YouTube Kids launched in the US back in February with the aim of making it easier and safer for kids to watch videos on YouTube. So far, the app has been downloaded more than 10 million times across all platforms, and Malik Ducard, YouTube's Global Head of Family and Learning, says that families consider it to be "among the top kids apps available." Today, the team is expanding YouTube Kids into five new countries — Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom — and adding in lots of country-specific programming like Charli's Crafty Kitchen and Wild Kratts, too.
YouTube Kids boasts many elements parents will find very attractive, such as a playful, child-friendly design, voice search for kids who are still learning their ABCs, and plenty of family-focused content.
Birds gonna fly, fish gonna swim, dogs gonna bark, and unscrupulous people are going to find ways to steal digital content. Video piracy is more or less unstoppable (though reasonable prices and more convenient streaming have taken it down a peg), but if you brazenly sell gadgets with the sole intention of stealing TV shows and movies, expect a visit from Johnny Law soon enough. Several shady retailers in the United Kingdom have reason to reflect on this today, after police raided multiple locations selling "Android TV" set-top boxes designed more or less as piracy machines.
TorrentFreak reports that raids yesterday and earlier in June resulted in the seizure of hundreds of cheap white box Android devices, mostly running AOSP Android adapted for television use (and probably not the more legitimate Android TV software), loaded with illegal apps and tools for streaming and downloading pirated video.
For American penny-pinchers who can meter their phone usage to a tiny sliver of voice and data and supplement with Wi-Fi, FreedomPop offers a pretty amazing deal. If you can snag a compatible phone and SIM card, you can get a small amount of service every month for free, gratis, and nothing. The service is now expanding outside of FreedomLand (he said, with only a trace element of irony) and hopping the pond to the United Kingdom.
FreedomPop will launch its service in the UK starting this summer, and according to this Guardian report, its free tier will offer 200 voice minutes, 200 text messages, and 200MB of data per month.
UK readers, have you been stewing in jealousy over Americans' access to Android TV and the Nexus Player? Well you shouldn't be - it's not all that great, at least at the moment. But if you're eager to check out the only retail ATV device available thus far, now you can. The Nexus Player is selling on the UK version of the Google Store for £79 (a little less than $120 USD at the moment - sorry about that). It's also available on Amazon.
Google's Nexus Player listing on Amazon UK claims that the set-top box will be released to British customers on Thursday, March 26th. Further, the price will be £79.99, assuming Amazon is at least correct on that aspect. Why the uncertainty? Well, Amazon listings are not always the most reliable indicators of release dates. Still, this is a good sign for those in the UK that have been planning to buy a Nexus Player.
For its part, Google has not given any indication that Nexus Players are about to drop in Britain.
United Kingdom communications giant BT Group, also referred to by its primary subsidiary British Telecom or simply "BT," is buying its way back into the mobile carrier business. The company announced its intention to buy UK carrier EE for a combination of cash and stock worth 12.5 billion pounds. That would combine the country's largest mobile carrier at 24.5 million customers with its largest landline/ISP operator at 10 million customers, creating a force to be reckoned with in both wireless and wired connections.
EE is a jointly owned by Deutsche Telekom and Orange, both of which will have significant stakes in BT once the deal is approved by shareholders and regulators, predicted to happen in March of next year.
Over the summer, Google bought Songza, a music streaming company that provides playlists suited for certain moods and times of day. The Big G has left the service running, but that didn't stop it from integrating the functionality with Play Music several months later. This brought recommended playlists to the "Listen Now" area of the Android app and website for listeners in the US and Canada. Now the functionality has expanded to the UK.
I know, screenshots in the UK don't look all that different from those in the US.
These playlists can provide background music for when you're running, studying, or cranking out posts from your desk.