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YouTube Music v1.42 adds Chromecast Audio support, updates player controls, and hints at a future on Android TV [APK Download + Teardown]

If you're a YouTube Red subscriber, it's well worth taking a moment to try out the YouTube Music app. It's still in the process of filling out its feature set, but each update fleshes out areas that really make it a very compelling way to consume music. The latest version bump adds one of the most needed features yet: streaming support for Chromecast Audio. It also brings a partial redesign to the player controls. There is also a subtle change that gives some hope that we may finally see YouTube Music make the jump to Android TV in the near future.

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YouTube is getting a new UI and animation for video description and actions [Update]

It would appear that Google is rolling out yet another tweak to the YouTube app's interface. This time, there's a new layout and a slick animation when you expand the video description. This is also where you'll find most of the video actions now.

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PSA: You can control YouTube playback with OK Google voice commands

Google Now has a tendency to add voice commands without most people noticing. Besides the few listed in-app, Google hides most of its commands, perhaps the most useful ones. For example, Google's voice actions have been integrated and implemented within YouTube, so you can control video playback with your mi... wait, no that's the next update.

To get started, just start playing any video in the YouTube app. Then you can use any of these voice commands, triggered by the "OK Google" keyword, provided you have enabled its detection from any screen:

  • "Pause" - Pauses the video.
  • "Play" - Resumes the video.
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YouTube Red now available in Mexico, costs a lot less than it does in the US

YouTube Red, Google's premium video service, can now be subscribed to by our friends in Mexico. Prior to today, YouTube Red was only available in Australia, New Zealand, and obviously the US. With the addition of Mexico, Red is now purchasable in a whopping four countries.

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Google is using Opinion Rewards questions to improve YouTube video recommendations

If you've never used Google Opinion Rewards, it's an app from Google that periodically sends you surveys and rewards you with Play Store credit. Most questions are usually location-based, asking if you've been to a certain place recently and how you would rate it. But it looks like Google may be using Opinion Rewards to improve YouTube video recommendations.

Earlier today, I received a survey asking about my YouTube history. It's worth noting that if you have YouTube Watch History disabled, you won't get these surveys.

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Left: A YouTube survey?! Right: Here it asks about a video I watched earlier today.

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Google is moving Hangouts On Air to YouTube Live for future broadcasts

Coming as an inevitable surprise to no one, Google has announced today that Hangouts On Air will be leaving Google+ and moving to YouTube Live. All future broadcasts will need to be scheduled in YouTube Live, and events in Google+ will shut down after the hard date of September 12.

Google says that recorded Hangouts On Air will still be available on YouTube, and that Google+ event content will be available in read-only format in the Activity Log.

In regards to Q&A, Google's suggestion to broadcasters is to use Slides, which has the same feature, in conjunction with broadcasts. The company also suggests that questions are gathered ahead of time via social media.

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YouTube Music v1.38 now allows removing tracks from offline mixtape, promises landscape orientation [APK Download]

If you're a regular user of the dedicated YouTube Music app, you're probably accustomed to updates that add fairly non-obvious changes. The latest update includes a hidden gem that makes the offline mixtape feature considerably more useful. According to an official changelog posted late last night, we should also see screen rotation, but it seems that didn't actually make it into this release. As usual, there's a download link at the bottom so you can skip Google's staged rollout.

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YouTube Kids finally works with Red subscriptions

YouTube has a lot of content, not all of which is acceptable for kids. Actually, a lot of it isn't acceptable for grown ups either, but that's beside the point. The YouTube Kids app was launched last year to aggregate kid-friendly videos, but it didn't support YouTube Red. Now, it does support YouTube Red, which we predicted in an APK Teardown earlier this year.

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YouTube version 11.29 returns the 'X' close button in the background notification

We've taken a look at the APK for the latest version of YouTube, 11.29, and there's some mildly interesting bits under the hood, but not much that's user-facing. There's one exception: the little "X" button to close the notification has returned. See it up there? It's back. Hooray!

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Last time, on Minute Video Player User Interface Adjustments...

Of course you only get the notification if you're 1) subscribed to the YouTube Red premium service and 2) have background play enabled in the app's settings menu. The button inexplicably disappeared from the notification after an update late last month. Now it's back.

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Latest YouTube update removes notification button to close background play

Google does a lot of smart things, but it also makes some very bizarre (dare I say, dumb?) decisions. Case in point, YouTube recently changed the way it handles background play, making it harder to end playback from the notification. The "x" used to be tiny, but now it's just gone.

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