Digital Down Low: October 7th
Facebook and Oculus Invest In Women, Minorities & VR
- According to Tech Crunch, Oculus wants to make sure the next computing platform isn’t dominated by white males like the last ones. The company has announced it will put $10 million towards supporting VR app and video creators of diverse backgrounds, including women and people of color. This comes alongside Facebook and Oculus committing to invest another $250 million to help developers accelerate the proliferation of high-quality VR content. The company has already invested $250 million in VR content so far, and now it’s doubling down.
- The diversity funding will go towards its Launch Pad and VR For Good programs, as well as to “amplifying new voices”. By supporting diverse VR filmmakers, audiences will get deeper understandings about life, justice, inequality and more from a new perspective.
- $10 million will go towards developers building educational apps. These could make the classroom more exciting, allowing students to step onto historic battlefields instead of studying them through bland textbooks. To make it risk-free for developers to build on the Unity platform, Facebook will pay for their Unity royalties on up to the first $5 million in revenue a developer earns. This way, they only pay if their app succeeds. All in all, it’s a good time to be a VR developer because Facebook is fronting a ton of money to give them a jumpstart.
Meet Google’s New Fleet Of Products
- According to Marketing Land, Google unveiled its new Google Pixel phone and began taking orders for its previously announced Google Home hands-free home assistant. Those were the stars of a special event focused on new Google hardware, underpinned by the new Google Assistant. The Google Pixel phone comes in two sizes and features unlimited photo storage and a camera that Google said is the best any smartphone has ever had.
- Google Home marks Google’s direct challenge to the popularity of Amazon Echo, a hands-free device that can provide answers to spoken questions, play music, interact with smart home devices and more. Built into both of these is the software star of the show: Google Assistant, which is designed to allow people to interact with Google in a conversational way.
- Google also announced Google WiFi, a smart multi-router system for the home, and Chromecast Ultra, an improvement to Google’s existing Chromecast device that now supports 4K. More information about all the devices can be found at the “Made by Google” site, including the ability to preorder Pixel and Google Home. Google also has a blog post up and the video of the launch event can be seen here.
Facebook Collaborates With India For 2017 Election
- According to Mashable, Facebook will soon start nudging Indians to get out of their house and cast a vote. In a first of its kind initiative in India, the country’s Election Commission has partnered with Facebook to get more people, especially the young demographic, to participate in 2017 Legislative Election. Five states — Goa, Manipur, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand — will be going to polls next year.
- Facebook will roll out a ‘Register to vote’ button, which will show up in the news feed of eligible people in any of the aforementioned states. Clicking on the ‘Register Now’ button will take users to the National Voters’ Service Portal, which will walk them through the registration process. The website lets people search their name in electoral roll, apply online for registration, and locate their assigned booth. The campaign will run between Oct. 6 and Oct. 9.
- Facebook has been particularly effective in getting people to the polling booths. A similar registration drive prompted a ten-fold increase in people registering in Chicago last month, for instance. Last month, Facebook launched its first nationwide voter registration drive in the United States. Government officials and Facebook expect to see a similar engagement in the country. An alarming number of Indians — especially young and educated people — don’t vote. Facebook has a vast presence in India, with over 155 million people coming to the social network every month.