SoundHound rolls out new app, Shazam gets major label money

Music identification specialist SoundHound unveiled a new version of its iOS, Android, Windows phone and Blackberry apps Thursday, offering new ways for users to explore the results of their song searches. The app, which offers the ability to identify songs by listening in what’s playing around you or having users hum a melody, also expanded its lyrics catalog, which it displays in real-time while a song is playing. The new version comes just as competitor Shazam reportedly secured some smaller investments from the major record companies. The three majors each took a $3 million stake in the company, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Standardizing the Second Screen

Content recognition technology has been around for a decade or more in various forms, including watermark detection and digital fingerprinting. But its purpose has generally been to enable various types of B2B content authentications or to trigger anti-piracy measures, not to enable interactivity.

Your next TV set may show you advertising spots you actually like

Media data specialist Gracenote wants to show you ads that matter to what you watch and who you are. To do so, the company is looking to embed video recognition and ad swapping technology right into the TV set. First trials are set to start 2013.

Shazam exec: The second screen is where it’s at

Shazam’s mobile app is now able to recognize almost any TV show on more than 160 U.S. TV channels – but it isn’t looking to take those smarts into the set-top box space any time soon. One reason: Interactive TV just doesn’t have the same scale.

Certified Refurbished Macs One Way to Help Weather the Economic Storm

icon-mac

Apple (s aapl) is taking a lot of stick (even more than usual) about hanging tough with premium pricing despite the global financial meltdown, and it almost never offers discounts or sales. So how can budget-constrained Macheads economize on system upgrades? One solution is to buy a less-expensive model than the one you would have perhaps preferred. Another is get an Apple Certified Refurbished machine instead of going new.

If you’re not familiar with Apple Certified Refurbished (ACR) products, here are the broad strokes: ACR units are pre-owned (or in some instances, such as store demos, never-sold) Apple products that undergo Apple’s stringent refurbishment process prior to being offered for sale. Most of these units have been returned under Apple’s Return and Refund Policies, but according to Apple, only some of them are returned due to technical issues. In any event, all ACR units undergo Apple’s quality refurbishment process.

  • Full functionality testing (including burn-in testing).
  • Refurbishing with replacement parts and components for any defective modules identified in testing.
  • Thoroughly cleaned and inspected.
  • Complete repackaging by Apple, including appropriate manuals, cables, etc. (albeit in a brown cardboard carton rather than one with full color lithographs on the box)
  • Operating software that originally shipped with the unit and any custom software offered with that system.
  • A new refurbished part number and serial number.
  • A final QA inspection.
  • Quality testing follows the same basic technical guidelines as Apple’s Finished Goods testing procedures.

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