Editor's note: the first three paragraphs of this story are a brief primer on fair use in US copyright law and the complications created by the DMCA. Skip down if you're already familiar with this stuff.
The United States copyright system has a series of protections for citizens who want to use video, audio, text quotes, and other copyrighted material in legitimate ways. These are generally called fair use exemptions: they're why Saturday Night Live can make a parody of Jeopardy or The Big Bang Theory without the fear of CBS suing them for copyright infringement, or why a movie reviewer can use clips of the movie in his video critique.
Today is the big day. Open YouTube on your platform of choice and you might notice a new logo for YouTube Red. Google's ad-free version of YouTube appears to have just gone live for eligible subscribers. Never again will you be asked to sit through a 15-second pre-roll ad for a 30 second video or click to hide that stupid banner. What a glorious day this is.
After years of trying to make it work with its BlackBerry OS, the once-dominant Canadian smartphone maker is giving Android a shot. The company acknowledged the existence of the Priv (previously codenamed Venice) with an awkward video demo by the company's CEO, but now there's a more professional intro video out.
There have been a lot of Pac-Man games over the years, but there are only so many ways you can tweak the "run around a maze and eat things" genre. Hipster Whale (the developer of Crossy Road) has found a new one, though. After partnering with Namco, Hipster Whale came up with Pac-Man 256, a homage to the infamous level 256 glitch in the original game. A new gameplay video is now out, and it looks awesome.
These days, it takes much more to sell an app. It used to be good enough to build something that simply did what it was supposed to and didn't crash too often. Over time, users came to expect better performance, lower power consumption, and an attractive interface. Even those things aren't always good enough because many apps are presented with high quality demo videos. How can independent developers and small teams compete with companies that can pay for high-end shoots and professional models? A new service called PlaceIt might be able to help. Developers can submit screenshots or recordings to PlaceIt and have high resolution photos and videos generated on the spot, and it gives the appearance that real people are using the app.
Toddlers deserve teardowns too! Ok, maybe teardowns are still for grownups, but let's do something for those little ones that haven't learned to read xml yet. The YouTube Kids app has only been available since late February, so it's fair to expect a lot of changes and new features in each release. Last week's update brought immersive mode and better voice search, but a look inside revealed that there are some extra toys in the future. To begin with, it looks like Chromecast support is right around the corner. However, the really cool addition appears to be a built-in recording mode to capture your little one singing along to The Wheels On The Bus.
April 1st isn't the safest time to browse tech blogs on the web. One third of all of the posts that go up are likely a fake (this one, though, is entirely legitimate). Yet while Facebook's latest app looks like it could be a joke—it isn't. Riff is a collaborative way for friends to make videos with one another using the social network.
Riff lets you shoot a clip that's up to 20 seconds long and share it for others to see. There are no editing tools, nor can you upload videos from outside of the app. You can only record, hope for the best, review the end result, and submit.
Play Music's v5.8 rolled out last month with a slew of fixes and improvements to make the app fit better with Material Design's guidelines and provide some added functionality like biography and history for artists, and a previous song button in the collapsed notification. The app has since seen a few incremental changes, but the latest v5.8.1836R got a rare treatment from Google: an official changelog. So it must be something important, right?
Well, yes and no. If you don't subscribe to Google Play Music All Access (or Unlimited as it's being referred to recently), you may not notice any significant difference in the app.
The folks over at YouTube have had a busy week after launching YouTube For Kids, and then turning on video trimming a few days later. To keep the ball rolling, the YouTube team shipped a brand new update to its primary app last night that finally enables stats for nerds. After examining the apk in a teardown, it turns out that there's also a big improvement to the upcoming audio swapping feature, and it seems there may even be some new search filters on the way.
Stats For Nerds
The "big" new feature probably isn't going to get too many people excited, but Stats For Nerds is finally live.