TIME satellites

These People Just Took a Selfie From Space

Satellites are the ultimate selfie stick

In what was basically the opposite of a close-up, workers at Israel Aerospace Industries recently posted for a so-called “space selfie.”

About 300 employees for the company lined up to spell the initials “IAI” as one of their own passing satellite snapped a picture from above at an altitude of about 325 miles.

TIME Advertising

This Is How To Make Your Super Bowl Ad Go Insanely Viral

Super Bowl
Elsa—Getty Images Head coach Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks holds the Vince Lombardi Trophy after his team won Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium on February 2, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Make sure the ad packs an emotional much and gives people a specific reason to share

Super Bowl XLIX won’t just be about the Patriots battling the Seahawks. We’ll also see Sprint vs. T-Mobile, Coca-Cola vs. Pepsi and Toyota vs. Nissan. Since the big game itself is often a blowout, the advertisements could very well offer more spectacle than the gridiron bout.

But the way we view Super Bowl ads has changed drastically in recent years. It’s no longer enough for advertisers to drop a great 30-second spot in the first quarter and hope for watercooler buzz the next day. The success of Super Bowl ads is now largely measured by how many views and shares they can rack up online, often well before kickoff.

What separates a decent Super Bowl ad from a great one that people need to share with their Facebook friends? We talked to experts at Unruly, a video ad tech firm that tracks social sharing of advertisements, to discover the secrets that help Super Bowl ads go viral.

Bet Big on Emotion

The Super Bowl ads that gain the most traction online are the ones that try to evoke one or two emotions very strongly instead of trying to hit several different notes at once. In particular, ads that try to evoke happiness or warmth have performed well in recent years, says Richard Kosinski, Unruly’s U.S. president.

Last year’s “Puppy Love” by Budweiser, which featured an unlikely but adorable friendship between a Clydesdale horse and a dog, was the most-shared ad from the game. While many ads try to be humorous, Kosinski says comical ads are rarely shared as much as heartwarming ones, because it’s harder to write jokes that people universally find funny.

Get the Ad Out There Early

The week before the Super Bowl is actually the best time to debut ads for the game. Unruly has found that Wednesday is the ideal day, because video ads generate the vast majority of their views in their first 72 hours online. Launch too early, and interest in the ad will have dissipated before the Super Bowl. Launch too late, and the ad won’t have enough time to disseminate across social media before the game itself.

Increasingly, brands are choosing to debut their ads well ahead of kickoff. Even those that don’t want to reveal the entire commercial will often post teasers online before the ads air.

Give People Reasons to Share

Ads that provide a specific social motivation for viewers to share them tend to perform better. In the U.S., Unruly has found ads that let viewers share a passion with others, present a product or service that would be useful to friends or express some trait of their own character spread the furthest across social media. The 2011 spot by Volkswagen featuring a miniature Darth Vader, for instance, was a chance for Star Wars fan to revel in one of the series’ most iconic characters. That ad is the most-shared Super Bowl spot of all time, according to Unruly:

Don’t Be Afraid of Branding

Super Bowl Sunday is the one day when Americans are excited to see brand messages, so there’s no need to be coy about the fact that an ad is an ad. Last year, Chrysler had a would-be hit with a patriotic ad about American resilience that was narrated by Bob Dylan. But the spot was so broad in reach and so light on Chrysler branding that more people thought it was about revitalizing Detroit than buying Chrysler cars, Kosinski says. He says Unruly found no negative effect on sharing for companies that place their brands at the very start of their ads.

TIME Advertising

Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel Grapple With Newfangled ‘Internet’ in BMW Ad

Does "@" mean "at" or "around"?

Back in 1994, “Internet” was not yet an everyday word, as Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel humorously demonstrate in this Super Bowl ad for BMW.

In the spot, the pair are seen grappling with online lingo such as “Internet,” “.com,” and the “@” symbol in footage from a shoot of the Today show. “What is Internet anyway?” Gumbel asks frustratedly at one point.

