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A Peek into the next live video social networking platform

(TECH NEWS) Peek is the newest live-feed video social networking platform to hit the market, will it make a boom or bust like other predecessors?

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Social networking is here to stay. There seems to be a constant competition between Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for the top spot in the socializing game. However, these are not the only social networking sites.

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In fact, many of the smaller platforms are gaining in popularity due to the lack of ads, more minimalistic design, and user preference for something new and different. One of the newest kids on the social networking block, is Peek.

What is Peek?

Peek is a little bit like Periscope. It’s a new iOS app that live-streaming with friends and family. Peek allows you to go live from where you are, and “stalk places.”

It’s like a hyperlocal version of Periscope, but a bit more private. You can only go live from exactly where you are. Unlike Instagram, you cannot tag yourself at a specific location to increase your visibility and reach.

You have no followers, no friend requests, and no “likes.”

All people will see is the content of your live stream, with the location underneath. It’s a stripped-down, bare-bones, minimalistic, version of Periscope and people are raving about the simplicity and the content.

Content without pressure for likes, followers, and fans.

Peek gives you the ability to “peek” at different locations, places, cultures, and venues, from your home.

What’s the catch?

There really isn’t a catch. Peek is completely free but it does come with a few “rules.” Peek reserves the right to block “racists, homophobics, xenophobics, sexists, and ‘extremist’ views,” but they are cool with nudity.

You may get flagged for it by other users, but they don’t strictly prohibit nudity.

After downloading the app, you will be asked to login with your Facebook credentials and turn on location settings (so the app knows you are where you say you are, geographically). Once you’re logged in with Facebook, you’ll be able to see everyone who has “gone live” recently and you’ll have the ability to “go live” as well.

If you click on your profile, at the top right of the screen, you’ll be able to see how many people have “stalked” you (watched your video).

This is helpful for checking out places like airports, concert venues, and other popular locations like restaurants you may not be familiar with, before you check them out for yourself.

This also gives techies and business people the ability to check out venues, get virtual walk-throughs on setups (depending on the content of other Peek users) and live stream content from conference centers and meetings for themselves.

Peek gives you the ability to see a variety of live-streaming locations and people, without the pressure of collecting followers.

Also, Peek allows you to delete a video you’ve posted in case you change your mind about your video (although if anyone was watching the live-feed they will have seen every minute of your content, so please keep that in mind).

A comparison of Peek’s predecessors

As buzzworthy as Peek is right now, will it last, or will it go the way of Peach, Ello, and Blab? Maybe Peek will have staying power given their no rules, no-cost platform.

Peach was founded by Dom Hofmann, one of the co-founders of Vine (which was later acquired by Twitter), so it was no novice to the social media game, and yet it couldn’t manage to make a big splash.

The same can be said of Ello.

Ello was intended to be an ad-free version, reminiscent of Facebook, but it still wasn’t able to garner enough followers to make it a “big name” in social networking. Blab, on the other hand, had a very Periscope-y like feel to it.

But again couldn’t make the leap into the “big time.”

Peek certainly has gained a great deal of excitement and attention from the tech community, and has the possibility to become a fan-favorite platform. What do you think, will Peek be the next big thing, or will it fizzle out like the previous live video social networking platforms?

#Peek

Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.

Tech News

Tinder creators launch Ripple, a professional networking app void of pros

(TECH NEWS) Ex-Tinder employees have come together, backed by Match.com, to create a swipe-based professional network, but we don’t plan on giving it a second date.

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In 2015, we discussed briefly the possibilities of taking the dating app’s and repurposing them for professional networking. What if finding professional connections was as easy as finding a date on Tinder? Tinder (executives) literally heard us because they have introduced a solution in their new mobile app called Ripple.

Not to be confused with Ripple the cryptocurrency, Ripple the app is a professional networking tool that literally feels like Tinder.

As it should, the former CTO, Director of Engineering, and Lead Designer of Tinder all make up the founders, along with Mike Presz from Match.com. People who make good dating platforms came together for a professional networking solution that they hope makes networking easier, more natural, and more modern. I took the liberty of signing up for a few days and experimented with the app and I have a few things to say about it…

The good?

Design. Design. Design. The app has a luxuriously simple UI, and is fabulously easy to use. If you even tried Tinder for six minutes, you’ll be able to use this app. The use of symbols, big images, and easy UI is great. The application navigates simply.

It’s fantastic. It’s minimal, it’s content oriented, the interest categories are so good (but they could be better – no interest in process improvements? Go learn about Six Sigma) LinkedIn should look it. The profile set up takes no time at all, about five minutes and you’re ready to go.

