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Some of Facebook’s Libra Members Look to Distance Themselves from Project

Some of Facebook’s Libra Members Look to Distance Themselves from Project

U.S. lawmakers have been skeptical about Facebook and the libra coin

and some of the Libra Association look to distance themselves from the project.Ever since its announcement in mid-June 2019, the libra coin has been dealing with pressure from the public and U.S. regulators. Facebook, the social media giant, has been prone to hacking risks that have led to the breach of information security.U.S. lawmakers have been skeptical about Facebook and the libra coin. Today, it seems like the pressure is no longer bearable, and some of the libra association members are opting out.

The Center of the problem

It all started in July 2nd when MaineWaters, a U.S. congress woman wrote to Libra Association requiring the team to cease any development on Libra coin. According to the letter, the Libra Association was supposed to pause any development until the financial service committee, and other associate subcommittees discuss the possible risks of libra coin on the global financial system. According to the reports reaching us, the libra association is under tension as some of its key members are opting out. A report released by the financial times on August 23rd, 2019 indicates that three firms, which were crucial shareholders, have resolved to back out due to pressure from regulators and the potential threat to the economy.

The Libra Association is comprised of 28 members, including Facebook and telecommunication giants such as visa and master card.  Each of the members was supposed to invest an amount not less than $ 10 million. Suddenly, the association is falling apart, two of the members backing out attributed it to regulatory pressure while the third linked the fall out to the public support of the project which could draw unnecessary attention of the overseers. “It’s going to be difficult for partners who want to comply with regulators policies to be out there declaring their support for the proposed digital coin,” said one of the members.

The fall out has not gone well with Facebook, and one of the members backing libra was quoted saying that, “Facebook is tired of being the only people putting their neck out.” Most cryptocurrency exchanges like Binance exchange have been experiencing challenges. We all remember of the recent cyber attack on Binance exchange that cost the company approximately 7,000 Bitcoins in a single transaction. The credibility and reliability of both the developers and exchange platforms are current issues affecting blockchain. These might be some of the reasons why the regulators are so keen on scrutinizing the system to determine its reliability to avoid some of the occurrences that have had paining cost on investors.

Just two days ago, reports circulating online indicated that the European Commission, which is the E.U.’s executive body was in a move to launch investigations on Libra coin. The reports we have received indicate that the libra project is being investigated of possible anti-competitive behavior. Moreover, six members of the Financial Service Committee in the American House of Representatives went to Switzerland to discuss cryptocurrency projects. It is evident that Libra has been peck in the eyes of the regulators; this could be attributed to the poor handling of data storage and misuse of consumer information by the social media giant. So, how is the public expected to trust such a company with questionable ethics?

Final take

Regulatory summons has not prevented the backing members from pursuing their interests. While the sauce is too hot for some members, some potential investors are willing to chow it hot. A cryptocurrency exchange based in Taiwan has expressed its interest to join libra with the hope of dominating the Asian-pacific region. Some crypto experts have indicated that libra has the potential of dominating the crypto market if the inherent issues are addressed on time. Others have it that the only threat facing libra is privacy issues associated with Facebook and digital identity. The cryptocurrency market is quite young, and new issues are emerging every day. Let’s wait and see how these issues will be managed to stabilize the dwindling cryptocurrency boat.

Article Produced By
Tanvir Zafar

Tanvir Zafar is a Cryptocurrency enthusiast by day, stand-up comedian by night. Having 4 years of experience in writing about Cryptocurrency, Big Data and Blockchain+AI related content. You can also find him featured on investing.com, e27.co, hackernoon.com and many other big Crypto publications

https://www.coinspeaker.com/libra-members-distance-from-project/

Heiko Closhen, Entrepreneur

Japan’s leading online brokerage applies to join Facebook’s Libra Association

Japan’s leading online brokerage applies to join Facebook’s Libra Association

                                 

At the FYE March 2020 Q1 results briefing held on July 26, Oki Matsumoto,

CEO of Monex Group, Japan’s leading online brokerage, which owns Coincheck, Japan’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, announced that it had applied to join the Libra Association, an association set up for the cryptocurrency Libra, to be issued by Facebook.

