Ypulse Essentials: Xbox Is The Future Of TV, Google+'s 17%, Sony's Pre-Release Digital Downloads

Xbox Live Microsoft is billing its upgrade of the Xbox Live platform (as the “future of TV.” The new user interface comes with a wealth of content from video partners, including 26 live channels from Verizon Fios, thousands of On Demand options from Comcast, apps for networks like Syfy, an improved Netflix app, and a new YouTube app. Oh, and there’s also cloud storage for a better video experience, as well as to enable users to access their media on any Xbox they sign into. The Xbox is looking less and less like a gaming device, and more like a media server on steroids. The update officially rolls out to users tomorrow. Here’s a walk through showing the interface and improved voice controls. This system is definitely built with Millennials in mind. Of course, Apple is also planning to revolutionize the home screen with iTV. There’s not doubt that Apple wins having iTunes vs. Microsoft’s Zune, but Xbox has an advantage with 56 million Xboxes out there already. Who do you think will win the war?) (VentureBeat) (The Verge) (Advance TV)

- Here’s an infographic about Google+ users (but the most interesting stat by far is that a mere 17% of those with accounts on the site are active users. Time for a new catch phrase: We are the 83%... In other social media news, Facebook has reportedly acquired Gowalla, a social check-in site similar to Foursquare, which means it may have plans to make its Places Deals revolution a reality) (PR Daily) (Telegraph)

- Hailee Steinfeld may not have landed the role of Katniss in ‘Hunger Games’ (but she’s won another coveted role in Hollywood: that of Petra Arkanian in the film adaptation of “Ender’s Game,” the story of future children being groomed to lead Earth’s army in an epic interstellar battle. Elsewhere in movie news, Sony has announced it will be making another…


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Quote of the Day: “My financial priority is getting a job and getting out of my parents’ house.” –Male, 20, WA

Virtual reality is poised to become an entertainment game-changer—could it revolutionize education as well? Google is pioneering Expeditions, a new “virtual field trip” program that reaches out to schools with lessons that integrate virtual reality viewers. Expensive VR headsets are not necessary since Google Cardboard is used, allowing a very new technology to be brought into classrooms at an early stage. (NYTimes)

Millennials are bringing their financial preferences to wedding planning. A survey from The Knot and PayPal found that 44% of couples wish they could make all their vendor payments via smartphone, and 42% were surprised their vendors did not accept electronic payments. They also want the “I do” day to be money-hassle-free: 70% think automated payments for remaining balances on the wedding day would be helpful. (MarketWatch)

Smartphones present a whole new set of social problems for Millennials—especially when they’re using them while drinking. New app Drunk Mode, targeting college kids, is designed to make phones safe to use while under the influence: select contacts are hidden for 12 hours to prevent dangerous drunk dialing, the “Find My Drunk” feature uses GPS to help users find drunk friends, and there are also tools for hailing safe rides and retracing intoxicated footsteps. (Springwise)

After years of magical, mystical creatures and dystopian horror stories ruling YA shelves, a new wave of novels are making more relatable narratives popular again. According to Scholastic, “realism is on the rise,” and books that feature the problems of real-world teens are the next big thing. Recent examples include 21 PromsHomeroom Diaries, and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, which was also turned into a feature film. (Scholastic)

In 2014, designer Rebecca Minkoff opened her stores of the future, featuring digital fitting rooms with large, mirrored touch screen walls that allow visitors to browse the latest collections, runway shows, photos, and other brand content . Almost a year later, those tech dressing rooms are being credited with tripling expected clothing sales. Minkoff says, “Trying something on signifies intent, and the customer may not have been thinking about buying a dress, but they see it suggested on the screen and know to ask for it.” (Digiday)

Quote of the Day: “My biggest financial goal is Financial independence from my parents.” –Female, 22, MA

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