entertainment Stories December 3, 2015

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In past years, Google just highlighted the best apps in their end of the year list. But to demonstrate the content store’s shift into more than just apps, other forms of entertainment like music and movies are getting their own section in the Play Store’s Best of 2015 this year.

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entertainment Stories November 13, 2015

Sony’s PlayStation Vue Internet TV service is coming to Google Chromecast

Sony announced today that it’s PlayStation Vue Internet TV service will soon be expanding to support Google’s Chromecast HDMI streaming hardware for the first time. The news comes as Amazon’s Fire TV and Fire TV Stick streaming devices become the first devices beyond PlayStation consoles to support Vue. While Amazon’s hardware is getting support today, Chromecast support will follow as it’s coming soon.

entertainment Stories July 8, 2015

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Remember ethernet? It’s that technology that can transmit an Internet signal to devices through a cable — so long as they have an ethernet port, that is. Many devices no longer do, to the dismay of a diminishing minority. But ethernet has its benefits, like not being susceptible to reliability issues when there are two walls between your device and your router and/or modem.

Fortunately, Chromecast users are in luck, as Google is now selling an ethernet adapter for the device. expand full story

entertainment Stories June 12, 2015

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Using the typical in-flight entertainment system on board an airliner is like time-travelling back to 1990. There’s usually no touch-screen – you have to navigate with physical joypad type systems – and everything is laggy and clunky. The contrast with the hi-tech tablet you probably have on your lap is a glaring one.

Virgin America is aiming to bring a more Android-like experience to its seat-back entertainment systems by, well, adopting Android …  expand full story

entertainment Stories May 25, 2015

Google and Comedy Central are offering one free episode from 12 shows on Google Play

Memorial Day in the United States is a time for remembering and celebrating, relaxing and unwinding, and an extra day off from work to spend with friends and family. Google wants to make sure you don’t have to waste any of it flipping through TV channels to find something that’s on to watch, which is why the company has partnered up with Comedy Central to offer 12 episodes of 12 different Comedy Central original shows absolutely free on Google Play.

Some of the shows are more recent, like Key & Peele, while others are more of Comedy Central classics, like Strangers with Candy from the 90’s. My personal favorites from the selection are Key & Peele and Tosh.0, but maybe Reno 911! is your sort of thing. One episode from each show is free and then you can pay for the season it’s from to see more. The sale page is here.

entertainment Stories February 4, 2015

Google partners with Disney on new series aiming to get kids interested in tech

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VnQ5gE4Rbxo&ab_channel=disneyjunior]

Google and Disney teamed up to create a new kids show with a focus on getting young viewers interested in computer science, the LA Times noted in a report today. The show, Miles from Tomorrowland, was created by Disney Junior with Google engineers sitting in as consultants.

The two companies are especially focused on getting girls interested in technology by featuring female characters designed to change kids’ perception of the industry. From the Times report:

In “Miles From Tomorrowland,” Loretta is a super cool older sister/computer whiz sidekick who records data from the adventures and discoveries and can find the answer to almost anything with the assistance of a special wrist device known as “the bracelex.”

One episode has Loretta writing code that helps her find another planet.

The show’s creator says that his cooperation with Google has shown him that “you can do anything with coding”—a message Disney hopes to instill in its audience. Miles from Tomorrowland premieres on February 6th.

entertainment Stories September 18, 2014

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YouTube announced this evening in a blog post that, once again, it plans to start funding original content. Two years ago, YouTube announced plans to spend more than $100 million to get content creators to create YouTube channels on which to share videos. With that plan, they focused on bringing in outside entertainers. With this new push, however, YouTube says it will focus on helping the self-funded and self-published stars on the site grow.

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entertainment Stories February 26, 2014

Vote for American Idol with your phone or tablet through Google Search

Planning to watch American Idol tonight and vote on your favorite performers? Google is making voting through its Search apps possible through a partnership with FOX. As the live finalist performance shows debut, American Idol is allowing viewers to vote through Google.com and Google’s Android and iOS Search apps.

Voting through Google allows you to cast up to 50 votes for each contestant as the new voting system is piloted. Simply search american idol or idol during voting hours and cast your votes!

Google Search for Android is available for free from the Google Play Store.

entertainment Stories December 11, 2013

YouTube’s Reward 2013 is a mashup year in review of all the hottest videos that took the world by storm. So, YouTube did the only thing that made sense and invited a whole bunch of YouTube stars to appear in one giant mashup of the most popular moments since January 1st.

