Vox Media

Vox Media, Inc. is an American digital media company based in Washington, D.C. and New York City.[2] The company was founded in July 2005 as SportsBlogs Inc. by Jerome Armstrong, Tyler Bleszinski, and Markos Moulitsas, and was rebranded as Vox Media in 2011. The company operates additional offices in San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, Austin, and London. In June 2010, the network featured over 300 sites with over 400 paid writers.[3] In September 2018, Comscore ranked Vox Media as the 30th-most popular media company among users from the United States.[4]

Vox Media owns seven editorial brands—The Verge, Vox, SB Nation, Eater, Polygon, Curbed and Recode—and formerly, Racked. Vox Media's brands are built on Concert, a publisher-led market place for advertising, and Chorus, its proprietary content management system.[5] The company's lines of business include the publishing platform Chorus, Concert, Vox Creative, Vox Entertainment, and the Vox Media Podcast Network.

Vox Media, Inc.
Formerly
SportsBlogs Inc. (2005–2011)
Private
IndustryDigital media
FoundedJuly 14, 2005
Founders
Headquarters,
U.S.
Key people
Brands
Websitevoxmedia.com

History

Founding and expansion in sports media

Vox Media was founded in 2005 as SportsBlogs, Inc., the parent company of the sports blog network SB Nation, by political strategist Jerome Armstrong, freelance writer Tyler Bleszinski, and Markos Moulitsas (creator of Daily Kos).[3] The site was a spin-off and expansion of Tyler Bleszinski's Oakland Athletics blog Athletics Nation, which sought to provide coverage of the team from a fan's perspective. The popularity of the site led to other sports blogs being incorporated.[6]

In 2008, SB Nation hired former AOL executive Jim Bankoff as CEO to assist in its growth. He showed interest in SB Nation's goal of building a network of niche-oriented sports websites.[6][7] As of February 2009, the SB Nation network contained 185 blogs, and in November 2010, ComScore estimated that the site had attracted 5.8 million unique visitors. The 208 percent increase in unique visitors over November 2009 made SB Nation the fastest-growing sports website the company tracked at the time.[8]

Continued growth and expansion into other content areas

In 2011, Bankoff hired a number of former writers from AOL's technology blog Engadget, including former editor-in-chief Joshua Topolsky, to build a new technology-oriented website.[6] They had originally left AOL following a series of conflicts between Topolsky and Michael Arrington, author of TechCrunch (which AOL had recently acquired), and the leak of an internal training document that outlined a content strategy for AOL's blogs that prioritized profitability. Bankoff felt that a technology-oriented website would complement SB Nation due to their overlapping demographics.[7] In November, the renamed Vox Media officially launched The Verge, with Topolsky as editor-in-chief.[7][9]

In 2012, Vox Media launched a video gaming website, Polygon, led by former Joystiq editor Christopher Grant.[10]

In November 2013, Vox Media acquired the Curbed network, which consisted of the real-estate blog network Curbed, the food blog Eater, and the fashion blog Racked.[11]

In April 2014, the company launched a news website, Vox. Led by former Washington Post columnist Ezra Klein, Melissa Bell and Matthew Yglesias, Vox was positioned as a general interest news service with a focus on providing additional context to recurring subjects within its articles.[12][13][14]

In May 2015, Vox Media acquired Recode, a technology industry news website that was founded by Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher, the former editors of The Wall Street Journal's AllThingsD.[15]

On May 30, 2017, Vox Media announced that it had entered into an agreement to provide technology and advertising sales for Bill Simmons' sports website The Ringer, as part of a revenue sharing agreement.[16]

Employment and labor

In January 2018, Vox Media agreed to recognize a labor union being formed by its editorial staff with the Writers Guild of America, East.[17]

On February 21, 2018, it was reported that Vox Media would be laying off around 50 employees, particularly surrounding video production. CEO Jim Bankoff stated previously that the company planned to exit native video for Facebook due to "unreliable monetization and promotion". The memo announcing the layoffs argued that despite its success, native video "won't be viable audience or revenue growth drivers for us relative to other investments we are making", and that the company wanted to focus more on podcasting and Vox Entertainment.[18] The layoffs represented around 5% of Vox's workforce.[19]

