Here’s one advantage to not having Instagram on your smartphone: You won’t be tempted to upload pictures of your criminal activities for the whole world to see. The New York Daily News reports that New York police this week made the biggest gun bust in the city’s history after arresting two weapons runners and 17 accomplices while seizing more than 250 illegal firearms. More →
Google seems determined to make Microsoft’s life miserable when it comes to approving a YouTube app for the Windows Phone store. The Verge reports that Google has once again blocked Microsoft’s Windows Phone YouTube app because it still allegedly violates Google’s terms of service. Google first blocked the app three months ago when it said that Microsoft created it without Google’s permission and added features to the app that prevented ads from playing on YouTube videos. The two companies have since vowed to work together to make an app for Microsoft’s mobile platform but this latest dustup shows that the two companies are still far apart. Microsoft tells The Verge that it is working with Google “to resolve the issue.”
If your favorite video streaming service is experiencing slow buffering, then your ISP is unsurprisingly partly to blame — and not just because it’s delivering a shoddy connection. Ars Technica reports that ISPs and video service providers often get into heated disputes over “how much one network should pay to connect to another,” which can result in ISPs intentionally slowing down traffic from YouTube and Netflix. More →
A new report claims that Google is delaying manufacturers from releasing HTML5-based Smart TVs due to a drawn out process to earn YouTube certification. According to ETNews, the company requires manufacturers to go through “browser conformity tests” at is Mountain View headquarters before they can have access to an app for the popular video-sharing site. Google is also said to be requiring smart TV operators to place the app on the interface’s main home screen as well, and an industry insider blasted Google for taking away a company’s right of choice. More →
Millions of Internet users in Pakistan could soon lose access to Gmail to Google Maps unless Google bows to demands being made by the Pakistani government. The Times of India reports that Anusha Rahman Khan, Pakistan’s IT and telecommunication minister, said the government may block access to all Google sites unless the company removes “blasphemous and objectionable material” from YouTube. Pakistan has already been blocking access to YouTube since September, when the inflammatory video “Innocence of Muslims” sparked violent protests in several countries. The Pakistani government has so far been frustrated that Google has refused to provide filters for videos it deems offensive, although the new threat of a blanket ban may prompt the company to be more accommodating.
Google on Thursday announced the launch of a pilot program that will allow a select group of YouTube partners to charge users a subscription fee to access their content. Companies like Sesame Street will be offering full episodes on their paid channels, while UFC plans to give users access to classic fights. Premium content can be accessed for free with a 14-day trial, after which a subscription will be required. Google noted that fees will begin at $0.99 per month, though many providers will offer discounted yearly rates. After subscribing to a channel, users can access it from a computer, phone, tablet or a smart TV. Paid channels will be available today for select partners and will be available as a self-service feature for “qualifying partners” in the coming weeks.
Google chairman Eric Schmidt has declared that Internet video has crushed traditional television. In a meeting with advertisers on Wednesday, the former chief executive said that “the future is now” for YouTube. Google’s popular video sharing website recently passed a billion unique monthly visitors, however Schmidt’s eyes are focused on the future. He noted that once YouTube expands to more third world countries, the number of visitors will be much larger. More →
Good news for Daily Show fans: You’ll still be able to watch clips of Jon Stewart on YouTube. The Los Angeles Times reports that Viacom has lost a major copyright suit against YouTube after “a federal judge in New York on Thursday ruled that YouTube had not violated Viacom’s copyright even though users of the popular online site are allowed to post unauthorized video clips from some of Viacom’s most popular shows.” U.S. District Judge Louis L. Stanton dismissed Viacom’s lawsuit and said that a safe-harbor provision within the Digital Millennium Copyright Act protects YouTube from copyright infringement charges. In response to the ruling, Google’s general counsel Kent Walker said that “this is a win not just for YouTube, but for people everywhere who depend on the Internet to exchange ideas and information.”
Would you pay a monthly subscription fee to watch Harlem Shake and Gangnam Style parodies? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t some content on YouTube that you’d be willing to pay for at some point. The Wall Street Journal reports that YouTube executives are batting around the idea of letting YouTube content creators start their own subscription-based channels to give them additional revenue streams besides advertising dollars. Robert Kyncl, a YouTube vice president, acknowledged to the Journal that it will be tough for content providers to get users to “take out a credit card” before watching their videos but added that there will be “a lot of experimentation” and that “over time, a lot of people will figure it out.” The Journal says that YouTube isn’t even close to making a formal announcement about subscription channels, however, and that the idea is still in its preliminary stages.
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.