There is an old saying that goes something like “You aren’t paranoid if they really are out to get you.” Many people have expressed concern about the amount of information that Facebook has and whom they might share it with. Now that Facebook has launched Atlas, it is clear that your information really is being given to corporations.
Facebook just announced that they have launched Atlas. They wrote: “We’ve rebuilt Atlas from the ground up to tackle today’s marketing challenges, like reaching real people across devices and bridging the gap between online impressions and offline purchases”.
Facebook then points people toward the Atlas blog The blog post discusses something called “people-based marketing”, which is described as “helping marketers reach real people across devices, platforms, and publishers”.
In short, Atlas is going to enable advertisers to track people across the internet from one device to the next and across platforms. A unique feature of Atlas is its ability to track not only what ads a person sees online, but also to bridge the gap between online and offline Atlas is going to connect offline purchases – that’s right, purchase not made via the internet – with the ads that a person viewed.
The purpose, of course, is to help companies to find out how well their ads are doing. It’s all about helping big companies make more money. There isn’t anything about Atlas that benefits real people. Instead, it invades the privacy of people who happen to use Facebook by letting companies track not only what ads the person saw online but also the things that person later went out into the real world to purchase.
In addition to Facebook, the Atlas blog says that Instagram is also a “publisher”. That means it is “now enabled to measure and verify ad impressions”. Atlas is looking for more companies to become partners with them right now. You can find a list of the current companies that have partnered with Atlas on their blog.
At times it feels like SXSW has become a mini-CES, with all the hot innovations popping up. Wearables combined with health and well-being are definitely where it’s at and this year Philips are hosting a Dragon’s Den-style Digital Innovation Challenge, with three companies pitching their tech for a week’s advice and guidance at Philip’s High Tech Campus in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
First up are Atlas Wearables, pitching their fitness tracker for the serious workout enthusiast. The Atlas “measures your heart rate, calculates the calories you burned and tracks your body on the x-, y- and z-axes, so it knows how many laps you swam and if you did push-ups or triangle push-ups. It’s preloaded with the most popular exercises and can learn new exercises you teach it so you can instantly see your progress, analyze your form, anticipate plateaus and find what makes you stronger, faster.” Definitely for the hardcore fitness fanatic.
Incomparable Things is very much softer – they’re building an app to bring together the myriad of data sources – “In our app, people scrapbook the stories of their adventures. We collect all the media people already create when they’re being active – from photos to location data, NikeFuel to tweets – and weave them together to tell visual, personal and complete stories that others can collect and aspire to. They are more memorable than a photo album and more inspiring than an activity data score. It is used by everyone from daily walkers to training triathletes, neighborhood arborists to polar expeditionists.” Sounds a bit like Field Trip meets Pose! I love the idea of these apps but I simply don’t have the time to curate the photos and tweets.
Finally, Push is back to circuits and training with another fitness tracker that seems very similar to the Atlas one. “Rugged and durable, PUSH straps comfortably to your arm. It communicates with your phone, transmitting movement feedback that’s too fast for the human eye to capture. The data is displayed on the PUSH App, providing you with crucial, scientifically-validated metrics about each and every rep, helping you optimize your training.” It’s kind of symptomatic of the space that there’s going to very similar devices competing for attention. Push’s USP is that it can measure strength, not simply calories burned.
If you want to see these three companies pitch, you need to get yourself round to the Next Stage in the Convention Centre at 12.30 CDT today.