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DIGITAL MEDIA FROM THE INSIDE OUT: My focus is digital content -- production, distribution, collaboration, innovation, creativity. Some posts have appeared across the web (HuffPo, Tribeca's Future of Film, The Wrap, MIPblog, etc.). To receive these posts regularly via email, sign up for my newsletter here.

Entries in Google (3)

Saturday
Jan042014

#googleglassmovie

A month ago I blogged about initial reactions to my new Google Glass wearable computing device, mostly the back story about why I decided to dive into this new world and my initial experiences. 

Well, I've been wearing Glass for about a month now, capturing still images and videos and entertaining my friends. Brilliant of Google to get people like me to pay them for the privilege of evangelizing their product, but hey, it's been fun being the first kid on the block with a new toy. 

My experience with the device was limited to image and video capture, primarily because connectivity is so difficult, especially as I use an iPhone not an Android device. Other problems remain, and I'm sure others will solve them. I'll also leave until another time my comments on the social dimension of this new class of wearable devices, except to say that my encounters wearing Glass produced more curiosity and astonishment than fear or snearing. Subterfuge is not that easy with a glowing cube attached to your forehead.

So herein I offer my first month with the Google Glass camera, a frenetic period with lots of travel, conferences, meetings, and of course the year-end holidays. I reduced my month into five minutes, along the way remembering how to user iMovie and why media editors have a right to be crazy. 

The image quality is, to my eye, pretty damned good for an amateur like me. What's great is the sponteneity of image capture -- especially after Google introduced its "blink" function that allows you to take a still image by blinking, without needing to power up the device. You don't have to find the camera in your pocket, open the app, aim and frame. You just blink. Like one of my friends said, "it's creepy." 

The hands-free essence of the wearable camera turns your body into a steadycam or a dolly, like the shot of my hand holding catfood while following the cat, and the 360-degree pivots that are so fun when you wear the camera. It's a more fragile version of the GoPro, a product I've never used beyond trade show demos. 

The worst thing about Glass' camera is the lack of an actual viewfinder. I couldn't frame shots as easily as I do with my cameraphone. As a result, you'll notice that many of my shots slice off the tops of heads because the camera is positioned slightly above the normal field of vision. 

Now that I'm used to wearing the damned things, I'm going to try to shoot interviews at CES and see if I can create a movie with more content. 

Wednesday
Oct022013

The Coming of Wearable Computing Content

It's disconcerting now, going to some tech-centric event where a handful of folks are sporting Google Glass (and fending off the curious), but in a few years, we'll get used to (and wear) a slew of new computing devices coming onto the market -- not only eyewear, but watches and who knows what else. 

What will the killer app be for tech-powered eyewear? To date, most attention has been paid to video, in part because the market is just emerging and developers haven't applied their ingenuity and genius to the new form factor. (There are lots of accounts from those among the select Glass users, my favorite being from novelist Gary Shteyngart in The New Yorker.)

But here's a safe bet: games will be very, very popular, just as they are on mobile devices, laptops, desktops.. hell, people just love games.

Google Glass is in the early stages of defining the user experience and engagement structure of the platform, which includes head movement, voice commands, and earpiece touching. Oh, and lest we forget, the experience is inside the real world, so it's 3-D. 

So what happens in a game when you add all of those variables, especially when most game developers, even on today's sensor-rich iOS and Android devices, do not take advantage of many of the functions that they could use to create unique gaming experiences?

We are about to find out with the announcement of a new games production lab focused on next-generation wearable tech devices like Google Glass. 

Toronto-based Canadian Film Centre (CFC) and Menlo Park CA-based Mind Pirate have teamed up to create the ideaBOOST/Mind Pirate Production Lab. The Lab will recruit North American developers of games and other interactive content during a three-month boot camp, the results of which may be published and brought to market as early as Q1 2014.

Mind Pirate is a start-up focused on multi-platform game development and has created a next-generation game platform, Callisto, to create products for mobile wearable devices, like Google Glass.  Callisto does not release publicly to third parties until 2014, making ideaBOOST/Mind Pirate Production Lab program participants among the first in the world to get their hands on this next-generation technology.

Mind Pirate is headed up by my old pal Shawn Hardin, a serial entrepreneur whom we recruited to serve on the Advisory Board of the CFC's new digital media business accelerator called ideaBOOST. Synergy ensued as he and his team connected and brainstormed with Ana Serrano, CFC Chief Digital Officer and the visionary behind ideaBOOST. You can read their quotes in the press release here.

Mind Pirate and its investors are betting on their platform called Callisto which they believe will be a game-changer as the market's first and only tightly integrated client-side and server side game-focused platform that supports leading mobile devices with a special emphasis on so-called 'wearables'. It enables developers to create content and experiences that merge the virtual and physical worlds by taking advantage of the native capabilities of the underlying hardware while creating a consistent experience across different devices, including iOS and Android.

