Happy New Year! It's that time again; with the new year comes our new annual prediction post. I tackled this last year, and rather than do a bunch of crazy, pulled-from-thin-air predictions, I ended up with a link-filled research-fest for the year. It worked out pretty well, so that's what's on the docket for today. First though, I'll take a look and see just how many of last year's predictions and rumors came true, and provide some updates for the more important topics.
Look, folks, today is the perfect day to watch a light-hearted video of a real-life fruit ninja chopping fruit, getting smacked in the face with bananas, avoiding bombs like the plague, all topped with adorable kittens flying by in slo-mo. In fact, any day is the perfect day to watch that, especially when it's accompanied by a Dubstep sound track. Still not convinced? Fine, I'll give you two more reasons. It's a Sunday before the laziest and least productive week of the year, and it's Christmas Eve Eve.
In an update to version 4.2.16, Google's YouTube app has received a (thankfully) refreshed UI for ten-inch screens, along with some bug fixes. The "revamped" UI seems to be the only thing of note in this update (though if there are any hidden goodies, you can be sure Ron will tell us about them soon), but it makes for a great refresh. For the sake of comparison, we'll take a look at a few before and after shots.
Today, in a post to the Official Google TV Blog, Google announced officially the new functionality offered by the YouTube update we covered yesterday, along with a few other treats set to hit Google TV users starting with LG devices "this week."
First among the enhancements is the addition of Voice Search, allowing users to "simply speak to watch anything." Voice Search recognizes commands for opening apps, playing YouTube videos, visiting websites, and even finding channels or specific TV shows.
As our lives fill up with screens, it becomes all the more important for them to work together. Today's YouTube update brings that dream a little closer to reality. Now, if you own a Google TV set top box and an Android device, you can use the latter to play, pause, or add videos to a playlist on the former. This is already possible for PS3 owners, so the expanded capability is a welcome addition.
The official YouTube app just got a small bump that brings a fancy new UI for older versions of Android, as well as a handful of other goodies for everyone to enjoy:
What's in this version:
* New UI and Preloading now available on Froyo and Gingerbread devices
* New Watch experience
*Add videos to your YouTube TV queue
* More channels to pick from on the Channel Store
One of the worst phrases a human being can put together is "automatic video editor." The whole thing feels like it's set up for failure. Like "vasectomy in a box" or "snooki's pregnant." Add in "for Android" and, well, let's just say I've been burned before. So it came as an unbelievable shock when I tried out Magisto, which claims to be both of these things, and it was good.
In a post to Google's Mobile Ads blog today, YouTube Group Project Manager Phil Farhi announced that those pre-video, skippable advertisements you've seen on YouTube (they're officially called TrueView in-stream video ads) are quick on their way to mobile devices.
Fahri cites greater ROI as the primary benefit of multi-platform ad exposure through YouTube and its associated mobile experiences, also noting that "today, most of us watch video on our smartphones and tablets, as well as our PCs." This consumption-oriented behavior pattern's spread across multiple platforms effectively opens the door for what Fahri calls "multi-screen campaigns," which not only expose viewers to an advertiser's campaign across multiple devices, but also – and perhaps more importantly – improves brand recall.
The Nexus Q, unveiled at this year's I/O conference to a somewhat unsure audience, is a device that looks to unify your living room's media experience, allowing the streaming of all your Play Store content to connected speakers and TVs, while also allowing for remote control from your (or your friends') Android devices.
One of the Nexus Q's main claims to fame is that it allows anyone in the room to connect and share Play Store content quickly and easily.