Archive for Technology

Facebook research looks to allow people to communicate via brain waves

Facebook wants to read your brain waves
Facebook may be investing in futuristic technology that uses neuroimaging and electrophysiological data to let humans communicate via brain waves.

Last year Facebook created an uber-secretive research division named Building 8. Headed up by ex-Google Advanced Technology and Projects Group Executive Regina Dugan. Its vision is to developing innovative consumer hardware products that advance their ultimate aim of connecting the world. A worthy assignment, granted - but what specifically are these products they speak of?

Sadly, we don’t really know. That’s the issue with top secret research facilities. They do tend to be rather… well, secretive. Anybody who was ever a fan of 90s zombie horror can tell you that. However, several recent job postings suggest that they are working to make Mark Zuckerberg’s previously cited dream of communicating via brain waves a reality.

One such job posting seeks a Brain-Computer Interface Engineer with a Ph.D. in neuroscience (or similar) and at least three years experience working with “brain-computer interface technologies or other applications or machine learning methods to neuroimaging and/or electrophysiological data”. Another seeks a Neural Imaging Engineer with a Ph.D. in Physics (or similar) to “design and evaluate novel neural imaging methods based on optical, RF, ultrasound, or other entirely non-invasive approaches”.

Wait, seriously, what?

In layman’s terms (if such technology can actually be described in layman’s terms), neuroimaging technology seeks to scan, understand and discern what is happening in the brain, specifically through brain waves. Previous technology has made use of headbands to measure brain waves activity. While there is no way of telling exactly what methods Facebook will use and the kind of product that they will eventually create, they are likely to build on previous known technology.

The creation of such a product is likely to be a long time coming. Nevertheless it would represent a major breakthrough in computing and would elevate Facebook, already the uncontested leader in social networking, to the top of the world of science and technology.

This may just the tip of the iceberg for groundbreaking, innovative research projects to come out of Umbrella Corp. Sorry, did I say Umbrella? I meant Building 8. Clearly.

Video Editing Apps for Better Social Media Content

Best Video Editing Apps

Getting more video content on your social media pages is a sure-fire way to increase engagement with your brand’s posts. Now social media marketers have access to a great selection of video editing apps and content creation tools that are making the process of creating compelling video content even easier.

It’s pretty clear now, as it has been for some time, that at the centre of any successful social media strategy is a diverse content calendar. Back at the end of 2015 many social media marketers were predicting that Live video would take the top spot in terms of what feature would see the most development and interest throughout 2016.

Predictions were certainly right in that case - no other features have seen quite the same amount of investment as Live throughout this year. However, as the novelty of  Live capabilities has worn off, what has stayed true is the strength of video in general.

Video is an ideal format for content and can be something of an asset for dramatically improving big metrics such as click-throughs and conversion rates. According to studies, users who watch video are 64% more likely to buy a product online than those who don’t. So not only is video the perfect addition to help diversify your posting schedule, it can also be particularly beneficial to social media marketing results.

The reason video works

Social media users desire greater variety in the content mix they see on social networking. Video is a form of content that promises variety from click to click. For users, it requires less investment than text-heavy posts and offers more promise than image-based posts. However, as a result it requires a larger investment on the marketers behalf. Good video editing apps make all the difference here.

Whether you are looking to create entertaining, humourous video content, behind the scenes footage, expert advice clips or product-focussed presentations, there are a number of video editing apps that could help. Here are some of our favourites.


Splice, the basic video editor by GoPro, is a personal favourite of ours. It harnesses an uncluttered workspace to allow simple and effective video editing. Alongside benefitting from the ability to use it on the go, users get access to a library of high quality free audio back tracks and sound effects. It allows you to edit and splice together a variety of clips, add rudimentary filters and text overlays. The one downside is not being able to alter audio levels throughout a clip - but  being able to export at 1080p for free gets a huge thumbs up from us.


iMovie has come preloaded on some iPhones and Apple devices, otherwise it costs £3.99 to download. If you have used the desktop version it should feel inherently similar. It allows you to easily splice together different clips, add titles and sounds, otherwise if you are cool with slightly vanilla video content then you could make use of the templates. It does feel a touch underdeveloped, but as a base video editing app it has its merits.