Funding

In December 2014, Vox Media raised a US$46.5 million round led by the growth equity firm General Atlantic, estimating the media company's value at around $380 million.[20] Participants in Vox Media's previous rounds include Accel Partners, Comcast Ventures, and Khosla Ventures. Other funders are Allen & Company, Providence Equity Partners, and various angel investors, including Ted Leonsis, Dan Rosensweig, Jeff Weiner, and Brent Jones.[21][22] According to sources, the Series C in May 2012, valued Vox Media at $140 million.[23] A Series D valued the company north of $200 million, raising an additional $40 million.[24][25]

In August 2015, NBCUniversal made a $200 million equity investment in Vox Media, valuing the company at more than $1 billion.[26]

Properties

Vox Media is made up of seven media brands: The Verge (technology, culture, and science), Vox (general interest news), SB Nation (sports), Polygon (gaming), Eater (food and nightlife), Curbed (real estate and home), and Recode (technology business).[27]

SB Nation

SB Nation (originally known as Sports Blog Nation) is a sports blogging network, founded by Tyler Bleszinski and Markos Moulitsas in 2005. The blog from which the network formed was started by Bleszinski as Athletics Nation in 2003, and focused solely on the Oakland Athletics.[28] It has since expanded to cover sports franchises on a national scale, including all Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, National Football League, and National Hockey League teams, as well as college and soccer teams, totaling over 300 community sites.[29][30] In 2011, the network expanded into technology content with The Verge, leading to the parent company Sports Blogs Inc. being rebranded as Vox Media.[29][31] Vox Media's chief executive, Jim Bankoff, has served as SB Nation's CEO since 2009.[29] The network expanded into radio programming in mid-2016 with SB Nation Radio, in partnership with Gow Media.[32]

The Verge

The Verge is a technology news site, which launched on November 1, 2011; it was originally staffed by former employees of Engadget, including former editor Joshua Topolsky and the new site's editor-in-chief Nilay Patel.[33] While Topolsky and his team were developing the new site, a "placeholder" site called This Is My Next was created to allow them to continue writing articles and producing podcasts.[34] Topolsky described the site as being an "evolved version of what we [had] been doing [at AOL]."[35][36]

As of February 2014, the site had 7.9 million unique visitors according to ComScore.[37]

Vox

Vox was launched in April 2014; it is a news website that employs explanatory journalism. The site's editor-in-chief is Lauren Williams.

Polygon

The video game website Polygon launched in 2012 as Vox Media's third property, and publishes news, culture, reviews, and videos.[38][39] The site's founding staff included the editors-in-chief of the gaming sites Joystiq, Kotaku (Brian Crecente), and The Escapist.[40] Staff published on The Verge as "Vox Games" beginning in February 2012, and launched as Polygon in October.[39] The network features long-form journalism that focuses on the people making and playing the games rather than the games alone, and uses a "direct content sponsorship" model of online advertising.[40][41] Christopher Grant serves as the current editor.[42]

Curbed

Curbed is a real-estate and home website that reaches beyond New York City to publish in 32 markets across the U.S. It was founded in 2004 as a side project by Lockhart Steele, managing editor of Gawker Media. Curbed was bought by Vox Media when the company acquired Curbed Network in November 2013 for $20–30 million in cash and stock.[43] In addition to the national site, Curbed operates local sites for 14 U.S. cities.[44] The editor-in-chief is Kelsey Keith.[44]

Eater

Eater is a food and dining network of sites, offering reviews and news about the restaurant industry. The network was founded by Lockhart Steele and Ben Leventhal in 2005, and originally focused on dining and nightlife in New York City. Eater launched a national site in 2009,[45] and covered nearly 20 cities by 2012.[46] Vox Media acquired Eater, along with two others comprising the Curbed Network, in late 2013.[47] In 2017, Eater had 25 local sites in the United States in Canada, and launched its first international site in London.[48] The site has been recognized four times by the James Beard Foundation Awards.[49][50] Eater is led by editor-in-chief Amanda Kludt.[51][52]