Monex Group has become the first Japanese company to do so. Strict conditions are set to join the Libra Association, including a market size of USD1 billion (approximately JPY110 billion) or more or a customer cash flow of USD500 million (approximately JPY55 billion) or more. A decision on the feasibility of joining the Libra Association is expected to be made by the end of September following the initial review, which will be completed by the end of August. In Monex Group’s financial results, the Crypto Asset Segment entered the black in line with the surge of Bitcoin.

The Company announced: “Cost reductions are being promoted while strengthening internal controls and cyber security. Coincheck has become profitable for the first time since joining our group, driven by rapid account growth, the offering of a new cryptocurrency, and favorable market activity throughout the quarter. Segment profit is JPY0.14 billion (approximately USD1.29 million).” It also reported that there have been some positive developments. Monex’s subsidiary Coincheck fully resumed services in FYE March 2020 Q1 (April-June), after they had been suspended due to a massive theft of cryptocurrencies last year. In addition, the price of Monacoin increased temporarily after the listing of Monacoin, Japan’s homegrown cryptocurrency, in June this year.

Article Produced By
Fisco

https://bitcoinwarrior.net/2019/08/japans-leading-online-brokerage-applies-to-join-facebooks-libra-association/

Heiko Closhen, Entrepreneur

Libra Accused of Stealing Structural Design from Another Coin

Libra Accused of Stealing Structural Design from Another Coin

                              

A Fellow at MIT claims that Facebook’s Libra currency is based on his ideas.

 Did Libra Take Its Structure from Another Coin?

The Royal Society’s Open Science publication released a whitepaper in 2018. It was written by several members of MIT, one of which was Fellow Alex Lipton. In the paper, Lipton describes an “asset-backed, supra-national digital token.” This correlates with the goals and ideals of Libra, which will allegedly be backed by several forms of fiat and “short-term debt.” The cryptocurrency discussed in the whitepaper, known as Trade Coin, is also designed for streamlining cross-border and domestic payments, and providing financial means for underbanked populations. Lipton says these ideas were taken directly from his paper, explaining:

 Without being particularly obnoxious, I can tell you that the actual structure of Libra is pretty much lifted verbatim from the paper which Sandy Pentland and Thomas Hardjono and I published last year… The Libra people cannot really say that they have not read that, or if they have not read that, they probably shouldn’t be doing what they are doing in the first place.

Libra has been hit with mountains of controversy since it first arrived. Members of the American Congress, for example, have commented that there are too many unanswered questions as of late regarding the project’s main goals, and that Facebook is not to be trusted with people’s financial information following the Cambridge Analytica scandal. They have ultimately asked David Marcus – the head of Facebook’s blockchain division – and his team to hold off on developing Libra further until they can be assured that the cryptocurrency is safe. Marcus has said he will comply with the request.

This is also not the first time Libra has been accused of ripping off another person’s work. The cryptocurrency project is alleged to have taken its logo from Current, a banking firm in northern California that says the company ultimately stole its logo by using the same San Francisco-based design firm. Current’s logo involves a blue, purple and pink-tinted circle surrounding three wavy, purple lines. Libra has virtually the same logo with different coloring.

This Is Becoming a Pattern…

And, of course, there’s the original case involving Facebook itself, which was purportedly conceived originally by the Winklevoss Twins, the founders of New York’s Gemini Exchange. Both Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss allege they originally came up with the concept for Facebook back when they were students at Harvard. Fellow classmate Mark Zuckerberg – who later became the head executive for Facebook – was simply hired to perform coding duties for the platform, as detailed in the Oscar-winning film “The Social Network.” However, Zuckerberg ultimately brought the platform to existence through his own vision and efforts, leaving the Winklevoss Twins out of its development. This emerged in a massive lawsuit that the Twins and Zuckerberg settled out of court.

 

Heiko Closhen, Entrepreneur

Facebook should forget Libra launch stablecoin on Bitcoin SV

Facebook should forget Libra, launch stablecoin on Bitcoin SV
                                             

I think Facebook is realizing the obvious,
its Libra stablecoin project is never going to properly get off the ground.