In many ways PowerDirector could be looked at as an Android equivalent of iMovie, taking on many of it’s features and even making use of an inherently similar layout. The one drawback is that it makes use of watermarks unless you pay a small one-off cost - which kind of renders the free version useless as a marketing tool.

Pinnacle Studio Pro

Simply put, the Pinnacle Studio Pro app is much like a power-user’s version of iMovie or PowerDirector - and for that reason it comes at a relatively hefty price (£9.99). Pinnacle has been around for quite a while now with desktop software dating back to the 90s. It gives users a greater amount of control over audio and visual edits, speed, pan-and-zoom, picture-in-picture and textual overlays amongst other features.

The Next Macbooks Could Include E-Ink Keyboards

Macbook e-ink keyboard rumours

As technology has advanced one staple has held firm - the Qwerty keyboard. Now it seems that the next generation of Apple’s Macbooks could feature e-ink keyboards as a dynamic evolution of the traditional.

According to a rumour brought to light by The Wall Street Journal, Apple Inc. are reportedly teaming up with a Foxconn-backed Australian start-up start called Sonder Design for their latest keyboard design. Sonder market their benchmark product, the world’s first e-ink keyboard, with the tagline “infinite possibilities at your fingertips”.

E-ink is the same technology used in Kindle and other e-reader devices to create a paper effect. It may sound like another flight-of-fancy for Apple by but Sonder have already made the technology. On their website they list the “infinite possibilities”:

“Customise your keyboard from QWERTY to DVORAK, from English to Chinese and beyond. Type emoticons to text, or create your very own keys to perform whatever command you wish... Create macros to eliminate long, complex sequences of commands to the touch of a single keystroke along with its own custom icon.”

Okay, so the idea of macros and keyboard shortcuts is by no means new, but does that mean the change would be purely aesthetic? Unlikely - the range of different characters (languages and Emojis) that we now engage with is insurmountable in comparison to the pre-Raphaelite age of computing in the early nineties.

E-ink keyboard buttons would have multiple benefits for Apple. In theory they would totally streamline the production process, ridding the need for separate production lines for different alphabets. Not only would the premise potentially be appealing to multi-lingual users who regularly engage with different alphabets, but if the rumours are true then it could also assist in the use of hotkeys for those who use media software. It could also potentially streamline the experience for the average user by making it easier to input Emoji or ASCII art before switching back to a conventional Qwerty layout.

Apple has yet to comment on the rumours. A page on Sonder’s website gives very little away but mentions “partnering with experienced manufacturers, Sonder will redefine laptop keyboard design and user experience.”

Google is Creating a Mobile-only Search Index

Google Mobile Search Index

Ask any Webmaster or SEO specialist what have been the most significant advancements in search over the past few years and they are highly likely to count mobile at the top of their list. Now it appears Google is willing to take its focus on optimising services for mobile users to the next level with a search index devoted entirely to mobile results - and make it their primary search index.

According to information published by Search Engine Land, Google is going to create a new mobile search index “within months”. This will help to give mobile users access to more relevant and higher-quality content. It is currently unclear how exactly the new mobile index will work; whether it will only contain results considered “mobile-friendly”, and, as a primary index, whether it will really not be used for desktop queries.

The new index is undoubtedly the culmination of Google’s attempts to push webmasters to prioritise the creation of mobile-friendly sites; already they favour those who do so in their current SERPs, a result of so-called #Mobilegeddon back in April 2015. A mobile-only index would empower the search engine to expand on the quality of their current algorithm, with which it is all-too common for alternate mobile sites of desktop sites to not live up to the expectations created in SERPs.

