Twitch’s creators and developers gain a new revenue stream with launch of Bits in Extensions

Twitch’s Bits, a virtual good that allows fans to cheer on their favorite streamers, have been one of the ways Twitch creators could make money from their channels while also recognizing and rewarding their top fans. Today, the game streaming site is expanding the power of those Bits by allowing them to now be used with Twitch’s Extensions.

Extensions, launched in August 2017, let streamers customize their channel with add-ons like polls, leaderboards, tickers, game history and more. There are now more than 150 of these add-ons — some of which are mobile-friendly — and more than 2,000 developers signed up to create them.

Starting today, developers can customize their Extensions with interactive experiences they can charge for, using Bits. That is, viewers will be able to pay to take advantage of these new experiences, with a portion of the revenue being returned to the Extension’s developer.

At launch, Twitch says 80 percent of the revenue share associated with Bits in Extensions will go to the creator — as they’re the ones driving traffic to the Extension through their channel. The remaining 20 percent of the revenue will then go to the Extension developer.

Extensions with Bits will be available to every Twitch Affiliate and Partner with a Bits-enabled channel.

Several Extensions have already enabled Bits, Twitch says.

In Tilted Trivia by, viewers can test their video game knowledge across a number of top titles, like Fortnite, League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Overwatch, Grand Theft Auto V and Hearthstone.

OneView by Esports One will let viewers predict when things will happen in League of Legends; Bit Arcade will offer arcade classics that can be played while watching a game; Poll by iPowow lets viewers guide what the streamer does next; and Rock Paper Bits by Maestro lets streamers start an impromptu Rock Paper Scissors tournament.

Other Bits-enabled Extensions will include those offering a priority queue for joini

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Facebook’s new authorization process for political ads goes live in the US

Earlier this month — and before Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress — the company announced a series of changes to how it would handle political advertisements running on its platform in the future. It had said that people who wanted to buy a political ad — including ads about political “issues” — would have to reveal their identities and location and be verified before the ads could run. Information about the advertiser would also display to Facebook users.

Today, Facebook is announcing the authorization process for U.S. political ads is live.

Facebook had first said in October that political advertisers would have to verify their identity and location for election-related ads. But in April, it expanded that requirement to include any “issue ads” — meaning those on political topics being debated across the country, not just those tied to an election.

Facebook said it would work with third parties to identify the issues. These ads would then be labeled as “Political Ads,” and display the “paid for by” information to end users.

According to today’s announcement, Facebook will now begin to verify the identity and the residential mailing address of advertisers who want to run political ads. Those advertisers will also have to disclose who’s paying for the ads as part of this authorization process.

This verification process is currently only open in the U.S. and will require Page admins and ad account admins to submit their government-issued ID to Facebook, along with their residential mailing address.

The government ID can either be a U.S. passport or U.S. driver’s license, a FAQ explains. Facebook will also ask for the last four digits of admins’ Social Security Number. The photo ID will then be approved or denied in a matter of minutes, though anyone declined based on the quality of the uploaded images won’t be prevented from trying again.

The address, however, will be verified by mailing a letter with a unique access code that only the admin’s Facebook account can use. The letter may take up to 10 days to arrive, Facebook notes.

Along with the verification portion, Page admins will also have to fill in who paid for the ad in the “disclaimer” section. This has to include the organization(s) or person’s name(s) who funded it.

This info

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Chariot will start providing transportation data to SF

Chariot, the commuter shuttle provider owned by Ford, has received a private transit program permit to operate more safely and, ideally, have less of an impact on public transit in San Francisco.

As part of the program, Chariot cannot make stops in crosswalks, traffic lanes and Muni stops. Instead, Chariot must load and unload passengers in legal curb spaces, which includes white passenger loading zones and yellow commercial loading zones.

To be clear, this program is different from the SFMTA’s agreement with companies pertaining to employer-provided shuttles. In the program with corporate shuttles, companies pay to use Muni bus zones.