Recode

Vox Media acquired technology news website Recode in May 2015.[53] Recode hosts the annual invite-only Code Conference, at which editors of the site interview prominent figures of the technology industry.[54]

Former

Racked

Racked was a retail and shopping website which covered style. It was acquired by Vox Media when the company acquired Curbed Network in November 2013.[43] In December 2014, the site had 11.2 million page views and 8 million unique visitors.[55] In addition to the national site, Racked had local sites for Los Angeles, New York City, Miami, and San Francisco.[56][57] The editor-in-chief was Britt Aboutaleb.[58] Racked was folded into Vox in September 2018.[59]

Businesses

Chorus

Conceived in 2008, Chorus was built to be a "next-generation" publishing platform.[60][61] Developed specifically for SB Nation, it facilitates content creation, and implemented commenting and forums which allowed for company growth, later evolving to analyze viewership and distribute content via various multimedia platforms.[62][63] In 2014, Ezra Klein and Melissa Bell left The Washington Post to join Vox Media, in part because of the publishing platform.[61][64] Additionally, the founders of Curbed, Eater, and The Verge said Chorus was a key reason for partnering with Vox Media.[61] In 2018, Vox Media began to license Chorus as a software as a service (SaaS) business to other publishers,[65] including Funny or Die and The Ringer.[63] The Chicago Sun-Times signed on as the first traditional newspaper to launch on the platform in October 2018.[66][67]

Concert

In April 2016, Vox Media and NBCUniversal launched Concert as a "premium, brand-friendly ad network" to reach more than 150 million people across their digital properties.[68] New York Media, PopSugar, Quartz and Rolling Stone joined the marketplace in May 2018. In May 2018, Comscore estimated the network reaches almost 90 percent of all internet users.[69] With the new partners, Concert launched C-Suite to reach executives among brands such as CNBC, Recode, The Verge, and Vox.[70]

Vox Creative

Vox Creative is Vox Media's branded entertainment business.[71] In October 2017, Vox Creative expanded to launch The Explainer Studio to bring the explainer format to brand partners.[72] In 2016, Vox Creative's ad for "Applebee's Taste Test" won the Digiday Video Award for Best Video Ad.[73]

Vox Entertainment

In March 2015, Vox Media formed a new division known as Vox Entertainment. The division was created to expand the company's presence in developing online video programming.[74] Vox Entertainment announced new shows in 2018, including American Style on CNN,[75] Explained on Netflix,[76] No Passport Required (hosted by chef Marcus Samuelsson) on PBS,[77] and another currently-unnamed "explainer" series on YouTube.[78] Vox Entertainment is helmed by Vox Media president Marty Moe.[79] In 2016, vice president of Vox Entertainment, Chad Mumm, was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 and Variety's "30 Execs to Watch" list.[80][81]

Vox Media Podcast Network

The Vox Media Podcast Network is Vox Media's non-fiction audio programming business and has a broad portfolio of audio programming across business, technology, news and policy, sports, and dining.[82] Shows include: Recode's "Recode Decode", hosted by Kara Swisher,[83] and "Recode Media with Peter Kafka"; The Verge's "The Vergecast"; and Vox's "The Weeds",[84] "The Ezra Klein Show",[85] and "Today, Explained".[82]

Reception

In 2016, business magazine Inc. nominated Vox Media for "Company of the Year", citing that the company generated approximately $100 million in revenue in 2015, and was attracting 170 million unique users and 800 million content views monthly by 2016.[86] Vox Media was named one of the world's "most innovative" media companies in 2017 by Fast Company for "doubling down on quality content while expanding".[87] Vox Media was also named one of the "50 Great Places to Work" in Washington, D.C., by magazine Washingtonian.[88] The company gained a rating of 95 out of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index, which rates businesses on their treatment of LGBT personnel.[89]

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External links

Curbed

Curbed is an American real-estate blog network founded by Lockhart Steele. As of 2018 there are area-specific editions for Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, the Hamptons, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. There is also a National site, founded in 2010, that Steele once described as "Architectural Digest after a three-martini lunch.” The site hosts an annual contest, the Curbed Cup, to pick the best neighborhood in each city.The Curbed Network also includes dining website Eater and fashion website Racked.On November 10, 2013, The New York Times reported that Vox Media had purchased the Curbed Network. The paper reported that the cash-and-stock deal was worth between $20 million and $30 million.

