Users of Google’s (GOOG) various free services were again reminded to watch their backs recently as the company announced it would shutter the world’s most popular RSS reader, Google Reader. While any Google service could theoretically be shuttered at any time, fans of homemade videos can likely rest easy for the time being, because it has become increasingly obvious that YouTube is one of the better investments Google made in recent years: the company announced late Wednesday that YouTube has now surpassed 1 billion monthly users. The News comes just 10 months after YouTube topped 800 million monthly viewers last May.
Recent reports have suggested that Google (GOOG) is interested in launching a music streaming service to compete with Pandora (P) and Spotify. According to Fortune, the company is looking to launch the service through its YouTube brand later this year. The service also is expected to have some overlap with new features that are rumored to arrive in the Google Play Store. Both services are said to incorporate subscription fees that will unlock additional features, such as ad-free YouTube streaming. A Google spokesperson confirmed that “there are some content creators that think they would benefit from a subscription revenue stream in addition to ads, so we’re looking at that.” Earlier reports claimed that paid subscription options for individual YouTube channels are scheduled to roll out this spring.
Google (GOOG) is said to be preparing paid subscription options for individual channels on YouTube, according to a report from AdAge. In its latest attempt to compete with traditional television, the company will reportedly allow a small group of producers to create channels that users will only be able to view if they pay a monthly fee. The first paid channels are said to cost somewhere between $1 and $5 each month. Google is also interested in offering content on an episodic basis and special pay-per-view events. Sources speaking to AdAge suggest that Google will introduce paid channels as early as the second quarter of this year.
Although every app developer dreams of creating the next big mobile app, it seems that established applications are becoming more firmly entrenched at the top of the food chain. Per Reuters, year-end totals from the Apple (AAPL) App Store and Google (GOOG) Play show that stalwarts such as YouTube, Angry Birds, Instagram and Facebook (FB) “continued to be among the most downloaded apps of the year,” which shouldn’t be too surprising considering that all four are now staples of the mobile computing experience. There were a few newcomers that soared up the charts for iOS and Android, however, including the make-your-own-art game Draw Something, the Paper sketch pad app for the iPad and the Songza music discovery app. Apps have become a more popular way to spend time, as analytics firm Flurry recently found that American consumers now spend 127 minutes per day using mobile apps, up from just 94 minutes per day one year ago.
Apple’s (AAPL) plans to limit Google’s (GOOG) reach onto its devices took a major hit recently when more than 10 million users downloaded the new iOS version of Google Maps in just two days. Google kept up its push onto iOS devices on Monday by releasing the new YouTube Capture iOS application that’s designed to let users quickly record and share videos filmed with their iPhones. According to Google, “YouTube Capture is ready to record as soon as you open it” and will continue uploading videos onto YouTube even after users minimize the app. Once videos are uploaded, the app lets users quickly share them on Facebook (FB), Twitter or Google+. A promotional video for the app is posted below. More →
Google (GOOG) on Thursday announced the launch of a YouTube app for Nintendo’s (NTDOY) Wii U gaming console. The app doesn’t let you watch videos with the GamePad, however it does allow users to search for content and also displays video details. Amazon (AMZN) earlier this week also announced the availability of its Instant Video streaming app for Wii U, giving users access to more than 140,000 movies and TV episodes to purchase or rent and more than 30,000 movies and TV episodes to stream for Prime customers. In addition to searching for content and displaying information, Amazon’s app also allows users to watch videos on the GamePad’s 6.2-inch display. The YouTube and Amazon Instant Video apps are both available immediately for free.
Google (GOOG) updated its YouTube app for Android on Tuesday to give its underwhelming Google TV devices a little love. The new YouTube app now lets you stream videos directly to any Google TV device with a single click and act as a remote to pause, scroll or skip to the next video with your smartphone or tablet. The new app also lets you peruse YouTube’s myriad of content from a mobile device (or several ones, if you like) while a video is playing on the TV. It’s another attempt at providing a “second screen” experience, much like Xbox SmartGlass is doing for the Xbox 360.
Google (GOOG) is readying another round of funding for its YouTube video sharing website, according to AdAge. The Internet giant last year invested $100 million into dozens of new channels to develop original content that would compete with traditional television. This time around, however, Google will only be providing a second round of funding for 30% to 40% of its existing 160 content partners. The more successful channels that receive additional funding will be notified in the next few weeks. More →
YouTube completely crashed on Thursday, right before Google’s (GOOG) scheduled call for its third-quarter earnings. Although some outlets have since reported that the video site is back up and running, we’re still experiencing difficulty watching any videos and can only access the main homepage at the moment.
UPDATE: We are now able to access YouTube videos again.
Apple (AAPL) may not want YouTube as one of its core iOS 6 apps, but that hasn’t stopped Google (GOOG) from putting up its own version of the YouTube iOS app up on the App Store for free download. As 9to5Mac notes, the new app has been released just one day before Apple’s grand iPhone 5 unveiling and has a lot of new features that the old YouTube iOS lacked, including Facebook and Google+ integration, voice search and query auto-complete. The new app will also feature “tens of thousands” of videos that were not available on the previous version of the app.
When Google (GOOG) announced late last week that it would start demoting websites that were repeatedly flagged for copyright violations, it raised a very pertinent question: Does this mean Google will start demoting YouTube results as well? The folks over at Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan did some terrific work over the weekend trying to figure this out, and discovered that Google has written a sort of “get out of jail free” card for YouTube and other popular content-sharing sites whose users frequently run afoul of copyright laws. More →
Imagine if the Star Wars Kid could have had a real light saber, or if Chris Crocker could have had Britney Spears show up to comfort him in his time of sorrow or if Keyboard Cat could have a professional pianist teach him to play Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto? Per the Telegraph, it seems that Google (GOOG) is trying to make such wonderful dreams come true by opening up a new studio aimed at helping “some of the most popular YouTube posters make their videos look more professional.” More →
Google (GOOG) on Wednesday announced a new face-blurring tool for its video-sharing website YouTube. The site is the first to roll out such a feature, which is meant to protect the identity of protesters around the world. “Whether you want to share sensitive protest footage without exposing the faces of the activists involved, or share the winning point in your 8-year-old’s basketball game without broadcasting the children’s faces to the world, our face blurring technology is a first step towards providing visual anonymity for video on YouTube,” Google wrote on its blog. The Internet giant does note, however, that because it is using “emerging technology,” it may sometimes run into problems “detecting faces depending on the angle, lighting, obstructions and video quality,” and “it’s possible that certain faces or frames will not be blurred.” More →