Amazon to start publishing fan fiction and give the writers a cut of the profits
Just because “Gossip Girl” finished its six-year run on the CW last year doesn’t mean that the adventures of Serena, Dan, Blair, Chuck, Nate and the rest of those stylish Manhattanites have to end.
In fact, Amazon is encouraging fans of the show — and of “Pretty Little Liars” and “The Vampire Diaries” — who have a flair for the written word to sell their fan fiction on the new Kindle Worlds page.
Microsoft unveils new console that goes way beyond gaming to redefine home entertainment
You may never want to get off the couch again.
With the Web ablaze today with Microsoft’s big Xbox reveal — the unveiling of the new, do-everything, be-all-to-everyone Xbox One — that may be the most important takeaway from the slick, hourlong presentation streamed live from Redmond this morning. (In the spirit of full disclosure, Popware is an MSN blog, which means we’re owned by Microsoft. But you knew that already, right?)
Apple spoils the mood by kicking 'Bang With Friends' out of its App Store.
Sorry, all you red-blooded, lustful iPhone users: Apple’s App Store is applying the digital equivalent of a cold shower to your amorous aspirations.
Bang With Friends, the Facebook-driven app that since its release in January has acquired more than a million registered users looking to, well, bang with friends, went mobile this month for both Android and iOS. Apple went so far as to shorten the title to “BWF,” lest anyone get the idea that the company was encouraging lawful and consenting carnal knowledge. (Guess that’s similar to Kentucky Fried Chicken becoming KFC to pretend that they’re not serving fried chicken.)
Xbox app lets you watch gamers play
Do you like to watch?
Well, Xbox has just the thing. Debuting this week, Twitch lets you watch gamers play live. One of the most asked for apps, Twitch is available for Xbox Live Gold subscribers. Already, more than 34 million people watch gamers play various games on Twitch.tv; the app allows users to watch the top 300 live Twitch channels from the comfort of your Xbox 360.
Search engine is translating into fictional language just in time for new 'Star Trek' flick
"V vay' bolDly nuqDaq QuQ SearchH pagh."
What, you don’t speak Klingon?
Star Trek film to be screened at space station
Going where no film has gone before (not really, but it sounds good), Star Trek into Darkness is taking its show on the road, giving an advance screening for the three astronauts currently at the International Space Station (ISS). Far out…literally.
It's official as Google gets into the streaming game
Update: Google made it official today, with Google Play All Access, its new online streaming music service, meant to give Spotify a run for its money. At first glance it has one advantage over Spotify; you can upload your music into the Google cloud and access it from anywhere (on Spotify you can add your own music but you have to physically save it on your hard drive, phone or tablet to access it all the time).
The unanswered question -- and one we raised nearly three years ago when Spotify finally came to the U.S. -- is how big the catalog is now that Google has made a licensing deal with the three major record companies. Spotify has similar deals in place but major catalogs in music history -- including the Eagles, Beatles, Pink Floyd, Garth Brooks and plenty more -- are unavailable on the streaming service. Did Google cut a better licensing agreement that's going to get listeners access to more music, or will they have to provide it themselves? No answer just yet. With pricing that matches Spotify ($10 a month, but just $8 if you sign up right now) Google is going to have to stand out as the better deal to make up for lost time and lost ground.
Original story: Behind Spotify but ahead of Apple, Google is apparently getting ready to jump into the streaming music business. With agreements in place between Google and the three major record companies -- The Verge says it just inked deals with Sony and Universal after already signing Warners -- music fans will find they have another option to listen to.
Will it work? We'll see. Pandora is the biggest streamer of music, but you can't get specific songs on demand. You can dial up specific songs with Spotify, which also has a free app (with ads) or a monthly subscription (which you pay for but gets rid of the ads). According to the New York Times, free will not be an option with Google, though its partnership with YouTube could make paying for the subscription a bargain. Then again, YouTube is experimenting with a subscription model as well, so the days of a free audio lunch for your ears may be numbered.
Facebook's Android app is, to put it mildly, underperforming. Is it doomed to failure?
These are not happy times in the house of Facebook.
In the last couple of weeks an article in the Guardian cited data from Socialbakers, a social media analysis firm, asserting that Facebook had lost 6 million U.S. visitors in the preceding month and nearly 9 million in the last six. Socialbakers was very quick to say the Guardian got it wrong, that its numbers are estimates intended for marketers and not hard data for use by journalists — claiming "The bottom line is, there is no story" — but even if the Guardian was in error (and it appears it was), the perception of many out there is that the social network has peaked and is on the decline, despite the fact that it has more than a billion users worldwide.
Not helping those perceptions is the underwhelming response to Facebook Home, its Android-based app launched April 12 to great fanfare. CEO Mark Zuckerberg billed it as "the next version of Facebook" and with the release came the HTC First, a phone co-branded with Facebook that had the app preloaded.