Eater (website)

Eater is a food and dining network of sites and brand of Vox Media. The network was co-founded by Lockhart Steele and Ben Leventhal in 2005, and originally focused on dining and nightlife in New York City. Eater launched a national site in 2009, and covered nearly 20 cities by 2012. Vox Media acquired Eater, along with two others comprising the Curbed Network, in late 2013. In 2017, Eater had around 25 local sites in the United States, Canada, and England. The site has been recognized four times by the James Beard Foundation Awards.

Explained (TV series)

Explained is an American documentary television series that premiered on Netflix on May 23, 2018. The show, which is produced by Vox Media, releases episodes on a weekly basis. Explained is based on Vox's previous YouTube videos series, which followed a similar format.The show's episodes average between 16–18 minutes, with each focusing on a different topic. Each episode is also voiced by a different guest narrator. Netflix ordered 20 episodes for the show's first season, and greenlit a second season.

Facebook Messenger

Facebook Messenger (commonly known as Messenger) is a messaging app and platform. Originally developed as Facebook Chat in 2008, the company revamped its messaging service in 2010, and subsequently released standalone iOS and Android apps in August 2011. Over the years, Facebook has released new apps on a variety of different operating systems, launched a dedicated website interface, and separated the messaging functionality from the main Facebook app, requiring users to use the web interface or download one of the standalone apps.

Users can send messages and exchange photos, videos, stickers, audio, and files, as well as react to other users' messages and interact with bots. The service also supports voice and video calling. The standalone apps support using multiple accounts, conversations with optional end-to-end encryption, and playing games.

Google Assistant

Google Assistant is an artificial intelligence-powered virtual assistant developed by Google that is primarily available on mobile and smart home devices. Unlike the company's previous virtual assistant, Google Now, Google Assistant can engage in two-way conversations.

Assistant initially debuted in May 2016 as part of Google's messaging app Allo, and its voice-activated speaker Google Home. After a period of exclusivity on the Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones, it began to be deployed on other Android devices in February 2017, including third-party smartphones and Android Wear (now Wear OS), and was released as a standalone app on the iOS operating system in May 2017. Alongside the announcement of a software development kit in April 2017, the Assistant has been, and is being, further extended to support a large variety of devices, including cars and third party smart home appliances. The functionality of the Assistant can also be enhanced by third-party developers.

In 2017, Google Assistant was installed on more than 400 million devices.Users primarily interact with Google Assistant through natural voice, though keyboard input is also supported. In the same nature and manner as Google Now, the Assistant is able to search the Internet, schedule events and alarms, adjust hardware settings on the user's device, and show information from the user's Google account. Google has also announced that the Assistant will be able to identify objects and gather visual information through the device's camera, and support purchasing products and sending money, as well as identifying songs.

At CES 2018, the first Assistant-powered smart displays (smart speakers with video screens) were announced, with the first one being released in July 2018.

Google Photos

Google Photos is a photo sharing and storage service developed by Google. It was announced in May 2015 and spun out from Google+, the company's social network.

Google Photos gives users free, unlimited storage for photos up to 16 megapixels and videos up to 1080p resolution. The service automatically analyzes photos, identifying various visual features and subjects. Users can search for anything in photos, with the service returning results from three major categories: People, Places, and Things. Google Photos recognizes faces, grouping similar ones together (this feature is only available in certain countries due to privacy laws); geographic landmarks (such as the Eiffel Tower); and subject matter, including birthdays, buildings, animals, food, and more.

