Why Facebook Is Buying a Gesture Control Company

Why Facebook Is Buying a Gesture Control Company
TIME / Jennifer So


Facebook’s Oculus VR snapped up gesture-control company Pebbles in a move to better integrate human movement with computer systems.

The terms of the deal, which was made public Thursday, weren’t released by Facebook, but one source told the Wall Street Journal that the total sum was around $60 million.

Pebbles will become part of the hardware engineering and computer vision teams at Oculus, where the company will be put to work finding new ways to advance virtual reality using more realistic tracking–one of Pebbles’ specialties.

The Israel-based startup’s technology enables users to see images of their arms and hands within VR headsets, including Oculus VR after Pebbles recently integrated its technology within the platform. That’s a huge step for making VR more realistic and unlocking its future potential. Up until now, competing gesture-identification technologies either didn’t show a user’s arms or hands at all or used generic digitally-generated versions.

“We’ve seen virtual reality make huge strides, changing the way people interact with one another,” said Pebbles in a written statement. “At the forefront of that shift is Oculus, and joining Oculus will help advance our vision building immersive experiences and revolutionizing digital human interaction.”

The purchase brings Facebook up to speed with Apple, Microsoft and Intel, all of who purchased gesture-control startups within the past several years.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

Original Article: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/time/topstories/~3/lJ_o_XDbBPs/


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Google Stresses Mobile and YouTube in Stellar Earnings Report

#AceSocialNews – July.16: Google Stresses Mobile and YouTube in Stellar Earnings Report
TIME / Jennifer So


Even though Google owns Android, the world’s most-used mobile operating system, mobile remains a critical risk for the search giant. Google’s web search engine is a money-printing machine, but mobile advertising hasn’t been the same home run for Google or any ad-based company.

Mobile phone usage is dominated by apps (85% of time spent) and users tend to go to the appropriate app to find the information they need, rather than conduct a Google search in a mobile Web browser like they do on a desktop computer. For example, if a person wanted to buy movie tickets, instead of searching for movie times on Google (as they would on a laptop), they’d open the Fandango mobile app. If they needed to make a purchase, they might go straight to their Amazon app. If they wanted some information, they’d open the Wikipedia app.

Shoppers still prefer to make purchases on desktop computers, which hurts any mobile ad platform that only gets paid when shoppers convert. It’s not all Google’s fault: The ad industry hasn’t shifted its budgets to be commensurate with the amount of time people spend on their phones. “We know mobile activities are influencing offline behavior,” chief business officer Omid Kordestani said in the company’s second quarter earnings call. He noted that Google is working on ways to “close the gap” between online ads and brick-and-mortar sales.

Indeed, Google has been amping up its mobile advertising efforts to address these challenges, touting new products such as a “buy button,” which allows people to shop directly within Google products on mobile, as well as mobile-friendly YouTube ads and elaborate, conversion-friendly search results for things like hotels and cars.

Google CFO Ruth Porat said the company is continuing to narrow the gap between mobile and desktop search. The quarter was Porat’s first-ever earnings report on the job, having recently joined Google from Morgan Stanley.

The company also touted strong performance on YouTube, which has been under increasing pressure as competitors,most notably Facebook, gain traction. “Watch time,” YouTube’s metric for measuring usage, grew 60% over the second quarter of last year, and on mobile, watch time has more than doubled. The company has never announced how much revenue YouTube contributes to its top line, even though, as noted at Fortune‘s Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen last week, CEO Susan Wojcicki said she wishes she could.

Google’s overall profitability exceeded Wall Street’s expectations in the quarter, earning $4.8 billion in GAAP operating profit on $17.7 billion in revenue. The operating profit represents a 27% increase over the same last year and quarterly revenue grew 11%. Investors responded positively to the report, trading Google stock up more than 10% in after-hours trading.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

Original Article: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/time/topstories/~3/h0mms1vIKJc/


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