Facebook Acquiring The Masquerade App In Hopes Of Rivaling Snapchat

When it comes to socialising with technology, few haven’t heard of Snapchat. The popular mobile app has over five and a half million reviews average at 4 stars for the popular app. It looks like another social giant will be stepping into the ring though with Facebook acquiring the Masquerade app in hopes of stealing some of Snapchats thunder.

Masquerade (MSQRD) provides similar features to Snapchat, but like its name has a very particular focus. While Snapchat lets you “face swap”, taking your friends face and switching its place with your own, Masquerade can do that with a list of prepared “masks”. From a tiger or a monkey to your favourite celebrities, if you are a looking at swapping faces the App has what you need.

This is only Facebook’s first step, with plans being reported to integrate this technology into the Facebook toolset. Don’t worry if you are a user of Masquerade because the App will remain a free standalone app, it just means that you could soon swap out your friends faces for a monkey or Leonardo DiCaprio at the Oscars.

In a post on their website Eugene Nevgen, CEO of Masquerade, stated that even with they’re partnering with Facebook they will “keep adding fun features”.

Image courtesy of MaximOnline.Ru

Boston Dynamics Acquired By Google

According to an article by The New York Times, Google has acquired Boston Dynamics, builder of terrifying walking robots DARPA-related projects like WildCat/Cheetah, Atlas, Petman and Big Dog. Andy Rubin has moved over from leading Android to directing Google’s robotics efforts and tweeted a link to the story, commenting that “The future is looking awesome!”. Now that it’s out, don’t think that a company specializing in building state of the art robots and a company that knows everything there is to know can start building “Terminators” anytime soon. It is just a big step and an area worth pursuing, there is still a long way until we meet robots capable of comprehension.

There’s no word on how much Google spent to snap up the robotics company, but its founder Marc Raibert is quoted by the Times saying “I am excited by Andy and Google’s ability to think very, very big, with the resources to make it happen.” Raibert stated in an interview during Expand, he specifically highlighted his company’s recent growth and the possibility of building consumer-focused robots in the future.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xqMVg5ixhd0[/youtube]

Google apparently does not plan to proceed as a military contractor itself, although according to the article, Boston Dynamics will honor its existing military contracts. Raibert confirmed the acquisition, but so far neither side has commented further or explained how search ties into robots that walk on two or four legs, jump, climb and crawl.

Thank you Endgadget for providing us with this information
Image and video courtesy of Endgadget

There May Still Be Hope For The Llama-based Audio Player Winamp

Following yesterday’s announcement, Winamp will be shutting down on December 20th. According to Techcrunch, AOL may be in talks with Microsoft to sell Winamp, along with Shoutcast, a media streaming service also developed by Nullsoft.

AOL refused to comment on this matter, and Microsoft did not confirm nor denied as no response was given back. Techcrunch reported that the deal is not yet finalized between the two companies just yet and they are still working out the price. It could also be very wishful thinking from those intent on trying to save both services. No insight of what is to become of Shoutcast was given yesterday.

If the rumors are true, it would represent an interesting, and strange, twist in the story. On the AOL side, it’s fairly clear why AOL is closing down Winamp and Shoutcast, and it makes sense why it would want to sell both. As an owner, AOL has never given much of a strong direction to the products, at a time when other digital music companies have been building up audiences and evolving technologies. It has already shuttered and sold off other music assets as part of a bigger strategic shift to focus resources as a web publisher, and as a rich-media advertising network operator across those and third-party sites, with an increasing focus on ad-tech to improve how those ads are delivered and measured.

From Microsoft’s point of view, the Windows giant has had its own setbacks in music, aka. Zune. However, Microsoft put a lot of effort into the Xbox Music basket, which works on the Xbox 360, Windows 8, Windows RT, Windows Phone 8,iOS and Android devices, offering free, ad-supported streaming, subscriptions, and downloaded music.

We are not sure where Winamp or Shoutcast may fit here, but Shoutcast has a platform that acts as a portal to over 50,000 radio stations. This could be one area that Microsoft might want to add to the Xbox Music platform, and which it currently lacks, to complement its Pandora-style personal radio feature. Winamp might be a black hole at the moment, since nobody knows what Microsoft might have it plan for it.

Thank you TechCrunch for providing us with this information

Cue Acquired By Apple To Take On Google

It is nothing new for Apple to acquire new companies, therefore personal assistant ‘Cue’ is the latest “victim” that the Cupertino giant has targeted, and this is to be good news for iOS users. The good news comes is due to many of the features offered by ‘Cue’ mimic those of Google Now. Nothing is sure if the features provided by ‘Cue’ will be implemented into the new Apple tech, but anything is possible, we need only see it in time.

Cue essentially aggregates data from social networks and otherwise (Gmail, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) to present relevant information at the relevant time for you. Flight bookings and hotel reservations are also included, and Cue has been offering these features before Google Now was officially introduced. You might soon see your daily calendars get populated automatically in iOS 7, but that’s far away from now.

On its website, Cue said it is shutting down its service and issuing refunds to paid customers, but did not offer much in the way of explanation. Cue began life as mobile search company Greplin, before changing names and shifting to the personal assistant arena.

“We appreciate all of the support from you, our users, as Cue has grown over the last few years,” Cue said. “However, the Cue service is no longer available.”

It also said no data was being transferred to another party and that all information it had has been deleted.

“We apologize for any inconvenience this might cause you,” the company said.

The deal value is said to be upward of $40 million, up to around $60 million, though that figure may include earnouts or other incentive pay.

Thank you NextPowerUp and AllTHingsD for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of NextPowerUp.