Lots of items that feel significant in this week’s digital news.

Ikea sells connected home stuff, a publisher sues an ad tech company, visual search comes to smartphones, and brains meld with computers.

Palmer Luckey leaves Facebook

Oculus confirmed Luckey’s departure in a statement to TechCrunch which the publisher says “reads about as much as a eulogy as it does a farewell.”

“Palmer will be dearly missed..Palmer’s legacy extends far beyond Oculus. His inventive spirit helped kickstart the modern VR revolution and build an industry. We’re thankful for everything he did for Oculus and VR, and we wish him all the best.”

Luckey has been lying low since a Daily Beast article revealed his involvement and funding of a pro-Trump troll group called Nimble America.

More from TechCrunch

IKEA enters IoT market

Ikea now sells smart light bulbs, a lighting hub, and a motion detector.

The hub connects products using a home ethernet connection, allowing for multiple smart light bulbs to be hooked up. The system ($79.99 for a hub, switch and two lightbulbs) works much like the more expensive Philips Hue.

Trådfri (wireless in Swedish) is available in selected European markets. More on IoT.


Guardian takes legal action against Rubicon Project

The Guardian is preparing to file a lawsuit against ad tech company Rubicon Project. The publisher alleges Rubicon Project ‘did not disclose buyer fees in relation to Guardian inventory’, according to Business Insider.

A Rubicon Project spokesperson said the buyer fees are disclosed, including in a contract it signed with The Guardian.

The Guardian’s is seeking to claim back single-digit millions from the SSP, relating to advertising over a number of years.

Too many emoji?

New emoji are released in June. Kate Knibbs argues we now need emoji search.

Though Apple uses a predictive emoji feature based on what you type, arguably a search facility would help. Some third party keyboards include this functionality, but Kate wants Apple to sort it out.


Bixby visual search looks cool

Bixby, Samsung’s intelligent assistant on the new S8 smartphone includes visual search. The feature is powered by Pinterest’s Lens functionality.

Point the camera at an object and Bixby will display recommendations or additional contextual information. Interestingly, the feature also allows for text recognition.

More from IPG Media Lab.

Elon Musk’s neural lace

Elon Musk, already maker of spaceships and autonomous cars, is set to launch a company called Neuralink which will connect computers to your thoughts.

A ‘neural lace’ (a term coined by Iain M. Banks in his sci-fi Culture novels) involves electrodes implanted in the brain.

Neuralink was registered in California last July as a medical research company. Musk has been talking about the idea for the past few months, but the WSJ suggests his company is ready to launch.

Facebook rolls out Stories functionality

A new Facebook Camera feature allows users to overlay special effects on photos and videos. Users can then share them to Facebook Stories, a Snapchat-esque feature above the News Feed.

Photos or video can also be shared to the feed, or sent as a disappearing private message through the new Facebook Direct.

Yep, the Stories functionality has now taken over social media. Our writer Bola Awoniyi looks at how marketers should react.

facebook stories

Square launches in the UK

Square, the payments company headed up by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, has launched in the UK.

The UK’s 5.4m small businesses, of which Square says half do not take card payments, will now be able to use Square’s credit card reader.

In July 2016, Square incorporated Squareup Europe Ltd in Britain, with many suggesting a rollout further into Europe will come next.

Square currently operates in Australia, Canada, Japan, the UK and the US. More from Reuters.

Coke runs latest influencer video campaign on Facebook not YouTube

Coca-Cola recently called time on CokeTV, its YouTube channel featuring popular YouTubers. Now the brand is shifting video to Facebook with ‘Diet Coke Break’, involving Holly Willoughby and a bunch of online influencers.

The 16 part series will cover friendship, beauty, travel and fashion, and run until November.

Accenture Interactive and Fjord will move into Karmarama offices

Accenture bought independent agency Karmarama in November last year. It’s a sign of how Accenture Interactive plans to integrate its agencies that Fjord’s 100+ London staff are moving into the floor above Karmarama’s 250 staff in Farringdon.

Now read: Culture and digital transformation: How Fjord builds a living business