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Why ‘the currency in Web 3.0 is not crypto, its trust’



Why ‘the currency in Web 3.0 is not crypto, its trust’

Unilever’s chief digital and commercial officer is on edge: the global internet is being transformed. But that won’t necessarily make it better. In fact, it could make it worse. 

“As we begin to create and invest in the next environment where people spend their time, and their money, we need to be clear on what we are building and what we need to prevent — amongst all the hype — to make sure people don’t have an experience that is riddled with scams,” said the advertiser’s Conny Braams at an event hosted by the World Federation of Advertisers in Athens, Greece yesterday. “The currency in Web 3.0, is not crypto, its trust.” she said.

Which is to say the shift to a decentralized version of the internet, or Web 3.0, is a chance to ditch some of its more dysfunctional elements. A move away from the “winner takes all” mindset to a “community above all” one. It won’t be easy, of course, given some of the internet’s most influential stakeholders are more incentivised to change tact than others. 

Nevertheless, the lessons drawn in hindsight are instructive. Braams outlined those lessons to Digiday, and more importantly how they inform Unilever’s approach to building businesses across the real world, social networks — and increasingly in virtual environments. 

Lessons learned of serving at the pleasure of kings

There are many words that could be used to describe the factitious relationship between the biggest tech companies and the advertisers that fund them, but nothing quite sums it up like “dysfunctional.” Even when marketers have wanted to spend less on the big platforms, they haven’t. The reach these platforms provide has overshadowed the risks of working with them time and again. It doesn’t have to be this way in Web 3.0, said Braams. Not if the stranglehold these companies have on rich data is disrupted. For the first time, that’s a possibility. 

“Consumers will own and subsequently have more control over their data,” said Braams. “In turn, they’ll be able to make more conscious choices over what happens to their data. And it’s this heightened awareness that will prevent a lot of the fallout we’re currently seeing around privacy.” 

At least that’s the hope. The value of this new internet can be easily confused with the pitfalls of the current one. As Braams outlined: “The challenges and concerns of consumers today will only be amplified in an environment where personal data becomes more personal. Regulation alone is not enough. Self-regulation alone is not enough. Self-restraint alone is not enough.”

If knowledge is power, knowing what you don’t know is wisdom

Braams doesn’t deal in absolutes. She can’t say with any real certainty that Web 3.0 won’t end up in the same mess that its predecessor has. She does, however, understand the limitations of her knowledge and how that allows her to avoid repeating the same mistakes — specifically the arbitrage problem at the heart of online media. Companies have built trillion-dollar businesses on the idea of hoovering up as much consumer data as possible, before packaging it up to sell at a premium. It gave consumers an abundance of content and advertisers unprecedented reach — the tech companies thrived on this opportunity. 

“I don’t have the power to know what we need to do specifically to prevent the issues around Web 2.0 happening again, but I do know that we’ve learned a lot from all those unintended consequences,” said Braams. “Not only do we have a clearer view on everything from a data driven economy to how algorithms treat content, but we also know how bad actors can really harm people virtually as well as their lives more broadly.”

Take transparency, for example. Big tech isn’t exactly known for being clear on how ads work or where data goes, leaving advertisers like Unilever to fill in the gaps. Trusted marketplaces, data clean rooms and in-housing are just some of the ways the advertiser has tried to get that clarity over the years. Expect those attempts to continue over into Web 3.0.

Braams expanded on the point: “We have the power to invest in the solutions and services that we think are the right ones to be building for this new phase of the internet.”

Responsible media

Sustainable investing was once seen as a niche. Now, it’s something marketers can no longer afford to ignore, especially when it comes to the content they fund. The problem is most acute online. Ever since the brand safety crisis emerged in 2017, the platforms have let legacy ad verification companies measure their inventory, leading to limited campaign insights. In response, the likes of Unilever and Heineken demanded actual data from those verification companies, particularly to see how they map to the standards set by the Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM). There’s often nothing under the hood, goes the thinking, beyond a PR release. This takes another dimension in a decentralized internet where the aim isn’t just to simply remove bad actors, but to educate them. 

“We’ve learned through initiatives like GARM to understand what we do and don’t want when it comes to working with responsible platforms and within a wider responsible infrastructure, Braams said. “People want the brands they buy to behave in a more cautious and conscious manner.”

Can tracking be saved for Web 3.0? The better question might be should it even exist?

Unsurprisingly, Braams isn’t sure either way. There’s just too much uncertainty around the future of tracking to have a clear view on what to do. What she is certain about, however, is the need to experiment with different solutions, from first-party identifiers through to contextual. No one player has an edge, as marketers like Braams are exploring all options. Whatever the outcome, data protection will be key, she continued. Otherwise, the ad industry ends up in a situation where swathes of indirect vendors are able to obtain and transact huge amounts of personal data in a highly opaque environment. 

“The personal data that we now have as advertisers is usually limited to a few traits that we know about people, but with Web 3.0 that becomes so much more,” said Braams. Think about it: the more control people have over the data the more they’re likely to share with the companies they trust in exchange for a service or product they deem of equal value. The concept is quite profound on closer inspection, continued Braams: “More people will start to ask themselves what they get in return for sharing their data. Do they like targeted advertising, for example, or would they prefer a personalized product instead.”

