Google Ups Free Music Storage to 50,000 Songs

Whether you stream, download, rip or only listen to podcasts, there’s a good chance you have anywhere from a handful to tens of thousands of MP3s and other songs cluttering a hard drive somewhere. If you’re looking for a good way to back them up without spending a dime, Google Music just got a big boost to its free storage limit. It’s allowing anyone to upload up to 50,000 songs for free, then stream or download them again later. The original limit was 20,000; either that was too little or not enough people signed up, and consequently Google has a bit of extra space on its servers. The price is right and there’s little reason not to take advantage of the upgraded service, especially if you already have a Google account.

Google

All you need to do is head to the Google Music page and sign up, then install the small program that uploads your songs to Google’s servers. You don’t have to pay a dime, though if you want to stream songs you don’t own, you can try out the $10 monthly subscription, which also gives you ad-free access to music videos on YouTube. All your music will still be available on your hard drive, but now you’ll be able to stream it to your phone or laptop, or download it all again if disaster strikes.

—Devin Coldewey

Leak: VLC update will (finally) have Chromecast support

It’s been a long-time coming (well, 7 months, but in tech world that’s forever) but it looks like your favorite jack-of-all-trades video player will finally be able to support Google’s streaming dongle. If the changelog in the Git repo is to be believed, the next update to VLC will finally feature support for Chromecast, something that a lot of people are excited about, even though this was something “promised” (well, sort of) June of last year.

VLC is considered by many to be the go-to video player on your desktop, laptop, or mobile, because it can play almost any format. When they said last year, when Chromecast was still pretty new, that they intended to support the media-streaming dongle, people were eager to have the best of both worlds. But then we waited and waited, and finally thought that the day will never come. But based on the changelog of the upcoming VLC 3.0, the Stream Output part shows that it will finally have a Chromecast output module.

Screen-Shot-2015-02-16-at-20.03.03

Because VLC is an open-source project, you can easily check on what are their ongoing and future plans when it comes to updating the app. Well, unless they suddenly encounter more problems or they change their mind, then it looks like we can finally expect it in the next few weeks (hopefully not months). Whether or not it will come to Android or iOS first is the question. But it will probably the former, since Google provides APIs for developers.

Just last month, VLC released a preview build for their Android TV app. While it still had a lot of bugs and kinks to work out (it’s in beta mode after all), it looks pretty impressive. Now let’s just wait and see which one will be released first.

By: Ida Torres

VIA: OMG Chrome

Amazon Announces $39 Fire TV Stick for Video Streaming

Amazon Announces $39 Fire TV Stick for Video Streaming

(Amazon)

Amazon is finally taking on the Chromecast. This morning it’s introducing the Fire TV Stick, a streaming device that exists entirely in a small dongle that plugs into a TV’s HDMI port. Amazon says the Fire TV Stick offers the “same experience” as the full Fire TV, which was introduced back in April. It can play games, and it’s able to stream from the major services that you’d ask for: HBO GO, Watch ESPN, YouTube, Hulu Plus, Pandora, and, of course, Prime Instant Video. The Stick goes on sale for $39 beginning Nov. 19 and is currently available for preorder. Prime subscribers can get it for $19 for the next two days.

The Fire TV Stick is being advertised directly against the Chromecast, which should be no surprise: the Chromecast is Amazon’s best-selling electronic device right now — and Amazon would be happy to see that replaced with its own device. “Fire TV Stick is the most powerful streaming media stick available,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in a statement. With 8 GB of internal storage and 1 GB of RAM, the Stick has four times the internal storage and twice the memory of the Chromecast. It also has a dual-core processor and dual-band WiFi, neither of which the Chromecast can claim.

The other big benefit to the Fire TV Stick is that it includes a remote (and an interface), whereas you’re stuck controlling the Chromecast entirely through your phone. Amazon is cutting costs here, however: This isn’t the same remote that ships with the Fire TV Stick, which has a microphone on it and lets you perform a voice search. If you want that remote, you’ll have to buy it separately for $29.99.

This article originally appeared on The Verge.

Viber Adds Video Calls to Mobile

Viber video calling

The popular app Viber, which offers free messaging and HD phone calls over Wi-Fi or 3G, is getting a new feature — video calls.

With the latest version of the app, Viber 5.0 for iOS and Android, you can now make video calls from your phone. The feature is also available from the Viber desktop app for Windows, Windows 8, and OS X.

“We’re delighted to bring video calling to mobile,” Viber CEO Talmon Marco, said in a statement. “Now that you can make video calls from your phone as well as on your PC and Mac, you can always talk in the way that’s most convenient for you, wherever you happen to be.”

Besides video calling, the update brings an easier way to manage your contacts. You can now add friends by simply adding their Viber number or scanning a special QR code.

The update also offers a number of OS-specific enhancements, including photo and video message forwarding and easier sticker pack management on iOS. The Android version has a new design, making the app “easier and more fun,” Viber said.

On the desktop, Viber v4.3 has a new and improved design, a fun backgrounds gallery, and other improvements and bug fixes. Meanwhile, Viber for Windows 8 v3.2 brings an updated snap mode with stickers, emoticons, and notifications, an easier way to search contacts, the ability to see online contacts from the home screen, and PNG support for photo messages.

The update comes after Viber in June announced it now has 100 million-plus active users and more than 360 million unique registered users. Viber estimates more than 200 million people are reachable via the platform at any time.

With the latest version of the app, you can now make video calls from your Android or iOS phone.

