All posts in “Video”

Someone’s already showing off the iPhone X out in the wild

The X is loose out there.
The X is loose out there.

Image: raymond wong/mashable

The iPhone X doesn’t drop for another agonizingly-long month — if you’re one of the lucky few who snags a pre-order reservation early, that is — but there are some even luckier people out there who already have their hands on Apple’s next-level handset.

A video of one of the brand new smartphones was posted on Reddit, then spotted by MacRumors. The short clip doesn’t show off anything particularly notable like animoji or a Face ID fail — but it does give us a good look at the X’s edge-to-edge screen sporting one of the new Dynamic Wallpapers.

The Redditor who posted the clip claims that it was recorded in the San Jose, not too far from Apple’s home base in Cupertino. The phone also appears to be on AT&T’s network.

The person holding the phone flips it over, and a subtle shaking padlock appears to signal that Face ID is locking them out and someone else owns the device, most likely an Apple employee with early access to the X. Other commenters on the thread claim that they’ve seen the X floating around the Bay Area in recent weeks ahead of the launch, so they’re not surprised someone finally caught one on video. 

Apple will open pre-orders for the iPhone X on Oct. 27, before a Nov. 3 launch. The handset will reportedly only be available in extremely limited quantities due to production delays, so most people will likely have to wait through the holiday season for their new phone. Until Apple works through the manufacturing issues, videos like this could be the closest you’ll come to owning an X until 2018. 2b4a 69e3%2fthumb%2f00001

The future of obnoxiously loud autoplay videos is in doubt

Nothing autoplaying here.
Nothing autoplaying here.

Image: SUSANA BATES/Getty Images

Browsing the web is an integral part of most people’s VROOM VROOM I’M A CAR COMMERCIAL AND NOW I’M IN YOUR BRAIN GOOD LUCK FINDING MY TINY MUTE BUTTON lives, but that process is frequently a jarring one complete with loud autoplay ads and video making it difficult to focus on what’s in front of you. 

Google, however, has decided to do something about that. Starting in early 2018 will block autoplay video with sound on its popular Chrome browser. 

But what does this mean for the internet ecosystem as a whole? Google is an advertising company, so why would it take a stand against any type of ad? Could Edge, Safari, and Firefox soon follow suit, and how will this move affect surfing the information superhighway (yup) on our smartphones? 

Could we soon be heralding the end of noisy autoplay video?

To get a look at where we’re going, we first need to take stock of where we are. At the time of this writing, neither Chrome, nor Safari, nor Firefox, nor Edge automatically disable autoplay videos by default. Many, to some extent, allow you to change settings in order to prevent loud WOW HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT THIS THING TANGENTIALLY RELATED TO THE STORY YOU CLICKED ON JK OF COURSE YOU HAVE BECAUSE I’M TELLING YOU FUN RIGHT I KNOW video from blasting you the moment you open a webpage. But the options, if they exist at all, are frequently buried deep in browser configurations. The default, across-the-board block proposed by Google is the latest in a new trend. 

Notably, macOS High Sierra Safari 11, which is set to be released Sept. 25, will reportedly automatically block autoplay videos with sound as well. The “with sound” part being the key — muted videos can still autoplay. However, from a user perspective, most people will be pleased as that unwanted ear barrage DON’T YOU LOVE AUTOPLAY VIDEO WITH SOUND I’M JUST HERE TO INFORM YOU OF WAIT WHAT ARE YOU DOING NO STOP THAT is by far and away the most frustrating part of autoplay videos. With Apple and Google clearly forging ahead toward a partial autoplay-less future, it can’t be too long before Firefox and Edge follow suit — or risk getting left in the dust.

But what about mobile? Will the smartphone be the last bastion of the jingle-filled autoplay ad? Nope. According to Apple Insider, mobile Safari already pauses autoplay PLEASE PLEASE I JUST THOUGHT MAYBE WE COULD BE videos with sound (although it allows those to play that are muted). Chrome for mobile, meanwhile, has allowed muted autoplay videos since 2016 — emphasis on muted. 

It would seem that the revolt against online ads, as evidenced by numerous ad-blocking browser extensions, has extended to autoplay video, and companies like Google know they need to make autoplay video more palatable if it’s going DON’T MUTE ME DON’T TAKE AWAY MY VOICE I NEED MY to survive the mass of blockers surely coming for it. Hence, the battle against sound — people are more likely to let a video run off to the side if it’s not yelling at them about the latest feline supplement or whatever. 

So get used to a slightly more pleasant NO NOT THAT NOT TH browsing experience, because starting early 2018 the web is going to just a tad bit quieter. 

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Google quietly added a new video feature to Google Maps

Your destination will now come to life when you search on Google Maps.

Google has added a new video feature to accompany its mapping service, the company announced. Now, when you search a destination, you’ll be able to find video footage of the location in the section of the map where you usually see user-submitted photos.

