional-looking results — and do so fast because the expectation on the platform is for regularly pushing out new content. Rush wants to become the all-in-one video editing app for creating and sharing online content and to do so, the team decided that it had to ensure that Rush was available on any device, no matter whether it’s a high-powered desktop or an iPhone. All projects are
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Musical.ly kills its standalone live-streaming app Live.ly

Musical.ly is merging the functionality from its two-year old live-streaming platform Live.ly into its main app, and has disabled Live.ly’s standalone app as part of the transition process. The Live.ly app will eventually be pulled from the App Store and Google Play, the company confirmed to TechCrunch. Instead of being able to go live, Live.ly users are presented with a message about the changes, informing them that live streaming has now moved over to Musical.ly. This change is also confirmed via Live.ly’s App Store update text, which says:
Live.ly is becoming part of musical.ly!
– You can go live on musical.ly right now! Plenty of live content there!
Live.ly first launched in May 2016, offering Musical.ly users a live-streaming platform, where the streams were directly viewable on Musical.ly, as well as within the Live.ly mobile app.
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Gillmor Gang: Hollywood Signs

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The Gillmor Gang — Frank Radice, Keith Teare, Esteban Kolsky, Michael Markman, and Steve Gillmor . Recorded live Friday, June 1, 2018. Why Mary Meeker’s report is real news, the streaming economy flexes its muscles, sit-down comedy. G3: Ethical Healing — Mary Hodder, Francine Hardaway, Maria Ogneva, and Tina Chase Gillmor. Recorded live Thursday, May 31, 2018. @stevegillmor, @ekolsky, @fradice, @mickeleh, @kteare Produced and directed by Tina Chase Gillmor @tinagillmor Liner Notes Live chat stream The Gillmor Gang on Facebook G3: Ethical Healing G3 chat stream G3 on Facebook

Apple Pay tests ‘order ahead’ for drinks at music festivals

Apple is fixing one of the worst parts of the concert experience: waiting in line for a beer while you miss your favorite song. Last week’s BottleRock music festival near San Francisco was the first to try a new ‘order ahead with Apple Pay’ feature that Apple hopes to bring to more events. You just open the festival’s app, select the closest concession stand, choose your drinks, Apple Pay with your face or fingerprint, and pick up the beverages at a dedicated window with no queue. Check out our demo video below.
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BottleRock’s upscale wine & oldies music fest, 100 miles from the tech giant’s headquarters, has become a testbed for Apple Pay. Last year, every concession stand got equipped with the Square’s Apple Pay-ready point of sale system and special fast lanes for customers who used it instead of cash or credit card. 30% of all transactions at BottleRock
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GIF lord Imgur caves to video to hasten profitability

Imgur is the internet’s best time sink, where 250 million monthly users silently consume an endless community-curated collection of absurd GIFs, inspiring tales, pop science explainers, and giant meme dumps. But what it’s never had is video. That was a differentiator that made it ideal for quiet browsing in class, on public transit, or in bed. Since none of the content required audio, you never had to worry about grabbing your headphones or disturbing those around you. But the lack of video was also holding Imgur back. Sometimes you need to hear a crazy cat meow, or a baby giggling, or a crappy robot explode. So users would have to hunt down the “sauce” aka the GIF’s source video on another site. Oh, and advertisers love video and will pay a boatload more for it than a silent GIF or static image. And so, Imgur is evolving with the launch
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Gillmor Gang: Auto Immunity

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The Gillmor Gang — Frank Radice, Keith Teare, Denis Pombriant, Michael Markman, and Steve Gillmor . Recorded live Sunday, May 27, 2018. Digital cars, food, Hollywood, and other disruptions. G3: Firedrills and Fascinators — Mary Hodder, Elisa Camahort Page, Francine Hardaway, Maria Ogneva, and Tina Chase Gillmor. Recorded live Friday, May 18, 2018. @stevegillmor, @denispombriant, @fradice, @mickeleh, @kteare Produced and directed by Tina Chase Gillmor @tinagillmor Liner Notes Live chat stream The Gillmor Gang on Facebook G3: Firedrills and Fascinators G3 chat stream G3 on Facebook

AT&T’s DirecTV Now live TV service launches a DVR, upgrades the app with new features

AT&T’s over-the-top streaming service for cord cutters, DirecTV Now, is finally beginning to roll out its cloud DVR feature – a year and a half after its launch. The DVR has been in testing since last year, with AT&T in seemingly no hurry to push out the feature that’s since become a baseline for live TV services, including YouTube TV, Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV and others. In fact, AT&T’s DVR remains in beta today, the company says. But it is now broadly available iOS and tvOS users, along with the launch of several other features, including support for additional streams, an expanded on-demand library, and more access to local channels when traveling. The DVR – which AT&T calls the “True Cloud DVR” – will offer users 20 hours of free recording, support for fast forward and rewind, and the ability to store shows for up to 30 days.
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TiVo adds Alexa voice control to its DVRs

