It seems as though EA are planning to have Battlefield around for quite sometime, as they've secured the rights to the domains for http://www.battlefield13.com all the way through to http://www.battlefield20.com.
But, EA doesn't own the domain rights to http://www.battlefield10.com, 11.com or 12.com, but it has the numbers secured to http://www.battlefield2.com right up to http://www.battlefield9.com. EA only secured the rights to Battlefield4.com last month for $9000, and they paid a hefty $80,000 for the numberless Battlefield.com.
Today, YouTube has laid the groundwork for a possible future paywall. The new subscription channels will allow select partners to charge a monthly subscription fee of at least $0.99. These subscription channels will be able to offer a free 14-day trial and discounts for paying for yearly access.
Starting today, we're launching a pilot program for a small group of partners that will offer paid channels on YouTube with subscription fees starting at $0.99 per month. Every channel has a 14-day free trial, and many offer discounted yearly rates. For example, Sesame Street will be offering full episodes on their paid channel when it launches. And UFC fans can see classic fights, like a full version of their first event from UFC's new channel. You might run into more of these channels across YouTube, or look here for a list of pilot channels. Once you subscribe from a computer, you'll be able to watch paid channels on your computer, phone, tablet and TV, and soon you'll be able to subscribe to them from more devices.
YouTube is looking to more directly compete with the competition. By offering channels the chance to charge a monthly fee, it opens the door to even higher quality original content. It's not clear on whether or not YouTube will be taking a cut of the monthly fees, though we assume they will be.
Google introduces "Save to Drive" button, allows users to easily save files to Drive instead of computer
Google is continuing to make it easier to use their cloud service Drive as your every day storage system. As a means to this end, Google has introduced a new website button called "Save to Drive." This new button, when implemented on websites, allows a user to easily save a file to their Drive, rather than download it to their local system.
Unfortunately, the button still relies on your local web connection. The file is first downloaded to your local system and then uploaded to Drive. This means you can't avoid uploading a large file on a slow upload connection or on a metered mobile connection. In an ideal world, the file would go directly to your Drive.
New screenshots have appeared of what appears to be a completely redesigned Google Maps. The screenshots posted by the unofficial Google Operating System blog tease what could be the next iteration of Google's Maps user interface.
The screenshots show off a new sleek and minimalist user interface that appears to put more stock into full screen viewing and less into the ugly sidebar we are all accustomed to. Other improvements include a better filtering system, updated icons, colors and even new text styles.
It has been a very long time since Maps got a UI update this massive, and with more and more users switching to mobile, we can certainly see why Google would want to focus on a cleaner, more refined design. While it is always best to put a little credit into rumors and leaks as possible, with Google I/O just around the corner, this leak could in fact come true.
The Financial Times is reporting that Facebook is readying video News Feed ads. These ads will reportedly make their debut sometime in July. Luckily for users, the videos will automatically play, but without sound. The user can then activate sound, at which time the video will start over.
Some analysts predict that, if intrusive, the ads could result in lower user engagement. This is especially true if video ads are automatically playing. By Facebook not autoplaying the ad with sound, they are likely trying to avoid some of this backlash. But if it will be enough remains to be seen.
The ads will be limited to a total of 15 seconds and will cost in the "low $20s" per thousand views. A view is counted even if the user never activates the sound. To increase the impact of the video, Facebook will ensure that each user only sees video content from one advertiser per day.
I know if video ads come to my mobile device, I would likely quit Facebook completely. I wouldn't want to afford the mobile data and bandwidth to advertising.
Google has added some "highly-requested" features to Hangouts on Air. Google warns that Hangouts could take a bit longer to start as a result of these changes. "As part of these enhancements, it may take longer to set up your Hangout On Air. For example: the 'Start broadcasting' button may be grayed out for a bit, before it turns red. Nothing to worry about, this is just us getting everything in place before you go live."
The updated features include the ability to rewind live broadcasts, access recordings of the broadcast directly after it ends, and start live broadcasts without having to refresh the page. Google details exactly what these improvements entail:
- Rewind live broadcasts. Regardless when you start watching, you can always go back to the beginning.
- Access recordings immediately after your broadcast. Once you're no longer On Air, your recording will be waiting for you on YouTube.
- Watch higher quality Hangouts On Air on the go. If you're tuning in from your mobile device, you'll notice better-looking video.
- Start live broadcasts without having to refresh. When you visit a page with a Hangout On Air (like Events or YouTube), the video will begin playing as soon as the show starts -- no refresh required.
Google launches interactive YouTube Trends Map, shows most popular videos across the US in real-time
This morning Google launched a new feature on YouTube called Trends Map, which displays the top trending videos across the US. The YouTube Trends Map is updated in real-time and the data can be broken down by gender or age of the viewer.
