Facebook’s Metaverse Is Coming – Spotlight #394

1. Good Monday Morning

It’s August 23rd. Saturday is the 48th anniversary of the March on Washington. The day will be marked by voting rights marches in multiple cities including Washington, Phoenix, Atlanta, and Houston. 

Today’s Spotlight is 1,025 words — about a 4 minute read.

2. News To Know Now

Quoted:Onlyfans is just another example of how these large platforms use sex workers to build their audience then pull support once they no longer deem them beneficial.” – @meowri on Twitter, after social media site Onlyfans banned sexually explicit content.

a) T-Mobile announced that the victim count from its recent hack has topped sixty million people. Experts are troubled by the news that the IMEI number that uniquely identifies internet devices was included in the hack. Those numbers can be used to clone devices when coupled with the name, address, phone number, and social security numbers taken. This is the fifth breach of T-Mobile in three years. (Cyberscoop)

b) Amazon passed Walmart as the largest physical retailer outside China after the company sold $610 billion worth of products in 12 months. The company reportedly will open mini-department stores, reports The Wall Street Journal. In addition to Whole Foods, Amazon operates about fifty electronics and book stores throughout the U.S. 

c)  eBay seller PWCC was suspended by the auction website for allegedly inflating the price of its auctions by shill bidding.  PWCC sells trading cards on eBay and reportedly generated $200 million in revenue from the site last year. (Action Network)

 3. Search Engine News — Site Commands Don’t Show the Full Index

Reminder from Google: The most accurate count of the numbers of URLs it has indexed on a website is found in the new Search Console interface rather than relying on the site: command.

We also learned a lot of news about how Google uses search as a carrot and stick when interacting with other companies. Remember that game company Epic has filed suit against Google and some of the case files were released last Wednesday.

New things made public:

1. Google partnered with Tencent to discuss a hostile takeover of Epic. (Venture Beat)

2. Google boosted search revenue royalty from 8% to 12% for device makers that excluded third-party app stores. (The Verge)

3. Apple, which faces a similar action from Epic, hired away one leading Google search exec and made a bid for his replacement. Now the Department of Justice wants to see “all documents … for more than 11 years … about attempts to recruit employees from Google, Bing, Yahoo, and DuckDuckGo with expertise or experience in internet search services or search advertising.” (Bloomberg)

That last one is a doozy. If your HR lead’s cardiovascular system is strong, ask them how they would produce 11 years of documents related to all efforts to recruit competitors’ employees.

4. Spotlight Explainer — Facebook Wants You To Be In Its Metaverse

A metaverse is a term that authors and creators use to describe an immersive and ubiquitous online experience. Newer movies Ready Player One and The Circle portray a metaverse similar to what Facebook aspires to become. They grew from similar systems portrayed in earlier science fiction works The Matrix and Neuromancer.

What’s the big deal?  It’s a truly immersive experience built on the company’s virtual reality platform based on remote work. You wear the attachments and interact with others who are rendered  as animated avatars. Remember the famous scene of Tom Cruise opening up file folders in thin air? Like that, but more advanced.

My company won’t do this.  Probably not. Certainly not any time soon. But The Verge visited the new platform called Workrooms Horizon, and reporter Alex Heath said that he felt more connected to other meeting participants than via Zoom. One key difference: the interaction is not occurring in typical ways. 

How much does it cost? The platform is free. The hardware runs around $300 per person, but can be used for more than Workrooms. 

Really. We’re not going to use this.  Nah, probably not yet. But as I watch a Roomba scoot across the floor while I video call my wife traveling thousands of miles away, I’m thinking that the metaverse time is coming regardless of platform.

What’s it look like?  This.

Facebook metaverse

5. Debunked — Images from Afghanistan

The crisis following the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan occurred at a time when everyone has a camera and video device at hand. We’ve seen horrific things, but some of them weren’t real.

The Associated Press debunked many of the hoax images.

6. Following Up — Google Restricts Teen Targeting

We told you two weeks ago about Facebook restricting advertisers from targeting the interests of its 13-18 year old users. Now Google has followed suit and announced that it will “block ad targeting based on the age, gender, or interests of people under 18.”

That means that an organization offering services or products for teenagers must offer them to ages 13 and up and both genders. There’s also no interest targeting.

7. Protip — How to Find & Delete Old Accounts

You will benefit from deleting your old accounts at different websites. Here are step-by-step instructions based on which browser you use and some highlights about especially stubborn companies.

8. Screening Room — Bruce Willis in Russian Ad (Not!)

What’s seemingly Bruce Willis in this ad for Russian phone company MegaFon is really a deep fake. IGN has details.

Science Fiction World — Robots Doing Parkour

Boston Dynamics (newly part of Hyundai) has a new video out that shows its robots running, jumping, and doing backflips. Let’s add Robocop since we’ve name checked Ready Player One and Die Hard this week.

 10. Coffee Break — The Stubborn Dog

Ever see a dog or cat completely ignore a Roomba’s insistent bumping? Chris Carman’s sister has. After her dog wouldn’t move, the automated vacuum sketched the canine’s position.

11. Sign of The Times

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