Targeted advertising is often incredibly spot-on, leading some people to believe that social networks and advertisers are using their phones' microphones to spy on them. While that's just a myth, Spotify appears to be exploring the possibilities offered from listening to its subscribers. The company filed a patent detailing how it could use microphones to determine people's "emotional state, gender, age, or accent," according to Music Business Worldwide.
While you can use smartphones in horizontal orientations, apps like Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, and others highly encourage vertical video formats. As such, content creators and regular folks shooting horizontally have to crop their clips to fit these social media platforms — a tedious process. Adobe and other companies have been working on automating this process for years, but now Google is also entering the intelligent auto-cropping game with its open-source AutoFlip framework.
Once upon a time, the Twitter timeline only showed posts from the people you follow. Then it started displaying tweets your friends liked, and recommendations for people to follow, and a 'What you missed' section, and tweets your friends replied to, and so on. This has led me to use Mastodon more and more, since there are no algorithms or recommendations on that platform, but most of the people I know are still on Twitter.
Thankfully, there is an easy way to turn off all the annoying 'features' that clutter up your timeline. Twitter added the ability to mute certain words or phrases last year, and by adding certain strings as muted words, you can now hide all of Twitter's suggested content.
Last August, Google announced an enhancement to its Play Store search and discovery algorithms, all in the pursuit of a better consumer experience. This was a natural next step after the company said it began tuning its algorithms "to optimize for user engagement, not just downloads" at its Developer Day at the Game Developers Conference in February 2017. In part, these moves appeared to be shots across the bow aimed at getting developers in line. But in recent weeks, it seems we've approached a sort of endgame, and some smaller developers are losing — big time.
Instagram made the switch to a non-chronological feed a while back, and many users are still unhappy with it. Today, Instagram says it's rolling out some changes to make the feed less terrible. Well, Instagram didn't call the feed "terrible," but that seems to be the consensus outside the company. Soon, you'll see newer posts near the top and have more control over refreshing.
We generally have a rule at Android Police HQ: we don't post about Kickstarter/Indiegogo projects at least until they've been funded. Too often things turn into vaporware and people's money ends up wrapped up in things like Diaspora that never take off. Today, we're making a rare exception to talk about Minuum, because this video starts off as "Oh, that's kinda cool," and quickly shifts to "Holy crap, that's amazeballs!"
As you can see in the beginning of the video, the concept is fairly simple. It's yet another predictive text input algorithm that allows you to be less accurate when typing.
This may not be strictly Android-related news, but it's safe to say that what Google does to search results is relevant to our readers' interests, no? Today, Google announced via its Inside Search blog that the company will start including the volume of valid copyright removal notices as a factor in determining how high or low a site ranks in its search results. Translation: pirate sites won't be removed entirely, but they'll start ranking lower than legitimate sites.
Pretty soon, sites like the Pirate Bay won't be the #1 search result anymore.
The net effect of this change will likely be very minimal to the more hardcore pirates.