YouTube Kids has proven to be a popular way for parents to give their children access to a limited collection of YouTube content, even if that collection occasionally includes videos depicting suicide and cannibalism (oops!). The service has slowly been expanding its global reach, and now Google has added 11 more nations to the availability list.
Continuing its expansion across the globe, YouTube's paid Premium membership is making its way to my neck of the woods. The service is now available in eight new countries in the Middle East, most of which are in the GCC area. If you live around here, you probably didn't expect Premium to come to us this "soon" after its international launch, so the news is a nice late-night surprise.
Earlier this year, it was rumored that Spotify would arrive in MENA (Middle East and North Africa) sometime in Q4 2018. It seems the speculation was true, as Spotify has now launched in a handful of MENA countries — but only to those with invites.
Direct carrier billing is one of the easiest ways users can buy apps, games, and other content on the Play Store. In countries where credit cards aren't readily accessible, where gift cards haven't been circulated, and where other methods of payments are either unavailable or not so attainable for everyone, having your operator handle the transaction for you makes things a lot simpler (although usually a bit more expensive thanks to added fees).
Two countries have recently seen direct carrier billing enabled for them: Vietnam and Kuwait. In Vietnam, the top mobile network Viettel has enabled carrier billing (they even have a friendly how-to on their site), and even though Google's support document doesn't mention it, it looks like the second largest operator MobiFone will do the same soon.
On a new Android device (or an old one), opening up the Play Store is the quickest way to get your hands on a digital book. Thing is, that's only the case if you live in a supported country. Today Play Books are making their way to nine countries throughout the Middle East.
While we still wait for newer products like Play Movies or Play Books to reach a wider audience, Google's been hard at work bringing a slightly more useful product to additional countries: Google Maps with Navigation. After bringing voice navigation to India, nine more new countries are being added to the supported list for the Navigation beta. Including the following:
United Arab Emirates
Unfortunately, the service will require Android 4.0 or higher. This is likely due to Arabic script API incompatibilities with older versions. Though, it's a little unclear on just when all the necessary features would've been added (for example, bi-directional text was only added in Jelly Bean).