Windows 10 doubles the number of promoted apps, Google launches a new messaging app, Twitter makes room for more words, the BBC has one eye on Netflix, and a short film made entirely of stock footage.
Windows 10 Will Get Double the Ads
Microsoft is planning to show more ads [PDF link] on the Windows 10 Start menu, doubling the number of promoted apps from five to 10. As reported by The Verge, this is set to happen when the Windows 10 Anniversary Edition drops at the end of July, marking one year since the release of Windows 10.
As it stands, Windows 10 users can expect to see up to five promoted apps interspersed with their own apps on the Start menu. However, once the Anniversary Edition drops, that number will increase to 10. These promoted apps can be removed from the Start menu one at a time, but most people will simply put up with them. Or at least that’s what Microsoft must be hoping.
The initial reaction to this change seems to be rather muted, as if everyone expected it. Which, given that Windows 10 is being offered as a free upgrade, they probably did. Microsoft has to make money from Windows 10 somehow, and putting apps in front of 300 million users and rising is a rather obvious way to do that.
The question anyone who has already upgraded should be asking themselves is, “What other advertising is Microsoft likely to incorporate into Windows 10?”
Google Launches Messaging App Spaces
Google Spaces reminds me of Facebook Rooms, which Facebook killed because it didn't take off.
— Martin Bryant (@MartinSFP) May 16, 2016
Google has launched a new social messaging app called Spaces. The app offers a way for you to discuss specific topics with friends and family members. And with Google Search, Chrome, and YouTube all built into the app, you shouldn’t ever have to switch between Spaces and other apps.
Here’s how Google Spaces works: You create a Space on a topic you’re passionate about. You then invite friends via email, a message, or social media. You can then share content and discuss the topic to your heart’s content. All without ever leaving this one app designed to do it all.
Google has launched several social apps over the years, and all have failed to really take off in a big way. Google+ was the last big push, and that is slowly being dismantled as we speak. Whether Spaces fares any better remains to be seen, but anyone with a Gmail account should be able to check it out now on Android or on iOS.
Twitter Will Soon Ignore Links
Apparently Twitter will stop limiting tweets to just 140 characters in a few weeks. It's great news! My tweets will finally stop being cut o
— Jake Humphrey (@mrjakehumphrey) May 17, 2016
Twitter is changing the character limit in tweets. Not by much, but every little helps. According to Bloomberg, while each tweet will still be limited to being 140 characters, links and photos will no longer count towards the total.
Links are already shortened in order to free up space, but they still take up 23 characters, or over 15% of a standard tweet. This subtle change, which is likely to be pushed out in the next couple of weeks, would therefore give you room for an extra hashtag or two.
Twitter has been wrestling with the problem of its 140-characters limit for a while now, as users have started stringing tweets together or posting screenshots of longer messages to get around it. But the company knows that abandoning it altogether risks haring its unique brand.
The BBC Is Making a Netflix Competitor
The BBC could be planning to launch a new subscription-based streaming service to rival Netflix. That is at least according to The Telegraph, which quotes from the British Government’s white paper on the future of the BBC that “some form of additional subscription services” should be developed over the coming years.
The subscription service, which is currently being referred to as Britflix, would see the BBC team up with rival broadcaster ITV as well as several production companies. UK Culture Secretary John Whittingdale, who is the minister forcing the BBC to make sweeping changes, said:
“We’re moving into a different world where more and more content is going to be made available on demand. Collaboration with other broadcasters and other production companies, we think, is important. If they want to explore that kind of thing, we’d encourage them.”
Britflix is likely to exist alongside the BBC iPlayer, but offer both older content as well as original programming made exclusively for subscribers. The BBC has yet to outline its plans officially, so we don’t yet know if this will be a UK-only affair or offered worldwide.
Turning Stock Footage Into a Short Film
And finally, stock photos and stock footage are both necessary evils. Without the former, a surprising number of MakeUseOf articles would be walls of text. And without the latter, film-makers would have to actually shoot meaningful footage. Which isn’t really feasible.
However, it turns out that stock footage can, when edited together properly, create a short film. With a plot and everything. The work of Marissa King, This Is a Generic Love Story is a great example of what a video editor can achieve, taking strands of nonsense and turning them into gold. [H/T DesignTaxi]
Your Views on Today’s Tech News
How do you feel about promoted apps on your Windows 10 Start menu? Will you be installing Google Spaces? Should Twitter just ditch the 140-characters limit already? Would you pay to watch BBC content online? Do you love or hate the stock footage short film?
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.
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