Several countries have already come forward to say that they will completely ban the digital currency, while others are pushing for a complete and thorough investigation, coupled with regulatory approval, before allowing the project to see the light of days. The social media giant has stated that it is willing to wait as long as it takes regulators to determine the viability of the project, but there is a much simpler, much more accessible alternative: give up the standalone crypto and launch a fully-backed stablecoin on the Bitcoin SV (BSV) blockchain.

Facebook could also go a different route and just let BSV become its currency. With the lowest fees of any crypto and the proven capability of being able to handle a large number of transactions simultaneously, thanks to the Quasar upgrade, Mark Zuckerberg can stop beating his head against the wall and offer a cryptocurrency that meets his Libra goals — a worldwide payment solution that is available to everyone, even those who have no access to banks.

The U.S. government is trying to prevent large tech companies from entering the financial space. A bill has been drafted by the House of Representatives that is aptly called the “Keep Big Tech Out Of Finance Act” bill. It states, in part, “A large platform utility may not establish, maintain, or operate a digital asset that is intended to be widely used as medium of exchange, unit of account, store of value, or any other similar function, as defined by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.” This would preclude the participation in a financial system by companies like Google, Facebook and virtually any large tech entity.

The Tokenized Protocol on BSV is a great way for businesses to tokenize assets and offer those assets to customers. This would be a solution that could be easily integrated and easily implemented by Facebook, saving the company from the hassles it currently faces through global regulatory scrutiny. According to Tokenized founder and CEO James Belding, “That simple truth is that organizations must comply with the laws and regulations of the jurisdiction they reside in. Building the technology around a sensible assessment of these solution requirements allows for a token system that is much more expressive, performant, secure and lower cost than competing solutions.”

BSV understands something that other major crypto projects don’t. Bitcoin wasn’t created to be above the law, nor is it meant to allow users to circumvent the law. On the contrary, it was designed to work within regulated financial frameworks while giving consumers easier access to currency solutions. This is what Libra has professed itself to be and, given that BSV is already a regulation-friendly digital currency, it is fitting that Facebook turn to the real Bitcoin in order to fulfill its goals.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as SegWitCoin BTC coins. Altcoins, which value privacy, anonymity, and distance from government intervention, are referenced as dark coins. Bitcoin Satoshi Vision (BSV) is today the only Bitcoin project that follows the original Satoshi Nakamoto whitepaper, and that follows the original Satoshi protocol and design. BSV is the only public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin and will massively scale to become the world’s new money and enterprise blockchain.

Article Produced By
Erik Gibbs

https://coingeek.com/facebook-should-forget-libra-launch-stablecoin-on-bitcoin-sv/

Heiko Closhen, Entrepreneur

8 Content Marketing Tips to Help Your Business on Social Media.

Content Marketing:
Content marketing is on every business’s mind these days. As a business or brand we need to keep in mind what the community, or followers, or future buyers are looking for and their reactions to your content. Coming up with content is another post for another time. Here I want to discuss the Marketing and Strategy of your content.

Marketing your content is more than just posting, it is how your content is percieved. It is the little things that count that are not seen on the page, but have meaning.

So here are the basics:
Use your content to gently guide your followers through the buying cycle. Don’t treat it like a speed boat, full throttle from the beginning.

Use Social Media Ads to AMPLIFY the reach of your content. $5, $10, or even $20 can go along way.

The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing. You can not force people to see the value in your content, services or products. If you are trying to force them, it will turn them off right away.

Use simple headlines. Titles that get to the point will bring higher quality people of interest to your content.

Re-Purpose old content in a new way. Take an old blog and turn it into a video or live stream, take an old video and turn it into a blog, edit a blog into 1 minute clips to put out on various networks. Be creative, there are many things to do.

Use a checklist for your content. List all the channels you want to use it for. Use a Social Media Calendar (get yours here) so you can manage your week with the content.

Look at your analytics of your old content. This gives you an idea of the most popular topics and types of content that are working. This will help with future content so you know what is working.

