YouTube Updates Its User Interface with New Look, Features

YouTube is getting a user interface update that includes a darker night mode and, for mobile users, a pinch-to-zoom feature similar to that used for photos on Android and iOS devices. Additionally, a new frame-by-frame search lets users find an exact moment within a video using thumbnails. YouTube’s watch page also gets a refresh, with links in the video descriptions restyled as buttons, while common actions (“like,” “share,” “download”) have been formatted for a cleaner look. On watch and channel pages, the subscribe button has been redesigned to stand out more, which should help creators. Continue reading YouTube Updates Its User Interface with New Look, Features

Amazon Launches Updates to Its Prime Video User Interface

Amazon is rolling out a redesigned Prime Video app for Android and connected living room devices, including Fire TV for customers worldwide, with iOS and web to follow. The company says the new interface will make discovery and navigation much easier. Among the visual enhancements are a Top 10 Chart showcasing trending Prime Video content and “Super Carousel” displays with “poster-style artwork” for Amazon Originals. Also emphasized is graphical distinction between content included with Prime memberships versus that which is available for general purchase. Continue reading Amazon Launches Updates to Its Prime Video User Interface

Meta Launches WhatsApp Cloud API for Business, Enterprise

WhatsApp is now offering commercial services to businesses that want the global messaging app, which now has more than a billion users. The WhatsApp Cloud API lets companies build their own WhatsApp dashboard to chat with customers. WhatsApp was purchased by Facebook, now Meta Platforms, in 2014 for a reported $22 billion, and this expansion is the company’s first serious attempt to monetize the platform. Speaking at a “Conversations” live event last week, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the new WhatsApp Cloud API was for businesses “big and small.” Continue reading Meta Launches WhatsApp Cloud API for Business, Enterprise

Apple Buys Primephonic, Plans to Debut Classical Music App

Apple officially inked a deal to acquire Primephonic, a popular classical music streaming service. The tech giant reportedly plans to launch a standalone classical music app sometime in 2022. Due to the acquisition, Primephonic stopped accepting new customers immediately and will temporarily go offline on September 7, when Apple begins to integrate the app into Apple Music. Apple told worried fans that it will combine Primephonic’s classical user interface “that fans have grown to love with more added features.” Continue reading Apple Buys Primephonic, Plans to Debut Classical Music App

Amazon Will Debut New UI for Fire TV Stick 4K, Fire TV Cube

Next month, Amazon is slated to launch a new Fire TV interface for its Fire TV Stick 4K and Fire TV Cube streaming devices. In 2016, Amazon pioneered the “content-first user experience,” which listed rows of movies and TV shows from various streaming apps on the home TV. This idea was picked up by many others in the industry, including Google, Vizio and LG. But, as the number of streaming services has expanded, this model has become unwieldy and chaotic — and Amazon is about to rein it in via a simplified navigation bar. Continue reading Amazon Will Debut New UI for Fire TV Stick 4K, Fire TV Cube

French Firm Shows a Robot Stylus That Demos Screen Apps

Key Infuser is demonstrating a cellphone-sized robot stylus called KiOne that can demo touch displays and the apps behind them. The full system includes a robotic arm, a video display screen, and a base containing the hardware and code to drive the demo. The entire unit is the size of a toaster oven and fits comfortably on a counter top. Retailers can use it to continuously demonstrate new products with touchscreen UIs, freeing up staff time for higher value customer service activities. Companies could use the technology to provide on-demand training of touchscreen-based applications to visual learners. Continue reading French Firm Shows a Robot Stylus That Demos Screen Apps

CES: The Next Wave of Immersive Media Tech and Markets

For a long time, we have posited that the future of immersive media will be 10 percent virtual reality and 90 percent augmented reality. In the coming year the VR and AR technologies and markets will continue to advance, but in different directions and for different reasons. VR is moving into niche markets, location-based entertainment (LBE), business applications and eSports. Meanwhile, we expect AR to focus on innovation across numerous fronts, including high-end niche business and professional applications, low-end consumer experiences and new glasses with limited feature sets. Continue reading CES: The Next Wave of Immersive Media Tech and Markets

