Spotify Adds Video Content, Twitter Removes the Ads… [Tech News Digest]

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Spotify finally adds video clips, Twitter VIPs saved from ads, Google+ is no longer required, tour the Guggenheim Museum for free from home, and watch Pokemon invade the Super Bowl.

Spotify Adds Video to Streaming Service

Spotify is finally ready to add video to its streaming service, eight months after promising it was doing so. In May 2015, Spotify announced big changes were on the way, and, while some have duly arrived, the video elements of the new Spotify haven’t yet been launched.

However, according to The Wall Street Journal, Spotify is adding video content this week, starting with the Android app, followed closely by the iOS app. Initially, this will be limited to Spotify users in the U.S., the UK, Germany, and Sweden, though more markets will follow.

It’s possible that you already have access to some video content, as around 10 percent of users have been testing the product over the last few months. But the vast majority of users, both free and paid, will get their first taste of Spotify video content in the next couple of weeks.

Shiva Rajaraman, Spotify’s vice president of product, insisted the delay in launching was all part of the plan, stating, “We are at the end of a journey of testing. We are going out effectively as planned. Our goal was largely to get a wide breadth of content and experiment and test”.

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As for what to expect from the added video element, it will be a combination of short clips from shows such as Jimmy Kimmel Live and Robot Chicken, alongside original content such as music-themed shows made specifically for Spotify. So, while it’s not intended as competition for Netflix, it’s certainly another reason to give Spotify a try.

Twitter VIPs Don’t Have to See Ads

We all find ads annoying, it’s just that some of us understand the need for them more than others. Without ads, the Internet would either cease to exist, or be monetized in some other way. Like paywalls and subscriptions, for example, which surely nobody wants.

With that in mind, Twitter has removed the ads from certain timelines. Those belonging to what Re/Code has dubbed VIP users. Twitter VIPs include celebrities, those who tweet a lot, and those with hundreds of thousands of followers. The chances are you’re not a Twitter VIP. And neither am I.

The idea is to keep these valuable users engaged and actually using the site. Because Twitter really cannot afford to lose high-profile users when its stock is tanking in such a major way. So, this makes sense from a PR perspective, but risks leaving us proles feeling unwanted and undervalued.

Play Google Games Without Google+

Google+ continues its long descent into irrelevance, with Google having removed the requirement to sign into Google+ before using Google Play Games. All you now need is a basic Google account, with none of the extra nonsense that comes with Google+.

You can now sign in just once, and it should keep you signed in for every game. The only caveat is if a game includes specific Google+ functionality, which is highly unlikely at this juncture. How long until Google+ just disappears altogether? Answers on a postcard, please.

Tour the Guggenheim Museum From Home

You can now take a tour of the Guggenheim Museum in New York without ever leaving the comfort of your own home. This is thanks to Google, which has added the Guggenheim to Google Street View as part of its Cultural Institute.

On offer is a 360-degree tour of the building, with the option to stop and admire 120 artworks from its collection. It may not compete with the real thing, but it’s a good option for those who cannot visit New York for one reason or another.

Pokemon 20 Invades Super Bowl 50

And finally, Super Bowl 50 is almost upon us, and that means we’re currently being bombarded with the biggest and best ads from all the major brands. However, Nintendo may have just trumped them all with a 60-second spot celebrating 20 years of Pokemon.

That’s right, it’s been 20 years since Pokemon was first spawned, with 1996 seeing the release of Pocket Monsters: Red & Green in Japan. And the franchise is still alive and well to this day, hence Nintendo paying $10 million to celebrate the fact during the Super Bowl.

Your Views on Today’s Tech News

Does video content make you more likely to subscribe to Spotify? Is it unfair of Twitter to remove the ads for VIPs? Is Google+ now completely surplus to requirements? What are your thoughts on the Google Cultural Institute? What is your favorite Super Bowl ad so far?

Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.

Tech News Digest is a daily column paring the technology news of the day down into bite-sized chunks that are easy to read and perfect for sharing.

Image Credits: Michael Fotsch via Flickr

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