Commerce 3.0

Commerce has been going through irreversible change over the last several years, moving slowly toward an open economy for creators and buyers alike. The gap between e-commerce and media platforms has narrowed as a result. As Braams explained: “E-commerce platforms are giving marketers the opportunity to convert sales and build brand, while media platforms are allowing us to do it the other way round.”

Yes, this blurring of the lines between marketing and sales was in play well before now. But it’s got to a point where the line was so blurred that retail media has become a strategic way of investing in Unilever’s brands, said Braams. The company’s media spending is shifting accordingly. “Our investments in retail media are going up but we want to make sure that the consumer has a consistent experience across those different transactions.”

The trend has been in full swing in the last few years, and promises to move into overdrive in Web 3.0. Braams’ remit is a testament to this. Her role changed at the start of the month from chief digital and marketing officer to chief digital and commercial officer. 


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5 reasons you should buy a cheap phone over an expensive one



5 reasons you should buy a cheap phone over an expensive one
Moto G22 face down on top of a wall

The Moto G22 on a wall.
(Image credit: Future)

If you’re looking for a new phone, a key consideration is always budget – you want to buy the best phone you can afford. But maybe, even if you’ve got the money for a premium device, you should still opt for a cheap phone.

“Wait,” you’re probably thinking, “are you asking me to spend less than I’m able on my new phone?”  Yes, I am – you’re absolutely right.

You see, despite budget phones being weaker than premium ones in quite a few ways (obviously), there are a few departments in which they actually beat top-end models.

So we’re going to run through some different areas in which cheap phones actually trump their pricier rivals. 

1. It costs less money

Okay, we’ve got to start with the really, really obvious point. A cheap phone is – you guessed it – cheaper than an expensive one.

If you spend less on your phone, you’ve got more to spend on the best power banks, phone cases, charging cables, and so on. Plus, you’ve got extra for non-smartphone things. Y’know: bills, food, transport, and so on.

Smartphones operate on the rule of diminishing returns: a $400 smartphone is not twice as good as a $200 one, and a $1,200 phone isn’t twice as good as a $600 version or four times better in any way than a $300 one.

So if you want the best bang for your buck, a budget mobile will get you there.

Moto G9 Power

The Moto G9 Power has a massive battery. (Image credit: Future)

2. Much better battery life

Phones don’t have great battery life sometimes: when you factor in features like 5G, high refresh rates, top-end processors, and so on, a giant battery can get worn down incredibly quickly.

But you know what cheap phones don’t have? That’s right – any of those features. If a phone is 4G-only, has a low-res screen, and only runs with a middling chipset, it uses the battery at a much slower rate. All of the longest-lasting smartphones are budget ones.

That’s doubly the case when you consider that cheap phone makers like to use huge batteries in their phones – plenty have 5,000mAh power packs. Motorola has even used 6,000mAh ones in some phones, and certain Chinese rugged phone brands have gone even higher.

If you want a long-lasting phone, you’ve got to opt for a cheap handset with fewer features. It also makes such devices reliable for more extended periods.

3. Hardier designs

Glass has become one of the most commonly-used materials for smartphones – it adds to a premium-feeling build and looks good from all angles. 

But you know what glass isn’t? Durable. It can easily smash from an impact like a drop. It’s also slippery, making glass phones harder to hold. Because of this, mid-range and premium phones are more susceptible to damage, even if brands slap silly marketing terms on them like ‘Gorilla Glass Victus’ or ‘Ceramic Shield’.

Cheap phone makers generally stay away from glass. This is mainly because of cost, but it’s beneficial for affordable phone fans because plastic is hardier.

A plastic phone is much more likely to survive a drop or hard knock, letting you avoid the experience of having to get your device repaired as often (or ever, hopefully).

Realme 9 Pro Plus

The Realme 9 Pro Plus has a cool-looking, yet plastic, rear. (Image credit: Future)

4. Cooler chipsets

Cheap phones often have cooler chipsets. No, we don’t mean ‘sunglasses and Tommy Bahama shirt cool’ – we mean temperature-wise.

Premium phones get top-end chipsets, which provide loads of processing power for tasks like games. An annoying side-effect of loads of power, though, is that these chips can get incredibly hot if you use them for long periods.

Counter-intuitively, this means that mid-range chips can be better for gaming if you like playing for extended amounts of time, and don’t need the most top-end graphics available to you.

As you can imagine, budget phones often have weaker internals, so they generally don’t have overheating issues, and are fine for gaming. Plus, in this day and age, you rarely find phones that are slow, even in the lower-cost market.

5. A bigger range of fingerprint scanners

There’s a trend in the premium phone market towards in-screen fingerprint scanners, where the sensor for unlocking your phone is embedded under the display.

This is a fine way of unlocking your device for some, but if you prefer a back- or side-mounted scanner, you’re mostly out of luck at the top end of the market.

