Flickr has officially beat out all the competition in terms of storage space available at no cost to users. Yahoo’s popular photo-sharing service has announced that they will now provide one terabyte of free storage to anyone with a Flickr account. The free terabyte will provide the majority of users with tons of space to share and store as many photos as they want.
It is unlikely that most Flickr accounts will ever reach the boundaries of the free storage space, but the promise of nearly unlimited space is enticing for everyone. Flickr will likely experience a jump in membership following the announcement, including growth in the number of professional photographers who utilize the service. This is extremely important, as Flickr was no longer experiencing substantial increase in membership; but one free terabyte will be enough to draw positive limelight to the service.
Yahoo first acquired Flickr in 2005 for $35 million, but some users have since felt ignored by the tech giant. However, it seems Yahoo is finally paying attention. Marissa Mayer says the recent changes to Flickr are about “bringing lifetimes of beauty into Flickr.” Yahoo emphasized that they are the only company currently providing an entire terabyte of free storage.
In addition to upping the available free storage space, Flickr also updated and improved other aspects of its service, including the high-resolution user interface. The new layout is a grid that displays images in full-res and looks more like a timeline. Additionally, the new layout includes a plain black background on every full screen image page.
They also revealed a new Android app for the service to allow more users to access their images and accounts from mobile devices. A recent update to the iOS app increased image uploads by 25%, so the expansion to the Android market should also raise usage considerably.
You’ll never need a second screen again with SimulTV—the new online ‘social’ television experience that integrates a second screen displaying content and social components into the main screen. The online TV-viewing system allows users to watch their favourite shows while simultaneously browsing through web content or a personal selection of social functions.
With SimulTV, viewers no longer require an additional screen, or even an entirely separate device, to check up on their social networks while engrossed in a television show. For instance, instead of watching your favourite series online on your laptop and separately using your tablet or mobile phone to access Facebook or Twitter, you can access everything through one dynamic screen.
The company explains that SimulTV is uniquely designed to, “put the social in TV—literally—by merging the second screen with the first.” And with 85% of tablet-owners supplement their television viewing with use of a tablet, it seems the market is primed and ready for such integrated single-screen abilities.
The new service also includes a library feature that allows users to select from a number of channels and movies in addition to viewing cable TV. SimulTV can be used on any television, smartphone, computer or device with internet access.
For the time being, there aren’t tons of channels to select from, but SimulTV is still in the early stages of development and most reviewers agree the market potential is significant. However, they do plan to add about 100 channels as well as 5,000 titles available on a video-on-demand basis.
Also significant is the simple fact that SimulTV will allow users to watch television entirely on their devices without a need for physical televisions or cable services.
The ability to stream live from YouTube is now available to a much larger group of users. YouTube announced that as of Wednesday, May 15th, users who have over 1,000 registered subscribers to their channels will have access to YouTube Live—a service which was first launched for beta testing about 2 years ago, but which has not previously been accessible to a wide audience.
With the changes effective already, any user with a significant number of subscribers can now stream live video to be broadcast to their viewers. Fans can watch the live stream on any device that has access to YouTube. Until now, the option to broadcast content in real-time was only made possible for specially selected partner accounts or developers of video games.
YouTube Live will provide an entirely new set of opportunities for YouTube channels and personalities to connect with their fans. Rather than constantly uploading new videos to a channel, users with over 1,000 subscribers can now plan to schedule live streaming events or specials that their viewers can watch and respond to in real-time.
Eligible users should be able to stream from multiple camera angles and also allows viewers to skip to different parts of the broadcast as it’s streaming; to check whether an account has been granted access to YouTube Live, users simply look at their Account Features page. Checking box with the option to enable Live applies the channel creator for the new feature.
Some partner accounts already have access to paid live-streaming abilities, such as pay-per-view options and paid subscriptions. However, it is not yet certain whether the new expansion will offer these features to all accounts with over 1,000 subscribers.
The biggest Google event of the year is upon us, with the three day I/O developer conference underway after it opened Wednesday morning with a three-hour presentation. So far Google hasn’t wasted any time in revealing some major updates, changes and overhauls, including a remodeling of Google Maps and Google+. I/O 2013 is taking place in San Francisco, and the event will run Wednesday through Friday May 17th.
The first major pitch Wednesday morning involved Google building itself up as a powerhouse in the hopes of wooing developers as well as a brief introduction to its many new announcements and advancements. The audience in San Francisco includes about 6,000 developers, but there were another 4,000 people who tuned in to watch the event stream live.
Google’s Sundair Pichai, who heads the teams in charge of Google Chrome and Android, said that there are about 900 million mobile products now running Android, compared with the 400 million at the time of last year’s I/O event.
The biggest revelation Google made to entice software developers to create apps for its platform was that Android developers are making more money now than ever before. Reportedly, they made more cash in the past 4 months than was paid out for the entirety of 2012.
One of the most notable changes announced was that Google Maps would be getting a revamp. The upgrade includes 3D and social search, as well as a brand new interface. Google Maps will also begin to offer live incident updates and reports about ongoing accidents, so that the billion people who use Google Maps will have more accurate information on the quickest routes even when delays occur.
The new HTC First, also known as the “Facebook phone”, has officially flopped. The first sign of trouble came when AT&T slashed the cost of the HTC First from $99 to $0.99 after the phone had been on the market for just one month. Now it has been revealed by BGR that AT&T has made the decision to completely discontinue the device. This is a swift and disappointing end to Facebook’s first venture into the prodiction of smartphones.
Apparently sales of the phone have been utterly terrible; that news of its discontinuation comes less than 2 months after its initial release. Some critics were skeptical about the collaboration between HTC and Facebook, but no one expected to see the project shut down so quickly. It is unknown how much unsold inventory there is that will never make it into buyers’ hands, but leftover stock will be shipped back to HTC.
The HTC First made news for being the first ever smartphone to include a pre-installed version of Facebook Home, which was expected to be a major selling point for the product. Unfortunately for Facebook, much of the social network’s appeal is dwindling and collaborating with HTC was not enough to rekindle substantial interest.
BGR reports that AT&T sold less than 15,000 HTC First devices in total, even after the price was drastically cut down to less than a dollar. They also report that AT&T sales staff are not actively attempting to sell or promote the ill-fated device, as the sales representatives themselves not like the phone. However, the HTC First’s new $0.99 price tag may still clear out some inventory before the phone is completely pulled.
A comment from AT&T written into BGR tip-toes around the issue, stating simply:
“We do pricing promotions all the time and have made no decisions on future plans.”
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