Chariot must ensure new routes complement, rather than replicate, pre-existing Muni routes, as well as provide San Francisco with GPS and ridership data in order to enable the city to better understand the company’s impact.

Chariot is the only private transit provider that applied for and received a permit. What prompted the permitting program were complaints from the public pertaining to stopping in unsafe locations, traveling on restricted streets and a lack of accessibility for people with disabilities.

While the SFMTA was reviewing Chariot’s application, the two worked together to move more than 100 of Chariot’s stops from illegal locations to safer loading places. As part of a condition of the permit, Chariot must identify safe and legal alternatives for the remaining nine percent of the company’s roughly 204 locations by the end of August.

Back in October, Chariot was forced to temporarily halt rides in San Francisco after the company failed to pass an inspection by the California Public Utilities Commission.

I’ve reached out to Chariot and the SFMTA. I’ll update this story if I hear more.

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A university is giving scholarships to top Fortnite players

A Midwestern university wants to recruit the nation’s best Fortnite players for its varsity esports team, and it’s throwing out the dough to bring on some quality talent.

Ashland University in Ohio will embrace the feverishly popular battle royale title into its competitive esports program, which it will officially launch this fall. Fortnite will join the team’s current competitive-title teams League of Legends, Overwatch, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Rocket League. Interested gamers can hit up this form to apply to the program.

“Fortnite appeals to both the core and casual gaming audience,” the school’s esports head coach Josh Buchanan said in a release. “We’re excited to provide this platform for gamers who want to showcase their skills in a more competitive space. Fortnite facilitates an environment that allows players to get creative, innovate and show off their mastery of their skills.”

Admission in the school’s undergraduate program with room and board on the Ashland campus goes for $31,284 full-price, so the $4,000 scholarship offers a nice incentive, but this is probably best for people who have other reasons to go to Ashland University in Ohio, as well.

The embrace the title has already received from the gaming community is pretty notable. It’s one of the most-streamed titles on gaming sites and there are millions of people playing concurrently.

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Google beats expectations again with 3115B in revenue

Alphabet, Google’s parent company, reported another pretty solid beat this afternoon for its first quarter as it more or less has continued to keep its business growing substantially — and is growing even faster than it was a year ago today.

Google said its revenue grew 26% year-over-year to $31.16 billion in the first quarter this year. In the first quarter last year, Google said its revenue had grown 22% between Q1 of 2016 and Q1 of 2017. All this is a little convoluted, but the end result is that Google is actually growing faster than it was just a year ago despite the continued trend of a decline in its cost-per-click — a rough way of saying how valuable an ad is — as more and more web browsing shifts to mobile devices. Last year, Google said it recorded $24.75 billion in the first quarter.

Once again, Alphabet’s “other bets” — its fringe projects like autonomous vehicles and balloons — showed some additional health as that revenue grew while the losses shrank. That’s a good sign as it looks to explore options beyond search, but in the end it still represents a tiny fraction of Google’s overall business. This was also the first quarter that Google is reporting its results following a settlement with Uber, where it received a slice of the company as it ended a spat between its Waymo self-driving division and Uber.

Here’s the final scorecard:

Revenue: $31.16 billion, compared to $30.36 billion Wall Street estimates and up 26% year-over-year. Earnings: $9.93 per share adjusted, compared to $9.28 per share from Wall Street Other Revenues: $4.35 billion, up from $3.27 billion in Q1 last year Other Bets: $150 million, up from $132 million in Q1 2017 Other Bets losses: $571 million, down from $703 million in the first quarter last year TAC as a % of Revenue: 24% Effective tax rate: 11%, down from 20% in Q1 2017

In the end, it’s a beat compared to what Wall Street wanted, and it’s getting a very Google-y response. Investors were looking for earnings of $9.35 per share on $30.36 billion in revenue. Google’s stock is up around 2% in extended trading, which for Google is adding more than $10 billion in value as it races alongside Microsoft and Amazon to chase Apple as the most valuable company in the world by market

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