Twitter's new AI can find the most interesting part of all your photos

 

The artificial intelligence that crops your Twitter photos is getting a lot smarter.

In a new blog post, Twitter machine learning researchers Zehan Wang and Lucas Theis describe the company’s new approach to cropping your photos into preview thumbnails.

Twitter has been working on this tool for a while, but the post is the first detailed description of researchers’ methods and process. The feature is currently rolling out to all Twitter users, and aims to put an end to awkwardly cropped thumbnails.

Previously, when deciding which part of your images to display as the preview image, Twitter looked for the most prominent face. For pictures containing no faces, Twitter displayed the center of the image. If you’ve ever seen an awkward thumbnail of a cat’s neck or a white wall, that process was responsible.

Going forward, Twitter will crop using “saliency.” Saliency refers to the interestingness of a region of an image — how likely a viewer is to focus on it. The researchers cite studies showing that people tend to pay most attention to faces, text, animals, and regions of high color contrast.

IMAGE: TWITTER

 

The researchers have trained Twitter’s neural networks to find the most interesting parts of your photos in a very short amount of time, so you won’t notice delays while posting your photos.

Software engineers used a technique called “knowledge distillation” to train their algorithms to quickly approximate the most salient parts of your photos. While it might take a long time to make fine-tuned pixel-level predictions, Twitter’s neural networks do a speedy, more approximate version to get your photos up on time.

Engineers also used a technique called “pruning” to make sure the algorithm skips over features of your images that will take a while to investigate without yielding much benefit.

It’s a small update, but one that could dramatically improve your Twitter feed. You’ll see fewer weird, random thumbnails, and maybe even save time clicking.

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How to Turn Twitter Followers into Repeat Customers [Infographic]

Twitter is a powerful tool which businesses can use to build meaningful connections with new and existing customers, brand advocates, influencers, as well as a larger, engaged audience. It’s also an increasingly important platform for providing quick, efficient customer service – of the small and medium-sized businesses that utilize Twitter, 85% agree that it’s a key medium for customer support.

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How Pokemon Go Started – Infographic

Visual history of Pokemon Go creation – the timeline starts with John Hanke seeing the opportunity in interactive gaming back in 1996

Source: How Pokemon Go Started – Infographic

Since Pokemon Go launched on July 6th, 2016, it has grown faster than Tinder and Twitter. People spend twice more money on it than the gaming industry average and twice more users stay with the game than average.

People engage with Pokemons more than with Facebook. That makes it an anomaly, and, possibly, the next big thing. And this growth is only based on 8 countries where the app launched so far. How can anything grow this fast? The concept of Pokemon is not new. Neither is geolocation-based games, nor augmented reality. Reading the The Ultimate History of Video Games, you can start seeing why Pokemon Go works. The person behind the game, John Hanke who is now 49 years old, is himself surprised at how popular the game is. But not too surprised. He spent the last 20 years developing location-based interactive games. When in1996 he applied to a Berkeley MBA, in his application essay he outlined the opportunity in interactive gaming. How did he see this coming back then?

Infographic timeline of Pokemon Go history

Infographic timeline of Pokemon Go history by Anna Vital

It’s not entirely clear what Hanke did before 1996. We know that he graduated from Cross Plains High School in 1985. Then he received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas, Austin in 1989. He then spent some time in Myanmar (former Burma) and Washington D.C. working for the Department of State.Hanke started working on games seriously during his MBA. During the post dot-com bust years, Hanke co-founded Keyhole, a company creating geospatial visualization software. When Google acquired it, he stayed on to lead Google Earth, Google Maps, and Google StreetView development. He was also partially responsible for bringing Google Maps to the iPhone.

While many founders’ dreams run aground when their companies get acquired, Hanke not only founded a company inside Google in 2010, he was able to separate it from Google, and get Google to invest in it. How this happened is not clear. Why would Google want this to happen? Regardless, Google is one of the 3 investors in the company to this day.

The name “Niantic” comes from a Gold Rush era ship that ran aground and now lies underneath downtown San Francisco. Back when San Francisco was still called Yerba Buena, Niantic ferried tea and silk from China. But it’s fate soon changed – it was converted to a sperm whaler. It’s last voyage ironically was one of the first to bring gold seekers to San Francisco. Upon arrival, the ship was intentionally run aground and converted to a hotel. The ship is still underground in San Francisco’s financial district.

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The story evokes parallels to the philosophy behind Pokemon Go – discovering the hidden treasures of one’s neighborhood, seeing something new in places you thought were completely familiar, going outside to explore.

“Question the status quo,” John Hanke advises in his alma mater promo video, “”it’s probably not how things are always gonna be.” Interestingly, the answers for Hanke seem to be the obvious things most have ignored for years – virtually reality is not a new technology, neither is geolocation. The game encourages us to explore our same old neighborhood. Perhaps even meeting the same old people we would have met otherwise. It seems we’d prefer to meet them standing next to Pokemons rather than on Tinder. The pokemons themselves have been around for 20 years. So why something so non-revolutionary could become so popular? Paul Graham, the founder of Y Combinator answered this question in his essay “Schlep Blindness”.

Exclusive Telco Research Identifies a Clear Switching Process and Social Media Recommendations (Socialyse (Havas) & Twitter)

Paris – Exclusive research from Socialyse (Havas Group’s social media solution) shows that 63% of “switchers”i will change their mobile device, and 23% will change their device and carrier. The study identifies a clear switching process including four key phases –Information Gathering, Active Research, Decision Making and Deal Hunting. It also demonstrates the important role of social media: 25% will turn to Twitter to inform their decision, and Twitter ranks among the Top 5 point of contacts for research.