In relation to how it will affect ranking Barry Schwartz of RustyBrick had this to say:

“The most substantial change will likely be that by having a mobile index, Google can run its ranking algorithm in a different fashion across “pure” mobile content rather than the current system that extracts data from desktop content to determine mobile rankings.”

While a desktop index will continue to be maintained, it will eventually take back seat to the mobile index, becoming less regularly updated. In a statement to the Guardian Google commented “[we] are always experimenting with different approaches to keep search index as relevant and useful as possible, but we don’t have any new developments to announce.”

App Review: How Google Duo Measures Up for Video Calling

Google Duo App

Back at it’s conference in May, Google announced a brand new video calling app. On August 15th it was finally launched. Google Duo is about as vanilla an app as they get, making the process of sending and receiving one-on-one video calls as simple and uncomplicated as possible.

Google Duo was intended to be the simplest cross-device video calling app yet, and in that quest the tech giant have been rather successful. Duo makes use of a sleek, bare bones interface. Once opened, users see their face and a button allowing you to scroll through most recent calls or your phone book.

The most welcoming feature is the lack of any intrusive branding. Unlike Skype or video calls on Facebook Messenger, Duo was created as a standalone app that didn’t rely on a larger service to work, which means that what we have here is something that removes the complications from video calls.

It was announced on the Official Google Blog on Monday. Cited were three specific key points; a simple interface, a fast and reliable service, and a human design. The first two are a given, due to the vanilla nature of the design and features. The third is the most interesting point, and also happens to be the one that will either spell success for the network or lead to it’s demise. This is what they have to say…

“We designed Duo to feel warm and inviting, focused on just you and the person you’re calling. To make calls feel more like an invitation rather than an interruption, we created a feature in Duo called Knock Knock which lets you see live video of your caller before you answer, giving you a sense of what they’re up to and why they want to chat.”

Alongside this nifty little “knock knock” function, Duo is completely free to use (relying, like Whatsapp, on your number), has end-to-end encryption and is available on both Android and iOS.

Our verdict - although Duo lacks enhanced features like messaging people if you’re not free to talk, the beauty is in it’s simplicity. If you’re looking for a completely simple and accessible platform to video-chat with someone, Duo takes the biscuit. 

Hyperlapse: Using Time Lapse Videos to Build your Instagram

Using Hyperlapse to build your Instagram

Over the past year Instagram has made some serious inroads as a market-leader in social networking. Their significant re-brand back in April took a great deal of people by surprise and was met with widespread criticism, but since then it seems those naysayers have been all but silenced by developments that meet the needs of user and businesses alike…

While you might not necessarily have noticed it, Instagram’s user growth has been rather astounding over the past year - especially when looked at alongside Twitter’s, which has been nothing short of sluggish. Sure there were one or two fanfares when Instagram hit half a billion users in June, but what was touted as a positive by the network - that over 80 percent of the community were from outside the US - may have caused US based marketers to shy away from sharing in that milestone. Why? Simply because when they hit 400 million users that was only 75 percent.

Regardless it’s certainly something that users outside the states can cheer about - and besides, the stall in the US is most likely just down to Snapchat-crazed teens preferring the finite network over Instagram. Instagram is a speeding train that businesses serious of marketing themselves in a digital age need to get on board.

Instagram’s shift to (and for) user content

The driving force behind the full re-brand, and every update that has come since, has been user content. As a network they continually show that they have a solid grasp of what makes their network individual - the stories and moments shared by their users. It has always been inherently content-driven. Okay, so that may seem like a sweeping generality as every social network requires content, but I’m referring to a sense of what primarily ignites dialogues within each network - whereas that might be controversial comment on Twitter or trending content from organisations on Facebook, with IG it’s primarily user-generated content.

Aware of what makes their users tick and what drives engagement, they have been quick to expand capabilities in-line with that. Video is an ideal case and point. Until recently, users on Instagram have been limited to sharing 15 second videos on the network. In March this year that all changed as they begun to allow average users to upload 60 second videos, a capability that was originally reserved for advertisers.