Cut to today and the two are cruising in a BMW i3 that they find equally perplexing. The implication here of course is that the technology in BMW’s new vehicle will one day be as widely known as the Internet is today. We’ll see about that, but BMW has at least drawn the parallel in a humorous way. We only wish they hadn’t overreached with the twerking joke at the very end, which dates the ad even more than the 1994 file footage.


TIME Innovation

This Airline Is Giving Passengers Virtual Reality Headsets

Virtual Reality
Patrick T. Fallon—Patrick T. Fallon An attendee during the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., on Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015.

Some Qantas passengers will get Samsung's Gear VR headset

Your next in-flight movie could be a lot more immersive.

Australian airline Qantas is partnering with Samsung to bring the electronics company’s virtual reality headsets to some of its passengers. First-class fliers will soon be able to use Samsung’s Gear VR headset during flights to explore virtual reality worlds. The headsets will let customers digitally explore the Qantas airport, visit the top of the Sydney Harbor Bridge and travel through the Australian wilderness.

In addition to in-flight VR, Qantas fliers will be able to use the headsets in first-class airport lounges in Sydney and Melbourne.

In a press release, a Qantas executive also promised that passengers will be able to access “the virtual worlds of their favorite Hollywood blockbusters,” though there are currently very few films release in a VR format. For now, the headsets are being offered in a limited three-month trial.


Feds Tell Hotels They Can’t Block Your Wi-Fi

Apple iPad Arrives In Stores
Tom Pennington—Getty Images An new iPad owner syncs the device with his laptop computer while visiting a Starbucks Coffee location April 3, 2010 in Fort Worth, Texas.

After some hotels start jamming personal hotspots

The Federal Communications Commission is cracking down on hotels that try to ban customers from using their personal hotspots.

The agency issued an enforcement advisory Tuesday explicitly prohibiting hotels from interfering with Wi-Fi hotspots that customers may set up using their mobile phones and data plans. The ban also extends to convention centers and other commercial establishments.

“The Enforcement Bureau has seen a disturbing trend in which hotels and other commercial establishments block wireless consumers from using their own personal Wi-Fi hot spots on the commercial establishment’s premises,” the FCC wrote. “As a result, the Bureau is protecting consumers by aggressively investigating and acting against such unlawful intentional interference.”

The issue came to a head thanks to consumer complaints at a Marriott-owned hotel in Nashville, where people’s personal hotspots were being blocked in the hotel’s conference rooms. The FCC fined Marriott $600,000 for the act in October, though Marriott claimed it shut down the hotspots for security reasons. With the new decree, it seems that line of reasoning wasn’t good enough for the FCC.

TIME Mobile

Apple Pay Is Coming to Thousands of Laundry and Vending Machines

No more mooching off your coworkers for change for a Coke

Next time you’re standing in front of a vending machine and cursing yourself for not bringing along cash or coins, your smartphone may be all you need.

Apple Pay is coming to approximately 200,000 self-serve appliances like vending machines, laundry machines and parking pay stations around the country, USA Technologies announced Tuesday. The company builds cashless payment systems into retail devices; its ePort payment system boasts a Near Field Communication sensor that is now compatible with Apple Pay.

The number of vendors accepting Apple Pay has been steadily increasing since the service launched on the iPhone 6 in October. The mobile payment and digital wallet service faces competition from Google’s Wallet app and CurrentC, an upcoming mobile payment system backed by large retailers like Walmart.

TIME Internet

Google Fiber Expands Into Southeastern U.S.

Plans for Portland, San Antonio and other cities also in the pipeline

Google’s high-speed broadband service will soon be available to consumers in four metropolitan areas in the Southeastern U.S.

The company announced Tuesday that Google Fiber will soon be available in Atlanta, Charlotte, Nashville and Raleigh-Durham. Since the expansion encompasses the surrounding areas of these metropolitan hubs, Google says it’s technically expanding into 18 new cities total.

