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Spotify is continuing to climb up the music streaming mountain, announcing that it is diving into the video business, offering up video advertising products for its over 30 million free users.
The new video ads are split into two sides, the first is a brand partner being able to purchase 15- or 30-second "takeover" ads for desktop users. These ads will only be displayed when the desktop client is open, but if not, a normal audio ad will be played instead. The second ad will be offering up mobile users a 30-second commercial, providing them with 30 minutes of ad-free listening.
Spotify is able to do this with some big sponsors jumping on-board, such as Coca-Cola, Ford, McDonalds, NBC Universal pictures, Target and Wells Fargo. The music streaming outfit is aiming at a specific group of its users, something the company calls its "highly engaged" audience, users who spend an average of 146 minutes per day, or more, listening across multiple devices. The ads will be pushed into six markets for Q4 2014: Germany, France, Spain, Sweden, the US and the UK. Spotify will roll it out globally sometime in 2015.
There's a new version of the popular Temple Run game coming out, with Temple Run VR being announced for the Gear VR headset from Samsung. The new Temple Run VR moves the games into the snow-topped mountains, all in immersive virtual reality.
Co-founder of Imangi Studios, Keith Shephard, said: "We are incredibly excited to be a part of this revolution in gaming, and we jumped at the opportunity to work with Samsung and Oculus to make Temple RunVR. Virtual reality opens up a whole new world of possibilities for us to create amazing experiences. We've truly been able to transport players to another world and let them viscerally feel the thrill of the chase."
There's no release date for Temple Run VR just yet, but it is one of the biggest games announced for the Galaxy Note 4-powered Gear VR headset. We should expect the Gear VR and Temple Run VR to be released later this year.
WhatsApp growth doesn't seem to be slowing down, with its CEO Jan Koum tweeting that the mobile messaging app has over 600 million monthly active users. The tweet from Koum wasn't just to brag about the growth of WhatsApp, but that its 600 million users are actually active, compared to its competitors.
Services such as Kik and Line only report on their registered numbers, so we don't know how popular they are at any given time. When Facebook acquired WhatsApp back in February for $19 billion, the company was edging on 500 million users. A couple of months later, in April, WhatsApp hit the 500 million mark, so it has only taken the company another four months to take in another 100 million users.
Right now, WhatsApp is free to use for the first year, and just $0.99 per year after. With 600 million monthly active users, the company isn't making much of its half-billion user base, but I'm sure we'll see that change soon when the Facebook acquisition closes later in the year.
Absorbing your daily dose of hard-hitting news isn't exactly the first thing Snapchat will conjure up in most people's minds, but that's exactly what the ultra-temporary messaging app is rumoured to be proposing.
12 top media companies are thought to have already been in discussion with the platform about content, and it's thought that video and TV clips could be embedded as well. Details are a little thin on the ground at the moment, but considering Snapchat's absolutely enormous userbase, it's not too much of a surprise the company and potential media partners will want to take advantage.
If the rumours are true, it's possible the platform - dubbed Snapchat Discovery for now - could either launch in a standalone app or be integrated into the existing service.
Microsoft has rolled out a new application that is aimed directly at the users out there who have Windows Phone 8 or 8.1 and want to be able to send time-limited messages. The app is called WindUp and is aimed at competing with Snapchat, which has had some privacy issues this year.
The big issue for SnapChat was when a court ruled that the app was deceiving users, but despite that ruling, the app is still popular. WindUp does need several permissions on the smartphone to operate. The good news is that location services aren't one of the things WindUp needs.
That means the app can't track your location. The app will allow users to share photos, record audio, capture video, or send text. WindUp is available to download right now.
I would bet that all iOS fans that use the Facebook app has had the app randomly crash on them. Facebook has known about a bug in the iOS version of its app for a long time, but the bug proved difficult to squash. The bug was in the Apple Core Data system and finally engineers have fixed the issue.
With the bug addressed, they say that the iOS version of the Facebook app has reduced its crash rate by more than 50%. The team needed months to create the correct approach for the crash issue and it involved multiple steps.
After coming to the correct path to fix the error, the engineering team worked with the networking team and had the issue repaired in a few hours. Facebook engineers Slobodan Predolac and Nicholas Spiegelberg said, "Dealing with a large, rapidly evolving codebase can seem overwhelming at times. Everyday tasks like analyzing crashes and understanding code can turn into their own programming challenges. At these moments, it's important to work together, brainstorm, and rely on computer programming fundamentals."
Facebook users have been upset a bit of late with the social network trying to remove chat services from its normal app and get users to download a second app to chat called Facebook Messenger. Some have been upset over privacy concerns with Messenger and don't want to use it. If you are one of these people, you can use a trick that has surfaced that claims to allow you to skip Facebook Messenger and still chat.
The trick seems rather simple. Reports indicate that all the iPhone user has to do is hit the install Messenger button when the normal Facebook app prompts them. While the Messenger app is being installed, switch to the App Store and stop the installation or delete the app.
Once you reopen the normal Facebook app, you should still have your chat capability and no more annoying prompts. This could all change if Facebook finds this trick and updates the app to look harder for Messenger. Let us know if this works for you.
Microsoft has launched a new iOS app that aims at people who are into knowing what is going on with their favorite celebrities at any time. The app is called Snipp3t and it launched recently. The app lets users follow celebrities to get news in a timeline style format.
It sounds sort of like Facebook for celebs, only communications are a one-way street it seems. The news from the people followed via the app is offered in a timeline-style format with news specifically from those you follow mixed with more general trending posts.
Each of the events that are trending will have multiple media reports, images, tweets, and related videos. The app does connect via Facebook so users can sign in and share stories to the social network. The app is available now in the US and only on iOS with no word on more countries or Android/Windows Phone support.
Microsoft has announced through its by the Numbers webpage that its Windows Phone Store is now home to over 300,000 apps. This doesn't begin to compare with Apple and Google, but it's a big milestone for Windows Phone, and Microsoft.
A Microsoft spokesperson spoke with The Next Web, where they said: "We have more than 300,000 Windows Phone apps today and the Windows Phone Store continues to grow. In the past year alone the Windows and Windows Phone app catalog has grown 94%, while the number of active developers has grown by 50%".
The company was asked when it reached the 300,000 app milestone, where TNW was told the data: "is as of end of June 2014". If we rewind to December 2013, Microsoft had 200,000 apps and rewinding further to June 2012, it had just 100,000 apps. So we're seeing many more apps uploaded to the Windows Phone Store as time goes on, with over 100,000 apps uploaded within the last six months alone.
Apple TV owners who also like NFL football games and content will get a new channel to enjoy this month. The NFL Now app is heading to the Apple TV according to an image that was leaked by a NFL employee during testing for the app. The app will offer personalized NFL content along with other content.
That other content includes on-demand highlights, extensive archives, and news broadcasts. The channel will also feature content produced by NFL teams with locker room interviews and player features. NFL Films content will also be included on the channel.
Live events and press conferences will be featured as well. The NFL Now app will hit Apple TV in time for fans to enjoy it during the 2014-2015 NFL season. NFL Now app will also be landing on other platforms includes iOS devices, Xbox, and Roku set top boxes.