Friday Social: Visual Browser, Meet Ava and Meerkat

Ellie Hallsworth

March 20th, 2015

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Our #FridaySocial is a weekly round-up of the key social media news stories from the previous seven days. Let us know your thoughts in the comments or via Twitter – @Umpf / @EllieHallsworth

1. YouTube’s subscription service

Google is reportedly soon to be launching a YouTube subscription-based video-on-demand service that could compete with Netflix. The company has been exploring a paid ad-free version of YouTube for some time, after launching a pilot programme in 2013 that allowed content providers to charge viewers a subscription fee to access a particular video channel.

Modelled on YouTube Music Key, which brings ad-free unlimited access to music video and tracks on Google Play Music for a monthly fee, the move will represent a significant change for the site, whose ad-supported videos attract more than one billion users a month.

2. Blippar’s ‘visual browser’

UK-based Blippar is said to have developed a ‘visual browser’, which will enable people to search the internet for information of real-life objects using the camera function on their smartphones. The aim is to simplify the search process with use of an augmented reality app that can analyse visual inputs in real time.

An initial test of the visual browser this April will be limited to album and book covers, DVD labels and film posters. From there, Blippar will then aim to hugely expand the app’s capacity to recognise almost any real-life object from an apple to the Eiffel Tower.

3. Meet Ava

This year’s mostly male-dominated SXSW festival in Texas had a sexy new virtual guest. Tinder users at the festival were exchanging messages with beautiful 25-year old Ava, only to find out they were all just flirting with a robot – all part of a carefully crafted PR stunt to promote the film Ex Machina utlising both Tinder and Instagram.

The tale echoes the film’s plot, which follows a young coder who’s selected to take part in an experiment in artificial intelligence by evaluating the human qualities of a beautiful robot called Ava.

After being pointed towards Ava’s Instagram profile, users then realised all was not at they thought. At the time, there was just one photo uploaded, which was a promotional picture from the film’s US premiere that just so happened to be taking place at the festival that evening.

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4. Meerkat

There’s a new hot app in town; Meerkat. For those who haven’t yet heard, it’s the Twitter-integrated live video streaming sensation that become one of the most talked-about apps at SXSW Interactive 2015. The app allows you to stream live video from your phone to all of your Twitter followers at once. After pressing ‘stream’, a link to your live video will be auto-tweeted from your account.

Time will tell if Meerkat is just a fad that’s already reached its peak or if this is the start of something much more. Try it out here.

5. Musical tweets

Twitter and music streaming service Rhapsody have teamed up on a new feature that allows the service’s subscribers to share full-length tracks on Twitter than anyone can listed to for free, regardless of if they are a subscriber or not.

Implemented using Twitter audio cards, Rhapsody is hoping the partnership will lure more subscribers to its service as it competes with the likes of Spotify.twitter-audio-640x570

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PR & social media, with a bit more