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entertainment Stories May 20, 2013

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An FCC filing spotted by Dutch site TabletGuide.nl (via Engadget) suggests that Google may be working on a new streaming media player to replace the Nexus Q, the device Google announced, shipped to pre-order customers free of charge and then withdrew from the market. expand full story

entertainment Stories May 9, 2013

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Following weeks of rumors, YouTube has launched a pilot program for subscription-based YouTube channels. Subscription rates will begin at 99¢ per month, but all plans include a 14 day free trial for YouTube channel viewers. YouTube says that a broader rollout will occur in the coming weeks.

Starting today, we’re launching a pilot program for a small group of partners that will offer paid channels on YouTube with subscription fees starting at $0.99 per month. Every channel has a 14-day free trial, and many offer discounted yearly rates. For example, Sesame Street will be offering full episodes on their paid channel when it launches. And UFC fans can see classic fights, like a full version of their first event from UFC’s new channel. You might run into more of these channels across YouTube. Once you subscribe from a computer, you’ll be able to watch paid channels on your computer, phone, tablet and TV, and soon you’ll be able to subscribe to them from more devices.

YouTube channel owners that are interested in participating can fill out a Google-provided form. 

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entertainment Stories May 3, 2013

Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Google / via telegraph.co.uk

Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Google / via <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk" target="_blank">telegraph.co.uk</a>

In recent months Google Chairman Eric Schmidt has proven himself a spokesperson worthy of making the headlines.

From singing the praises of his BlackBerry (no, I didn’t misspell Android) to claiming Apple is holding out on approving Google Now for iOS (turns out that wasn’t accurate), we couldn’t resist debuting our new series, Talking Schmidt, where we bring you the latest zingers from the chairman himself.

In the premier installment of Talking Schmidt, we will unpack the chairman’s recent claim that YouTube has defeated your TV in the competition for your attention.

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entertainment Stories April 24, 2013

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Following in the footsteps of Apple and Google attempts at the set-top-box market, Amazon is planning to release a set-top-box, according to Bloomberg

They say the box will plug into TVs and give users access to Amazon’s expanding video offerings. Those include its a la carte Video on Demand store, which features newer films and TV shows, and its Instant Video service, which is free for subscribers to the Amazon Prime two-day shipping package. The Amazon set-top box will compete with similar products like the Roku, Apple TV and the Boxee Cloud DVR, along with more versatile devices like the Playstation 3 and the Xbox. An Amazon spokesperson declined to comment.

The device is reportedly being developed in Amazon’s Cupertino based labs and could launch this fall. The project is reportedly being spearheaded by a former Apple and Cisco employee:

The project is being run by Malachy Moynihan, a former vice president of emerging video products at Cisco (CSCO) who worked on the networking company’s various consumer video initiatives. Moynihan also spent nine years at Apple (AAPL) during the 1980s and 1990s.

Perhaps this future product is the reason that Apple and Amazon have no deal for Amazon content streaming on the Apple TV.

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entertainment Stories April 23, 2013

Google Fiber TV remote app for iPad released

Google launched its Google Fiber TV for iPad app today allowing Google Fiber customers to transform their iPads into QWERTY keyboard, TV guide yielding TV remotes.

For the past month, our Fiber TV customers have been able to control their TVs with any recent Android device. Using the Fiber TV app from the Google Play Store, they can search for programming, browse listings, and select shows or recordings with just the touch or swipe of a finger. Now, iPad users can enjoy this simple, intuitive experience, too.

This should come as great news to tablet owners in Kansas City, Austin, and Provo.

Google Fiber TV for iPad is available for free in the App Store.

(Source: Google)

entertainment Stories April 22, 2013

Wise Tivi has introduced an Android-based HDMI stick that brings apps, web browsing and gaming to your HDTV.

Among its features include access to YouTube, Netflix, Hulu and Vimeo, as well as Android web browsers like Chrome and Firefox which support the Adobe Flash protocol.

Wise TiVi is currently accepting funding on Indiepogo and expects to ship this July.

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entertainment Stories October 12, 2012

YouTube is tweaking the way it ranks videos as part of its recent trend to improve video discovery.