But that’s about it.

Everything that’s not good? Everything else.

This is probably because the app is new, but there is nothing going on for the US market. I saw a lot of European professionals and professional groups, but zero people in my area, a major US metropolitan area also called Dallas-Fort Worth. The lack of content and the lack of professionals means the app has nothing.

I can’t rate group experience or say I met the mentor of my professional dreams because no one is on it. Which leads me to ask: What’s next?

The branding, marketing, and advertising for this app are going to have to take off. This is a beautiful product, but the lack of content makes it a pretty dull use. I had to actively remind myself to use it, and I’m in a serial relationship with LinkedIn.

Basically, no second date for me with Ripple until they get… something to happen.

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The cutest part of CES was Sony’s AI robot doggo, Aibo

(TECH NEWS) The Consumer Electronics Show revealed the technologies that are dominating and will dominate the market, with Sony’s AI puppers stealing the show.

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One of the most endearing items to emerge from CES this year was Sony’s revamped robot dog, Aibo.

Aibo’s first unveiling in 1999 featured a blend of emergent Sony technology, such as their Memory Stick and companion operating system. By the time of its demise in 2006, the Aibo was equipped with a large vocabulary (it could speak 1,000 words) and could interact with an owner’s commands and motion. The computerized canine wasn’t limited to just the realm of their traditional counterparts, however – the 2006 model of the Aibo could take pictures from the eye-embedded camera system, play music, and write blogs.

Equipped with more personality and a better interactive capability with its environment, the 2018 Aibo looks more like a real dog as well.

Composed of 4,000 parts and OLED-screen eyes to more authentically mimic movements, Sony says it relies on sensor systems and embedded cameras akin to those in self-driving cars to provide as close to an authentic experience as they can. The cameras, located in nose and tail, allow the robot to learn its way around the house and to deliver it back to its charging station once the two-hour charge runs out.

Reviewers at CES noted that the updated version of the Aibo was very “puppy-likem” barking and scampering with unlimited energy.

The current model is also touch responsive on its head, back and under its chin, allowing the user to give “puppy love” in a way that mimics that of what real dogs like.

Perhaps proving that Aibo is capable of acting more and more like a real dog, the robot canine was unresponsive to commands from Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai on stage at its unveiling, prompting Hirai to return Aibo to Sony staff quickly.

Slated to go on sale in Japan later this year, the dog isn’t cheap, priced at nearly $1,800, but does find itself selling into a dedicated Aibo fanbase from its earlier issue and a consumer market which is hungrier and more accepting for interactive experiences of this type of poo-free pet ownership.

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Tech News

Lyft offers test rides in their autonomous cars – how’d it go?

(TECH NEWS) Lyft let passengers roll around Vegas in their self-driving cars, and surprisingly, no shocking viral videos resulted.

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If you haven’t been paying attention to the progress of self-driving cars, you’re in for a shock – they’re closer to a daily reality than you might think. As part of this year’s CES conference, Lyft offered test rides in a handful of their autonomous cars, and the results were reportedly decent.

Unlike other companies’ public tests in the past, Lyft’s demonstrations consisted of normal passengers taking normal routes in Las Vegas; there was little in the way of preemptive route control, meaning that the tests were as authentic as possible. Passengers were able to board autonomous Lyfts from the Las Vegas convention center, with some testers traveling well over three miles with minimal operator interference.

The cars themselves are designed by Aptiv, which is a technology company heretofore unaffiliated with Lyft.

While both companies are aware of the potential for flaws and the need to iron them out before production begins en masse, test riders reported that the cars were able to anticipate and respond to a myriad of traffic conditions (for example, slowing down to allow a faster vehicle to merge); this bodes well for the 2020 goal that many autonomous car companies have set.

Naturally, there were a few kinks in the cars’ respective operations, including yellow light confusion and some other finessing issues, wherein the cars’ human operators had to intervene.

The technology behind self-driving cars is only part of the equation, however. As autonomous vehicles become more commonplace, cities will have to adapt to accommodate them.

This process will most likely include things like redefining road architecture, legislation regarding car use (at the moment, autonomous cars must always have a driver in them), and implementation of smart technology.

There’s also the matter of public perception. While most of the reports from the Lyft demo in Las Vegas were positive, the fact remains that plenty of people will be skeptical of new technology – as well they should be, since any emerging technology is bound to make a few bad headlines before it evens out.

How Lyft counters this perception will be key in determining the future of its autonomous fleet, and perhaps even the future of autonomous cars as a whole.

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