Socialyse Global Managing Director Séverin Naudet comments: “The mobile phone industry is extremely dynamic. With total worldwide mobile phone shipments of just under 2 billion units, the mobile phone industry will grow by over 10% this yearii. We’ve been working closely with global telco companies, and this study really demonstrates not only how social is a powerful business solution, but how Twitter, in particular, can influence and impact the purchase decision. Social brings ROI to advertisers.”

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Key Consumer Insights about Switching

The research provides keen insights into consumer attitudes and behaviors regarding switching their mobile devices and carriers:

  •   There are 3 key consumer motivations for a switch: improving current equipment, ie device and/or price; urgent needs like breakage or theft; and rewarding customer outreach at contract end-date. There were some differences by region: a higher level of motivation related to contracts in Europe and a higher level of motivation to change devices, plans or carriers in Latin America.
  •   For devices, the Top 5 criteria for a switch were (in order): Price, Technical Characteristics, Operating System, Camera Quality and Brand.
  •   For carriers, the Top 5 criteria for a switch were (in order): Network Coverage, Network Quality, Price, Internet Speed and Included Services.
  •   Despite being confused at first, most people feel positively about the change.
  •   Twitter users stay informed with news and deals available on the market, are more likely to be both experts and influencers for others seeking new devices or carriers, and are more at ease with switching.
  •   78% make their decision to switch in 1 month or less.Bruce Daisley, VP of Europe at Twitter, says: “Twitter plays a daily role in the lives of our users, and this research highlights how useful it can be in helping people across Europe make informed decisions about the telecom brands they turn to and the mobile products they buy. There are important lessons here for these brands and the industry. We found similarities in how people  approach switching from London, to Berlin, Madrid and Paris. And what’s fascinating is that Twitter can help make the process more positive. That says a lot about the platform.”

    Using Twitter to Influence Switching

    In addition to the consumer insights, the study also delivers clear recommendations on how to activate Twitter for telcos:

    •   With 25% of all respondents turning to Twitter to inform their choice of smartphone or carrier, use an everyday Twitter strategy and targeted messaging to reach users at the right time and right place.
    •   As a key touchpoint at each phase, tailor Twitter targeting to reach consumers at each distinct step in the Telco switching process: Information Gathering, Active Research, Decision Making and Deal Hunting.
    •   Consider influencer partnerships with Niche to combine the benefits of impartiality and trust with the existing power of utility and information that brands’ tweets have to drive purchase.
    •   Twitter is most impactful in the stages leading to a final decision in the switching journey. Combine an everyday strategy with TVxTwitter to drive campaign success.
    •   Twitter users tend to be more influential among their peer groups as layman experts in the telco field; Connect with and cultivate brand advocates on Twitter to grow a valuable base of earned brand coverage through outreach & advocacy.
    •   Seed promotions one month prior to the launch of a new device/plan to align with the average consumer switching cycle of 30 days.

      Methodology

      Research institute CSA contacted smartphone users aged 18-50 who have or will change their mobile device and/or plan in the past/next 3 months, across the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Brazil and Mexico. The study included two phases: 1) a qualitative analysis including focus groups and one-on- one interviews, and 2) an in-depth qualitative online survey.

     

    About Socialyse

    Launched in 2013, Socialyse is the social media solution of Havas Group. Socialyse provides a unique integrated and synchronized social media offer, including strategy, content, media and analytics. Innovative tools include the Social Rating Point and the powerful Socialyse Newsroom. With specialized talent and best-in-class technology, Socialyse guarantees both performance and prices. With over 720 social media experts based in 38 local offices and operating in 80 countries, Socialyse combines the agility of a startup and the strength of a powerful global network.

    Contact

    Robert Fridovich
    Tel +33 146933715
    Mob +33 632063816 robert.fridovich@havasmg.com

Social Rating Point Record pour Suède – Belgique: 11 ! TV et réseaux sociaux en synergie. (Source: CSA – Havas)

Au lendemain de la victoire des Belges et de leur accession aux 1/8 de finales, les équipes de CSA Belgium (Consumer Science and Analytics – Havas Group) ont analysé l’engagement des Belges sur les réseaux sociaux et en particulier sur Twitter.

En croisant cette donnée avec la couverture TV réalisée pour chaque match, CSA a donc pu obtenir l’index du Social Rating Point* des 3 matchs.

Notons au passage que 80% des 15-54 étaient présents devant leur écran pour suivre les matchs de poule.

#belita: 37.000 tweets pour une audience de 1,2Mio – SRP = 3

#belirl: 75.000 tweets pour une audience de 935K – SRP = 8

#swebel: 129.000 tweets pour une audience 1,2Mio = SRP = 11

Sans surprise, ce sont les hashtags officiels des matchs qui récoltent le plus franc succès – 70% du volume.

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Au niveau des joueurs, Romelu Lukaku est le joueur des Diables Rouges qui génère le plus de tweets, il faut bien l’avouer, desservi par sa prestation du premier match contre l’Italie.

Les équipes de CSA se sont également intéressées à la visibilité des Diables Rouges au niveau mondial. Résultat: 1 twittos sur 3 a eu minimum un tweet lié aux prestations des Diables dans son feed. Ce qui représente une audience globalisée de 90 millions d’utilisateurs! Belle visibilité donc pour notre équipe nationale.

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*SRP = Le SRP est calculés en divisant le volume de mentions d’une émission par son reach. Avec une base de données de plusieurs milliers d’émissions de télévision – chaînes généralistes et spécialisées -, ils permettent aujourd’hui de mieux comprendre les interactions sociales pour transformer positivement l’engagement du public en business potentiel.