Time lapse videos are just a joy to watch as they show off patterns that we might not otherwise see in everyday life, offering a unique and mesmerising perspective. Because of this they can certainly add a touch of diversity to the content on your Instagram feed. Hyperlapse from Instagram was first released last year as a standalone time lapse video app which majorly simplifies the process of creating time lapses with the use of a unique stabilisation algorithm. Instagram's version is only available for iOS, but a similar app is offered by Microsoft for Android.

Using Hyperlapse as part of your Instagram content strategy

We encourage businesses to make use of different types of content to add a touch of variety to your social media marketing strategy. This gives you valuable insights into the sort of content that your audience in particular react well to. Hyperlapse should be up there with Boomerang and good-quality image creation apps.

Producers and companies that create things

Companies and organisations that create products could use Hyperlapse to create unique behind-the-scenes time lapses of their products being produced. Artists and sculptors readily make use of time lapse videos to offer a different perspective of how their art is created. This should be no different for any other business that makes things - from shop-floor to hand-made producers such as luthiers or potters. "Behind the scenes" content that gives users access to otherwise unseen parts of your business works really well to drive engagement as it makes users feel part of an exclusive group of advocates for your brand.

Making use of your local area

Local businesses should use Hyperlapse to create time lapse videos of their local area. This is a great way to encourage engagement by local consumers - the precise target audience that you want to get engaging with your social channels. On the other end of the spectrum, users who haven't necessarily visited your area are likely to show a certain amount of interest; that aspect of discovery is what makes content-focused social networks thrive.


#hyperlapse the Neighborhood A video posted by NYC | New York City (@nyc) on

Events professionals, creatives and performers

Events professionals can use Hyperlapse to offer users an enticing look/sneak-peek at their event. For creatives and performers on Instagram, Hyperlapse can offer unique perspectives of rehearsals, collaboration or performances. In many cases it can also be used purposefully to create an individual dance or performance piece - check out the example below by @pedestrianwanderlust...


Hyperlapse is a great tool for building your Instagram strategy that helps to enliven your content and offer users a different look at your brand. How do you use Hyperlapse? We'd love to hear. Tweet us - @GiraffeSM.

iPhone Apps to Help You Create Beautiful Images On-the-go

Top Free Photo Editing Apps

Content is the cornerstone of many social media channels, and photo content boasts some of the highest engagement rates out there. However, it can sometimes be difficult to keep on top of graphic creation when you’re on-the-go - that’s why we put together this list of some of our favourite iPhone Apps...


When Canva first announced their iOS app we were quickly transformed into barrels of giddy anticipation and joy. As our go-to web-tool for image content creation, Canva has an easy-to-use interface that allows you to create good quality graphics simply and efficiently. Understandably, it is currently slightly more challenging to get the same results on the iPhone app as it is on a desktop or laptop due to having to make adjustments by touch on a smaller screen. Regardless, being able to produce graphics for social media on the go is certainly a plus point in our book.

Adobe Photoshop Express

Photoshop Express has had something of a bad press since it’s release, with early review scores not necessarily as high as one would expect from Adobe. However this may have something to do with users comparing it to the eclipse-all features available on the full desktop software. As the name suggests, Photoshop Express is intended to offer basic image editing. In this task Adobe have done very well indeed, creating a sleek app that making use of tools, effects, filters and adjustments, and offers some premium options too, making it many an iPhone users' choice for on-the-go editing.


Prisma has quickly caught on among social media users. A sleek hybrid between traditional filter apps and ye-olde cartoonize effect of Windows 98, it boasts an in-built selection of around thirty filters, a great deal of which mimic the style of famous artists such as Monet, Van Gogh and Warhol. Yes, realistically it is yet another app that uses filters to create psychedelic photos, but due to a reportedly adaptable AI independent to each filter the results are nothing short of outstanding. It’s a good idea to note that Prisma adds watermarks to any images that you create by default - this can easily be switched off by unticking “Enable Watermarks” on the app’s settings tab.