Right now, only Local Guides — designated users who contribute photos, reviews, and information about restaurants, parks, museums, and other mappable spots — on Android devices will be able to upload video footage to a location. But it looks like uploading videos will soon be an option for others, like business owners wanting to show off their store front or products, reports TechCrunch.

While the tool was quietly rolled out in late August, it wasn’t until this week that the video feature was announced more widely.  

This weekend I’m heading to Bodega Bay, up the Northern California coast. Starting soon videos of the beach, or a fish market, or the church where The Birds was filmed, could pop up on the left-hand side of the page, near where the still photos are already uploaded to the map.

Image: google maps/screengrab

Looks like mapping just got way more watchable.

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Google is bringing video reviews to Google Maps

We’re still very far away from real-time Google Street View or satellite imagery on Google Maps, but Google is, for the first time, introducing video in parts of its mapping service. Users who are part of the company’s Local Guides program can now shoot 10-second videos right from the Google Maps app (or upload 30-second clips from their camera roll).

While the company quietly launched this feature for Local Guides about two weeks ago, Google is now also notifying them about it via email and will likely release it publicly in the near future.

Until now, you could only upload still images to Google Maps. Videos, however, can capture a restaurant’s, store’s or sight’s atmosphere far better. Google is also explicitly allowing users to use their videos for personal reviews (as long as they adhere to its usual review policies that also apply to written reviews). Local businesses will, of course, also be able to use this feature to highlight their own products, too.

To record or upload videos to Google Maps, you’ll have to search for and select a place in Google Maps (this is Android-only for now, as far as we can see), scroll down and tap “add a photo,” tap the “Camera” icon and then hold the shutter to record (or you can upload a short video, too).

For now, though, the program is only open to Local Guides on Android, but it looks like Google is also testing this with local businesses already. As far as I can see, though, the videos will be visible on all platforms.

While this may look like a minor update at first, it’ll make for quite a change on Google Maps, especially for local business owners. Snapping a few pictures is pretty easy, after all, but chances are that many of them will soon want to take professional video of their locations, which is far harder and — if they hire a videographer — more expensive.

YouTube’s app is dominating mobile video by monthly users, time spent

Americans spent nearly a billion hours watching YouTube videos on Android this past July, according to new data released today by App Annie. That’s the largest amount of time spent in any one streaming video app in a month. The figure is yet another data point showcasing the shift in the way people are consuming video content – less in the living room, over traditional pay TV connections, and more so on mobile devices.

And on mobile, YouTube is killing it.

In fact, YouTube’s Android app alone accounted for roughly 80 percent, or 9.5 billion hours, of the 12 billion total hours consumers spent using the top 10 video streaming apps on Android during the twelve months ending in July 2017.

That 12 billion figure is also up 45 percent over last year, and continues to accelerate, App Annie says.

YouTube is far ahead of its next nearest competitors in the top five by peak time spent per month, including Netflix, Twitch, Hulu, and Amazon Video. Even more remarkable, YouTube Kids was ranked #7 by peak time spent – an indication that YouTube’s plan to break out a filtered version of its service is now feeding even more viewers into its massive video network.

And when looking at the apps by average time spent, YouTube is still on top, again followed by Netflix.

However, the list of top apps becomes a lot different when you examine the video streaming apps by monthly active users.

YouTube and Netflix remain #1 and #2, respectively, but the rest of the list – both in terms of peak monthly users and average monthly users – expands to include other types of video apps, like those offering news and sports.

YouTube Kids didn’t make the list of the top 10 apps by monthly active users.

That indicates that its user base is highly engaged, explains App Annie, with each user spending hours in the app, but its overall audience is smaller. That same principle applies for Hulu, which is the #6 video streaming app by average monthly active users, and #7 by peak monthly active users across iOS and Android.

Now, YouTube is preparing to extend its influence even further.

The company this year launched YouTube TV, a Sling TV competitor that lets consumers stream live TV and record to a cloud DVR through a dedicated app for $35 per month. That service is available to half of U.S. households as of August, and continuing to expand.

In addition to its ads, YouTube makes money by way of YouTube Red, the optional service that offers premium features like offline access to videos, an ad-free experience, background play for music, and original programming. That’s helped YouTube climb the top revenue charts, as well, where it ranks the #3 video streaming app (across iOS and Android) by peak revenue in a month, and #4 by average revenue in a month.

Netflix and HBO NOW, however, beat YouTube on both of these revenue charts, and Hulu inched above it on average revenue.

Across all top 10 video apps, U.S. users spent over $570 million during the twelve months ending in July, the report also notes. That’s up 80 percent year-over-year, and likely another reason why people are rapidly reallocating the money they used to spend on cable TV elsewhere.

Featured Image: nevodka/iStock Editorial