That’s not the case for cheap phones, though: you’ll find those digit sensors all over the place in the lower end of the market. Some phones have them in-screen, others have them on one or both sides of the phone, while plenty have the scanner on the back.

So if you like tapping the rear of your phone to unlock it, or caressing the side of the device, instead of just tapping the screen, budget devices are, in fact, the best phones for you.

Tom Bedford

Tom’s role in the TechRadar team is to specialize in phones and tablets, but he also takes on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK.

He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working in TechRadar freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist. Outside of TechRadar he works in film as a screenwriter, director and producer.

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We’re in love with this leaked Xbox Elite Series 2 controller design



We’re in love with this leaked Xbox Elite Series 2 controller design
An Xbox Elite Controller Series 2 in white

(Image credit: Nicholas Lugo)

The Xbox Elite Series 2 wireless controller looks like it’s getting a brand new color variant with a White Edition.

The Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 has so far only been available in its default black color scheme. But a short clip shared on Twitter (opens in new tab) by leaker Rebs Gaming shows off a new white edition in the flesh.

The clip starts by showing the premium Xbox Series X|S controller’s box. Next, we’re given a look at the controller itself, which wears a clean white-on-black coat.

All the usual Elite Controller bells and whistles are accounted for. That includes the carry case, swappable analog sticks and customizable back paddle buttons. It looks like the genuine article, though we’ve heard nothing from Microsoft to confirm if or when the pad will actually be released.

A sign of pads to come?

Leak: I think this is our first footage of the Xbox Elite Series 2 White Edition controller. A leaked image of the controller was shown by @IdleSloth84 back in March. Source: https://t.co/WfMCEk3FQv#Xbox #XboxOne #XboxSeriesX pic.twitter.com/t97qbaNPCuAugust 8, 2022

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Okay, sure, the White Edition isn’t exactly the most daring design Microsoft could’ve chosen for its Elite pad. But it’s nonetheless eye-catching. I think that keeping certain parts of the controller black – like the sticks and grips – is a smart aesthetic choice. They contrast really nicely with the white center.

The Elite Series 2 is an excellent controller. But it’s lacking the one thing that the regular Xbox Wireless Controller has in abundance: color options. We’ve seen countless bold designs for the standard Xbox controller, including an eye-popping special edition for Forza Horizon 5 and a stunning hot pink design. But the Elite hasn’t really had the same treatment yet.

I hope that this new White Edition not only comes to market, but that it’s also a gateway for more ambitious designs for Xbox’s top pad. Seriously, a purple Elite pad would be an instant buy for me, and probably for many others, too.

Rhys Wood

Rhys is Hardware Writer for TechRadar Gaming, and while relatively fresh to the role, he’s been writing in a professional capacity for years. A Media, Writing and Production graduate, Rhys has prior experience creating written content for app developers, IT firms, toy sellers and the main TechRadar site. His true passions, though, lie in video games, TV, audio and home entertainment. When Rhys isn’t on the clock, you’ll usually find him logged into Final Fantasy 14, Halo Infinite or Sea of Thieves.

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Street Fighter 6 is bringing the ‘80s (and feet) back



Street Fighter 6 is bringing the ‘80s (and feet) back

Here come some new challengers. At the end of EVO 2022’s Street Fighter V tournament, Capcom revealed two more characters coming to the roster of Street Fighter 6: Juri, the “I can fix her” returning fighter, and newcomer Kimberly, an ‘80s-obsessed teen.

Kimberly, the spunky new ninja, and Juri, the sadistic thrill-seeker, join #StreetFighter6 when it arrives in 2023! Spray cans, a portable cassette player, and motorcyles have never looked more fresh. ️ pic.twitter.com/Lnw87p27aP

— Street Fighter (@StreetFighter) August 8, 2022

Student of Guy and successor to the bushinryu tradition, Kimberly is spunky and colorful with an affinity for spray painting her enemies midmatch. Though Kimberly is a teenager and Street Fighter 6 seems to be set in the current day, she’s enamored with all things ‘80s, carrying around a cassette player that some younger players probably won’t even recognize.

It’s like Capcom is aware that, in addition to its younger audience, there’s a certain subset of older Street Fighter players rising from their creaking knees and aching back looking at the ‘80s with fondness. In that way, Kimberly is a send-up, a reminder of simpler times. In other ways, she’s a very rude reminder that those happy days are so far behind us now that current teenagers are adopting the aesthetic because it’s quaintly “retro.” Thanks, Capcom, for reminding me I’m old.

Accompanying Kimberly in the character reveal is Juri, a character first introduced in Street Fighter IV. Juri arrives in flashy style with an homage to the Akira slide that’s been having a moment lately, as it was also used to awesome effect in Jordan Peele’s Nope. Juri seems a bit edgier than Kimberly, stomping all over her enemies in bare feet emphasized in ways that would make Bob Odenkirk click “like.” It’s always neat when companies seemingly embrace the thirst players have for its characters.

We’ll get the chance to see more of Juri and Kimberly’s stories when Street Fighter 6 launches on Xbox, PC, and PlayStation in 2023.

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