Different forms of machine learning in the Photos service allow recognition of photo contents, automatically generate albums, animate similar photos into quick videos, surface past memories at significant times, and improve the quality of photos and videos. In May 2017, Google announced several updates to Google Photos, including reminders for and suggested sharing of photos, shared photo libraries between two users, and physical albums, with Photos automatically suggesting collections based on face, location, trip, or other distinction.

Google photos acts as a back up when photos are sent or in Google terms 'Shared'. This is just a common backup tool when photos are shared between social media or other platforms or apps.

Google Photos received critical acclaim after its decoupling from Google+ in 2015. Reviewers liked the updated Photos service for its recognition technology, search, apps, and loading times. Nevertheless, privacy concerns were raised, including Google's motivation for building the service, as well as its relationship to governments and possible laws requiring Google to hand over a user's entire photo history. Google Photos has seen strong user adoption. It reached 100 million users after five months, 200 million after one year, and 500 million as of May 2017, with Google announcing that over 1.2 billion photos are uploaded to the service every day, with the grand total of all uploaded content measuring over 13.7 petabytes of storage. For comparison, at the end of 2017 the entire Internet Archive held almost 40 petabytes.

Google Play Music

Google Play Music is a music and podcast streaming service and online music locker operated by Google. The service was announced on May 10, 2011, and after a six-month, invitation-only beta period, it was publicly launched on November 16, 2011.

Users with standard accounts can upload and listen to up to 50,000 songs from their personal libraries at no cost. A paid Google Play Music subscription entitles users to on-demand streaming of any song in the Google Play Music catalog, as well as access to YouTube Music Premium. Users in Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Austria, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom also have access to YouTube Premium. Users can purchase additional tracks for their library through the music store section of Google Play. In addition to offering music streaming for Internet-connected devices, the Google Play Music mobile apps allow music to be stored and listened to offline.

IPhone X

iPhone X (Roman numeral "X" pronounced "ten") is a smartphone designed, developed, and marketed by Apple Inc. It was the eleventh generation of the iPhone. It was announced on September 12, 2017, alongside the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, at the Steve Jobs Theater in the Apple Park campus. The phone was released on November 3, 2017, marking the iPhone series' tenth anniversary.

The iPhone X is intended to showcase what Apple considers technology of the future, specifically adopting OLED screen technology for the first time in iPhone history, as well as using a glass and stainless-steel form factor, offering wireless charging, and removing the home button in favor of introducing a new bezel-less design, almost removing all the bezels in the smartphone and not having a "chin", unlike many Android phones. It also released a new type of password authentication called Face ID. Face ID is a new authentication method using advanced technologies to scan the user's face to unlock the device, as well as for the use of animated emojis called Animoji. The new, nearly bezel-less form factor marks a significant change to the iPhone user interaction, involving swipe-based gestures to navigate around the operating system rather than the typical home button used in every previous iteration of the iPhone lineup. At the time of its November 2017 launch, its price tag of US$999 also made it the most expensive iPhone ever, with even higher prices internationally due to additional local sales and import taxes.

The iPhone X received mixed reviews. Its display and build quality were universally praised, and the camera also scored positively on tests. The phone received particularly polarized reception due to the sensor housing "notch" at the top of the screen and the introduction of an all-new authentication method. The notch was heavily mocked by users on social media, although app developers responded either neutrally or positively to the changes it brought to the user experience in their apps and games. Reviewers had mixed reactions, with some condemning it and others acknowledging it as unusual in the first moments of use before getting accustomed to its presence. Face ID facial recognition was praised for its simple setup, but criticized for requiring direct eyes on the screen, though that option can be disabled within the system preferences.

Along with the iPhone 6s, its Plus variant, and the iPhone SE, the iPhone X was discontinued on September 12, 2018 following the announcement of the new iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR devices. As a result, with a shelf life of just over 10 months, the iPhone X had the shortest ever tenure as the flagship device in the history of the iPhone.

On November 22, 2018, Apple has reportedly resumed production of the iPhone X due to weak sales of its successors. The iPhone X remains discontinued, but as of February 2019, Apple started selling refurbished models for $769.

