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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.