Always give them a way to contact you at the end. Whether it is Phone, Email, Social Media site, or Website.

I recently did a Facebook Live on this and included it here also.

http://https://www.facebook.com/rcstern/videos/10154604759773900/

I hope this was helpful for you and if you have any thoughts or questions please don’t hesitate to write in the comments below or reach out to me.

Robert C. Stern is the CEO and Founder of The Social Leader. Helping companies and individuals harness the power of Social Media for Business. Please Like us on our Facebook Page or follow us on Twitter.

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Facebook Pushes Outside Law Firms to Become More Diverse

A Facebook event in Berlin. The company is requiring that women and ethnic minorities account for at least 33 percent of law firm teams working on its matters. Credit Tobias Schwarz/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Like other Silicon Valley giants, Facebook has faced criticism over whether its work force and board are too white and too male. Last year, the social media behemoth started a new push on diversity in hiring and retention.

Now, it is extending its efforts into another corner: the outside lawyers who represent the company in legal matters.

Facebook is requiring that women and ethnic minorities account for at least 33 percent of law firm teams working on its matters.

Numbers alone, however, are not enough, under a policy that went in effect on Saturday. Law firms must also show that they “actively identify and create clear and measurable leadership opportunities for women and minorities” when they represent the company in litigation and other legal matters.

Those opportunities “include serving as relationship managers and representing Facebook in the courtroom,” Facebook’s general counsel, Colin Stretch, said in an interview. The legal department, he said, has for the last few years been working on increasing diversity at all levels.

“Firms typically do what their clients want,” he said. “And we want to see them win our cases and create opportunities for women and people of color. We think the firms are ready — our articulation gives not just permission but a mandate.”

For Facebook, the move on outside lawyers is happening even as the company’s efforts at improving diversity in its own work force have so far shown little progress.

According to statistics released last year, blacks and Hispanics last July accounted for only 3 percent each of senior leadership, and women made up an additional 27 percent. Hiring for the 12 months beginning with July 2015 showed something of an improvement: Of those newly recruited to senior leadership posts, 9 percent were black, 5 percent were Hispanic and 29 percent were women.

To improve those numbers, Facebook announced last year that it would focus on recruiting and retention. The company is also establishing programs to help underrepresented college students, as well as younger students in public schools nationwide, develop interests in coding and engineering. In addition, Facebook is reaching out to families who want to learn more about programming.

And when it comes to improving diversity among its outside lawyers, Facebook is part of a growing trend.

A number of general counsels across corporate America are pressing their outside firms to make their teams more diverse — in terms of ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and even disability — at all levels of seniority, not just among junior associates.

MetLife says it is announcing a new policy this month; HP in February adopted a more stringent program. The moves are an acknowledgment that the numbers of women and minorities at law firms have barely budged over the past 20 years.

“Law is the least diverse white-collar profession,” said Jean Lee, the chief executive of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, an organization that focuses on the hiring, retention and promotion of diverse lawyers. “A lot of companies made a concerted effort to increase diversity internally, and now they are demanding diversity at the firms they use.”

“One of the challenges in the legal profession is that, despite all of the focus, the lack of diversity is a stubborn and persistent problem,” said Kim Rivera, HP’s general counsel. “We think we can help if we can be clear and unambiguous and hold firms financially accountable.”

HP now requires its outside law firms to have at least one diverse so-called relationship partner or at least one “woman and one racially/ethnically diverse attorney each performing at least 10 percent of the billable hours worked on HP matters.” (A woman who is also a minority will cover the requirements as long as she bills the requisite 10 percent.)
SEE SAMPLE PRIVACY POLICY
Failure to comply, under the policy, would result in a 10 percent “diversity holdback” of fees, but with a one-year grace period.

Ms. Rivera said the reaction to the new policy had been positive. “I’ve gotten dozens of calls and meeting requests largely asking how to partner with us to have the program succeed,” she said.

Zakiyyah Salim-Williams, the chief diversity officer for Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, which counts both HP and Facebook among its clients, said she was not fazed by the new requirements.