The map shows a mass of small thumbnails which represent the trending video for that particular region. While the accuracy of the overlay may not be that good, I would say that the actual data is very precise and could be used as a solid resource in reports. To the right is a list of the top trending videos in the US at the moment, and when hovering over a thumbnail, some quick info about the video is displayed, including some country wide popularity statistics.
The user interface is very basic at the moment, and it is unclear if Google plans on continuing to improve it or not, but the data sets that are presented are sure to capture the interest of marketers and video makers. As of this posting the trailer for True Blood Season 6 is holding the #1 trending spot in the country with a teaser of The Clood's upcoming EP coming in second place. Interestingly enough, True Blood sweeps the board across the age ranges, the 13-17 age bracket is topped by a Family Guy trailer.
Google are reportedly close to rolling out their paid subscription service for a bunch of channels within YouTube. The Financial Times' report with people familiar with the plans have said that this will apply to around 50 existing channels, with subscriptions costing as little as $1.99 for each channel.
Google will be able to do some great things by adding paid subscription content to YouTube, which will include TV shows and movies. YouTube is the biggest source on the Internet for video, so why not go full steam ahead on this? YouTube have reportedly spent around $200 million on advances to dozens of start-up channels.
The number three spot for the world's largest smartphone manufacturer was up until Q4 2012 held by Chinese phone manufacturer Huawei.
However, this morning, we are learning that a LG has overthrown Huawei and taken the number three spot.
In Q1 2012, LG shipped 10.3 million smartphones (4.9%), which trumped Huawei by over 300,000 units. Samsung currently holds the top spot (69.4%), with Apple falling in at about half the market share (33.1%) of the Korean Galaxy S4 giant.
The key to LG's growing success is that it sells many different phones in many different markets, unlike Huawei who is only available in limited markets at this time.
I don't usually get excited over tech demos or browser upgrades, but this one sure has me excited. Mozilla is showing off a tech demo of Epic's Epic Citadel demo playing directly in Firefox. See for yourself in the video they created, embedded below:
The future of the web looks bright. It's time to hear your input. What do you think of the tech demo?
Yesterday Google announced that it will be bringing its gigabit internet service to the city of Shawnee Kansas, which is right outside of Kansas City. This makes for the 4th city to get Google Fiber in the last year.
Google did not release a date in which the service would be switched on, and it is most likely still a while away as planning, engineering and red tape will have to be dealt with.
In any event, the expansion of Google Fiber can only be seen as a good thing. Maybe in the next 10 years, Google will have covered enough of the country to either wake antiquated ISPs like Comcast, or put them out of business altogether.
During a meeting with advertisers earlier this week, Google's Eric Schmidt said that YouTube has "crushed" the traditional television competition. Schmidt was of course alluding to the recent news that YouTube now has more than one billion unique visitors a month.
While most would be satisfied with a billion unique visitors every month, Schmidt is keeping his eye on the prize and holding out until YouTube launches in more third world countries. "Wait until you get to 6 or 7 billion," Schmidt said, according to the Associated Press. "It's not a replacement for something that we know. It's a new thing that we have to think about, to program, to curate and build new platforms."
Google's attack on mainstream television will take a step forward later this year when YouTube plans to begin offering select partners the option to begin charging users to view their content, in addition to offering episodic programming and pay-per-view events. "TV is one-way, but YouTube talks back," said YouTube's global head of content, Robert Kyncl.
Facebook has rolled out the new Trusted Friends feature. Trusted Friends allows a Facebook user to set various friends as trusted contacts to aid in recovering a Facebook account. Should you forget your log in or need emergency access, these trusted friends will be able to lend a helping hand.
The feature is much the same as you might do with your house keys. Many people give neighbors house keys when on vacation or just to keep in case they lose their keys or have an emergency. The system will send security codes to each trusted contact who will then need to provide the code to you.
You'll apparently need the security codes from each friend, which should help prevent a single trusted contact from gaining access to your account.
Microsoft completes Hotmail migration to Outlook.com, says 400 million persons are now using the service
This morning Microsoft announced that it has completed the migration of Hotmail.com accounts over to Outlook.com. The result is that the service now has over 400 million active accounts, with 125 million of those users being mobile.
This is a major jump in user statistics over the 60 million the company reported back in February. The data transfer resulting from the move was simply massive with the final total reaching 150 petabytes. The transition only took about six weeks, and the company now says that all Hotmail users must now use Outlook.com.
In conjunction with the migration wrap-up, Microsoft has rolled out two new features to the Outlook.com service. The first is SMTP send, which will allow users to easily send email from another email address, while still in their Outlook.com account. Redmond has also added deeper integration with SkyDrive, Microsoft's cloud storage service.
