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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 called Reels. The feature, which has been in testing since at least November and seeded to Brazil, is now available globally.
Spotify has been working on proper lyrics support for ages. It likely takes this long to implement the seemingly simple feature in part due to licensing issues surrounding songtexts, which already led to a lawsuit against Google. Spotify seems to have finally found a suitable solution, as TechCrunch reports that the company is planning to roll out lyrics synced with music to 26 markets today. The US, Canada, and the UK aren't among these, though.
WhatsApp's recently launched digital payments system for Brazil has been suspended merely one week after its launch. The decision was handed down yesterday by Brazil's Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE) and the country's Central Bank, both of which are concerned about how it could harm competition with existing institutions in the domestic market.
In the last six months or so, Motorola has gradually shipped Android 10 to its 2019 mid-range G7 series. The update reached the highest-end G7 Plus in January, and the standard G7 and G7 Power followed suit more recently. The only model remaining was the cheapest G7 Play, which is now also getting the update, starting in Brazil.
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.
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.