Instagram

Instagram (also known as IG or insta) is a photo and video-sharing social networking service owned by Facebook, Inc. It was created by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, and launched in October 2010 exclusively on iOS. A version for Android devices was released a year and half later, in April 2012, followed by a feature-limited website interface in November 2012, and apps for Windows 10 Mobile and Windows 10 in April 2016 and October 2016 respectively.

The app allows users to upload photos and videos to the service, which can be edited with various filters, and organized with tags and location information. An account's posts can be shared publicly or with pre-approved followers. Users can browse other users' content by tags and locations, and view trending content. Users can "like" photos, and follow other users to add their content to a feed.

The service was originally distinguished by only allowing content to be framed in a square (1:1) aspect ratio, but these restrictions were eased in 2015. The service also added messaging features, the ability to include multiple images or videos in a single post, as well as "Stories"—similar to its main competitor Snapchat—which allows users to post photos and videos to a sequential feed, with each post accessible by others for 24 hours each.

After its launch in 2010, Instagram rapidly gained popularity, with one million registered users in two months, 10 million in a year, and 800 million as of September 2017. In April 2012, Facebook acquired the service for approximately US$1 billion in cash and stock. As of October 2015, over 40 billion photos had been uploaded to the service. Although praised for its influence, Instagram has been the subject of criticism, most notably for policy and interface changes, allegations of censorship, and illegal or improper content uploaded by users.

As of 14 January 2019, the most liked photo on Instagram is a picture of an egg, posted by the account @world_record_egg, created with a sole purpose of surpassing the previous record of 18 million likes on a Kylie Jenner post. The picture currently has over 50 million likes.

Polygon (website)

Polygon is an American video game website that publishes news, culture, reviews, and videos. At its October 2012 launch as Vox Media's third property, Polygon sought to distinguish itself from competitors by focusing on the stories of the people behind the games instead of the games themselves. They also produced long-form magazine-style feature articles, invested in video content, and chose to let their review scores be updated as the game changed.

The site was built over the course of ten months, and its 16-person founding staff included the editors-in-chief of the gaming sites Joystiq, Kotaku and The Escapist. Its design was built to HTML5 responsive standards with a pink color scheme, and its advertisements focused on direct sponsorship of specific kinds of content. Vox Media produced a documentary series on the founding of the site.

Recode

Recode (formerly Re/code) is a technology news website that focuses on the business of Silicon Valley. Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher founded it in January 2014, after they left Dow Jones and the similar website they had previously co-founded, AllThingsD. Vox Media acquired Recode in May 2015.

SB Nation

SB Nation (originally known as Sports Blog Nation) is a sports blogging network owned by Vox Media. It was co-founded by Tyler Bleszinski and Markos Moulitsas in 2005. The blog from which the network formed was started by Bleszinski as Athletics Nation in 2003, and focused solely on the Oakland Athletics. It has since expanded to cover sports franchises on a national scale, including all Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, National Football League, and National Hockey League teams, as well as college and soccer teams, totaling over 300 community sites. In 2011, the network expanded into technology content with The Verge, leading to the parent company Sports Blogs Inc. being rebranded as Vox Media. SB Nation operates from Vox Media's offices in New York City and Washington, D.C.

Samsung Galaxy S8

The Samsung Galaxy S8, Samsung Galaxy S8+ (shortened to S8 and S8+, respectively) and Samsung Galaxy S8 Active are Android smartphones (with the S8+ being the phablet smartphone) produced by Samsung Electronics as the eighth generation of the Samsung Galaxy S series. The S8 and S8+ were unveiled on 29 March 2017 and directly succeeded the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, with a North American release on 21 April 2017 and international rollout throughout April and May. The S8 Active was announced on 8 August 2017 and is exclusive to certain U.S. cellular carriers.