Google’s video-sharing platform made changes to Suggest Videos in March, and it refreshed YouTube Analytics just yesterday, and now it is attempting to applaud and boost popular videos with new optimizations to ranking.

YouTube elaborated on the official YouTube Creator blog:

The experimental results of this change have proven positive — less clicking, more watching. We expect the amount of time viewers spend watching videos from search and across the site to increase.  As with previous optimizations to our discovery features, this should benefit your channel if your videos drive more viewing time across YouTube.

YouTube does not detail the exact adjustments, but it clearly wants to feed engaging videos to users who do not have a specific search query in mind. The result, as YouTube suggested above, will not only supply users with trending video but will also pipe more views to successful publishers.

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entertainment Stories March 21, 2012

Editing videos with YouTube just got much easier.

The video-sharing website launched YouTube Video Editor last year, but now its latest editing tool allows YouTube to automatically detect any stabilization and lighting issues…

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entertainment Stories September 27, 2011

Citing the obligatory “people familiar with the matter”, the Wall Street Journal in a story this morning reports that Google is finalizing contracts for upcoming YouTube channels that will stream premium entertainment content on a regular basis. Google CEO Larry Page apparently wants to give people a good reason to tune into YouTube instead of television. Content owners are being “encouraged” to create schedules of programming much like traditional TV, the paper noted.

YouTube has requested some content for the channels within the next 60 days, according to one of these people, as it considers a launch in early 2012. YouTube, which media companies have long griped is too stingy cutting content deals, is paying from a few hundred thousand dollars to several million to content creators to create and curate videos for a channel, according to these people. Google recoups the original payment through ad revenue, and Google and the partner share ad revenue after that.

This could be viewed as part of Google’s broader push towards providing high-quality Hollywood entertainment on YouTube. The timely strategy ties nicely with the Google TV project, which is also about to be updated with a new software release soon. The Wall Street Journal first reported on Google’s plans to spend a hundred million dollars on premium YouTube content back in April. Google is reportedly in talks with Creative Artists Agency, William Morris Endeavor and International Creative Management over professionally produced programming on broad themes, including arts, fashion and sports.

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entertainment Stories September 26, 2011

A mockup of a seven-inch Amazon tablet running a forked Android version.

As Amazon gears up to debut its long-rumored tablet on Wednesday at a media event in New York (a subtle hint of a media-focused launch), TechCrunch chimes in with a name. The Android-driven device will be apparently marketed under the Kindle Fire moniker in order to distinguish it from Amazon’s highly regarded family of dedicated Kindle e-readers. Manufactured by Foxconn, Apple’s favorite contract manufacturer, the gizmo should boast a seven-inch color touchscreen (not true multi-touch) and won’t have an email client preloaded, but users will be able to download one from its mobile application store or use a built-in browser for web mail, writes author  MG Siegler who first saw the device early this month.

Meanwhile, AlllThingsD’s Peter Kafka writes the online retailer is cutting partnerships left and right with Hollywood studios and magazine publishers. Amazon has now added Fox shows to its streaming catalog, Kafka reported today, explaining the deal includes shows Fox no longer airs and old Fox movies such as “Office Space,” “Speed” and “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”. Also, at least three magazine publishers have thrown their weighg behind Amazon’s tablet project: Hearst, Conde Nast and Meredith. Kafka cites industry sources claiming all three publishers “have deals to sell digital versions of their titles on the new device”.

Those titles are allegedly optimized for Amazon’s seven-incher and terms are said to mirror the 70:30 revenue split offered by Apple’s iTunes content store. Even though its success is anything but given, conventional wisdom has it that the Amazon tablet should benefit from Amazon’s many cloud services and long-standing partnerships with content providers. What’s unique about Amazon…

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As part of Google’s new focus on premium entertainment, the YouTube team announced in a blog post that the video sharing site will stream the Ultimate Fighting Championship events. Viewers in the United States will be able to access this content on the UFC YouTube channel beginning this Saturday, September 24 at 9pm ET/6pm PT. Google said that all of the main card fights from UFC 135 will be available for live streaming for $44.99. The search company will kickstart the UFC streaming deal with the heavyweight title fight between champion Jon “Bones” Jones and challenger Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. If you’re a fan, don’t forget to tune in. You probably have access to UFC fights as part of your cable deal so YouTube will be yet another platform to watch those fights. Besides it is nice seeing Google take premium entertainment seriously.

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