Lyft Introduces Lyft Media



Lyft has introduced Lyft Media, its very own media and advertising business. “As more people resume their daily travel, we’ve built a suite of new products to allow advertisers to engage with this growing audience throughout their transportation journeys.”

Lyft says, “Our vision is to build the world’s transportation media network, delivering value to advertisers while also elevating the platform experience for riders and drivers. Over the past two years, we’ve been growing our media business and are excited to share more details about our products, new partnerships, and future plans.”

Lyft Halo: Lyft Halos are smart digital rooftop screens that capture attention with engaging videos targeted to the vehicle’s exact location and time. Brands can reach mass audiences at the specific times and places most relevant to their business, and track the performance of their campaigns through Lyft’s attribution partners. This provides a level of targeting and measurement unprecedented in out-of-home (OOH) advertising.

In 2019, Lyft acquired rooftop advertising startup Halo Cars to start their own media business. These rooftop screens are available in New York City, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., with more cities to come.

Lyft Tablets: Lyft’s in-car tablets are seamlessly integrated with the rideshare experience. Riders can track progress along their route, rate and tip drivers, and control the music of their ride through Lyft’s partnership with iHeartRadio – all directly from the tablet. Brands can serve dynamic content to a highly engaged rideshare audience for the duration of the ride.

Lyft Bikes: Lyft operates the largest bike share network in the country, including Citi Bike (New York City), Divvy (Chicago), Bay Wheels (San Francisco Bay area), and Nice Ride (Minneapolis) with over 3,000 stations, 45,000 biles, and 36 million rides annually in those markets.

As Lyft rolls out their next-generation e-bikes, they will also be upgrading their stations to include digital ad panels.

Lyft Skins: Lyft Skins allows advertisers to engage the rideshare audience with Lyft’s most powerful digital channel – the Lyft App itself. Brands can reach Lyft’s almost 20 million active riders with a customizable branded icon and banner.

Lyft partnered with Cardi B for an immersive Lyft Skins campaign that went viral – generations over 2.6 million social media impressions, 50,000 code redemptions, and 2,000 tweets. The Lyft App is the starting point for all of Lyft’s transportation modes, and they are excited to continue bringing delightful experiences to it.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Lyft will work with third-party firms to help advertisers measure campaign performance using aggregate data, but won’t collect personal data from riders, said Kenan Saleh, general manager of Lyft Media and former chief executive of Halo.

Targeting for app, tablet, and rooftop ads will be based on the time and location of trips, and riders can turn the tablet off at any time, though fewer than 1% have done so in test studies, said Mr. Saleh.

As an immune-compromised person, I really don’t want to touch a tablet that has been touched by countless Lyft riders. That’s really not safe for me, especially if someone sneezed or coughed on it. I also wish that more ride-share drivers would wear masks because it would make it much safer for immune-compromised riders to avoid getting sick. Lyft wants to delve into advertisements – but should also consider the needs of people with disabilities.


WhatsApp Users Can Delete Messages Up To 2 Days After Sending It



WhatsApp tweeted: “Rethinking your message? Now you’ll have a little over 2 days to delete your messages from your chats after you hit send.” At a glance, it looked as though some Twitter users were happy about this announcement while others were unsure what they thought about it.

9To5Mac reported that while iMessage is getting the option to “unsend” messages for the first time with iOS 16 beta, WhatsApp already provides a similar feature. However, the Meta (Facebook)-owned messaging app is now releasing an update that will let users delete messages up to two days after they were sent.

According to 9to5Mac, WhatsApp users will have 2 days and 12 hours to delete a message after sending it. Previously, this limit was only 1 hour, 8 minutes, and 16 seconds- that was specific. In order to delete a message sent in WhatsApp, all you need to do is tap and hold it for a few seconds, then tap the “Delete” button.

9to5Mac also stated that In the first beta versions of iOS 16, users had 15 minutes to unsend a message. Now with the latest betas, this limit has been reduced to only two minutes. WhatsApp and iMessage competitor Telegram lets users edit and delete messages without any limits.

The Verge provided more details. To start using the new WhatsApp feature right now, open up the WhatsApp group or individual chat where you sent the message(s). Make sure to tap and hold the content you want to get rid of, click “Delete,” and then select either “Delete for everyone” or “Delete for me.”