The S8 and S8+ contain upgraded hardware and major design changes over the S7 line, including larger screens with a taller aspect ratio and curved sides on both the smaller and larger models, iris and face recognition, a new suite of virtual assistant features known as Bixby (along with a new dedicated physical button for launching the assistant), a shift from MicroUSB to USB-C charging, and Samsung DeX, a docking station accessory that allows the phones to be used with a desktop interface with keyboard and mouse input support. The S8 Active features tougher materials designed for protection against shock, shatter, water and dust, with a metal frame and a tough texture for improved grip that makes the S8 Active have a rugged design. The Active's screen measures the same size as the standard S8 model but loses the curved edges in favor of a metal frame.

The S8 and S8+ received mostly positive reviews. Their design and form factor received praise, while critics also liked the updated software and camera optimizations. They received criticism for duplicate software apps, lackluster Bixby features at launch, for the placement of the fingerprint sensor on the rear next to the camera. A video published after the phones' release proved that the devices' facial and iris scanners can be fooled by suitable photographs of the user.

The S8 and S8+ were in high demand at release. During the pre-order period, a record one million units were booked in South Korea, and overall sales numbers were 30% higher than the Galaxy S7. However, subsequent reports in May announced sales of over five million units, a notably lower first-month sales number than previous Galaxy S series models.

On March 11, 2018, Samsung launched the successor to the S8, the Samsung Galaxy S9.

Snapchat

Snapchat is a multimedia messaging app used globally, created by Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy, and Reggie Brown, former students at Stanford University, and developed by Snap Inc., originally Snapchat Inc.

One of the principal features of Snapchat is that pictures and messages are usually only available for a short time before they become inaccessible to their recipients. The app has evolved from originally focusing on person-to-person photo sharing to presently featuring users' "Stories" of 24 hours of chronological content, along with "Discover", letting brands show ad-supported short-form content.

Snapchat has become notable for representing a new, mobile-first direction for social media, and places significant emphasis on users interacting with virtual stickers and augmented reality objects. As of February 2018, Snapchat has 187 million daily active users.

Spotify

Spotify () is an audio streaming platform launched by Spotify AB on 7 October 2008. It provides DRM-protected music and podcasts from record labels and media companies. As a freemium service, basic features are free with advertisements or automatic music videos, while additional features, such as improved streaming quality, are offered via paid subscriptions.

Spotify provides access to more than 40 million tracks. Users can browse by parameters such as artist, album, or genre, and can create, edit, and share playlists. Spotify is available in most of Europe and the Americas, Australia, New Zealand, and parts of Africa and Asia, and on most modern devices, including Windows, macOS, and Linux computers, and iOS, Windows Phone and Android smartphones and tablets. As of February 2019, it had 207 million monthly active users, including 96 million paying subscribers.Unlike physical or download sales, which pay artists a fixed price per song or album sold, Spotify pays royalties based on the number of artists' streams as a proportion of total songs streamed. It distributes approximately 70% of total revenue to rights holders, who then pay artists based on their individual agreements. Spotify has faced criticism from artists and producers including Taylor Swift and Thom Yorke, who have argued that it does not fairly compensate musicians. In 2017, as part of its efforts to renegotiate license deals for an interest in going public, Spotify announced that artists would be able to make albums temporarily exclusive to paid subscriptions if they are part of Universal Music Group or the Merlin Network.

Spotify AB is headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden. Since February 2018 it has been listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

The Verge

The Verge is an American technology news and media network operated by Vox Media. The network publishes news items, long-form feature stories, guidebooks, product reviews, and podcasts.

The website uses Chorus, Vox Media's proprietary multimedia publishing platform. The network is managed by its editor-in-chief Nilay Patel, executive editor Dieter Bohn, and editorial director Helen Havlak. The site launched on November 1, 2011. The Verge won five Webby Awards for the year 2012 including awards for Best Writing (Editorial), Best Podcast for The Vergecast, Best Visual Design, Best Consumer Electronics Site, and Best Mobile News App.

Titanfall

Titanfall is a multiplayer first-person shooter video game developed by Respawn Entertainment and published by Electronic Arts. It was released for Microsoft Windows and Xbox One on March 11, 2014; an Xbox 360 version ported by Bluepoint Games was released April 8, 2014. The game was anticipated as the debut title from developers formerly behind the Call of Duty franchise.

