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Big Revolution - Your home's third screen

Welcome to Tuesday's Big Revolution. After a quiet Monday edition, we've got lots to discuss today. –
October 9 · Issue #226 · View online
Big Revolution
Welcome to Tuesday’s Big Revolution. After a quiet Monday edition, we’ve got lots to discuss today.

Big things you need to know today
  • Google+ will shut down as a consumer product after Google found a long-running bug that may have exposed users’ private data to third parties. There’s no evidence of misuse, but – controversially – Google chose not to disclose the bug to avoid a public backlash in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Google+ will become an enterprise product, and Google is introducing new features to protect users’ data.
  • Facebook wants to put a video camera in your home. It’s launched its long-anticipated video calling device, the Portal, in two sizes – the larger of which looks ridiculously huge. As video calling devices go, it’s got some good features, and it offers Alexa and some basic media streaming, but will anyone trust Facebook enough to buy it? More on the Portal and its competition below.
The big thought
The Facebook Portal+ looks... big.
Your home’s third screen
A few years ago there was much talk about ‘second screens’ – the idea that you’d use your phone to augment what you were watching on TV. 'Second screening’ never turned out quite like the predictions imagined, but now the battle is on for the third screen.
It started with the Amazon Echo Show, a quirky little experiment with putting a screen and camera on a device that was very recently a quirky little experiment itself, the Echo. While many reviews noted that having a device with an internet-connected camera on it in your kitchen or bedroom was probably a bad idea, the Echo Show was clearly enough of a success for Amazon to launch a new version this year.
Meanwhile, Google has been promoting the idea of Assistant in a screen, through devices like the Lenovo Smart Display and the Google Home Hub (expected to be officially announced at the company’s event later today).
And now Facebook’s Portal has entered the fray. Unlike the others, its smart assistant features take a backseat to slick video calling functionality.
Essentially, these screens all do many of the same things, with different strengths and weaknesses. But even if I set aside the privacy worries they present, I’m still not sold. I spend enough time looking at screens, between my phone, my laptop and my tablet. Oh, and the TV. And the smart energy meter in my kitchen.
The appeal of a smart speaker is taking that bright, intrusive screen out of the equation. It’s a convenient device to use as you get on with other things.
No matter how well smart display devices sell this holiday season, I do wonder whether our eyes would appreciate a break from ever more screens demanding our attention.
One big read
The Machines That Will Fight the Social Media Wars of Tomorrow The Machines That Will Fight the Social Media Wars of Tomorrow
Although we’ve covered a lot of the techniques in this article in this newsletter before, this is a good look at how neural networks will become a serious challenge for social media companies – and their users – to deal with in the coming years.
One big tweet
Click through below for the video that accompanies this tweet. Google is playing up to all the leaks we’ve seen over the past few weeks, ahead of its hardware event today at 4pm BST / 5pm CEST / 11am EDT / 8am PDT / 8.30pm IST.
Made by Google
So you think you know… Tune in tomorrow to see for yourself. #madebygoogle
5:26 PM - 8 Oct 2018
That’s all for today...
See you tomorrow. In the meantime, don’t forget:
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