TIME Web

Taylor Swift Reportedly Bought TaylorSwift.Porn Before Someone Else Got There First

Pop singer Taylor Swift at the 57th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, California February 8, 2015.
Mario Anzuoni—Reuters Pop singer Taylor Swift at the 57th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, California February 8, 2015.

Other top names are taking similar precautions before the .adult and .porn domains are released to the public

To prevent misuse of her name and image by opportunistic purveyors of adult content, Taylor Swift’s publicity team reportedly bought TaylorSwift.porn and TaylorSwift.adult before they became available to the public on June 1.

From that date, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) will release new top-level domain names to the public, ranging from the innocuous .coffee or .report, to more colorful suffixes like .adult or .sucks. The move is part of a plan, announced in 2011, to make domains more helpful and descriptive, and to make filtering easier.

There are now some 1,300 new domains in the works, forming an alternative to the standard .com, .net or .org. Many are in Arabic, Russian, Mandarin and other languages besides English.

Celebrities like Swift and big brands have been racing to snap up domains in advance of the June 1 release, with Microsoft, for instance, acquiring Office.porn and Office.adult.

[CNN]

Read next: Watch a Kids Hospital Perform the Most Heartwarming Taylor Swift Lip Synch Ever

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TIME Web

Seinfeld Is Coming to an Internet Streaming Venue Near You

Seinfeld
Carin Baer—NBC/Getty Images Michael Richards as Cosmo Kramer in the 2006 Seinfeld episode "The Van Buren Boys."

Your days of pirating Seinfeld are over

Seinfeld‘s creators are close to striking gold, Jerry, gold!

The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed sources, reports that Sony Pictures Television will likely reach a deal to sell the hit television show to an online vendor for streaming in the next few weeks.

Hulu, Amazon and Yahoo are among the bidders who are seeking rights to Seinfeld, and could pay upwards of half a million dollars per episode, sources told the Journal (there are 180 Seinfeld episodes). Netflix is passing on the show.

Seinfeld fans today resort to reruns on local TV stations and the cable channel TBS or download the show from less-than-legitimate streaming sites. Warner Brothers said in 2010 that Seinfeld had generated $2.7 billion in syndication revenue.

Online, the show could experience a renaissance among young viewers who have cut the cable plug, and bring prestige to the streaming service that lands the expensive show.

[WSJ]

 

TIME Innovation

These Are the Incredible Images a Computer ‘Sees’ When a Person Dances

Check out this creative project built around motion data

A new creative project called as·phyx·i·a has produced stunning visuals by combining computers and choreography.

The project, created by Maria Takeuchi with Frederico Phillips, uses inexpensive sensors to capture motion data, which was then crafted by various computer tools into the incredible images and as well as an experimental film.

as·phyx·i·a’s goal is to combine tech with other fields without many of the common commercial limitations, an idea that’s reflected in the choreography’s “desire to be expressive without bounds,” according to the project’s website.

 

TIME Web

This Is What the Web Might Look Like Without Jerks

This video imagine trolls, spam and everything unwanted filtered out

British tech comedian Tom Scott is out with a new sci-fi satire video about The Bubble, hypothetical software that could filter out what you don’t want to see online before you even see it.

The Bubble works as a virtual private network operating 1,000 times faster than your brain to block what offends you, according to Scott’s video.

While some commenters on the video want the imagined technology to come to life, others argued more seriously that it might be a dangerous way for people to block out controversial opinions.

TIME Advertising

Why Facebook Is Really Excited About Slow Internet

Facebook is helping brands advertise on mobile devices in developing countries with spotty service

While Facebook’s Internet.org is busy finding ways to beam high-speed satellite Internet to disconnected parts of the world, other Facebook initiatives are trying to capitalize on the site’s existing users in developing countries where mobile networks are already available, if slow.

The latest of the company’s efforts in this department is the Facebook Creative Accelerator, a new program helping brands design mobile ads that work technologically and culturally in high-growth countries outside the West. In recent months, ads for Nestlé, Durex and Coca-Cola have been launched in India, Indonesia and Kenya, respectively. Turkey and South Africa are next on the list.