The Verge also reported in order to use the “Delete” options, you have to be updated to the most recent version of WhatsApp in order for this to work. And you won’t actually receive a notification if the message didn’t delete.

Overall, the best way to be comfortable on social media is to never post something that you wouldn’t want the world to see. Try and avoid saying mean things about a mutual friend who also uses WhatsApp. The thing you said could be passed around by one or more of your other WhatsApp friends.

You also shouldn’t post NSFW content, or details about whatever crime you want to commit (or have already committed) on any social media site. The first one might lead to embarrassment for yourself (and potentially others who saw it). The second one could potentially connect you to whatever crime you intended to do (or already did).

In short, be smart! Don’t post personal things on social media, especially in a public post.


Snapchat Introduces Its First Parental Controls



Snapchat introduced a new feature called Family Center. It allows parents of teenagers to have some insight about who their teens have connected with on Snapchat.

From Snapchat’s post about Family Center:

At Snap, we believe that our products should reflect real-time human behaviors, and how people act and relate to each other in their everyday lives. We’ve made it a point to build things differently from the beginning, with a focus on helping Snapchatters communicate with their close friends in an environment that prioritizes their safety, privacy, and well being…

…Creating a safe and positive experience for snap chatters is critical to this mission. While we want our platform to be safe for all members of our community, we have extra protections in place for teenagers.

For example, on Snapchat:

  • By default, teens have to be mutual friends before they can start communicating with each other.
  • Friend lists are private, and we don’t allow teens to have public profiles.
  • And we have protections in place to make it harder for strangers to find teens. For example, teens only show up as a “suggested friend” or in search results in limited instances, like if they have mutual friends in common.

To build on this, Snapchat has introduced a new in-app tool called Family Center, which will help parents get more insight into who their teens are friends with on Snapchat, and who they have been communicating with, without revealing any of the substance of those conversations.

On Family Center, parents can also easily and confidentially report any accounts that may be concerning directly to Snapchat’s Trust and Safety teams, which work around the clock to help keep Snapchatters safe. Snapchat is also equipping parents and teens with new resources to help them have constructive and open conversations about online safety.

This fall, Snapchat will add additional features to Family Center, including new content controls for parents and the ability for teens to notify their parents when they report an account or a piece of content to Snapchat. Snapchat’s goal is to help empower parents and teens in a way that still protects the teenager’s autonomy and privacy.

The New York Times reported that for parents to access the controls of their teen’s Snapchat account, they need to create their own Snapchat account and be friends with their children, who have to agree to the controls. Snap said it would introduce additional features later, including one that lets parents see whom their children recently became friends with.

According to The New York Times, teenagers on Snapchat have to be mutual friends to message each other on the app, and their profile and friend lists are private. The app requires users to be older than 13, and teenagers cannot change their birth year in the app until they are 18.

Right now, the parental controls are available in the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Other countries will be added in the fall.

To me, this seems like a step in the right direction. It gives teenagers some protections from adults who are strangers that seek out teens. It also gives teens just enough autonomy. Parents can see who their teen followed, but cannot read the conversation between their teen and the teen’s friends.


Deepfakes Pose a Growing Danger #1616



Deepfakes just lore five years ago are now on the rise and soon may increase at a greater rate as the technology behind them increases. Deepfakes in Audio are already very easily constructed and scary, considering you may have to defend yourself from things you did not say. Video is on the rise as well; not as easily done, but some deepfakes are quite convincing.

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Xbox Tests Xbox Game Pass In Ireland and Columbia



Xbox Insider announced today that in Columbia and Ireland, Xbox Insiders can begin to preview a plan that allows multiple people to share Game Pass Ultimate benefits. The post was written by Sr. Technical Program Manager, Tyler Mittleider.

According to Xbox Insider, this makes it even easier to play the best Game Pass games with friends and family across console, PC, and cloud by enabling you to add up to four people to your subscription, all with their own unique access to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate games, content, and benefits.

Those who want to participate in the preview need to purchase the “Xbox Game Pass – Insider Preview Game Pass plan in the Microsoft Store. Check out release notes here.

