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INESC TEC researchers receive 100 thousand euros from the Google Innovation Fund

Google's Digital News Initiative (DNI) innovation fund, which aims to support and encourage innovation in digital journalism over the next three years, has offered around € 100,000 to fund two projects by researchers at INESC TE’s Centre for Information Systems and Computer Graphics (CSIG), developed jointly by the University of Porto.

Rui Rodrigues and Rui Nóbrega are responsible for building a prototype where the goal is to improve the viewing of 360-degree videos, completing the digital journalism narratives by drawing the viewers’ attention to relevant aspects. This new project focuses on two important components. Firstly, the idea is to allow journalists to create, in an interactive way, annotations for 360-degree videos (texts, images, etc.), associated with different points of interest, which can be fixed (such as monuments in a square) or mobile (like two people moving in a room). Also, the viewers’ attention is drawn to points of interest, even if they are not directly in their line of sight. This means that the visualisation of these videos has an additional dynamic layer, where contents are updated according to the orientation of the observer.

The other project funded by Google is led by Sérgio Nunes. The project resulted from the platform JornalismoPortoNet, an online news outlet developed by Communication Science students at the University of Porto, as part of the Media Innovation Labs (MIL). The prototype aims to take advantage of all the scientific work produced at the University by creating analysis software that makes it possible to filter complex information and to extract the most important data for journalists, using numerous sources such as theses, dissertations and articles.

Over 800 applications from 25 countries have been submitted for funding. In the second investment round, about 1.6 million euros had already been attributed to digital journalism projects in Portugal.

Since October last year, when the first investment round started, the DNI has already distributed a total of 51 million euros to various projects.

Ludovic Blecher, director of the DNI, announced that during this second round, Google would be providing €150 million in a “commitment to helping create new approaches and give European news organisations of all sizes the opportunity to create new things, to experiment and innovate in the digital space.”

In addition to the main criteria such as impact, innovation and feasibility, projects should also focus on collaboration, prioritising collaborative approaches between publishers, academics, designers and entrepreneurs, in one country or in Europe. The goal is to promote cooperation between countries, between newsrooms and specialities in order to leverage the European news ecosystem with new ideas and new technologies.

The DNI has more than 160 members of the European news industry and is focused on funding new journalistic approaches based on three pillars of development: products, research and training.

The INESC TEC researchers mentioned in this news piece are associated with INESC TEC and UP-FEUP.

INESC TEC, November 2016

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