We also reported a couple of days ago that UK users got access to Skype in Outlook.com.
Google's "Doodle 4 Google" contest is coming to a close. The search giant has selected the top 50 winners, one per US state, and now needs you to vote for your favorite. Once voting ends on May 10 at 11:59pm ET, the top five will be selected and a national champion will be selected.
The final winner will be announced at an event in New York City on May 22. The theme for this year's contest was "Best Day Ever." Many of the kids interpreted this to mean different things, as you'll see when you look through the entries to cast your vote.
Google has added a Remote Desktop feature to its Google+ Hangouts. Now you can provide tech support as if you are in the same room as the user. What's really nice about this remote desktop implementation is that Google+ Hangouts still allows you to see and chat with each other. Most remote desktop services don't include video or audio chat.
Hangouts Remote Desktop lets you help others by controlling their computer remotely (with their permission, of course). And because you're both in a Hangout, you can talk with and see each other during the session.
It's rather simple to get started. All you have to do is be in a Hangout and click View more Apps > Add Apps > Hangouts Remote Desktop. Since it's based on the same technology used in Chrome Remote Desktop, you can remain reasonably certain that the technology is both safe, secure, and stable.
For the past couple of years, The Pirate Bay has been on the move. We've reported on the ship's sailings around the world, including exotic ports of call in North Korea, Iceland, and now the Caribbean island of Sint Maarten. The move comes as Swedish prosecutor Fredrik Ingblad attempts the seizure of thepiratebay.se, piratebay.se, and now thepiratebay.is.
Iceland's domain registar, ISNIC, has previously stated that they would not take down thepiratebay.is unless ordered to by a court. "Such an action would require a formal order from an Icelandic court. ISNIC is not responsible for a registrant's usage of their domains."
ISNIC will legally fight attempts to use the domain name registry system to police/censor the net. We believe that to be ineffective, wrong and dangerous to the stability of the DNS as a whole.
This means The Pirate Bay is now accessible through the TLD thepiratebay.sx. We do enjoy the irony that The Pirate Bay has now moved into the Caribbean. However, we don't expect Disney to make a movie about these pirates.
Digg's replacement for Google Reader to enter beta in June, survey finds 40% of respondents willing to pay
Today, Digg disclosed the results of a survey it ran last week. The survey contained questions trying to gauge user interest in various features that Digg might implement in a replacement for Google Reader. The survey also asked if a respondent would be willing to pay for the service.
As you can see above, 40 percent of respondents said they would be willing to pay for a Google Reader replacement. This then makes me ask, why doesn't Google charge and continue their own reader? As seen in the graph below, many users use E-mail, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ to share links. Digg plans to include "seemless sharing" to all of the services seen below.
Free products on the Internet don't have a great track record. They tend to disappear, leaving users in a lurch. We need to build a product that people can rely on and trust will always be there for them. We're not totally sure how pricing will work, but we know that we'd like our users to be our customers, not our product. So when we asked survey participants whether or not they would be willing to pay, we were pleased to see that a majority said yes.
From the quote above, you can see that it appears Digg is leaning towards a paid product, but this causes them to lose out on 60 percent of those who responded to the survey. We should know more as we approach the beta in June.
Google refuses to settle with good enough and has instituted a fairly major change to its search today. Google has announced that app activities will be brought to Google Search, meaning searches for an app or site will bring with it popular in-app content, provided the app is integrated with Google+ Sign-In.
The service will be rolling out over the next few weeks to desktop searches. For now, it will not be coming to mobile search. The app integration will be initially limited to Deezer, Fandango, Flixster, Slacker Radio, Songza, SoundCloud and TuneIn, though more apps will be added over time.
Google provides the following example: "Searching for Fandango, for example, will show the top movies among Google users. And when you click on a movie, you'll go directly to its page on Fandango."
Twenty years ago today, the internet as we know it was born when CERN released the technology that made the World Wide Web work. It has been a long battle, but for the most part, the internet has remained open and free as its creators intended.
To commemorate 20 years of free and open information sharing, CERN has recreated the first website ever published. This is an effort to preserve the humble beginnings on which the modern and future internet was founded. CERN is also working to refurbish the original servers used as well to further preserve the history what could be the greatest invention ever.
Check out CERNS recreation of the first website here. Cool!
Twitter has issued a memo to news organizations around the world warning them that they believe the recent attacks on high-profile news accounts will continue. "We believe that these attacks will continue, and that news and media organizations will continue to be high value targets to hackers."
Twitter pleads with the companies to help them keep their accounts safe. They encourage companies to designate one computer to use for Twitter...and not use them for general web surfing or checking e-mail. Rumors of Twitter's two-factor authentication system are still floating around. We imagine it's a bit more difficult for them to develop a system for an account that is often used by multiple people.