Things to know about this preview:

The people you share your membership do not have to be Insiders but must reside in the same country as you. Enrollment is limited and will remain open while the offer is available.

Joining the Game Pass – Insider Preview will convert the time remaining on your membership to time in the new plan, based upon the monetary value of the old membership. For example, a full month of Ultimate will be converted to18 days of membership for this plan. This way you won’t lose any of the remaining value on your existing subscription upon conversion. Conversion is final, and users must wait for their new membership to expire before returning to a remaining membership.

Conversion is not available for invited group members. Before joining a group, a group member can cancel their existing subscription or wait for it to expire. If they do not have a Microsoft account, invited friends and family will have to create a new Microsoft account and sign in with it to participate.

Members with Xbox All Access won’t be able to participate in this preview.

In Columbia, parts of the copy for the preview have not been localized and might be displayed in English.

GameSport reported that rumors of an Xbox Game Pass family plan surfaced earlier this year, and this test will determine how the service can be applied to a wider range of users.

The announcement by Xbox of its test of the Xbox Game Pass in Ireland and Columbia appears to be conformation of the rumor. Personally, I think it is a good idea for Xbox to test out a Game Pass that allows people to add others to their group (who live in the same country as the Games Pass holder does).

I also think this could be good for accessibility. As a person who has several disabilities, I tend to find that using a controller hurts less than gaming on a keyboard. Xbox requires a controller. If the test works out well, it might be incentive for gaming companies to put their games on Xbox.


OnePlus Launches an Uninspiring 10T



OnePlus LogoAs expected, OnePlus launched the brand new OnePlus 10T from Gotham Hall (cue scary music) in New York. During the pandemic, the launch events have usually been relatively short, but for the first post-pandemic in-person event, they took their time: it was nearly two hours long. If you want to watch, it’s on YouTube. Frankly, I got a bit bored: there’s only so much we-took-our-inspiration-from-nature I can take. And as I watch the presentation, part of me is beginning to think that the 10T really isn’t much of an upgrade and that if you’ve got a OnePlus 9, you might as well stick with it. Let’s take a look at what OnePlus are promoting in the specs and how that stacks up.

At the heart of the 10T is Snapdragon 8+ Gen1 that gives a 10% improvement in performance and a 30% improvement in power efficiency for both the CPU and the GPU. This is matched with up 16 GB of memory and 256 GB of storage (there’s an 8 + 128 GB version as well). The large memory means that more apps can be held in memory before they’re swapped out and with OnePlus controlling both the hardware and the software, they’ve evolved together for that fast and smooth experience. Software tools, such as the AI System Booster, analyse performance to reduce loading times.

To handle all that performance, OnePlus has developed an ultra thin vapour cooling system that keeps the temperature down. In comparison with other phones, the 10T runs 3°C cooler. For even more cooling, OnePlus have developed a gaming case called the Glacier Mat Case that uses evaporation to dissipate even more heat. In tests, the 10T was 2.3°C cooler gaming with the Glacier Mat Case.

The large 4800 mAh battery is charged by 150W SuperVOOC (in Europe) which charges the 10T by 28% in just 3 minutes. Rather than one single battery, there’s two 2400 mAh batteries. There’s very much an emphasis on safety, with 13 temperature sensors, a special charging chip and the Battery Health Engine to make sure the charging is safe and keeps the batteries healthy over time. It’s rated at 1600 charging cycles which would last over four years, assuming a full charge every day.

Looking round the front, it’s a 6.7″ 120 Hz Fluid AMOLED flat screen with a resolution of 2412 x 1080 pixels. As expected, it’s Corning Gorilla Glass. No real surprises here.

Turning to the cameras, it’s a 50 MP Sony IMX766 with OIS for the main shooter and then two unnamed sensors for the 8 MP ultrawide and the 2 MP macro lens. Round the front it’s a 16 MP unit. As had already been announced, there’s no special sauce from Hasselblad, though the IMX766 is a pretty decent sensor. There are some new features – the Nightscape mode has been improved, there’s Ultra HDR and the new Image Clarity Engine will take multiple shots when the shutter is pressed and then chose the best one. Great.