Pokémon Photo Booth

With the current Pokémon Go craze showing little sign of slowing, creating images on Pokémon Photobooth is a sure-fire way to get some engagement on your social media content. A very simple app that uses overlays from the original Gameboy game, Pokémon Photobooth is easy enough to use that images can be knocked up quickly enough to be used as a witty response to Pokémon based social media interaction.

Google Street View

Although not strictly a photo editing app, the advantages of taking 360 pictures and photospheres on Google Street View are pretty convincing. Firstly it allows you to geotag your photo on Google Maps, which for businesses is a great way to get your brand out there to people using the app to discover new places. Secondly it automatically saves a version of your images to your Camera Roll, which can come in really useful for other networks.


PicsArt is a worthy contender for being the go-to photo editing app on-the-go. It offers a whole host of different tools for photo editing and enhancement. Shooting within the app also offers a great deal of benefits including manual focus and some creative/textural filters. It also boasts a well designed, easy to use interface that will be welcome to any iPhone user used to struggling with clunky editing apps.


Far be it from me to use this word, but for all intents and purposes LittleMoments in nothing short of “sweet”. Perhaps not one for users who prefer the advanced capabilities of Canva or PicsArt, nevertheless LittleMoments offers a simple way to add text to your images, alongside some basic photo tools and filters.


Over offers users a simple and sleek approach to social media graphic creation. Features include basic image alteration (size, opacity and rotation), and text-based artwork overlays. It also boasts a direct pathway to CC0 images from Unsplash, so you won’t have to go hunting for free for commercial images if you want to use your graphics commercially.


What to do when everyone insists on snapping photos of their food? Make an app dedicated to snapping photos of food of course! Foodie is basically a collection of pre-loaded filters designed to compliment different types of food and moods, perfect if that’s your piece of cake (see what we did there?). Users can also use it to create videos.

Layout, Boomerang & Hyperlapse

Seeing as all three were created as complimentary/add-on apps for their photo sharing giant Daddy Instagram, Layout, Boomerang and Hyperlapse all boast very similar interfaces to IG. Layout offers a very easy to use (and seriously welcome) alternative to the ad-ridden pic-collage, Boomerang gives users the ability to create hilarious little looping Gifs, and Hyperlapse is a fantastic time-lapse video creator. We recommend them all in equal measure, as they give Instagram users different options for content.

Have a iPhone Photo Editing App that you swear by? We’d love to hear! Tweet us - @GiraffeSM.

How to do Social Media for Indie Game Developers

Social Media for Indie Game Developers

The game development scene has never been more accessible or inclusive. The tools needed to start learning the basics of dev are now available to pretty much anyone. Resources like Twine, GameMaker, or even Unity are just a few clicks away – often costing as little as zero pence.

The result of this has been a buzzing indie scene, with one or two person studios springing up to make and share their creations with potentially huge audiences around the world. With even the main players in the console race making overtures to the indie scene, we’re seeing more and more critical and commercial success stories from small studios. Sam Barlow’s Her Story scooped up a hat-trick of BAFTAs this year (Debut Game, Game Innovation, and Mobile & Handheld), while Psyonix’s Rocket League is possibly the most inspiring story to date, with the game achieving phenomenal success after a free giveaway on PlayStation Plus in 2015.

One of the results of this new found hysteria is a creatively exciting development landscape. However, due to it's popularity, things can sometimes feel a little crowded. Where release schedules used to boast a couple of titles per week, the list can swell to enormous proportions these days.

So how is an indie developer supposed to get themselves out there in this climate? Let’s explore the ways that social media can be used for communications.

Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin

The focus in the early days should be on building your community. As such, it can be hard to maintain too many channels at a time – certainly with a small team on hand. With Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Steam forums, your own website (perhaps with its own forum) and more to monitor, your time can easily become taken up by checking in on these instead of actually developing your product.

In the early days, consider launching with just a channel or two, making it clear that these are the places your community can check in with you. Twitter and Facebook are ideal platforms on which to get started, building your audience before launching a million and one social channels.

