Twitter is finally launching something that its users might actually want

Fortune

There’s been a lot of gloom and doom around Twitter recently, what with CEO Dick Costolo stepping down, amid criticism that he was ineffective in improving the company’s fortunes, and being replaced as interim CEO by co-founder Jack Dorsey. And when it comes to new products, it often seems as though they are designed primarily to please advertisers (i.e. auto-play videos) rather than to enhance the user experience.

So in that respect, it’s kind of a refreshing change of pace to see that the company is working on something that looks as though it might actually be useful, possibly even enjoyable—and could fill one of the holes that many say exist in the service.

The company recently gave BuzzFeed a look at a new offering currently known as Project Lightning. From the description, it sounds very much like what Twitter has been trying to do for some time—including…

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GM is getting back into a major auto segment

Fortune

General Motors [fortune-stock symbol=”GM”] is planning to re-enter the U.S. market for medium-duty work trucks, according to a report, signaling the automaker’s return to a growing and potentially lucrative section of the automotive space where it has been absent for several years.

GM will develop the new vehicle with its longtime partner Isuzu, a Japanese automaker. Isuzu will build the truck, called the N-Series, but it will be branded and sold by GM in the U.S. under the Chevrolet nameplate, reports The Wall Street Journal.

This isn’t a terribly strange arrangement. The Journal notes that GM already buys vans produced by Nissan and sells them in the U.S.

The return to the medium-duty work truck market is another attempt by GM’s CEO Mary Barra to re-establish the GM brand, the Journal said. The automaker abandoned the segment of the automotive market in 2009 when it went through a bankruptcy…

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Special effects company behind ‘Star Wars’ building virtual reality lab

Fortune

If you love Star Wars, you’ve seen the incredible work that special effects company Industrial Light & Magic does in creating amazing characters and special effects. Now, the company founded by George Lucas wants to make the cinema experience even more immersive by bringing virtual reality technology into the mix.

The project is called the ILM Experience Lab, and will put viewers directly into the world of their favorite films, USA Todayreports.

“ILMxLab is all about us leveraging our skills across all platforms,” Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy told the newspaper. “It’s the Wild West out there with new frontiers, and we’re all figuring out these new tools. Today, technology is in search of content. But we can bring an emotional experience to that technology.”

The first products this new division creates are expected to be related to Star Wars and debut later this year. The next film in…

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This company wants to be the ESPN of eSports

Fortune

Casey Wehr, CEO and founder of PVP Live, wants his company to become the “ESPN of eSports.”

ESPN has largely ignored eSports outside of a partnership with MLG that pipes X-Games eSports through the ESPN3 digital channel and the recent first-ever ESPN: The Magazine video game issue.

PVP Live, meanwhile, is a startup that has big aspirations, and some big viewership and engagement numbers to back up its goals after spending a year in stealth mode.

“ESports fans are some of the most passionate and dedicated audiences across all interests, easily comparable to traditional sports,” Wehr says. “And yet they have extremely limited options compared to their cousins in traditional sports. A baseball fan can get live stats, streaming video, newsletters, desktop widgets, mobile apps, satellite channels—the list is nearly endless. But for eSports fans, the options are essentially low-fi streaming tournaments and blogs. We believe eSports fans deserve the…

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