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Top40 News for 07/25/2018

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#35 Facebook’s ‘shared viewing’ video feature is coming to all groups

Facebook has made it clear that it wants to make video a crucial part of its business, as it looks to compete with the likes of YouTube, Amazon and Netflix. And, over the past few months, the company's been making changes to help it get there, launching new features aimed at making videos more social. One of those is Watch Party, an experimental tool introduced in January that lets members of Facebook groups watch videos together and simultaneously. That shared watching experience, which works with both live and pre-recorded videos, was only available to select users when it was first announced, but now Facebook is bringing it to every group worldwide.

With more than 1.4 billion users per month, groups has become a core product for Facebook, and it intends to use Watch Party to keep even more people locked in and connected to those who share similar interests. Facebook says that it's heard from group leaders that Watch Party is perfect for people watching things like Q&A sessions and how-to tutorials about cooking, crafting, home improvement, playing an instrument and more. Back in April, the company said that nearly two billion people had watched Facebook Live broadcasts to date, demonstrating the potential for features like Watch Party -- especially since users who watch together can comment and add emoji reactions in real time.

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Soon, those Watch Parties won't just be limited to groups. Facebook also revealed that it is already testing the tool with profiles, while pages (public profiles for businesses and other organizations) could get it in the near future, as well. Facebook says that, in its internal testing, some Watch Parties were able to generate thousands of comment from people who were watching a particular video simultaneously, with some groups dedicating over 10 hours to a single Watch Party. The success of Twitch has already proven that there's a dedicated audience looking to watch internet video with others, regardless of the genre.

For profiles, Watch Party could be a good way to have shared viewing experiences with close friends and family members. The same goes for pages of brands or news publications that want to show videos of, say, an unboxing of a product or host a conversation about a recent story. For Facebook, the goal here is simple: To keep users interacting with one another as much as possible.

... To Read more, please click here

#36 Amazon bought Ring months ago. Why don’t their products work together yet?

I just reviewed the $199 Ring Alarm Security Kit -- a solid home security system from Amazon's recently acquired smart home brand. Ring's existing video doorbells and weatherproof security cameras work with Amazon's voice assistant, Alexa, but its new security system doesn't. 

You also can't use Amazon's excellent indoor-only Cloud Cam security camera as a component in the Ring security system, and Amazon's Key in-home delivery service doesn't integrate with any Ring devices. That's a mistake.

Amazon should pay close attention to how Google's handling Nest. Google's smart speakers and most of Nest's smart home products work together. The recent departure of former Nest CEO Marwan Fawaz puts Google executive Rishi Chandra in charge of the smart-home brand. Having a Google employee running Nest strongly suggests a closer alignment between Google and Nest hardware going forward.

If Amazon and Ring were to take a similar approach, it would be much easier for consumers to understand where both companies stand in the smart-home space -- and how their products could work together in their homes. As it is, you have two fairly segmented brands, both with a variety of smart home devices that don't currently work seamlessly together. 

Here's what Amazon needs to do to fix it.

... To Read more, please click here

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