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By Abhay V
YouTube's mobile apps get player UI updates, gesture to toggle full-screen, more
by Abhay Venkatesh
YouTube today announced a bunch of new enhancements making it to the service’s mobile apps that improves usability and adds a few new features. These improvements include a new gesture for switching to a full-screen view, additions to the video player and the Video Chapters feature, and much more.
The first of the improvements is to the recently introduced Video Chapter feature that lets creators segment videos into parts for easier viewing. The firm is adding a nifty new list view for chapters that lists them all with preview thumbnails that let users easily navigate to their desired section of the video. This negates the need to scrub through the chapters on mobile devices to locate users’ desired segments.
There are a bunch of improvements to the video player itself. An icon to toggle Closed Captions is now present on the player, saving users the effort of navigating to the menu and turning them on. The icon is accompanied by the autoplay toggle that is now being moved to the top from below the player. Another addition is the ability to switch between elapsed time and a countdown timer for the video timestamp by simply tapping on it. While some users might have had this feature for a while, it looks like the addition is being made widely available.
The firm is also adding a new gesture. Now, users can swipe up on the player to toggle to full-screen, just like the swipe down gesture to toggle out of the full-screen view. There are new suggested actions that show up at the bottom to prompt users to rotate their screens or use the VR view, depending on the video. The company says that it is working to add more suggestions in the future.
Lastly, the search giant is adding ‘Bedtime Reminders’ to aid users in limiting their app usage before heading to bed. The digital wellbeing feature is being added to the list of current controls that offer break reminders and notification controls.
The features are rolling out to the YouTube apps for Android and iOS starting today.
By Usama Jawad96
Discuss: Which abandoned video game franchise do you wish would make a comeback?
by Usama Jawad
Video game franchises come and go all the time but there are some that stay close to our hearts for one reason or the other. These reasons could be anything including pure nostalgia, fun gameplay, an intriguing story, and best of all: a combination of all of the above.
We've seen various video game franchises stay relevant with time to the point that they still get new releases, rather than just remasters and remakes. Examples of long-staying franchises include Pokémon, Tekken, Halo, Mario, Wolfenstein, Resident Evil, DOOM, Metal Gear, Final Fantasy, and more. All of these have huge fanbases which have kept interest in these titles alive even several decades after their original launch. In fact, a lot of titles from these franchises are still the among the bestsellers even in the current generation of video games.
And then there are other, less fortunate, franchises which have seemingly been abandoned. These include series like Dino Crisis, Portal, Max Payne, Twisted Metal, Road Rash, Silent Hill, and Chrono Trigger, among others. It is important to note that not all of these have been officially put on ice due to lack of interest. In fact, rumors have often popped up regarding the revival of each of these series from time to time, but nothing concrete has surfaced yet except the occasional mobile spinoff or a remaster, at best.
That said, via browsing through various internet forums and listicles, it is clear to see that avid fans of these seemingly abandoned franchises would still love to see their beloved video game series make a comeback. And given the fact that a lot of video game series haven't officially been canceled as of yet, there is still hope that people see their favorite games make a triumphant return.
We would like to know: Is there any video game franchise that is currently on hold or canceled that you would love to see make a comeback in the future? Let us know the comments section below!
By Usama Jawad96
YouTube plans to curb content promoting harmful conspiracy theories
by Usama Jawad
Many social media platforms have been cracking down on content which promotes harmful conspiracy theories. In July, Twitter banned 7,000 accounts associated with the QAnon conspiracy group. Just a few days ago, Facebook also banned accounts representing QAnon across all its platforms. Just recently, YouTube stated that it would be removing content containing misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines as well as videos linking the pandemic to 5G technology.
Now, YouTube has again announced similar initiatives, but in a slightly broader context rather than targeting QAnon or misinformation about COVID-19 alone.
The company says that moving forward, it will be removing all hateful and harmful conspiracy theory videos that are being used to target individuals and groups, as well as promote and justify real-world violence. To be clear, this is not the first time the company has taken such an initiative. Over the past couple of years, it has updated its recommendation algorithms to reduce the visibility of such content from its search and discovery systems, an effort which resulted in up to 80% drops in views for QAnon content. It has also banned hundreds of channels and removed thousands of videos promoting this type of content under its existing policies.
The firm went on to say that:
Given the tricky nature of the situation as well as tactics employed by conspiracy theory groups to subvert YouTube's regulations, the company says that it will keep updating its policies accordingly to fight this threat.
YouTube Music is available now on the Apple Watch
by Paul Hill
Google has announced that its music service, YouTube Music, is now available for consumers with Apple Watch devices. The new Apple Watch app will allow people to browse their music collections, control playback, and select casting options.
YouTube Music comes with a fairly simple interface and allows users to access their library which includes: last played, downloads, playlists, albums, and more. In another screenshot, Google shows off the music controls which consist of a pause option, skip forward, skip backwards, a thumbs up, and an option to cast the song over to a compatible device. These controls can be accessed through the YouTube Music ‘complication’ that’s displayed on the watch face.
The Apple Watch is just the latest device where YouTube Music has been made available. On Monday, the firm introduced new features on smart TVs and Android TV OS devices. Google has also been busy over the summer introducing new YouTube Music features to a range of other devices.
In order to use YouTube Music on Apple Watch, you’ll need to have the latest YouTube Music app, be a YouTube Premium or YouTube Premium Music subscriber, have an iPhone, and an Apple Watch Series 3 or above running watchOS 6 or newer. Google said that wearOS users should stay tuned going forward for additional updates on the service’s availability on that platform.
By Jay Bonggolto
YouTube will remove videos containing misinformation around COVID-19 vaccines
by Jay Bonggolto
YouTube is clamping down on videos shared on the platform that attempt to spread false information about COVID-19 vaccines. The service said it is banning clips that run counter to vaccine information from health authorities such as the World Health Organization and local health agencies.
The ban applies to videos claiming that a COVID-19 vaccine will kill someone or make people infertile. YouTube will also remove videos saying that those who get vaccinated will have microchips implanted in them. That said, the video-sharing site won't block content on general discussions about those vaccines.
In April, YouTube introduced measures to crack down on content linking COVID-19 to 5G. It's part of the service's broader effort to rid its platform of coronavirus-related misinformation. Interestingly, the move comes hard on the heels of Facebook's announcement for a new policy that will ban ads that discourage vaccination.
YouTube plans to introduce additional steps in the next few weeks that will give more prominence to authoritative vaccine information on its platform. Since February of this year, it has stamped out more than 200,000 videos containing false information about the pandemic. With the increasing proliferation of misinformation both on social media and video sharing sites, it's interesting to see how YouTube's latest step will help in the fight against this type of activity.