Snapchat Adds Chat and Video Calls

Most messaging apps have become all-in-one solutions, offering video calls, image sharing and even gaming, with the notable exception of Snapchat. Now the ephemeral messaging platform is widening its functionality, adding text chat with the ability to have a FaceTime-like video call if both users are online. These, of course, will be destroyed upon leaving the chat unless you use a save for later functionality on select messages. The addition of these features will likely boost engagement but will Snapchat lose some differentiation? Video calls are not saved by default on most services and text typically does not carry the same privacy concerns as images.

Me Want Cookies: Advertisers Pay 3X More For Interest-Based Ads

A study from the Digital Advertising Alliance found that advertisers will pay 3x more for cookie-based ads and 7x more if the cookie is 90 days old. Amidst White House efforts to review privacy implications of Big Data this week, groups like the IAB and DAA are hoping these numbers will position advertising as the lifeblood of the internet. For instance, 60% of small websites ad revenue comes from interest-based ads. Yet, the industry will need to do a better job of being transparent and educating the public on data and targeting if they want to maintain consumer trust. Companies like Enliken are already doing that, providing a service to ad networks and brands which makes it easy for the public to see which consumer segments they have been categorized in.

PDP Releases Xbox One “Eye-Patch”

For Xbox users who own Kinects, the spectre of privacy infringement looms large. Indeed, with the Xbox One and the Kinect 2.0, Microsoft has had to reassure customers that their hardware won’t be used for spying on living rooms and people’s lives. For customers who remain unconvinced, PDP is now selling a solid layer of plastic over the device’s infrared and color camera sensors – for just $20 on Amazon. It retains the important voice control of the Kinect, but ensures that Microsoft can’t see into users’ lives. If products like this sell, it will prove just how hesitant consumers really are about new technology and privacy implications. 

Teens Share More Information On Social Media

According to a study by Pew Internet, Teens now share more information about themselves on social media sites than they have in the past. At the same time, though, they are more protective about privacy issues, and take privacy-protective actions. Contrarily, Teens do not express concerns about third-parties accessing their data, and only 9% of teens say that they are “very” concerned. Teens are sharing more information about themselves than they were in 2006: 91% post a photo of themselves; 71% post their school name, and 53% post their email addresses. At the same time, 60% have their profiles set to private, and report high levels of confidence in being able to manage their privacy settings. Whether this view is naive or not remains to be seen, but what is sure is that Teens are sharing data at an increasing rate, and believe that this data is at least partially secure from third parties. Companies like Ghostery have begun to expose the third-party tracking and the extent to which it stretches, but for the most part the population remains relatively unaware of the extent of third-party tracking. 

Mozilla’s Cookie Policy Divides Publishers

Mozilla’s decision to not store third-party cookies by default has divided online publishers. Many publishers that have embraced cookie-based targeting available through ad exchanges will suffer as a result of the new policy. On the other hand, the premium publishers that offer direct ad sales will be able to value their content more highly without programmatic buying available for many Firefox users. It will be interesting to see if any other browsers follow suit with Mozilla.

AT&T And Verizon Offer Hyper-Targeted Deals

Carriers AT&T and Verizon are sitting on some of the most valuable consumer data available so it’s not surprising their creating their own marketing services. AT&T’s offering, called AT&T Alerts will deliver location-based SMS offers while Verizon is leveraging location, demographics and browsing history to deliver personalized deals. Both products require users to opt-in, given the sensitive user data and recent privacy concerns like the Carrier IQ incident.

Pew Research Tackles Consumers Privacy Concerns

A new Pew Internet Project and the Berkman Center for Internet & Society report called Parents, Teens and Online Privacy indicates that 46 percent of parents are “very concerned” about how much information advertisers collect about their kids, with another 35 percent saying they’re “somewhat concerned.” These fears rank only slightly behind concerns about reputation management and interactions with strangers online— indicating that a popular push for increased regulation could certainly be in the cards in the years to come.