“We have a large number of diverse lawyers and we always try to staff our teams to reflect that,” she said.

Mr. Stretch of Facebook says its legal department will work with outside law firms in their efforts, tracking results, not surprisingly, through a variety of metrics.

It’s not just tech companies that are pushing their outside counsel. MetLife’s general counsel, Ricardo Anzaldua, will meet this month with representatives of some of the 50 firms the company retains to review an initiative to spur retention and sponsorship of women and diverse lawyers.

Under the program, the firms “must make sure that the junior diverse talent has sponsorship among the senior lawyers and that they get the best coaching and nurturing they can provide.” MetLife will evaluate the results in 2018; underperforming firms will have six months to improve or be dropped.

Mr. Anzaldua’s mandate echoes his own in-house initiatives. “A few years ago we began to identify and coach those with high potential to become the future leadership pipeline,” he said. “While the initiative doesn’t exclude white men, the proportion of women and people of color in that pipeline is more than 60 percent, reflecting the fact that we have an influx of talented women and people of color in the lower ranks.”
Some companies take a more fluid approach. While Verizon Communications has no numerical target, its general counsel, Craig Silliman, said, “diversity of the team is one of the specific criteria we use when we bid out a matter,” in addition to strategic approach, cost and other factors.

Morgan Stanley’s chief legal officer, Eric Grossman, in addition to encouraging diverse teams, also annually names one of its outside law firms as the recipient of a leadership award in diversity and inclusion. Firms vie for the award, which depend on a variety of factors.

“We put a lot of weight not just on the diverse and female attorneys who work on Morgan Stanley matters, but also on how many diverse lawyers they have in the firm and the depth of their sponsorship programs they have to promote overall diversity. We recognize that it just doesn’t happen on its own,” he said.

The possibility of a fee reduction or being dropped from the roster of approved firms could be an effective tool to make it happen.

“Companies are now using a carrot and stick approach because the carrot approach alone didn’t work,” said Ms. Lee of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association.

A version of this article appears in print on April 3, 2017, on Page B2 of the New York edition with the headline: Facebook Pushes Outside Law Firms on Diversity. Order Reprints| Today's Paper|Subscribe

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Oculus Founder, at Center of Legal Battle Over VR, Departs Facebook

Palmer Luckey, a founder of the Facebook-owned virtual-reality company Oculus, speaking with a reporter at a San Francisco conference in 2014. Credit Jason Henry for The New York Times

SAN FRANCISCO — Palmer Luckey, a founder of the virtual-reality technology company Oculus, has left Facebook three years after the social network acquired his company for close to $3 billion.

Mr. Luckey’s departure was announced two months after a trial in federal court over allegations that he and several colleagues had stolen trade secrets from a video-game publisher, ZeniMax Media, to create the Oculus technology. A jury found Facebook liable for $500 million in damages, in part for Mr. Luckey’s violation of a confidentiality agreement.

“Palmer will be dearly missed,” Tera Randall, an Oculus spokeswoman, said in a statement. “His inventive spirit helped kick-start the modern VR revolution and helped build an industry.”

Ms. Randall declined to disclose the terms of Mr. Luckey’s departure.

The move adds another twist to Facebook’s bumpy foray into virtual-reality technology. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, has bet big on virtual reality as part of the social network’s future, saying he envisioned social interactions between people will someday exist inside virtual worlds. Oculus, he has said, could be a catalyst for that.

But from the start, Oculus has run into problems. Adoption of the Oculus technology and headsets has been slower than Facebook had anticipated. The selection of content made for VR headsets is still small, though growing.

“These things end up being more complex than you think upfront,” Mr. Zuckerberg said in January while appearing in court for the ZeniMax trial. “If anything, we may have to invest even more money to get to the goals we had than we had thought upfront.”

Mr. Zuckerberg has committed to spending more than $3 billion over the next decade to get virtual reality off the ground and into the mainstream.

Mr. Luckey has had other stumbles. In 2016, it became public that he had donated $10,000 to Nimble America, a pro-Trump political organization that promoted far-right memes and slogans on social media sites like Reddit, Twitter and Facebook. He has since apologized for the impact his actions had on Oculus and its partners.

