Samsung’s Gear VR app helps the visually impaired

What Next?

Samsung’s Gear VR app helps the visually impaired

To work with its VR headsets, Samsung has launched Relumino, a Gear VR app that uses augmented reality to compensate for vision problems. Relumino can magnify or minimize images, adjust brightness and sharpness, highlight objects with an outline, invert colours when reading text and add a colour filter to the screen. It can also remap your field of view to enhance a user’s peripheral field if they have tunnel vision, and even assist people with scotoma by helping them to see what is obstructed by their blind spot. Samsung knows that it would be awkward to walk around wearing a VR headset all the time, so the current app is reserved for special situations. However, the Relumino team is hoping to eventually develop glasses-like headwear that achieves similar results, without looking as ridiculous. The app is compatible with newer models of Galaxy smartphones and can be downloaded for free in the Oculus store.

Google’s mobile video search results will include 6-second previews

It’s not just ads that Google wants to be 6 seconds long – the company is also introducing the short and sweet video format to its mobile search results. If you search in Android’s Google app or Chrome and a query brings up a video, Google will now show you a silent 6 second clip to help you decide if it’s the video you actually want to watch. And it’s not just the first six seconds either. Google’s algorithm analyses the whole video and then decides which clip represents the video best. The current thumbnail format for videos doesn’t give you much information away, so ideally this new feature will remove some of this ambiguity. That means less time searching for the right video, and more time watching it (hopefully). The majority of videos on the web should be eligible for inclusion, though Google may not have a preview for some of the newest videos available.

The Block frames up

Program Station Audience
The Block – Sunday Ch9 1,356,720
The Block – Tuesday Ch9 1,072,450
The Block – Monday Ch9 1,070,956
The Block – Wednesday Ch9 1,010,279
This Time Next Year Ch9 930,099
True Story with Hamish & Andy Ch9 880,811
The Bachelor Australia – Thursday Ch10 787,094
The Bachelor Australia – Wednesday Ch10 737,046
Shaun Micallef’s Mad as Hell ABC 734,018
Doctor Doctor Ch9 710,401


13/08/2017 -19/08/2017

Facebook embraces episodic storytelling with ‘Watch’

Facebook’s ‘Watch’ tab will soon be the home of several categories of original episodic video content. It’s the latest move by the platform in hopes of giving people a reason to frequently return to their News Feed for content they can’t find elsewhere. ‘Watch’ features personalized recommendations of live and recorded ‘shows’, plus familiar categories like, ‘Most Talked About’ and ‘What Friends Are Watching’. Similarly to other video platforms, viewers can create their own ‘Watchlists’ to receive updates on new episodes of their favourite series. Fans can also connect with each other and creators through a new feature that links shows to Groups. It’s good news for publishers too, who will earn 55% of ad break revenue, while also having access to Facebook’s 1.32 billion daily users. Watch is slowly rolling out to more users, starting with the U.S. before expanding internationally. Keep a look out for the TV-shaped button in the bottom navigation bar! If you want a quick preview of what Watch is offering, click here.

Google partners with Oreo for its latest Android operating system

Google has maintained its longstanding tradition of dessert-themed names with the introduction of Android Oreo. The company had a similar partnership when it launched ‘Android KitKat,’ which succeeded in giving both brands some reputable visibility. For the launch, Google created a 40-second video that introduces an Android Oreo superhero that originated from a solar eclipse. You can check it out below. Strategically, this launch was timed to coincide with the real solar eclipse. The launch also included specially-branded Android Oreo cookies, which feature the robot mascot on one side and bright green filling. And we don’t suspect the collaboration will end there. The partnership between the Oreo and Google “will entail a variety of global initiatives designed to create innovative, playful experiences for both OREO and Android fans,” according to a statement from Oreo-maker Mondelez. The 8.0 version of the software is not just a name change, but also comes with features such as picture-in-picture video calls, autofill for navigation, additional security features and more speed.

IKEA shows you how to make your own Game of Thrones cape

Revelations that the Night’s Watch characters on Game of Thrones were clad in spruced up rugs and furs from IKEA spread across the internet pretty rapidly. Naturally, IKEA used this as an opportunity to create a manual on how to dress like Jon Snow by turning their rugs into luxurious fur capes. The spoof instructions, designed for a fake product called ‘Vinter’, were drawn in the simple line-style characteristic of the company’s furniture assembly manuals and shared on IKEA’s Norwegian Facebook page. The series of posts quickly became a viral success, delivering 778 million global impressions and a 775% rise in searches for the ‘Skold’ rug. Tierson, from Marketing Week, says these types of reactionary campaigns “show people your brand is relevant emotionally.” It isn’t the first time IKEA has adopted a reactionary approach to pop culture news – the company has also parodied the launch of the iPhone 6 and a luxury Balenciaga handbag that resembled its iconic blue tote bag.

You can make phone calls with Google Home

On top of the seemingly never-ending list of features Google Home has to offer, this week Google announced that users now have the ability to call any of their contacts and local businesses free of charge. The smart speaker’s hands-free tool works by placing your call over a Wi-Fi connection and is a move by Google in challenging Amazon’s Echo, which introduced calling and messaging features earlier this year. You simply need to say “OK Google” followed by who you want to call (as long as they’re saved in Google contacts) and you will be connected to your friends, favourite take away shop or nearest post office in an instant. The smart assistant is even smart enough to identify different users in the house by voice, so if you want to call your dad (instead of your partner’s dad), it will do so without needing to ask which user is asking. Pretty nifty! The feature is currently rolling out in the U.S. and Canada, and is expected to be available to Australians in early December.

Did you catch last week’s issue of What Next? Or would you like to browse our previous issues?

Back to all issues