Augmented reality projected to reach 40 million U.S. users this year
An eMarketer study projects that 40 million people in the U.S. will engage in some form of augmented reality experience this year, up from 30.7 million last year. The bulk of this usage is expected to come from Snapchat Lenses, though it is believed Facebook Stories will become more of a factor in the future simply because it is so widely available.
Millennials keen on sharing economy
A new study highlights the sharp contrast in degrees of engagement with the sharing economy between millennials and older Americans. Some particularly strong examples: 32% of the 18-34 age group uses Uber or other ride sharing services, compared to just 12% of people 35 and up; 17% of the younger generation participate in crowdfunding, compared to 7% of the older age group.
Google working to incorporate art in search capability
Google has made recent changes to its Search and Street View functions to allow users to find and identify works of art. This capability leverages Google's visual recognition software, and the company is working with an interactive panel to refine how works of art are recognized by Google programs.
Conductor tries a different approach to patent wars
In contrast to the high-profile battles tech companies routinely fight over patents, Conductor has announced that it will license its patented technology involving SEO processes for free. While Conductor's founder cites avoiding costly patent battles as a motivation, precedents suggest that licensing patents for free could be a tactic for gaining wider acceptance of Conductor's products and methodology.
Massachusetts levies a tax on cookies
In a move that could impact many online revenue models, the Massachusetts Department of Revenue has outlined plans to collect a tax on goods sold as a result of cookies placed on its state's residents' computers. The potentially precedent-setting aspect of this move is that the Massachusetts Department of Revenue is asserting that installing cookies constitutes a physical presence in the state, which is the basis for taxation.
Google attempts to screen out fake news
In response to concerns over the the prominence of fake news stories, Google has undertaken "project Owl," which will use feedback forms and the prioritization of authoritative sources in an attempt to keep fraudulent news stories out of top search ranking slots.
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U.S. web users more likely to stream than have cable
The trend away from traditional cable TV has reached a significant tipping point, as more U.S. households with internet access now subscribe to a streaming service than have cable TV. Overall, 67% of households with internet access use a streaming service, while just 61% have cable. Millennials have led the way in this direction, with 77% of 18-34 year olds streaming vs. 57% subscribing to cable, but older consumers are not far behind, with 65% of adults 35 and over streaming compared to 62% having cable subscriptions.