Facebook Reportedly Working on Snapchat Competitor

Facebook Said to Be Building a Snapchat Competitor, Again

Mark Zuckerberg himself is allegedly supervising the creation of Slingshot, Facebook’s direct competitor to Snapchat. After a failed attempt to purchase Snapchat last year for $3 billion, it only makes sense for Facebook to try to eliminate the competition by creating a better product. Snapchat is one of the fastest growing social media apps, a clear competitor to both Facebook and Instagram. 

The new app could be released as early as this month, according to a report in the Financial Times. Not much is known about the product, but it seems it will be a video messaging app, in which pictures and videos will disappear after one view. (Presumably, one view means no option for replay.) 

In 2012, Facebook attempted a video sharing app, Poke, which failed and Zuckerberg even called “a joke” (or just a really poorly executed idea.) Poke was removed from the service a few weeks ago, potentially to make room for Slingshot. 

It is expected that unlike Facebook’s other features, Slingshot will be a standalone app, completely usable without the Facebook app; though presumably not usable without a Facebook account. While Snapchat requires only a phone number for an activated account, Facebook will push the primary users of this service (teens) to sign up with their Facebook accounts. Facebook has been slipping in the teenage demographic for some time, and this could be an interesting ploy to win them back. On the other hand, a Facebook connection can hinder the anonymity and assumed ephemeral aspect of the app. 

While nothing is publicly known about the visuals of Slingshot, Facebook’s ownership of Instagram could come into play here. Snapchat offers limited filters, all of which require location services to be turned on. If Facebook offers the large variety of visual effects from the Instagram library, it could give Slingshot an added edge over Snapchat. Because, let’s face it, we all look better in sepia.

Via

Shutterstock Introduces Music Licensing Service

 

Shutterstock isn’t just a place where users can find stock photography and video anymore — today it’s launching Shutterstock Music.

Vice President of Product Wyatt Jenkins demonstrated the new service for me yesterday. He said that while a big media company can usually afford to license a hit song for their movie or commercial, small businesses don’t have the know-how to jump through all the legal hoops or the money to pay for the music.

So Shutterstock is bringing its model to the music licensing market. Users can search the library for a track that’s the right fit for, say, their online marketing video, then pay for a broad license, with pricing starting at $79 (actually $49 right now, thanks to a temporary promotion).

Jenkins noted that while you may be able to browse dozens or more images simultaneously, you can only listen to one music track at a time, and you probably can’t listen to all that many before you get tired out. So it was important for Shutterstock to help users find the right tracks before they even listen to anything. The library is not only searchable, it’s also browsable based on mood, genre and tempo, and each track comes with a number of descriptive tags. (Jenkins said this data is generated through a combination of algorithms and human editors.)

Jenkins acknowledged that there are other sites where you can find cheap music for your own use, but he said those songs are usually pretty basic, with music often created by “a single person with a keyboard.” With this initial launch, Shutterstock is partnering with music licensing service Rumblefish, and Jenkins argued those initial 60,000 tracks will help to set the bar high. Eventually, the service will open to other contributors, and he said there will be other quality assurance systems in place.

Apparently the new product has connections to Jenkins’ old job as an executive at music company Beatport. Jenkins said (half-jokingly, I think?) that when he joined Shutterstock in 2011, he was already interested in building a music service, but there were plenty of other projects to occupy his time. More recently, he recruited part of the Beatport team to become Shutterstock’s Denver office and build Shutterstock Music.

Jenkins added that Shutterstock’s infrastructure should allow it to expand to other types of content licensing fairly quickly: “We love looking at new content types, though we don’t have any plans at the moment. … And it’s not always about being first into a content type. It’s also about when the market needs it.”

Via

Video

Viral Mother’s Day Video: Seeds through Google Glass

Google Glass uploads an emotional video on YouTube which immediately goes viral the moment it was published after it earned over 56,000 views within the day.

The film entitled Seeds which was captured entirely on Google Glass features a man’s long journey to his home in India to surprise his mother.

. It was produced by alumni and students from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts as part of the Glass Creative Collection.

The clip shows a first person perspective of a man packing his things in a bag. His wife handed him a brown envelope to bring along. He then takes a cab, pulls a train card, and rides a train with the brown envelope constantly on his hands.

He proceeds to the airport and pulls up his passport. He gets his boarding pass and rides the plane. While on the plane ride, he still keeps the brown envelope handy and reads a book.

When he arrived in India, he adjusted his watch to the local time and took a motorcycle which was the local mode of transportation in the country. He takes a train and watches the panoramic view of the rural life as he passes by.

Finally, he takes a tri-bicycle, rides a small boat, and reaches his own village where his young relatives meet him.

When he goes inside the home and taps the shoulder of her Mother, the surprise expression on her face is undeniable. They had a heartwarming reunion and feast on the food.

He then takes out the brown envelope and gives it to her Mom who is fixing the hanging clothes. His mother turned to tears. He had been carrying a picture of an ultrasound all along.

In an article from Mashable, the 23-year old filmmaker Chaganty revealed that the 2.30-minute film was shot in a span of 10 days in four different locations: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Tokyo, and India. He stated: “It was the first introduction to acting I’ve ever had.” He also revealed that throughout the production of the Mother’s Day-themed story, he had the same clothes, and a wedding ring.

As for the production style, Chaganty stated: “We made it a very clear point to never show … if someone was not aware that I was shooting, we would never show their full face. In fact there’s one part we blurred.”

What a heart-rending film fit for Mother’s Day indeed!

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