“[Creative Accelerator is about] how we can make stories, connect brands with people—but also their technical realities of their situation, with varieties of phones and bandwidths,” says Mark D’Arcy, chief creative officer of Facebook Creative Shop, Facebook’s group that works with agencies and brands, and runs Creative Accelerator.

Key to the Creative Accelerator program is a technique that can tell whether a Facebook user is on a fast or slow mobile connection, then serve them a speed-appropriate ad. A Facebook user with a 3G connection, for instance, might get a photo ad, while another user in the same country on 2G might get a text ad for the same product. Advertisers have used this speed-sniffing technique for years, but its application to developing markets — where more people are using mobile devices — is new.

“It’s the first time that I’ve heard this kind of targeting being used in developing markets,” says Karsten Weide, an analyst at IDC, of Facebook’s program. “It’s a great idea for the advertiser, and it’s a great idea for Facebook, too.”

In India, for example, Facebook worked with Nestlé to launch an ad for Nestlé Everyday, with a video ad for faster connections and a photo ad for slower connections. Here’s what it looks like:

Facebook

As another example, in Indonesia Facebook worked with Durex to design ads whose images were compressed in manners easily downloadable by the user’s mobile bandwidth speeds. They also differentiated the ads by male and female users:

  • Men: Make her yours and create an unforgettable honeymoon moment #PrepareForLove
  • Women: Only you and your lover know when you have to #PrepareForLove and create an unforgettable honeymoon moment

Facebook’s efforts to help brands advertise on mobile devices speaks to those gadgets’ dramatic global proliferation. More than half a billion Facebook users now visit the social network only via their mobile devices, the company said in January. Meanwhile, people in developing countries are increasingly reliant on mobile devices as their gateway to the Internet, as cheap phones and subsidized plans spread. For example, here’s a look at how the mobile markets are growing in Indonesia and India, two countries where Facebook’s Creative Accelerator is doing business:

While Internet.org has been criticized by some as a business effort disguised as altruism (Facebook would, of course, benefit from having more Facebook users in the world), the company readily acknowledges the Creative Accelerator project is a commercial undertaking. After all, mobile ads are growing dramatically in financial importance for Facebook — they made up almost 70% of Facebook’s $3.6 billion ad revenue in the fourth quarter. Facebook’s D’Arcy, however, says that if people in the developing world are going to see mobile ads — and see ads they will — shouldn’t those ads at least be worthwhile?

“We have a belief that advertising should be valuable for the people that make it, but also the people that receive it,” says D’Arcy. “It’s not the case that the sophistication of people is reflected in their technical limitations.”

Read next: Mark Zuckerberg Has Advice for Young People Who Want to Change the World

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TIME Companies

Mark Zuckerberg Doesn’t Want All the Credit for Bringing the Internet to More People

Mark Zuckerberg attendes Mobile World Congress 2015
David Ramos—Getty Images Founder and CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg speaks during his keynote conference during the first day of the Mobile World Congress 2015 at the Fira Gran Via complex on March 2, 2015 in Barcelona, Spain.

"It's really important not to lose sight of the fact that people driving this are the operators"

Mark Zuckerberg kept a low profile Monday during his Mobile World Congress keynote about Internet.org, Facebook’s project to spread Internet connectivity to underserved areas with wireless carriers’ help.

The Facebook founder downplayed his company’s role in Internet.org, instead urging the audience to recognize the work and investments of mobile carriers. Zuckerberg delivered his keynote alongside executives from three global telecommunications companies.

“While it’s sexy to talk about [Internet.org’s Internet-beaming] satellites, the real work happens here, by the companies. It’s really important not to lose sight of the fact that people driving this are the operators,” Zuckerberg said. “Too often Internet.org is conflated with Facebook.”

People in the parts of the developing world where Internet.org’s app is available get access to Facebook, Google search and some other services for free. But the end goal is to convince these users to eventually purchase data plans from wireless carriers — and so far, Internet.org has been successfully driving new smartphone use.

