News You Might have Missed: Friday, May 11, 2018

Spotify and Hate Content

To identify hate content, Spotify said that it has partnered with a range of rights advocacy groups, such as The Southern Poverty Law Center, The Anti-Defamation League, Color Of Change, Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), GLAAD, Muslim Advocates, and the International Network Against Cyber Hate. Spotify has also created an automated monitoring tool called Spotify AudioWatch to find content already on its platform that has been flagged as hate content around the world. Spotify also said they don’t believe in censoring content because of the artist’s behavior but they want their editorial decision to reflect their company values.

Via VentureBeat

  • This comes as a response to the Time’s up movement that called for label RCA, Spotify, Apple Music, and Ticketmaster to drop R Kelly as a client and his music from the platform. Ticketmaster did remove R Kelly from a concert in Chicago without explaining why and now Spotify is saying that while they will not remove his music from the platform it will not be promoting it or adding it to playlists.
  • While Apple has not commented publicly, sources have told me that R Kelly’s music has not been promoted nor added to any playlist by the Apple Music algorithms for quite some time. Having asked for an R&B playlist a couple of times today I can report that no R Kelly song was included.
  • If you think that deciding what constitute hate speech on social media is hard, think how much harder it is to do so with artistic content being music or video.
  • Where do you draw the line on songs that sexualize women, incite violence, criticize leadership? Context plays a big role in determining what is acceptable and what is not. Words used by an artist of a specific race or gender might be ok but when used by others can be an insult.
  • And where do you draw the line on what is acceptable behavior from an artist? Sure there are things that are clearly wrong, no shades of grey but there are many that are not. Hopefully, Spotify will not take a cue from the NFL to determine what is right or wrong.
  • It seems to me that Spotify acted more out of concern for the possible impact on its brand if they were seen as not acting on this than anything else which is why I do not expect its AudioWatch monitoring feature to result in any real censorship.

Google Maps Goes Beyond Directions

During Google i/o, Maps were revamped to not only add features within navigations like using AR to determine the direction you need to talk when walking up to an intersection but also to become a one-stop-shop to discover content. Here are some of the new features:

Group Planning: Say you are searching for a restaurant to have dinner with friends. You can now long-press each result in the new Maps app to create a shortlist. After your first long-press, a badge pops up on the side of your screen, with a number indicating how many items have been added to the list. Once you’re done picking your candidates, you can tap the badge to bring up your list. From that page, you can share your selection with your friends, and they can upvote and downvote each option.

Explore: When you open up the app, you’ll see lists of things people typically look for in the area you’re in. Tapping each of these cards brought up a list of related places and a progress bar tracking how many items on the list the user had been to. There will also be recommendations for popular places under a section called Trending This Week, which Google curates by aggregating content from “trusted publishers, algorithmic data from its existing Trending Weekly list and where users have been visiting.

For you: The new Maps will have a For You tab that pulls up a page with recommendations tailored to you based on your preferences. For You will recommend Events and Activities as well restaurants. Another personalized feature is something called your Match score. If you have searched for new restaurants and can’t decide between a 4.2 star-rated spot or a 4.3-rated one, your Score will be particularly useful. Google’s algorithm uses your preferences, previous reviews, and ratings, but also places you frequent to understand your taste.

Via Engadget 

  • With AI being such a focus for Google across its entire business it was no surprise that AI came to play a big part in the updates to one of the most popular Google services: Maps.
  • Google is using AI to provide additional value for its map content and to the data it has about its users. This is a very smart move for two reasons. First, of course, it makes Google Maps stickier for its users. Second, if using data for its algorithm provides valuable suggestions to its users it will increase their propensity to continue to share data with Google both in Maps and outside of Maps.
  • Starting to use AI effectively will put pressure on apps such as Yelp and Trip Advisor, apps that will not have the same level of information about the user as readily available. Even though you can input your preferences in these apps the results you get are a little bit hit and miss.
  • What I particularly like about Google’s approach in these new features is the fact that they are trying to address real-life frictions. If you ever organized a group dinner you know exactly how useful it will be to be able to pull a list of restaurants together in maps where you can also assess their location from where you are and then have your friends vote which one they want to go to. This saves a considerable amount of effort and time today spent on going back and forth on messaging to come to a decision.
  • One problem I see with all this added information is that the Maps app might become overwhelming for some users. Google is using tabs for these new features which should keep it simple to navigate but this is certainly something to keep in mind.
  • The new AR feature that allows Maps users to know the direction they should take when they are walking, is another example of Google focusing on solving real-life problems. This concept is not new. Nokia when still owned the mapping business that came to be called Here had a Compass feature that was able to tell you which direction you were facing. What is different is the use of AR, which makes the experience much more immersive. Google Maps will now display an over imposed arrow through the camera on your phone that points to the direction you need to take. There is even a cute factor with a fox leaping from the arrow off your screen to show you the way.
  • I think this feature has the potential to make AR mainstream and really help understand the value of the technology. When I saw the demo at Google i/o I equated this feature to adding mobile payment support to transit. Use something every day and get value every time you do so and you will use it more and more.
  • It goes without saying that all these enhancements put pressure back on Apple Maps that had closed some of the gaps with Google Maps last year after WWDC. Apple users are generally very comfortable with sharing their information with Apple, which means that Apple could also use data to deliver more tailored information to its Maps users thanks to ML and AI. We will have to wait till WWDC to see if this is indeed the case.

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Carolina Milanesi

Carolina is a Principal Analyst at Creative Strategies, Inc, a market intelligence and strategy consulting firm based in Silicon Valley and recognized as one of the premier sources of quantitative and qualitative research and insights in tech. At Creative Strategies, Carolina focuses on consumer tech across the board. From hardware to services, she analyzes today to help predict and shape tomorrow. In her prior role as Chief of Research at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, she drove thought leadership research by marrying her deep understanding of global market dynamics with the wealth of data coming from ComTech’s longitudinal studies on smartphones and tablets. Prior to her ComTech role, Carolina spent 14 years at Gartner, most recently as their Consumer Devices Research VP and Agenda Manager. In this role, she led the forecast and market share teams on smartphones, tablets, and PCs. She spent most of her time advising clients from VC firms, to technology providers, to traditional enterprise clients. Carolina is often quoted as an industry expert and commentator in publications such as The Financial Times, Bloomberg, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. She regularly appears on BBC, Bloomberg TV, Fox, NBC News and other networks. Her Twitter account was recently listed in the “101 accounts to follow to make Twitter more interesting” by Wired Italy.

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