TiVo’s DVRs are getting Alexa support. The company is announcing its lineup of DVRs, including Series 4, 5, and 6 boxes, and the new TiVo BOLT VOX introduced last fall, will be gaining support for Amazon’s virtual assistant, Alexa, which will be able to do things like change the channel, skip commercials, jump back or forward, launch apps like Netflix, and more. The company is not the only third-party DVR maker to have added support for Alexa. Thanks to developer tools like the Video Skill API, other cable and satellite TV companies, streaming services, and content providers can now add voice control to their devices and apps, as well. For example, Dish last fall became the first U.S. pay TV provider to integrate with Alexa for hands-free TV. Others working with Amazon include DirecTV and TechCrunch’s parent (by way of Oath), Verizon. Amazon’s Video Skill API was updated
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Gillmor Gang: Pop-Up Shop

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The Gillmor Gang — Doc Searls, Frank Radice, Esteban Kolsky, Michael Markman, and Steve Gillmor . Recorded live Friday, May 11, 2018. Audio networks, a new Beatles, and other digital cliffhangers @stevegillmor, @dsearls, @fradice, @mickeleh, @ekolsky Produced and directed by Tina Chase Gillmor @tinagillmor Liner Notes Live chat stream The Gillmor Gang on Facebook

Facebook Live gets new updates to simplify streaming setup for creators

Facebook is making some updates to its Live video platform which should streamline the process of getting a stream set up and in front of the widest possible audience. The company notes in a blog post that the daily average of Live streams from verified Pages is up 1.5x this year over the past year. In addition to the updates to the Live API, Facebook has also announced that they’re testing a rewind feature for the Live video, something that has previously been unavailable. Facebook is going to begin allowing Live videos to be “crossposted” to multiple Pages at the same time. That means if an organization or publisher has multiple Pages where a single Facebook Live video could be featured, they’ll be able to send it to all of them live as an original post without having to re-share one sent by the main account manually. The crossposting
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Gillmor Gang: Paywall

The Gillmor Gang — Denis Pombriant, Keith Teare, Esteban Kolsky, Michael Markman, and Steve Gillmor . Recorded live Friday, May 4, 2018. G3: Trust Me — Mary Hodder, Halley Suitt Tucker, Francine Hardaway, and Tina Chase Gillmor. Recorded live Friday, May 4, 2018. @stevegillmor, @mickeleh, @kteare, @DenisPombriant, @ekolsky Produced and directed by Tina Chase Gillmor @tinagillmor Liner Notes Live chat stream The Gillmor Gang on Facebook G3: Trust Me G3 chat stream G3 on Facebook

Spotify and Hulu launch a discounted entertainment bundle for $12.99 per month

Last fall, Hulu and Spotify teamed up to offer students a bundle including both of their services for a discounted price, compared with paying for each subscription separately. Today, the companies are announcing a similar discounted bundle will be available to all users. Spotify’s 71 million-plus existing Premium users will get the first shot at upgrading to the bundled subscription. Instead of paying $9.99 per month for a paid subscription to Spotify’s on-demand music service, they can choose to pay $12.99 per month for a combination of Spotify Premium and Hulu’s Limited Commercials plan. Later this summer, the bundled subscription will become available to all of Spotify’s 157 million users as well as any other potential newcomers to the two services. Starting today, Spotify Premium users will be given the option to trial the bundled subscription through a promotion that offers Hulu for 99 cents for a
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Vimeo debuts a Mac app for Final Cut Pro users

Vimeo today announced the launch of a new Mac app that will give video creators using Final Cut Pro more control over their file formats and video codecs. The app expands upon the existing integration with Final Cut Pro, which already offered the ability to upload to Vimeo. With the new app, creators can upload multiple files at once, track progress in a status bar, and get instant access to video links, video review pages, and embed codes, among other things. In addition, Vimeo for macOS users can also add captions in Final Cut Pro, play videos from the app without going to a browser, and adjust the title, description, and privacy settings for their videos, notes a Vimeo blog post about the new software. The idea is to help save video creators time when working with Final Cut Pro, while also giving them more control over their video workflow. [gallery
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Tinder begins testing its first video feature, Tinder Loops

Tinder is getting into video. On Wednesday, the popular dating app will begin testing its first video-based feature, Tinder Loops, with iOS users in Canada and Sweden. The company says it will evaluate how users respond to Loops before making a decision to roll it out to other markets. As you may have guessed by the name – “Loops” – the feature isn’t focused on traditional video, but rather on a shorter, almost GIF-like looping video format that’s been popularized by apps like Instagram’s Boomerang and, before that, Twitter’s Vine. In Tinder’s case, Loops will be just two seconds long, and can be added to users’ profiles alongside their photos. The company says it decided to test videos because it believes videos can show more of users’ personalities, and that can increase people’s chances of getting right-swiped (liked, that is). It suggests the videos could be used for showing off
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Adobe brings more of its AI smarts to its video tools

Right in time for NAB, Adobe today announced the latest updates to its Premiere CC and After Effects CC video editing and motion graphics tools. The general theme of this release is the introduction of two new AI-powered tools that will make the life of editors easier, as well as a variety of small updates that all result in an improved overall workflow. “The demands and pace of video content creation are reaching levels we’ve never seen before. The time pressure on video professionals means the need for powerful and efficient creative tools has never been greater,” said Steven Warner, vice president of digital video and audio at Adobe. “Adobe video apps like Premiere Pro and After Effects give them that power which, combined with the services available in Creative Cloud, provides broadcasters, media companies, filmmakers and YouTubers a complete ecosystem to bring their stories to screen faster than
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