Google is bringing video reviews to Google Maps

e’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 — expensive.

[“Source-techcrunch”]

Spotify’s Head of Original Video and Podcasts, Tom Calderone, Departs

Spotify's Head of Original Video and Podcasts, Tom Calderone, Departs

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Spotify will focus its video efforts around Rap Caviar
  • Music industry executives would like Spotify’s video efforts to focus on
  • Spotify has over 60 million paying subscribers

Spotify is parting ways with Tom Calderone, the head of original video and podcasts, after the music-streaming company’s initial round of programs failed to catch on with audiences.

The online pioneer confirmed Calderone’s departure in an email Thursday. Spotify will focus its video efforts around Rap Caviar, the service’s most popular playlist, Rock This and other features, a spokesman said.

With the move, Spotify is narrowing its video ambitions. Calderone, the former head of cable network VH1, commissioned a dozen series from producers including Tim Robbins and Russell Simmons. He also oversaw podcasts, an area of growing importance at the world’s largest paid music service. Now the company is making clearer that it wants videos on the service to stay closer to the music industry.

While Spotify has known for some time it wants to offer more programming beyond music, the company has struggled to settle on a strategy.

Before YouTube, Hulu or Sony introduced online TV services, Spotify tried to assemble a bundle of TV channels for a live video service in Europe. The company abandoned those plans after failing to line up all the channels it wanted for the right price, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Spotify also licensed short-form videos from Vice Media Inc., Viacom’s Comedy Central and Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN in 2015. Then in 2016, the company hired Calderone to oversee an in-house studio. He led Viacom’s VH1 during its heyday and quickly ordered shows including Simmons’s “Traffic Jams,” where musicians composed a song while stuck in traffic and performed the it on reaching their destination.

Despite those efforts, video never been featured prominently within Spotify, a source of frustration for many partners. No series has broken out.

Music industry executives would like Spotify’s video efforts to focus on music. That would bring more attention to their artists and new releases, and not divert royalty-generating listeners to other content. Thanks to Spotify, the music business is growing for the first time in almost two decades and record labels aren’t especially keen to see the company diversify into other forms of entertainment.

And of late, Spotify has tested seeding playlists with music videos and short documentaries, including Rap Caviar.

While Spotify is still formulating a video strategy, its investment in podcasting continues to grow. The company has purchased advertising in popular shows Reply All and The Bill Simmons Podcast, and plans to announce a new slate of original podcasts soon.

The company is planning to go public later this year or early next, and just reached a new long-term deal with Warner Music Group, the third-largest record label.

With more than 60 million paying subscribers for the music service, Spotify has commissioned non-music content to increase the amount of time users spend with the app and keep them from leaving to watch video on YouTube or Facebook. Non-music programming also benefits the company by reducing the share of sales it must hand over to music rights holders.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Apple Clips Video Editing App Gets Animated Overlays With Disney, Pixar Characters

Apple Clips Video Editing App Gets Animated Overlays With Disney, Pixar Characters

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The version 1.1 update is already available on the App Store
  • The app was launched back in March
  • The update brings some usability improvements as well

In March this year, Apple launched its Clips app that essentially allows users to create videos easily by combining video clips, photos, and music. While the app has not performed exceptionally well on app charts, the Cupertino-based company has now added some Disneyand Pixar magic to make the app more appealing.

With its latest update, version 1.1, Clips has received dozens of new customizable text banners, overlays, and posters that include characters from both Disney and Pixar. This means that users will be able to add animated overlays with Mickey, Minnie, and other characters from movies Toy Story and Inside Out to their videos with the new update.

“Users can now add classic Disney and Pixar characters to their videos. Clips 1.1 features animated overlays of Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and Daisy Duck,” the company said in its release. Apart from these animated overlays, Disney-designed posters can also be added to the videos as “playful title cards” with the update, Apple says.

Apart from these, with the new update, Clips has now received 10 new Apple-designed overlays and 12 posters with customisable animated text. “From glistening water to slow motion billowing smoke and 3D pop-up art, the new poster designs bring more versatility to iOS video creation,” the company said in the release.

Further, a new button for editing “Live Titles” has been added to the app to make it easier to change captions and titles. The Cupertino-based company has also mentioned some usability improvements in the release but didn’t mention the specific details regarding the same.

Though Apple’s Clips app has not been able to perform well until now, let’s hope Woody will be able to save the day and bring more users to this video editing tool.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

China’s Authorities Tighten Noose Around Online Video, Audio Content

China's Authorities Tighten Noose Around Online Video, Audio Content

HIGHLIGHTS
China already keeps a close watch over the Internet
It seems necessary to ensure national security and social stability
Weibo, ACFUN, and Ifeng.com have been told to stop video service
China has told three major web portals to shut down their video and audio streaming services, saying they carry politically-related material that breaks state rules and social commentary which incites negative opinions.

China keeps a close watch over the Internet, deleting comments on social media it deems harmful and blocking popular foreign websites including Google and Facebook.

It has defended tight controls as necessary to ensure national security and social stability.

China’s Twitter-like service Sina Weibo, popular online video site ACFUN and news portal Ifeng.com will have to stop video streaming services that violate the country’s regulations, the TV and film watchdog said on Thursday.

It did not give any specific timeframe for when these programmes should be taken down and whether the move was permanent.
“This will provide a clean and clear Internet space for the wide number of online users,” the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television said in a brief statement on its website.

Weibo Corp said it was communicating with relevant government authorities to understand the scope of the notice and will also evaluate the impact of the government’s move on its operations and its administrative options.

ACFUN and Ifeng.com were not immediately available for comment.

China’s Internet shares tumbled after news of the clampdown with Weibo Corp’s down 9 percent, while SINA Corp, which has a stake in Weibo, fell 6 percent.

[“Source-ndtv”]