Mr. Luckey did not immediately respond to a Facebook message requesting comment.

In January, Facebook appointed a new leader, Hugo Barra, to head up the company’s virtual-reality efforts, including Oculus.

Follow Mike Isaac on Twitter @MikeIsaac.

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Apple Just Put Another Nail In Snapchat’s Proverbial Coffin

Apple announced it will launch Clips in April, a video-making app that allows users to capture photos and videos, combine multiple videos and include a variety of features like Filters, Overlays, Posters and Live Titles.

We can draw many similarities between Clips and the already existing features of Snapchat, Instagram and Messenger. However, the key difference is that Clips is not attempting to build a stand-alone network. Instead, it acts as a production tool and encourages sharing across all existing platforms, including Facebook, Instagram and even Snapchat. Although the main emphasis is to encourage sharing via iMessage, the option of social network freedom is nevertheless there.

Until now, the mass-market video messaging features have been largely tied to the boundaries of their parent platforms. Users post Snaps on Snapchat, Stories on Instagram and Days on Messenger. To take part in advanced video messaging, users had to use at least one of these social networks, often multiple ones, as different social circles use different platforms. Users often tend to post content only on the one channel they find most relevant. With Clips, users can now make one Clip and share with their peers on Snapchat, their mother on Instagram and their grandfather on Facebook in one seamless session – or use iMessage to share it with their phone contacts. Apple encourages users to engage with the latter by deploying its face recognition technology that automatically suggests to share the clips with the people featured in the video.

Why Is Apple Doing This?

Apple rightly recognized that advanced video messaging features have grown so popular,that they have become a major product differentiator in the war of social networks. Apple has always been all about making consumers’ lives easier with user-friendly products. If mobile users have now evolved to expect a great photo/video messaging production experience as a standard, it is in Apple’s utmost interest to deliver it better than any non-Apple product can. Because of this, it is highly unlikely that we are going to see an Android version anytime soon (unless the uptake on iOS exceeds all expectations and a scalable opportunity emerges to drive potential new Apple users into the pipeline).

Apple is joining the trend of making video messaging features a part of its own product differentiation, but it does it in a completely different, competitive landscape. While most companies use video messaging features to differentiate their social media platforms, no other smartphone manufacturers do so at scale.

Implications

Besides creating a new product differentiator for iOS that will help drive further brand loyalty, Clips may disrupt both Snap Inc. and Facebook Inc.. If consumers start using Clips to produce photo and video messages at scale, all social networks risk a decrease in their average session lengths as a result. Even worse however, is their risk of loosing a portion of the high-value Apple users, who may simply choose to start sharing via the iMessage app. This in turn could threaten the value for advertisers and subsequently drive ad-inventory prices down.

This is much more of an existential threat for Snapchat than Facebook, because the former is amidst figuring out its business model and it does not have a solid foothold globally. After losing its product differentiation in the social messaging space, it will now face additional competitive pressures from the most valuable company in the world.
Karol Severin Karol Severin
Analyst • MIDiA Research

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Oculus could cost Facebook up to $11 billion, but it might be worth it

In 2014, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spent $2 billion to purchase the virtual reality startup Oculus and its Rift headset. The deal was huge, not just from a price standpoint, but because it was proof of momentum behind the nascent VR industry.

Nearly three years later, though, it looks like that $2 billion was just a down payment for the VR company, as Facebook will likely have to shell out billions more until the social network can get the Oculus’ technology to a point where Zuckerberg and co. are satisfied.

The Facebook founder said as much while on the witness stand for a lawsuit that accuses Oculus of stealing some of its VR technology from video game company ZeniMax Media, according to The New York Times.

From $2 billion to $11 billion

That initial $2 billion payment for Oculus wasn’t even the entire amount Facebook paid for the company. The social networking giant also paid $700 million to keep certain Oculus employees and promised an additional $300 million if the company met specific milestones, according to the report.

On top of that, Zuckerberg said Facebook might have to dump an additional $3 billion into Oculus to shore up its technology.