Google launched Google Fiber nearly three years ago in Kansas City and has since expanded the service to Austin, Texas and Provo, Utah. Google Fiber offers download and upload speeds of up to one gigabit per second, which the company says is 100 times faster than basic broad speeds, for $70 per month.

The service has mostly been viewed as a way to shame traditional ISPs into boosting their own broadband speeds. A speedier Internet benefits Google because it allows people to execute search queries faster, which lets Google serve users more ads.

Google didn’t offer a timetable for when customers can start buying Google Fiber in the new cities. It has also tapped Phoenix, Portland, Salt Lake City, San Antonio and San Jose as five additional cities where Google Fiber may be rolled out in the future.

TIME policy

Websites Plan ‘Internet Countdown’ to Defend Net Neutrality

Karen Bleier—AFP/Getty Images Protesters hold a rally to support "net neutrality" on May 15, 2014 at the FCC in Washington, DC.

FCC will vote on new net neutrality rules Feb. 26

The organization behind a widespread online protest last fall over net neutrality is trying to stage another one as the Federal Communications Commission vote on new net neutrality rules draws near.

On Monday, Fight for the Future, an Internet advocacy group, began organizing an “Internet Countdown” to tick down the hours until Feb. 26, when the FCC is scheduled to vote on net neutrality, the principle that all data should be treated equally online. Internet advocates worry that the FCC may enshrine within its new rules the right for Internet service providers to charge a premium for “fast lanes” that would allow some websites to load more quickly than others. Internet advocates argue that boosting sites for money would stifle innovation, as start-ups would load more slowly than established brands.

Fight for the Future is pushing for a reclassification of broadband companies such as Comcast and Verizon as telecommunications services, which would let the FCC force those businesses to adhere to the tenets of net neutrality. The organization is trying to convince popular websites to embed its countdown timer on their websites to raise awareness about the upcoming FCC vote.

Fight for the Future has had success with this tactic in the past. A planned “Internet Slowdown” in September, in which websites either throttled their own traffic or posted an image of the “spinning wheel of death” to symbolizing throttling, was adopted by big online names such as Mozilla, Reddit and Foursquare. So far, the new Internet Countdown doesn’t seem quite as widespread, with the liberal blog The Daily Kos being the biggest organization currently participating. Fight for the Future and other organizers say they will announce other participants as they come on board.

Even as the FCC vote draws near, the Republican-led Congress is mulling legislation that might protect net neutrality while also removing the FCC from enforcement.

TIME Drones

Obama Calls for Drone Regulation After White House Crash

The FAA is currently drafting drone rules

President Barack Obama has used the crash-landing of a drone at the White House Monday as an opportunity to reemphasize the importance of regulating unmanned aircraft.

In an interview with CNN, Obama said the remote-controlled quadcopter that caused a brief security scare on Monday was the kind “you buy in Radio Shack,” calling for a regulatory framework for drones that will “get the good and minimize the bad.”

“There are incredibly useful functions that these drones can play in terms of farmers who are managing crops and conservationists who want to take stock of wildlife,” Obama said. “But we don’t really have any kind of regulatory structure at all for it.”

Drones are currently restricted from most airspace, except at low heights and at designated testing sites. The capital has stricter regulations than most on flying unmanned aerial vehicles.

The Federal Aviation Administration is currently drafting regulations that will allow for wider use of the devices. However, the process has been fraught with delays.


TIME movies

Here’s Your First Trailer for Fantastic Four

We'll get a new origin story for the superhero gang

The not-so-long-awaited reboot of the Fantastic Four franchise is almost here, and Fox has released a first trailer to whet moviegoers’ appetites.

In the new preview, we see each of the titular Four–Miles Teller as Mr. Fantastic, Kate Mara as The Invisible Woman, Michael B. Jordan as The Human Torch and Jamie Bell as The Thing–as young twentysomethings before they become “Fantastic.”

The new film will be an origin story for the crew and will also feature Toby Kebbell as Victor Domashev, a new take on the classic Fantastic Four villain Dr. Doom.

Fantastic Four debuts on August 7.

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