YouTube Gets A New TV app

YouTube Gets A New TV app

 

With more people than ever cutting the cord, watching via smart TVs, and turning to streaming media players like Roku and others, YouTube decided it was time to update is TV application to be easier to use on the big screen. A new version of the application rolling out now will feature a different look and improved organization of categories, in order to better fit in with how people watch YouTube in the living room.

On the desktop and mobile, people often end up on YouTube because of a search or someone sharing a link, but in the living room, you tend to browse for content – often not having a specific idea of what you want to watch.

That being said, the company finds that viewers tend to turn toward specific types of videos when watching YouTube on television, including travel, news, sports, fitness videos, TV shows, gaming, comedy, and more. Meanwhile, kids will often turn to YouTube to watch cartoons, and other family friendly shows.

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With the new interface, YouTube aims to make it simpler to access these sorts of videos. It has moved its categories out of a side menu and to the top of the screen. Now, you’ll see high-level categories like “Recommended,” “Trending,” “Entertainment, “News,” and more. In each category, there will be subcategories pointing you to more specific video content in that genre. There are also new sections for 4K content and live streams, the company says.

The company says that over half of 18 to 49-year olds in the U.S. have watched YouTube on their TV – which speaks to the app’s ability to grab viewer interest even when so many today are watching movies and series via on-demand streaming services like those from Netflix, Amazon, HBO and Hulu. It also noted that the time spent watching YouTube in the living room is increasing – having more than doubled in 2015.

That being said, YouTube’s new app still seems to focus more on the shorter-form content that YouTube is best known for, rather than using this makeover to promote its original content to viewers. This includes its own shows and movies – videos that could compel viewers to convert to becoming YouTube Red subscribers.

The update is rolling out now in the U.S. to all TV platforms, including connected and smart TVs, streaming boxes, as well as game consoles, save for Apple TV. Other countries will see the update in time.

 

Courtesy of Sarah Perez, Tech Crunch

Google Duo Aims to Make Video Calling Super-Easy

Google Duo Aims to Make Video Calling Super-Easy

By Richard Adhikari

CTIpostpicGooogle on Monday launched Google Duo, a one-on-one video calling app that runs on iOS and Android.

The app will be available worldwide in the next few days, said Justin Uberti, principal software engineer at Google.

Duo switches from cellular service to WiFi, and transitions from high-speed to lower speed wireless service smoothly, promising to let users continue video calls irrespective of their location and service speeds, although video degradation may be apparent on slower services.

A separate account isn’t necessary to sign up for the app — a phone number will suffice.

Duo users can begin a video call with a tap. A preview feature called “Knock Knock” lets Android users preview incoming calls even when Duo is not open. It also allows them to preview outgoing calls.

However, it works on iOS only if the Duo app is open, and it doesn’t give iOS users previews of outgoing calls.

All Duo calls are encrypted end to end.

Jumping Feet First Into the Video-Calling Pool

Duo is a barebones app, running only on mobile phones. It doesn’t run on the Web via browsers or other desktop tools.

“Generally, it’s better to keep something like this very simple at the start,” suggested Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.

“That way you can deliver something that works reliably, and then build up features gradually without breaking the platform,” he told TechNewsWorld. Also, a simple app will “be easy to learn.”

In contrast, Skype runs on PCs, smartphones or tablets, as well as on the Xbox One, PlayStation Vita and several smart TVs.

Google Hangouts — which reportedly has upwards of a billion users — runs on Windows, OS X, Linux and Chrome. It has an add-on for FireFox. It runs on iOS andAndroid, and it supports both one-on-one and group video calls.

It also supports text, IM and SMS; integrates with Google Voice and Project Fi; and allows video overlays and effects.

Video chat and IM client ooVoo links contacts from Facebook and users’ phones, and lets them include up to 12 friends in the same session. It runs on Microsoft Windows, Windows Phone, OS X, Android, iOS and Facebook.

Facebook Messenger’s features include video calls worldwide, as well as photo and video sharing, voice messaging, group chats — and in the United States, money transfers.

