👁️‍🗨️Ad-blocking levels up 👱Facebook's plans for Messenger domination and partying crayfish 🎈

New ad-blocking tech, Facebook's vision for assistants and virtual reality and a treasure trove of da
👁️‍🗨️Ad-blocking levels up 👱Facebook's plans for Messenger domination and partying crayfish 🎈
By Connected Paths (Riaz Kanani) • Issue #14
New ad-blocking tech, Facebook’s vision for assistants and virtual reality and a treasure trove of data from Steve Ballmer get things started this week before wrapping up with how Uber misuses behavioural economics, a trip down Apple memory lane and some drunk crayfish.

Ad wars
 David Evers/Wikimedia Commons
David Evers/Wikimedia Commons
The fight between publishers and ad-blockers has been ongoing for many many years now. The rise in use of ad blockers has led to a similar rise in anti-ad-blocking technology so publishers can detect when they are present.
The next evolution in ad blocking is not going to make life any easier for publishers though. A group from Princeton has shown a proof of concept that looks at the page visually rather than through code and decides what is and isn’t an ad. This means that it can detect sponsored posts in Facebook that previous ad-blocking technology could not distinguish. Read more here.
Facebook Messenger to rule them all
Getty Images
Getty Images
After last week’s clash of the home assistants, as I was watching Facebook’s annual conference it is clear that Facebook also believes it can dominate in this space, though through your mobile phone rather than a physical device in the home. For the most part their assistant M hasn’t hit the shores of the UK yet but Wired has a look at their plans to increase the capabilities of the Messenger app. Read more here.
Facebook and VR
Facebook also showcased its plans for virtual reality with the preview of Facebook Spaces. It allows you to hang out and chat in virtual spaces. It is all a bit cartoonish which seems to remove the benefit of seeing body language and therefore any real benefits but it is early days and I suspect we will see some niche uptake at this point. Read more here.
On an aside, for those with long memories, Microsoft once had a social networking platform called Spaces. It didn’t go so well but what’s in a name!
In an age of fake news..
Stephen Brashear/Getty Images
Stephen Brashear/Getty Images
Microsoft has been reaching new heights since Ballmer’s departure but he hasn’t bit sitting on his laurels since. It turns out owning basketball team, the Los Angeles Clippers was just a side project. Instead he has been trying to figure out what government really does with money. It is publicly available at USFacts and allows you to drill into the numbers and understand the data. A data geek’s dream no less. Worth reading more about whats available here.
Childhood memories
The Internet Archive is a great place to see how websites have changed over the years. Now they have released an emulator of old Mac applications. You can see Flight Simulator, Frogger and Lode Runner; and even full versions of MacOS System 6.0.8 and 7.0.1. so you can see how little macOS has changed ;) Read more here.
Uber and Behavioural Economics
PROSerge Melki
PROSerge Melki
It isn’t a secret that Uber has been using behavioural economics insights to influence drivers’ behavior. They employs hundreds of social and data scientists and have played with gamification to get the productivity gains they desire from their drivers. This HBR article drills into the detail around Uber’s approaches and how using these techniques can be used for good and bad. HT Jennie.
Frat-boy crustaceans
It is not quite behavioural economics but research into crayfish suggests that people who have the previous few days in company got drunk about 25% faster than those that had been kept in solitary confinement. Read the full story here.  HT Mike.
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Connected Paths (Riaz Kanani)
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