Google Releases Details of Working AR Prototype on Chrome

Google has been working to integrate augmented reality into the mobile/desktop web via its Chrome browser. Google Daydream WebXR’s Reza Ali and Josh Carpenter, who work on user experience, now describe the results, which will enable users to create virtual 3D objects and place them into websites for viewing and download to the mobile platform to place them in real-world environments. Creative professionals will eventually be able to use the browser of any Android or iOS device to create and use AR experiences. Continue reading Google Releases Details of Working AR Prototype on Chrome

Reelgood Helps TV Fans Discover, Track Streaming Content

Reelgood is a new site that offers a single interface for tracking content across 250 streaming services, essentially providing a contemporary TV guide for the streaming era. The service, which started as a social iPhone app centered on movies and evolved into a tool for content discovery, exited beta yesterday. The idea behind Reelgood is to provide viewers with an effective, customizable central hub to navigate the offerings of multiple services, including subscription video on demand and cable TV, without having to deal with a variety of different apps and interfaces. Continue reading Reelgood Helps TV Fans Discover, Track Streaming Content

Usernames No Longer Included in Twitter 140-Character Limit

Twitter is following up on last year’s promise to offer its users more room in their tweet replies. Now, when a user responds to another’s tweet, that individual’s username will not be counted as part of the 140-character limit in the response. “The move is part of a broader effort at Twitter to go ‘beyond 140’ characters and give people more room to tweet without dramatically altering the company’s signature 140-character limit,” notes Recode. “For a while in late 2015 and early 2016, the company considered expanding the character limit to 10,000 characters. But that plan fell through.” Continue reading Usernames No Longer Included in Twitter 140-Character Limit

Hulu Relaunches with Live TV and UI, Home Screen Redesign

Hulu’s relaunch will feature a home screen with a personalized lineup that will be determined by the user’s set preferences and past viewing behavior. Among the options for that lineup are current TV shows, Hulu’s streaming exclusives and partner networks’ on-demand offerings. What won’t be there is a live TV feed or a traditional grid guide that allows the user to scroll through channels. In 2017, Hulu will offer live TV to its users for less than $40, while retaining its ad-supported and ad-free on-demand subscription plans. Continue reading Hulu Relaunches with Live TV and UI, Home Screen Redesign

Facebook Opens Gameroom to Unity Developers, PC Gamers

Facebook just announced that its PC gaming platform, Gameroom (formerly dubbed Facebook Games Arcade), is now open for all developers. The app is also available to users, for Windows 7 and up. Developers using the upcoming Unity 5.6 game engine will be able to export their games directly to the Gameroom platform. The new platform most closely resembles Valve’s Steam, which boasts 125 million active users. But Facebook is counting on its 1.71 billion monthly active users to intrigue developers and gamers alike. Continue reading Facebook Opens Gameroom to Unity Developers, PC Gamers

Spincle Debuts Shareable 360-Video on Smartphones via App

Launching at TechCrunch Disrupt SF, startup Spincle showcased a new way to capture 360-degree imagery with smartphones. Up until now, most 360-degree photography has required specialized cameras, and posting the results takes multiple apps and expertise. The popularity of the 360-degree panorama brought about by Google Cardboard, however, has also given birth to the “magic window,” which allows the user to move the phone and, without a VR headset, have a quasi-VR experience. That’s where Spincle fits in. Continue reading Spincle Debuts Shareable 360-Video on Smartphones via App

Facebook Messenger Passes the One Billion User Milestone

Facebook’s messaging app Messenger just reached a landmark: one billion people use it every month, says the Silicon Valley company. Facebook’s other messaging app — WhatsApp, which it acquired for $19 billion two years ago — is the most used messaging app in the world, passing the one-billion user mark in February, likely growing further since. Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg says each messaging app is distinct. The company goal is to make messaging, not apps, its primary computing interface. Continue reading Facebook Messenger Passes the One Billion User Milestone

CES: Pivothead Offers Live Streaming Solution in Eyeglasses

Xentris Wireless designs, manufactures and distributes an array of wireless accessories. The company is in South Hall at CES this week showing a number of products; of particular interest is a nearly-normal looking eyeglass device from Pivothead that streams 1080p, 60 fps video. The Pivothead glasses will stream via Wi-Fi or a cellular connection to Pivothead.TV. When unlocked, the glasses can stream to a location of your choice, or the video can be recorded on a microSD chip. The simplicity of the user interface and data management make it ideal for news gathering in the field. Continue reading CES: Pivothead Offers Live Streaming Solution in Eyeglasses