In Titanfall, players control "pilots" and their mech-style Titans, and fight in six-on-six matches set in war-torn outer space colonies. The game is optimized for fast-paced, continual action, aided by wall-running abilities and populations of computer-controlled soldiers. Up to 50 characters can be active in a single game, and non-player activity is offloaded to Microsoft's cloud computing services to optimize local graphical performance. The game's development team began work on the title in 2011, and their Titan concept grew from a human-sized suit into a battle tank exoskeleton. The team sought to bring "scale, verticality, and story" to its multiplayer genre through elements traditionally reserved for single-player campaigns. The 65-person project took inspiration from Blade Runner, Star Wars, Abrams Battle Tank, and Masamune Shirow of Ghost in the Shell.

Titanfall won over 60 awards at its E3 2013 reveal, including a record-breaking six E3 Critics Awards and "Best of Show" from several media outlets. It also won awards at Gamescom and the Tokyo Game Show. Titanfall received generally favorable reviews. Reviewers praised its balance, Smart Pistol weapon, player mobility, and overall accessibility for players of all skill sets, but criticized its thin campaign, disappointing artificial intelligence, and lack of community features and multiplayer modes. Critics considered the game a successful evolution for the first-person shooter genre but did not agree as to whether the game delivered on its anticipation. On March 12, 2015, it was announced that a sequel, Titanfall 2 was in production for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. It was released on October 28, 2016.

Vox (website)

Vox is an American news and opinion website owned by Vox Media. The website was founded in April 2014 by Ezra Klein and is noted for its concept of explanatory journalism.

Xbox One

Xbox One is a line of eighth generation home video game consoles developed by Microsoft. Announced in May 2013, it is the successor to Xbox 360 and the third console in the Xbox family. It was first released in North America, parts of Europe, Australia, and South America in November 2013, and in Japan, China, and other European countries in September 2014. It is the first Xbox game console to be released in China, specifically in the Shanghai Free-Trade Zone. Microsoft marketed the device as an "all-in-one entertainment system", hence the name 'Xbox One'. The Xbox One line mainly competes against consoles such as Sony's PlayStation 4 and Nintendo's Wii U and Switch.

Moving away from its predecessor's PowerPC-based architecture, Xbox One marks a shift back to the x86 architecture used in the original Xbox; it features an AMD Accelerated Processing Unit (APU) built around the x86-64 instruction set. Xbox One's controller was redesigned over the Xbox 360's, with a redesigned body, D-pad and triggers capable of delivering directional haptic feedback. The console places an increased emphasis on cloud computing, as well as social networking features, and the ability to record and share video clips or screenshots from gameplay, or live-stream directly to streaming services such as Mixer and Twitch. Games can also be played off-console via a local area network on supported Windows 10 devices. The console can play Blu-ray Disc, and overlay live television programming from an existing set-top box or a digital tuner for digital terrestrial television with an enhanced program guide. The console optionally included a redesigned Kinect sensor, marketed as the "Kinect 2.0", providing improved motion tracking and voice recognition.

Xbox One received mostly positive reviews for its refined controller design, multimedia features, and voice navigation. Its quieter and cooler design was praised for making the console more reliable than its predecessor on-launch, but the console was generally criticized for running games at a technically lower graphical level than the PlayStation 4. Its original user interface was panned for being nonintuitive, although changes made to it and other aspects of the console's software post-launch received positive reception. Its Kinect received praise for its improved motion-tracking accuracy, its face recognition logins, and its voice commands.

The original Xbox One model was succeeded by Xbox One S in 2016, which has a smaller form factor and support for HDR10 high-dynamic-range video, as well as support for 4K video playback and upscaling of games from 1080p to 4K. It was praised for its smaller size, its on-screen visual improvements, and its lack of an external power supply, but its regressions such as the lack of a native Kinect port were noted. A high-end model, Xbox One X, was unveiled in June 2017 and released in November; it features upgraded hardware specifications, and support for rendering games at 4K resolution.

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