“None of these apps are ubiquitous, and the best — FaceTime — doesn’t work cross-platform,” noted Enderle. “This provides an opportunity for a firm like Google — with the right product — to steal the market with some marketing.”

Where Duo Might Shine

Skype is “a pain to use,” noted Michael Jude, a program manager at Stratecast/Frost & Sullivan.

“I would think Duo would be a lot more friendly … for casual users,” he told TechNewsWorld. “This could be a real challenge to Skype.”

Users who only want to make video calls might prefer Duo, because additional features offered by other services “complicate the interface and, if you’re simply into one-to-one video, you don’t want all of that anyway,” Jude said.

Further, Duo is platform agnostic, while Facetime runs only on iOS devices, he pointed out. “Conceivably, [Duo] would be appealing to totally mobile users who aren’t keen to use something like Skype for video calling.”

Video-Calling Prospects

Video calling may not become consumers’ preferred means of communication any time soon, however.

The technology was first demonstrated in the 1950s, was first showcased in the 1960s, and became very inexpensive in the 1990s, noted Enderle, but it isn’t commonly used for three reasons:

People are concerned about being spied on;
They feel they must adjust their appearance before making or taking a call; and
Systems still don’t talk to each other very well or at all.
“Two of these three things aren’t technical, and Google is only partially addressing the last — so I wouldn’t hold my breath,” Enderle said.

“What we don’t really need is another discrete video-call app — we need universal video calling,” said Jude.

“I’m waiting for an operator-provided video exchange that will route video calls from any device to any device,” he said. “Until video is a ubiquitous service that’s platform and OS agnostic, it will continue to be essentially a toy with a lot of overhead.”

Courtesy of Technewsworld

New security flaw in credit card chips revealed

New Security Flaw In Credit Card Chips Revealed

by Jose Pagliery

Computer researchers have found yet another flaw in the upgrade to the chip-based credit cards in the United States.

The chip on these credit cards have been praised for making them nearly impossible to counterfeit. While the cards also contain a magnetic strip, that strip is supposed to tell the payment machine to use the chip.
But there’s a relatively easy way to knock down that safeguard.

Computer security researchers at the payment technology company NCR demonstrated how credit card thieves can rewrite the magnetic stripe code to make it appear like a chipless card again. This allows them to keep counterfeiting — just like they did before the nationwide switch to chip cards.

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They presented their findings at the Black Hat computer security conference on Wednesday.
This glaring hole in EMV, the chip-based system, is possible because of the way many retailers are upgrading their payment machines: They’re not encrypting the transaction.

“There’s a common misperception EMV solves everything. It doesn’t,” Patrick Watson, one of the researchers, told CNNMoney.
The discovery of this flaw bolsters the retail industry’s complaints against the upgrade, which was forced upon shops by banks.
The National Retail Federation has long complained about the upgrade, which is estimated to cost American retailers $25 billion.

This latest research shows that retailers could spend millions of dollars upgrading to EMV and still not protect their customers from a massive credit card theft like the Target and Home Depot hacks two years ago.
Adding to the problem, payment terminal makers keep producing machines that don’t have the encryption by default.
And vendors who sell and install these machines at shops don’t simply flip the switch and turn on encryption. Retailers have to pay extra for basic security.

CNNMoney reached out to the major machine makers, Verifone and Ingenico, as well as the major credit card companies, Visa and MasterCard.
Ingenico and Verifone both asserted they offer point-to-point encryption on retailer’s machines — but it’s up to retailers and their partners to turn it on. Others did not respond to requests for comment.

Currently, retailers focus on protecting the computer network that support their payment system. But that leaves the actual conversation between your credit card and the machine in plain text, readable to any hacker who breaks into the system.
It’s a mistake, said Mike Weber, vice president at the IT auditing firm Coalfire.
“They’re assuming the environment is okay,” he said. It’s not.

During their presentation, the NCR researchers advised shops to “encrypt everything” in a transaction. They also said consumers should pay with special apps on their phones and watches whenever the high tech option is available.