OnePlus promoted work on the internal aerials and how the 10T reconnected faster after drop outs but by this time I was snoozing. Out of the box, the 10T will come with OxygenOS 12.1 with a water inspired OxygenOS 13 coming later in the year.

And at last we need to turn to what’s missing. First, there’s no alert slider and second, there’s no wireless charging. OnePlus must be confusing the 10T with the Nord phones.

In terms of price, there are two variants and colourways for Europe and the US:

  • 8GB + 128GB – Moonstone Black – US$649 / 699€ / GB£629
  • 16GB + 256GB – Jade Green – US$749 / 799€ / GB£729

Pre-orders start 3rd August / September 1 and will be available from 25th August in Europe and September 29 in the US (that’s a bit of a wait!). Purchase from OnePlus and other local partners.

While it’s become a little trendy to bash OnePlus after their hook-up with Oppo, I’m beginning to see problems too. Let’s see how the 10T stacks up against the phone it replaces, last year’s 9. Yes, it’s faster with the Snapdragon 8+ processor when compared with the 888 but that’s kind of given as it’s a year on. You can get a bit more RAM (16 GB v 12 GB) at the higher end, but the screen’s pretty much the same. Battery is slightly bigger (4500 v 4800 mAh), there’s superfast charging but I don’t perceive that an additional 6% is going to make much difference and where is the wireless charging? It continues to go wrong with the cameras. On the OnePlus 9, both the main camera and the ultrawide are hefty 48 MP and 50 MP units blessed by Hasselblad but the10T has a feeble 8 MP ultrawide and no fairy dust from the experts. To cap it all, there’s no alert slider. Overall, it’s simply uninspiring. Maybe if you were a gamer you’d appreciate the speed and the cooling, but for me, I want the old OnePlus flagship back.


OnePlus 10T Launches Tomorrow



Never Settle LogoSticking with its biannual launch programme, tomorrow OnePlus is launching the latest iteration of the flagship range, the OnePlus 10T. It’s the first in-person event after the pandemic with the show coming from Gotham Hall in New York City at 10 am Eastern.

The new 10T will take the spot currently occupied by the OnePlus 9 (as there’s only a 10 Pro and not a 10). As per OnePlus’ MO, there’s been a steading drip of leaks and there’s not a massive amount to reveal tomorrow. Here’s what’s already been laid on the table.

  • Two colourways, Moonstone Black and Jade Green. It’s not perfectly clear but I think the Moonstone edition has a textured back like the original Sandstone Black.
  • The CPU is going to be the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 with 16 GB of LPDDR5 memory and 256 GB of UFS3.1 storage. I imagine there probably will be some options but it’s not clear right now what those will be.
  • The camera isn’t part of the partnership with Hasselblad but the sensor is still the very respectable 50 MP Sony IMX766 sensor. That’s the sensor used in the ultrawide camera on the 9 and 9 Pro. The camera arrays looks very similar to the one in the 10 Pro with what appears to be a triple array plus flash. The camera has some cool tricks to take multiple pictures and then choose the best shot.
  • There’s a larger-than-normal 4800 mAh battery that can be recharged with 150 W SuperVOOC which will charge the phone from flat in just 19 minutes with a cable. That’s pretty impressive and there’s some clever technology to keep the phone cool during charging. Sadly the rate will be reduced somewhat in US to only 125 W because of the lower mains voltage. That will increase the recharge time to 20 minutes. Strangely, wireless charging isn’t explicitly mentioned.
  • There’s no alert slider which I think is very disappointing. The alert slider is one of the things that makes OnePlus, well, OnePlus. Apparently it took up too much space that was needed for the battery and fast charging technology. Frankly, I’d rather have the slider.
  • Unofficially, its a 6.7″ AMOLED screen with a Full HD+ resolution and a 120 Hz refresh rate. Not exactly a surprise to be honest.

Overall, the 10T looks to be fair evolution of the OnePlus 9. It will be interesting to see what the price point is. I’m thinking some where around GB£750.

If you are interested in tuning in to the launch event, here are the timings for round the world.

  • 10 am Eastern Time (ET)
  • 1500 British Summer Time (BST)
  • 1600 Central European Summer Time (CEST)
  • 1730 India Standard Time (IST)
  • 2200 Hong Kong Time (HKT)