YouTube has been a rapidly growing platform for years, and mature platforms need a mature look. That’s why Google is taking the wraps off a redesigned YouTube icon and logo, plus some big interface changes in the app and on the website.
It has been an on and off effort by Samsung on working toward release of their own version of a smart home assistant device to compete with Google Home, Amazon Echo and the Apple HomePod. In July word first came out that Samsung was working on a device to compete in that market, but progress was slow due to troubles experienced with the Bixby technology that would power the devices. Shortly after that news surfaced, sources indicated Samsung had decided to abandon the effort apparently judging their entry into the market as being too late. While making the rounds in connection with the launch of the Galaxy Note 8 this week, Samsung’s DJ Koh indicates the company is moving forward with plans for a home assistant device.
The Galaxy S8 launched earlier this year featuring Samsung’s new assistant, Bixby, replacing the S Voice app that has been present on previous Galaxy S handsets. While Samsung made a pretty big deal out of Bixby at the launch event, the truth is that the virtual assistant launched incomplete and the voice component of the app only became available on the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus in the US last month. Now, Bixby Voice is rolling out to pretty much everywhere in the world, so long as you speak English and own a Galaxy S8.
Google’s web version of their calendar app has lagged behind its mobile counterpart for a few years, and it’s really showing its age in 2017. The good news is that Google is finally working on bringing Calendar into the modern with a slick new look, and it’s currently in testing.
Getting a new smartphone from a carrier usually means putting up with the bloatware that carriers install. This can be in the form of the carrier’s own specific apps that it believes you just cannot live without or it can be third-party apps from vendors the carrier has struck business deals with. The bloatware landscape has improved a little bit over the years and users can now disable or remove some apps in many cases. However, reports of what Sprint may be doing with the BlackBerry KeyOne may point to a disturbing new escalation in the field of bloatware.
Google announced today some additional languages that will be available for voice typing as part of the company’s speech recognition code that will cover more than a billion people around the globe. Even English speaking users in the U.S. will enjoy some of the fruits of Google’s labor as one of the “languages” will be the ability to use voice to search for an emoji. The thirty new languages that are being added by Google bring the total number of languages supported by Google’s speech recognition engine to 119.
Facebook has announced their next platform to be released, a video streaming service called Watch. Many are pointing to the new Watch as being Facebook’s answer to YouTube TV, although Facebook says they are capitalizing on their own success with making video available on their platform. Watch will serve as a hub to help users find content instead of relying on the normal Facebook News Feed or through the Video tab that is available to U.S. users.
Bixby got off to a rough start. When Samsung announced the virtual assistant, it seemed like a pretty intuitive, powerful feature of the Galaxy S8 that could integrate with third-party services better than other AI assistants. Then the phones launched with a half-baked Bixby, and Samsung has been fighting with developers trying to remap the Bixby button.
Google has announced some revisions to the way apps show up in the Google Play Store in an effort to push developers to give more attention to quality and to help users enjoy their apps more. In the announcement from Andrew Ahn, Product Manager with Google Play, he notes the team’s efforts should result in helping “people find and discover safe, high quality, useful, and relevant apps.” To make this happen, the Google Play algorithms for search and discovery have been enhanced to incorporate app quality in determining what to display to a user.
Plex has been beta testing Live TV since the beginning of June, now it’s ready for prime-time with Android phones and tablets being able to access the new feature after it had been restricted to Android TV (which miraculously hasn’t died yet)previously. Join us after the break for more details.
Google’s Image Search is a wondrous thing, but sometimes when searching for pictures of food it would be great to know if it was a photo of something you could purchase or even a recipe that you could follow. Thankfully, Google has updated its Image Search engine so it will now display a badge to do just that, as well as if there are Gifs or videos available.
Despite Google’s prowess when it comes to search and advertising, its approach to apps and services isn’t exactly clear-cut, its gluttony of messaging apps is a prime example. Another would be its music offerings, with Google Play Music, YouTube Red, and YouTube Music featuring different, yet overlapping content. YouTube’s head of music, Lyor Cohen, says that YouTube Red and Google’s Play Music need to be joined into a single offering.