Interested parties can start submitting applications on October 2, 2013 by visiting ideaboost.ca/mindpirate. The application deadline is October 22, 2013 at 11:59 p.m. PST. The program will begin November 20, 2013 at the CFC headquarters in Toronto.

Disclosure: I am a senior advisor to the CFC and ideaBOOST.

Friday
Jan202012

This is the Week that Was, in both tech and content. Wow!

This was a very busy week for news in both the blogosphere and the content world, so this post will probably be newsier than most. Dig in, and I promise, there'll be some long reads popped in as well.

But first: on Monday I gave a lecture on the emerging market for transmedia this week which I call "Transmedia Sorting Hat." Check out the presentation slides and notes if you missed that post. I incorporated some wonderful new discoveries and content, including an info graphic from Steve Peters and a look at the work of Jan Libby.  Related links: Musician and protogeek Thomas Dolby is interviewed by Steve Peters (audio) about his big project, The Map of the Floating City, on ARGNetcast. Transmedia and ARG producer Jan Libby is interviewed (in text) by a Berlin site.

SOPA, ETC.

Certainly the biggest news from the digisphere this week was the astonishing collapse of the effort to pass restrictive bills targeting internet piracy. Both the House and Senate versions were dead by Friday, victim of an amazing run of events this week, starting with a cautionary announcement from the Obama White House (which may cost him campaign contributions from some studios and other Hollywood types) and capped by a day-long protest online, as many sites went dark or urged their audience to call or email their legislators. The MPAA, which dominated the coalition that pushed the bills, has cried Uncle, with its President and former Senator Chris Dodd admitting as much

Related, of course, was the Justice Department shutdown of  file-sharing site MegaUpload, and, in retaliation, some of the most widespread hacker attacks, with responsibility claimed by Anonymous.

And perhaps coincidentally, the Supreme Court decided to rule this week that Congress should be able to "re-copyright" public domain works. Wow. 

CONTENT & DISTRIBUTION

Analyst Will Richmond posits that we're entering a virtuous circle for "online-only original" production (what GigaOm this week calls the "golden age of content"), taking on Marc Cuban who is the biggest cheerleader for conventional broadcasting one can find. Cuban himself was in the news with the announcement of AXS, a reformulation of his HDNet channel with heavyweight partners AEG, CAA and Ryan Seacrest. Andy Wallenstein at Variety focuses on the channel's innovative business model. Cuban's partner AEG is front and center in a well-researched New Yorker profile called "The Man Who Owns L.A.," namely AEG's Tim Leiweke (and his boss, Phil Anschutz).

Sundance 2012 launched this week with a flood of reviews, gossip and all the rest. I found the opening remarksfrom Redford and his Sundance colleagues on alternative forms of distribution pretty interesting

YouTube announced its own short film festival this week, as well, called "Your Film Festival"  in conjunction with Ridley Scott, the Venice Film Festival and Emirates airline. Big prize is half a million bucks for production.

Speaking of new forms of distribution, Marc Schiller and Mike Lee of Bond Strategy posted a smart piece on Tribeca's site about film marketing and the social graph. 

Speaking of YouTube, the New Yorker's John Seabrook baked a nice slice about the pending shift of the video site towards professional channelization. Nothing really new, but it's mainstreaming the obvious. 

Nature, the UK-based science journal, ran an interesting story about how scientists are now beginning to use crowd-sourcing sites like Kickstarter to fund their research. Fascinating. 

Also, the LATimes' "Hero Complex" blog digs into the "making of" the new STAR WARS: OLD REPUBLIC video game, calling it 'a galactic gamble.'

EDUCATION AND PUBLISHING

Apple made a big announcement this week focusing upon the educational and e-textbook markets, with predictable mega-coverage. Some analysts decried the move as greedy and evil. Or Apple at its Absolute Worst, shouts Business Insider. Other coverage compared Apple's strategy to Amazon's failed bid to capture the textbook market three years ago. The Atlantic offers a longer read, namely a brief history of textbooks, calling Apple's announcement "actually revolutionary." Harvard's Nieman Journalism Lab offered four lessons for news organizations, though I found them useful and I'm neither. 

Twitter bought news delivery platform Summify this week, evidently with the goal of ingesting the Vancouver-based team that built it, as TechCrunch reports, noting that some of its features are being disabled.  Web designer Mike Davidson offers insight into why: as does WIRED. I'm a daily Summify user, and I find its daily email summaries quite useful as a filtering device, along with Zite and Pulse on my iPad. I hope Twitter doesn't screw it up.

COMPANIES 

  • Kodak files for bankruptcy. 
  • Jerry Yang resigns from Yahoo.
  • Google misses its numbers Lots of controversy over a move by Google to emphasize its own social network (Plus) in search results. Here's an especially pointed post by John Battelle, suggesting that Google may succeed in forcing brands (and people) to use its social network in order to show up in search results.