Why commit to spending nearly $7 billion — plus an extra $2 billion if Oculus loses its lawsuit — on a technology that has yet to blow up in the consumer market? Well, because Zuckerberg is looking beyond VR in the traditional sense. See, where the Rift, HTC’s Vive and Sony’s PlayStation VR are primarily designed as gaming systems, the Facebook founder has his sights on making virtual reality a more social experience.

During the Oculus Connect 3 conference in October, Zuckerberg took the stage to show off a kind of virtual/augmented reality system the company was working on. In the demo Zuckerberg showed how he, through a digital avatar, could interact with friends and family in real time in a digital space as if they were all in the same room.

Price is still a barrier

It’s an interesting gambit, but it’s still far from complete. What’s more, the cost of VR systems like the Rift is still prohibitively high for many consumers. The company is working to bring prices down, though.

For instance, when Oculus launched the Rift in 2016, you needed to purchase a $1,000 to $1,500 PC to run the headset, plus another $600 for the device itself. Since then, the company has worked to ensure the Rift can run on systems that cost as little as $500. Still, at $1,100 for the whole setup, the Rift isn’t exactly cheap.

HTC’s Vive costs $800 and still requires a powerful PC, while Sony’s PSVR costs $400 and only works with that company’s PlayStation 4 console. Sure, gaming enthusiasts might not have a problem spending that kind of cash on a top-notch gaming experience, but none of these headsets is quite there yet. There’s no “killer app” for high-end VR systems.

The most successful headsets, so far at least, have been Samsung’s Gear VR, which costs $100 plus the price of a compatible Samsung smartphone, and Google’s Cardboard, which costs $15 in addition to the cost of a smartphone.

Zuckerberg’s big bet

Zuckerberg is obviously keenly aware of the importance of mobile platforms — the majority of Facebook’s traffic comes from mobile users and that will only continue to grow. Which is why Facebook split Oculus into two divisions, one primarily focused on PC-style VR and the other focused on mobile VR.

The hope is that Facebook and Oculus will be able to create a system impressive enough for all consumers to want to use. How long will it take for the company to get there? If Zuckerberg’s prediction on the stand holds up, it could take anywhere from 5 to 10 years.

Still, Oculus will be in an enviable position if Zuckerberg’s prognostications prove correct. That’s because the Facebook CEO sees gaming as just the tip of the VR iceberg. In its ultimate form, Zuckerberg sees virtual reality as a means to share experiences with others in real time and feel as though you’re actually there.

In a July interview with Bloomberg, Zuckerberg explained how virtual reality is the natural progression from sharing experiences via video, just as video was the natural progression of sharing experiences via photos. VR, then, will almost literally allow us to stand in another person’s shoes as they explore the world.

And with Facebook’s enormous audience — it has roughly 1.8 billion monthly active users, already sharing everything from selfies to wedding videos — the social network is just about the only company that can help push VR forward as a means to connect the masses. If that all works out, and Facebook becomes the VR company just as it is the social network, the billions Zuckerberg spent on Oculus will surely have been worth it.

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Skype now lets you make calls without an account

by ABHIMANYU GHOSHAL — 14 hours ago in MICROSOFT

 

Microsoft has updated Skype with a much-needed feature: A Web-based guest interface that lets you make and receive calls without the need to download the desktop app or register for an account.

To make a call, all you need to do is point your browser to skype.com and enter a handle. You’ll receive a link that you can share with anyone, and you can then start a voice or video call, group chat, and share files.

Naturally, your contact will be able to interact with you the same way when they visit the link you’ve shared, in an interface that will be familiar to anyone who’s used Skype in the past. Conversations last for 24 hours, after which they’re wiped clean.

skype-call
While that’s good to see on Skype, it’s clear that Microsoft is awfully late to the game. Barring email, most messaging apps that you might consider using to share this Skype call link already support voice and video calls.

If that still sounds useful to you, you can try the new feature by visiting skype.com.

Now anyone can use Skype right away on Skype Blog       http://tnw.to/2fbiLgl

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