Remember, You Are Not Ubisoft

Tone of voice is so, so important. As a small team, it’s important to relate to your community in the most appropriate fashion. You’re not a corporate giant like Ubisoft or Activision (just yet!) so be sure to engage with and speak to your followers. Never be shy about discussing elements of your game that you’re particularly excited about. But at the same time don’t feel pressured into divulging anything you don’t feel comfortable with.

A good piece of advice for smaller devs would be to remain friendly and approachable, while maintaining some kind of professional distance. Don’t go promising people the world. You may feel confident that you’re going to create a sprawling open­-world experience to rival The Witcher 3, and that ambition is great – encouraged, even – but keep it in the meeting room until you have something tangible to share. Few things shake faith like broken promises, so instead always focus on over-­delivering, rather than under­-promising.


Twitter has massive potential as a customer support tool thanks to the instantaneous and concise nature of its communications. It’s also probably the place to garner followers the quickest. Twitter will be a great source for quick-­response tech queries, as well as an immediate tool with which to redirect more complex issues. This is invaluable, particularly in the early access market.


Facebook is where you can get very visual, sharing sneak peeks, having more in­depth discussions with players, and organising events both in-­game and out. The audience will likely be highly engaged, so don’t be shy about giving them a call to action – ask questions, encourage them to share their thoughts and experiences, and be sure to foster that sense of community that is so important in the games industry.

There is no need to go for the hard sell – once again, you are not a AAA studio, so there’s no need to act like one. Instead, look to foster an environment where sales and shares will happen organically. Goodwill is extremely important in this rodeo.


Video​ is absolutely vital to any smaller player in the games world. The success of Markus ‘Notch’ Persson with Minecraft, the baffling but brilliant Goat Simulator, and the meteoric rise of eSports all have roots in Youtube or Twitch. While the very best results will come when a massive influencer notices and shares your game on their own channel, there’s real value in maintaining an official outlet.

YouTube will let you show off new assets, trailers, and dev logs in a controlled environment, while running an official Twitch channel can open so many doors. Streaming your own game brings the attention of more streamers -­ all you need is the next Pewdiepie to be on the hunt for a game to take them to the next level, and it’s game on. Of course, the under­promising rule still applies, but the bottom line is – don’t be shy, get yourselves out there!


If you’re on PC, then you’re going to want to be on Steam. It’s the largest game distribution platform in the world, and includes built-­in tools which are designed to directly communicate with the hordes of players out there just waiting to check out what you’ve been crafting at your desk for the last year. However, there is a vital code of conduct to be adhered to here. Steam forums can be notoriously vicious, so the temptation will always be there to dive in and defend your creative decisions, but be wary.

Always weigh up the PR implications of getting into a fight online against the scoring of a few points against a disappointed gamer. Efforts should be focused on using the suite of tools the platform provides, such as announcements and events. If a hundred potential players are following you prior to release, only to see a pop-­up announcing a live stream of some new, unannounced content in the next few hours, then you’ve got an exciting event on your hands. Explore Steam to its full potential, but follow the two golden rules – No spam, and absolutely no fighting.

Of course, these are just a few of the benefits that social media can have for a new game developer just starting out. We’ll spare you the dissertation for now, but needless to say there is such a huge depth of potential out there in the social media space.

By Sam Faulkner, social media manager

Facebook Live for Dummies

How to use Facebook Live for Business

If you’re looking for the sum total of the most engaging content styles on social media, video takes the biscuit. But when you take the rate of engagement of video and multiply it by the exclusivity of live content, you get something altogether irresistible to users. That’s what makes Facebook live such an exciting prospect for businesses…

Live streaming is in no way a new concept. It has been around in one form or another for a great deal of years now. But it’s only recently with the development of smartphone technology and untethered data that it’s been able to really come into it’s own.