“It Colombia, it’s very encouraging to see about 50% more people in three weeks in our network as new data users,” said Mario Zanotti, senior EVP of Latin America at telecom company Millicom. “In Tanzania, we have seen a ten-fold increase in the number of smartphone sales since we launched the [Internet.org] campaign. So it’s pretty impressive numbers.”

Despite Zuckerberg’s efforts to highlight the work of Internet.org’s carrier partners, it’s hard to see the project being successful without Facebook’s involvement. Zuckerberg’s company has largely spearheaded the organization’s efforts, while its offerings in the Internet.org app, like Facebook Messenger, are a big draw to attract users.

However, some mobile carries could be worried that Facebook might cannibalize their voice and texting plans with its own services. Last year, Facebook acquired chat app WhatsApp, which became popular as means of avoiding wireless carriers’ texting fees.

“This is a point of tension between operators and Facebook in particular. It’s a consideration for any company to be careful to deliver the ‘key’ to the competitor,” said Jon Fredrik Baksaas, CEO of telecom company Telenor. “You really want to watch that ‘key’, and you want to control how that ‘key’ develops. That’s where the disruption comes.”

TIME Web

Google Just Made It Easier to Search for Flights Online

And you don't even have to know where you want to go

Google has updated its flight-search tool and included an array of cool features.

Much like most flight-comparison sites, Google offers a range of fares and available flight options.

Photo: Google

But for undecided travelers, the newest feature lets users plug in countries or whole regions. For example, enter “flights to Europe” and a map will appear showing varying prices for different European destinations.

And if you really have no idea where to travel, you can even hit the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button to generate a completely random location.

Flexible-date search options are also available so users can compare prices across multiple months, and the search engine will even suggest tips for how you can bag a cheaper deal.

Google Flights was launched in 2011, but the latest version of the site was announced on Wednesday.

Read next: 10 Google Maps Tricks You Need to Know

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TIME Web

Watch Hundreds of Fireworks Explode Over Beijing From the Air

See Chinese New Year unfold from the sky

A passenger flying into Beijing at midnight on Chinese New Year recorded the fireworks exploding all across the city—a spectacle that puts 4th of July to shame.

Though China has been toughening regulations on fireworks due to air pollution—Beijing’s smog has already reached hazardous levels—it’s clear that they haven’t stopped these traditional celebrations.

TIME Web

How Health Websites Are Sharing Your Symptom Searches

Health Website Symptom Search
Elizabeth Renstrom for TIME

From WebMD.com to CDC.gov

Searching for symptoms of your sickness online can be a huge hassle, and now there’s another headache to consider: your online privacy.

From for-profit sites like WebMD.com to government sites like CDC.gov, health websites are passing along your searches to third-party websites, according to a report in Motherboard.

The culprit? Many of these sites employ tracking tools that end up forwarding your searches onto big-name companies like Google and Facebook, along with lesser-known data brokers.

Read the rest of the story at Motherboard.

TIME Web

Reddit Restricts Nude Photos After Celebrity Hacking Scandal

Users are now banned from posting nudes without permission

Reddit is cracking down on sexual content following the posting of many celebrities’ nude photos on the messaging site last year.

The company said Tuesday that it is changing its privacy policy to ban users from posting nude photos and videos of people engaged in sex acts without getting their permission first, the New York Times reports.

Many people criticized Reddit in September when nude pictures of celebrities such as Jennifer Lawrence were widely disseminated on the site. Reddit eventually removed the photos but argued that the removal was because some of the images may have violated copyright or depicted underage girls, not because they were an invasion of people’s privacy. The new rules, however, seem to indicate that Reddit is shifting its typical opposition to any and all forms of censorship. “The opportunity here [is] to set a standard for respecting the privacy of our users,” Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian said.

The company, which attracted $50 million in new venture funding in September, also plans to launch moderation tutorials to help users in leadership positions better govern the activities of communities on the site.

[NYT]

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