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Last year, YouTube launched channel memberships as a bid to woo creators away from other platform-building sites such as Patreon and drive more revenue. But memberships can't be worth anything if there aren't any members, so, the Google-owned video sharing site is now offering free membership to YouTube Premium subscribers in several countries.
Instagram, and then all of Facebook, famously and shamelessly copied the feature that made Snapchat stand out of the crowd: Stories. Now Instagram is turning its attention toward the latest hot social media platform, TikTok, and has released its own take on it in Brazil. It's called Reels and lets you share 15-second video clips of lipsyncing with music coming from a huge catalog.
Amazon is expanding its footprint in South America today by bringing its range of Echo smart speakers to the Brazilian market. With that, Alexa has now learned to converse in the country's official language — Brazilian Portuguese. Along with that come a new voice as well as local dialects, knowledge, and skills.
Back in November, Assistant added support for Brazilian Portuguese, and intelligent speakers were able to communicate with their owners in this language. Unfortunately, smart displays weren't so great at learning a new tongue and couldn't interact with people in Portuguese as quickly as Google Homes. However, the devices have now graduated and are fully fluent in the language, as Nest Hubs and similar devices can now handle conversations em português.
Here in the US, Google Pay is widely supported, and for that we're grateful. In international markets, support isn't always as easily found, but the list of partner banks is ever expanding. Over the past month, we've noticed that Google Pay has added support for a number of new banks for a handful of countries around the world, opening the door for even more consumers to enjoy the ease of using the payment platform to make in-store, in-app and online purchases.
Google Assistant's language expansion is continuing on. Google had promised that 38 countries and 17 languages would be added in 2018 and many have already launched over the past months. But the year is nearing its end and we're still a little far from those numbers. Recent additions bring us closer though, as Assistant can now speak four more Indian languages and has expanded Brazilian Portuguese' support to Google Home speakers.
YouTube Premium and Music Premium are continuing their slow global expansion — though to be honest, they seem to be doing it at a rate faster than Google Play Music ever did. The latest addition is one of the world's largest countries in both surface and population, Brazil.
Google One's launch has been fraught with delays and pseudo-announcements. The unifying storage service was introduced in May, but only select users got invited to try it out, then Google re-announced it again a few weeks ago, saying it was available to everyone in the US. But we all know that just meant it was starting to be available to all. Now comes the news that One is finally stepping outside the borders of the USA and going south to Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina, then sailing across the Pacific to Australia.
If you live in Brazil, Google says you can now use a new payment method to purchase apps, games, movies, books, and music from the Play Store: Mercado Pago. The service seems to be among the top online payment solutions in Brazil, and is joining credit and debit cards as well as gift cards as a means of paying for content on Google Play.