Facebook live was announced back in August last year, and at the time was released only to a selection of verified public figures through the app, and was marketed as “a new way for you to connect with your favorite public figures.” It’s since been rolled out to all users to access via iPhone and Android apps and can be used by verified businesses as a marketing tool.

How to go live on Facebook

In order to go live on Facebook you will need a quality smartphone, the Facebook app for Android or iOS and a good internet connection. Head to the app and navigate onto your business page before following the steps below:

Facebook Live Publish Button Giraffe Social Media1. Tap the publish button: The publish button is right at the top-­left of your page, just below your call to action. This is the same process you would follow if you wanted to post anything on the go.




Facebook Live Button2. Tap the live stream icon: The live stream icon is the one that looks a little bit like a person with a double afro.




Giraffe Social Media on Facebook Live

3. Write a description: It’s really important that you write a sufficient description for your live stream, otherwise users won’t have a clue what you’re doing! Then just Tap go live and start streaming!



Things to know before going live

Just like any other part of your strategy, the key to a successful live broadcast on Facebook is planning and preparation. You should also be aware that broadcasts are currently limited to 90 minutes and are immediately converted into videos once you finish streaming. Facebook’s best practice has three top tips for businesses before they go live, which are as follows:

1. Inform people ahead of time when you are going to broadcast: It’s a no-­brainer really, but you need to market your broadcast in advance if you have any hopes of getting the right people tune in. Set some time aside to build some hype about your live stream.

2. Keep an eye on the strength of your connection: We often wish that from where we are now worrying about internet connection should be a thing of the past. However, sadly it is still the case. Without a good enough internet connection, you will be unable to start a Facebook live broadcast.

3. Spend time writing a good description for your broadcast: So much has been written about creating awesome headlines for content and crafting great posts. The same thing counts here. Make sure it is enticing and actually makes sense.

What to do when you are live

What you do when you are live will depend on your business and the sort of content you share. Options range from behind the scenes sneak peeks or products, to Q&As with staff members, to in­-action live content. Bear in mind that users can follow you and opt to get notifications for future streams during while they are watching the broadcast. Encourage them to do so! As you stream you will see new users popping up -­ greet them all by name and make them feel welcome. This makes them far more likely to keep viewing.

Happy streaming!

Twitter’s Cortex are Developing a Livestream Scanning Algorithm

Twitter Develop Live Stream Scanning Algorithm for Periscope

With the help of Twitter’s Cortex, Periscope could soon be able to scan and identify the content within live streams. Twitter have created a new system using a deep learning algorithm which allows it to categorise a selection of different streams. Intended to help deliver an increasingly seamless and advanced discovery experience for users, the new technology could potentially also help to rid the network of unsavoury content…

Twitter’s Cortex is a team of engineers, data scientists and machine learning researchers who focus on developing ease of discovery and systems which reflect the users and content on their products. They first unveiled this new live streaming scanning technology to MIT Technology Review, managing to successfully scan and categorise 24 live streams.

Over recent years researchers have been successful in developing algorithms that identify and categorise content within stationary images and photographs. Twitter’s Cortex are the first to have substantially made progress in the development of products that can do this for live videos. Live streams are particularly tricky due to the constantly altering nature of the content within them and also the variance in video quality. This is how MIT Technology Review described the technology:

            “Twitter effectively built a custom supercomputer made entirely of graphics processing units (GPUs) to perform the video classification and serve up the results. These chips are especially efficient for the mathematical calculations required for deep learning, but normally they are just on part of a larger computer system… The Cortex team has ambitions to develop a sophisticated recommendation system to help filter and curate all sorts of content shared through the service, based on a user’s previous activity.”

What could the new scanning algorithm be used for?

The team’s primary intentions for the algorithm is to help develop content discovery on the network, such as search within the app. Although the project is in it’s early stages, live streaming is becoming increasingly prominent in the world of social networking, and so the development of search and discovery tools such as these will eventually become incredibly important. The algorithm could also prove very useful for tackling the issue of “dark” content in the network, something that has been all over media recently.

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