Tech News Today for June 1, 2017
Tech News for Thursday June 1, 2017
First Instagram did it. Then Facebook. Then WhatsApp. Now, Skype is doing it too: ripping off Snapchat. Skype, thanks to a total redesign, looks a lot like Snapchat now. And a bit like Apple's iMessage too. There are four major parts to the new app. There's "find," which has mini apps that let you do stuff like buy a ticket to a concert or movie. There's "chat," which lets you text with friends, as well as send photos and gifs. There's "capture," which lets you share photos and videos with specific friends — and what you share disappears after 24 hours. And there's "highlights," where you can upload the same sort of photos and video in capture to a space where all of your friends can see what you've caught within a 24 hour period. You can add text, stickers and finger drawings to the media you share in capture and highlights too. You can still place voice calls in the new Skype, and talk with lackluster chatbots, so all the old functionality is carried over. But now you can do things like respond to photos, video or text with emojis as you would in iMessage. Read more at techcrunch.com.
Google’s Chrome browser is expected to receive new functionality that will enable it to detect and block what it determines to be bad ads, and Google is now reaching out to publishers to forewarn them of the change. Google is rolling out a tool for publishers called “A Experience Reports” that will educate publishers about their own bad ads ahead of the switch in order to give them time to address the issues prior to launch. Google still hasn’t acknowledged these plans publicly, but sources say the feature should begin to appear early next year. Read more at wsj.com.
Google didn't mention any new stats on how much it has paid out to developers via its Google Play storefront at its recent I/O developer conference. Facebook and Amazon — both of which court developers and, in Amazon's case, run an app store — haven't many any similar such mentions recently either. But ahead of its Worldwide Developer Conference kicking off next week, Apple said today that it has paid out more than $70 billion to developers who've uploaded apps to its iOS App Store, which opened up in 2008. Remember, that's what Apple has paid out after taking it's 30 percent cut of revenue for App Store transactions. Apple said that in the last 12 months alone, downloads have grown over 70 percent. Active paid subscriptions on the App Store are also up 58 percent year over year. Gaming and Entertainment are the top-grossing app categories, and Lifestyle, Health, and Fitness apps have experienced over 70 percent growth in the past year. The Photo and Video category grew nearly 90 percent over the last year. Read more at apple.com.
Motorola announced the Moto Z2 Play handset, a $499 sequel to the moto-mod capable Moto Z Play from late last year. The smartphone has a 5.5” Super AMOLED 1080p display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 626 processor, 3 to 4 gigs of RAM, a 12 megapixel rear facing camera, and Android Nougat on board. However the battery is trimmed down from the previous model to 3000mAh which makes the device a bit slimmer. Along with the new midranger, Motorola also unveiled a few new Moto Mod options for its modular-friendly devices. Read more at engadget.com.
Apple's Swift Playgrounds is an easy way for anyone, kids or adults, to learn how to build iOS apps on an iOS device, using the Swift programming language. Now, Swift Playgrounds will be able to control robots, drones, and tech equipped toys from big names like LEGO, Sphero, and Parrot — all of whom sell products in Apple stores. Other compatible toy makers include UBTECH, Wonder Workshop and Skoog. LEGO has already built around 10 hours worth of lessons for Swift Playgrounds that'll work with some of its Mindstorms toys. Read more at theverge.com.
Megan Morrone is off today, so Nathan Olivarez-Giles will be cohosting Tech News Today with Jason Howell. They're joined by Roberto Baldwin of Engadget to discuss the tech industry's response to the decision by Trump to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord. Tech News Today streams live weekdays at 4PM Pacific, 7PM Eastern at twit.tv/live. You can subscribe to the show and get it on-demand at twit.tv/tnt.